Pain and Prayer

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

Thanks to H G Svayam sphruty prabhu who wrote in his earlier mail that it is auspicious to read Gajendra prayers during the month of Kartika and a subsequent mail from H G Vaijayantimala mathaji who gave a lucid explanation on one of Gajendra's prayers, I went on to find another gem, the last verse, in Gajendra's prayers (8.3.32). The verse is so self-explanatory and the purport is crystal clear, that I don't want to meddle with it. Only thing I felt when I read this prayer is that Devotees are so wonderful!!!! Even in the worst of pains they want to give some gift to the Lord!! Being an Elephant, Gajendra is able to offer a lotus flower to the Lord even in the most acute of pains - not an ordinary pain, but the pain of death! Interestingly, the way Gajendra ends his prayer is very similar to how Kunti Maharani ends her prayer - "yogeshvarakhila guro bhagavan namas te"!! Hope one day I can offer a flower to the Lord with a millionth part of the devotion with which Sri Gajendra offers the lotus flower!!!

so ’ntaḥ-sarasy urubalena gṛhīta ārto
dṛṣṭvā garutmati hariṁ kha upātta-cakram
utkṣipya sāmbuja-karaṁ giramāha kṛcchrān
nārāyaṇākhila-guro bhagavan namas te

Gajendra had been forcefully captured by the crocodile in the water and was feeling acute pain, but when he saw that Narayana, wielding His disc, was coming in the sky on the back of Garuda, he immediately took a lotus flower in his trunk, and with great difficulty due to his painful condition, he uttered the following words: "O my Lord, Narayana, master of the universe, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You."

PURPORT: The King of the elephants was so very eager to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead that when he saw the Lord coming in the sky, with great pain and in a feeble voice he offered respect to the Lord. A devotee does not consider a dangerous position to be dangerous, for in such a dangerous position he can fervently pray to the Lord in great ecstasy. Thus a devotee regards danger as a good opportunity. Tat te'nukampam susamiksamanah. When a devotee is in great danger, he sees that danger to be the great mercy of the Lord because it is an opportunity to think of the Lord very sincerely and with undiverted attention. Tat te 'nukampam susamiksamano bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam (SB. 10.14.8). He does not accuse the Supreme Personality of Godhead for having let His devotee fall into such a dangerous condition. Rather, he considers that dangerous condition to be due to his past misdeeds and takes it as an opportunity to pray to the Lord and offer thanks for having been given such an opportunity. When a devotee lives in this way, his salvation--his going back home, back to Godhead--is guaranteed. 

We can see this to be true from the example of Gajendra, who anxiously prayed to the Lord and thus received an immediate chance to return home, back to Godhead.

Thank you very much
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Kalacakra das