Every year my father tells us the story of syamantaka maNi on vinAyaka caviti and I hear it with interest. I was very happy to discover another variant of this in my dEvI bhAgavatam book. The second chapter is a selected portion from the skanda purANa which tells us the greatness of the dEvI bhAgavatam.
This is how this story goes.
satrAjita worships sUrya dEva and is bestowed with the syamantaka maNi which not only makes him glow like the sun when he wears it but also gives him a heap of gold every day.
His brother prasEna wears it when he goes hunting and is killed by a lion which is killed by jAmbavAnta. So the maNi ends up with him and he gives it to his children.
The dwAraka vAsis suspect kRSNa of stealing the gem. ( – just like those nasty ayOdhyavAsIs who suspect sItamma – some people just don’t know how lucky they are to have superlative rulers!)
To clear his name, Krishna sets off in search of Prasena with some of his subjects and the trail leads to jAmbavAn’s cave.
Out of compassion for his scared subjects, Krishna lets them wait outside, while he goes into the cave recover the gem.
RkSarAja jAmbavAn comes to defend the gem when Krishna tries to take it back from the children, and they are locked in a major combat for 27 days.
The scared subjects push off after waiting only for 12 days. ( – unlike sugrIva, they don’t block the cave opening with a boulder as he did when his brother vAli was fighting a rAkSasa ).
Krishna’s father vasudEva is upset and asks nArada for a solution. nArada asks him to read the dEvI bhAgavatam and is persuaded to read it out in the proper manner for all to hear.
vasudEva recalls that when kamsa had imprisoned him with his wife dEvaki and killed 6 of his babies, garga muni had advises him to worship dEvi.
Unable to organise a proper worship to Devi in jail, Vasudeva requests Garga to worship Devi on his behalf. Garga and his followers go to vindhyAs and please dEvI with their worship.
Devi foretells the birth of Krishna, the exchange of Krishna with the baby daughter of yasOda and the baby girl’s escape when kamsa tries to dash her to the ground. That baby is none other than dEvI and she flies off to the vindhyAs to stay there and grant boons to those who seek her dars’an.
Back to the present story, nArada performs the yagnya of reading out the dEvI bhAgavatam properly and just as he finishes, Krishna returns with jAmbavatI, the daughter of jAmbavAn and the syamantaka maNi.
You see, when jAmbavAn is unable to defeat kRSNa, he realises that He is none other than that best of raghus – s’rI rAma himself and is pleased to give him both his daughter and the gem.
vasudEva, is very happy to see his son kRSNa home again!
This is good time to use the site-map and read my very nice article on the RkSa warrior jAmbavanta.
The other versin that my father told me has gaNEs’a and candra in it and is also very interesting. Another day!