The history of delivering the leader of the elephants, whose leg was attacked in the river by the superior strength of a crocodile, is described in the Eighth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Since the Lord is absolute knowledge, there is no difference between His holy name and the Personality of Godhead. The leader of the elephants was much distressed when he was attacked by the crocodile. Although the elephant is always stronger than the crocodile, the latter is stronger than the elephant when it is in the water. And because the elephant was a great devotee of the Lord in his previous birth, he was able to chant the holy name of the Lord by dint of his past good deeds. Every living entity is always distressed in this material world because this place is such that at every step one has to meet with some kind of distress. But one who is supported by his past good deeds engages himself in the devotional service of the Lord, as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (BG 7.16). Those who are supported by impious acts cannot be engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, even though they are distressed. This is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (BG 7.15). The Personality of Godhead Hari appeared at once on the back of His eternal bearer, Garuḍa, and delivered the elephant.
The elephant was conscious of his relation with the Supreme Lord. He addressed the Lord as ādi-puruṣa, or the original enjoyer. Both the Lord and the living beings are conscious and are therefore enjoyers, but the Lord is the original enjoyer because He is the creator of everything. In a family, both the father and his sons are undoubtedly enjoyers but the father is the original enjoyer, and the sons are subsequent enjoyers. A pure devotee knows well that everything in the universe is the property of the Lord and that a living entity can enjoy a thing as ordained by the Lord. A living being cannot even touch a thing which is not allotted to him. This idea of the original enjoyer is explained very nicely in the Īśopaniṣad. One who knows this difference between the Lord and himself never accepts anything without first offering it to the Lord.
The elephant addressed the Lord as akhila-loka-nātha, or the Lord of the universe, who is therefore the Lord of the elephant also. The elephant, being a pure devotee of the Lord, specifically deserved to be saved from the attack of the crocodile, and because it is a promise of the Lord that His devotee will never be vanquished, it was quite befitting that the elephant called upon the Lord to protect him, and the merciful Lord also at once responded. The Lord is the protector of everyone, but He is the first protector of one who acknowledges the superiority of the Lord instead of being so falsely proud as to deny the superiority of the Lord or to claim to be equal to Him. He is ever superior. A pure devotee of the Lord knows this difference between the Lord and himself. Therefore a pure devotee is given first preference because of his full dependence, whereas the person who denies the existence of the Lord and declares himself the Lord is called asura, and as such he is given protection by the strength of limited power subject to the sanction of the Lord. Since the Lord is superior to everyone, His protection is also superior. No one can imagine it.