Beginning Bhakti Early: The Inspiring Life of Dhruva

Long long ago there ruled a king named Uttanapada who had two wives - one was Suniti and
the other was Suruchi. The wife who is ethical is called Suniti. A king should walk the ethical
path. The wife, who pleases the king by agreeing to his every whim is called Suruchi.
Unfortunately, it was but natural for the king to be inclined towards the latter. From each wife
he had a son. Suniti’s son was Dhruva, and Suruchi’s son was named Uttam.
One day, the king was indulging his favorite queen’s son on his lap when the five-year old
Dhruva came there. Desiring his father’s affection, he too tried to climb on to the king's lap.
Seeing this, Dhruva's envious stepmother said in a voice loaded with pride: "Child! You do not
deserve to sit on the throne or on the lap of the king. So what if you are also the son of the
king? You have not taken birth from my womb and hence are not qualified to sit on your
father’s lap. You are young and innocent and do not know that you were born from another
woman. Therefore, you should understand that your desire is impossible to fulfil. If you wish to
rise to the king’s throne, then first perform austerities to please Bhagawan Vishnu and then
with His grace, you will be able to take birth from my womb."

Just like a snake, when struck by a stick, breathes very heavily, so did
Dhruva, being struck by the strong words of his stepmother, began to draw
deep breaths of anger. When he saw that his father was silent and did not
protest, he immediately stormed out of the palace and went to his mother.
When Dhruva reached his mother, he was trembling with anger and crying
because of humiliation. Queen Suniti lifted her son and placed him on her
lap. Meanwhile, the servants nearby related everything to her in detail. On
hearing them, her lotus like eyes filled with tears and she shrivelled up in
grief like a burnt leaf. Taking a deep breath she said to Dhruva: "Dear son,
whatever your stepmother may have said, do not wish anything
inauspicious towards her. Anyone who wishes others to suffer has to
himself undergo suffering. Whatever has been said by Suruchi, though
harsh, is true. The king, your father, feels ashamed to accept me as his wife. Therefore, it is a
fact that you have taken birth from an unfortunate woman, on whose milk you have grown up.
If you desire at all to sit on the throne like your brother, then give up your anger and
immediately try to execute your stepmother’s instructions. Without further delay, engage
yourself in worshipping the lotus feet of Bhagawan Vishnu. All your wishes will be fulfilled
when you take shelter under the refuge of God. Just situate Him in your heart, and forgetting
everything else, indulge only in His service. I do not see anybody other than Bhagawan Vishnu
who can remove your suffering."

Sir. My dear child! respect and insult should not affect little children. This distressed the gods responsible for the world and they rushed to Bhagawan Vishnu for help. This mantra is ‘Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya’ This is the twelve syllabled mantra for worshipping Shri Krishna. you should completely absorb yourself in the worship of Bhagawan Vishnu. God has send you to me. he stopped even breathing and stood in tapasya on one feet. His eyes and lips are the color of the rising sun. Then he sustained himself on water.As soon he heard his mother’s words. He wears a golden belt around His waist and anklets with tinkling bells. Therefore. He had gone only a little way when he saw the great sage Narada. "O Son of the King!. The latter touched Dhruva’s head with affection and said (to test his determination): "How wonderful are the powerful kshatriya kings. along with him all living beings stopped breathing. All His bodily features are very attractive and pleasing. I am the son of a kshatriya. This is why I have left home. His body is deep blue and He wears a long garland reaching his knees. His individual air (prana) became one with the universal prana and because of this. . be satisfied with eating whatever fruits and vegetables are available in the forest. I will not turn back until I have attained my goal. My mother and stepmother have both said that I should worship Bhagawan Vishnu. Dhruva! Place such a Bhagawan in the lotus of your heart and you will find your inner self illuminated with the glitter of his toe-nails." Dhruva undertook this worship of great hardship.the moment I step out of the house. There you should bathe in Yamuna three times daily and then spread out an asana and sit on the bank." Narada was impressed with Dhruva’s resolution and set out to guide him: "The instruction given by your mother to follow the path of bhakti is eminently suited to you." Dhruva replied: "No. [The form of Bhagawan is described now] He has a perpetually smiling face. yet harsh words of his stepmother have made way into his heart. First perform pranayama three times and then concentrate your mind on the beautiful form of Bhagawan Vishnu. which is near the Yamuna river in Mathura. They cannot tolerate even a slight infringement on their self-esteem. You should go to the forest named Madhuvana. I shall now give you the mantra which is to be chanted with this process of meditation. Remember. While thus worshipping God. This boy is only a small child. Finally. even if it takes me several births. See my good fortune . Dhruva resolved to worship Bhagawan Vishnu and set out from his father’s palace. This world is such that respect and disrespect are routinely experienced by everyone. This is an indication of His approval of the task I have set out to do. At first he ate only fruits and flowers. One should disregard them and carry on. this mantra is the very body of Bhagawan Vishnu. and then only on air.

The only truth is the God who abides in the heart of all. My hand and feet move with Your strength. Dhruva was stunned by the beauty of God. Dhruva however was in deep meditation and his eyes were closed. In His four hands were the conch. heart brimming with love and a mental absorption in paramananda. the conch is known as shankha in Sanskrit. The rest all is avidya.Vishnu Ji reassured them. mace and lotus. Thus having gained the favor of Bhagwan Vishnu. joyful tingling of the body. Also. So Vishnu Ji withdrew His image from Dhruva’s heart. My skin is able to feel thanks to You and my eyes see because of Your power. chakra. Not only this. As the personification of sound. Dhruva experienced that transcendental bliss which is nothing but supreme peace. You are never far from me. Why Did Bhagawan Vishnu Touch Dhruva’s Cheek with His Conch? Bhagwan Vishnu’s conch has a two-fold symbolism. By its touch. Dhruva acquired knowledge about God. the only way to this knowledge being the Vedas.‘that. his eyes filled with tears. his throat choked and his heart overflowed with affection." . This word is grammatically derived as follows: ‘sham khe chhidre yasya asau shankha’ . which contains peace within its surface openings is called shankha'. it represents the wisdom of the Vedas. saying that He would make sure that Dhruva’s tapasya would end soon. you are seated in my heart. Dhruva saw Bhagawan Vishnu before him in his four-armed form. The resulting tears of joy. Dhruva folded his hands and began his stuti (eulogy): "Bhagawan. body tingled with sensation. Immersing oneself into Your lila as narrated by saints and scriptures is the sure way to experience the joy of the divine. At the touch of Bhagwan’s shankha. Then Bhagawan mounted His eagle Garuda and manifested Himself in front of Dhruva. You awaken my dormant power of speech and enable me to speak. you uphold all my powers and abilities. which made him open his eyes. He fell at Bhagwan Vishnu’s feet and as a blessing. Overcome with emotion. all are immediate cash rewards. He was engaged in contemplating the image of Bhagawan Vishnu in his heart. Vishnu Ji touched Dhruva’s cheek with his conch.

This is the fate of suruchi. He had obtained everything he desired. turn out to be just the opposite after some time. when Dhruva reached his city. he was welcomed with great warmth. the like of which had not been enjoyed by anyone before. He first met his stepmother Suruchi saying that she was his first guru. He reminded his grandson that anger (krodha) was a sin which blocked the spring of joy in one's heart. Why should you harbour such anger in your heart? One yaksha wronged your brother and you want to kill all the yakshas." Here we see what results worship can bring.Pleased with Dhruva’s eulogy. but blessed with Bhagawan’s bhakti. A fierce battle ensued and Dhruva was inclined to use the ultimate weapon called ‘Narayan-astra’. Dhruva attacked the yakshas with his army. handed over the crown to him and entered the vanaprastha ashram. Yet. Dhruva’s worldly attachments had not been destroyed by his worship because he had worshipped God only for wordily benefits. he now rued the fact that where he could have asked for liberation (moksha). Dhruva began to rule and was given the title ‘Rajrishi’. anger swelled up inside his heart. rich celestial being) in the forest. i. Dhruva's stepmother and father had already undergone a transformation of heart. Dhruva’s father. "It was upon your advice that I worshipped God". "Son. retiring to the forests to worship Bhagawan Vishnu. A strange incident occurred after this. Manu Ji alerted Dhruva that anger should not be allowed to overcome one's better sense. His mother Suruchi went to look for him and she too was burnt to ashes. you have had a vision of God. Dhruva Returns Home Meanwhile. Its nature is such that it first burns the very heart in which it flares up. . Intending to take revenge. which would have burned down all the yakshas to cinders. Soon the king Uttanapada.e. Accordingly. It is always transient. Worldly pleasures never last. Dhruva was given everything he had hoped for and every need of his was fulfilled. Bhagawan Vishnu granted him the boon that he would be able to enjoy unlimited material wealth and power. meaning a ‘king-saint’. his heart was filled with regret as he returned home. because God wished it so. Just then Dhruva's grandfather Manu came there. which continues to inspire bhaktas around the world. Manu reminded Dhruva of the grace which had bestowed on him by Bhagawan Vishnu. Dhruva’s stepbrother Uttam had gone for hunting and was killed by a yaksha (an ugly. acting according to our own desires. he said. Dhruva had a lot of affection for his stepbrother. When he heard of his death. What we consider to be real and excellent. Anger comes with the purpose of blocking the paramananda which is one's natural state. he settled for worldly boons instead.

Canto 4. Afterwards. came forward and offered his hand in friendship. just like his father before him. resorted to the lotus feet of Bhagawan Vishnu. the king of Yakshas. where the supreme potency of the advice of mahatmas is displayed. Just as he was about to enter the plane he remembered his mother Suniti. who started young and at the tender age of five. call an end to this war and see how pleased God will be. Bhagawan Vishnu sent an aeroplane to bring Dhruva to Vishnu-Loka (the abode of Vishnu). Indeed. Dhruva took a bath in the Yamuna and prepared to get on the plane." This wise advice quietened Dhruva and he bowed before his grandfather. tangible and on the same plane. This article by Nitin Kumar. The servants of Bhagawan Vishnu who had come with the plane showed him another aeroplane which was already carrying his mother. Dhruva placed his leg on death’s head and climbed the plane. Suniti was Dhruva’s shiksha guru (teacher) and Narada was his diksha guru (giver of mantra). Chapters 8-12. The glorious character of Dhruva. Dhruva handed over the kingdom to his son and retired to the forests. Later Kubera. even death pays them obeisance.Why don’t you understand that it was not the yaksha who killed your brother but fate. A strong bond of affection grew between the two and Kubera showered Dhruva with blessings. The reason is that God is present but intangible and the mahatma is present. Such is the glory of the bhaktas of Bhagawan Vishnu. So. . Here we see that the satsang of mahatmas like Manu can achieve what even a vision of God cannot achieve. when the time was ripe. Then he saw death standing before him. We find several such examples in the scriptures. This teaches us where to turn for advice when we are in a difficult situation. achieving not only unparalleled prosperity but also Vishnu’s Loka. appears in detail in the Shrimad Bhagavata Purana. Ultimately.