Parashurama was born and brought up in a humble hut, surrounded by immense knowledge in the form of his enlightened father Sage Jamadagni, immense love in the form of his Mother Renuka, and immense abundance, in the form of his cow Kamdhenu. King Kartavirya Arjun, one of the most wicked kings of the time, snatched his cow Kamdhenu, the only medium of abundance in his humble livelihood. Parshuram, fuming with vengeance, picked his Parshu. Parshu, an axe, has always been used by primitive man to clear up forests for generating wealth or killing animals for safety and food. Nature is destroyed to generate culture. Material Craving is insatiable. The axe of the primitive man has still not stopped. So was Parshuram’s want for revenge. It didn’t stop even after avenging the death of Kartavirya Arjun. It was continued when Kartavirya’s sons killed Sage Jamadagni and Mother Renuka. He didn’t stop till he killed every King living on the planet, without checking or showing mercy for the innocent prey of his Parshu. Was Parshuram wrong? After going to an extreme of violence, his meeting with Shri Ram took him to a regretful realization leading him to another extreme where he gave up all sorts of violence. He later chose a non-violent strict celibate path to repent his sins of violence, completely engaging himself in learning and service. Pure emotion leads to extreme behavior, extreme approval, or disapproval. If you are for something, you will be against that one day. Being for and against are the same, as both lead to attachment. The only way for detachment is dispassion. If you are fine with extremes, pick up a Parshu.
Ram was born in a King’s palace, surrounded by abundance, great knowledge. Despite his ideal nature, he was not loved by his stepmother. Instead of retaliation, he accepted not being loved. Despite being given a choice by his father, he left abundance and chose the path of suffering. His beloved wife was abducted by an ultra-powerful King. Did Ram pick a Parshu? No, he picked a Dhanush, a bow used to cast an arrow. The trajectory of the path is straight. It goes where it is directed. An arrow’s task ends when it hits its target. Ram’s arrow (violence) stopped after hitting Ravan. His compassion led him to crown Vibhishan as the King of the newly conquered abundant land of Ravan. Ram wanted to be ideal. He sincerely followed the code, similar to an arrow being directed by a bow. Like a limited trajectory of an arrow, he was very well aware that the limitations of his non-negotiable principles will lead to immense suffering in his life one day. Ramayana, after hitting the arrow to Ravan’s navel, takes a tragic turn, due to which Uttara Ramayana is not always narrated in common discourse. Being just to his subject led to injustice on his wife. He almost killed his own sons in the war, A predetermined code brings order to a certain in life, but at the same time brings its limitations. Once the code is challenged by its limitations, it leads to chaos. If you are fine with the limitations of your code, pick a Dhanush.
Krishna was raised in a cowherd’s hut. Despite his trickster attitude, he was adored by all his friends and family. Born with natural mysticism, he didn’t require much effort as Ram to win the war against the demons and his uncle Kansa. Krishna didn’t get any special nurture or formal education, yet his wisdom was spellbound. He didn’t directly participate in any wars. All he had was a Murali, a flute, which he used to woo people around. He was a master of human emotions. He didn’t approach a woman, yet hundreds of women approached him for companionship. He was in the direct bloodline of the mighty Pandavas, yet he served them as a charioteer. Not getting involved in conflicts asks for negotiatory skills, and many times requires serving mediocre positions. But it guarantees peace and safety of the material being. Krishna was the one who was into the material world, yet completely detached from it. His detachment made him look at the world as a game, which he even narrates in the Bhagwad Gita. But, this detachment didn’t relieve Krishna from facing the consequences of his Karma. He faced consequences with the same detachment with which he enjoyed them. Krishna’s face was also blissful no matter how hard the situation he faced, as he was naturally blessed with the skill of flexibility. If you have the ability to play a witty Murali, and you are ready to be subordinate, go for it.
Gautama was born as a prince, with an affluent upbringing. He was never exposed to any violence or war, as his father made best to keep him away from the negatives of the world. Gautama had an immense thirst for knowledge, which made him think and question. Knowing that the universe exists with the coexistence of contrary ideas, he delved deeper to experience negatives. He left his wife, and newly born son, to seek the truth. A rich innocuous prince, with no wit, no intention of violence, relinquishing all his relationships, had nothing to pick. He did not have any enemies, nor friends. He did not ask anyone to follow him, nor did he follow anyone. He neither generous nor vengeful. His life was difficult in a way and simple in another way. He later lived in meager resources, with the least harm and violence to nature. He belonged neither to culture nor to nature. The material world asks for negotiation, withdrawal gives real freedom. Withdrawal is the real rationalism of thought, as it liberates from the cycle of emotion actions and reactions. But withdrawal is not everyone’s thing. Everyone respects the withdrawer, but nobody wants to withdraw. Hence, withdrawers are meant to be alone, closed, and reserved in their lives. Indifference to binaries leads to isolation. If you are strong enough to peel the layers of your material world, pick nothing. The journey would be difficult as there will be no one to help, but you will have nothing to lose as well.
Shri Vishnu’s human journey saw a systematic progression from strong engagement to strong withdrawal. It started in a hermitage and ended in a hermitage. Every world civilization represents some of the above four traits. Like violent military dictatorships, to ordered first world superpowers. Or chaotic diverse ever-developing democracies, to closed isolated economies. No trait is superior or inferior to another. Every trait leads to a chain reaction.