Lord Parasurama Destroys the World's Ruling Class
When Jamadagni was killed by the sons of Kartaviryarjuna, as described in this chapter, Parasurama rid the entire world of ksatriyas twenty-one times. This chapter also describes the descendants of Visvamitra.
When Jamadagni's wife, Renuka, went to bring water from the Ganges and saw the King of the Gandharvas enjoying the company of Apsaras, she was captivated, and she slightly desired to associate with him. Because of this sinful desire, she was punished by her husband. Parasurama killed his mother and brothers, but later, by dint of the austerities of Jamadagni, they were revived. The sons of Kartaviryarjuna, however, remembering the death of their father, wanted to take revenge against Lord Parasurama, and therefore when Parasurama was absent from the asrama, they killed Jamadagni, who was meditating on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When Parasurama returned to the asrama and saw his father killed, he was very sorry, and after asking his brothers to take care of the dead body, he went out with determination to kill all the ksatriyas on the surface of the world. Taking up his axe, he went to Mahismati-pura, the capital of Kartaviryarjuna, and killed all of Kartaviryarjuna's sons, whose blood became a great river. Parasurama, however, was not satisfied with killing only the sons of Kartaviryarjuna; later, when the ksatriyas became disturbing, he killed them twenty-one times, so that there were no ksatriyas on the surface of the earth. Thereafter, Parasurama joined the head of his father to the dead body and performed various sacrifices to please the Supreme Lord. Thus Jamadagni got life again in his body, and later he was promoted to the higher planetary system known as Saptarsi-mandala. Parasurama, the son of Jamadagni, still lives in Mahendra-parvata. In the next manvantara, he will become a preacher of Vedic knowledge.
In the dynasty of Gadhi, the most powerful Visvamitra took birth. By dint of his austerity and penance, he became a brahmana. He had 101 sons, who were celebrated as the Madhucchandas. In the sacrificial arena of Hariscandra, the son of Ajigarta named Sunahsepha was meant to be sacrificed, but by the mercy of the Prajapatis he was released. Thereafter, he became Devarata in the dynasty of Gadhi. The fifty elder sons of Visvamitra, however, did not accept Sunahsepha as their elder brother, and therefore Visvamitra cursed them to become mlecchas, unfaithful to the Vedic civilization. Visvamitra's fifty-first son, along with his younger brothers, then accepted Sunahsepha as their eldest brother, and their father, Visvamitra, being satisfied, blessed them. Thus Devarata was accepted in the dynasty of Kausika, and consequently there are different divisions of that dynasty.
sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; pitra--by his father; upasiksitah--thus advised; ramah--Lord Parasurama; tatha iti--let it be so; kuru-nandana--O son of the Kuru dynasty, Maharaja Pariksit; samvatsaram--for one complete year; tirtha-yatram--traveling to all the holy places; caritva--after executing; asramam--to his own residence; avrajat--returned.
Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear Maharaja Pariksit, son of the Kuru dynasty, when Lord Parasurama was given this order by his father, he immediately agreed, saying, "Let it be so." For one complete year he traveled to holy places. Then he returned to his father's residence.
kadacid renuka yata
kadacit--once upon a time; renuka--Jamadagni's wife, the mother of Lord Parasurama; yata--went; gangayam--to the bank of the River Ganges; padma-malinam--decorated with a garland of lotus flowers; gandharva-rajam--the King of the Gandharvas; kridantam--sporting; apsarobhih--with the Apsaras (heavenly society girls); apasyata--she saw.
Once when Renuka, the wife of Jamadagni, went to the bank of the Ganges to get water, she saw the King of the Gandharvas, decorated with a garland of lotuses and sporting in the Ganges with celestial women [Apsaras].
udakartham nadim gata
homa-velam na sasmara
vilokayanti--while looking at; kridantam--the King of the Gandharvas, engaged in such activities; udaka-artham--for getting some water; nadim--to the river; gata--as she went; homa-velam--the time for performing the homa, fire sacrifice; na sasmara--did not remember; kincit--very little; citraratha--of the King of the Gandharvas, known as Citraratha; sprha--did desire the company.
She had gone to bring water from the Ganges, but when she saw Citraratha, the King of the Gandharvas, sporting with the celestial girls, she was somewhat inclined toward him and failed to remember that the time for the fire sacrifice was passing.
kalatyayam tam vilokya
agatya kalasam tasthau
kala-atyayam--passing the time; tam--that; vilokya--observing; muneh--of the great sage Jamadagni; sapa-visankita--being afraid of the curse; agatya--returning; kalasam--the waterpot; tasthau--stood; purodhaya--putting in front of the sage; krta-anjalih--with folded hands.
Later, understanding that the time for offering the sacrifice had passed, Renuka feared a curse from her husband. Therefore when she returned she simply put the waterpot before him and stood there with folded hands.
vyabhicaram munir jnatva
patnyah prakupito 'bravit
ghnatainam putrakah papam
ity uktas te na cakrire
vyabhicaram--adultery; munih--the great sage Jamadagni; jnatva--could understand; patnyah--of his wife; prakupitah--he became angry; abravit--he said; ghnata--kill; enam--her; putrakah--my dear sons; papam--sinful; iti uktah--being thus advised; te--all the sons; na--did not; cakrire--carry out his order.
The great sage Jamadagni understood the adultery in the mind of his wife. Therefore he was very angry and told his sons, "My dear sons, kill this sinful woman!" But the sons did not carry out his order.
ramah sancoditah pitra
bhratrn matra sahavadhit
prabhava-jno muneh samyak
samadhes tapasas ca sah
ramah--Lord Parasurama; sancoditah--being encouraged (to kill his mother and brothers); pitra--by his father; bhratrn--all his brothers; matra saha--with the mother; avadhit--killed immediately; prabhava-jnah--aware of the prowess; muneh--of the great sage; samyak--completely; samadheh--by meditation; tapasah--by austerity; ca--also; sah--he.
Jamadagni then ordered his youngest son, Parasurama, to kill his brothers, who had disobeyed this order, and his mother, who had mentally committed adultery. Lord Parasurama, knowing the power of his father, who was practiced in meditation and austerity, killed his mother and brothers immediately.
The word prabhava jnah is significant. Parasurama knew the prowess of his father, and therefore he agreed to carry out his father's order. He thought that if he refused to carry out the order he would be cursed, but if he carried it out his father would be pleased, and when his father was pleased, Parasurama would ask the benediction of having his mother and brothers brought back to life. Parasurama was confident in this regard, and therefore he agreed to kill his mother and brothers.
varena cchandayam asa
vavre hatanam ramo 'pi
jivitam casmrtim vadhe
varena cchandayam asa--asked to take a benediction as he liked; pritah--being very pleased (with him); satyavati-sutah--Jamadagni, the son of Satyavati; vavre--said; hatanam--of my dead mother and brothers; ramah--Parasurama; api--also; jivitam--let them be alive; ca--also; asmrtim--no remembrance; vadhe--of their having been killed by me.
Jamadagni, the son of Satyavati, was very much pleased with Parasurama and asked him to take any benediction he liked. Lord Parasurama replied, "Let my mother and brothers live again and not remember having been killed by me. This is the benediction I ask."
uttasthus te kusalino
pitur vidvams tapo-viryam
ramas cakre suhrd-vadham
uttasthuh--got up immediately; te--Lord Parasurama's mother and brothers; kusalinah--being happily alive; nidra-apaye--at the end of sound sleep; iva--like; anjasa--very soon; pituh--of his father; vidvan--being aware of; tapah--austerity; viryam--power; ramah--Lord Parasurama; cakre--executed; suhrt-vadham--killing of his family members.
Thereafter, by the benediction of Jamadagni, Lord Parasurama's mother and brothers immediately came alive and were very happy, as if awakened from sound sleep. Lord Parasurama had killed his relatives in accordance with his father's order because he was fully aware of his father's power, austerity and learning.
ye 'rjunasya suta rajan
smarantah sva-pitur vadham
lebhire sarma na kvacit
ye--those who; arjunasya--of Kartaviryarjuna; sutah--sons; rajan--O Maharaja Pariksit; smarantah--always remembering; sva-pituh vadham--their father's having been killed (by Parasurama); rama-virya-parabhutah--defeated by the superior power of Lord Parasurama; lebhire--achieved; sarma--happiness; na--not; kvacit--at any time.
My dear King Pariksit, the sons of Kartaviryarjuna, who were defeated by the superior strength of Parasurama, never achieved happiness, for they always remembered the killing of their father.
Jamadagni was certainly very powerful due to his austerities, but because of a slight offense by his poor wife, Renuka, he ordered that she be killed. This certainly was a sinful act, and therefore Jamadagni was killed by the sons of Kartaviryarjuna, as described herein. Lord Parasurama was also infected by sin because of killing Kartaviryarjuna, although this was not very offensive. Therefore, whether one be Kartaviryarjuna, Lord Parasurama, Jamadagni or whoever one may be, one must act very cautiously and sagaciously; otherwise one must suffer the results of sinful activities. This is the lesson we receive from Vedic literature.
sabhratari vanam gate
ekada--once upon a time; asramatah--from the asrama of Jamadagni; rame--when Lord Parasurama; sa-bhratari--with his brothers; vanam--into the forest; gate--having gone; vairam--revenge for past enmity; sisadhayisavah--desiring to fulfill; labdha-chidrah--taking the opportunity; upagaman--they came near the residence of Jamadagni.
Once when Parasurama left the asrama for the forest with Vasuman and his other brothers, the sons of Kartaviryarjuna took the opportunity to approach Jamadagni's residence to seek vengeance for their grudge.
jaghnus te papa-niscayah
drstva--by seeing; agni-agare--at the place where the fire sacrifice is performed; asinam--sitting; avesita--completely absorbed; dhiyam--by intelligence; munim--the great sage Jamadagni; bhagavati--unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; uttama-sloke--who is praised by the best of selected prayers; jaghnuh--killed; te--the sons of Kartaviryarjuna; papa-niscayah--determined to commit a greatly sinful act, or the personified sins.
The sons of Kartaviryarjuna were determined to commit sinful deeds. Therefore when they saw Jamadagni sitting by the side of the fire to perform yajna and meditating upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is praised by the best of selected prayers, they took the opportunity to kill him.
prasahya sira utkrtya
ninyus te ksatra-bandhavah
yacyamanah--being begged for the life of her husband; krpanaya--by the poor unprotected woman; rama-matra--by the mother of Lord Parasurama; ati-darunah--very cruel; prasahya--by force; sirah--the head of Jamadagni; utkrtya--having separated; ninyuh--took away; te--the sons of Kartaviryarjuna; ksatra-bandhavah--not ksatriyas, but the most abominable sons of ksatriyas.
With pitiable prayers, Renuka, the mother of Parasurama and wife of Jamadagni, begged for the life of her husband. But the sons of Kartaviryarjuna, being devoid of the qualities of ksatriyas, were so cruel that despite her prayers they forcibly cut off his head and took it away.
nighnanty atmanam atmana
rama rameti tateti
renuka--Renuka, the wife of Jamadagni; duhkha-soka-arta--being very much aggrieved in lamentation (over her husband's death); nighnanti--striking; atmanam--her own body; atmana--by herself; rama--O Parasurama; rama--O Parasurama; iti--thus; tata--O my dear son; iti--thus; vicukrosa--began to cry; uccakaih--very loudly; sati--the most chaste woman.
Lamenting in grief for the death of her husband, the most chaste Renuka struck her own body with her hands and cried very loudly, "O Rama, my dear son Rama!"
tad upasrutya durastha
ha ramety artavat svanam
dadrsuh pitaram hatam
tat--that crying of Renuka; upasrutya--upon hearing; dura-sthah--although staying a long distance away; ha rama--O Rama, O Rama; iti--thus; arta-vat--very aggrieved; svanam--the sound; tvaraya--very hastily; asramam--to the residence of Jamadagni; asadya--coming; dadrsuh--saw; pitaram--the father; hatam--killed.
Although the sons of Jamadagni, including Lord Parasurama, were a long distance from home, as soon as they heard Renuka loudly calling "O Rama, O my son," they hastily returned to the asrama, where they saw their father already killed.
ha tata sadho dharmistha
tyaktvasman svar-gato bhavan
te--all the sons of Jamadagni; duhkha--of grief; rosa--anger; amarsa--indignation; arti--affliction; soka--and lamentation; vega--with the force; vimohitah--bewildered; ha tata--O father; sadho--the great saint; dharmistha--the most religious person; tyaktva--leaving; asman--us; svah-gatah--have gone to the heavenly planets; bhavan--you.
Virtually bewildered by grief, anger, indignation, affliction and lamentation, the sons of Jamadagni cried, "O father, most religious, saintly person, you have left us and gone to the heavenly planets !"
vilapyaivam pitur deham
nidhaya bhratrsu svayam
pragrhya parasum ramah
ksatrantaya mano dadhe
vilapya--lamenting; evam--like this; pituh--of his father; deham--the body; nidhaya--entrusting; bhratrsu--to his brothers; svayam--personally; pragrhya--taking; parasum--the axe; ramah--Lord Parasurama; ksatra-antaya--to put an end to all the ksatriyas; manah--the mind; dadhe--fixed.
Thus lamenting, Lord Parasurama entrusted his father's dead body to his brothers and personally took up his axe, having decided to put an end to all the ksatriyas on the surface of the world.
gatva mahismatim ramo
tesam sa sirsabhi rajan
madhye cakre maha-girim
gatva--going; mahismatim--to the place known as Mahismati; ramah--Lord Parasurama; brahma-ghna--because of the killing of a brahmana; vihata-sriyam--doomed, bereft of all opulences; tesam--of all of them (the sons of Kartaviryarjuna and the other ksatriya inhabitants); sah--he, Lord Parasurama; sirsabhih--by the heads cut off from their bodies; rajan--O Maharaja Pariksit; madhye--within the jurisdiction of Mahismati; cakre--made; maha-girim--a great mountain.
O King, Lord Parasurama then went to Mahismati, which was already doomed by the sinful killing of a brahmana. In the midst of that city he made a mountain of heads, severed from the bodies of the sons of Kartaviryarjuna.
tad-raktena nadim ghoram
hetum krtva pitr-vadham
krtva nihksatriyam prabhuh
sonitodan hradan nava
tat-raktena--by the blood of the sons of Kartaviryarjuna; nadim--a river; ghoram--fierce; abrahmanya-bhaya-avaham--causing fear to the kings who had no respect for brahminical culture; hetum--cause; krtva--accepting; pitr-vadham--the killing of his father; ksatre--when the whole royal class; amangala-karini--was acting very inauspiciously; trih-sapta-krtvah--twenty-one times; prthivim--the entire world; krtva--making; nihksatriyam--without a ksatriya dynasty; prabhuh--the Supreme Lord, Parasurama; samanta-pancake--at the place known as Samanta-pancaka; cakre--he made; sonita-udan--filled with blood instead of water; hradan--lakes; nava--nine.
With the blood of the bodies of these sons, Lord Parasurama created a ghastly river, which brought great fear to the kings who had no respect for brahminical culture. Because the ksatriyas, the men of power in government, were performing sinful activities, Lord Parasurama, on the plea of retaliating for the murder of his father, rid all the ksatriyas from the face of the earth twenty-one times. Indeed, in the place known as Samanta-pancaka he created nine lakes filled with their blood.
Parasurama is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and his eternal mission is paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam--to protect the devotees and annihilate the miscreants. To kill all the sinful men is one among the tasks of the incarnation of Godhead. Lord Parasurama killed all the ksatriyas twenty-one times consecutively because they were disobedient to the brahminical culture. That the ksatriyas had killed his father was only a plea; the real fact is that because the ksatriyas, the ruling class, had become polluted, their position was inauspicious. Brahminical culture is enjoined in the sastra, especially in Bhagavad-gita (catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah). According to the laws of nature, whether at the time of Parasurama or at the present, if the government becomes irresponsible and sinful, not caring for brahminical culture, there will certainly be an incarnation of God like Parasurama to create a devastation by fire, famine, pestilence or some other calamity. Whenever the government disrespects the supremacy of the personality of Godhead and fails to protect the institution of varnasrama-dharma, it will certainly have to face such catastrophes as formerly brought about by Lord Parasurama.
pituh kayena sandhaya
sira adaya barhisi
atmanam ayajan makhaih
pituh--of his father; kayena--with the body; sandhaya--joining; sirah--the head; adaya--keeping; barhisi--upon kusa grass; sarva-deva-mayam--the all-pervading Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all the demigods; devam--Lord Vasudeva; atmanam--who is present everywhere as the Supersoul; ayajat--he worshiped; makhaih--by offering sacrifices.
Thereafter, Parasurama joined his father's head to the dead body and placed the whole body and head upon kusa grass. By offering sacrifices, he began to worship Lord Vasudeva, who is the all-pervading Supersoul of all the demigods and of every living entity.
dadau pracim disam hotre
brahmane daksinam disam
adhvaryave praticim vai
udgatre uttaram disam
kasyapaya ca madhyatah
sadasyebhyas tatah param
dadau--gave as a gift; pracim--eastern; disam--direction; hotre--unto the priest known as hota; brahmane--unto the priest known as brahma; daksinam--southern; disam--direction; adhvaryave--unto the priest known as adhvaryu; praticim--the western side; vai--indeed; udgatre--unto the priest known as udgata; uttaram--northern; disam--side; anyebhyah--unto the others; avantara-disah--the different corners (northeast, southeast, northwest and southwest); kasyapaya--unto Kasyapa Muni; ca--also; madhyatah--the middle portion; aryavartam--the portion known as Aryavarta; upadrastre--unto the upadrasta, the priest acting as overseer to hear and check the mantras; sadasyebhyah--unto the sadasyas, the associate priests; tatah param--whatever remained.
After completing the sacrifice, Lord Parasurama gave the eastern direction to the hota as a gift, the south to the brahma, the west to the adhvaryu, the north to the udgata, and the four corners--northeast, southeast, northwest and southwest--to the other priests. He gave the middle to Kasyapa and the place known as Aryavarta to the upadrasta. Whatever remained he distributed among the sadasyas, the associate priests.
The tract of land in India between the Himalaya Mountains and the Vindhya Hills is called Aryavarta.
reje vyabbhra ivamsuman
tatah--thereafter; ca--also; avabhrtha-snana--by bathing after finishing the sacrifice; vidhuta--cleansed; asesa--unlimited; kilbisah--whose reactions of sinful activities; sarasvatyam--on the bank of the great river Sarasvati; maha-nadyam--one of the biggest rivers in India; reje--Lord Parasurama appeared; vyabbhrah--cloudless; iva amsuman--like the sun.
Thereafter, having completed the ritualistic sacrificial ceremonies, Lord Parasurama took the bath known as the avabhrtha-snana. Standing on the bank of the great river Sarasvati, cleared of all sins, Lord Parasurama appeared like the sun in a clear, cloudless sky.
As stated in Bhagavad-gita (3.9), yajnarthat karmano 'nyatra loko 'yam karma-bandhanah: "Work done as a sacrifice for Visnu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world." Karma-bandhanah refers to the repeated acceptance of one material body after another. The whole problem of life is this repetition of birth and death. Therefore one is advised to work to perform yajna meant for satisfying Lord Visnu. Although Lord Parasurama was an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he had to account for sinful activities. Anyone in this material world, however careful he may be, must commit some sinful activities, even though he does not want to. For example, one may trample many small ants and other insects while walking on the street and kill many living beings unknowingly. Therefore the Vedic principle of panca-yajna, five kinds of recommended sacrifice, is compulsory. In this age of Kali, however, there is a great concession given to people in general. Yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi sumedhasah: we may worship Lord Caitanya, the hidden incarnation of Krsna. Krsna-varnam tvisakrsnam: although He is Krsna Himself, He always chants Hare Krsna and preaches Krsna consciousness. One is recommended to worship this incarnation by chanting, the sankirtana-yajna. The performance of sankirtana-yajna is a special concession for human society to save people from being affected by known or unknown sinful activities. We are surrounded by unlimited sins, and therefore it is compulsory that one take to Krsna consciousness and chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra.
sva-deham jamadagnis tu
rsinam mandale so 'bhut
sva-deham--his own body; jamadagnih--the great sage Jamadagni; tu--but; labdhva--regaining; samjnana-laksanam--showing full symptoms of life, knowledge and remembrance; rsinam--of the great rsis; mandale--in the group of seven stars; sah--he, Jamadagni; abhut--later became; saptamah--the seventh; rama-pujitah--because of being worshiped by Lord Parasurama.
Thus Jamadagni, being worshiped by Lord Parasurama, was brought back to life with full remembrance, and he became one of the seven sages in the group of seven stars.
The seven stars revolving around the polestar at the zenith are called saptarsi-mandala. On these seven stars, which form the topmost part of our planetary system, reside seven sages: Kasyapa, Atri, Vasistha, Visvamitra, Gautama, Jamadagni and Bharadvaja. These seven stars are seen every night, and they each make a complete orbit around the polestar within twenty-four hours. Along with these seven stars, all the others stars also orbit from east to west. The upper portion of the universe is called the north, and the lower portion is called the south. Even in our ordinary dealings, while studying a map, we regard the upper portion of the map as north.
jamadagnyo 'pi bhagavan
agaminy antare rajan
vartayisyati vai brhat
jamadagnyah--the son of Jamadagni; api--also; bhagavan--the Personality of Godhead; ramah--Lord Parasurama; kamala-locanah--whose eyes are like lotus petals; agamini--coming; antare--in the manvantara, the time of one Manu; rajan--O King Pariksit; vartayisyati--will propound; vai--indeed; brhat--Vedic knowledge.
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.
aste 'dyapi mahendradrau
aste--is still existing; adya api--even now; mahendra-adrau--in the hilly country known as Mahendra; nyasta-dandah--having given up the weapons of a ksatriya (the bow, arrows and axe); prasanta--now fully satisfied as a brahmana; dhih--in such intelligence; upagiyamana-caritah--being worshiped and adored for his exalted character and activities; siddha-gandharva-caranaih--by such celestial persons as the inhabitants of Gandharvaloka, Siddhaloka and Caranaloka.
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.
evam bhrgusu visvatma
bhagavan harir isvarah
avatirya param bharam
bhuvo 'han bahuso nrpan
evam--in this way; bhrgusu--in the dynasty of Bhrgu; visva-atma--the soul of the universe, the Supersoul; bhagavan--the Supreme personality of Godhead; harih--the Lord; isvarah--the supreme controller; avatirya--appearing as an incarnation; param--great; bharam--the burden; bhuvah--of the world; ahan--killed; bahusah--many times; nrpan--kings.
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.
gadher abhun maha-tejah
samiddha iva pavakah
tapasa ksatram utsrjya
yo lebhe brahma-varcasam
gadheh--from Maharaja Gadhi; abhut--was born; maha-tejah--very powerful; samiddhah--inflamed; iva--like; pavakah--fire; tapasa--by austerities and penances; ksatram--the position of a ksatriya; utsrjya--giving up; yah--one who (Visvamitra); lebhe--achieved; brahma-varcasam--the quality of a brahmana.
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
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.
putra eka-satam nrpa
madhyamas tu madhucchanda
madhucchandasa eva te
visvamitrasya--of Visvamitra; ca--also; eva--indeed; asan--there were; putrah--sons; eka-satam--101; nrpa--O King Pariksit; madhyamah--the middle one; tu--indeed; madhucchandah--known as Madhucchanda; madhucchandasah--named the Madhucchandas; eva--indeed; te--all of them.
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 pancasad eva jyayamso madhucchandasah pancasat kaniyamsah. "Visvamitra had 101 sons. Fifty were older than Madhucchanda and fifty younger."
putram krtva sunahsepham
devaratam ca bhargavam
ajigartam sutan aha
jyestha esa prakalpyatam
putram--a son; krtva--accepting; sunahsepham--whose name was Sunahsepha; devaratam--Devarata, whose life was saved by the demigods; ca--also; bhargavam--born in the Bhrgu dynasty; ajigartam--the son of Ajigarta; sutan--to his own sons; aha--ordered; jyesthah--the eldest; esah--Sunahsepha; prakalpyatam--accept as such.
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.
yo vai hariscandra-makhe
vikritah purusah pasuh
stutva devan prajesadin
yah--he who (Sunahsepha); vai--indeed; hariscandra-makhe--in the sacrifice performed by King Hariscandra; vikritah--was sold; purusah--man; pasuh--sacrificial animal; stutva--offering prayers; devan--to the demigods; praja-isa-adin--headed by Lord Brahma; mumuce--was released; pasa-bandhanat--from being bound with ropes like an animal.
Sunahsepha's father sold Sunahsepha to be sacrificed as a man-animal in the yajna 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 yajna. 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 yajna has been practiced for a very long time.
yo rato deva-yajane
devair gadhisu tapasah
deva-rata iti khyatah
sunahsephas tu bhargavah
yah--he who (Sunahsepha); ratah--was protected; deva-yajane--in the arena for worshiping the demigods; devaih--by the same demigods; gadhisu--in the dynasty of Gadhi; tapasah--advanced in executing spiritual life; deva-ratah--protected by the demigods; iti--thus; khyatah--celebrated; sunahsephah tu--as well as Sunahsepha; bhargavah--in the dynasty of Bhrgu.
Although Sunahsepha was born in the Bhargava dynasty, he was greatly advanced in spiritual life, and therefore the demigods involved in the sacrifice protected him. Consequently he was also celebrated as the descendant of Gadhi named Devarata.
ye madhucchandaso jyesthah
kusalam menire na tat
asapat tan munih kruddho
mleccha bhavata durjanah
ye--those who; madhucchandasah--sons of Visvamitra, celebrated as the Madhucchandas; jyesthah--eldest; kusalam--very good; menire--accepting; na--not; tat--that (the proposal that he be accepted as the eldest brother); asapat--cursed; tan--all the sons; munih--Visvamitra Muni; kruddhah--being angry; mlecchah--disobedient to the Vedic principles; bhavata--all of you become; durjanah--very bad sons.
When requested by their father to accept Sunahsepha as the eldest son, the elder fifty of the Madhucchandas, the sons of Visvamitra, did not agree. Therefore Visvamitra, being angry, cursed them. "May all of you bad sons become mlecchas," he said, "being opposed to the principles of Vedic culture."
In Vedic literature there are names like mleccha and yavana. The mlecchas are understood to be those who do not follow the Vedic principles. In former days, the mlecchas were fewer, and Visvamitra Muni cursed his sons to become mlecchas. But in the present age, Kali-yuga, there is no need of cursing, for people are automatically mlecchas. This is only the beginning of Kali-yuga, but at the end of Kali-yuga the entire population will consist of mlecchas because no one will follow the Vedic principles. At that time the incarnation Kalki will appear. Mleccha-nivaha-nidhane kalayasi kara-balam. He will kill all the mlecchas indiscriminately with his sword.
sa hovaca madhucchandah
sardham pancasata tatah
yan no bhavan sanjanite
tasmims tisthamahe vayam
sah--the middle son of Visvamitra; ha--indeed; uvaca--said; madhucchandah--Madhucchanda; sardham--with; pancasata--the second fifty of the sons known as the Madhucchandas; tatah--then, after the first half were thus cursed; yat--what; nah--unto us; bhavan--O father; sanjanite--as you please; tasmin--in that; tisthamahe--shall remain; vayam--all of us.
When the elder Madhucchandas were cursed, the younger fifty, along with Madhucchanda himself, approached their father and agreed to accept his proposal. "Dear father," they said, "we shall abide by whatever arrangement you like."
jyestham mantra-drsam cakrus
tvam anvanco vayam sma hi
visvamitrah sutan aha
ye manam me 'nugrhnanto
viravantam akarta mam
jyestham--the eldest; mantra-drsam--a seer of mantras; cakruh--they accepted; tvam--you; anvancah--have agreed to follow; vayam--we; sma--indeed; hi--certainly; visvamitrah--the great sage Visvamitra; sutan--to the obedient sons; aha--said; vira-vantah--fathers of sons; bhavisyatha--become in the future; ye--all of you who; manam--honor; me--my; anugrhnantah--accepted; vira-vantam--the father of good sons; akarta--you have made; mam--me.
Thus the younger Madhucchandas accepted Sunahsepha as their eldest brother and told him, "We shall follow your orders." Visvamitra then said to his obedient sons, "Because you have accepted Sunahsepha as your eldest brother, I am very satisfied. By accepting my order, you have made me a father of worthy sons, and therefore I bless all of you to become the fathers of sons also."
Of the one hundred sons, half disobeyed Visvamitra by not accepting Sunahsepha as their eldest brother, but the other half accepted his order. Therefore the father blessed the obedient sons to become the fathers of sons. Otherwise they too would have been cursed to be sonless mlecchas.
esa vah kusika viro
devaratas tam anvita
esah--this (Sunahsepha); vah--like you; kusikah--O Kusikas; virah--my son; devaratah--he is known as Devarata; tam--him; anvita--just obey; anye--others; ca--also; astaka--Astaka; harita--Harita; jaya--Jaya; kratumat--Kratuman; adayah--and others.
Visvamitra said, "O Kusikas [descendants of Kausika], this Devarata is my son and is one of you. Please obey his orders." O King Pariksit, Visvamitra had many other sons, such as Astaka, Harita, Jaya and Kratuman.
evam kausika-gotram tu
tad dhi caivam prakalpitam
evam--in this way (some sons having been cursed and some blessed); kausika-gotram--the dynasty of Kausika; tu--indeed; visvamitraih--by the sons of Visvamitra; prthak-vidham--in different varieties; pravara-antaram--differences between one another; apannam--obtained; tat--that; hi--indeed; ca--also; evam--thus; prakalpitam--ascertained.
Visvamitra cursed some of his sons and blessed the others, and he also adopted a son. Thus there were varieties in the Kausika dynasty, but among all the sons, Devarata was considered the eldest.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Ninth Canto, Sixteenth Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled "Lord Parasurama Destroys the World's Ruling Class."