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Parashurama Jayanti - Be your own best friend

Parashurama, drawn by Nina Paley, was his own best friend.
Can you be your best friend, too?
Parashurama is one of the most complex manifestations of Vishnu, and today is celebrated his birthday.

Parashurama demonstrated duty was not inherited by birth, but by an individual's aptitude, training and necessity.

He demonstrated that what we do not control controls us, and that is the truest reward of self-control: only by self-control can a person become free and withdrawn (a Sannyasi) - we are free of anger not when we are no longer angry, but when we are in control of whether we will act on that anger.  He demonstrated against impulsivity, and instinctual reaction.

One of the episodes of the Parashurama story involves Parashurama seeking a battle axe from Shiva.  Ganesh was guarding both Shiva and Gauri, where they meditated, and would not let Parashurama approach.  Parashurama challenged Ganesh to a fight with the terms that if he won, Ganesh would let him pass: in this fight, Parashurama could have destroyed Ganesh, but merely cut off his left tusk.  At this moment, Gauri saw the injury to Ganesh and grew angry, and assuming her destructive form was about to destroy Parashurama and all the worlds - but Ganesh explained to his mother that the fight was fair, and agreed to, and this calmed her down.  Shiva had woke from his meditation when Gauri was disturbed, and perceived the true nature of Parashurama (as Vishnu), and gave his brother the axe.

Parashurama means "Rama with the Axe," the axe referenced being the weapon given to him by Shiva upon defeating Ganesh.  With this axe he personally prosecuted a 21 year war against the Kings who had abandoned their duties, to the harm of their people.  The purpose of Raja Yoga is to transcend duty, not to abandon it.

Of course, some devotees of Ganesh at this story remember there are other stories of how Ganesh lost his tusk: it was broken off to write the Mahabharata when his pen failed him, it was broken when he stumbled, and so forth.  Though there have been many Ganeshes in the many ages, each is connected through that Asana, that moment of time, space and action, of losing a tusk - the cause and effect of the lost tusk echoes against itself, reverberating through all of existence.  Not so with Parashurama, for there has been and only will be one Parashurama: he is understood to exist beyond time, but within existence.

Parashurama ("Rama with the Axe")
is also Rama with the Sandals, and
Rama with the Umbrella
Though famous for his axe, Parashurama is also famous for his sandals and umbrella.  One day, the sun was shining hot upon him as he meditated.  He got angrier and angrier at the heat!  So he shot arrows at the sun, nearly killing Surya.  Parashurama ran out of arrows, and asked his wife to get him more - so Surya focused all his heat on his wife, making her pass out.  Parashurama was horrified, and even angrier.  So Surya approached Parashurama and proposed peace, offering gifts: an umbrella and some sandals - this way, Parashurama would not be so hot.

Because Parashurama is the "immortal" manifestation of Vishnu, he has instructed every manifestation of Vishnu, and connects Vishnu with what is past, present and future, as well as what is beyond time - to prepare Vishnu for what needs to be done.  He ensures that his other manifestations have the help of their manifestation of Laxmi, and all the tools they require.  Parashurama, by Shiva's instruction, became the first to perfect Niyuddha Yoga - the Yoga of War - and prepares each of his manifestations to use it in self-defense.

He is his own best friend - and this is the greatest lesson to be learned from Parashurama.

Can you become your own best friend?  

Your environment either strengthens or harms you - can you strengthen your world so it strengthens you?  Uphold justice, defend the weak, help everyone become stronger, smarter, and as compassionate.  Self-defense means defending our friends, and all those who depend upon our strength - by defending them, and ourselves.

You are made smarter by association with the wise, and stronger by the association of the strong.  It is difficult to find wise and strong companions - can you help those in your world become smarter and stronger?

When you feel regret for your own weakness and errors, can you comfort yourself, and help yourself do better?

Can you dress appropriately for the weather - wearing sandals and using an umbrella when it is hot?  Then you can also dress appropriately for any occasion.  Find someone who can teach you style.  Dressing the part, you can learn to do your part - your duty changes with the moment, and you must be ready for anything.

Feed yourself nutritious foods when you are hungry, sleep enough to become rested, understand your physical, emotional and spiritual requirements - and provide them, through Kama, Artha and Dharma.