WHY KRISHNA GOT BLAME FOR SYAMANTAKA JEWEL'S DISAPPEARANCE?
(DISCOURSE BY N.R. SRINIVASAN, SEPTEMBER 2011)
Myths and mysteries surround Lord Ganesha who is the darling of children as Bala Ganesha. As we all know no one will look at the moon on the birthday of Ganesha which is Chaturthi day in the Hindu calendar month of Bhadrapada. Of course he is scarcely visible on that day and one has to make special effort to see the moon. Anyone who looks at him on that day will come across lot of trouble to face in life and worry. Puranas say that Ganesha wrote the Mahabharata as dictated by Vedavyasa. So Ganesha was already there before Lord Krishna was born. Even Krishna seems to have made the mistake of looking at the moon on this day accidentally. Sage Narada was talking to him on such a day and even seems to have cautioned him to be careful as to not look at the moon. Though Krishna was forewarned and was cautious he accidentally looked at the reflection of the moon in the milk he was drinking. As a result he was falsely accused of stealing the Syamantaka Jewel, a precious gem of extra ordinary brilliance whose brilliance no other gem could match and which was comparable to the brilliance of Sun himself. The following story from Bhagavata Purana of this famous jewel is very thrilling and interesting.
A noble person named Satrajit lived in Dwaraka. He always worshiped Sun God and so was his ardent devotee. The Sun-god was very pleased with him and presented him with a precious gem of matchless brilliance called Syamntaka. It had the power of producing several mounds of pure gold to the possessor of this unique gem.
One day his brother Prasenajit wore this jewel and went out hunting. He was attacked by a lion in the forest and was killed by it along with the horse he rode. The bear-chief Jambavan attacked the lion, killed it, took the gem home and gave it to his child to play with. (This bear according to one Purana on Ganesha is the bear that served Rama and who is a chiranjeevi like Hanuman who is the celebrated Jambavan of Ramayana) Satrajit who missed his brother thought that Lord Krishna might have killed his brother to take away the jewel. Krishna was upset with this accusation as he had no clue as to the jewel. He therefore wanted to clear his name from the blasphemy and so went in search of Premajit. He found all the three remains of Premajit, his horse and the lion. Then following the footsteps of the bear he reached the cave of Jambavan on the mountain side. Jambavan was enraged and fought with Krishna for twenty-eight days. Tired and exhausted Jambavan realized with whom he was fighting. (Another Purana says that all gopis in Dwaraka were worried during his long absence but later came to know that Mother Durga was protecting Lord Krishna all the while). He prostrated before Lord Krishna, begged his pardon for not having recognized him earlier as none other than the Lord of the Universe in the human form and who was another incarnation of Vishnu like his past master Rama. Krishna explained to him that he was not interested in the Jewel at all but only wanted to clear his name as he was falsely accused by Satrajit. Jambavan gladly gave it to him. He also begged him to marry his daughter whom lord Krishna was pleased to take as his wife. You all know Krishna had many wives in obliging his votaries and devotees.
Krishna now returned to Dwaraka and gave back the jewel to Satrajit and also conveyed to him the sad demise of his brother. Satrajit felt very sorry for having spread false rumors about Krishna and also accusing him of stealing the jewel. He fell at Krishna's feet begging him his pardon and also requested him to marry his daughter Satyabhama. Lord Krishna gladly accepted Satyabhama but returned back the Jewel as he had no interest for any material wealth. He was pleased with the reverence and Bhakti of Satrajit. He asked Satyajit to keep the jewel and said if he so wished he could send the generated gold it produced daily to the state treasury to serve the citizens, though this was given as a dowry to him by his father-in-law. Soon Krishna was shocked to receive the news that Pandavas were killed in the House of Lac cunningly by Duryodhana. So he rushed to Hastinapura with his brother Balarama.
When the brothers were away Satrajit was killed and the gem was taken away from him. Satyabhama completely broken down rushed to Hastinapura to appraise Lord Krishna with all sad happenings. Krishna and Balarama came back after learning from Vidura that Pandavas were safe and Kaurava's plot had failed. It did not take long for Krishna and his brother to find out the culprit who had committed the ghastly crime of killing Satrjit. They chased the culprit up to Mithila or Videhpuri. There they killed him but to their surprise found the jewel was not with him. Back in Dwaraka Krishna found that the gem was in the possession of Akrura. He showed the gem to Satyabhama and appeased her but gave back to Akroora the miracle jewel for safe keeping.