evam vimoksya gaja-yutha-pam abja-nabhas
tenapi parsada-gatim gamitena yuktah
karmadbhutam sva-bhavanam garudasano ’gat
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Upon delivering the King of the elephants from the clutches of the crocodile, and from material existence, which resembles a crocodile, the Lord awarded him the status of sarupya-mukti. In the presence of the Gandharvas, the Siddhas and the other demigods, who were praising the Lord for His wonderful transcendental activities, the Lord, sitting on the back of His carrier, Garuda, returned to His all-wonderful abode and took Gajendra with Him.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
In this verse the word vimoksya is significant. For a devotee, moksa or mukti — salvation — means getting the position of the Lord’s associate. The impersonalists are satisfied to get the liberation of merging in the Brahman effulgence, but for a devotee, mukti (liberation) means not to merge in the effulgence of the Lord, but to be directly promoted to the Vaikuntha planets and to become an associate of the Lord. In this regard, there is a relevant verse in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.8):
tat te ’nukampam susamiksamano
bhuñjana evatma-krtam vipakam
hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak
“One who seeks Your compassion and thus tolerates all kinds of adverse conditions due to the karma of his past deeds, who engages always in Your devotional service with his mind, words and body, and who always offers obeisances unto You, is certainly a bona fide candidate for liberation.” A devotee who tolerates everything in this material world and patiently executes his devotional service can become mukti-pade sa daya-bhak, a bona fide candidate for liberation. The word daya-bhak refers to a hereditary right to the Lord’s mercy. A devotee must simply engage in devotional service, not caring about material situations. Then he automatically becomes a rightful candidate for promotion to Vaikunthaloka. The devotee who renders unalloyed service to the Lord gets the right to be promoted to Vaikunthaloka, just as a son inherits the property of his father.
When a devotee gets liberation, he becomes free from material contamination and engages as a servant of the Lord. This is explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.10.6): muktir hitvanyatha rupam svarupena vyavasthitih. The word svarupa refers to sarupya-mukti — going back home, back to Godhead, and remaining the Lord’s eternal associate, having regained a spiritual body exactly resembling that of the Lord, with four hands, holding the sankha, cakra, gada and padma. The difference between the mukti of the impersonalist and that of the devotee is that the devotee is immediately appointed an eternal servant of the Lord, whereas the impersonalist, although merging in the effulgence of the brahmajyoti, is still insecure and therefore generally falls again to this material world. Aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah patanty adho ’nadrta-yusmad-anghrayah (Bhag. 10.2.32). Although the impersonalist rises to the Brahman effulgence and enters into that effulgence, he has no engagement in the service of the Lord, and therefore he is again attracted to materialistic philanthropic activities. Thus he comes down to open hospitals and educational institutions, feed poor men and perform similar materialistic activities, which the impersonalist thinks are more precious than serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Anadrta-yusmad-anghrayah. The impersonalists do not think that the service of the Lord is more valuable than serving the poor man or starting a school or hospital. Although they say brahma satyam jagan mithya — “Brahman is real, and the material world is false” — they are nonetheless very eager to serve the false material world and neglect the service of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.