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Once there was king by name Kritaveerya. He and his wife Sugantha were blessed with a boy. Unfortunately the child did not have both legs. The king was saddened by this. However, his wife consoled him by saying that the child had the blessings of his ancestors and that it would help their son immensely.
Kritaveerya named his son Kartaveeryarjuna and he grew up to be a pious boy. Soon he went to the forests to meditate on Lord Dattatreya. Pleased with his devotion the lord appeared before him and granted him thousand hands and blessed him with a good life.
One day Kartaveeryarjuna went to bathe in the river Narmada along with his wives and retinue. All of a sudden he turned to his women and said “Can you see the beautiful Narmada flowing along. However she cannot flow anywhere beyond by control.” So saying he opened his thousand arms and stopped the Narmada from flowing beyond him.
Meanwhile, in another bank of the Narmada, Ravana was propitiating Shiva oblivious to his surroundings. Suddenly Kartaveeryarjuna dropped his thousand arms and the water began flowing faster and flooding the river banks. Ravana’s prayers were disturbed and he was livid. He wondered how the river could suddenly flood the area and asked his minions to find out. They said that Kartaveeryarjuna was behind this.
Ravana went to were the king was bathing and ordered him to leave the place. Angry with Ravana, the king started a duel. He fought with Ravana and hit him with his mace on his chest. Ravana fainted. The king promptly tied him up and put him in jail.
Several months passed and one day Pulastya the hermit met the King. He said Ravana was his grandson and that he wanted the king to release Ravana. Kartaveeryarjuna said that he did not know that Ravana was the hermit’s grandson. He also added that since Ravana had bravely fought with him, he had spared his life and put him in jail. So saying he released his captive and sent him with his grandfather.
Pulastya said that Ravana deserved this treatment as he had overstepped his boundaries. He also blessed him with the title Ravanajit.
Years passed and Kartaveeryarjuna’s bravery spread far and wide. Once on an expedition, he saw that the hermit Jamadagni had a divine cow. He abducted the cow. Angered by this the hermit’s son Parasurama killed Kartaveeryarjuna. In revenge, the king’s sons killed the hermit Jamadagni. Legend says that Parasurama killed 21 kings from the Kshatriya community to avenge his father’s death.

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