Tale of the Syamantaka jewel
Legend has it that on Ganesh Chaturthi if anyone looks at the moon, misfortune follows that person. More specifically the person who looks at the moon on Lord Ganesha’s birthday is falsely accused of a crime. This legend comes from a tale of Lord Ganesha. On his birthday Ganesha, the little kid, was happily stuffing himself with all the sweets made by his mother. After finishing the sweets made by her he went to the places of gods who had invited him for a meal. They served Ganesha modakam and the choicest of sweets. After eating all of it, Ganesha’s belly grew enormously. He did not show his discomfort to those who had invited him and continued to eat. In the night, Ganesha could not bear it anymore and had to go out. He hopped on to his vehicle, the mouse, and went about. After going a distance, the mouse could not bear the weight of Ganesha and tripped over a snake. The contents of Ganesha’s stomach fell out and Ganesha stuffed everything back in. He picked up the snake and tied it around his stomach so that the contents would not fall out.
Witnessing this scenario, the moon found it extremely hilarious and started to laugh hysterically. Lord Ganesha felt insulted and cursed the moon. After the moon apologised, Ganesha revised the punishment and said on the occasion of his birthday no one should look at the moon. If anyone would, the only way to avert the misfortune will be to tell the tale of the Syamantaka jewel.
For everyone’s benefit, here is the tale that would help you avert the misfortune if you would happen to look at the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi. This tale is found in the Puranas.
Satrajit was given the Syamantaka jewel by Surya (the sun. Satrajit considered the stone to be so precious that he didn’t part with it even when Lord Krishna (incarnation of Vishnu) asked for it. One day Prasana, the brother of Satrajit, went out hunting wearing the jewel. He was killed by a lion and the lion took the jewel as well. Jambavan (of the Ramayana fame) saw the jewel, killed the lion and gave the jewel to his son. When Satrajit falsely accused Krishna of killing his brother for the jewel, Lord Krishna decided to find out the truth. After days of searching, Krishna found Jambavan’s cave and the jewel. Before Krishna could explain why he was there, Jambavan mistook him for an intruder and started to fight him. The battle lasted for 28 days before Krishna defeated Jambavan and made him realize that Krishna was Lord Rama’s rebirth. Jambavan profusely apologised and offered the jewel to Krishna who gave it back to Satrajit. Satrajit also realized his mistake and offered his daughter Satyabhama’s hand in marriage along with the jewel. Lord Krishna did not accept the jewel but married Satyabhama.
It is believed that if anyone recites this story he not only averts the misfortune but is also blessed with luck.