Gopa Kuteeram kids around the US are being taught stories from Srimad Bhagavatam, Srimad Ramayanam and Bhakta Charitrams as part of their regular classes and are encouraged to write what they learned.
The following article is from Fremont, CA Gopa Kuteeram center, on the story of Gajendra Moksham.
The surrender of Gajendra
Once upon a time, there was a king named Indradyumna who was devoted to Lord Vishnu. One day, a rishi named Agastya came to see the king. Instead of bowing down to his feet, he ignored the sage and sat in meditation. Sage Agastya started to get furious. Then he cursed King Indradyumna that in his next birth he will be born as an elephant. At the same time in Gandharva, there was a king named Huhu. One day, King Huhu was playing in the water where Sage Devala was taking a bath. Suddenly, King Huhu thought it would be fun to play a prank on Sage Devala and pulled his leg. Sage Devala, in a state of anger, cursed King Huhu that he would be reborn as a crocodile in his next birth. As days passed, both the kings dies and were reborn according to their curses.
One fine day a crocodile was enjoying laying down in the lake when he heard a sound. It was Gajendra, the elephant. The elephants were having so much fun that they did not notice the crocodile. The crocodile suddenly attacked Gajendra and grabbed one of his legs. Gajendra was in pain. He begged the crocodile to spare him. His friends tried to help him but they finally gave up as this went on for 1000 years. At last, Gajendra too was tired and gave up and surrendered to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu heard his prayers and rushed to save him. He pulled the crocodile out of the water and split open his mouth with his chakra. At last, Gajendra was free from the crocodile and he turned back to his original self as King Indradyumna.
Moral : The moral of the story is Lord Vishnu never gives up on his devotees. Just like the elephant, we too remember God only in the last. But instead, we should surrender to him with complete faith.
Written by Isha Sriram, 9 yrs, Fremont CA
Illustration by Anirudh Duraisamy, Age 10 yrs, San Jose CA