This painting is based on a legend from the Bhagvata Purana, one of Hinduism’s sacred texts.
Gajendra once went for a splash in the waters, when Makara, the crocodile, grabbed the giant elephant by his leg.
The majestic mammal tried hard to escape, but in vain.
Frightened for his life, Gajendra pleaded with Lord Vishnu to save him, extending a lotus as offering.
Lord Vishnu responded and used his lethal Sudarshan Chakra, which cut off the crocodile's head from the body.
It is believed that in his previous birth, the human form of Gajendra was cursed for showing disrespect towards a Sage.
He was then reborn and could attain Moksha (Nirvana) only when he would forget his vanity, crush his pride and surrender in front of the Supreme God.