Hearing and reciting a special story on
Ganesha Chaturthi awards great benediction
(Based on Skanda Purana)
There was a city called Chandra Jyoti. It was reigned by a king Dharmakanta, who was very much involved in religious activities. He was very kind to all the subjects and animals. Dharmakanta had a splendid queen called Svarnakanta. She was intently devoted and loyal to her husband and was very sober and polite.
Once, the queen was sitting in the private apartments of the king and hearing the glories of Gauri from a brahmana. King Dharma-kanta entered the private place, but at that time the queen Svarnakanta was so engrossed in hearing the Puranic stories that she did not notice the arrival of the king. King Dharmakanta saw his wife in the company of the brahmana and misunderstood the situation, and immediately left the palace.
A long time passed, but the king never returned. The queen was upset and struck by the loneliness, so she took shelter and refuge in Gauri.
Mother Parvati Appeared in a Dream
Gauri appeared in a dream of queen Svarnakanta and said: “Don’t fear. Your husband will return soon and make you happy. I know the reason why your husband is not returning to you. Once you were sitting with a brahmana in your apartment and hearing stories about me. At that time, your husband came and saw both of you. You were totally engrossed in the devoted stories and so did not notice the king, and he, misunderstanding the situation, left abruptly.
“O my dear! I will tell you the reason why although innocent you were misunderstood by the king. You had seen the moon on the day of Bhadrapada month, Shukla-paksha, Chaturthi day. Because of this act, the king has doubts about your character. Let me explain the reason why one should not see the moon on this day.”
Then mother Parvati narrated the story of the birth of Ganesha, his preventing Lord Shiva from entering the house, Lord Shiva cutting Ganesha’s head, Parvati’s lamentation and Lord Shiva’s bringing back Ganesha to life after replacing his cut head with an elephant’s.
She continued, “That day was Bhadrapada month, Shukla-paksha, Chaturthi day, and so my husband Lord Shiva gave the boon that my son Vinayaka would fulfill all the desires of one who worshiped him on this day. Then Vignesvara, on the Chaturthi day, keeping me as the witness to all the happenings earlier, visited all the places and received the puja offered to him and ate all the offerings on that holy day.
“In the night, Vighnesvara ate a large quantity of food and mounted a small rat. He was traveling when suddenly a snake came before them. On seeing the snake, due to great fear, the rat became unconscious and fell down and so did Ganesha and his belly exploded and all the sweet balls fell out. Ganesha picked up all the sweets from the ground and put them back into his belly tying it up with the very same serpent which was moving there. Seeing this, Chandra began to laugh.
“This disrespectful laughter greatly infuriated Vighnaraja, and he cursed Chandra, saying ‘You insulted me by laughing; I curse you that in the future no one will be able to see you.’
“Then, pulling out one of his tusks, Ganesha hit Chandra and cursed him to decrease day by day.
“When cursed, Chandra immediately fell before Ganesha and begged for mercy. Ganesha diluted the original curse and said that Chandra should decrease day by day in Krishna-paksha (the dark fortnight of the month) and that no one should see the moon at least on one day Bhadrapada Shukla Chaturthi as punishment for the offence committed by him. After cursing Chandra, Ganesha left for his abode.”
Gauri continued. “O dear wife of the king, you have actually seen the moon on that prohibited day and as a consequence, all this happened. But there is a verse of the Puranas, which when heard with devotion, the sin gets liquidated.”
“Tell me please,” Svarnakanta begged. “Kindly tell me that verse so that not only me, but the entire world would be blessed.
The Story of the Supreme Thief
simhah prasenam avadhit
tavahi esa samantakah
Translation: A lion killed the king Prasena; Jambavan killed the lion. Dear and beautiful child, don’t cry; this Shyamantaka jewel has been brought for you only. (Text 46)
etat slokasya sravanat
Translation: By hearing this verse, Lord Krishna got rid of the criticism leveled against Him. That story relating to Sri Krishna is of great piety and by hearing it one attains His shelter. (Text 47)
Note: Krsne nindapaharita this is only for the benefit of the world. Lord Krishna is above all these.
Queen Svarnakanta asked: “What is that Shyamantaka jewel told by you? Who is that Prasena? Who is Lord Krishna? Which is the story which when heard, clears off all sins? Please narrate to me all this entirely. Kindly crush and destroy all my sins.”
Saying this, the queen Svarnakanta waited for the sweet words of Parvati Devi.
vaksyami srnu bhadram
te sa katha papa-harini
srotavya tad-dine naraih
Translation: My dear, I am narrating to you that story which will destroy all sins. Please hear the same. Hearing this story will clear all the unwanted gossip and censure on the listeners.
All people should hear this story on the particular day of Vinayaka Chaturthi, without fail. Mother Parvati then recited to Queen Svarankanta the story of Shyamantaka Jewel, as mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto ten. The same story is translated beautifully by Srila Prabhupada in Krishna book, and is reproduced briefly in the end. As mentioned by mother Parvati, everyone should hear this story on the day of Ganesha Chaturthi for the complete pleasure of Lord Ganesha and our supreme benefit.
It is also said that because Lord Krishna had seen the moon that Chaturthi day in Bhadrapada month, He also had to face criticism. This fact has to be understood very cautiously. The curse of Gananatha cannot bring any effect on the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna, who is beyond all this. But Lord Krishna decided to obey such a curse just to set an example as mentioned in Bhagavad-gita (3.21):
yad yad acarati sresthas
tat tad evetaro janah
sa yat pramanam kurute
lokas tad anuvartate
Translation: Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.
Here Lord Krishna, being the supreme in all respects set His own example for others to follow.
Lord Krishna further says:
iti taih prarthitah Krishnah
proktavan yadavan vacah
Translation: Whoever accidentally sees the moon on this day will be redeemed of all the sins by hearing with devotion My story related to the Shyamantaka jewel. (Text 75)
Translation: He will be cleared of all obstacles and grief. He will get all happiness and joy of supreme order.
Therefore, it is mandatory that all should hear this sacred story of Sri Krishna on that day without fail. Thus Gauri told the Queen to hear that story of Lord Krishna devotedly. “If you hear that story, then definitely, without doubt, your husband will join you and will show all love and mercy upon you.” Saying this, Gauri left for her abode, Kailasha, to serve Lord Shiva. Queen Svarnakanta gladly woke up the next morning. That day being Vinayaka Chaturthi, she worshiped Ganesha and devotedly heard the story of the Shyamantaka jewel connected with Lord Krishna.
Results of hearing the Shyamantaka Jewel story
After some time, the king Dharmakanta thought calmly again and again about his hasty action. The king sent for the brahmana and heard his version of the incident and learnt about the perfect conduct of both the queen and the brahmana. The king’s doubts were removed and he again developed great love for his wife. He happily gifted lots of clothes and ornaments to that brahmana and lived happily with his queens.
Suta Pranika said: So if anyone sees moon on that Chaturthi day, then due to the curse, people would hoist the fault of adultery and theft on such person.
katham cora prasangam hi
srnvanti ye narah bhaktya
tesam vighna vinasanam
Translation: Those who hear with great devotion this incident of accusation of Lord Krishna with theft (Shyamantaka jewel story), for them all troubles and hurdles will be destroyed by the virtue acquired by hearing the sacred story of Sri Krishna.
Text 86: All desires will be fulfilled and they will be victorious in all endeavours. Merely by hearing this story all sins will be removed.
vidyarthi labhate vidyam
dhanarthi ca labhet dhanam
kanyarthi ca labhet kanyam
sukharthi ca labhet sukham
Translation: By devotedly hearing the story of Sri Krishna, whatever is aspired for is obtained. Those who want education, wealth, wife happiness they will get everything as per their wish.
Text 88: Therefore by making all attempts to the maximum extent, this Shyamantaka-mani story related to Bhagavan Sri Krishna should be heard by all on that Chaturthi day. That will remove all blemishes and sins in the devoted bearers.
Text 89: Those who always hear this story and those who always read it, all of them will be totally free from all sins and achieve the supreme abode (parama gati or moksha).
Note: Satatam means always. Therefore this story should always be heard and always be spoken. Its hearing and recital should not be confined to Vinayaka Chaturthi day only. Such reading, preaching, hearing of this story of Sri Krishna will lead ultimately to moksha.
Story of Shyamantaka jewel
Satrajit was a great devotee of Surya, the sun-god, and out of great affection Surya gave him the Shyamantaka jewel. Each day the gem would produce eight bharas of gold, and the place in which it was kept and properly worshiped would be free of diseases and calamities. When Satrajit entered Dvaraka wearing the jewel, he looked as brilliant as the sun-god, and all residents, except Lord Krishna, mistook him to be Surya himself. By possessing the jewel, Satrajit became so greedy that when Lord Krishna once requested him to give the jewel to King Ugrasena, Satrajit refused.
Once Satrajit’s brother, Prasena, went hunting to the forest wearing the jewel. A lion killed Prasena and his horse and took the jewel. But when the lion entered a mountain cave he was killed by Jambavan, who wanted the jewel. Within the cave Jambavan let his young son have the Shyamantaka jewel as a toy to play with. Meanwhile Satrajit, not seeing his brother return, became deeply troubled. He said, “Krishna probably killed my brother, who went to the forest wearing the jewel on his neck.” The general populace heard this accusation and began whispering it in one another’s ears. When Lord Krishna heard this rumor, He wanted to remove the stain on His reputation. So He took some of Dvaraka’s citizens with Him and set out to retrace Prasena’s path. In the forest they found Prasena and his horse, both killed by the lion. Further on they found the lion dead on a mountainside, slain by Jambavan. The Lord stationed His subjects outside the terrifying, pitch-dark cave of the king of the bears, and then He entered alone. Inside the cave the Lord saw the little child playing with the jewel. Determined to take it away, He approached the child. The child’s nurse cried out in fear upon seeing that extraordinary person standing before them. When Jambavan heard her cries, he angrily ran toward the Lord. Unaware of His true position and thinking Him an ordinary man, Jambavan angrily began fighting with the Supreme Lord, his master. The two fought furiously in single combat, each determined to win. The fight went on without rest for twenty-eight days. Finally Jambavan understood that his opponent was not an ordinary mortal. He surrendered to the Lord realizing that Krishna was the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He begged forgiveness by offering Him his maiden daughter, Jambavati, together with the jewel.
After returning to Dvaraka, Lord Krishna in the presence of King Ugrasena, announced the recovery of the jewel and then formally presented it to Satrajit. Hanging his head in shame, Satrajit took the gem and returned home, all the while feeling remorse for his sinful behavior. The best to beg forgiveness, he thought, was to hand over the jewel and also his daughter to the Lord in marriage. The Lord then married Satyabhama in proper religious fashion. Lord Krishna told Satrajit, “We do not care to take this jewel back, O King. You are the sun-god’s devotee, so let it stay in your possession. Thus We will also enjoy its benefits.”
(Based on Srimad Bhagvatam, Canto 10, Ch. 56)