|Gajendra offering the Lord a lotus flower when the Lord comes to rescue him.|
Dhyaan dharey man sey mera karey na chit udaas
Samjhey mujhko har samay hardam apney paas |
Ghat ghat mein sansaar key vyaapak main bharpoor
Prem sey nitya sameep hoon, prem nahin to door ||
These lines belong to the Bhagvad Geeta in Hindi by Pandit RadheyShyam from Bareily. This Scripture, I have been reading and teaching youngsters since the last 22 years.
The lines above are my favorite and they are spoken by Krishna to Arjuna during the latter’s darkest hour.
Krishna says that man should meditate upon the Lord, not feel dejected and think of the Lord, as always being at hand.
Krishna claims that He is present in abundance in every atom of the world.
To those who have love (and faith) in their heart, God is close by, to the others He seems to be far away!
The following story that I am about to narrate is ‘Gajendra Moksha’ and is a part of the Shrimad Bhaagvad.
It is written, that he who reads the story of Gajendra, his mind will be purified and he will be received by the Lord God Himself at the time of his death.
Gajendra was the King of elephants.
One hot day, he proceeded to the lake with his family to cool off in its fresh waters.
But from within the lake a crocodile appeared who attacked him and would not let go of him.
When the family and relatives saw ‘death’ coming close to Gajendra, and everyone realised that everything was lost, they left Gajendra alone.
The symbolism so far:
- Man is Gajendra
- The world, is the lake where he plays the game of life with family and others.
- The crocodile is ‘Death and Difficulties’ which attack man.
- Neither family nor friend can liberate one from the clutch of death.
- God answers your prayers.
It is said that ‘Nirbal key bal Ram’
Which means that God is the Strength of the Weak!
A lot of us make preparations for a journey from which one is meant to return; yet we make none for death!
Most of us cry out to God when caught in hopeless situation.
And that is what Gajendra did!
You will notice that in the Bhaagvad, there are stories with a moral and symbolisms.
Most stories have a beautiful prayer!
‘Please help me O Lord! Save me from the clutches of Death!’
How can an ordinary mortal recognize You, when great sages find it hard to achieve You? You are all merciful.
Take me to a place where there is no fear and death!
I am not asking you to save me from the clutch of the crocodile, or that I should survive this attack! I am aware that I not only have a body of an elephant but also a fat mind of an elephant! What is the use of keeping this life? I want to be liberated from my Ignorant Mind which hides the resplendent soul! I can only be saved by Your Grace!
It is said that if one recites the Gajendra Prayer, one achieves liberation and freedom from frightening dreams!
The Lord rushed to Gajendra’s aid. The latter offered the Lord a lotus flower.
God attacked the crocodile and saved His Loved One.
Gajendra, in his previous life was a great devotee called Indradyumna who was also a great king. One day, Agastya, a great sage came to visit the king. Indradyumna did not receive the Sage with the respect that the latter expected. The enraged Agastya cursed the king to become an elephant in his next birth, as he sat heavy on his seat and did not rise to greet him.
The crocodile in its last life was a king called HuHu in the Gandharva planet. Once while enjoying himself in the waters, he pulled the leg of a sage. The enraged sage cursed the king to become a crocodile in his next life. The repentant HuHu asked for pardon. The Sage proclaimed that though he could not retrieve the curse, the crocodile would be liberated from the cycle of birth and death when Gajendra would be saved by the Lord God Himself.
Those readers who have been with me so far will wonder why I quoted the lines from the Geeta at the beginning of this note.
Well, those lines, as well as the story of Gajendra state that:
The Lord is close to those who call out to Him in full faith.
It does not matter if you have the body or intellect of an animal, all you require is a loving heart and the conviction that God is closer than we can possibly believe!
Gajendra Moksha Stuti (Prayer)
AUM NAMO BHAGAWATE TASMAY YAT ETCCHIDATMAKAM
PURUSHAAYAA DIBIJAAY PARESHAAYAABHI DHEEMAHEE
YASMINNIDUM YETASCCHEDUM YENEDUM EEDUM SWAYAM
YOSMAAT PARASMAASCH PARAH TUMPRAPADYE SWAYAMBHOOWAM
A Like in ‘but’
Aa Like in ‘Far’
Ai Like in ‘hair’
Ey Like in Whey
I Like in ‘Pin’
Oo Like in ‘Shoot’
Oon ‘n’ has got a nasal sound.
U Like in ‘Put’
Sanskrit believes that the sound of the word never gets ruined and that it has an everlasting value.
Words in Sanskrit open out from their seed (beej) form.
A root is always a single syllable that contains one of the basic sounds a, I, u, ri
The root or seed may create a word, yet the word will vibrate to its best, and gives it tremendous power.
The Vedic or the Sanskrit view gives more importance to the special sound it should produce, than to the meaning of the spoken word.