ārta

(‘afflicted with’)

It is a matter of common experience that a person turns towards God for succour when he is in trouble and when he discovers that he cannot expect relief from human efforts alone. Diseases, accidents or danger posed to life in critical situations make a man cry piteously to God to come to his rescue. Such a person is called an ‘ārta’ and his devotion to God is classified as ‘ārtabhakti,’ ‘devotion of the afflicted’ (vide Bhagavadgītā 7.16).

Hindu mythological lore abounds in instances of such ārtabhakti: Gajendra, the elephant king, praying for release from the clutches of the crocodile; Draupadī, when molested by Duśśāsana, crying to Kṛṣṇa for help; Mārkaṇḍeya appealing to Śiva to protect him from Yama, the god of death.