This is a quick review of the topics we discussed on 01/22/2023.
In this session, we talked about how Bhagwaan comes to the rescue of Gajendra - the Elephant King and the associated symbolism behind this beautiful story from the 8th Canto.
The Samsari - The one blissfully lost in reverie.
Parikshit enquires about the story of the great elephant who was saved by Lord Vishnu. Shri Shuka then begins to narrate that story in the 8th Canto.
In a secluded valley in the Trikuta Mountain, which was intersected by rivers and lakes, there was a garden which belonged to Lord Varuna. It was full of celestial trees loaded with fragrant flowers & fruits.
A family of elephants lived close by and would often enter the garden and the lake.
Their leader was the mighty Gajendra - Courageous, Powerful and Enormous.
One day, they entered the lake and began sporting with each other - splashing and throwing water at each other.
The lake was also the home of an alligator, who being disturbed from his slumber, decided to teach them a lesson.
He grabbed one of Gajendra's legs with a vice-like grip.
Gajendra's retinue offer to help him, to which Gajendra replies "Oh, that's ok. I can manage."
But even after a long struggle, with several elephants helping & assisting Gajendra, the alligator does not let go.
One-by-one, all the other elephants leave the scene and Gajendra contemplates deep inside himself.
Gajendra develops deep dispassion and gets a glimpse of knowledge that his appeals to finite Jivas is a wasted effort. He has to reach out to that force which is the basis of all creation and the foundation for the whole universe.
He appeals remarkably to the Nirguna Ishwara - The formless Brahman. Answering his call, the ever-compassionate Bhagwaan Vishnu comes to Gajendra's rescue.
Bhagwaan first gives Mukti to the alligator who was holding on to the feet of a devotee. Seeing the Lord, Gajendra offers a lotus flower.
Pleased by Gajendra's humility and devotion, Bhagwaan grants moksha to Gajendra.
The Humility factor in Gajendra's story should remind us of 2 powerful instances from the great Mahabharata. The first one is the court scene in Hastinapura, when Draupadi calls out to Shri Krishna for help. The second instance is just before the Gita upadesha by Shri Krishna to Arjuna. In verse 7 of the 2nd Chapter, Arjuna accepts his helplessness and falls at Krishna's feet and pleads Him to help out with the situation.
The symbolism associated with the Gajendra story is indeed profound.
The beautiful lake represents Samsara - The material world we live in.
Gajendra is a symbol for all of us, with our retinue, our possessions, positions and power, that we are so proud of.
The frolicking in the lake represents all our worldly enjoyments, without a thought about Bhagwaan or the impermanence of this whole world.
The alligator represents the dangers of Samsara or Death.
When the alligator strikes, we initially feel confident of dealing with it by ourselves.
Any form of trouble or problem should make our minds reach for the higher. This is exactly what happened with Arjuna, Draupadi & Parikshit. Dispassion will lead us to Devotion.
The lotus flower being offered is symbolic of our mind, which has to be offered at the feet of the Lord.
Finally, the Su-Darshana chakra represents the unobstructed vision and compassion of the Lord which crushes and burns all ego, making us totally free.
A few lessons
We also saw a few lessons to elevate out mind from the pits of arrogance, vanity and pride towards humility, compassion and devotion.
For example, instead of saying "I know this already", let us reflect "What can I learn new ?"
Resources to Reflect
Srimad Bhagavatham Canto-Chapter Map:
This link provides the list of all the Cantos, Chapters & Topics within Bhagavatham. This should be a handy guide to help us navigate thru this voluminous text.
Chatushloki Bhagavatham (Core 4-Verses of Bhagavatham):
Here is a link to all the 4 verses from the Chatushloki Bhagavatham. Also is included a link to the audio recording.
Hari Om !!
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