Prayer is the first means of the weak and the last means of the strong.
-Daaji quoting his Guru, The Heartfulness Way
The cool waters of the lake, lay still. The crocodiles were swimming lazily after feeding well on the fishes and other small animals that strayed into the waters, unsuspectingly. The sun still young in the sky moved forward gently towards the horizon.
A herd of elephants approached the lake. The boisterous and strongest among them, Gajendra entered the waters causing commotion and disturbance to the peaceful atmosphere. He was oblivious to the surroundings, and focused on the two new cows that joined the herd. He was undoubtedly strongest and youthful. There were many scars on his body each telling the tale of the fierce battles he fought both within and outside the herd.
The crocodiles in the lake moved further downstream as they had no interest to pursue the many elephants. Moreover the waters were shallow and with firm footing on the ground the elephants had clear advantage.
Gajendra’s playfulness increased and he started splashing water with his trunk, and continued to pluck the lotuses from the lake throwing them on the cows. Inadvertently he stepped on a mound where a giant crocodile was resting. The crocodile attacked the elephant viciously. He grabbed Gajendra’s leg and pulled him into deep waters. The elephant tried picking up the crocodile with its trunk. For a moment the crocodile let go of the leg and attacked the trunk. The elephant trampled the crocodile.
Meanwhile, the other elephants left the waters and retreated to safety.
Gajendra moved towards the banks, but the crocodile swiftly cut off his path, caught his leg between the teeth, and started pulling him to the deep end. They battled long and hard.
The crocodile won for a while, before the elephant gathered strength and began thrashing it. The elephant won at times, almost getting out of water, but the crocodile renewed the attack, in its natural habitat.
Birds, monkeys, elephants, small animals, other crocodiles all stopped in their tracks and watched the heroic struggle. The sun moved further down on its path, bearing witness to the many struggles of existence.
The battle for life continued, both bleeding profusely. The metallic odor of the blood attracting scavengers of both worlds. Patience rewards in the jungle.
Gajendra, his strength waning, gasping for breath, looking for respite, pleading help from friends and family in the herd, as all were waiting for the inevitable.
He looked up to the heavens, and called out with deep anguish, “Lord, you who creates the worlds and animates them, who gives strength, support, sustenance, for all beings, – I am losing the battle. I am tired, losing hope and courage, you alone are my refuge. Please decide whether I must live or die. I have realized that strength means only so much, power means nothing. Please come and help.”
The prayer is answered and help arrives in the form of Lord Vishnu who brings the events to a conclusion. Gajendra lives.
The story of Gajendra’s rescue is one of the most popular stories of Bhagavata Purana and merits a closer read than what is depicted here.
The dire circumstances in which one prays is all too common. When one is subjected to poverty, when one’s honor or life is at stake, prayer is discharged. Prayer is routed through an automatic and unmanned exchange. It reaches the one who can act, and help arrives.
दुख में सुमिरन सब करे, सुख में करे ना कोय |
जो सुख में सुमिरन करे, तो दुख कहे को होय ||
In anguish everyone prays to Him,
in joy does none
To one who prays in happiness,
how can sorrow come
Moving from an emergency prayer to a prayerful attitude and gratitude is the way to incident free life. In his book co-authored with Joshua Pollock, Daaji shares many insights. Please read the book, and cultivate a prayerful attitude.
You may purchase a copy of the book here.
“Read and Enjoy. Do and Feel.”, this is the philosophy of the Heartfulness practitioners. There are many gems in the book, and we should collect each one of them and share. Happy reading and sharing.