Once upon a time while Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were living peacefully in Their great city of Dvārakā, there was the rare occasion of a full solar eclipse, such as takes place at the end of every kalpa, or day of Brahmā. At the end of every kalpa the sun is covered by a great cloud, and incessant rain covers the lower planetary systems up to Svargaloka. By astronomical calculation, people were informed about this great eclipse prior to its taking place, and therefore everyone, both men and women, decided to assemble at the holy place in Kurukṣetra known as Samanta-pañcaka.
The Samanta-pañcaka pilgrimage site is celebrated because Lord Paraśurāma performed great sacrifices there after killing all the kṣatriyas in the world twenty-one times. When Lord Paraśurāma killed all the kṣatriyas, their accumulated blood flowed like a stream. Lord Paraśurāma dug five big lakes at Samanta-pañcaka and filled them with this blood. Lord Paraśurāma is viṣṇu-tattva. As stated in the Īśopaniṣad, viṣṇu-tattva cannot be contaminated by any sinful activity. Yet although Lord Paraśurāma is fully powerful and uncontaminated, in order to exhibit ideal character He performed great sacrifices at Samanta-pañcaka to atone for His so-called sinful killing of the kṣatriyas. By His example, Lord Paraśurāma established that the killing art, although sometimes necessary, is not good. Lord Paraśurāma considered Himself culpable for the sinful killing of the kṣatriyas; therefore, how much more culpable are we for such abominable unsanctioned acts. Thus, from time immemorial the killing of living entities is prohibited all over the world.