Gajendra, the king elephant, very powerful and strong, was sporting in the beautiful lush green forest lands in the valley of the Trikuta mountains, along with his herd of female companions. After a while, exhausted they all entered into a beautiful lake to quench their thirst. Unaware of the danger awaiting them in the form of a crocodile, they started sporting in the waters.
A crocodile dwelling in the lake seized the foot of the king elephant and started dragging it into the waters. The elephant on the other hand tried with all its might and strength to release itself from the jaws of the crocodile. But in vain. There ensued a great tug-of-war between the two. All the other elephants tried to help but having failed, left the site. The crocodile seemed to become stronger and stronger while the lonely elephant started getting exhausted.
At that point of time, realizing its utter helplessness, the elephant sought refuge at the feet of the Lord. Gajendra plucked a lotus from the lake, held it up in its trunk and invoked Lord Sri Hari with a beautiful, ardent prayer: “Narayana Akhila Guro Bhagavan Namaste”. The entire invocation is known as “Gajendra Stuti”. The Lord known as the Saviour of the afflicted, out of infinite compassion, alighted on his vehicle Garuda and immediately came to the rescue of Gajendra. Sri Hari released His Sudarshan chakra which instantly killed the crocodile. The Lord Himself pulled Gajendra out of the lake and rescued him.
Spiritual Significance: Gajendra represents an individual living amidst temptations, fallen into the lake of samsara and seized by the crocodile called ‘ego’. Any amount of effort to get released from this monstrous ego becomes futile. Left all alone in life’s journey, the only refuge is the Lord. And the moment, we invoke the Lord with all our faith, devotion and knowledge (represented by the lotus), the Lord immediately comes and saves us from drowning in the pool of samsara. The ego is destroyed by the Sudarshan. When the ego is eliminated, what remains is “Su-darshana” – the “Divine Vision” – the State of Enlightenment.
[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]