By Swami Harshananda
Indradyumna literally means ‘One whose wealth and power are like those of Indra’.
Indradyumna, As Gajendra
One of the often quoted incidents from the purāṇas in the support of ārtabhakti is that of Gajendra, the elephant king. Gajendra was actually a king, named Indradyumna, in his previous birth. He was the king of Pāṇḍyadeśa. Once he incurred the displeasure of the great sage Agastya and was cursed by him to be born as an elephant.
While roaming in a forest along with his herd, the elephant Gajendra went to a lake to drink water but was caught by a crocodile. After a lot of struggle to free himself, he helplessly turned towards Lord Viṣṇu and prayed piteously. Moved by his prayer, Lord Viṣṇu discharged his famous discus, known as Sudarśana, and killed the crocodile and saved Gajendra’s life.
This story teaches two lessons:
- The evil effects of dishonoring saints
- The power of intense devotion to god
Indradyumna, a King
- Ārtabhakti is known as the ‘devotion of the distressed’.
- Bhāgavata 8.2-4.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore