Most people only about how Vishnu's Avataras or incarnations are classified into two categories: Purna Avataras who have all six Kalyana Gunas of Vishnu, and Amsha Avataras who only have some of his Kalyana Gunas. But there's another way to classify them: Avesha Avataras and non-Avesha Avataras. An Avesha Avatara, also known as a Shakti Avesha Avatara, is a person who has both Vishnu and an ordinary Jiva dwelling inside them. A non-Avesha Avatara, on the other hand, only has Vishnu as their soul.

Now Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sect, lists some Avesha Avataras of Vishnu in this chapter of the Chaitanya Charitamrita:

Some śaktyāveśa-avatāras are the four Kumāras, Nārada, Mahārāja Pṛthu and Paraśurāma. When a living being is empowered to act as Lord Brahmā, he is also considered a śaktyāveśa-avatāra.

My question is, what scriptures describe Parashurama as an Avesha Avatara of Vishnu?

Also, if he is an Avesha Avatara, that means that there's a Jiva dwelling within him. So do any scriptures describe Parashurama's previous birth, which caused him to deserve to be reborn as an Avesha Avatara?

  • Since you only asked about Parasurama, I am assuming you know why four Kumaras are considered as avesha avatar. Could you pls tell why
    – Ketan
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 14:56
  • 1
    saying "Purna Avataras who have all six Kalyana Gunas of Vishnu" - is like saying 'Keshu who has all qualities of Keshav'. Avatara is simply a different position of the deity. They are one and the same, like synonyms. Similarly, saying "has Vishnu as their soul" - is like saying 'I have me as my soul". me = soul. the grammatical vibhakthi of possession does not apply here. purna avatara = non-avesha avatara.
    – ram
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 15:31

3 Answers 3


Rupa Goswami quotes in Laghu Bhagavatamrita in 4th section from Padma Purana.

yathä pädme— äviñöo’bhüt kumäreñu närade ca harir vibhuù ||36||

yathä tatraiva -- äviveça påthuà devaù çaìkhé cakré caturbhujaù ||37||

äviñöo bhärgave cäbhüd iti tatraiva kértitam ||38||

tathä hi— etat te kathitaà devi jämadagner mahätmanaù | çaktyäveçävatärasya caritaà çärìgiëaù prabhoù ||39|| iti |

"All-powerful Lord Hari entered the Kumaras and Narada " In the same book: "The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has four arms and holds a conchshell and cakra, entered Maharaja Prthu." In that book it is also said: "The Supreme Personality of Godhead also entered Parasurama." It is also said: "0 goddess, I have thus described to you the pastimes of Lord Parasurama, who is a sakty-avesa-avatara of Lord Visnu."

I don't know any thing about the previous birth of Lord Prasurama.

Pre Gaudiya commentator on bhagavata, Sridhar swami also uses such classification.

In his commentary on 1.3.28

kumära-näradädiñv ädhikärikeñu yathopayogam aàça-kaläveçaù | tatra kumärädiñu jïänäveçaù | påthvädiñu çakty-äveçaù |


Padma Purana, Uttarakhanda, Chapter 241 has details of Parasurama. Lord Siva relates the story of Parasurama to mother Parvati.

This chapter describes Parsurama is born by benediction of Indra. Parasurama is a jiva. Later in life, he worshiped Vishnu and then he became sakty avesa avatar.

Few of the verses:

Kasyapa gives Parsurama some Vishnu mantra..

17-?. Having received the formula from Kasyapa, the high souled one, (Parasu-)Rama, muttering day and night the great six-syllabled formula, worshipped the lord of Laksmi. That pious Bhargava (i.e. Parasurama) meditating upon Visnu having eyes like lotus-petals and the omniscient one, practised penance for many years...

Pleased by his worship
God Visnu said: 40-41. O child, with the penance of you of a controlled mind, I am pleased. O brahmana, I shall give you a very auspicious power. Possessed of my power, kill the wicked great kings for destroying those who cause a burden to the earth and for the good of the deities.

79-81. O goddess, I have told you this account of the incarnation of lord (Visnu), holder of the Sarnga bow, who had entered Rama with his power. Due to the entrance of the power this (form) of the noble one cannot be worshiped. The chief, noble, brahmanas, the devotees of the lord, should worship the incarnations of (Dasarathi) Rama and Krsna, perfect with virtues, worshiped by sages, and giving salvation to human beings.


Partial answer

what scriptures describe Parashurama as an Avesha Avatara of Vishnu?

Garga Samhita is a scripture describing Parashurama as an Avesha Avatara of Vishnu. The following excerpt clarifies it.

Shri Bahulashva said: How often does Lord Vishnu, who removes all that is inauspicious, descend to this world to protect the devotees? O lord, please kindly tell me.

Shri Narada said: In the Smriti-shastra the great sages who have Vyasa as their leader explain that the Lord descends in six kinds of forms: 1. amshamsha (a part of a part), 2. amsha (a part), 3. avesha (entrance into a jiva), 4. kala (a full part), 5. purna (full), and 6. paripurnatama (most full).

The amshamsha incarnations begin with Marici, the amsha incarnations begin with Brahma, the kala incarnations begin with Kapila and Kurma, and the avesha incarnations begin with Parashurama.

[15-17, Chapter 1: Description of Shri-Krishna's Glories, Canto 1, Garga Samhita]


As per chapter 2 of Brihat Parasara Hora Shastra , Aside from Rama , Krishna, Narasimha and Varaha, all other avataras are said to have jeeva amsha within them. enter image description here

Since Parashurama is excluded from this list, we can infer that he comes under saktyavesa avatara due to having partial jeeva avesha

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