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In Valmiki Ramayana (Balakanda, Sarga 75), Bhagavan Parashurama says:

Oh, Rama, on hearing the unregenerate and highly perfidious murdering of my father, I rancorously extirpated Kshatriya-s as and when they are born, that too not for one time, but I did so for thirty-seven times going around the earth... and on getting the entire earth under my control I performed Vedic-ritual, and at the end of that Vedic-ritual, I gave all that earth to sage Kashyapa, a sage with divine soul and with pious observances, as a ritualistic-generosity... and I am at present on Mt. Mahendra practising ascesis and thus conjoined are the powers of ascesis in me... [1-75-24b, c, 25, 26a]

While Bhagavata Purana 9.16.18-19 says:

With the blood of the bodies of these sons, Lord Paraśurāma created a ghastly river, which brought great fear to the kings who had no respect for brahminical culture. Because the kṣatriyas, the men of power in government, were performing sinful activities, Lord Paraśurāma, on the plea of retaliating for the murder of his father, rid all the kṣatriyas from the face of the earth twenty-one times. Indeed, in the place known as Samanta-pañcaka he created nine lakes filled with their blood.

Which one is correct?

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    In the context of Ramayana, Better go with Ramayana itself. – TheLittleNaruto Jul 23 at 17:34
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The reason for your confusion is that the Rāmāyaṇa translation you are quoting from is adding the phrase thirty-seven times not present in the original Sanskrit verses or the word-to-word translation available on the same website (valmikiramayan.net).

vadham apratirūpam tu pituḥ śhrutvā su dāruṇam |
kṣhatram utsādayan roṣhāt jātam jātam anekaśhaḥ || 1-75-24

pṛthivīm cha akhilām prāpya kāśhyapāya mahātmane |
yajñasya ante tadā rāma dakṣhiṇām puṇya karmaṇe || 1-75-25

dattvā mahendra nilayaḥ tapo bala samanvitaḥ |

24b, c, 25, 26a. raama = oh, Rama; a prati ruupam = not, similar, in form [type, unregenerate]; su daaruNam = highly, gruesome; pituH vadham shrutvaa = father's, murder, on hearing; roSaat = with rancour; jaatam jaatam = newborn, as newborn - as and when born; kSatram = Kshatriya-s; an ekashaH = not, for one time; utsaadayan = extirpating [Kshatriya lineages]; akhilaam pR^ithiviim praapya = in entirety, planet earth, on getting [under my control]; yaGYasya ante = Vedic-ritual, at the end of; mahaatmane = to the divine-souled one; puNya karmaNe = of pious, observances; kaashyapaaya = to Sage Kashyapa; dakSiNaam dattvaa = as ritualistic-generosity, on giving; tadaa = then; tapaH bala samanvitaH = ascesis, powers of, conjoined [with me]; mahendra nilayaH = Mt. Mahendra, indweller [I am at present.]

Oh, Rama, on hearing the unregenerate and highly perfidious murdering of my father, I rancorously extirpated Kshatriya-s as and when they are born, that too not for one time, but I did so for thirty-seven times going around the earth... and on getting the entire earth under my control I performed Vedic-ritual, and at the end of that Vedic-ritual, I gave all that earth to sage Kashyapa, a sage with divine soul and with pious observances, as a ritualistic-generosity... and I am at present on Mt. Mahendra practising ascesis and thus conjoined are the powers of ascesis in me... [1-75-24b, c, 25, 26a]


Here's an alternate translation which doesn't specify the times Paraśurāma had slaughtered all the kṣatriyas.


O Rama! Having heard the slaying of my father incomparable in extreme ruthlessness, I decimated the Kshatriya race again and again out of fury as they were born and reborn. I conquered the entire earth. At the conclusion of the sacrifice I conferred it on the great soul Kasyapa of meritorious acts. Gifted with ascetic energy I have (now) made the Mahendra mountain my abode.


It is generally believed that Paraśurāma exterminated kṣatriyas 21 times, the Sanskrit phrase being used is triḥ sapta kṛtvaḥ (3 x 7 times, as explained here) so the Bhāgavata Purāṇa translation you quoted is right. The Mahābhārata also uses the same phrase narrating the same incident and K M Ganguli translates it the same way.

Book 1: Adi Parva; Chapter 58

3 [v]
  rahasyaṃ khalv idaṃ rājan devānām iti naḥ śrutam
  tat tu te kathayiṣyāmi namaskṛtvā svayaṃ bhuve

4 triḥ saptakṛtvaḥ pṛthivīṃ kṛtvā niḥkṣatriyāṃ purā
   jāmadagnyas tapas tepe mahendre parvatottame


Vaisampayana said, 'It hath been heard by us, O monarch, that what thou askest is a mystery even to the gods. I shall, however, speak of it unto thee, after bowing down (to the self-born). The son of Jamadagni (Parasurama), after twenty-one times making the earth bereft of Kshatriyas wended to that best of mountains Mahendra and there began his ascetic penances...

| improve this answer | |
  • Good answer. How did you found this out? – Wikash_ Jul 24 at 8:09
  • @Wikash_ Read Gitapress Valmiki Ramayan translation in Hindi. Sv’s Answer is really nice - upvoted – Archit Jul 24 at 10:12
  • @Wikash As I explained, I didn't find "37 times" in the word for word translation. That was the clue. – sv. Jul 24 at 15:33

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