Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Story of Little Dhruv

When people recall someone for their kathor tapasya, Maharishi Dhruv's (ध्रुव) name comes first in the memory. This story was long lost in my mind until tonight when our temple pandit ji told this during the satsang between hanuman chalisa, hanumashtak and arti recitations. The story of Dhruv appears in Bhagavata Purana and Vishnu Purana and it inspires one to overcome the misfortunes, become devoted and thus turn sorrows into eternal joy. In fact, Dhruv name became a synonym of his strong morals and devotion.

Dhruv was a five year old boy and son of King Uttanpad and Suneeti (meaning good morals). Before his birth, the couple were unhappy because she could not conceive and the kingdom needed a heir. So, king married again to Suruchi (meaning good desires). Later, Dhruv was born to Suneeti after the king's second marriage. Among the two wives, the King had a special liking for Suruchi who also gave birth to a son named Uttam. Suruchi was unhappy that her son was younger and secondary to the king's throne in presence of Dhruv. While playing one day, Dhruv saw Uttam sitting on his father's lap and he also wanted to sit on king's lap. When Dhruv went to sit, his step mother Suruchi became angry and lashed out at him saying "you have no right to sit on the throne because you are not my son. You should pray lord Narayan so that you take birth through me to sit on this throne".

Dhruv felt humiliated by her amid father's silence and told her mother Suneeti of the incident. The mother being of high morals consoled Dhruv and said, "My son, don't wish ill for the others. Those who cause sorrow for others, have to face the outcome themselves one day. Your stepmother is right. If you wish to sit on your father’s lap, then start worshipping Vishnu". Upon hearing this, Dhruv set out with firm determination to please lord Vishnu with his tapasya in the forest. On this way, he met Narad muni who asked the little boy to go back.

The deserving do not need to search for a guru. The latter is found at the right time, in the right spot; and a true disciple recognizes him instantly. Narad ji dissuaded Dhruv from undertaking such a difficult task. Narad ji told Dhruv: "You are young, you should be spending your time playing…even great sages have not achieved the Almighty…". But Dhruv was adamant. Narad ji taught Dhruv the technique of prayer and asked him to chant the following mantra: ‘Om Namo Bhagavate Vaasudevaaya’.

Dhruv sat under a Kadamb tree in Madhuban on the banks of river Yamuna and began his recitations taught by Narad ji. During the first month he ate roots and tubers. In the second month he ate dried leaves. During the third month he managed with Yamuna's water. During the fourth month he sustained himself only on the air. Then Dhruv even stopped breathing. Now, standing on one leg only, he was fully concentrating on lord Vishnu. At the moment when Dhruv stopped breathing all the three worlds shook with fear. The demi-Gods ran to Vishnu wailing that the balance of the universe was being disturbed.

Impressed Lord Vishnu arrived in Madhuban to see His beloved devotee Dhruv. As the Lord stood in front of Dhruv, the latter did not open his eyes as he was already seeing the Almighty within his own heart. The Lord made the form that Dhruv was witnessing within himself, disappear! Dhruv became restless and opened his eyes…and Lo and behold, God was standing outside! Dhruv recognized not only the physical aspect of the Lord but also all his hidden attributes of the Almighty! He exclaimed: "You are also within me! You are the one that makes my senses come alive! You are responsible for inspiring my intellect! You have the power of saving man from the cycle of Life and Death! You are capable of fulfilling all desiresand yet men ask of you that which will be the cause of their destruction! One can achieve You only by Your Grace! My desire is that I have the good fortune of listening to the Katha (Devotional narrative) rendered by Your true devotees!" (Note that Dhruv did not express the desire of hearing the Katha from scholars or intellectuals). When the Lord insisted that Dhruv ask for a boon, Dhruv asked for that which the Lord wished to give him. The Lord’s wish was that Dhruv should return to the kingdom. God wanted to establish the fact that God also gives material wealth to his devotees. When Dhruv expressed his fear that he might get ensnared by the grip of the power that material wealth bestows, the Lord promised to protect him always. The Lord knew that Dhruv had started his penance because he had wanted to sit in his father’s lap. Dhruv was transported to the highest point of heaven, where he sits on his Divine father’s lap as the Pole Star,also known as the North Star..The moral of the story is that at one point or another of our life we all encounter situations that are unfair. Instead of focusing on our misfortunes, we should turn to our Divine Father who will give us what we deserve, and turn us into a bright star which will guide misguided spiritual pilgrims to their final divine destination.

Then Dhruv returned to his father's palace. There he was given a grand welcome by everyone, including Suruchi. His father satisfied that Dhruv was in every way capable of running the kingdom crowned Dhruv king and left for the forest in the tradition of Vanaprastha ashram.

The moral of the story is that...at one point or another in our life, we all encounter situations that are unfair. Instead of focusing on our misfortunes, we should turn to our Divine Father who will give us what we deserve, and turn us into a bright star which will guide misguided spiritual pilgrims to their final divine destination.

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