Lord Parasurama Destroys the Ruling Class

Srimad Bhagavatam 09.16.25-31 - Lord Parasurama Destroys the Ruling Class (download mp3)
by Shubha Vilas Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 9.16.25
jamadagnyo 'pi bhagavan
ramah kamala-locanah
agaminy antare rajan
vartayisyati vai brhat

My dear King Pariksit, in the next manvantara the lotus-eyed Personality of Godhead Lord Parasurama, the son of Jamadagni, will be a great propounder of Vedic knowledge. In other words, he will be one of the seven sages.

SB 9.16.26
aste 'dyapi mahendradrau
nyasta-dandah prasanta-dhih

Lord Parasurama still lives as an intelligent brahmana in the mountainous country known as Mahendra. Completely satisfied, having given up all the weapons of a ksatriya, he is always worshiped, adored and offered prayers for his exalted character and activities by such celestial beings as the Siddhas, Caranas and Gandharvas.

SB 9.16.27
evam bhrgusu visvatma
bhagavan harir isvarah
avatirya param bharam
bhuvo 'han bahuso nrpan

In this way the supreme soul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Lord and the supreme controller, descended as an incarnation in the Bhrgu dynasty and released the universe from the burden of undesirable kings by killing them many times.
SB 9.16.28
gadher abhun maha-tejah
samiddha iva pavakah
tapasa ksatram utsrjya
yo lebhe brahma-varcasam

Visvamitra, the son of Maharaja Gadhi, was as powerful as the flames of fire. From the position of a ksatriya, he achieved the position of a powerful brahmana by undergoing penances and austerities.

Now, having narrated the history of Lord Parasurama, Sukadeva Gosvami begins the history of Visvamitra. From the history of Parasurama we can understand that although Parasurama belonged to the brahminical group, he circumstantially had to work as a ksatriya. Later, after finishing his work as a ksatriya, he again became a brahmana and returned to Mahendra-parvata. Similarly, we can see that although Visvamitra was born in a ksatriya family, by austerities and penances he achieved the position of a brahmana. These histories confirm the statements in sastra that a brahmana may become a ksatriya, a ksatriya may become a brahmana or vaisya, and a vaisya may become a brahmana, by achieving the required qualities. One's status does not depend upon birth. As confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.11.35) by Narada:

yasya yal laksanam proktam
pumso varnabhivyañjakam
yad anyatrapi drsyeta
tat tenaiva vinirdiset

"If one shows the symptoms of being a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra, even if he has appeared in a different class, he should be accepted according to those symptoms of classification." To know who is a brahmana and who is a ksatriya, one must consider a man's quality and work. If all the unqualified sudras become so-called brahmanas and ksatriyas, social order will be impossible to maintain. Thus there will be discrepancies, human society will turn into a society of animals, and the situation all over the world will be hellish.

SB 9.16.29
visvamitrasya caivasan
putra eka-satam nrpa
madhyamas tu madhucchanda
madhucchandasa eva te

O King Pariksit, Visvamitra had 101 sons, of whom the middle one was known as Madhucchanda. In relation to him, all the other sons were celebrated as the Madhucchandas.

In this connection, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura quotes this statement from the Vedas: tasya ha visvamitrasyaika-satam putra asuh pañcasad eva jyayamso madhucchandasah pañcasat kaniyamsah. "Visvamitra had 101 sons. Fifty were older than Madhucchanda and fifty younger."

SB 9.16.30
putram krtva sunahsepham
devaratam ca bhargavam
ajigartam sutan aha
jyestha esa prakalpyatam

Visvamitra accepted the son of Ajigarta known as Sunahsepha, who was born in the Bhrgu dynasty and was also known as Devarata, as one of his own sons. Visvamitra ordered his other sons to accept Sunahsepha as their eldest brother.

SB 9.16.31
yo vai hariscandra-makhe
vikritah purusah pasuh
stutva devan prajesadin
mumuce pasa-bandhanat

Sunahsepha's father sold Sunahsepha to be sacrificed as a man-animal in the yajña of King Hariscandra. When Sunahsepha was brought into the sacrificial arena, he prayed to the demigods for release and was released by their mercy.

Here is a description of Sunahsepha. When Hariscandra was to sacrifice his son Rohita, Rohita arranged to save his own life by purchasing Sunahsepha from Sunahsepha's father to be sacrificed in the yajña. Sunahsepha was sold to Maharaja Hariscandra because he was the middle son, between the oldest and the youngest. It appears that the sacrifice of a man as an animal in yajña has been practiced for a very long time.