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In this passage of the Vishnu Purana, the various incarnations of Vishnu's wife Lakshmi are described:

For in like manner as the lord of the world, the god of gods, Janárddana, descends amongst mankind (in various shapes), so does his coadjutrix Śrí. Thus when Hari was born as a dwarf, the son of Adití, Lakshmí appeared from a lotus (as Padmá, or Kamalá); when he was born as Ráma, of the race of Bhrigu (or Paraśuráma), she was Dharańí; when he was Rághava (Rámachandra), she was Sítá; and when he was Krishńa, she became Rukminí. In the other descents of Vishńu, she is his associate.

I asked about the wife of Vishnu's incarnation Vamana in the dwarf in this question. But now I'm wondering about Vishnu's other incarnation Parashurama. I had always assumed that Parashurama was either a Brahmachari or Sanyasi, but it looks like he was married. My question is, what is the story of Parashurama's wife Dharani? Who is she, and how did Parashurama marry her? At what point during his life did he get married, and what was Dharani doing while Prashurama went around killing the kings of the world?

The only information I can find at first glance is from this Wikipedia article, which mentions a brief incident involving Parashurama and Dharani:

Parashurama once became annoyed with the sun god Surya for making too much heat. The warrior-sage shot several arrows into the sky, terrifying Surya. When Parashurama ran out of arrows and sent his wife Dharani to bring more, the sun god then focused his rays on her, causing her to collapse. Surya then appeared before Parashurama and gave him two inventions that have since been attributed to the avatar, sandals and an umbrella.

In any case, are there any other scriptures which mention Dharani?

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    It could merely mean that "Earth" or "Dharani" was protected by Parasurama. Not necessarily that they married with a mangalasUtra.
    – user1195
    Dec 24, 2014 at 1:48
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    @moonstar2001 Well, it says "For in like manner as the lord of the world, the god of gods, Janárddana, descends amongst mankind (in various shapes), so does his coadjutrix Śrí." So that implies that Dharani refers to a human. Dec 24, 2014 at 2:32
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    @nisha I'm not just giving my opinion, I'm quoting the Vishnu Purana: "For in like manner as the lord of the world, the god of gods, Janárddana, descends amongst mankind (in various shapes), so does his coadjutrix Śrí.... If he takes a celestial form, she appears as divine; if a mortal, she becomes a mortal too, transforming her own person agreeably to whatever character it pleases Vishńu to put on." Mar 15, 2015 at 14:16
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    @KeshavSrinivasan Vayu Purana says Meena, mother of Parvathi had a sister named Dharani which is same as name of Parasurama wife.
    – The Destroyer
    Feb 12, 2016 at 15:06
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    @RakeshJoshi It only says same name. But it doesn't say anything about her,
    – The Destroyer
    Jun 16, 2017 at 13:27

1 Answer 1

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There's no story.

Dharaṇī refers specifically to the deity Earth 'personified' Earth in general. That was the major purpose of Paraśurāma's manifestation.

And, in the sense of "being protected" from the fallen kṣatrīya, the Earth (Dharaṇī) is referred as Paraśurāma's spouse.

The original verses are -

Viṣṇu Purāṇa 1.9.141

पुनश्व पह्मादुदूभूता आदित्योऽभूद् यदा हरिः । यदा तु भार्गवो रामस्तदा भूद्धरणी त्वियम् ॥ १४१ ॥

IAST transliteration:

yadā tvaṃ bhārgavo rāmastadābhūddharaṇī tviyam || 18 ||

The keyword here is bhūddharaṇī (भूद्धरणी).

Kindly note that the translator (H.H. Wilson) may have mistakenly omitted the 'bhū (भू)' part.

The exact-same verses are found in the Skanda Mahā-Purāṇa as well, and the translator simply translate it as the Earth, not some human manifestation.

Chapter 22 - Section 1 - Setu-māhātmya - Book 3 - Brāhma-khaṇḍa

अवतारान्करोषि त्वं तदेयं त्वत्सहायिनी । यदा त्वं भार्गवो रामस्तदाभूद्धरणी त्वियम् ॥ १८ ॥
अधुना जानकी जाता भवित्री रुक्मिणी ततः । अन्येषु चावतारेषु विष्णोरेषा सहायिनी ॥ १९ ॥

O Janārdana, O lord of Devas, O lord of the universe, whenever you take up incarnations, she too assists you. When you were Bhārgava Rāma (Paraśurāma), she had been Dharaṇī (Earth). Now she has become Jānakī and she will be born as Rukmiṇī. In other incarnations too she assists Viṣṇu. Hence, O Rāghava, accept her at my instance.

English Translation by G.V. Tagare

Note that here, Vyāsa specifically mention bhūddharaṇī (भूद्धरणी), and there can be no more clear indication than this that by "Dharaṇī" indeed the Earth in implied, and not some specifically manifested human-woman.



  • In fact, the Gita Press Gorakhpur, in their Hindi-language rendition of the Viṣṇu Mahā-Purāṇa, bluntly translates bhūddharaṇī as Earth (पृथ्वी) only.

Here's Hindi Translation

पुनश्व पह्मादुदूभूता आदित्योऽभूद् यदा हरिः । यदा तु भार्गवो रामस्तदा भूद्धरणी त्वियम् ॥ १४१ ॥

जब श्रीहरि आदित्य रूप हुए, तो वे पद्म से फ़िर उत्पन्न हुईं [और पद्मा कहलायीं]। जब ये परशुराम हुए, तो ये [पृथ्वी] हुईं


  • Śrī Bhāgavatānaṃda guru in his Hindi book Amrit Vachan (अमृत वचन) also notes that by Dharaṇī, Earth itself is implied, for Paraśurāma is a Brahmacārī

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To Conclude:

There's no Story of Dharaṇī, which actually is bhūddharaṇī (भूद्धरणी), which basically means the Mother Earth.

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