Once upon a time, a king named Indradyumn ruled the southern part of Bharat
(India). He was a great worshipper of Lord Vishnu. He decided to retire from his duties
and spend full time in worshipping God. He convened a meeting with his ministers and
told them, “I have decided to retire to the forest and devote all my time to the worship
of the Lord. I am sure you are capable of running the kingdom in my absence.” Hearing
this news, the ministers were shocked but could not change the king‛s mind.
Soon the king Indradyumn handed over all his responsibilities to the ministers
and headed to the Malaya Parvat (mountain). He built a cottage there and started
One day Sage Agastya came that way with his disciples. The sage saw that the
king was engaged in prayers silently, on the contrary he should have been fulfilling his
responsibilities of his kingdom. So the sage felt that the king was not following his
duties. Hence, he got angry and cursed the king: “This king has not received proper
preaching from his teachers. He is selfish and has taken up whimsical actions. He has a
mind as dull as an elephant. So may he turn in to an elephant.”
Thus, cursing the king, Sage Agastya left. King Indradyumn became an elephant.
He joined a herd of elephants. Soon other elephants accepted him as a king. he became
the king of elephants because of his virtues. All elephants proclaimed loudly, “We salute
you O King Gajendra!!”
One day, the king Indradyumna (now an elephant) said to the other elephants,
”lets go to the Trikut Mountains. It is a better place to live.” Other Elephants, ”we will
follow you anywhere O King.”
Soon they reached the Trikut mountain. There, they saw a lake. Before entering
the lake, the elephants quenched their thirst and then took bath in it. Then taking a lot
of water in his trunk, Gajendra began to sprinkle it over his fellow elephants.
Unfortunately there was a crocodile sleeping at the bottom of the lake. He woke
up angrily, “Who dared to disturb my sleep? I am going to teach them a lesson so that
they will remember next time.” The furious crocodile saw the elephants and began to
swim towards them.
The elephants saw the crocodile coming
towards them. They quickly came out of the
water but the Gajendra could not. The crocodile
caught the Gajendra‛s leg. The Gajendra cried
panickly, “ouch! What‛s that? I can‛t move
my leg. Please somebody help me.” He saw
that it was a crocodile who grabbed his leg.
The Gajendra tried his best to shrug off the
crocodile but in vain.
Hearing their King all other elephants
hurriedly came to help him. “Don‛t worry O
Gajendra we will release you in a minute. It is
only a crocodile.”
But, inspite of all their efforts, they could
not set Gajendra free. They too tired and gave
up. The crocodile continued to grow stronger.
Finally the Gajendra dedicated himself to the
Lord Vishnu and began to pray: O omnipresent
Lord, I salute you. You are the protector of all
the beings, kindly protect me. O Almighty, as the sea is the ultimate refuge of all the
waters, you are the ultimate refuge for all the creatures. Every creature takes shelter
under your Kripa (kindness). O sea of kindness, you make no delay in the welfare of your
devotees. I salute you. I am in your refuge. O Lord, protect me”.
The Lord Vishnu appeared there at once. Gajendra saw Lord Vishnu. Though being
in trouble and pain, he forgot his pain for a moment and picked up a beautiful lotus
in his trunk and said to Lord Vishnu: “O Lord, kindly accept my greetings”. Looking at
Gajendra‛s devotion, Lord Vishnu smiled. Along with Gajendra, He pulled the crocodile
out of the lake and punished it by His Sudarshan chakra, and thus freed Gajendra.
Happy Gajendra touched Lord Vishnu‛s feet and said, “Hey Lord! I became elephant
because of sage Agastya‛s curse. Please free me from his curse.” Lord Vishnu blessed,
“So be it!!”
Thus, with the blessing of Lord Vishnu, Gajendra again became the King Indradyumn
and returned back to his kingdom. He continued fulfilling his responsibilities towards his
kingdom and people and also continued worshipping Lord Vishnu.