Bhagat Maalaa Part XII: The Stories of Durbaasha Rishi and Gajinder (the Elephant)

Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj states within his Gurbaani that the elephant remembered the Lord and in an instance the Lo...

Introduction to the short stories


The short stories are a collection of stories taken from the Aadh Guru Granth Bhagat Mala, which have been translated into simple English. The purpose of translating these stories is to provide understanding and the significance of these stories when reciting Gurbaani.

The Sikh Gurus and other Bhagats within Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji have made references to the various saints and disciples who existed at the time of the Hindu deities. By no means are these stories a form of praise or worship of the Hindu deities, but they are used as a reference to purely develop the meaning of Gurbaani.

The stories taken from Hindu mythology provide examples from the lives of the disciples and saints as parallels to understand the power and greatness of the One Lord, the righteous practise of faith and Dharma and how one is emancipated from sin and misfortune through meditating upon the Primal Lord.  

~ Harjinder Singh Khalsa

The Story of Durbaasha Rishi

Durbaasha (13K)Durbaashaa Rishi was the son of Atar Muni. He is believed to be the incarnation of Shiva. When he was a young man, he married Aoruv Muni's daughter, Kandli. Despite performing a great amount of meditation, he was an extremely angry and egoistic person. He granted many people with boons but he also cursed many people. He also cursed Shakuntla, so that Dukhyant would forget her. He granted Dropati with a boon so that her body remained covered at all times.

When he was married he vowed that he would forgive the hundred sins that his wife had committed. When he forgave her, he became so angry he turned her into ashes. Aoruv Muni cursed Durbaashaa for this. One day, Durbaashaa went to visit a religious pilgrim. There resided a young child, who decided to play joke on Durbaashaa. His joke was this; he tied an iron bowl around his waste so that he looked like a pregnant woman. He dressed himself as a woman and approached Durbaashaa. He asked Durbaashaa, "O Rishi, will I have a son or daughter?"

Durbaashaa realised that there was an iron bowl hidden beneath the young boy's clothes.

Durbaashaa replied, "You will give birth to an iron bowl, which will destroy Yaadvas' lineage!"

                                            'Durbaashaa Sio Karath Tagauree Jhaaduv Eh Ful Pai.'
'The Yaadvas deceived Durbaasaa, and received their rewards.'
(Bhagat Naam Dev Ji; GGSJ: Ang 693)


The Story of Gajinder (The Elephant)

There were once two brothers named Hotha and Brahma. They both lived together and meditated together a lot. One day they both decided that they will both attempt to try and get a reward from a Raja.

For some reason, Hotha received more rewards than Brahma. Brahma felt that he was rewarded less and his brother received much more than him; therefore he would need to equalise with him. He divided the rewards equally and said to Hotha, "Choose which share you want?"

Hotha: "No! This cannot happen; I will take what is rightfully mine! Why did you divide the rewards?"

Brahma: "Why are you being so stubborn?"

Hotha: "Stubborn? This is you being greedy! Just because you were given a small reward, you decided to divide the shares up without my permission! Give my rightful share back!"

Brahma: "If I am greedy then you are like a crocodile. If you don't give me this share then I will curse you. I will turn you into a crocodile and throw you into the river."

Hotha: "If I am a crocodile then you will become an elephant, who will come to the river to drink water and when you do I will grab you and drown you and kill you! Remember this!"

Hotha left his share with Brahma and went home. After some time, both brothers died and in their next birth Hotha became a crocodile and Brahma became an elephant. Both animals went in a dirty and very deep river. It was a very hot day and the elephant (Brahma) felt thirsty. He went towards the river to have a drink of water and the crocodile (Hotha) was watching him. He grabbed Brahma's legs and began to pull him into the river. When the elephant was about to fall in the water, he began to trumpet really loud. The crocodile made many attempts to drown the elephant. All you could see was Brahma's trunk and the tip of his head.

Now elephants are said to be intelligent animals and this elephant was. He remembered his past life as Brahma. The elephant raised his trunk up high towards the sky and remembered the Lord. "O Dear Lord, I have become an elephant in this life, please have mercy upon me and get me out of this river. Listen to my supplication."

Gajinder (160K)

'Ek Nimak Man Meh Aradioh Gajpat Par Utareh.
'The elephant remembered the Lord in his mind for an instant, and so was carried across.'
(Guru Arjan Dev Ji; GGSJ: Ang 999)

Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj states within his Gurbaani that the elephant remembered the Lord and in an instance the Lord saved the elephant. Guru Ji explains that this is the greatness of the Lord's meditation. The elephant (Brahma) remembered the Lord and the Lord listened to his prayer and sent a chakar, which cut all of the crocodile's legs. The elephant's life was emancipated and he became a Bhagat in his next life.


Editor's Note: The elephant is referenced many times in Siri Guru Granth Sahib. One more example is by Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib in the sloks praying to God to save him as "You saved the elephant":



Related Stories:

Part I: Raja Ambrik
Part II: Bhagat Angra ji and Bhagat Bidar
Part III: Sri Dhru Bhagat & Sri Prahladh Bhagat ji
Part IV: The Story of Ajaamal
Part V: The Story of Bhagat Sudama
Part VI: The story of Gotam Muni & Ahalia
Part VII: The Story of Raja Janak
Part VIII: The Story of Raja Bali
Part IX: The Story of Ajraja-Akrur
Part X:The Story of Bhisham Pitaama
Part XI: The Story of Chandar Hans


Harjinder Singh Khalsa

I have translated the stories from the Aadh Guru Granth Bhagat Maala into English & have worked on a number of other articles exploring Gurbaani, Sikh history and the Sikh Gurus. My mission is to spread and share the Divine Universal message contained within Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

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