“The glory of the Gita”

by Shankaracharya | 1882 | 15,550 words

English translation of the Gita-mahatmya. This book represents a conversation between Shiva and his consort Srimati Parvati. It is Lord Shiva’s glorification of the Bhagavad-gita. Alternative spellings of this book include: Bhagavad-gītā-māhātmya (भगवद्गीतामाहात्म्य)...

Chapter 16 - King Khadgabahu’s elephant

Lord Shiva said, "My dear Parvati, I will now tell you the glories of the Sixteenth Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā.

In Gujarat there is a town of the name Saurashtra (Surat). King Khadgabahu had his kingdom there, where he lived just like another Indra, king of heaven. He kept a very passionate male elephant of the name Arimardana, from whose temples liquid oozed due to his pride. One day that elephant, in a fit of anger, broke loose from his chains and started to destroy the elephant shed, after which he began running here and there, wildly chasing the citizens. Everyone fled as fast as possible. The elephant keepers immediately reported the news to the king. When the king heard, he went along with his son to the place where the mad elephant was. King Khadgabahu knew the art of controlling wild elephants. When the king reached the spot, where the elephant was running amok, he saw that many persons had been trampled and others were running here and there to avoid that elephant.

Just then, as the king was watching that chaotic scene, he saw a brahmana peacefully returning from taking his bath in the lake. That brahmana was silently reciting the first three Shlokas from the Sixteenth Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, which start with the word abhayam (fearlessness). When the people saw that brahmana walking towards the elephant, they tried to tell him not to go near him, but the brahmana took no notice of them, walked straight up to that mad elephant and started to stroke him. When the elephant saw the brahmana approaching, he immediately lost all anger and lay down peacefully.

After that brahmana had patted the elephant for a few moments, he went peacefully on his way. When the king and all the citizens saw these amazing incidents, they were astonished. The king immediately went and fell at the feet of that brahmana and inquired from him: "What austerities and worship have you performed to attain such peacefulness and amazing powers?" The brahmana replied: "Daily I recite some shlokas from the Sixteenth Chapter of the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā."

Lord Shiva said: "That king requested the brahmana to come to the palace, where he offered to him in charity one hundred gold coins and requested that pious brahmana to instruct him in the chanting of those verses from the Sixteenth Chapter of the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā.

After King Khadgabahu had been chanting those verses for some time, he one day along with his guards went to the place where that mad elephant was kept and ordered the elephant keepers to release him. At that, the citizens became upset with the king, thinking that the elephant would begin to run amok again. The king went before that mad elephant, which immediately lay down as he started to stroke him. After that the king returned to his palace, installed his son on the throne and left for the forest, where he worshipped Lord Krishna by chanting those shlokas from the Sixteenth Chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā and very quickly he attained the lotus feet of Lord Krishna.

Anyone who chants the Sixteenth Chapter of the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, however sinful he is, very quickly attains the same goal as King Khadgabahu — the lotus feet of Lord Krishna.

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