The Story of Syamantaka Gem, Jambavant duel with Lord Krishna and his marriage
Syamantaka gem, is a rare gem which had the power to bestow all sorts of good things to the person holding it. This jewel originally was with Sun God, who gave this to Satyajit, who was an ardent devotee of Sun God. Satyajit brought this gem to Dwarka, where Lord Krishna instructed him to give it to Ugrasena, but Satyajit did not listen.
Satyajit gave this to Prasen, who was once killed by a lion while he was wearing this gem. Shortly after, it was attacked by Jambavant, described as king of the ‘bears’ , who killed it after a fierce fight and took off with the bounty.
Prasen’s disappearance fed to rumour that Shri Krishna killed him, as he wanted the Gem himself. To get himself rid of this, he decided to solve the mystery, Soon he found the Prasen’s corpse, followed it and found Lion’s corpse and finally discovered Jambavant’s cave.
Soon a fierce battle was ensued between these two. After 28 days, Jambavant got tired and he wondered that who is this person who can stand up to him for a fight? He realized that he was none other than Lord Vishnu himself. He happily handed over the gem to Lord Krishna and got his daughter, Jambavati married to Lord.
Meanwhile, Lord Krishna’s companions, who waited for Krishna to come out of the cave, returned to Dwarka despondent. All of Krishna’s friends and family members became extremely sorrowful and began regularly worshiping Goddess Durga to assure the Lord’s safe return. Soon, Krishna entered the city in the company of His new wife. He summoned Satrajit to the royal assembly and, after recounting to him the entire story of the Syamantaka jewel’s recovery, gave the jewel back to him.
Satrajit accepted the jewel, but with great shame and remorse. He went back to his home, and there he decided to offer Lord Krishna not only the jewel but also his daughter so as to atone for the offense he had committed against the Lord’s lotus feet. Sri Krishna accepted the hand of Satrajit’s daughter, Satyabhama, who was endowed with all divine qualities. But the jewel He refused, returning it to King Satrajit.
Note: Incidentally Lord Krishna’s battle with Jambavant is because of a boon given by Lord Rama. Jambavant, the played a major role in during the building of the bridge, appears in the Mahabharat. Lord Rama was pleased with Jambavant’s devotion and told him to ask for a boon. Jambavant wished for a duel with Lord Rama, which he granted, saying that it would be done in his next avatar.
In the ensuing battle, Indrajit uses Brahamastra and renders Rama, Laxmana and numerous other warriors unconscious. Hanumana, the snakat mochan, brings the mountain of heavenly herbs to the battle ground and the brothers are revived.
Indrajit promises his father
Seeing Ravana in a dejected state, Indrajit assures his father that he will soon kill Rama and Laxmana and end all worries of Lanka. After saying these, Indrajit, with a clear objective, sought permission from Ravana. After this, he mounted his chariot with great speed.The great warrior Indrajit, the annihilator of enemies, having ascended a chariot looking like the chariot of the sun, rushed to the battle-front.
Indrajit performs a ritual
After reaching the battle field, Indrajit completed a sacrificial ritual. Then he becomes invisible in the sky. Then he throws multiple arrows towards monkeys and monkeys lose their consciousness. He kills monkeys with his mace and arrows. Those monkeys, wielding mountains as their weapons, roaring in the battle field, without turning back, abandoned their lives, showing their courage for the sake of Rama.Continuing to stay in the battle-field, those monkeys rained trees, mountain-peaks and rocks on Indrajit.
He attacks all great monkeys and cause injuries
Indrajit then struck Jambavant with ten arrows and Nila with thirty arrows. He also struck Sugreeva, Rishabha, Angada and Dvividawith sharp and terrific arrows endowed with boons and made them breathless. That enraged Indrajit, then looking like an excited fire that is to destroy the world, tormented other chiefs of monkeys too with many arrows. Indrajit the excellent demon struck all those foremost of monkeys, namely Hanuman, Sugreeva, Angada, Gandhamadana, Jambavan, Sushena, Vegadarshina, Mainda, Dvivida, Nila, Gavaksha, Gavaya, Kesari, Hariloma, Vidyuddamshtra, Suryanana, Jyothimukha, a monkey called Dadhimukha, Pavakaksha, Nala as also a monkey named Kumuda.
Indrajit was undefeatable that day from the power of Brahma’s boon
As Indrajit has performed the worship of Goddess Nikumbala, he could not be defeated that day. After completing the worship, a celestial chariot appears on the horizon, and while Indrajit is riding the chariot, he could not be defeated.
Rama again shows his leadership skills
As Indrajit was proving a handful and he was decimating Rama’s army. Rama thought of a way to neutralize him. Rama says to Laxman that they both can act as thought they fell unconscious, so that Indrajit can return to Lanka, boasting of his laurels of victory. In this way, further loss of lives of Vanaras can be saved. Rama showed is exemplary leadership qualities and accepted this situation by stepping back. So when, Indrajit struck with Brahmastra, Rama, Laxman and innumerable monekys fell unconscious.
Indrajit, getting eulogized by the demons, quickly reached the city of Lanka which was being protected by Ravana’s arms. Then, Indrajit cheerfully informed all that had happened, to his father.
Hanumana and Vibhishana start the revival process
Vibhishana and Hanuma saw Sugreeva, Angada, Nila, Sharabha, Gandhamadana, Gavaksha, Sushena, Vegadarshi, Mainda, Nala, Jyotimukha and a monkey called Dvivida, who were struck down on the battle-field. The found Jambavant in the battle field. Jambavant says that if Hanumana is alive, then whole army can be revived. Hearing this Vibhishana quickly went to Lord Hanuman and requested him for assistance.
Jambavant provides details to Hanumana
Jambavant advises Hanuman to bring the Sanjeevani. He provided the location as a herbal mountain, which exists between two peaks of Mount Rishabha and Mount Kailash. This herbal mountain contains a number of herbs. On the head, there are four blazing herbs. They are Mrita Sanjeevani (for restoring the dead to life), Vishalyakarani (for extracting weapons and healing all wounds inflicted by weapons), Suvarnakarani (restoring the body to its original complexion) and Sandhani, the great herb (for joining severed limbs or fractured bone). He then asks Hanumana to bring all these herbs.
Hanumana proceeds to bring herbs
On advise of Jambavanta, Hanumana quickly proceeded to bring the requisite herbs. There, another problem was posed. On the mountain, knowing that some foreign body has come, these heavenly herbs have made themselves invisible. Hanumana decided to take the whole mountain with him in order to revive Rama and Laxmana. Soon, with the power of herbs the two brothers and numerous other warriors of Sugriva’s army, gained consciousness.
The battle resumed
Sugriva instructed monkeys to set Lanka on fire with their torches. Enraged by this, Ravana sent both Kumbha and Nimkumbha, the sons of Kumbhakarna, along with a multitude of demons. By the orders of Ravana, Yupaksha, Shonitaksha, Prajangha and Kampana along with the aforesaid sons of Kumbhakarna set out for the battle.
More demons were killed
Soon, a fierce battle started and more demons were killed. Angada kills Kampana and severely injures Shonitaksha, the demons in battle. Angada, along with Mainda and Dvivida the monkey-warriors encounter Shonitaksha, Yupaksha and Prajangha. Angada kills Prajangha. Shonitaksha dies in the hands of Dvivida and Youpaksha at the hands of Mainda.
Kumbha and Nikumbha were also slain
When Kumbha throws down Angada in the battle-field, Rama sends some more monkey-chiefs headed by Jambavan. Sugriva, with his thunderbolt-like fist, strikes Kumbha with a heavy blow and kills him. Seeing Kumbha his brother killed in battle, the enraged Nikumbha with an iron club as his weapon roars and faces the battle. Hanuma directly attacks Nikumbha, by striking his fist forcibly on Nikumbha’s breast. Unmoved by that blow, Nikumbha lifts Hanuma, off the ground. Hanuma in retaliation frees himself and throws down Nikumbha on the ground. Hanuma descends on Nikumbha, pounds his chest with his fist, catches his head and tears it off. Thus, Nikumbha dies at the hands of Hanuma.
End of Maharaksha
Ravana orders Makaraksha to proceed to the battle-field with an army and to kill Rama, Laxmana and the monkeys. Makaraksha, surrounded by his army of demons, set out for the encounter. His army march forward in the battle-field, to reach Rama and Laxmana. He was interecepted by Rama on the battle field and later killed by the lord himself.
Ravana sends Indrajit again
Ravana once again, then turns to Indrajit for help and asks him to go to the battleground to fight with Rama and his army, Indrajit complies.
We all have heard of Jatayu. Jatayu is famously known in the Ramayana as he lost his life while saving Sita. But his lesser known brother, proved to more important as he helped in tracing exactly where Sita was. This brother was Sampati.
The tale of two brothers
Daksha and Panchajani had sixty daughters. Thirteen of these were married to sage Kashyap. Vinata, who was married to Kashyap had two sons, Aruna and Garuda. Aruna had two sons Sampati and Jatayu. Aruna is the Charioteer of Surya. Sampathi and Jatayu, when young, used to compete as to who could fly higher. On one such instance Jatayu flew so high that he was about to get seared by the sun’s flames. Sampati saved his brother by spreading his own wings and thus shielding Jatayu from the hot flames. In the process, Sampati himself got injured and lost his wings. As a result, Sampati lived wingless for the rest of his life.
During Kishkindha Kand, Sugriva ordered a bunch of monkeys led by Jambvant and Hanuman to search for Devi Sita. They came near to the abode of Sampati. Sampati became very pleased to see such a large gathering of the monkeys. He thought that these monkeys have been a gift of God, so that his hunger could be satisfied.
The monkeys were frightened to see the giant Sampati. Jambvant thought that how would these monkey, who are terrified by a vulture, fight against the mighty Ravana.
Just about that time, Angad was talking about Jatayu. He said – No one has ever been as blessed as Jatayu, who gave up his life for the cause of Sri Rama.
When Sampati heard about his brother Jatayu, he requested them to tell about Jatayu. After learning what happened to him, Sampati requested them to take him towards the sea, as he wanted to offer tilanjali (offerings of sesame seeds) in honour of his dead brother. Then Sampati told the story of two brothers.
“Once both of us had a flying competition. While flying, we went higher and higher in the sky. Soon the intense heat of the sun began to torment us. I, therefore spread my wings to cover Jatayu who was not able to bear the heat of the sun. Thus I managed to save Jatayu but but got my wings burnt and fell down on the earth at the seashore.
A sage Chandrama felt pity on my state and preached me on the futility of arrogance. He also said that in the times of Treta, almighty Lord Vishnu will take incarnation to slay the evil. His wife Sita would be abducted by the demon king Ravana. Lord would send messengers in search of his wife, and you would get a chance to meet him and your wings would be healed then.
Then the sage told me that Ravana, the abductor of Sita, would be residing in Lanka. He also instructed me to tell the Lord that he would find Sita mourning in Ashok vatika. Sampati’s wings were healed. After telling the monkeys where Sita was,He flew away advising them to sort out means to reach Lanka.
The search party was again in crisis. Though they came to know where Sita was, but now the problem was how to reach her. Jambvant said since he had grown old, so it was impossible for him to reach Lanka in one leap. But he knew the Hanuman had the powers to achieve this feat.
The story of Hanuman reaching lanka and back is known as Sunder Kand.
Searching for Sita, Rama and Laxman Shabri’s ashram. Shabri offers fruits which have been tested by her so the Lord does not get a bitter fruit.
Shabri advises them to go further southwards to Pampa lake and to Kishkindha where they would get help.
On Shabri’s advise, Rama reached Kishkindha while looking for Sita. Sugriva was sceptical of the two brothers and he asked Hanuman to assess their intentions. Hanuman disguised himself as a brahmin but Rama identified him due to his chain around the neck.
Hanuman fell upon his feet.
He showed them the ornaments and jewels which were thrown by Sita while she was abducted. Rama recognises them of Sita’s.
Hanuman took them to Sugriva. Sugriva was driven out by Vali. Vali also took Sugriva’s wife. Rama befriended Sugriva. Rama promised to help him.
Vali had a boon which made him unconquerable. Sugriva promised that he will help in finding Sita. Ram asks Sugriva to invite Vali for a fight. He also asked him to wear a garland because both brothers looked identical.
Rama kills Vali by piercing an arrow through his heart
Vali accuses Rama of wrongdoing. Rama explains that he has committed the crime of abducting his brother’s wife. And Kishkindha, a state of Bharat’s kingdom, lies in his jurisdiction. His crime was unforgiveable, so he had to execute this task of killing him.
It is said that Rama promised Vali to give him a chance to avenge his unjust murder. Vali is believed to be born as Jara, the hunter, who became the cause of Shri Krishna’s death.
Vali understood and Rama forgives him.
Tara (Vali’s wife) is inconsolable. Tara invokes the power of her chastityand curses Rama so that he will soon lose Sita after he regains her. She declares that Sita will return to the earth. Tara additionally curses Rama that in his next birth, he will be killed by Vali. Rama pacifies her.
Sugriva crowned as king. Angad (Vali’s son) was anointed as the heir.
Rama also taught him nuances of statesmanship.
He advised Sugreev to rule justly. Then Sri Rama along with Laxmana went to live at Pravarshan Mountain.
Few months passed. Sugriva forgot his promise. Rama gets restless and advises Laxman to visit Kishkindha.
Tara asks Sugriva to help Rama and Laxman.
Sugriva instructed Hanumana to send the messenger in all directions and to bring the news of Sita within fifteen days. Angad told sugriva that Hanuman can only find Sita. Sugriva asks Hanuman to search. Hanumana then gathered all the monkeys and went to Sri Rama to seek his permission.
Rama blessed them for successful accomplishment of their mission. He also gave his ring to Hanumana.
Now Hanuman and his army of monkeys moved in search of Sita. They searched Sita in the caves of every mountain but did not find her.
Jambvant consoled Angad saying that Rama was not an ordinary human being. He also said him not to worry, as everything would be resolved by Sri Rama’s blessings.
They reach seashore. At the seashore Sampati ( brother of Jatayu) bumped into Hanuman. He told him about Sita and she is in Lanka.
When Jambvant saw that there was nobody who could cross over the ocean, he praised and urged Hanumana to cross the ocean. Hanuman had a curse that he would only realize his strength and capabilities when told by someone.
Jambvant praises Hanuman
When Hanumana listened to Jambvant he realized his latent strength. His body expanded like a mountain. Hanumana then sought Jambvant advice.
Jambvant instructed him to just return back after seeing Sita in Lanka. He said that the rest would be accomplished by Sri Rama.
Ramayana is one of the most riveting epics from India. This story of Lord Rama has been told and retold in several languages from ancient India and is still relevant. The Ramayana is not only the story of Rama, but this is also a story of other people. For instance, Lakshman, Bharat and Hanuman. We can’t forget Sita, Urmila, Vibheeshana alongwith Kaikeyi and Manthra.
Following are some of the interesting facts from this epic.
1. Author of The Ramayana is Sage Valmiki. There are many more versions of this epic are available by various writers. Valmiki’s version is thus also known as Valmiki Ramayana. Another famous version is by Tulsidas, known as Ramcharitmanas.
2. This great epic is composed of rhyming couplets called ‘shlokas’, employing a complex meter called ‘anustup’. These verses are grouped into individual chapters called ‘sargas’, wherein a specific event or intent is told. The ‘sargas’ are again grouped into books called ‘kands’.
3 The whole story of the Ramayana is written in seven chapters, also known as kands. These are
Uttar Kand – Rama’s life as king in Ayodhya, the birth of his two sons, Sita’s test of innocence and return to her mother, and Rama’s demise. This kand completes the story of the ramayana.
4 Rama ( the principal character of the ramayana), and his brothers were born as the result of putra-kameshti yagya by Dashratha. At the end of the yagya, a bowl of dessert was given to Dashratha, which was distributed among his wives. Sumitra was fed twice, so she gave birth to twins. Dasharatha was born in the line of Ikshvaku (“the first king of the Ikshvaku dynasty and founder of the Solar Dynasty of Kshatriyas in Vedic civilization in ancient India”).
5. Rama is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, a dashavatar.
6 In their childhood, Rama and Laxman helped Vishwamitra and took care of Maricha and Subahu. Rama points his bow at the two, and with one arrow kills Subahu, and with the other arrow flings Mareecha thousands of miles away into the ocean
7. Sita is considered to be an incarnation of Goddess Laxmi. She is also believed to be the daughter of Bhoomi devi (earth). Sita was also known as Vaidehi. An interesting fact about Sita is that she is also considered to be a reincarnation of Vedvati, whom Ravan had tried to molest while she was under penance, so as to become the consort of Lord Vishnu. She then cursed Ravana to become the cause of his destruction in her next birth.
8. Laxman or Lakshman is an incarnation of Sheshnaag or Adi Shesha. He also accompanied Lord Vishnu as Balrama in the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
9. Laxman never slept during the Rama’s exile. He is also known as Gudakesh, meaning, the one who has defeated “sleep”.
10. Laxman killed three sons of Ravana. While his killing of Meghnaad is more popular, other sons of Ravana were Prahast and Atikay.
11. Lord Shiva explained that Laxman would have escaped Shakti easily, but to respect the weapon, he took this on his chest.
12. The laxmanrekha episode is not mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayana. This is mentioned by Mandodri in Lanka kand in Ramcharitamanas.
13. Laxman was the twin brother of Shatrughana. Their mother was Sumitra.
14. Lord Rama left this earth by taking the Jal Samadhi in Sarayu river.
15. During Sita Swayamvara, Rama broken the bow of Shiva to win her hand.
16. Parshurama challenged Rama to string the bow of Vishnu. Which Lord Rama easily did and asked him to tell him to where he should release the arrow. Parshuram realized that Rama is no ordinary man. This is worth noting that both of these warriors were incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
17. The shiva dhanush was easily moved by Sita during her childhood. King Janak observed this and this incident set the condition of Sita swayamvar in the Ramayana.
18. Lord Rama helped Sugriva to get back the kingdom of Kishkindha. He helped Sugriva to defeat his brother, Vali. He later married Tara, Vali’s wife. Tara is one of the Panchkanya. Mandodari, the wife of Ravana, is also a panchkanya from the Ramayana.
19 Rama, Laxman and Sita spent the vanvaas in Dandakaranya forests.
20 Laxman’s wife was Urmila. There is not much written about her, but she also made a supreme sacrifice while staying back in Ayodhya, while Laxman accompanied Rana and Sita for vanvaas. Urmila was Sita’s younger sister. Urmila slept both his and her shares of sleep so that Laxman remained awake protecting Rama and Sita. She slept for the whole period of exile (14 years) and only woke up when Laxmana returned to Ayodhya.
21 Tara was an apsara produced from the churning of ocean. During the churning, Vali was from gods side.
22. Jambavantha was created by Brahma, to assist Rama in his struggle against Ravana. During a duel with Ravana, he hit Ravana and Ravana became unconscious. He also reminded Hanuman of his prowess, so he could cross the ocean and visit Lanka.
23. Vali was famous for the boon that he had received, according to which anyone who came before him lost half his strength to Vali, thereby making Vali invulnerable to any enemy.
24. Vali had defeated Ravana as well. Once Ravana called Vali for a fight. He took Ravana in his tail and took him around all the world. Humbled, Ravana called for a truce.
25. Hanuman, because of boons from Surya, laghima and garima, could take various forms. He used them to defeat Sursa, Lankini, Cat in the Ramayana.
26. Lord Hanuman is one of the 7 chiranjeevs. These immortals will live till the beginning of the next Satya Yuga. Hanuman slain the demon Kalanemi, while fetching sanjeevani herb. Kalanemi was sent by Ravana. Hanuman rejected a pearl necklace gifted by to him by Sita saying “I don’t accept anything that does not contain Ram.” To prove his point he ripped his chest to show the presence of Ram in his heart.
27. Hanuman also defied Sun from rising before time as it would have killed Laxman.
28. Hanuman was also shot by Bharat while flying over Ayodhya. Hanuman accepted the arrow as Lord Rama was written over it. Since he was shot on a leg, he had a limp.
29. Shatrughan is supposed to be the incarnation of Vishnu’s conch. Shatrughna was married to Shrutakeerti, the daughter of King Kusadhbojan and his wife. Shrutakeerti was the cousin of Sita, daughter of King Janaka.
30 Shatrughana killed Lavanasura, a demon who was the son of Madhu. It is believed that Madhu is where Mathura is situated today.
31. Bharat was the husband to Mandavi, daughter of King Janaka’s brother Kushadhvaja and thus a cousin of Sita, who was wife of Rama. They had two sons, Taksha and Pushka. Thus, in the Ramayana, wives of all brothers were related.
32. Bharat is considered to be born in the aspect of the Sudarshana Chakra, the most famous of Vishnu’s Panchayudhas.
33. Ravana’s grandfather was Pulastya, one of the seven great sages or Saptarishis. His father was himself a great sage Vishrava. Ravana once broke his arm to construct a musical instrument to sing songs of praise for Shiva. It was called the Ravan Hatta. While Ravan lay dying Ram asked Laxmana to go up to him to learn all that Ravana had to offer since Ravan was a Brahman.
34. His mother was the princess of Daityas. Her name was Kaikesi. Kaikesi father was Sumali. Ravana was half Brahmin and half asura.
35. Kaikesi chose Vishrava as her husband in quest to mother a son who was incomparable.
36. Vishrava was the father of Kubera. Thus Ravana was the half brother of Kubera. Ravana conquered Sri Lanka from Kubera and became the King of Lanka.
37. Ravana was also an excellent veena player and the sign of his flag had a picture of veena on it.
38. Ravana had four brothers. Vibhishana, Kumbhakarna and Ahiravan and Mahiravan. Khara and Dushan are also believed to be his brothers.
39. Kumbhakarna was considered pious, intelligent and brave that Indra was jealous of him. Along with his brothers, Ravana andVibhishana, he performed a major yajnaand penance for Lord Brahma. When the time came for asking a boon (blessing) from Brahma, his tongue was tied by goddess Saraswati (acting on Indra’s request). So instead of asking “Indraasana” (seat of Indra), he asked for “Nidraasana” (bed for sleeping).
40. Kumbhakarna had two sons, Kumbha and Nikumbha, who too fought in the war against Rama and were killed.
41. Ravana also asked for absolute invulnerability from and supremacy over gods, heavenly spirits, other rakshas, serpents, and wild beasts. He did not ask for protection from mortal men, as he did not think that they would cause him any harm.
42. Rama and Laxman were abducted by Ahiravan. Ahiravan was the brother of Ravana and king of patala (netherworld). The two brothers were saved by Hanuman.
43. Following the capture of Lanka, Ravana pleased Shiva with his penance. Shiva said to pinned Ravana with his toe, but he offered his ten heads to appease Shiva. Pleased with his resilience and devotion, Shiva gave to him the divine sword Chandrahas
44. Ravana was cursed by Nandi that Lanka would be destroyed by a monkey. Later Hanuman put Lanka into flames.
45 Hanuman defeated his son Makardhwaj when he was guarding Rama and Laxman and rescued the two brothers.
46. Hanuman killed Ahiravan and Mahiravan by taking his panchroopi form.
47. Ravana did severe penance to appease Brahma. Brahma blessed him with nectar which could keep him alive as long as it lasted.
48 Vibheeshana told this about to Rama when in the battlefield, every time Rama cut his head, another head sprang up. On his advise, Rama first dried the nectar using Prasvapana and later killed him. This is important to know that the ramayana puts importance to Vibheeshana, who left his brother and helped the cause of Dharma.
49. Sita remained with Agni when Ravana abducted her. When Ravana came to kidnap mother Sita and she saw him, she took shelter of Agni. The fire-god covered the body of mother Sita, and in this way she was protected from the hands of Ravana. The fire-god, Agni, took away the real Sita and brought her to the place of Parvati, goddess Durga. An illusory form of mother Sita was then delivered to Ravana. The original Sita went to the abode of the fire-god. During Agnipariksha, illusory Sita entered the fire. At that time Agni brought the original Sita from his abode and delivered her to Lord Ramachandra.
50. Sita summoned Bhoomi devi to take her back after completing the Agni pariksha.
51. Rama and all his brothers left their abode by taking Jal samadhi in Sarayu river. This completes the story of the Ramayana.
52. The stripes on the back of squirrels is supposed to be Ram’s caress for their dedication to help construct the bridge to Lanka.