THE SYAMANTAKA RUBY
Bhagavata Maha-purana : Book 10, Chapter VII
The following is my all-time favorite gemstone story. This legend is derived from the 10th Canto of the great Bhagavata Maha-purana : Book 10, Chapter VII. Over 5,000 years ago, at the end of the Dvarpara-yuga or the "Copper Age," the 8th Incarnation of Lord Vishnu appeared on the Earth as Lord Krishna. During the latter part of His sojourn on this planet Krishna was involved in a misunderstanding over a wonderful ruby known as the Shyamantaka gem.
There was a King named Satrajit who was a devotee of Surya, the Sun-god. After many years of worship King Satrajit was finally blessed by the Sun-god who gave him a fabulous ruby as a reward for his dedication. This ruby was named "Shyamantaka" and it had the power to produce one hundred seventy pounds of gold daily for it's owner. Such was the great brilliance of this gem that people mistook King Satrajit to be the Sun-god himself where ever he wore the jewel. One day Satrajit went to visit Lord Krishna on His island Kingdom of Dvaraka. Krishna, understanding Satrajit's inflated ego and attachment, asked him for the gem. When Satrajit refused, Krishna relented and said nothing further about the matter. But the devoted denizens of Dvaraka were surprised and soon gossip spread throughout the Kingdom.
Later, the brother of Satrajit, Prasena, borrowed the gem and went boldly into the forest to hunt. Unknown to anyone, Prasena was killed by a great lion who was in turn killed by Jambavan, the King of Bears, who took the Shyamantaka jewel into his cave and gave it to his child to play with. Soon the news of the gems disappearance turned into ugly rumors that perhaps Krishna was responsible for the theft. Sensing the people's doubt, Lord Krishna ventured out to search for the gem accompanied by a large group of followers. Later they found the dead bodies of both Prasena and the lion. Finally they came to the cave of Jambavan and Krishna entered the cave alone, leaving his associates out side. Seeing Krishna and not knowing his true greatness, Jambavan engaged Him in mortal combat. After the fighting had continued unabated for over 14 days and nights Jambavan began losing strength while Krishna was still strong and getting stronger. At this point Jambavan realized Krishna's true identity and offered Krishna the jewel and his daughter in apology.
When Krishna returned triumphantly to Dvaraka the truth became known and the Lord returned the Shyamantaka gem to King Satrajit. The legend of the gem continues, but the most memorable part of the legend involves Lord Krishna.
Contact the author>>>Richard S. Brown, GIA, PG
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