Jamadagni is the seventh Saptarishi in the current Manvantara (duration of a Manu). He is the father of Parashurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He is considered to be the descendent of Bhrigu rishi and one of the Prajapatis created by the god of creation, Brahma. Jamadagni is the husband of Renuka who is the daughter of King Prasenjit of Suryavansha or solar dynasty. Renuka gave birth to Vasu, Viswa Vasu, Brihudyanu, Brutwakanwa and Parshurama. Parshurama, the great warrior is the youngest amongst them all. Scriptures and weaponry is something that Jamadagni was very well versed with even though he did not have formal training in either.
The story of Jamadagni and his uncle Vishvamitra is rather an interesting one. After the marriage of Richika and Satyavati, Satyavati and her mother requested Richika to give them the blessing of bearing a son. In some stories, the offering of milk boiled rice is known as an offering simply. This preparation was blessed with Brahma’s mantra and Kshatri’s mantra respectively. He gave the one with Brahma’s mantra to Satyavati and Kshatri’s mantra to her mother. Satyavati’s mother asked her daughter to exchange the meals with her and when Richika got acquainted with this incident.
He told his mother in law that her son would become a great brahmana but his son would become a terrible warrior. Satyavati prayed and begged for her son to become a calm and composed rishi and her grandson to become an angry and furious warrior. Hence Jamadgni was a calm sage born to Satyavati and Parshurama was a warrior full of rage. Satyavati’s mother gave birth to Vishwamitra, a Kshatriya who turned into a Brahmana. Jamadagni means a person who consumes fire. He studied meticulously and achieved thorough knowledge of Vedas. He learned the science behind weaponry without anyone’s guidance or training, only his father Richika guided him occasionally.
Renuka was very devoted to her husband Jamadagni. Her devotion was so strong and pure that she filled water day in and day out in an unbaked clay pot. The water stayed in the pot because of her devotion and love towards her husband. One day, when she thought about a mythical creature she saw on the river, her devotion towards her husband was broken. Jamadagni saw all of these occurring through his divine yogic powers and ordered his sons to go kill her right away. The four elder brothers refused and due to this Jamadagni turned them into stones.
Parshurama however went and did what he had been ordered to do. He beheaded the fisherman, his wife and Renuka, his own mother. Jamadagni was very pleased with this deed of his and offered Parshurama two boons. Parshurama asked for his mother to be restored back to life and his brothers to be turned back to flesh from their stone state right now. Jamadagni granted the boons and his brothers were turned back into their human forms with no memory of experiencing death.
Jamadagni’s death comes in a shocking episode. King Haihaya wished to own the desire fulfilling cow, Kamdhenu who was possessed by Jamadagni. Jamadagni refused wealth and all the other demands of the king and refused to give away the cow. The king forcefully took the cow and challenged the rishi to take it back. The rishi did not want to indulge in war and hence he let him go. Parshurama got furious when he came to know of this incident and declared war on the king. He killed the king and took Kamdhenu back. A few years later, three sons of king Haihaya came to kill Jamadagni which they thought was the appropriate answer to what Parshuram had done. A furious Parashurama killed all the three brothers and declared war against all the Kshatriyas born on the face of the earth for years and years to come.