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- Gajendra moksana -
The Liberation of Gajendra

Gajendra moksana

Gajendra moksana - The Liberation of Gajendra

Gajendra Moksham is one of the most famous exploits of Vishnu in Srimad Bhagavatam. A recitation of this episode early in the morning has great immortal powers like the recitation of the sacred hymn Sri Vishnu Sahasranama. There is no disaster from which, the mighty and the compassionate Lord would not protect the devotees, that with faith and devotion remember His feet as their refuge.

Gajendra moksana


The Elephant and the Crocodile

GajendraOnce a lordly elephant, leader of a herd, inhabiting that mountainous forest, roamed with his retinue of female ones, breaking through trees, bamboo clusters and clumps of cane. By the mere odour of animal, even lions and tigers not to talk of the elephants, hyenas, rhinos, pythons, sarabhas, yaks, wolves, boars, bisons, bears, porcupines, baboons, jackals, monkeys, all ran away in fear, while the weaker ones like the deer and the hares moved about joyously by the protective presence of that very animal. (20-22).

Oppressed by the heat of summer, dripping ichor and swarmed by bees settled on it for its sheer taste, tormented by thirst, accompanied by the whole herd of bull and female elephants and the young ones, almost causing tremors in the mountain by their weight, he smelt from afar the lotus pollen-filled breeze on the lake, and with eyes tremulous in a state of rut, speedily approached the vicinity of the lake. (23-24). Plunging into it, he drank to his heart's content the immaculate, sweet ambrosial water, flavoured by the pollen of the golden lotuses, lilies, sucking it with his trunk and freely showering on himself, and with his fatigue gone, equally offering mouthfuls and a liberal sprinkle of bath to his retinue of cubs and female elephants like a loving householder, unaware in his self importance of impending peril (25-26).

GajendraThere, Oh king! as ill luck would have it, a powerful crocodile fiercely caught his leg, and the elephant, accidentally so caught unaware, himself of immense strength, accordingly tugged his best. The cow - elephant and other chicken hearted ones seeing their leader in distress, just pulled forcibly, trumpeted in sorrow, unable to extricate him by pulling him holding from the rear. (27-28).

As the noble elephant and the crocodile so fought one pulling in and the other out, a thousand years elapsed, both yet alive and alert to the amazement of even the celestials (29).

Then by the long passage of time the strength of the elephant both mental and physical as well as his energy slowly ebbed; and as the strength of the one pulled into the water diminished, that of the aquatic animal increased. Thus when the elephant was in a sad situation and despaired of his life, unable ever so long to free himself, thought of an idea. Those of my ilk cannot save me, how can the female ones help? Caught by the noose of Providence in the shape of the crocodile I shall seek Him the ultimate refuge. I seek refuge of the Lord that protects the scared seeking His refuge, for refuge from the powerful serpent of Death that pursues ever so swiftly, but yet itself runs away in utter fear of the Lord. (30-33).

Here ends the second chapter

GajendraThe Lord Frees the Tusker

Sri Suka Spoke: Having so resolved and with his mind at ease the elephant repeated the most noble prayers he had learned in a previous birth. (1)

The Lord of elephants uttered:

(Note : The text of Srimad Bhagavatam here gives one of the most magnificent hymns addressed to Vishnu as the Supreme one, the Almighty who is extolled in multiform in the Upanishads, Ithihasas and in the various Puranas. Hence the relevant Sanskrit slokas are also given here, with the English translation).


Gajendra's Prayers of Surrender to Lord Vishnu

shri-ganjendra uvacha

om namo bhagavate tasmai

yata etac chid-atmakam




Gajendra said: I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Person, Vasudeva [om namo bhagavate vasudevaya]. Because of Him this material body acts due to the presence of spirit, and He is therefore the root cause of everyone. He is worshipable for such exalted persons as Brahma and Shiva, and He has entered the heart of every living being. Let me meditate upon Him. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 8.3.2)

yasminn idam yatash chedam

yenedam ya idam svayam

yo 'smat parasmach cha paras

tam prapadye svayambhuvam


The Supreme Godhead is the supreme platform on which everything rests, the ingredient by which everything has been produced, and the person who has created and is the only cause of this cosmic manifestation. Nonetheless, He is different from the cause and the result. I surrender unto Him, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is self-sufficient in everything. (8.3.3)

yah svatmanidam nija-mayayarpitam

kvachid vibhatam kva cha tat tirohitam

aviddha-drik sakshy ubhayam tad ikshate

sa atma-mula 'vatu mam parat-paraha


The Supreme Personality of Godhead, by expanding His own energy, keeps this cosmic manifestation visible and again sometimes renders it invisible. He is both the supreme cause and the supreme result, the observer and the witness, in all circumstances. Thus He is transcendental to everything. May that Supreme Personality of Godhead give me protection. (8.3.4)

kalena pancatvam iteshu kritsnasho

lokeshu paleshu cha sarva-hetushu

tamas tadasid gahanam gabhiram

yas tasya pare 'bhivirajate vibhuhu


In due course of time, when all the causative and effective manifestations of the universe, including the planets and their directors and maintainers, are annihilated, there is a situation of dense darkness. Above this darkness, however, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I take shelter of His lotus feet. (8.3.5)

na yasya deva rishayah padam vidur

jantuh punah ko 'rhati gantum iritum

yatha natasyakritibhir vicheshtato

duratyayanukramanah sa mavatu


An artist onstage, being covered by attractive dresses and dancing with different movements, is not understood by his audience; similarly, the activities and features of the Supreme Artist cannot be understood even by the demigods or great sages, and certainly not by those who are unintelligent like animals. Neither the demigods and sages nor the unintelligent can understand the features of the Lord, nor can they express in words His actual position. May that Supreme Personality of Godhead give me protection. (8.3.6)

didrikshavo yasya padam sumangalam

vimukta-sanga munayah susadhavaha

charanty aloka-vratam avranam vane

bhutatma-bhutah suhridah sa me gatihi


Renunciants and great sages who see all living beings equally, who are friendly to everyone and who flawlessly practice in the forest the vows of brahmacarya [celibate student], vanaprastha [retired] and sannyasa [renunciation] desire to see the all-auspicious lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. May that same Supreme Personality of Godhead be my destination. (8.3.7)

na vidyate yasya cha janma karma va

na nama-rupe guna-dosha eva va

tathapi lokapyaya-sambhavaya yaha

sva-mayaya tany anukalam ricchati


tasmai namah pareshaya

brahmane 'nanta-shaktaye


nama ashcarya-karmane


The Supreme Personality of Godhead has no material birth, activities, name, form, qualities or faults. To fulfill the purpose for which this material world is created and destroyed, He comes in the form of a human being like Lord Rama or Lord Krishna by His original internal potency. He has immense potency, and in various forms, all free from material contamination, He acts wonderfully. He is therefore the Supreme Brahman. I offer my respects to Him. (8.3.8-9)

nama atma-pradipaya

sakshine paramatmane

namo giram viduraya

manasash chetasam api


I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the self-effulgent Supersoul, who is the witness in everyone's heart, who enlightens the individual soul and who cannot be reached by exercises of the mind, words or consciousness. (8.3.10)

sattveno pratilabhyaya

naishkarmyena vipashcita

namah kaivalya-nathaya



The Supreme Personality of Godhead is realized by pure devotees who act in the transcendental existence of bhakti-yoga. He is the bestower of uncontaminated happiness and is the master of the transcendental world. Therefore I offer my respects unto Him. (8.3.11)

namah shantaya ghoraya

mudhaya guna-dharmine

nirvisheshaya samyaya

namo jnana-ghanaya cha


I offer my respectful obeisances to Lord Vasudev, who is all-pervading, to the Lord's fierce form as Lord Nrisimhadeva, to the Lord's form as an animal [Lord Varahadeva], to Lord Dattatreya, who preached impersonalism, to Lord Buddha, and to all the other incarnations. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Lord, who has no material qualities but who accepts the three qualities of goodness, passion and ignorance within this material world. I also offer my respectful obeisances unto the impersonal Brahman effulgence. (8.3.12)

ksetra-jnaya namas tubhyam

sarvadhyakshaya sakshine


mula-prakritaye namaha


I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto You, who are the Supersoul, the superintendent of everything, and the witness of all that occurs. You are the Supreme Person, the origin of material nature and of the total material energy. You are also the owner of the material body. Therefore, You are the supreme complete. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. (8.3.13)



asata cchayayoktaya

sad-abhasaya te namaha


My Lord, You are the observer of all the objectives of the senses. Without Your mercy, there is no possibility of solving the problem of doubts. The material world is just like a shadow resembling You. Indeed, one accepts this material world as real because it gives a glimpse of Your existence. (8.3.14)

namo namas te 'khila-karanaya



namo 'pavargaya parayanaya


My Lord, You are the cause of all causes, but You Yourself have no causes. Therefore You are the wonderful cause of everything. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You, who are the shelter of the Vedic knowledge contained in the shastras like the Pancharatras and Vedanta-sutra, which are Your representations, and who are the source of the parampara system. Because it is You who can give liberation, You are the only shelter for all transcendentalists. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You. (8.3.15)



naishkarmya-bhavena vivarjitagama

svayam-prakashaya namas karomi


My Lord, as the fire in arani wood is covered, You and Your unlimited knowledge are covered by the material modes of nature. Your mind, however, is not attentive to the activities of the modes of nature. Those who are advanced in spiritual knowledge are not subject to the regulative principles directed in the Vedic literature. Because such advanced souls are transcendental, You personally appear in their pure minds. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. (8.3.16)

madrik prapanna-pashu-pashu-vimokshanaya

muktaya bhuri-karunaya namo 'layaya

svamshena sarva-tanu-bhrin-manasi pratita-

pratyag-drishe bhagavate brihate namaste


Since an animal such as I has surrendered unto You, who are supremely liberated, certainly You will release me from this dangerous position. Indeed, being extremely merciful, You incessantly try to deliver me. By Your partial feature as Paramatma, You are situated in the hearts of all embodied beings. You are celebrated as direct transcendental knowledge, and You are unlimited. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (8.3.17)

atmatma-japti-griha-vitta-janeshu saktair

dushprapanaya guna-sanga-vivarjitaya

muktatmabhih sva-hridaya paribhavitaya

jnanatmane bhagavate nama ishvaraya


My Lord, those who are completely freed from material contamination always meditate upon You within the cores of their hearts. You are extremely difficult to attain for those like me who are too attached to mental concoction, home, relatives, friends, money, servants and assistants. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, uncontaminated by the modes of nature. You are the reservoir of all enlightenment, the supreme controller. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto You. (8.3.18)

yam dharma-kamartha-vimukti-kama

bhajanta ishtam gatim apnuvanti

kim chashisho raty api deham avyayam

karotu me 'dabhra-dayo vimokshanam


After worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, those who are interested in the four principles of religion, economic development, sense gratification and liberation obtain from Him what they desire. What then is to be said of other benedictions? Indeed, sometimes the Lord gives a spiritual body to such ambitious worshipers. May that Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is unlimitedly merciful, bestow upon me the benediction of liberation from this present danger and from the materialistic way of life. (8.3.19)

ekantino yasya na kanchanartham

vanchanti ye vai bhagavat-prapannaha

aty-adbhutam tach-charitam sumangalam

gayanta ananda-samudra-magnaha


tam aksharam brahma param paresham

avyaktam adhyatmika-yoga-gamyam

atindriyam sukshmam ivatiduram

anantam adyam paripurnam ide


Unalloyed devotees, who have no desire other than to serve the Lord, worship Him in full surrender and always hear and chant about His activities, which are most wonderful and auspicious. Thus they always merge in an ocean of transcendental bliss. Such devotees never ask the Lord for any benediction. I, however, am in danger. Thus I pray to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is eternally existing, who is invisible, who is the Lord of all great personalities, such as Brahma, and who is available only by transcendental bhakti-yoga. Being extremely subtle, He is beyond the reach of my senses and transcendental to all external realization. He is unlimited, He is the original cause, and He is completely full in everything. I offer my obeisances unto Him. (8.3.20-21)

yasya bramadayo deva

veda lokash characharaha


phalgvya cha kalaya kritaha


yatharchisho 'gneh savitur gabhastayo

niryanti samyanty asakrit sva-rochishaha

tatha yato 'yam guna-sampravaho

buddhir manah khani sharira-sargaha


sa vai na devasura-martya-tiryan

na stri na sandho na puman na jantuhu

nayam gunah karma na san na casan

nishedha-shesho jayatad ashesaha


The Supreme Personality of Godhead creates His minor parts and parcels, the jiva-tattva, beginning with Lord Brahma, the demigods and the expansions of Vedic knowledge [Sama, Rig, Yajur and Atharva Vedas] and including all other living entities, moving and nonmoving, with their different names and characteristics. As the sparks of a fire or the shining rays of the sun emanate from their source and merge into it again and again, the mind, the intelligence, the senses, the gross and subtle material bodies, and the continuous transformations of the different modes of nature all emanate from the Lord and again merge into Him. He is neither demigod nor demon, neither human nor bird nor beast. He is not woman, man or neuter, nor is He an animal. He is not a material quality, a fruitive activity, a manifestation or nonmanifestation. He is the last word in the discrimination of "not this, or not that," and He is unlimited. All glories to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (8.3.22-24)

jijivishe naham ihamuya kim

antar bahish chavritayebha-yonya

icchami kalena na yasya viplavas

tasyatma-lokavaranasya moksham


I do not wish to live anymore after I am released from the attack of the crocodile. What is the use of an elephant's body covered externally and internally by ignorance? I simply desire eternal liberation from the covering of ignorance. That covering is not destroyed by the influence of time. (8.3.25)

so 'ham vishva-srijam vishvam

avishvan vishva-vedasam

vishvatmanam ajam brahma

pranato 'smi param padam


Now, fully desiring release from material life, I offer my respectful obeisances unto that Supreme Person who is the creator of the universe, who is Himself the form of the universe and who is nonetheless transcendental to this cosmic manifestation. He is the supreme knower of everything in this world, the Supersoul of the universe. He is the unborn, supremely situated Lord. I offer my respectful obeisances unto Him. (8.3.26)


hridi yoga-vibhavite

yogino yam prapashyanti

yogesham tam nato 'smy aham


I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme, the Supersoul, the master of all mystic yoga, who is seen in the core of the heart by perfect mystics when they are completely purified and freed from the reactions of fruitive activity by practicing bhakti-yoga. (8.3.27)

namo namas tubhyam asahya-vega-


prapanna-palaya duranta-shaktaye

kad-indriyanam anavapya-vartmane


My Lord, You are the controller of formidable strength in three kinds of energy. You appear as the reservoir of all sense pleasure and the protector of the surrendered souls. You possess unlimited energy, but You are unapproachable by those who are unable to control their senses. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You again and again. (8.3.28)

nayam veda svam atmanam

yach-chaktyaham-dhiya hatam

tam duratyaya-mahatmyam

bhagavantam ito 'smy aham


I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by whose illusory energy the jiva [individual spirit soul], who is part and parcel of God, forgets his real identity because of the bodily concept of life. I take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose glories are difficult to understand. (8.3.29)

[The Lord now replies to Gajendra]

ye mam stuvanty anenanga

pratibudhya nishatyaye

tesham pranatyaye chaham

dadami vipulam gatim


"My dear devotee, unto those who rise from bed at the end of night and offer Me the prayers offered by you, I give an eternal residence in the spiritual world at the end of their lives." (8.4.25)