ACK-119: Syamantaka Mani

ACK #81 (591)
The story of the Syamantaka Gem is available in the Puranas such as the Bhagavata and the Vishnu. It shows how powerful of the curse Ganesha is.

(This story is related on the fourth day of the bright half of the lunar month, Bhadrapada, the sixth month of the Indian Calendar. Lord Krishna observed this fast to redeem himself from the stigma of telling a lie. )

In good old days, Lord Krishna built a beautiful city named Dwarka amidst the sea. There lived a man named Ugra who had two sons. Their names were Satrajit and Prasenjit (Prasena).

Briefly, Satrajit worshipped the Sun god for a long time. The god was pleased with him & gifted Syamantaka Gem. The God disappeared after gifting him the gem. Satrajit put the gem around his neck. When he entered Dwarka, everybody was surprised to see the heavenly gift. It was dazzling like sun. This gem produced gold eight times of its weight when needed. Satrajit did not part with it with king Ugrasen even when Krishna asked for it saying it would be safe with Him. Prasena, the brother of Satrajit went out hunting wearing the jewel but was killed by a lion. Jambavan (Jambavanta) of Ramayana fame killed the lion and gave it to his son to play with.

Prasena did not return to Dwarka and people were wondering what had happened to him. Satrajit suspected that Krishna might have killed Prasena in order to attain the gem. Krishna, in order to prove his innocence, gathered a search party and went into the forest. A few hours later, they found Prasena's body. Krishna noticed lion tracks around the body and assumed that a lion must have killed Prasena. On following the lion tracks, they came across the body of the dead lion. Krishna noticed that the lion had the marks of a bear's claws and noticed that there were bear tracks around the body. On following the bear tracks Krishna reached Jambavan's cave. Krishna sensing the danger ordered the rest of the party to stay outside while he entered the cave alone and found it in Jambavan's cave, with his child. Jambavan attacked Krishna thinking Him to be an intruder who had come to take away the jewel.

They fought each other for 28 days, when Jambavan, his whole body terribly weakened from the hammering of Krishna's fists, finally recognised Him as Rama.

I now know You. You are the life in all creatures, virility, grit and strength. You are Vishnu, the Primeval Lord, All-prevailing, the Supreme Lord (of the worlds). (Bhagavata 10.56.26)

He Who built a bridge (across the ocean) that is a standing monument to His fame, set Lanka ablaze, and with His arrows severed the heads of Rakshasas, which fell to the ground.

As repentance for his having fought Krishna, Jambavan gave Krishna the jewel and also his daughter Jambavati in marriage. Krishna returned to Dvaraka with Jambavati and the jewel, and returned it Satrajit. Satrajit felt ashamed for casting false aspersions on Lord Krishna. He offered his daughter Satyabhama to him as his wife.

The story of Syamantaka Gem did not end here. Once Krishna was out on a long tour. Satadhanwan (Satdhanwa) and Akrur were two brothers. They were jealous of Satrajit. Some sources (as this Amar Chitra Katha) say that they were angry due Satyabhama’s marriage. Satadhanwan killed Satrajit and snatched the Symantak. On his return Satyabhama told the whole story to Lord Krishna.

Satadhanwan passed on the Symantak to his brother Akrur and asked Akrur to proceed on a long pilgrimage. Lord Krishna and Balram thought that the gem was with Satdhanwa. Satdhanwa rode a horse and left the city. Krishna and Balram followed him. Krishna killed Satdhanwa and looked for the gem. It was not there. Balram became suspicious of Krishna’s designs. He thought that Krishna was greedy and a sinner. He killed innocent people. He left Krishna alone and went his own way.

When Krishna returned to Dwarka alone, people again became suspicious. They whispered to each other that Krishna had exiled Balram from Dwarka for the sake of the gem. Lord Krishna again felt dismayed.

Incidentally Narada visited Dwarka. He found Krishna in a sad mood. He asked him about his anxiety. Krishna said, “Respected Narada, people cast aspersions on me. Can I ever steal? Can I ever tell a lie? Am I a man subject to suspicion? I do not know what curse has befallen me. Kindly help and guide me”.

Narada smiled and said, “you have seen the moon on the fourth day of the bright half of the lunar month, Bhadrapada. Looking at the moon on that day is forbidden”.

“How is it? People see, appreciate and bow before the moon on the second day of the bright half of the lunar month. Why are they forbidden for looking at it on the fourth day?” asked Krishna.

Narada said,” Lord Ganesh, cursed the moon on that day. Anyone who sees moon on that day gets the curse. So a curse has befallen you”.

Once, Ganesh partook of a huge meal of modaka (a sweet greatly favoured by him) and was riding home on his vehicle, the mouse. Suddenly, the mouse was tripped by a snake. Ganesh fell off the mouse and his over-full stomach burst open and out tumbled the modakas.

(Another version of this part is: One day while travelling round the universe on his rat, Ganesha came to Chandraloka (the realm of the Moon)).

The Moon saw him. The Moon, very handsome, was proud of his appearance. On seeing the elephantfaced, big-bellied Ganapati riding on a rat, he laughed at Ganesha with contempt.

This was an insult and Ganesha was very angry about the Moon. He pronounced a curse "Oh Moon, your handsome appearance has made you too vain. Fool, I am worshipped in all the worlds, but you laugh at me. Receive now the fruits of your foolish pride. Let your beauty, which is the cause for your arrogance and ignorance vanishing! From now on, whoever sees you on the fourth day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada month, the day of my birth, will suffer because of unjust accusations."

The curse shattered the Moon's pride. He realized his mistake, and felt sorry. Standing devotedly with folded hands before Ganesha he prayed to him. "Sir, forgive me and my ignorance. Take back the curse and protect me."

Then the kind Ganesha grew calm. He consoled the unhappy Moon. He said, "Moon, you have realized your fault. What is important is the destruction of your pride. Anyhow, my curse cannot be in vain. But those who are subjected to false accusations will be saved and regain their good name if they see you on the second day of the bright fortnight also." The Moon was satisfied.

Lord Krishna said, “How can I free myself from this curse?”

“Observe fast on every fourth day of the bright half of the lunar month. Worship and make offerings to Lord Ganesh or Siddhi Vinayak, according to your status. You will be free from this sin”, was Narada’s reply.

Lord Krishna acted upon Narada’s advice and became free from the sin.

(Note: there are many variations of both part of this story. However main concept remains same.)

Siddhi-Vinayaka Vrata-the worship of Ganesha-is performed on the fourth day of the bright fortnight of the month of Bhadrapada. This belief exists to this day, and people carefully avoid looking at the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi (Chaturthi is 4th day which comes after the new moon), the day of the festival of Ganesh.The devotees on this day, get up early in the morning and take bath in water mixed with `til’ or sesame seeds. They worship the earthern or metallic idol of Ganesha and keep a fast. The devotees also believe that those who see the Moon on that day will not suffer, if they listen to the story of the Syamantaka.

Read: Vishnu Purana: Book IV: Chapter XIII
(original source of this story),

Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 10 Chapter 56 (Summary)

Syamantaka Ruby OR Shyamantaka Sapphire?

Of course most devotees already know this story, but a mistake of spelling wrongly as "Shyamantaka" has led to the incorrect idea that Syamantaka was a blue sapphire (Saturn's gem). Even Amar Chitra Katha comic books in India, as well as BBT artists make this mistake, and they spell as Shyamantaka and show the Sun God is giving a blue sapphire to Satrajit. This is completely incorrect. If anyone looks at the Sanskrit they will see it is not spelled Shyamantaka, the real spelling is "SYAMANTAKA" which means the Ruby (Sun's gem) after which this story is named. The story also describes how the people mistook Satrajit "as the Sun God" whenever he wore the gem, so it was surely not a blue sapphire (Saturn's gem).

(By Richard Shaw Brown- read full article Here)

This Amar Chitra Katha is first Contribution by Rajeev Sharma.

This time only Hindi version I’m posting. English will come later.

ACK- 118: Tapati - The Daughter of the Sun God

An out of print ACK # 327

The sources of this story are the Purana & the Mahabharata. The period is considered as Treta Yuga according to old Indian literature & mythology - PBC.

In India, as elsewhere, the folk of the spirit world might woo or be wooed by impressionable mortals. A Gandharva related to Arjuna, the Pandava prince, by whom he was defeated in single combat, the "charming story", as he called it, of King Samvarana (the Lunar Dynasty) and the fairy-like Tapati, a daughter of the sun god, Surya.

Tapati was of all nymphs the most beautiful; she was "perfectly symmetrical" and "exquisitely attired"; she had "faultless features, and black, large eyes"; and, in contrast to an Apsara, she "was chaste and exceedingly well conducted". For a time the sun god considered that no husband could be found who was worthy of his daughter; and therefore "knew no peace of mind, always thinking of the person he should select". One day, however, King Samvarana worshipped the sun, and made offerings of flowers and sweet perfumes, and Surya resolved to bestow his daughter upon this ideal man.

It came to pass that Samvarana went a-hunting deer on the mountains. He rode swiftly in pursuit of a nimble-footed stag, leaving his companions behind, until his steed expired with exhaustion. Then he wandered about alone. In a secluded wood he beheld a maiden of exquisite beauty; he gazed at her steadfastly for a time, thinking she was a goddess or "the embodiment of the rays emanating from the sun". Her body was as radiant as fire and as spotless as the crescent moon; she stood motionless like to a golden statue. The flowers and the creepers round about partook of her beauty, and "seemed to be converted into gold". She was Tapati, daughter of the sun.

The king's eyes were captivated, his heart was wounded by the arrows of the love god Kama; he lost his peace of mind. At length he spoke and said: "Who art thou, O fair one? O maiden of sweet smiles, why dost thou linger in these lonely woods? I have never seen or heard of one so beautiful as thee. . . . The love god tortures me."

That lotus-eyed maiden made no answer; she vanished from sight like to lightning in the clouds.
The king hastened through the forest, lamenting for her: he searched in vain; he stood motionless in grief; he fell down on the earth and swooned.

Then, smiling sweetly, the maiden appeared again. In honeyed words she spoke, saying: "Arise, thou tiger among kings. It is not meet that thou shouldst lose thy reason in this manner."

Samvarana opened his eyes and beheld Tapati. Weak with emotion he spoke and said: "I am burning with love for thee, thou black-eyed beauty, O accept me. My life is ebbing away. . . . I have been bitten by Kama, who is even like a venomous snake. Have mercy on me. . . . O thou of handsome and faultless features, O thou of face like unto the lotus or the moon, O thou of voice sweet as that of singing Kinnaras, my life now depends on thee. Without thee, O timid one, I am unable to live. It behoveth thee not, O black-eyed maid, to cast me off; it behoveth thee to relieve me from this affliction by giving me thy love. At the first sight thou hast distracted my heart. My mind wandereth. Be merciful; I am thy obedient slave, thy adorer. O accept me. . . . O thou of lotus eyes, the flame of desire burneth within me. O extinguish that flame by throwing on it the water of thy love. . . . "

Tapati replied: "I am not mistress of mine own self. I am a maiden ruled by my father. If thou dost love me, demand me of him. My heart hath been robbed by thee."
Then, revealing her identity, Tapati ascended to heaven, and once again Samvarana fell upon the earth and swooned.

The ministers and followers of the king carne searching for him, and found him "lying forsaken on the ground like a rainbow dropped from the firmament". They sprinkled his face with cool and lotus-scented water. When he revived, the monarch sent away all his followers except one minister. For twelve days he worshipped the sun constantly on the mountain top. Then a great Rishi, whom he had sent for, came to him, and the Rishi ascended to the sun. Ere long he returned with Tapati, the sun god having declared that Samvarana would be a worthy husband for his daughter.

For twelve years the king lived with his fairy bride in the mountain forests, and a regent ruled over the kingdom.

But although the monarch enjoyed great bliss, living the life of a Celestial, the people of the kingdom suffered greatly. For twelve years no rain fell, "not even a drop of dew came from the skies, and no corn was grown". The people were afflicted with famine; men grew reckless, and deserted their wives and children; the capital became like to a city of the dead.

Then a great Rishi brought Samvarana back to his capital with his Celestial bride. And after that things became as they were before. Rain fell in abundance and corn was grown. "Revived by that foremost of monarchs of virtuous soul, the capital and the country became glad with exceeding joy." A son was born to the king, and his name was Kuru.

[From “Indian Myth and Legend” by Donald A. Mackenzie (1913), CHAPTER IV (Demons and Giants and Fairies)]

Legand about Tapti river

The Tapti is the one of few Indian rivers that flows westward and falls into the Arabian Sea, in the Gulf of Khambat, to be precise. Mostly river flows eastward and falls into the bay of Bengal.
According to the Puranas, ancient Hindu texts, the Tapti is the daughter of the Sun god, Surya, who created her to save himself from his own intense heat. Tapti is also known as Tapi (taken from the Sanskrit word taap, which means heat). In the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, it is mentioned that Tapti had married Sanvaran & the mother of Kuru, from whom the Kuru Dynasty started.

From Kuru was descended the Pandavas and the Kauravas, the principal protagonists of the Mahabharata, one of the two major epics of Indian Mythology, the other being the Ramayana, the epic about Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu sent to earth to destroy the terrible asura (demon), Ravana.

Note: In Hindu mythology, the Solar Dynasty (Surya-vanshi) & the Lunar Dynasty (Chandra-vanshi or Soma-vanshi) are two principal houses of the Kshatriya Varna, or ruling caste. The Solar Dynasty claims descent from the Sun (Surya), while the other principal house, Lunar Dynasty claims descent from the Moon (Soma).

About Tapati river read at : www.famous-india.com, Wikipedia

There were some posts related with both dynasty in this blog & some more will follow. That's why recommend to read about:

1. "The Origin of the Solar Dynasty" at www.suite101.com & Wikipedia.
2. "The Origin of the Lunar Dynasty (Chandravanshi)" at www.suite101.com & Wikipedia.
3. "The Kuru Dynasty " at Wikipedia, vahini.org


Soure of the dynasty tree: vahini.org

Many many thanks to “Apoorva Chandar” for providing Amar Chitra Katha.

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