Why should you not See the Moon on Ganesh Chaturthi?
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Ganesha Chaturthi is a major festival in India. It is celebrated with great pomp and splendour. Legend goes that one should not see the moon during Ganesh Chaturti if they want to avoid any false allegations in the year to follow. The roots of this go to a story that stems from the historical pages of Hindu mythology. This story is told and retold every year, at every Hindu home in India during the Ganesha Chaturthi.
Lord Krishna and Narad
Once, Narada arrived at the Ugrasena, where Lord Krishna stayed. He wanted to have a Darshan of his Lord. Narada entered the sanctum. But, he saw the Lord upset. He asked him what had bothered him, and Krishna responded saying that he had a few intriguing and perplexing days, and did not seem to understand anything that had happened. Narada asked him to tell him what had happened.
Krishna then told him about Satrajit, a nobleman in one of their subsidiary kingdoms and an ardent devotee of Lord Surya, the Sun God. The Sun God had appeared before Satrajit and gifted him the unmatched Syamantaka gem. The gem had the ability to multiply wealth and provide the owner with several amounts of gold every day. Owing to the brilliance of the jewel, when Satrajit visited Krishna, people mistook Satrajit for Surya.
The jewel was producing about 170 pounds of gold every day. It is learned from Vedic literature that in whatever part of the world this jewel is worshiped, there would be no famine. Krishna felt that such a gem should be owned by a monarch so that the whole world could benefit from it. He requested Satrajit to give it to a monarch, who refused and installed the jewel in a temple in order to be worshiped by priests that he had engaged for this purpose. Narada was upset about this, too.
Krishna then said, that one day, Prasena decided to wear the gem when he went hunting. Unfortunately, a big lion attacked him—killing both him and the horse on which he was riding—and took the jewel away to his cave. This lion thought it was its lucky day. When a bear appeared, the arrogance the gem instilled made the lion attack this bear who was none other than Jambavan, the mighty wrestler bear-king, who easily killed that lion and took the jewel away to his cave. Since he was a great devotee of the Lord, he did not care for the gem. He wanted to present it to his son as a toy, and that was what he did. In the meantime, news that Prasena was missing spread like wildfire and Satrajit began to spread lies that I killed Prasena to steal the Syamantaka gem.
Thus, Krishna decided to set out in search of the Syamantaka gem. It was not only to clear the allegations but also to transform the heart of Satrajit. He set out with a band of soldiers and came upon Prasena’s corpse. The marks nearby led him to the lion’s carcass. Following the prints from there, he reached the cave of Jambavan where he saw his little son playing with the gem. His eldest daughter was also there, and thinking that Krishna was an intruder, she let out a shriek. Listening to this, Satrajit came charging at Krishna. Attachment and anger blind a person, and even though Jambavan had loyally served Krishna during the Rama Avatar, he was blind to reality.
After the victorious war against Ravana, Vishnu as Rama conferred boons to all the monkeys, bears and other creatures that had helped him in the war effort. At that time, Jambavan wanted to wrestle with Vishnu. They wrestled for 28 days without breaking for food, water, or rest, at the end of which Jambavan was fatigued. He knew that only his Lord Rama has the capacity to beat him in wrestling and so he fell at the Lord’s feet to seek pardon. He wanted Krishna to accept the hand of his daughter, Jambavati, in marriage and he blessed him as per his desire. He returned to the kingdom, and when Satrajit came to know of the truth, he was ashamed of what he had done. He gave the gem to Lord Krishna to hand it over to the monarch, Ugrasena and agreed that it would be for the benefit of the world. He also offered his daughter, Satyabhama, in marriage to Krishna as a token of his repentance and respect.
The result of Moon’s haughtiness
On the 4th day of the Bhadrapad month, Lord Ganesha, who had been well fed by his devotees, was returning to his abode on his vehicle, the mouse. Seeing the sight of the huge Lord on a tiny mouse, the moon in the sky began to laugh aloud. He was proud about his splendour and beauty, and thus he laughed. Little did he know that his entire splendour was only a ‘reflection’ of the Sun God. To teach the vain moon a lesson, Lord Ganesha cursed that no light ever fall on him again. Thus, the moon had no light and disappeared from the skies. The moon repented and sought pardon from Lord Ganesha. All the other beings of the world too pleaded on his behalf and the Lord acceded. However, once a curse is pronounced, it cannot be taken back, even by God. It can only be modified. Thus, we are advised to be careful about our speech in everyday life. Lord Ganesha changed the curse and said that the moon would undergo regular waxing and waning to remind him to be humble. He also added that anyone seeing him on the 4th day (Chaturthi) of the Bhadrapada month would face blame and unjust criticism.
Why did Lord Krishna had to suffer?
Krishna had seen a faint reflection of the moon in a pot of milk on the very same day – and that had caused a problem because when the Lord took a human form, he had to adhere to all the Dharma of the mortals. If he had to deal with this difficulty because he had seen the moon, the plight of humans would have been worse! Thus, Lord Krishna said that anyone who hears the story of how he redeemed himself of the curse after seeing the moon on Ganesha Chaturthi day will be freed of the curse themselves.
And now that you have read this story, you are all “moon-sight” proofed! 🙂
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