We know that Parashurama killed his mother Renuka on the command of his father Jamadagni as Pitruvakya Paripalana (following father's words obediently). After doing this, his father offered a boon. Due to his love towards his mother he asked for resurrection of his mother and brothers who refused followed Jamadagni's command.

However, this act of killing is still counted as a killing and killing mother is a great sin, did Parashurama perform any expiation for performing this act?

There is a recommendation from Prashurama's father sage Jamadagni in Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 9 chapter 15 to perform tapasya and pilgrimage to sacred places. But this is for atonement of killing a ruling emperor Kartavirya Arjuna and not for killing mother.

Is Parashurama's expiation for killing his mother mentioned in the Puranas or Itihasas?

  • However, this act of killing is still counted as a killing - pramana for this ? maybe it is, maybe it isn't.. "a solider kills on the order of the king. however, the killing is still counted as killing so the soldier must perform expiation" ?
    – ram
    Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 4:08
  • Do you mean to say killing a mother is not a sin? @ram Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 4:09
  • Do you mean to say that killing a man on the battlefield is a sin ?
    – ram
    Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 4:10
  • This is not a battle field, Jamadagni is not a king. I am not asking about Parashurama killing Kshatriyas. I'm asking about his mother. Just killing some insects and micro organisms as a part of duty of a farmer is counted as a sin and expiation is mentioned for that too. But here it is mother who gave birth and who is equal to God himself. So, there is no expiation for that? Reply to your question, I definitely mean killing a man is a sin whether it is battlefield or somewhere else. Because he is a soldier and doing for a great cause, his sin will be reduced and given heaven for his cause. Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 4:15
  • 1
    @Rishabh, how do you know it was a sin ? Does a soldier who commits murder on battlefield on orders of his king commit a sin ? Parashurama did so on command of his father. His father also had a reason for ordering the punishment. The point is, we do not know whether it was sin or not, because circumstances need to be taken into account.
    – ram
    Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 5:56

1 Answer 1


After Killing his mother Renuka, Parasurama asked some of his wishes to his father. One of the wish is that he(Parasurama) might not be affected by any sin for killing his mother. Along with this wish, Parasurama's father Jamadagni granted all wishes asked by Parasurama. Thus Parasurama is unaffected by the sin for killing his mother and hence there is no need to perform expiation for killing his mother.

It can be clarified from the following passage of the Mahabharata

"Akritavrana said, '........... At that very moment came in the eldest of Jamadagni's sons, Rumanvan; and then, Sushena, and then, Vasu, and likewise, Viswavasu. And the mighty saint directed them all one by one to put an end to the life of their mother. They, however, were quite confounded and lost heart. And they could not utter a single word. Then he in ire cursed them. And on being cursed they lost their sense and suddenly became like inanimate objects, and comparable in conduct to beasts and birds. And then Rama, the slayer of hostile heroes, came to the hermitage, last of all. Him the mighty-armed Jamadagni, of great austerities, addressed, saying, 'Kill this wicked mother of thine, without compunction, O my son.' Thereupon Rama immediately took up an axe and therewith severed his mother's head. Then, O great king, the wrath of Jamadagni of mighty soul, was at once appeased; and well-pleased, he spake the following words, 'Thou hast, my boy, performed at my bidding this difficult task, being versed in virtue. Therefore, whatsoever wishes there may be in thy heart, I am ready to grant them all. Do thou ask me.' Thereupon Rama solicited that his mother might be restored to life, and that he might not be haunted by the remembrance of this cruel deed and that he might not be affected by any sin, and that his brothers might recover their former state, and that he might be unrivalled on the field of battle, and that he might obtain long life. And, O Bharata's son, Jamadagni, whose penances were the most rigid, granted all those desires of his son...'

[SECTION CXVI, Tirtha-yatra Parva, Vana Parva, The Mahabharata]

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