Legend of Symantaka Mani & Ganesh Chaturthi Connection

Muni Narada on his rounds around the Universe arrived in Dwaraka to meet Bhagwan Krishna and sang His Glory. It was Ganesha Chaturthi and Narada tells Krishna about significance of the day and why no one should see the moon on that day.

Narada visits Krishna
Pic Source: http://bhagavatham.blogspot.com/2012/12/65-bhagavatha-narada-visits-krishna.html

Curse of the Moon & Mithya Dosha

It was late night and Ganesha was returning to Kailasa after a sumptuous feast hosted by Kubera, the God of Riches and considered the richest among all Gods.

Kubera – God of Wealth
Pic Source and for more details : https://www.templepurohit.com/hindu-gods-and-deities/lord-kubera-hindu-gods-and-deities/

Ganesha had eaten a lot of his favourite sweet, the Modakas and was returning on his Vahana (mount), Mooshika (Mouse). It was a Pournami (Full moon night) and the moon shone in the night in his resplendest best – in spotless white. Ganesha and his mouse were trudging along and suddenly a snake appeared in their path. Since mouse is considered prey of snakes, it was frightened and rushed aside for safety. Ganesha falls down on to the Ground and his stomach broke open, and all the modakas he had eaten rolled out. Ganesha stuffed all the Modakas back, picked the snakes and tied it around the stomach to pack it in. Embarrassingly He looked for his vahana, mouse and saw Moon laughing at His predicament. The moon, having witnessed the entire episode could not control his laughter which made Ganesha seethe in anger. He broke one of His tusks and flung it at the moon creating a crater on it and curses that he would never be a complete sphere any more and keeps getting disfigured. Thus we find the moon has a crater which we can see even from the Earth and it waxes and wanes every fortnight. He also curses that anyone who sees the Moon will attract Mithya Dosha (defamation by false accusations) Moon becomes repentant and pleads with Ganesh to redeem him from the curse. Ganesha says, the curse once delivered cannot be retrieved but reduce the effects. He then says no one should see the moon on on Ganesh Chaturthi.

Bhagwan Krishna, the dutiful King that He was, immediately makes a proclamation to this effect and lets all His subjects know the ill-effects of seeing the moon. Narada Muni then leaves the place and goes back to Vaikunta. Unfortunately for Krishna, while milking Gomata, He sees reflection of the moon in the Milk bowl. No one is spared of the curse and has to undergo the consequences, even if it were Bhagwan Krishna.

The Legend of Symantaka ManiMarriage of Krishna & Satyabhama

Prasenjit, nobleman of of Yadava Kula (same as Bhagwan Krishna) and Satrajit were brothers. Prasenjit also was uncle of Satyabhama, wife of Bhagwan Krishna. Satrajit was a devotee of Surya (Sun God). Pleased with his unwavering Devotion, Surya gifted Satrajit a ruby jewel called Syamantak Mani. It belonged originally to Surya, who wore it around his neck. It was said that whichever land possessed this jewel would never encounter any calamities such as droughts, floods, earthquakes or famines, and would always be full of prosperity and plenitude. Wherever the jewel remained, it would produce for the keeper eight bhāras (an ancient measure of weight and translating about ~77 kgs) of gold daily. It was also the source of the brilliant appearance of Surya.

Satrajit was walking along the sea shore, praying ardently, when Surya appeared before him. Seeing Him fiery form, Satrajit asked him to appear in a less blinding form, so that he could see him clearly. Surya took Syamantaka mani off his neck, and Satrajit saw him an ordinary looking dwarf form of Surya When Surya offered him a boon, and he asked for the jewel which Surya promptly gifts him as a boon.

Surya gifting Syamantaka Mani to Satrajit
Pic Source: https://www.sunosunati.com/story/syamantak-mani-ki-katha

Satrajit threaded Syamanta Mani and wearing it around his neck returned to Dvaraka. He was dazzling in such splendour that subjects there mistook him for Surya. Krishna requested him to present the jewel to Ugrasena, the supreme leader of the Yadavas and rightfully and more entitled as a King, but Satrajit refuses to do so and presents it to Prasenjit instead.

Once, Prasenjit went to the jungle for hunting wearing the jewel and a lion killed Prasenjit and took away the jewel. This lion in turn was confronted by Jambavan (Devotee of Shri Rama and King of bears). Jambavan finally wins the fight with the lion and takes away the Syamantaka Mani.

When Prasenjit did not return from the jungle his brother Satrajit was worried and there was a grapevine among people that Shri Krishna was eyeing the Symantaka Mani and accused Krishna of killing Prasenjit for stealing the jewel. To prove his innocence, Shri Krishna went to the jungle. Krishna traces the trail and finds Prasenjit’s body with tell tale signs of being killed by Lion and then follows the trail of Lion and finds another spot where Lion lies dead. He further follows the trail and comes at the door of Jambavan’s cave. He peeps into find children of Jambavan playing with the Symantaka Mani. Jambvan confronts Krishna and both fight for 28 days after which Jambvan was defeated. He then realised that Krishna was his Ishta Bhagwan Shri Rama’s form and penitently gives Krishna the jewel and also his daughter Jambavati in marriage.

Jambavan returning the Syamantaka Mani and Offering Satyabhama as Krishna’s wife
Picture Source: http://sarayutoayodhya.blogspot.com/2014/03/syamantaka-mani.html

Krishna returns to Dwaraka and hands the jewel over to Satrajit, who also regrets making false accusation. He offers Krishna the Symantaka Mani and also his daughter Satyabhama in marriage. Krishna accepted Satyabhama as His wife but did not accept the jewel. Krishna washed the stain off His reputation.

Symantaka Mani (Believed to be Kohinoor now – first looted by Allaudin Khilji & then stolen by British)

This story goes on to prove that irrespective of who you are, you have to bear consequences of actions that you perform. Even if you are Shri Krishna who was falsely accused of Murder and theft.

Sighting of Moon on Ganesh Chaturthi – Remedy

If you accidentally (or deliberately) see the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi, chant the following mantra

Simhah Prasenamavadhitsimho Jambavata Hatah।
Sukumaraka Marodistava Hyesha Syamantakah॥

Then read/listen to the Symantaka Mani Story (as elucidated above) and worship Shri Ganesha sincerely. He will bless you and ensure that you do not become of victim of Mithya Dosha

Note: The Story is compiled from various sources (both online and offline). All credits to original authors for the content and also for the pictures used in this article.

One of the critical source was this Kannada song – a legendary song sung by Shri PB Srinivas and a a must play in Karnataka and Kannadiga homes and Pandals on Ganesh Chaturthi. Listening to this song is a remedy from Mithya Dosha due to sighting of moon on Ganesh Chaturthi

Jai Ganesha

Lord Ganesh – Not an External Power

On the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi 2013, presenting my piece which is translation of the Hindi talk on Ganesh Chaturthi delivered by His Holiness Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of The Art of Living in HIS unimitable style. (I had originally blogged this in Septemeber 2003 on Art of Living’s social forum www. esatsang.net)

Wishing everyone abundant blessings from the remover of obstacles, Lord Ganesha and a festival that is more fulfilling to all of you.

Our Ganesha - 2013
Our Ganesha – 2013 Arrives. Awaiting Installation & Puja

Let me have your feedback and suggestions for correction to improve this translation and make it more accurate, for the benefit of others.

(Translated from HIS original Hindi talk)

From the viewpoint of Sadhana(spiritual practices), Lord Ganesha is the ruler of Mooladhara Chakra (Primordial base centre). Adi Shankaracharya’s description of Lord Ganesha is unique and amazing. The form of Lord Ganesha that Adi Shankaracharya has projected to us is that of Parabramha–Supreme Brahman. “Ajam Nirvikalpam Nirakaram Ekam” – Lord Ganesh is verily the “Parabrahma – Supreme Brahman – Beyond Birth (Ajam), Beyond Imagination (Nirvikalpam) and Beyond Form (Nirakaram) and Ekam (Absolute) – the power of consciousness is Absolute.

This power is absolute which is Omnipresent (Sarvavyapi) when extended and sought to experience towards Mooladhara is Lord Ganesha. From this perspective, irrespective of the externally depicted form of Ganesha., like Elephant faced, there is a big secret behind this depiction – as the Ruler of Knowledge and Education. And Knowledge and Education for a person can happen only when there is Awareness. When there is Inertia or lack of awareness – Knowledge, education or progress in life is not possible. Therefore if you want to awaken this power of consciousness, then the ruler of this power, Lord Ganesha is to be invoked. And instead of treating Lord Ganesh as an external power or outside element, we consider HIM as a centre (Chakra) of our own power. We pray and meditate on Lord Ganesha by installing Lord Ganesha within ourselves, at the first or primary chakra (Mooladhara).

“Dhyanam Nirvishayam” meaning, in meditation there is nothing in our thoughts – nothing external or useless thoughts anyway but focusing on no particular deliberate thought. Then we experience a formless yet a manifest form of Ganesha in our thoughts during the prayer composed sweetly yet precisely by Adi Shankaracharya,

“Ajam Nirvikalpam Nirakaram Ekam;
Niranandam Anandam Advaita Purnam;
Param Nirgunam Nirvishesham Nireeham;
Parabrahma Roopam Ganesham Bhajema”

Those who can’t experience of the formless, over a period of sustained experience of manifested form reaches the formless Brahman. In India, there is this amazing and unique art of reaching formless Paramatma called Lord Ganesh by repeated worship of the manifest form of Ganesha, who is Gajavadhana. Parabrahma Roopam Ganesham Bhajema – worship that form of Ganesh that is Omnipresent.

“Jagatkaranam Karanam Jnaana Roopam;
Suradhim Sukhadim Gunesham Ganesham;
Jagatvyapinam Vishwavandyam Suresham;
Parabrahma Roopam Ganesham Bhajema.”

This Absolute power which is the very cause of the whole universe from which everything originated, that which keeps things going, the same power into which everything would be dissolved, this Causal Absolute Power is Paramatma (Supreme Soul) Ganesha to whom we prostrate and worship.

Even the study of the cause of the whole universe itself is supreme knowledge, which is Ganesha embodied – who is the knower and knowledge Himself. Ganesha thus is Knower, Knowledge and the Goal itself. We also begin worshipping Ganesha as a Goal which is not a superior form of worship. Any worship based on external materialistic object like Goal or aim, means there is not identification with self and a separation is seen. Therefore Ganesha is the cause as well as the knowledge of the reasons for that cause, the seer, and the Absolute – that is the power of Ganesha. These things are not understood by many of us but Rishis and Munis (Saints) who realized this, created different kinds of myths and stories for making it easily comprehensible and thus beneficial to everyone. When we make an Idol of Ganesha, we infuse life in it (Prana Pratishta) – it means let my life be infused in Ganesha. Let, the Ganesha manifested within my life force (Prana) go and get installed in this Idol so that we can play with this Idol and worship (puja). Puja is a game. If you carefully notice, Puja is an artful expression of our inner feelings (Bhaav).

Ganesha at home - A few years back
Ganesha at home – A few years back

Thus a devotee always yearns to play with the God and never desires anything. If a devotee desires something, then this desire becomes bigger than devotion. Thus, a devotee desires God itself, to play with God for a while. The luminescence called God which is formless, beyond imagination and eternal power embedded within ourselves, is invoked, invited and infused into Manifest in the form an idol for us devotees to play is Ganesha Puja. During Prana Pratishta, we state that Ganesha’s life power is my life power and then we pray, “O God! Who is within me always, please manifest and stay in this Idol for a while because I wish to play with you. Whatever I have been given is a great favour from you, which I wish to offer it back to you” So we offer Water, fruits, flowers which is God’s bestowment to us in any case. We are perpetually given sun, moon which revolves around us which I offer it back in the form of Camphor lit fire taken round the Idol (Arti). In this manner, a devotee displays his inner feelings during the act of Puja.

After the puja, a devotee says O Lord! Now you may go back to my heart which is your abode. This process is called Visarjan. The specific process of restoring and re-creating the Lord to HIS abode is Visarjan. Kindly go back to my heart from where you came out to manifest in this idol just like how we take out the ornaments from the safe during festivals, wear it and return it back to the safe after the celebrations.

This celebration where an invaluable, precious knowledge and divine power is manifested for us to play games, enjoy and find fulfillment is Ganesha Festival. In this manner, after the puja we go and immerse the idol into water. It is pertinent now to realize that God is not just in the Idol. He is omnipresent, present everywhere and this power which is given a form and celebrated is Ganesh Chaturthi.

These forms of celebrations helps us in increasing enthusiasm and devotion (gratefulness) in our life. Sage Narada, who is a symbol of devotion in his Bhakti Sutras says, “As per Parasharya, displaying interest and enthusiasm in Puja (worship) is a sign of devotion” Thus, when we perform a worship, it should not be with anyone or to any person, it is with love and devotion. Mental Worship (worshipping in our minds) is a better form than External symbolic worship.

As Adi Shankaracharya says, during mental worship, Non-dual absolute is deemed as Ganesha. And this Absolute power called Ganapati is the very “Cause of Universe” Jagat karanam karana jnana roopam, suradhim, sukhadim – The very origin of happiness (Sukhadim) is in this Absolute power. When each atom of our being is filled with this power, enthusiasm and happiness just overflows and bubbles in us. It is not necessarily to show off outside. This display of enthusiasm, smile or happiness is useless. The inner blossoming is the Origin of Happiness – the love, enthusiasm and playfulness emanates from this space. He is the lord of all Qualities (guna). The absolute power of Self is also the lord of all gunas.

We think that we can obtain good gunas with practice. This is impossible. We have to start from the premise that “All the good qualities pre-exist in us. Bad qualities that we possess has been acquired from external source” With sadhana (Spiritual practices) these bad qualities is expelled and the good qualities which anyway is our true nature is unveiled and starts glowing. In Daivartha Sampat Vidayog, Lord Sri Krishna says, “Arjun, you already have divine qualities is already within you from the very beginning. So start from this premise that all good qualities are already in you. These lord of these qualities which is hidden is Ganapati. So worship Lord Ganesha so that all these good qualities blossom and prosper in us.

Jagatvyapinam Vishwavandyam Suresham;
Parabrahma Roopam Ganesham Bhajema

Lord Ganesha, you are omnipresent, your reach extends the whole universe, who is worshipped by everyone, who is accepted in all the corners of the world, every country accepts the God as formless, as the Ruler of qualities, one who is worshipped and greeted across the world, we worship you the Parabrahma (The Supreme Brahman).

“Gunathithamanam Chidanandaroopam;
Chidabasakam Sarvgam Gyanagamyam;
Muni Dhyeyam Akasharoopam Paresham;
Parabrahmaroopam Ganesham Bhajema”

Gunathithamanam – One who is beyond intellectual description of Quality (beyond attributes) Chidanandaroopam, what is the form of Lord Ganesha? It is Satchitananda roopa (Supreme Blissful form), playfulness, Blissful form.

Gunathithamanam Chidanandaroopam Chidabasakam Sarvgam Gyanagamyam – only if we have this Absolute power can Ganapati be experienced. If we have even an iota of awareness, then we can recognize this. This cannot be recognized by those from Intellectual level. Chidabasakam Sarvgam Gyanagamyam – Everywhere you are known and accepted as Knowledge itself. It is for this reason that Ganapati is considered as Ruler of Vidya (education) or knowledge. Perform worship of Ganapati before proceeding to any other worship. Imbibe the essence (Tatva) of Ganesha into oneself. We have to progress from Tamo guna (Attribute of being at Gross level) towards Satva guna (Attribute of being at Subtle level). This is the first phase/part of Worship.

Muni Dhyeyam Akasharoopam Paresham – what is your form? The form that Saints and the learned meditate upon which is like formless, unimaginable Space (Chidakash) is verily you, Lord Ganesha. You are not an object, nor a person but infinite space. Muni Dhyeyam Akasharoopam – You form is that which the Sages have learnt, which is omnipresent and infinite Space. Muni Dhyeyam Akasharoopam This is your actual form. Parabrahmaroopam Ganesham Bhajema, this form of Absolute and Supreme Brahman, Lord Ganesh, here is me worshipping and praying to you repeatedly. Therefore, install the Idol in front of you, worship with infinite love, meditate and experience Lord Ganesha from within.

This is the symbolic essence of Ganesh Chaturti festival, to awaken the Ganesha Tatva(essence) which is masked inside ourselves.

You can listen to the Original talk in Hindi  (Visuals are my creations. However the talk is Original recording)

Another talk of Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on the significance of Parvati Creating Lord Ganesh out of dirt and Lord Shiva slaying Him is here