By Swami Harshananda
Jamadagni was the son of the sage Rcīka and the princess Satyavatī. He is listed among the Saptarṣis, the group of seven great sages. He is also accounted amongst the gotrapravartakas. He had married Reṇukā, the daughter of a king, Prasenajit.
He had five sons amongst whom the famous Paraśurāma, who is believed to be partial incarnation of Viṣṇu, was the last. Once, Jamadagni suspected the fidelity of his wife Renukā and ordered his sons to behead her. The first four refused and were cursed by him. But Paraśurāma complied with the command.
Pleased at his obedience, Jamadagni granted him a boon. Then Paraśurāma asked for the revival of his mother and withdrawal of the curse against his elder brothers. He even requested to give up his irascible temperament. Jamadagni agreed for all. He was killed by Surasena, the son of Kārtavīrya Arjuna, since he had refused to hand over the celestial cow Kapilā. This was the main reason for Paraśurāma’s tours of conquest against the kṣattriyas to destroy them.
- Gotrapravartakas means originators of lineages.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore