“The Lord’s Maya both veils and reveals the universe and He is a witness to the happenings at all times. He is the sole protector of all beings. He alone exists always even after the deluge when all other creation has dissolved in Him. An individual cannot grasp His greatness that even celestial beings and sages have been trying to understand. An actor dons many roles and hides his identity in them; so too God assumes many names and forms and remains hidden and beyond our reach.”

These are some observations of the lordly elephant Gajendra when he appeals to the Almighty to save him from the crocodile’s powerful grip. The call for help might have been for relief from a physical plight, but it assumes the stature of a plea for salvation, pointed out Sri P. M. Vijayaraghava Sastrigal in a lecture. It was a moment of realisation for him when all other efforts failed and he resorted to the highest power for help.

The elephant’s bhava typifies that of one who has surrendered to the Lord, “a prapanna.” Its two main aspects are — total faith in the Lord (who alone is capable of all protection and granting the highest goal, salvation) and total awareness of one’s own helplessness. Sure enough the Supreme Lord responds to the earnest appeal of the supplicant unfailingly and in the case of Gajendra hastened to relieve him not merely from the crocodile but also from samsara.

The truth of the individual’s relationship with the Lord has to be perceived in the inner depths of one’s Self. But it is an irony that the individual is prevented from recognising the immortal Self within, which is unaffected by upheavals of life.

The individual’s ego-sense and a preoccupation with worldly life pursuing sense objects effectively eclipse its presence. What ought to be constantly felt and directly experienced is concealed and unseen.

Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that His Maya is a difficult riddle and cannot be easily cracked. By seeking His feet in the spirit of “a prapanna” one can hope to get liberated. God is ever ready to help us out from the cycle of birth and waits for our trustful appeal.

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