श्लकोऽयं मह्यं रोचते – 65

तरङ्गफेनभ्रमबुद्बुदादि सर्वं स्वरूपेण जलं यथा तथा ।

चिदेव देहाद्यहमन्तमेतत् सर्वं चिदेवैकरसं विशुद्धम् ॥ (विवेकचूडामणि- 390 )

taraìgaphenabhramabudbudädi sarvam svaroopeëa jalam yathä tathä

cideva dehädyahamantametat sarvam cidevaikarasam viçuddham

Wave, foam, bubbles- all these are nothing but water in reality. So this body and all are nothing but consciousness- the one pure consciousness.

It is only the pure consciousness that appears in different forms

श्रीमद्भागवतपुराणकथाः - गजेन्द्रमोक्षः - 3(concluded)

सोऽन्तःसरस्युरुबलेन गृहीत आर्तो
दृष्ट्वा गरुत्मति हरिं ख उपात्तचक्रम् ।
उत्क्षिप्य साम्बुजकरं गिरमाह कृच्छ्रान्
नारायणाखिलगुरो भगवन्नमस्ते ॥
सः – He (Gajendra)
अन्तःसरसि – in the water
उरुबलेन – with great force
गृहीतः – who was captured (by the crocodile)
आर्तः - severely suffering
दृष्ट्वा - on seeing
हरिं – Lord Vishnu
गरुत्मति – on the back of Garuda
उपात्तचक्रम् – with his discus ready
उत्क्षिप्य - raising
साम्बुजकरम् – his trunk along with a lotus flower
गिरमाह – uttered the words
कृच्छ्रात् – with great difficulty
नारायण – O Lord Narayana
अखिलगुरो – O Universal Lord
भगवन् – O Supreme person
नमस्ते – salutations to you

Gajendra, even though being an animal cried out to the Supreme Lord when he was mortally captured by the crocodile in the lake. His plea was to relieve him from his current pain and all future bondages. His stuti in the 8th canto 3rd chapter of Srimadbhagavatam, brims with Advaita philosophy. What also strikes the reader is his lack of anger towards his visible mortal enemy, the crocodile. Instead he directs his thoughts to relieving himself from bondage of births and deaths and surrenders to the Supreme Being, the Lord of the Universe, who treats all alike, who alone is capable of granting his wishes. This being said, Gajendra, even in his pain, offers a lotus flower to the Lord who has appeared to save him. Perhaps nothing more is reachable to him, it is truly moving that he thought of offering something very simple yet demonstrating his trust and affection to the Lord. Likewise, we are all small in stature, but no offering of love of ours to the Supreme being is too small. Guess that proves Its magnanimity all over again.

श्रीमद्भागवतपुराणकथाः - गजेन्द्रमोक्षः - 2

मादृक्प्रपन्नपशुपाशविमोक्षणाय मुक्ताय भूरिकरुणाय नमोsलयाय |
स्वांशेन सर्वतनुभृन्मनसि प्रतीत प्रत्यक्दृशे भगवते बृहते नमस्ते |
मादृक् — like me
प्रपन्न — surrendered
पशु — an animal
पाश — from entanglement
विमोक्षणाय — unto He who releases
मुक्ताय — unto the Supreme, who is untouched by the contamination of material nature
भूरिकरुणाय — who is unlimitedly merciful
नमः — I offer my respectful obeisance
अलयाय — who is never inattentive or idle (for the purpose of my deliverance)
स्वांशेन — by Paramatma
सर्व — of all
तनुभृत् — the living entities embodied in material nature
मनसि — in the mind
प्रतीत — who are acknowledged
प्रत्यक्दृशे — as the direct observer (of all activities)
भगवते — unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead
बृहते — who is unlimited
नमः — I offer my respectful obeisance
ते — unto You.

Gajendra appeals to His mercy in relieving his (and of others similar to him) bondage in this mundane world. He reiterates that the Lord resides in all beings (including himself and the crocodile) and who is witness to all that happens. Most importantly, only he who is free from bondage himself can offer that to his others. Only the Lord can be called as a mukta. Luckily for Gajendra, (and for all of us) He is verily the ocean of mercy.

श्रीमद्भागवतपुराणकथाः - गजेन्द्रमोक्षः - 1

Gajendra, the king of elephants lived in the mountain Trikuta. He wandered its peaks along with his herd. There was a lake and one day, he entered its cool fragrant waters to quench his thirst when he was caught by a crocodile. Gajendra’s herd tried to help him out but were unable to, and they walked away leaving him to face death alone. After a long time, being thus caught, even though being stout, he weakened in strength. However the crocodile being aquatic was going on strong. Gajendra pondered a while over his situation and decided to surrender to the Supreme soul whose devotees do not have any peril from Death.

He thought of the Supreme Godhead, about whom he had learnt in his previous birth. “I surrender unto You, O lord, who is all-pervading, who protects this Universe taking many avatars. Let that lord, who resides within all beings, protect me. I offer my respectful obeisance unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by whose illusory energy the jiva, who is part and parcel of God, forgets his real identity. I take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose glories are difficult to understand.”

Says Gajendra:

न यस्य देवा ऋषयः पदं विदुर्जन्तुः पुनः कोऽर्हति गन्तुमीरितुम् |
यथा नटस्याकृतिभिर्विचेष्टतो दुरत्ययानुक्रमणः स मावतु ||

na yasya devā åñayaù padam vidurjantuù punaù ko.arhati gantuméritum

yathä naöasyäkåtibhirviceñöato duratyayäkramaaù sa mävatu

यस्य — of whom
न — neither
देवाः — the demigods
ऋषयः — great sages
विदुः — can understand
पदं — position
जन्तुः — (unintelligent) living beings like animals
पुनः — again
कः — who
अर्हति — is able
गन्तुं — to enter (into the knowledge)
ईरितुं — or to express by words
यथा — just as
आकृतिभिः — by bodily features
नटस्य — of the artist
विचेष्टतः — dancing in different ways
दुरत्यय — very difficult
अनुक्रमणः — His movements
सः— may that Supreme Personality of Godhead
अवतु — may give His protection.
मा — unto me

The actions and movements of the Supreme God cannot be understood even by demigods and sages. What to say of mere animals like me!


Stories from Bhagavatam

नूतनतया एकम् आवलिं श्रीमद्भागवतपुरणविषये आरब्धुम् इच्छा वर्तते। भागवते श्रीकृष्णस्य चरितं तस्य कथाः चैव प्रसिद्धाः। परन्तु तस्मिन् पुण्यपुराणे अनेकाः अन्यकथाः ज्ञानोद्धीपकाः स्फूर्तिदायकाः जीवनोद्धारकाश्च बह्व्यः सन्ति। ताः उद्धृत्य अत्र शुष्करूपेण लिखितुं प्रयतामहे।

A new series is underway with stories from Bhagavatapurana. We have invited a guest blogger, Aparna Ganapathy, who has completed her M.A. in Sanskrit, to contribute to this series.

Srimadbhagavatam is a very popular purana and is one among the principle 18 compiled by Sri Veda Vyasa. The purana owes its popularity to the stories and leelas of Lord Krishna which forms the 10th skandha of the total 12. The rest of the skandhas of Srimadbhagavatam contains many beautiful value based stories like that of Gajendra moksha, Prithu, Dhruva, the dasavataras, Sage Markandeya, etc.

This series will focus on the lesser known stories from Srimad Bhagavatam.