Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Gajendra Moksham Mural Paintings

Story of 'Gajendra Moksham':-Long ago there was a Pandya King by name 'Indradyumna' who was a firm believer of Lord Vishnu and once
when he was engaged in his daily prayers, Sage 'Agastya' who was a Saint and had several  divine powers
arrived at the Palace to meet the King.The King saw him but did not care and continued with his prayers.The Sage waited awhile but the King was not giving any attention.The  Sage could not tolerate the Raja's attitude
towards him and felt his behavior  as aggravating.The angry sage cursed the King to change his form as an Elephant.It happened as real and the Maharaja was turned to be a  big, sturdy Elephant who went to a nearby
mountain  known as 'Thrikudadri' and lived there.The elephant forgot about his past and he lived on the mountain happily suppressing all other animals with his strength.Thus Maharaja 'Indradyumna' turned out to be
'Gajendra' (Gajam=Elephant in Sanskrit,Malayalam etc).
The life of the Gajendra was not boring or miserable for him and he found enough grass,leaves,plants and herbs 
to eat and cool water was abundant in the ponds below the valleys of the mountain.One day after the long stroll
the elephant was tired and reached a pond in which he entered, drank enough water and took a nice bath.He
enjoyed that enchanting surrounding and liked the pond which was filled with lotus flowers.He plucked some lotus flowers and ate it.He was simply lying in the water and suddenly  something bite on one of his front leg very hard that the
elephant cried out in pain.He found that it was a crocodile and he tried to free himself from its bite but in vain.
That crocodile was also cursed to be that creature by Devas for some reason.Actually he was a 'Gandharva'(a
Krishnapuram Palace
Celestial being who was living in another world).The name of that Gandhasrva was 'Huhu' and because of a 
curse he got that crocodile form and had to live in the pond.The crocodile was also not remembering about 
his previous life and was spending his days in the pond.When he saw the elephant on that day he had the
impulse to bite on his leg and did not feel like to free him.
The elephant tried his level best to get off from the crocodile but he could not.His aggression about his strength
all melted away and tears rolled down from his eyes.In that helpless condition he remembered about his past
and his life as Maharajah Indradyumna came to lime light in his mind.He remembered about Lord Vishnu and
about the curse of sage Agastya.He felt sorry for not respecting the Sage when he came to his palace.
He repented about his life as the elephant who  showed  his power and supremacy on other animals on the mountain.
He started praying to Lord Vishnu with the prayers and Mantras he used to recite when he was Maharajah
Indradyumna.He focused his mind on the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu, and by chanting  the prayers he plucked
Mural painting at Krishnapuram Palace
Lotus flowers from the pond and placed it on a  lotus leaf supposing that  the presence of  Lord Vishnu was there.Days
passed by and  the humble prayers of Poor elephant was continued with full devotion.
At this instance Lord Vishnu arrived at the spot on his 'Garuda Bird' and at the sight of him the glad elephant
plucked a lotus flower and raised it up in offering to him humbly and with impetuosity.
Lord Vishnu with his weapon 'Sudarsana Chakra' killed the crocodile and freed the elephant.When the crocodile was killed it turned to the Gandharva which was his original form and God blessed him and sent 
him back to his world.
The elephant, ( who was Indradyumna ) was granted eternal bliss by Lord Vishnu.
This story is described in 'Maha Bhagavatham' which is holy book in poetry and gives elaborate stories
about  Lord Vishnu and his incarnations.This story 'Gajendra Moksham' has the importance to remind us
that we should respect elders, scholars,Saints and Sages,Teachers etc.Praying to God is necessary for
mental peace and happiness.God will always help his devotees whenever they are in trouble.
'Gajendra Moksham' scene is shown as mural painting and  wooden carving,stone sculptures in different
places of Kerala also.
A very ancient mural painting of 'Gajendra Moksham' is at 'Krishnapuram Palace' of Kerala which is the
biggest in this category.Krishnapuram Palace is near Kayamkulam in Alleppey District.
At 'Thripayar Sree Rama Temple' which is in Trichur District also mural painting of Gajendra Moksham is
existing  and also in 'Killikurissimangalam Siva Temple.At 'Kidangoor Temple of Kottayam District also
this story is shown as mural painting.
Wooden carving of Gajendrasmoksham is seen in Kaviyoor Siva Temple and Sasthamkulangara Temple of
Chengannur in Alleppey District.
Kaviyoor temple is in Thiruvalla of Pathanamthitta District and there it is shown in three parts.In the first
part the elephant in his happy mood is depicted and  in the second he is caught by the crocodile while in
the third  God arrives and helps  him is shown.
It is said that these mural paintings and sculptures of 'Gajendra Moksham' provides a divine feeling 
in the hearts of the viewers also.It reminds us not to be arrogant about our wealth or strength and urge us to pray
God for mental peace,happiness and eternal bliss.

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