Book Review- Rama of the Axe: The Epic Saga of Parashurama


शरीरं सुरूपं तथा वा कलत्रं यशश्र्चारु चित्रं धनं मेरुतुल्यं
गुरोरङ्घ्रिपद्मे मनश्र्चेन लग्नं ततः किं ततः किं ततः किं ततः किं ||

Translation : One’s physique may be superb, one’s consort likewise, one’s reputation resplendent and renowned, and one’s riches as high as Mount Meru; yet if one’s mind be not centred upon the lotus feet of the Guru, what then, what then, what then?

Arjuna (Kartavirya) possessed all these qualities. He had a great guru in Bhagwan Dattatreya.

But he started thinking of himself as being greater than his guru. From being an upholder of Dharma, he became an adharmi. Once a great king, he became a tyrannical emperor.Guru’s grace abandoned him, and Bhargava Parshuram ultimately slew him. For ages, the name Arjuna embodied adharma, until his namesake, in the distant future, paved the path for the re-establishment of Dharma.

My friend and my co-author from Aryaa, Ranjith Radhakrishnan has woven a beautiful story on the life of the great sixth avatar of Vishnu, Bhargava Parashurama in his book, Rama of the Axe: The Epic Saga of Parashurama.

Popular culture has always portrayed Parashurama as an angry, fierce sage, ready to slay, if someone earns his ire. They briefly glanced over his life, only to be invoked in Ramayana and Mahabharata. However, hardly anyone dives deep into the life and times of the wielder of axe. Ranjith has filled a much needed gap.

The book starts with Rama’s personal life, spiritual journey, and his path to becoming Parashu Raam. However, instead of constituting a monotonous journey, it intricately weaves together with the politics and sociology of the time. Especially, the elucidation of three cults gives us a sharp reality check for the current times.

One striking aspect of this book is the portrayal of Arjuna; his powers, charisma, and shrewdness. As the saying goes, one determines a man’s worth through the value of his adversaries. Arjuna is depicted as a fitting foe to the mighty Avatar, who subsequently nurtured legendary warriors like Bheeshma and Drona.

Lastly, literature needs to have an element of magic in it. This book has a lot of beautiful magic. It transports you into another fantastic world, yet keeping you grounded.

Overall, Rama of the Axe: The Epic Saga of Parashurama is an engaging read. You can buy this book from Amazon.


Prasad Kulkarni is a Data and Analytics professional. At work, he analyses historical data and ponders over historical events otherwise.

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