Parshuram is the famous sage of Hindu scriptures. He was the man who massacred the Kshatriyss, the warrior people of ancient India, for many times. Various scriptures including Mahabharat describe that he made the earth Kshatriyless for 21 times.
Brahmins of modern India have made him their idol, while the Kshatriys think that he was their worst enemy. Famous scholar Dr. A. H. Salunkhe rightly says that Parashuram has become the icon of dividing people. Yes, the story of Parshuram boosts ego amongst the orthodox Brahmins and on the other hand it creates hatred against Brahmins in Kshatriy people.
When I read the story of Parashuram, I thought it was surely written by a clever Brahmin to tease the Kshatriys. It is not a true story. It is just a fantasy like many other fantasies found in various Hindu Purans. But as most of the believers believe that everything written in the scriptures is a fact, both the Brahmins and kshatrisys took this fantasy as a true story.
One of my friends told me that there is a Jain version of Parshuram’s story. I searched for it and found it in various Jain scriptures.
The Jain version is very interesting, especially for those who dislike Parshuram. The first half of the story is almost like the Hindu version, with few variations. The second half of the story is very different.
According to the Jain version, when Parashuram killed King Sahasrarjun, the latter’s queen was pregnant and successfully ran away from the Capital. She got shelter in an Ashram of a sage where she eventually gave birth to a son. She kept his name as Subhoum. When he became elder, he was taught everything that a Prince requires. Eventually his mother told him about his father’s murder by Parshuram. Angry Subhoum formed an army with help of his friends and attacked the Capital from where Parshuram was ruling. There was a battle between the armies of Parashuram and Subhoum. The result was killing of Parshuram by King Subhoum. Thus Subhoum took the revenge of his father’s assanination. This very simple but interesting story ends here.
This Jains version is given in ancient Jain scriptures namely Samvayang Sutra, Brihat Katha Kosh, Mahapuran, Trishasti Shalaka Purush and many other books. This story is also a fantasy. I think that the Jain version was written to counter attack the Hindu version.
According to Jain mythology, Subhoum was 8th Chakravarti (mythical emperor) in the series of 12 Chakravartis. It is notable that ancient Jainism was the religion of Kshatriy people, so it was their necessity to counter attack the Hindu version, and they would have used this story to mock the orthodox Brahmins. I do not know how successful the ‘Kshatriy Jains’ were in their intention. Later when Jainism became a religion of Baniyas (merchants), there was no question of telling this story, as it was not of their interest. If you ask any Jain including the scholars whether he knows this story, you will find that they know nothing. Thus the modern Jains have assassinated Subhoum by ignoring the Jain version of Parashuram’s story!
-Mahavir Sanglikar ©
This story has been published in Marathi in form of a small book named Parashuramacha Vadh by Subhoum Prakashan. Noted scholar Dr. A. H. Salunkhe has wrote about this story in detail in his book Parashuram: Jodanyaache Pratik Ka Todanyache?