In the previous episode, we had witnessed the culmination of the seventh “Skandha” of Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana with an extended discussion of the important “Dharma” called “Atithi Samskaara” or “Atithi Sathkaarya”. In due course of yesterday’s discussion, we pointed out that, more than just fulfilling the food requirements of our guests (Atithi), we should also make sure that we fulfil their expectations with which they had come in search of us. We should identify their expectations, console them with loving words and try to fulfil their expectations in whatever way possible. Of course, when we highlight this point, we should also understand that if we’re giving a commitment to somebody, we should give it only after realizing whether we would be able to honor it or not. If perhaps we do not have the resources to support such commitments, it is better not to give a promise to that person. Rather, we can always explain to them that for the moment it might be difficult for us to fulfil their expectation and can maybe guide them to someone else who can potentially help them. This is a much better way of “Atithi Samskaara”, rather than giving a false commitment and then backing out at a later stage! This will leave the person in the midst of a confusion as to which way to go. This should never be the case in any person’s life and we shouldn’t be those who inflict such situations for them.
Thus with this, we come to the end of the seventh “Skandha” and Sage Sukhaachaarya has narrated innumerable aspects of “Dharma” in this. Of course, due to various limitations, we’ve discussed only few of them, but there are many more in the long list. Maybe if we get another opportunity in the near future, we shall take it up with a detailed discussion on them. But for now, we shall move on with the eighth “Skandha”. Now we move on to a very important event in this text, called “Gajendra Moksha”. From now on, we would witness one story in every 3-4 episodes on an average. There are many stories that we need to look into and is going to be very interesting for all of us, of course, with lot of messages hidden inside every story. Now let us commence with the story of “Gajendra Moksha”. As we move into the story, we should have a brief “background check” and should continue from where we left previously. As readers might remember, the last story that we had witnessed is that of Prahlaada and Hiranya-Kashibu. We had seen how Bhagawan incarnated in the form of the fearful Narasimha-Moorthy to kill Hiranya-Kashibu and save His ardent devotee, Prahlaada. Now moving on from where we left, readers might be remembering that we had witnessed the story of “Manvantara”. This “Manvantara” is nothing but the day-time for Bhagawan Brahma and is ruled by fourteen kings of the “Manu” dynasty. Each “Manu” king had ruled 71 “Chatur-Yugas” and if we multiply this, it becomes 1000 “Chatur-Yugas”, which is approximately 43 Lakh years in time period. We’ve witnessed this in our earlier episodes as well and readers might get back to those episodes for a quick recollection.
In this, we’ve also witnessed the life events of the first “Manu” king by name “Svaayambhuya Manu”, under who’s family tradition we saw people like Utthaanapaada, Devahooti, Prasuthi, Aahuti, Karthama-Prajaapati, etc. With all these stories, we’ve come to the end of the first 71 Chatur-Yugas and thereby come to an end of the discussion on the first “Manu” king. Now we’ve to witness the stories of the subsequent “Manu” kings here and Sage Sukhaachaarya elaborates the same. It might be a little confusing for readers to understand these points, and hence, I request all of you to take down notes as you read on, ponder over these points repeatedly and connect the dots.
Now we move on with the next “Manu” king by name “Svaarosisha Manu”. The third “Manu” king was “Uttama Manu”. Subsequently the fourth one was “Taamasa Manu”. It is during the time period of this “Taamasa Manu”, this particular event that we’re about to discuss, is taking place. There was a mountain range by name “Trikoota”. This mountain had three peaks in it. One peak was of gold, second was of silver and the third was of bronze. It was a tall mountain and rich in minerals like these. Just beside these mountain peaks, there was a huge lake with many lotus flowers blooming in them. We can imagine here, how scenic that place would have been! 😊 It is beside these mountains and the pond, a male elephant is roaming around with a herd of female elephants. This male elephant is hunting down all the plants, trees, etc. on its way, as it is roaming around the place. This elephant is none other than the great “Gajendra”. This “Gajendra” has a previous history of births in which he was a great and an ardent devotee of Bhagawan Vishnu. We shall witness that history in a while from now.
Now, this Gajendra is roaming its way and comes near this pond with all the beautiful lotus flowers in it. It had a desire thus: “Oh wow! What a nice pond is this! How beautiful are these lotus flowers! Maybe we should pluck these lotus flowers (few of them) and offer them to our Bhagawan Vishnu!” Thinking thus, the elephant slowly enters into the pond. It slowly keeps one foot after the other into the water and enters inside. As Gajendra swirls his huge trunk here and there to pluck the flowers, there is a crocodile waiting there in the midst of the water! Upon seeing the huge Gajendra swinging and swaying his way into the pond, the crocodile sees this as an opportunity to have some “tasty food”! The crocodile thus crawls towards Gajendra. However, immersed in the thought of plucking the lotus flowers and offering them to Bhagawan, Gajendra did not notice this crocodile crawling towards him inside the waters.
What happens next? Is the crocodile going to succeed in its pursuit? What is going to be Gajendra’s reaction? An interesting section of this story awaits us in the next episode! Stay tuned! 😊