Caption- LORD PARSHURAM OF HINDU MYTHOLOGY…quite a wild boy! Some say he is Maharishi Parshuram, sixth incarnation of Bhagwan Vishnu. He was born to Jamadagni, one of the Saptarishis) and Renuka (daughter of Raja Renuka). One legend has it that they had five sons and Parshuram was the youngest. Jamadagni in a fit of rage with his wife’s non-performance of wifely duties asked his sons to kill her. Only Parshuram obliged! Later he asked his father to restore his mother to life…but the axe with which he had chopped of her head stayed stuck in his hand. So began his pilgrimage from place to place to get the axe removed. In Arunachal Pradesh in the mountains of the Himalayas it is said he bathed in the waters of the Lohit river and his axe loosened. There are also stories of him killing Kshatriya warriors for all kinds of mixed up reasons. The question is can he be Goencho Saib?
GOOD Lord (forget all lords, most were a bunch of Neanderthals relics I dare say)! There I was courtesy former RSS chief Subhash Velinker entertaining some kind of a idiotic crush on jungle man a la Tarzan or latter day Rambo…er…Lord Parshuram. Recently, in our traumatised anew times, kicked upstairs or promoted to being Bhagwan Parshuram by the Hindu Raksha Maha Agahadi and similar outfits promoting a fighting spirit in Hindu hearts or something like that.
I mean there is so much to this legendary guy of Hindu religious mythology good, bad and downright ugly no matter what the justifications of his hoary, misty life and times lived so many thousands of years ago, 5000 years plus, plus? Suddenly, Parshuram boy has become a bone of contention between warring modern-day tribes in Goa as if they’re spoiling for battles and wars ahead of time!
The whole of this bygone week in Goa, ever since the honourable Subhash Velingker and his several inspired outfits owing allegiance to the Hindu Raksha Maha Aghadi, announced that Goa’s Goencho Saib should be
Bhagwan Parshuram. Not the Spaniard St Francis Xavier of Christianity and Portuguese Inquisition fame in Goa’s history! He is going on a yatra to educate both Hindus and Catholics about the truth about history in the real perspective. But who’s interested in the truth, Subhash bab! The truth is a bit of poison pill and why shove it down our modern throats now when so much water has flown under the bridges of time and as humanity we have emerged remarkably progressive in today’s times (never mind the mega corruption all around us and other evils of governance)…hey, it’s with disquietude I’ve been reading all the ding dong exchange of scolding, expletives, just sheer nonsenses vis-à-vis the honourable two guys conjured back to live in our current day life and times – Lord Parshuram and St Francis Xavier are being sanitised or glorified or vilified, depending on which version you prefer in a religious tangle totally out of proportion and needlessly passionate time-pass, not to be taken seriously or to be taken seriously?
IN all this mayhem of words nasty and vituperative look at home much as emerged about Hinduism’s iconic Lord Parshuram or Bhagwan Parshuram and I’m not sure how much I am getting more and more infatuated by this Parshuram’s persona. I mean, I know men now and again, want to kill their mothers and wives for reasons best known to them, but this Parshuram comes across as one angry Brahmin wandering around with a butcher’s axe looking for Kshatriya warriors to kill – apparently they were abusing their power and had killed his father!
As usual with Hindu mythology there are so many versions. One version says Parshuram even killed his own mother on his father’s orders, he was a real father’s boy from the sound of it. It seems the father was testing him out for obedience! This is before his own father was killed by bloodthirsty Kshatriya warriors angry with Brahmin tyrannies…we go back and forth.
Anyway, it gets more interesting. To avenge his father’s murder our friend Parshuram goes on a killing spree of Kshatriyas (the warrior class of the times), he killed 21 and then it went on…there’s talk of filling five lakes with Kshatriya blood. Oh dear, I’m not clear about this kind of fact and fiction! To cut to the present in our life and times we are presented with the story of how this very same Lord Parshuram came looking for land for his followers to settle down peacefully and there up from the Western Ghats he saw the tranquil Arabian sea waters and in a feat of magnificence either threw his axe or shot his arrows near and far to create land, the sea retreated and new land was born extending from the Konkan to Kanya Kumari…all this land is popularly regarded by Hindus as fabled pilgrimage land with Kerala being “God’s own land” and so on and so forth.
Apparently, to begin with all the new lands arisen from the waters were salt encrusted bad lands full of unsuitable creatures. So by now our hero Lord Parshuram invoked snake god or King Vasuki, who spat out a lot of “holy poison” to clean up and turn bad lands into lush green farming lands of the Konkan and Malabar coastline, ornamented with beautiful beaches. I suppose this is why out in Gokarna where I used to go beach bumming once upon a time I came across many shrines to King Vasuki and all kinds of snake families revered and worshiped as protectors and guardians of Hindu lands, something like that. Oh okay, maybe not Hindu lands, but colonised Brahmin lands.
TO go on we have a PT Srinivasa Iyengar who has this theory that Senguttuvan may have been inspired by the Parasurama legend, which was brought about by early Aryan settlers known as the Saraswat Brahmins, sub-caste of Hindusim. Who, presumably, after their river Saraswat disappeared or dried up had to migrate further into the Indian sub-continent west and east to settle down anew and live in peace, in peace? (Hey, in my own earlier wanderings around western India I’ve seen this stunning dry bed of the river Saraswati and the old tumbled haveli quarters around about, go see, it’s unforgettable sight.)
Anyway to go on it sounds like Parshuram’s Saraswat people wandered from Kashmir in north India to the Konkan coasts of west India to Kanara and Kerala in south India. You must know the word Saraswat comes from the Rigvedic Sarasvati river which once supported the Saraswat search for a new homeland, read up more about all this if you wish. History is endlessly fascinating and full of insight into what might and could have happened to the early human beings we recall as our ancestors for whatever it is worth.
In all this we have Goa or ancient Gomantak or whatever various travellers called it in their adventures which they wrote up in various books of history available to us in modern times and closer to us in our life and times…all I want to say vis-à-vis Lord Parshuram is that one may perceive it as a not so nice or fearful, heroic story of man from the past who left behind his mark in Hindu mythology legends. What we have today is of course a much sanitised and cleaned up Lorde Parshuram or Bhagwan Parsuram of more imagination than any documented history. If Goans want to make him the Goencho Saib of Goa, let them! By all means portray and project him as the founder of ancient Goa — but not modern Goa surely?
Where is the conflict if Hindu Goa sees Bhagwan Parshuram as founder of Goa and not St Francis Xavier? Both versions can co-exist peacefully, surely? If we understand and draw the line between what is mythology and what is history, I have no problems. But to confuse and sanctify the two distinct entities of mythology and history would be a farce and a travesty of truth mixed with lies, half-lies, make-belief…crass additions each worse than the other.
As it is the Covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll on us and I’m against any kind of divisive poison making life more stressful, when we can’t find jobs, earn enough money to live and be happy, everyone is trying to hate everybody for reasons without rhyme or …er…reason. It’s like anarchy is let loose and for what? We know what kind of lily-livered politicians we have on both sides of power and they’re determined engage in various cheap battles growing richer and fatter on the loot or fruit of the public exchequer instead of being responsible and accountable for any real progress and development.
Lord or Bhagwan Parshuram alone know where much of the capital city Panaji’s money goes – not smartening up Panaji and its gardens or restoring and augmenting the drainage system, including the rotting St Inez Creek. What on earth is happening to it in recent times, is this gutter of filth being put away in underground plastic pipes or is it being concretised to set the stage of future flooding of Panaji city? The answers are blowing in the wind, testifying to a government more sick than healthy vis-à-vis wellbeing of the people.
In the light of all this information I’ve put together here, anybody wants to be a party to all the evil that may be the outcome of any yatra to drive home who the founder of Goa is? I couldn’t care less if it is Lord or Bhagwan Parshuram or St Francis Xavier, as far as I am concerned both have their time and sentimental attachments of faith and can co-exist together happily regardless of who believes and who does not. Excuse me, please don’t play political games with my Hinduism which has evolved over generations and many experiences to be great (albeit modern-day Partition’s sins of omission and commission). I’m not for any religious politics of vendetta or any kind of obdurate vendetta.
Who wants to turn India into a Europe of the medieval times when wars were all about land grabs, religious dadagiri and prisoners of war taken as slaves or concubines in the opulent palaces of kings and sultans who were benevolent or malevolent despots! For example, the life and times of Sultan Suleiman of the Turkey’s golden years (you must see this television series Magnificent Century if you want to get an idea of Christian-Muslim wars and what they achieved in the end. All gone with the wind!
On that note its avjo, selamat datang, poiteverem, au revoir, arrivedecci and vachu yeta here for now. Think about all this and don’t just think.