Two stories about elephants

Two different stories about elephants bringing out two different perspectives and different ways to solve our problems!

Story 1 – Gajendra Moksham (How the elephant was liberated)

A very old & wise elephant rules the forest, enjoys a huge number of followers who respect and serve him. After many decades of enjoying the servitude, there is an innate pride and ego that sets in! Same was true for the elephant as well! One day, when the elephant goes to take a bath in the river with its herd, and a crocodile in the river catches hold of the elephant’s leg tightly. The elephant tries to fight the crocodile but finds it difficult to release itself. The elephants family, relatives, herd, followers and everyone try to help, however none of the help seems to be of use.

The desperation continues for days and weeks and slowly, the followers leave, its herd starts dispersing, the family needs to continue with their lives and leave, children leave, spouse stays the longest and unable to bear the pain and helplessness, the elephant asks it to leave. Now, standing alone the elephant tries to fight the crocodile with all its might. The crocodile having hurt the elephant’s legs, head and stomach seems to have overpowered the elephant. As a final gesture of helplessness and surrender, the elephant calls out to the Lord of the Universe to come and help him! The Lord instantly comes on his Eagle and releases the elephant from the clutches of the crocodile!

Gajendra Moksham from Srimad Bhagavatam - The Cultural Heritage of India

There comes a point in life, when we need to fight our own battles. Those with us (however close our relationship) can help us to some extent – but cannot travel with us all the way through our lives. There comes a point of surrender, when the Lord steps in to release us from our pain!

Faith makes miracles seem normal

Story 2 – Elephant and Gautama Buddha

A powerful King had an elephant that was brave and highly capable. One elephant was sufficient to win the battle against any enemies. The elephant knew its strength and when to use it. After many decades of enjoying the pride & servitude, there is an innate pride and ego that sets in! Same was true for this elephant as well! One day, the King realizes that the elephant is growing old and wants to reduce its workload. He decides to not send this elephant anymore to the battlefield. The elephant realizes it is getting old and starts enjoying the rituals in the palace grounds. One day, when the elephant goes to take a bath in the river with the palace guards, its leg gets stuck in the swamp below and the elephant finds it difficult to get itself out. The palace guards alert the King and bring huge equipment & chains to pull the elephant out. All their efforts go in vain and the elephant keeps sinking into the swamp. Everyone around feels helpless.

The King announces that anyone who has an idea to solve it will be rewarded. Someone in the crowd suggests Gautama Buddha was traveling nearby and they could seek his help. Gautama Buddha hears about the elephant and its plight, and agrees to the King’s request to visit the elephant. He observes the place, the elephant, and the current scenario. He suggests that the King order the guards to sound the battle drums. Everyone is perplexed, yet they do as requested. The sound of the battle drums makes the elephant shake itself and stand up, shout a battle cry and forge itself out of the swamp. Everyone is surprised at this miracle.

NIBBANA: Life History of Buddha

Gautama Buddha explains – the elephant is a very capable one. As someone qualified it to be old, it convinced itself that it was old and needed help. It had lost its willpower and motivation. Battle drums are sounded when we get ready to fight, and that has always been a trigger that worked for the elephant, so sounding this brought out the enthusiasm in the elephant. It solved its own problem by using its willpower.

Faith & belief in oneself & our innate capabilities makes us create these miracles for ourselves

I loved both the stories. Sometimes we need to believe in ourselves and our capabilities to fight our battles and come through! When someone around us believes in our capabilities and cheers us, our enthusiasm and will power significantly increases and we tend to be able to move mountains! When we seem to have no one around us to continue to cheer us, Faith in the Lord bridges that gap and surrendering unto him gets us the help we need to wade through our crisis!

It is not miracles that generate faith, but faith that generates miracles!

2 thoughts on “Two stories about elephants

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