views updated

Paraśurāma (Skt., ‘Rāma with the axe’). In Hindu mythology, a brahman of the Bhṛgu clan, destined from birth to lead a warrior's life. He is chiefly known as the hero of two myths. In many ways Paraśurāma is a puzzling figure: although the Purāṇas identify him with Viṣṇu and he becomes the sixth avatāra in the standard list, he is also presented as a protégé of Śiva, who gives him his celebrated axe.