Parashurama, the priest is the sixth avatar of Vishnu. Lord Vishnu incarnates himself in this world to avenge arrogant Kshatriyas who were suppressing the Brahmans in the world. The word Parashurama is derived from two words Parashu meaning 'axe' and Lord Rama. So Parashurama means 'Rama with an axe'. Parashurama was an ardent disciple of Shiva. He learnt martial arts from Shiva. He acquired the Bhargavastra, an axe and Vijaya as his personal bow from Shiva as a gift.
The time of Parashurama was turbulent one for the Indian subcontinent. Puranas signify frequent battles between Kshatriya clans and other kingdoms. The legend of Parashurama as follows:
Parashurama was born to Jamadagni and Renuka of Brahaman clan. Once upon a time, Kartavirya a powerful king went to Jamadagni's house. Jamadagni was not present at that time, so the king stole his Kamadhenu cow. The cow was precious to Jamadagni as it used to give endless measure of milk. When Jamadagni found about the theft, he was furious.
He searched and killed the king and brought Kamadhenu back. The king’s son was filled with anguish and pain after hearing about the circumstances of the King’s death. To take revenge, he plotted to go back Jamadagni’s house and killed him. Jamadagni’s son Parashurama returned home after his excursion. His mother, Renuka was mourning near the dead body of his father. She was crying frantically and pounded her chest twenty-one times in a row.
Furious and grief stricken at this site, he vowed to slay all Kshatriyas twenty-one times, one for each time his mother had hit her chest. He travelled the whole Earth to hunt the sons of Kartavirya and killed them all. After Parashurama did as he vowed, he conducted the Ashvamedha sacrifice and gave all his conquered possessions to the Brahmin priests of the world.
Parashurama plays important roles in the Mahabharata and Ramayana. He served as mentor to Karna, Bhishma and drone. Parashurama is believed to come back as the military mentor of Kalki.