Lord Narayana’s saving of the elephant Gajendra is one of the most celebrated of the Lord’s acts. It has been sung of by the Azhvars, who have marvelled at the Lord’s kindness, which prompted Him to rush to the rescue of the elephant in response to its cries. Parasara Bhatta points to many names in the Vishnu Sahasranama as referring to the Gajendra moksha episode, said M.A.Venkatakrishnan in a discourse. One such name is Pesalah. The Lord was in such a tearing hurry to help Gajendra that He did not even dress the way He usually did. His clothes were all mixed up; his hair was unkempt. And yet He looked as lovely as ever.
Another name is Dakshah, which means the One who came fast. He urged Garuda to travel faster and faster, so as to reach Gajendra as soon as possible. He is Dakshinah, because although He came so fast, He still feels He has not responded with promptitude to the elephant’s entreaties for help. He experienced a sense of relief only upon seeing Gajendra, and hence He is Kshaminaamvarah. He nursed Gajendra’s wound. He cleaned it using His uttiriyam, and blew on it to soothe the elephant, and so He is vidwattamah. He is Veetabhayah, because His speed rid Gajendra of fear.
Punyasravanakeertanah indicates that if we hear, speak of or think of Gajendra moksha, our sins are destroyed. He is Dushkrtiha, because He killed the crocodile. He is Punyah, because through this incident of Gajendra moksha, He gets rid of our sins. He is Dusswapnanasanah because He says to Gajendra, “He who thinks of Me, of you and of this lake will not have nightmares.” He is Veerahaa, because He killed the crocodile. He is Paryavastitah, because out of His love for Gajendra, He went around the elephant repeatedly. He comforted Gajendra by embracing him, and so He is Rakshanah.
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