OM! NAMO BHAGAVATHE NARAYANAYA |
OM! NAMO BHAGAVATHE VASUDEVAYA ||
This story of Dhruva is taken from the Vishnu Purana, with embellishments from Srimad Bhagavada Puranam or simply Srimad Bhagavatham.
From time immemorial this story has been told to young children for the everlasting values it teaches them by way of morals. It tells them about how Dhruva practiced perseverance, devotion, steadfastness and fearlessness, in his quest for attaining the highest position in his life, that of a Dhruva Nakshatram (in Sanskrit) that is a Pole Star - a blessed eternal existence by the grace of Lord Mahavishnu - which the scientists of today describe as Polaris, or the North Star. Because it never changes its position in the sky, when the other stars do.
Therefore it is a highly dependable indicator of the direction one should take in celestial navigation and Dhruva's story is a highly dependable indicator, if one has to obtain Moksha or Mukti by following the steps of Dhruva in his steadfast belief in the infallibility of Lord Mahavishnu.
Once sage Maitreya and sage Parashara were in deep conversation, and they were discussing the origin of this Universe. After the preliminaries, when it came to the creation of living beings, sage Parashara told sage Maitreya that manava (manushya) was created from Swayambhu Manu, and this Manu had two sons known as Priyavrata and Uttanapada. Uttanapada had two wives Suruchi and Suniti and each had a son. The son of Suruchi was Uttama and the son of Suniti was Dhruva. Unfortunately for Dhruva, his father liked his brother Uttama more than him.
Being the son of a king, Dhruva lacked nothing by way of material comforts. Except for the lack of love and affection from his father. It so happened that one day when he was sitting on the lap of his father the King, his step mother Suruchi scolded him saying that he should not aspire for a higher status than what was due for him in this mortal life.
He was only a young boy of five years. When he was pushed down from the lap of his father, he went crying to his mother Suniti. Poor Suniti. As she was out of favour with her husband, the King, she consoled her son Dhruva, in the following words.
"Dhruva, my child, do not despair. For those who are mocked by arrogant people, the Lord Vishnu is the only redeemer. I suggest you pray to him and attain the highest position in your life. And if your devotion to Him is steadfast I am sure he will bless you and show you the path to salvation."
This task did not appear to be stupendous for a five year old. He wiped the tears off his eyes, and told Suniti:
"Mother, I am determined to seek for myself a rightful place in my Father's affection and I am proceeding on a journey to seek the blessings of Lord Mahavishnu. I am your son and I will show you what I can do. I do not crave for other's possessions and through my efforts I will achieve a place that not even my father has achieved."
At this juncture the Triloka Sanchari, Narada the Divine, appeared on the scene and made efforts to dissuade this youngster from assuming a severe penance at such a tender age. But Dhruva's fierce determination knew no bounds and the astonished sage guided him towards his goal by teaching him the rituals and mantras. The one mantra which Narada taught and which was effectively used by Dhruva was this Vishnu Stuti :
OM NAMO BHAGAVATE NARAYANAYA |
OM NAMO BHAGAVATE VASUDEVAYA||
- the taraka mantra which when uttered by HIS devotees, binds the Lord to them and make him do their bidding!!!
Guided by the saintly Narada, Dhruva commenced his penance and went without food and water for six months, his mind fixed steadfast on the Lord. The austerity of his penance was so awesome that it shook the heavens and all the Devas, Gods and Goddesses ran to Indra and complained to him.
As usual Indra accompanied by Brahma, went to Vaikunta, the abode of the Lord.
The Lord received them all and enquired them of their health and happiness.
Indra then told HIM : "Mahaprabho, we are afraid that the penance of a mere five year old mortal may deprive us of our rightful place in the Indraloka. This mortal child's prayer is so intense, it is burning us all-over and we are unable to breathe. The Indraloka is surrounded by a pall of smoke, as if it has been set on fire. Have mercy on us and please save us from this catastrophic situation."
The Lord looked at all of them and consoled them with a mere look.
Then he opened his mouth and utteresd these few words.
"Indra and the other Gods and Goddesses, have no fear. The son of Uttanapada is doing an intense tapas and desires that WE should give him a Darshan. WE shall depart Vaikunta forthwith and give OUR darshan to this lad and find out what are his grievances.
Have no fear, please return to your abodes".
Lord Mahavishnu appeared before Dhruva. Dhurva was thrilled to see the Lord in person. The Lord bade him to ask any boon that he cherished most. Dhruva, very humbly asked for liberation from birth and death and the eternal company of the Lord.
Lord Vishnu, who was astonished at the amazing wisdom of such a young child, patted him on his cheek and asked him to say what boon he wanted. Dhruva said, "Oh Lord, after having Your Darshan and getting Your Grace, I don’t want anything else."
The Lord replied, "Dhruva, you undertook this penance with one thought, namely to sit on your father’s lap, but now you speak differently. Your words and action are contrary to your thought. You must go back to your father with My blessings. He will receive you with full affection. You must rule the kingdom and then come to Me."
The Lord also assured Dhruva that after ruling the kingdom for a long time he would occupy a most exalted position in the firmament as a star around whom the constellation of the Seven Rishis and other galaxies would revolve. Thus saying and blessing Dhruva, Lord Vishnu vanished.
Dhurva reached home with pomp and fanfare. His father the King Uttanapada was waiting to receive him. People lined up both sides of the road to see him in person.
The king welcomed Dhruva with a warm hug and took him to his mother who had become favourite with the king.
In due course the king crowned Dhruva as the new king of the kingdom and went away to the forest for spending his life in Vanaprastha.
Dhruva ruled the kingdom for several years and finally went to heaven where he was made a shining North Star permanently which we can see even today!
We see Dhruva, the Pole Star, near the Seven Sages, (Sapta Rishis) who form the constellation of the Great Bear in our Northern Skies - an everlasting reminder as to what perseverance, devotion, steadfastness and fearlessness can do to a mere child of five years.
OM NAMO BHAGAVATE NARAYANAYA |
OM NAMO BHAGAVATE VASUDEVAYA||