King Abhijeet was a wise and powerful ruler with no heir to his throne. Upon the advice of Sage Vaishyampane, Abhijeet and his queen undertook a long penance. They were rewarded with a baby boy whom they named Gana.
The child, who grew up to be called Prince Ganaraja, once received an invitation to visit Sage Kapila’s renowned ashram. The sage was a generous host for he had in his possession, the mystic wish-fulfilling gem Chintamani. Using this he conjured up a delectable feast for his royal visitor. Ganaraja was astonished and impressed. He was filled with intense desire to obtain the gem for himself. Would the sage give it to him? Kapila predictably refused, whereupon the prince wrested it out of his hands and made off to the palace. The distraught sage prayed to Goddess Durga, who advised him to approach Ganesha for help.
Ganesha battled Ganaraja beneath a Kadamba tree and won the Chintamani back for the sage. By this time however, Kapila had lost all interest in the stone. In gratitude however, he hung it around Ganesha’s neck.
Theyoor, near Pune (Maharashtra) where this incident is believed to have taken place is also called Kadamba Nagar. In the temple erected nearby is the idol of Chintamani Vinayak – one of the eight pilgrimage centres for Ganesha’s devotees, known as the Ashtavinayak circuit.
Who would not want to own a gem imbued with magical powers to fulfil one’s every worldly need and desire? Prince Ganaraja was no exception to this all too common human weakness. But more interestingly, why did Sage Kapila, after seeking Ganesha’s help, lose interest in the stone? Watching the Lord do battle with Ganaraja, Kapila realised that having Ganesha on his side was a far greater asset than owning the gem. The legend is a reminder to visiting devotees that the benevolence of Ganesha will always ensure their well-being and prosperity; they need seek nothing beyond His blessings.