Satrajit was a devotee of Surya, the Sun God. Pleased with his devotion, Surya gave him the syamantaka gem and told him that it had the capacity to make him wealthy. One day, Satrajit gave the gem to his brother Prasena.
Prasena went to the forest to hunt animals, and a lion killed him and carried off the gem. But the lion was killed by a bear. That bear was none other than Jambavan, who had fought alongside Lord Rama! Jambavan took the gem and gave it to his son to play with.
Satrajit was worried about his brother’s disappearance and the loss of his gem. Some people suggested that Lord Krishna perhaps was the One who had stolen the gem! Our nature is such that once a rumour begins to do the rounds, we all tend to go along with it.
We do not pause to verify any statement. If a significant number of people say something, we take it to be the truth. Those who speak the truth are to be venerated. Those who add to or subtract from the truth are to be shunned, Sengalipuram Rama Dikshitar said in a discourse.
As the stories about Krishna began to spread, the Lord Himself decided to go and look for Prasena and the lost gem. He took some soldiers with Him and went to the forest. He discovered that Prasena had been killed. He noticed the footprints of a lion and followed the trail. The trail led to a cave, and he saw a bear’s footsteps as well. Outside the cave lay the body of the lion.
The Lord stepped into the cave, and saw a bear cub playing with the gem. He took the gem from the cub, which set up a wail. Its angry parent, Jambavan, came out heeding his son’s cries, and fought with Krishna. The battle lasted several days.
When Jambavan realised that the One he was fighting was none other than Rama Himself, now in another avatar, he begged forgiveness and gave his daughter Jambavathi in marriage to Krishna.
The story of the lost gem and how it was retrieved shows how we are ready to accuse even the Lord of wrongdoing, without even thinking about whether He has use for any such gem, or any other possessions for that matter.