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53. Parashurama

Several princes were still present, watching the victory celebrations. Out of a burning desire and lust for Sita they looked on in jealousy.   One after another they got up from their thrones slowly–their minds still furious–each plotting various evil schemes.  One called out:

“Let’s kidnap the princess and take the two princes hostage.  Who cares about Shiva’s bow?  We are powerful princes and can rule over all of these foolish people.  If King Janaka even dares to try to come forward and prevent us, we will take him as our hostage too!”

A wise local who overheard them said,

“If shame were a person and present today, he would be fearful of coming close to you princes.  Shri Rama not only broke the bow but he shattered your egos, your strength, your fame, everything you were all so proud of.  You continue to boast out of ignorance, like standing in the dark room, you all miss the bright light of God shining before you.”

“Give up your anger, give up your arrogance, give up your jealousy…today you have been blessed with a darshan of the Lord Shri Rama.  Feast your eyes upon him with joy.  Do not give in to the call of your negative qualities.  Lakshmana if he hears you will become a blazing fire!  Do not become consumed by your jealousy and burn in his fire like helpless moths.”

“A small crow should not try and eat from a sacred offering to Garuda, king of the birds.  A rabbit should not try and steal the food of a lion.  It is foolish for people who are prone to anger to ever expect to be happy.  An enemy of Lord Shiva should crave for other people’s wealth.  An egotistic man should seek only his own fame…do not be like these foolish people!  Don’t allow yourselves to be swallowed by your own desires.”

Sita overheard the conversations and became afraid.  She rushed to sit beside her mother the queen, along with her companions–they all felt great anxiety.  Shri Rama the all-knowing, walked back to his Guru Vishvamitra.  He was completely calm and felt great affection for Sita’s devotion.  As Lakshmana looked for his brother, he could not even bring himself to speak.  His eyes filled with fire, looked at the evil princes like a lion ready to pounce on a heard of elephants.  He was infuriated, seeing the innocent women of the city in distress filled him with rage.

At that moment, a strange man walked through the door, it was the sage Parashurama.  He was like the sun in comparison to the princes, who were like small flowers.  He heard of news that the bow of Shiva had been desecrated and had come to find out for himself.  As soon as they saw him, the princes shriveled up like small worms at the sight of birds flying overhead.  He was an awesome sight.  Wish ash covering his body and the three lines across his forehead in honour of Lord Shiva, he stood tall with his matted locks and brown eyes reddened with anger.  With huge broad shoulders and massive arms and thighs, he wore only deer skin and a rosary around his neck made of rudraksha beads.  He was like a bull amongst men.  Parashurama held his bow tightly in his hands, the veins on his forearms pumped out of his skin.  His confusing appearance was both saintly and warrior-like. The famous Parashurama was both a hero and a hermit.

Many of the princes present recognized this giant man and bent down bowing before him.  As Parashurama looked around the room, everyone he laid his eyes upon feared for their life.  King Janaka came forward with Sita and bowed before Parashurama.  Everyone present breathed a sigh of relief once the sage placed his hand on her head and blessed her.  Next came Vishvamitra who paid his respects, he also asked Shri Rama and Lakshmana to bow before him.  Parashurama blessing them both, felt a great attraction to Shri Rama who appeared more than just an ordinary prince.  For a moment his anger fell away.

While looking around the room he called out, “Why are all these people here?  His voice as loud as thunder resounded through the palace hall.  King Janaka explained everything that had occurred to Parashurama, he told him about why the princes and public had gathered here and about the breaking of the bow.  As Parashurama looked around and saw the broken fragments of the bow, he once again became furious.  In a fit of rage, he shouted:

“Janaka you fool! Tell me who broke this bow!  Tell me his name now before I destroy every inch of your kingdom!”  King Janaka frozen with fear could not speak.  The evil princes watched on gleefully expecting trouble while the saints, nagas, gods and other holy beings in the city all became fearful.  The queen filled with agitation asking, “What has God done to us?!”.  Sita who was quickly learning about this dangerous sage felt as if time had stopped.

As soon as Shri Rama saw everyone suffering with panic and anxiety, he walked to the center of the hall remaining completely balanced and with a mind of equanimity…

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