CHENNAI: Devotion to God takes root only by constant observance of the devotional practices. Until the mind overcomes desires and sensory attractions, and the devotee develops unalloyed love of God for His own sake, he must be on guard as the mind is fickle by nature. That even great devotees succumbed to desires can be seen from the case of Akrura whose devotion to Lord Krishna is hailed in the Bhagavata Purana.

In his discourse, Sri S.Ganesa Sarma said Krishna returned the Syamantaka gem to Satrajit (the Sun-god had bestowed it on Satrajit for his devotion) which Jambavan presented to Him along with his daughter Jambavati in marriage. Krishna did it as Satrajit suspected Him of killing his brother Prasena to get the rare gem. Satrajit was naturally ashamed that he had cast aspersions on the Lord. As atonement Satrajit gave his daughter Satyabhama in marriage to Krishna and also the gem. But, the Lord did not accept the Syamantaka.

Three Yadavas — Satadhanva, Akrura and Kritavarma — were unhappy when Satyabhama became Lord Krishna’s wife for they had entertained hopes of marrying her. So when Krishna went to Hastinapura hearing of the burning of the house of lac, they conspired to take revenge on Satrajit. Satadhanva killed Satrajit and took the jewel. Satyabhama was grief stricken and when she complained to Krishna, He and Balarama went in pursuit of Satadhanva. Learning about this he deposited the gem with Akrura and ran away but the Lord killed him. Akrura started repenting for egging Satadhanva on, as he was a pious man by nature, and went away on a pilgrimage. He returned the gem to King Ugrasena when Dwaraka was affected by famine when Krishna sent for him.

Syamantaka took the lives of those who possessed it even temporarily because their minds were consumed by greed and jealousy. Why was Krishna suspected for no fault of His? It is recounted that He saw the Moon on the fourth day of the bright fortnight, which is believed to bring disrepute to the beholder because of a curse Moon suffered by humiliating Ganesa. The prescribed expiation is worshipping the Moon and listening to the Syamantaka story.