We all know God comes to our rescue, when we face troubles. There are instances where even animals have received the Grace of God. Here is one such incident , where Lord Vishnu rescues an elephant from being killed by a crocodile.
In a thick forest , there lived many elephants . The king of elephants was Gajendra. Gajendra took full care of his herd.This herd was in the habit of offering prayers to Lord Vishnu, after taking bath in a pond near by. One day as usual, they all went to the water source to bathe and the herd was led by Gajendra, their king. They were enjoying their bath and having fun there, by splashing water on one another with their long trunks.
Suddenly, one of them saw the beautiful Lotus bloomed in the water far away from their place. Nevertheless the fragrance reached them. Gajendra carried away by its beauty, and fragrance , waded through the water and reached the lotus. With the help of his trunk, he plucked the flower and was returning back.He almost reached the sands .He stepped on the shore with his one leg. But.....alas.. he could not lift his other leg.
There was a crocodile in the water. He had caught hold of one of the legs of Gajendra. With his one leg on the sands , Gajendra tried hard to free himself from the crocodile. But the crocodile did not leave his hold . Gajendra's struggle went on for a long time. The other elephants tried to free Gajendra but of no use. One by one they all left, leaving Gajendra all alone there .
Gajendra and the crocodile were having a tough fight. One was dragging the other. The elepant dragged the crocodile to the land and the crocodile dragged the elephant into the water. This duel went on for some time.
Gajendra the elephant, realised that there is no way he could free himself from the crocodile, Now as a devotee of Lord Vishnu, he cried loud, "Adhimoolame , Abayam." meaning " Oh, Lord Vishnu! Save me."
On hearing Gajendra's cry, Lord Vishnu flew down seated on Garuda.(His vehicle, the eagle) With his Sudharshana Chakra ,he freed Gajendra from the mouth of the crocodile.
While Gajendra got wisdom, the crocodile also reached heaven as he was killed by none other than Lord Vishnu himself.
This incident is said to have taken place in Kapisthalam, near Kumbakonam in Tamilnadu. This place is now the temple tank of Gajendra Varadaraja Perumal temple.Here is the photo. (The temple tank is dry now)
This is the place where Gajendra Moksha is said to have taken place.
picture courtesy--Sri.Tamizh Elango.