I was going through this question about animals attaining Moksha.

According to story, both elephant and crocodile were the devotees of the the Lord Vishnu in previous life. In the plot of the story, elephant named the Gajendra(King Indradyumna in previous life) was drowned in to the lake by a crocodile(Huhu, a ghandarva in previous life). The crocodile caught the elephant's leg and was dragging him to the deep water. The story end like this, Lord Vishnu appears and escapes Gajendra from crocodile by killing the crocodile with the weapon 'Sudarsana Chakra' and then the elephant got the Moksha.

So the question goes here, even though it is known as 'Gajendra Moksha', actually the moksha was given to the crocodile also. And crocodile got the 'rare privilege'(same as in the case of Ravana, Kamsa,etc.) of getting killed by the hands of Lord Vishnu and was given moksha before the Gajendra. The crocodile was actually trying to kill the devotee elephant who prayed Lord Vishnu with this famous prayer,

शुक्लांबरधरं विष्णुं शशि वर्णं चतुर्भुजं ।

प्रसन्न वदनं ध्यायेत सर्व विघ्नोपशान्तये॥

But the moksha was first given to the crocodile who had not at all prayed to Lord and also we can not find any form of devotion directly to Lord Vishnu or any other Gods from the crocodile. But in the case of Gajendra, he was chanting and praying the name of Lord Vishnu with total devotion. Still he was second compared to the crocodile in attaining Moksha. What is the reason? Why was the true devotee elephant Gajendra second? Or what was the particular form of karma or devotion method of crocodile which lead to attaining moksha?

  • The crocodile merely got "mOchana" from the curse that made turned it into a crocodile. True mOksha was given to gajEndra.
    – user1195
    Jan 11, 2015 at 13:34

4 Answers 4


As per Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa) » 8.4, the crocodile didn't attain moksha at all. He was Gandharva King Hūhū earlier, by the curse of Devala Muni became a crocodile and again regained his original form i.e. Gandharva King Hūhū and returned to Gandharvaloka.

Texts 3-4: The best of the Gandharvas, King Hūhū, having been cursed by Devala Muni, had become a crocodile. Now, having been delivered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he assumed a very beautiful form as a Gandharva. Understanding by whose mercy this had happened, he immediately offered his respectful obeisances with his head and began chanting prayers just suitable for the transcendental Lord, the supreme eternal, who is worshiped by the choicest verses.

Text 5: Having been favored by the causeless mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and having regained his original form, King Hūhū circumambulated the Lord and offered his obeisances. Then, in the presence of all the demigods, headed by Brahmā, he returned to Gandharvaloka. He had been freed of all sinful reactions.

The Lake -> The world
The Gajendra Elephant coming to drink water -> The souls coming to world to do Karma
The Crocodile -> Sins done by the soul

Because of the soul's sin soul has to take rebirth in the world again and again. So how to get free from world and attain Moksha?

So to cut the past sins or to stop ourselves from doing more sins, the only way is making GOD as our goal,keeping in mind GOD and behaving like we do not hurt others.

When we continuously chant GOD's name, the feeling to surrender to GOD happens which is described as "Bhakti".

Because of "Bhakti" we are inspired to do less sins and we feel guilt for our past sins.

And we surrender to GOD that I accept my all sins and now whatever I have done I am doing "Praschatap" for that.

So because of your true worship GOD cut your sins(Crocodile) and you become free to attain Moksha.

This is true message actually.

And according to scripture the story narrates only Gajendra's Moksha, not about corcodile's.

But this is also written in Vishnu Puran that whoever Lord Vishnu kills gets "Vaikuntha Loka".

Just like Jaya and Vijaya became door-keepers by getting killed by Lord Vishnu.

But getting Vaikuntha Loka does not sense that we get Moksha because Jay Vijaya has to take birth 3 times again because of curse.

So we should understand that only keeping GOD in memory will cause someone to attain Moksha. Not by killing some devotee's life. Otherwise people will try to get Moksha by such violant way.

  • The message in my answer does not mean to harm the devotees, the story just pass the message that serving a true devotee is equal to serving the Lord he worships. It does not mean to harm devotees to get moksha. Touching a true devotees feet is more than enough to get moksha.
    – user11
    Aug 1, 2014 at 16:43
  • Even though you provide another good message from the story, I couldn't find the reason for the crocodile attaining the moksha prior to Gajendra. The question is what Karma made the crocodile eligible for being killed by the hands of Lord Vishnu? You made it clear that it is the story of Gajendra's moksha, but it do have lot of other interpretations too.
    – user11
    Aug 1, 2014 at 17:11
  • Also I was not aware that Jaya and Vijaya were killed by Lord Vishnu and then became the gate keepers. Where is this story mentioned? Could you please provide a reference for that? Would like to know more about that story...
    – user11
    Aug 1, 2014 at 17:12
  • Read the story of Jaya Vijaya here
    – prem30488
    Aug 1, 2014 at 18:45
  • And see video of how Jaya Vijaya became gate-keepers? They were killed by Lord Vishnu because both of them stopped Brahma from creating world. See here . They were demons before being Gate keepers. Kaitav and Madhu.
    – prem30488
    Aug 1, 2014 at 18:59

Simple answer is that both are destined for liberation at the same time.

Both Crocodile and Elephant are the ministers under a same king named Alakesha in their previous lives. Elephant was Parshvamauli and Crocodile was Ghanöanada. So, they both were colleagues.

Shri Narada said: The sages tell an ancient story of how by simply seeing Cakra-tirtha one becomes free of all sins. There once was a great, pious, and wealthy king named Alakesha, who performed a Vishnu-yajna on the summit of Mount Kailasa. ..................... Karttikeya worshiped the assembly. Kuvera's two ministers, Ghanöanada and Parshvamauli, who were very generous and most learned in the scriptures, were also there. In this way the yajna, carefully performed according to the rules and regulations, was a great and festive success.

[16-23, Chapter 10: In the Description of the Gomati River, the Glories of Cakra-tirtha, Canto 6, Garga Samhita]

Sage durvasa cursed them out of anger. The reason was their greediness. The curse on Ghanöanada is to become Crocodile and the curse on Parshvamauli is to become an Elephant.

Shri Narada said: Hearing these words, generous and charitable Kuvera said, “Yes. I agree. Please take them. As Kuvera was about to give the nine treasures, his two ministers, Ghanöanada and Parshvamauli, who were bewildered with greed, spoke. The two ministers said: What will this greedy brahmana do with those great treasures? Give him a hundred thousand other things and keep the nine great treasures for yourself. Shri Narada said: When he heard these harsh words Durvasa became filled with anger. His eyes were red and his eyebrows knitted with anger. For the time of two eyeblinks the entire universe shook. Seeing Kuvera humbly bowing down before him, Durvasa Muni proceeded to curse the two ministers. Shri Durvasa said: Sinful, wicked, greedy Ghanöanada, you clutch at wealth as crocodile would clutch. I curse you: Become a crocodile! Sinful, wicked, greedy Parshvamauli, you are pushy like an elephant. I curse you: Become an elephant!

[34-40, Chapter 10: In the Description of the Gomati River, the Glories of Cakra-tirtha, Canto 6, Garga Samhita]

Since both are devotees of Vishnu, they approached Vishnu after getting curse and Vishnu gave assurance to the both

Bewildered by the brahmana's curse, Kuvera's two unhappy ministers took shelter of Lord Vishnu. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: You two worshiped Me in the yajna, but now you are unhappy. I have no power to negate the words of the brahmanas. You will indeed become a crocodile and an elephant. You will fight, and by My mercy you will regain your original natures.

[1-3, Chapter 11: In the Creation of Cakra-tirtha, the Liberation of the Elephant and the Crocodile, Canto 6, Garga Samhita]

After becoming animals, they had severe fight with each other. Exhausted Elephant gets the knowledge of past lives and prays for Vishnu. Vishnu then liberates both.

Shri Narada said: After Lord Vishnu had spoken these words, Kuvera's two ministers became a crocodile and an elephant. Nevertheless, in their new station they could remember who they had been before. For one hundred years Ghanöanada was a fearsome, feroicous, always angry crocodile in the Gomati river. Parshvamauli became a regal elephant in the forest by Mount Raivata. He was a hundred dhanus tall. ........ As many saintly persons watched, the crocodile and the elephant fought for fifty-five years. Finally the elephant, now exhausted, remembered his previous birth. Finding himself almost caught in the noose of death, the elephant remembered his previous birth and took shelter of the feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The regal elephant said: O Shri Krishna, O friend of Arjuna, O dark Lord, I offer my respectful obeisances to You. O master of the gods, O Vishnu, O perfect Lord, O supreme purifier, O glorious one, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, please, please save Me! Save me from the noose of my past sins! Shri Narada said: Aware that the elephant caught in the crocodile's grip was remembering Him, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is kind to the distressed, picked up His sword and flew to that place. Descending from Garuda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead threw His cakra and wonderfully severed the crocodile's head. As a person may suddenly lose all his wealth, that spirit soul was suddenly pushed out of a crocodile's body. After killing the crocodile, the Lord's cakra continued until in finally landed in a lake, turning all the stones there into incarnations of the cakra. .... His head severed, the crocodile attained his original form of a god. By the mercy of Lord Krishna, the elephant also attained the form of a god. After circumambulating the Lord, bowing down before Him, and offering prayers fwith folded hands, Kuvera's two ministers returned to their own abode.

[4-23, Chapter 11: In the Creation of Cakra-tirtha, the Liberation of the Elephant and the Crocodile, Canto 6, Garga Samhita]

Coming to the intention of the question, there is no explicit priority here. Both were devotees of Vishnu and both were destined to liberation and hence Vishnu gave liberation to both of them. The implicit reason for priority in cutting crocodiles head is obvious i.e., to save Elephant quickly. Else there is no priority. Since the elephant remembers the past lives and prays Vishnu, which was not happened in the case of crocodile, the prayer of elephant may became famous.


Srimad Bhagavata explains this, the priority was surely for the Crocodile. It shows one of the important message from the story 'Gajendra Moksha'. It may seems like the crocodile didn't do anything particular to attain the Moksha directly from Lord Vishnu.

From the story we know that crocodile was attacking one of the devotee of Vishnu, the elephant Gajendra. The crocodile knowingly or unknowingly caught the feet of one of the devotee of Lord Vishnu. Thus by touching the feet of the true devotee of God, the crocodile became eligible for Moksha.

The greatest message from the story is this, the one who touches the feet of a true devotee of God is also eligible for Moksha or it can be said as those who serve the devotees are also eligible for moksha, and the priority is given to those who serving the devotee. Lord Vishnu values the people who serve his devotees than his own devotees. This was the reason why crocodile was given moksha earlier than Gajendra. So the method of devotion done by the crocodile is serving the devotee of the God. (There are also other messages in this story but that is not related to this question.)

  • No this is not true that touching a devotee of god make eligible for Moksha. The message is wrong.
    – prem30488
    Aug 1, 2014 at 11:06
  • @ParthTrivedi: It is not my opinion friend, I heard it from bhagavata sapthaha yajna. There are more messages in the story which can be explained in many ways. This is just one of them which seems to be the answer for this specific question. Touching a true devotee's feet is more than enough to get moksha. The thing is you may not get that chance so easily due to your bad karmas.
    – user11
    Aug 1, 2014 at 16:58
  • No there may many true devotees, but until a true devotee does not accept you as his student, touching his feets will not make you eligible for Moksha. Touching the feet of "Guru" who is true devotee is considered as having importance. Do you think Gajendra was guru of crocodile? crocodile's intention was to kill and eat Gajendra. So I do not accept your argument from heart. Sorry again. The world may see presentation but GOD always see intention.
    – prem30488
    Aug 1, 2014 at 19:13

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