Now that Lord Krishna‘s birthday celebration is over and Lord Ganesha’s birthday is upcoming on 8th or 9th September (Ganesh Chaturthi) depending upon whether you’re in North America or India, I wish to write several blogs on my Ishta Dev; Lord Ganesh. But first I thought to start with a mythological story linking Krishna, whose birthday we just celebrated and Ganesh, whose birthday we will soon celebrate.
There is an interesting story associated with Ganesh Chaturthi (also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi) and its significance. It so happened that all the Gods worshiped Ganesh. Kuber, the wealthiest among the residents of paradise hosted a feast in honor of their new lord. A joyous Ganesh feasted himself to his heart’s content. But he grew very restless and felt that his stomach would burst out. In order to prevent the stomach from bursting out, he tied one snake around it and went to pay obeisance to his parents. But his stomach had now acquired a huge shape. With the tiny stature and a round belly, he was unable to prostrate before his parents. When he tried to bend, he turned into a turtle. The moon watched the scene from the sky and laughed at Ganesh. Ganesha’s mother Parvati detested this ridicule and cursed the moon that whoever saw him on Ganesh Chaturthi will be accused of wrongdoing. According to another version of the story, Ganesh fell down from his vehicle mouse much to the amusement of the moon, who burst out laughing and invited Parvati’s wrath.
The curse was so powerful that even Lord Krishna could not escape from it. The story goes like this.
Syamantaka Gem and Lord Krishna
Satrajita of Dwaraka had a gem called Syamantaka. It was dazzling. If it was worshipped withdevotion it used to give plenty of gold every day.
Once Prasena, Satrajita’s brother, went out hunting. He was wearing the Syamantaka. A – lion killed him and went to a cave, carrying the gem. A bear by name Jambavanta killed the lion and gave the Syamantaka to his child to play with.
Here in Dwaraka, when Satrajita came to know of his brother’s death, he accused Krishna of the deed. Satrajita was aware of Krishna’s wish to possess the gem. His suspicion was strengthened by this knowledge.
However, Krishna tried to convince Satrajita of his innocence, the latter was not to be convinced. To prove his innocence, Krishna went in search of the Syamantaka Mani, in the forest. He found the corpse of Prasena. There were footprints of a lion nearby. Following these footprints, Krishna entered the cave of Jambavanta. There he found the gem hanging on the cradle of a child. Krishna took it quickly and came out of the house. Jambavanta had a governess to look after his daughter. She screamed aloud upon seeing Krishna. Hearing that, Jambavanta rushed to the place and challenged Krishna. A war broke out between the two for 10 days. This Jambavanta was not an ordinary bear; he was the heroic follower of Shri Rama.
Jambavanta could not compete with a skilled warrior like Krishna. He got badly injured and bruised in the battle. At that moment he realised that the enemy is not any ordinary person but Shri Rama, from the Treta Yuga!
Krishna gave the Syamantaka to Satrajita and put an end to the evil rumors. However, he was surprised at what had happened. “How could such things be said of me even when I had not done anything wrong.” Great sages told him the story of Ganesha’s curse and said, “You saw the Moon on the Vinayaka Chaturthi day.”
Then Krishna worshipped Ganesh on Vinayaka Chaturthi to avoid future curses. It is believed that those who see the Moon on Ganesh Chaturthi day will not suffer like Lord Krishna, if they listen to the story of the Syamantaka.