Jamadagni (or Jamdagni, Sanskrit: जमदग्नि) is one of the Saptarishis (Seven Great Sages Rishi) in the seventh, i.e. the present Manvantara. He was a descendant of the sage Bhrigu, one of the Prajapatis created by Brahma, the God of Creation. Jamadagni has five children with wife Renuka, the youngest of whom was Parashurama, an avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Execution of Renuka
Renuka was such very devoted wife and the power of her chastity was manifest. Such was this power, that she used to fetch water from the river in a pot made of unbaked clay every day. The pot would hold together because of her devotion to her husband.
One day, when she was at the river, a handsome Gandharva happened to be passing by in the sky, in his chariot. Smitten with desire for this handsome youth, for merely an instant, the damage to her powers was done. The unbaked pot that she was carrying, dissolved into the river. She was no longer chaste of mind. Afraid to go back to her husband, she waited at the river bank.
Meanwhile Jamadagni, who was waiting for fresh water to begin his morning sacrifices, noticed that his wife had not yet returned from the river. By his yogic powers, he divined all that had taken place. Exceedingly angry with his wife, he called his eldest son, told him what had happened and asked him to execute his mother. Horror-stricken, his son refused to perform this deed. He then asked all of his sons, in the order of their seniority, to execute their mother. While all the elder sons refused (Jamadagni turned them to stone), only his youngest son, Parashurama, ever-obedient and righteous, at once beheaded his mother with his axe.
Jamadagni, pleased, offered to grant two boons to Parashurama, who at once asked that his mother be restored to life and his brothers to be unturned from stone and accepted into the family again. Impressed by his son's devotion and affection for Jamadagni, Jamadagni granted this boon and many others.
Jamadagni was later killed by a Kshatriya king Kartavirya Arjuna, over a dispute over a divine calf named Kamadhenu. However Jamadagni was restored to life by Lord Shiva, as he was among a saptarishi and his devout worshipper (as quoted in Shiva Mahapurana).
- ^ Avalon, Arthur (Sir John Woodroffe) (1913, reprint 1972) (tr.) Tantra of the Great Liberation (Mahāanirvāna Tantra), New York: Dover Publications, ISBN 0-486-20150-3, p. xli: The Rishi are seers who know, and by their knowledge are the makers of shastra and "see" all mantras. The word comes from the root rish Rishati-prāpnoti sarvvang mantrang jnānena pashyati sangsārapārangvā, etc. The seven great Rishi or saptarshi of the first manvantara are Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulastya, and Vashishtha. In other manvantara there are other sapta-rshi. In the present manvantara the seven are Kashyapa, Atri, Vashishtha, Vishvamitra, Gautama, Jamdagnini, Bharadvaja. To the Rishi the Vedas were revealed. Vyasa taught the Rigveda so revealed to Paila, the Yajurveda to Vaishampayana, the Samaveda to Jaimini, Atharvaveda to Samantu, and Itihasa and Purana to Suta. The three chief classes of Rishi are the Brahmarshi, born of the mind of Brahma, the Devarshi of lower rank, and Rajarshi or Kings who became Rishis through their knowledge and austerities, such as Janaka, Ritaparna, etc. Thc Shrutarshi are makers of Shastras, as Sushruta. The Kandarshi are of the Karmakanda, such as Jaimini.
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