India is gearing up for 10-day long Ganesh Chaturthi from Friday, August 29 but the tradition associated with the festival bars devotees from seeing the moon on this particular day, with anecdotes and stories long into the past, traceable to the days of Mahabharata.
The legend goes that Lord Ganesh was happy at the end of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations and was on his way home but seeing his stature after consuming lots of food and sweets, the moon above laughed at him attracting Lord Ganesh’s curse that anybody who sees the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi would face wrong accusations and become target of disbelief.
Lord Krishna accidentally saw the reflection of the moon in milk he was drinking on Ganesh Chaturthi day and soon faced mistaken accusations hurled at him by King Satrajit, who had a sacred jewel Syamantaka from Surya that he gave to his brother Prasena who went out hunting but was killed. When Prasena did not return, Satrajit falsely accused Krishna of killing Prasena for the sake of the jewel, as Krishna had once asked for it to keep safely with him.
Unawares, Krishna was faced with a false allegation and to get rid of it had to venture out to find it in the forest. He found the jewel in Jambavan’s cave. Jambavan, king of bears, attacked Krishna and they fought for 28 days. Jambavan, erstwhile associate of Lord Rama in Ramayana, later realized that Krishna was another avatar of Rama and gave him the jewel and also his daughter Jambavati in marriage.
Krishna returned to Dwaraka with Jambavati and returned the jewel to Satrajit, who in turn repented for his false accusation and gave his daughter Satyabhama in marriage to Krishna as he refused to take the jewel.
Here goes the tradition to avoid seeing the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi day, tomorrow, Friday August 29, 2014.