(Last Updated on : 24/09/2009)
Jamadagni is one of the seven Rishis or great sages of the seventh Manwantara, the present period. Jamadagni is the son of Richika and was a pious sage. Jamadagni, due to his devotions, gathered the knowledge of all the Vedas
while engaged in holy study. Jamadagni was the descendant of Bhrigu.
Jamadagni demanded king Prasenajit to give him the princess Renuka as his wife. The king agreed and got his daughter married to Jamadagni. After the marriage, princess Renuka had to stay with Jamadagni in his hermitage. Renuka was also satisfied to join in his ascetic life. Jamadagni and Renuka had five sons named Rumanwat, Sushena, Vasu, Viswavasu and Jamadagnya (Rama).
Once, when all the sons of Jamadagni went to gather the fruits on which they fed, Renuka went forth to take bath. On her way to the stream, Renuka found Chitraratha, the prince of Mrittikavati sporting with his queen in the water with a garland of lotuses on his neck. The wife of Jamadagni felt envious of their felicity. Then, corrupted thoughts filled her mind, which could not be purified by the water in the stream. Renuka returned to the hermitage in this mindset and her husband perceived her agitation. Jamadagni tried to make her perfect but she was filled up with the wrong thoughts and the wrath of her husband exceeded its limit. At that time, the sons of Jamadagni arrived one by one. Jamadagni commanded his sons one by one to kill their mother as she has lost her purity. But, the sons did not give any reply to their father Jamadagni due to their maternal affection.
Jamadagni became very angry and cursed them to turn as idiots. Thus all his four sons lost all understanding and were turned like beasts or birds. Finally, the fifth son of Jamadagni Rama arrived. When Jamadagni ordered him to kill his mother, Rama took up his axe, and struck off his mother's head. Thereafter, the wrath of Jamadagni cooled down and he became pleased with his son Rama and asked him to demand any blessings for his hard task. Rama then begged to his father the life of his mother and also requested his father to turn all his brothers to knowledgeable beings again. Jamadagni blessed him so and all became well again.
On another occasion, when Jamadagni's son were absent in their hermitage, the mighty monarch Karttavirya of the Haihaya tribe arrived there. This monarch was blessed with a thousand arms for the blessings of Dattatreya and had a golden chariot. The wife of Jamadagni received him with all proper respect. But, the proud king made no return to her hospitality and carried off the calf of the milch of the sacred oblation cow with him by violence. He even cast down the tall trees surrounding the hermitage of Jamadagni. When Rama returned his father Jamadagni told him what had happened. Rama then saw the cow in suffering and he was filled with wrath. Then Rama took up his splendid bow, Bhargava, the slayer of hostile heroes and attacked Karttavirya.
Jamadagni's son Rama defeated the king in battle and cut off his thousand arms with sharp arrows and the king perished. The sons of Karttavirya attacked the hermitage of Jamadagni to take revenge when Rama was away. They slew the pious and unresisting sage Jamadagni. He called for his son repeatedly but in vain. When Rama returned from the forest after collecting the fuel, he found his father Jamadagni dead.