The Elephant Gajendra’s Crisis Kumbh Mela, Nashik

Published on April 14, 2016 by

The other elephants who are my friends and relatives, could not rescue me from this danger, what then to speak of my wives, they cannot do anything. It is by the will of providence that I have been attacked by this crocodile and therefore I shall seek shelter of the supreme personality of Godhead, who was always the shelter of everyone, even of great personalities.

I am most honored and grateful for having been given this opportunity to serve all of you at this most auspicious event of the Kumbha Mela., Throughout the entire world the Kumbha Mela is known as the largest, most enthusiastic spiritual festival. In this holy tirtha of Sri Nasik we are gathered together at this most auspicious time of the Kumbha Mela Srimad-Bhagavatam tells us that the greatest blessing of coming to a holy place is to be in the company of holy people, to hear from them, follow the teachings that they give, and to render service. By this path of sadhu sangam Narottam Das Thakur explains that it is like millions of baths in the holy river. Hearing Krishna katha in the association of pure hearted devotees of the Lord not only liberates us from our sin, but it purifies our hearts, and eventually awakens fully our inherent original consciousness which is prema bhakti love for God. Srimad-Bhagavatam is considered by the great paramhamsa’s the self realized souls to be the crest jewel of all the Vedic literatures. Because from the very beginning it puts aside all the sub religious principles that most religious scriptures emphasize. People approach the absolute truth or various powerful energies of the Lord for economic development, for sense gratification of various forms, for piety, religion, or for liberation from suffering. In Kaliyuga anyone of these four are actually great things. Because they help one to recognize that there is the supreme power of themselves. In order to achieve their material desires or to free themselves from material anxieties, they’re willing to follow regulative principles and discipline their lives. This is the reason why all the great scriptures of the world and including the Vedic literatures put so much time and energy into teaching approaching God for arth, kama, dharma, moksha, to somehow or other elevate people’s consciousness.

Krishna tells in Gita that the Vedas mainly deal with the three modes of material nature. but one should rise above them and be transcendental. Srimad-Bhagavatam begins from that principle, is based on the supreme dharma, is loving devotional service to the supreme truth to Krishna, such service must be unmotivated by any selfishness, any arrogance, any material tinges, uninterrupted by any circumstance to truly satisfy the self. What satisfies Krishna is what satisfies our eternal self. Therefore Srimad-Bhagavatam the Amalam Puranam Chaitanya Mahaprabhu called pure Purana the nectarine pure Purana ,it exclusively teaches unalloyed devotional service. And teaches us by historical examples the spirit and the consciousness we should acquire in order to receive the grace of Sri Radha, wherein pure devotional service awakens.

We are reading today from Canto eight chapter 2 entitled the elephant Gajendra crisis. text number 32,


Radhanath Swami speaks on utter humility of Sanatana Goswami

Last night at Radha Madan Gopal’s beautiful temple, with the eloquent translation of his grace, Shiksha Astakam Prabhu we were discussing Srila Rupa Goswami, he was a Saraswat Brahmin by birth, he was the greatest of scholars. always absorbed and remembering Krishna. But even he and his brother Sanatana Goswami even with all of their power and influence and knowledge still they were put in many difficult situations. SrilaSanatana Goswami was dragged out of his beautiful palace and put in chains and shackles and thrown in a filthy dangerous snake infested underground prison. With the help of Rupa Goswami and his own incredible intelligence he escaped. Then he became the most wanted man, he was wearing the rags of a prisoner and he was running and running he was going through the jungles because of he went on any main road he would be captured and beaten and brought back to prison. so many difficulties.   Somehow or other he met Lord Chaitanya in Varanasi and went to Vrindavana Lord Chaitanya said come and meet me in Puri. After spending some short time in Vrindavana in his journey to Puri with the great anticipation of seeing Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Just as innocent and ordinary thing is what we do every day he just drank some water. But somehow or other that water caused him the most terrible painful disease. His entire body was covered with boils and rashes and there was blood and pus coming from all of these open sores, he smelled miserable. It was painful. and it was itching incredibly, he was so weak. And it just kept getting worse and worse. He was thinking what is the use of this body. If I’m near any devotee I’ll make aparadh offences to them because of smell and I can’t touch them and they can’t touch me and I don’t even want to come before the Lord

As Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was dancing with his associates in the presence of Lord Jagannath during the Rathyatra, I will cast this body under the wheel of Jagannath’s chariot and then perhaps in my next life I will get a better birth. Please understand how terrible this disease must’ve been for such an incredibly transcendental divine person as Sanatana Goswami to actually have made up his mind to take his life. When he arrived in Puri he went to Thakura Haridasa’s bhajan kutir, he asked Haridasa where is Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Haridasa Thakura said he’s here, he’s just come. Sanatana Goswami did his dandvat pranam Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “who is this”? Haridasa Thakura said “This is Sanatana Goswami” when Sanatana began to stand up, Lord Chaitanya stretched out his long arms to embrace him Sanatana said “no, no, don’t touch me I’m full of pus and blood and it’s infectious and contagious”. Lord Chaitanya embraced him very hard. As Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu very lovingly squeezed and embrace Sanatana in his arm   infections, blood and pus was just oozed out on his body. Lord Chaitanya was very happy but Sanatana Goswami was very sad, look what I’ve done to my worshipable deity, in his mind he didn’t say anything to anyone, but he was meditating on his goal. Lord Chaitanya is the Parmatma in everyone’s heart, he said Sanatana you are a thief. Sanatana didn’t know what he was supposed to say. He said “you think you have the right to destroy another person’s property that is a thief, you have surrender to me that means your body is my property, now you want to throw it under the chariot wheel of Jagannath and kill yourself you cannot do this, your body belongs to me. Lord Chaitanya turned to Haridasa Thakura he said, “what is this, don’t you see what a thief he is, he wants to destroy my property”. Sanatana didn’t say anything, but in his heart he was thinking Lord Chaitanya doesn’t like my plan, so he renounced his own idea.

He lived with Haridasa Thakhura for about eight months. Every day Lord Chaitanya would come there and embraced Sanatana Goswami. one day Sanatana Goswami described to Lord Chaitanya that I’m planning to go to Vrindavana Jaganand Pandit gave me this idea. Why? because I’ve come here to get purified and I’m only making aparadh I’m always putting blood and pus and infectious things on your body when you embrace me by force every day. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, oh for me it smells like nectar. When I embrace you and those substances come on me I become purified. that is the nature of love. he said when a loving mother cleans the urine and stool of her baby it smells like nectar. Because of my love for you and your love for me it is like nectar and I am embracing you for my own purification, then he reached out to embrace him again. Every time he tried to embrace him for all these months Sanatana Goswami always tried to run away. Lord Chaitanya never allowed him to run away. So on this day again he lovingly embraced and instantly Sanatana Goswami’s body became very beautiful and full of good health. Haridasa Thakura when he saw this he was so happy. He said “My Lord this is your pastime, you are the one who gave him that infectious disease and you are the one who made him suffer with it for so many months and now you cured him and made him so beautiful and effulgent. Lord Chaitanya after sometime sent him to Vrindavana to spend the rest of his life performing Lord Chaitanya Seva there.

Radhanath Swami narrates the story of Jatau’s sacrifice and surrender

We also discussed last night, the great Jatau in the service of Lord Sri Ram in out of deep love for Sita even though he was very old he attacked Ravana and fought with him, he didn’t have to do that, In fact even Sita said please Jatau do not fight with Ravana you’re too old and he’s too strong. just tell Ram who has taken me in which direction we’ve gone, that would have been the intelligent thing to do. But bhakti is the deepest intelligence, to love of his heart could not tolerate doing nothing while Sita was being dragged away and crying in desperation. We explained last night that Jatau used every single drop of his energy and his life to serve Sita. He was actually winning the fight, he was trying his best with all sincerity, and they fought for long time. But he became very tired because he was just very aged. Ravana was such a Rakshasha. when he saw Jatau was so tired he could not even hardly move. Instead of giving him some rest he drew his sword and cut off his wings. When he was in a helpless state and could not fight, Ravana took the advantage and cut off his huge wings. Jatau fell like a mountain to the ground and blood was profusely gushing out of his body. Sita ran to Jatau and embraced his bloody body and cried, there is no devotee as greatest as you Jatau. you have sacrificed your life only for me in the service of Ram From her supreme precious heart Sita was showering limitless blessings of gratitude and grace on the dying body of Jatau. Out of pure limitless love for him, her heart was broken to see him in this condition and it was because of her she said because of me look at you. On a material level Ravana conquered Jatau but on the spiritual level Jatau conquered the heart of Sita. Ravana dragged her away. Soon after Rama came and place Jatau’s head on his own lap, hearing Jatau tells the story, blood coming out of his mouth. chanting the name of Ram, looking at the beautiful face of Lord Rama who was gazing upon Jatau. Ram was crying he was so indebted with love. Jatau conquered the heart of Lord Sri Ram Chandra, Ram considered him the greatest of devotee. He gave him a promise on this very day your soul will attain my eternal spiritual abode. Jatau looking at Ram’s beautiful like loving face with Ram names on his beak, he gave up his life and went back home back to Godhead. the ultimate victory!.

Srila Prabhupada explains that this story teaches us that we should never be discouraged by apparent failures in our service we should never be disappointed that we can’t get the results that we are striving for, our true victory, our true success is the sincerity of the intent and the actions of our devotional service. Jatau here in the land of Panchavati he revealed to the world this principle. We are never discouraged by success or failure honor or dishonor because these things always coming and going in this world it is our surrender that is all important and our surrender is expressed to the sincerity of our devotional service. Radhanath Swami


Radhanath Swami narrates the story of Gajendra elephant How he surrender to God

Today we are reading of Gajendra he was an elephant not a human but he was a very powerful elephant. he lived in Trikuta .beautiful mountain surrounded by heavenly forests He was like a king of the animals he was so powerful. All the other animals in the forest, they either served him or they were very afraid of him. He protected all the other animals from dangers. He had a wonderful family. One day was just such a beautiful day he decided to have pleasurable holiday with his family, with his wives and children and friends they were roaming through the forest. The sweetest birds were singing there were fragrant flowers, blossoming giving good fragrances. They came to a lake, this lake of water was so crystal clear and pure. The temperature was so cool and refreshing. There were so many fully Blossom Celestial lotus flowers growing to make it so beautiful. The pollen of those lotus flowers was so sweet in fragrance and flavor. So much of those lotus pollen were falling into the water and merging. It was incredibly, intoxicatingly sweet fragrance and flavor of that water Gajendra began to drink the water, so cool, so refreshing, so incredibly delicious. He bathed in the water he was so filled with pleasure, he invited his children and his wives and his friends to all take their baths in this nectar. To show his love for all of his loved ones, he sucked in this sweet lotus water with his trunk and then he sprayed it on his loved one’s he was doing abhishekam for them. They were so happy, not only was it sweetest most lotus like fragrant the delicious water but Gajendra who was their father, who was their husband who was their Lord who was their protector, was so lovingly serving them by spraying this water on them. Can you imagine what kind of a shower that was coming from Gajendra’s trunk. They were so happy, it was the limits of happiness in material world could possibly imagine. The nature of love or affection is our greatest happiness is making our loved ones happy -Radhanath Swami so they were so happy and Gajendra was offering the services seeing their happiness he was the happiest possible he could of been in this material world. At this the most enjoyable perfect moment of happiness suddenly a crocodile bit his leg. I’m sorry that was not rehearsed this crocodile was so envious he wouldn’t tolerate Gajendra enjoying so much because he is underwater and is not beautiful like an elephant, he was very envious. crocodile teeth are very sharp it was right in the Gajendra’s leg. it was shocking, Gajendra with all of his strength because there was no one in the forest that could compete with him in strength and fighting. With all his powers he fought against this crocodile. But the crocodile wouldn’t let go of his leg no matter what he did. and they were fighting. they were fighting for a long time. Gajendra’s wives and his children and all his friends and subjects were horrified and they all tried to help him. Even the strongest elephants were pulling Gajendra from the back to get them out of the water, but the crocodile kept going up back on him, they fought from long time. Like Jatau, Gajendra got really, really tired and he lost all his strength, because crocodiles they get strengthened in water but elephants can’t stay in water so long, so he had no food or anything. He realized he was defeated, no one could help him, he was about to die.

And then something, his devotional service from a previous life that he had completely forgotten awakened in his heart. He was a king named Indradumna, he was a great devotee and he learned so many beautiful prayers of devotion and surrender to the Lord. But as strange it may sound due to the nature of this world, he made some mistakes and took his next birth is an elephant. He totally forgot about Krishna, forgot about bhakti, forgot about spirituality. He was just enjoying like no one can imagine his position as the king of the elephant in Trikuta. But this shocking helpless event caused him to remember the beautiful prayers that he learned in his past life.

In today’s verse he is saying the other elephants who are my friends and relatives could not rescue me from this danger, what to speak of my wives, they cannot do anything when I need them the most. They wanted to do something, his wives, his friends his children doing everything they could, but nothing helped they couldn’t do anything to actually help him. It is by the will of providence that I have been attacked by this crocodile. And therefore I shall seek shelter of the supreme personality of Godhead, who is always the shelter of everyone, even the great personalities. This truth is so emphasized within our holy Scriptures, the glory of Draupadi’s life was when she was in such a helpless condition even the Pandvas headed by Yudhishtir, Arjuna and Bhima could not help her. Her logic, intelligence, physical strength or beauty nothing could help her. all of her wealth nothing. She realized sarnagati, she lifted her arms and cried out Hey Krishna Hey Govinda. Similarly Gajendra lifted his trunk, and from his heart of hearts he realized only Krishna only Lord Vishnu can save me. This crocodile has been sent by the Lord to remind me of the most sacred purpose of life. As soon as he understood this principle and began to take shelter, he became fearless. bhajahu re mana sri-nanda-nandana abhaya-caranarvinda re. My friends, my ministers, my wives, my children, no one can help me with all my strength empowers I cannot help myself, Krishna sent this crocodile to awaken my consciousness.

Gajendra didn’t pray please save my life Krishna you’re the only one who could do that. He just gave his life to Krishna. I am yours forever unconditionally marobi rakhobi-jo iccha tohara nitya-dasa prati tuwa adhikara Thakura Bhaktivinoda prays like this, ”My Lord, if you like, you can protect me, if you like you can kill me you can do anything you like with me because I am your servant unconditionally. aslisya va pada-ratam pinastu mam. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu concludes Shikshastakam with this prayer my lord, if you like, you can embrace me or if it makes you pleased, you can trample on me or make me brokenhearted by neglect me you are free to do anything and everything you like because I am your servant, unconditionally. One level of saranagati is, Krishna save me, no one else can save me, higher or a deeper level of saranagati is, “Krishna I am yours, my body, mind, words, life, and my soul, everything is yours that was the mood of Gajendra’s surrender.

So even though he lost the fight with the crocodile materially speaking it was not only of physical defeat, it was a total wholesale experience of humiliation, right in front of everybody who respected him, and honored him, and worshiped him he was being defeated. he had lost all his prestige he had lost all of his self-esteem he lost every drop of pleasure and happiness, his ego was just devastated, his body was in devastating pain, his mind with complete anguish, he was about to die. At that moment he was victorious, because of that moment “Krishna I am yours”, offered prayers of love and gratitude to surrender. Lord Vishnu came down on Garuda. Gajendra plucked one of those sweet, fragrant lotus flowers with his trunk, with ecstatic tears filling his eyes and his heart in ecstasy, he offered that lotus flower to Lord Vishnu. As he prayed the pain of the crocodile was still there, but he transcended everything. He had no fear, he had no pain, because he had given everything to Krishna. Krishna took his Sudarshan chakra and cut the mouth of the crocodile, then he brought Gajendra back home back to Godhead. Where it took place Trikuta, is very similar to what happened here in Tarket Jatau was defeated and went back to Godhead, Gajendra was defeated went back to Godhead.


Radhanath Swami narrates the story of a devotee Ragni Devi’s pain and surrender

While driving here Pankajangri Prabhu Shikshaastakam Prabhu, myself were discussing on a recent story. It’s a painful but blissful story. if you hear with an open heart it will break your heart and it will make a joyful. it is happening right now it’s not from the puranas. but I will not tell you the story, because it’s very late I’ll just tell you one little part of it, you have to hear the details to get your heart broken and understand the happiness of it. but I will just give you a lesson from it.

One on my own god sisters a disciple of Srila Prabhupada her name is Ragini devi I did not ever know her actually but I got a letter from her. It was an email letter, it was in April I was in south India. She told me her story She was from France, her mother when she was 14 years old, was arrested by the antsy headed by Hitler. They were a Jewish family, everything was taken away from them and they were sent to the most horrible death camp called Auschwitz. As soon as they arrived right in front of her eyes she saw her mother, her father, her brothers and sisters murdered. But because she looked a little strong, so they kept her alive to work and to abuse and to exploit. she lived in that situation for two years from 14 to 16, seeing abuse and torture and death everywhere all day every day. living in total depression and fear. The concentration camp was liberated but it’s very difficult for people to be liberated from back trauma and experiences of spending two years of your childhood in that state. Ragini devi wrote that she brought up day and night experiencing deep, deep depression of her mother and therefore she was deeply depressed. She used to ask why do I have to live? Why do I have to be in this world? who am I ? She met devotees when she was 16, and the philosophy made sense to her and the concept of Krishna the all loving supreme personality of godhead and Srila Prabhupada’s compassion she found great hope and faith and purpose in her life for the first time. She was translating Prabhupada’s books into France and she became full-time devotee lived in the temple, and did incredibly wonderful, wonderful service for many years.

It’s a long story and I’m not going to tell you. She had two children, her husband left her. She was Prabhupada’s initiated disciple and after Srila Prabhupada left the world, things happened in France that shattered her heart. Somehow or other, she fell, she just had to take care of her two little children, and the depression of her youth came back so strongly. Just for material survival for her and her children, she didn’t meet a single devotee in about 29 years. Devotion just wasn’t a part of her life anymore, but then she got cancer, the crocodile of cancer, bitter and it was incurable. She was in such a state now she had nothing, One of her god sisters Mandakini devi, somehow heard about this and reached out to be with her. Because of that loving care of somebody, she hadn’t seen in 30 years, her devotion awakened. She completely surrendered, day and night she’s listening to tapes and lectures of Srila Prabhupada and another senior devotees. One of her god sisters gave her the deity of Gopal, she worships the deity of Gopal, she chants the holy names, she listens to Hari katha throughout the day.

I met her for the first time in the month of May. she is a completely surrendered soul and she’s grateful totally grateful and blissful as she surrendering to Krishna, Prabhupada and the Vaishnavas. Like Gajendra, she’s from the core of her heart with such love and gratitude she is thinking Krishna for the cancer. Because in that desperation when she was totally helpless, all of her past devotion, all of her past prayers everything came back in a fully self realize form to surrender her heart. So much in the mood of Draupadi and Gajendra. We see Srimad-Bhagavatam is a living philosophy, whether we are in the jaws of the crocodile, our whether we are in the very nice comfortable situation, every situation is a perfect opportunity for sarnagati. “:Krishna I am yours with my actions, thoughts, words and with my heart and life, I am the servant of the servant of your servants, Krishna I am yours” -Radhanath Swami.

In this spirit, we chant the holy name. in the mood of Gajendra louder please

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna Hare, Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama, Rama Hare, Hare

This is the nectar that we are seeking when we come to Kumbha Mela, the nectar of surrender, because in that nectar Krishna gives himself to us. when we give our hearts to Krishna, Krishna gives himself to us. -Radhanath Swami we want to share this wonderful news this beautiful message with the world. Srila Prabhupada gave us this chance, on behalf of Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu and our beloved acharyas

Thank you very much

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  • Kalpana Kulkarni 8 years ago

    Such instructive stories – we learn about humility, surrender to the Lord, taking shelter of the holy names and loving devotional service.

  • Jerry Richard 8 years ago

    The nature of love or affection is our greatest happiness is making our loved ones happy

  • Piyush Singh 8 years ago

    This is yet another engaging and enlightening talk by HH Radhanath Swami. With these wonderful stories we get to know few examples that epitomize the highest level of humility and surrender by these devotees. Especially the Gajendra incident is such an extreme graphic example that no matter who you are it is the wisest option to take shelter of the supreme Lord, who is the supreme shelter for everyone. Many thanks for uploading this inspiring video.

    • Gopinath Chandra 8 years ago

      It is engaging because what he says immediately connects to our experiences in life. That’s the beauty of the Srimad Bhagavatam and other great scriptures. Every soul in the material world finds them relevant. And speakers like Radhanath Swami make it all the more relate-able.

      And regarding the incident of Gajendra, similar incidents happen all around us so often. A relative is suffering from disease; a friend is struck by a financial crisis; and often times we ourselves are stuck in impossible-to-get-out situations. Krishna is the only hope.

      • Piyush Singh 8 years ago

        Thanks for sharing this wonderful point about the relevance of Srimad Bhagavatam. This is indeed true that we see these jaws of crocodiles all around us in form of various miseries. I’m deeply touched by what happened with Ragini Devi and how Krishna sent his help in form of his devotees at the right moment when she needed them the most. This strengthens our own faith in Lord Krishna and his being the protector of his devotees.

  • Kalpana Kulkarni 8 years ago

    Superb stories bringing out the message very powerfully.From the story of Sanatan Goswami we learn the true meaning of humility, from jtayu’s story – sacrifice and Gajendra and Ragni Devi’s stories -surrender. We hope we can follow in the footsteps of such great souls.

    • Piyush Singh 8 years ago

      Thank you very much for highlighting the main qualities of these exalted personalities. This is really very useful. I too aspire to follow in their footsteps.