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In Hinduism, cosmic functions of creation is done by Lord Brahma, maintenance by Lord Vishnu, and destruction by Lord Shiva. These three deities have been called "the Hindu triad" or the "Great Trinity".

Lord Vishnu is the Preserver or Sustainer of life with his steadfast principles of order, righteousness and truth. When these values are under threat, Vishnu emerges out of his transcendence to restore peace and order on earth. 

This month’s story is about Gajendra, Lord Vishnu’s devotee.

Indradyumna, the Pandian king, was famed for his virtue.

One day, he called a meeting of his counsellors. He said, “I have decided to retire to the forest and devote all my time to the worship of the lord. Don’t try to stop me. I am confident that you can and will take care of the kingdom”.

Indradyumna then retired to the kulachala mountains where he built a cottage for himself. Observing the vow of silence, he sat with his mind dwelling upon Lord Vishnu.

One day, sage Agasthya came that way with his disciples. The sage thought Indrayumna did not have the courtesy to welcome them. So he said “Your arrogance shall not go unpunished! May you turn into an elephant.” Meanwhile in his celestial abode, Lord Vishnu smiled when he heard the curse of Agasthya. He thought “Agastya, You have unknowingly done my devotee a great service!” 

As Indradyumna began to roam about in the forest in the form of elephant in the Kulachala mountains, he came across a herd of them. He thought “I will have to fight their king. Only then will the herd accept me.” Indradyumna easily overpowered his rival and the herd saluted him as Gajendra (king elephant).

One day, Gajendra said “Let us go to the Trikuta Mountain because it is a better place." The herd followed him to the Trikuta forest. The elephants then entered a lake, which was the abode of a crocodile. Suddenly, the crocodile that lived in the lake caught Gajendra by his leg. 

Gajendra, in spite of being an elephant could not break free.  He then, called out for help.  All his friends, the other elephants gathered around him and tried to help, but in vain. The crocodile was stronger than all the elephants put together.  They gave up. Gajendra tried for a long time to escape from the crocodile.  He trumpeted until he was hoarse.  The crocodile simply would not let go.

Gajendra Moksha – Elephant Kings’ total Surrender

The elephant and the crocodile struggled for a thousand years. When a thousand years was over, the elephant began to tire, although the crocodile’s strength was still undiminished. Gajendra lost a lot of blood and he became very weak. He finally realized that only God could help him and called out to Lord Narayana(Vishnu). He started to pray to Lord Vishnu.

Lord Vishnu heard Gajendra’s cries for help and appeared on his vehicle, Garuda.  He sent the Sudarshana Chakra whirling down. 

The Chakra killed the crocodile and set Gajendra free. 

 Gajendra offered Lord Narayana a Lotus and thanked him for saving his life.

Strange as it may seem, the crocodile then adopted the form of a Gandharva(spiritual being). His name was Huhu. He had been cursed by a sage that he would become a crocodile. And the sage had told him that he would be freed from the curse by Lord Vishnu. That had now happened.  Indradyumna too was freed from his curse and became Vishnu’s companion.

Thus Lord Vishnu saves whoever prays to him.


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