Gajēndra Mōkṣam


The story of Gajēndra Mōkṣam tells of a king who venerates the god Lord Viṣṇu with great dedication. In deep meditational retreat he does not acknowledge a holy man with the necessary respect. He is therefore cursed by the holy man. From that moment on the king has to run around the forest transformed into the shape of an elephant bull. While playing at a little lake he meets a Gandharvā (heavenly being) who has also been cursed and turned into a mighty crocodile. The Gandharvā immediately lunges at him, bites him in one of his legs and does not let go. After a long and bitter struggle the elephant grows tired. In his desperation he remembers his prayers to the god Lord Viṣṇu, plucks a lotus flower with his trunk and venerates him. This leads to the god Lord Viṣṇu appearing and killing the crocodile. Both are freed from their curse and are bestowed with Mōkṣam, the release from the cycle of reincarnation.


This story in the Parayan Thuḷḷal style was performed by my teacher Shri Divakaran Nair for the first time in 1936. As this style of Thuḷḷal is largely unpopular he never passed it on to one of his pupils. The text was not written by Kunchan Nambiar, but instead by the poet Veṇmaṇi Mahan Nambūtiri (1845-1894).



Hartmut Schmidt

Harianu Harshita

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