Long ago, King Indradyumna ruled over the Pandya kingdom. He was a great devotee of God
Vishnu. He used to begin the day's work only after worshipping the god. One day, while the
king was at his worship, sage Agasthya came to the palace. Agasthya told the servant at
the door, "Tell Indradyumna that I have come to see him." But the king could not
leave in the middle of his worship. Therefore he said to the doorkeeper, "Receive the
sage with the utmost respect, conduct him to my chamber and beg him to be seated. I will
The sage expected that the king would himself come to welcome him. When he saw the servant
who came back, he was angry. He thought that the king did not appear because of arrogance.
So he cursed him, saying, "0 King, since you did not honor me out of pride, may you
be born as an elephant!" He was about to leave the palace.
By then the king completed the worship. He came running and begged Agasthya to forgive him
and explained the reason for the delay. The sage realized that the king was not to blame;
he felt sorry for him. But a curse is like an arrow, which has left the bow-, it cannot be
recalled. But still
Agasthya said, "Indradyumna, when the sacred wheel of Lord Vishnu touches you, the
curse will end." So he indicated the remedy, too.
The king became an elephant. The elephant moved with other elephants in the
forest. Later on, he became 'Gajendra', the king of the elephants. One day, the elephants
were thirsty. They went to a lake to drink water. The elephants entered the water and
drank water to their hearts' content.
Suddenly a big crocodile in the water caught the leg of Gajendra. It started pulling
Gajendra into the water. The elephant fought back. But the crocodile would not let go. The
other elephants too came to the rescue of their king. They tried to pull him out of the
water. But the crocodile was a big and strong one. It pulled harder than all the
elephants. The elephants said in despair, "God alone can help you," and left the
place. Step by step
Gajendra was pulled into the water. When all the elephants left him, he did not know what
to do. He began to pray to-God; he cried out, "You are the hope of those who have no
other hope," and prayed to Lord Hari in many ways.
Mahavishnu who was in heaven heard his devotee's cry of despair. How can the Lord bear it
if his devotees suffer even a little? At once he mounted Garuda, who carries the Lord
everywhere; he came to the lake where Gajendra was, and hurled the Chakra, the sacred
wheel, at the crocodile.
Blazing like a thousand suns and revolving round and round, the Sudarshana Chakra shot
forward and cut off the head of the crocodile. The compassionate Lord brought the elephant
out of the lake. He accepted with all affection the lotus flower devoutly offered by
Indradyumna was liberated from the curse.