Long before revolting against the government was seen cool in JNU circles, India had a hero who single handedly fell a generation of corrupt ruling class for their excesses. Governments and big bureaucracy stop at nothing to grind and extract from the common man should the lives of theirs and their acolytes get a little more comfortable. It is true now, it was true then.
Raja ArjunaKartavirya had an entire kingdom at his disposal but nevertheless wanted the divine cow Surabhi, perhaps the only source of nourishment in Jamadagni rishi’s ashram. When refused, instead of controlling his desires, he snatched it by force. Shri Parshuram intervened by killing him and bringing the cow back to the ashram but was advised to go on a pilgrimage. Yet, rarely a big government ecosystem takes its fault lying down. In his absence, the extended clan members came back to sack the ashram and killed Jamadagni rishi in the process. It is after learning this after his return did Parshuram took up the challenge to get rid of Kshatriyas altogether.
An untrained eye sees genocide but a Dharmic vision doesn’t. Killing the corrupt makes the world a better place to live in. There is less hoarding of wealth, people aren’t compelled to live under fear, they aren’t forced to become a silent party to the sins of the powerful. It was necessary to provide an example to the world that people notice their rulers and their failings. When greed touches the roof, the wheel of the Dharma starts its downward trajectory. Simple tools used in agriculture and forestry become instruments of civil resistance. People win against the State not because of these instruments but because of their resolve. Their back against the wall, these revolts are not for power but for their very own survival.
Was it a case of cow vigilantism? A cow is only a cow in the Western philosophical traditions that see things as themselves. In Hindu Dharma, the holy cow is a metaphor for the earth itself. Just like a cow nourishes the family in exchange of a little care, the earth shares her crop in exchange of planting the seeds. Surabhi was a Kamdhenu, one who can fulfill all material wishes. If one looks around, all things material including the laptop or computer screen you are reading this is made from the bounty of the Earth. The Earth taking the shape of cow and seeking refuge is a common theme in many Puranas.
To put back things in perspective, Parshuram was probably not fighting for a mythical cow but for the earthly realm itself. It was a fight between two ideologies; one that sought to make the realm a private domain to be passed down through dynasty by snatching it through greed, the other that wanted it to remain free for all generations to come and take from it as per their need.
It seems so strange that we find ourselves in similar circumstances today. Our lands were partitioned and people were butchered and there was very little discontent. The entire Hindu Community learned albeit slowly that they were in fact the cow. They cannot be reasonably given enough freedom to run their temples. They needed a good shepherd in the form of Ashokstambh. Their civil laws were especially for them and cannot be reasonably expanded to include other citizens. Their tax money would be the milk that would feed everything from Bofors to Commonwealth. Our elder generations were similar to Jamadagni rishi in that they opposed the principle but not the system. However, the ruling class just doesn’t understand limits. The goalpost was shifted to education to make Hindus exit the private education sector and make their children more ‘cultured’ under the influence of more ‘civilized religions’.
Even today, we stand to fight a highly skewed battle where one side has all the wealth, control of most institutions, the occasional henchmen who butchers political dissidents and most importantly the command on the narrative that seems to flow seamlessly even with the many punctures that people are able to make in them. We only have Dharma on our side.
In this battle, this Parshuram Jayanti, we thus seek the blessings of Bhagwan Parshuram in our quest of destroying the big ecosystem and redeeming our freedom, that of our community and that of the country and to protect Dharma at all costs.
*Written by- @parshu_rama