<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Akshaya Tritiya has become an occasion to buy gold. It is considered one of the three most auspicious days in the Hindu calendar — the two others being the first day of Chaitra month and Vijayadashami. But do you know why? It’s the conjunction of the heavenly bodies. The sun and moon are believed to be at their brightest on Akshaya Tritiya — the third day of shukla paksha in the month of Baisakh.Adding to Akshaya Tritiya’s claims to auspiciousness is the belief that it is the birthday of Parashurama, the sixth avatar of Vishnu. Here are six quirky facts about this fierce warrior ascetic who has always seen carrying his mean battle axe — Parashu (his name is derived from this) that he got from Lord Shiva as a reward for fierce penance.Exceptional figure: Parashurama is an avatar of Vishnu, a venerable sage of surpassing spiritual powers and also a ferocious warrior. He was born a Brahmin, but a Kshatriya (having taken up arms) by his actions. He is, in this sense, one of the few who remain outside the Manusmriti-ordained classification of Hindu society into the four varnas — Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra.Killing machine: The picture of Parashurama that emerges from the stories is that of a ‘killing machine’. Parashurama is supposed to have killed 21 entire generations of Kshatriyas to avenge the killing of his father, the sage Jamadagni.Link between two avatars: Parashurama is the only instance where two Vishnu avatars meet — in the Ramayana, Ram encounters Parashurama on the way back to Ayodhya from Mithila after the swayamvar. It is here that Parashurama is said to have gifted Ram his bow, Sharanga. Parashurama had another bow, Vijaya, which he received from Indra, and gave it to Karna in the Mahabharata. This makes him one of the few figures to occur in both epics. Besides Karna, Parashurama is also the mentor of Bhisma and Drona, two other warrior ascetics.Kalaripayattu: This ancient dance form/martial art is said to have been created by Parashurama, taught to him by Lord Shiva (some local myths also credit it to sage Agastya).Malabar connection: There is an interesting myth that says Parashurama was the creator of the Malabar and Konkan regions. The land, so goes the story, had been threatened by huge waves and Parashurama fought with Sea God Varuna. He dropped his axe into the sea from which rose a mass of land. Perhaps this is the reason for the many Parashurama temples in Kerala, Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra.Matricide : The act of killing one’s mother is the ultimate sin in most cultures, and interestingly Parashurama is one of the few figures in Hindu myth who were guilty of it. But what could he do when it was his father Jamadagni who ordered him to do it, accusing his wife Renuka of being unchaste? (Renuka had found a passing Gandharva attractive, and Jamadagni had divined his wife’s thoughts). The story, however, has a happy ending. Pleased with Parashurama’s devotion, Jamadagni granted him a wish and the devoted son asked for the life of his mother.