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The Story of Dhruva, in text and pictures.
Srîmad Bhâgavatam, Canto 4, Ch. 8-13


[Maitreya said] .......(6) Now following, I will describe the dynasty famous for its virtuous activities, o best of the Kuru's, that evolved from the Manu called Svâyambhuva, who was a part of a plenary portion [knowing Brahmâ] of the Personality of Godhead.  (7) Uttânapâda and Priyavrata, the two sons of Queen Satarupa and her husband, as being part of the plenary expansion [Brahmâ] of the Supreme Lord Vâsudeva, were there for the protection and maintenance of the world. (8) Of the two wives of Uttânapâda, Sunîti ['the one of good conduct'] and Suruci, was Suruci ['the one delighting'] far more dear to the husband than the other one who had a son called Dhruva [the immovable one'].  (9) When once the king was patting the son of Suruci named Uttama ['the one of excel'], whom he had placed on his lap, did he not welcome Dhruva who also tried to get on his lap. (10) Queen Suruci who, being too proud, was envious, made the child of the co-wife, Dhruva, who tried to get up to him, listen to her, speaking so that the king could hear it.  (11) 'My dear child, you do not deserve to seat yourself where the king sits, that place belongs to me because, although you were born as a son of the king, you were not born from my womb. (12) O child, try to understand of yourself that, because you are not my own but from the womb of another woman; the matter you desire is out of your reach. (13) If you so desire, you can only by means of penance, having satisfied the Person of God and by His mercy having found yourselves a place in my womb, seat yourselves on the throne of the King.' 

(14) Maitreya said: 'Pierced by the harsh words of his stepmother, he out of anger began to breathe heavily, as a snake struck by a stick, seeing his father looking on as a silent witness, upon which weeping he went to where his mother was. (15) Having heard from the others what had happened did Sunîti lift her heavily breathing son, who's lips were trembling, on her lap and did she grieve about what was said by her co-wife. (16) Losing her composure the woman lamented with a fire of grief that burnt like dry leaves in remembrance of the things said by the other wife and looking through the tears falling from her beautiful lotus face she spoke. (17) Gasping for air the lady found no way to avert the danger and said to her son: 'Do not wish others anything inauspicious, my dear son, a person will have to suffer himself from the ill he wishes to happen to others. (18) The truth of what mother Suruci has told you about having taken birth from the womb of me the unfortunate one and having grown up from the milk of that breast, is that the king has become ashamed or in other words, that he regrets having accepted me for his wife.  (19) If you desire to occupy the throne as also Uttama does, then just engage yourselves in the worship of the lotus feet of Adhoksaja, the Transcendence, my dear son, without being envious, as all that your stepmother has told you is factual. (20) The unborn One [your great-grandfather, Brahmâ] no doubt acquired his supreme position in the universe receiving the qualifications to create, from worshiping the One of whom we know the lotusfeet and who can be approached by the ones who conquered the mind in selfregulation. (21) Likewise, found the Manu, your worshipable grandfather, who in worshiping with unflinching devotion and by great charity in executing sacrifices, achieved the divine in earthly happines, that is difficult to achieve by other means, his liberation thereafter.  (22) Of Him, the Kind One taking care, my dear boy, you should take shelter as also persons desiring liberation have to seek the lotus feet; when there is no room for doubt there should, from ones original nature, be a systematic engaging of ones mind in devotional service to the Original Personality of God.  (23) Looking for others who could mitigate your difficulties I know of no one else to go for but for Him, the lotus-eyed One, my dearest, who, among all others, is sought by the Goddess of Fortune, with a lotus flower in her hand, herself.'

(24) Maitreya said: 'Thus having heard the purposeful words of the mother he, carefully considering it to himself, left his fathers house. (25) Nârada who came to hear about it and knew of what he was about to do, was surprised and with the hand, that could expel all sin, touching his head, he exclaimed: (26) 'Oh that might of the rulers! Unable to tolerate any infringement on their prestige, this one being only a child, has taken at heart the unpalatable words that came from his stepmother.' (27) Nârada then said: 'Why is it my dear boy, that presently finding no respect being insulted I cannot see the attachment to sports and games normal for boys like you?  (28) There is no reason to be so dissatisfied for a person free from illusion; each is different in this world according his own karma and thus there are different choices. (29) Therefore you should be satisfied, dear one; whatever the nature of what destiny prepares a person, is by an intelligent person seen as a way towards the Supreme. (30) Therefore isn't it, as I am convinced so, that the yoga your mother told you to do for elevating yourself to His mercy, is too difficult for a person like you? (31) The greatest sages who were on the path of detachment for many births never came to understand what they were looking for, despite of being in the full of the severest austerities. (32) So now, stop with this resolve of yours, it will take you nowhere. Just reserve that for the future, you will see that there will then be ample opportunities for yourself. (33) Any person who is satisfied with whatever happiness or distress that is set for him by destiny, can reach with his embodied soul the other side of darkness.(34) To what is better one should feel pleased, to what is of a lesser quality one should be compassionate and to what is equal one should be friendly; thus fostering no desires one is never affected by tribulation.'

(35) Dhruva said: 'This balance of mind you talk about o Lordship, is of those who are merciful to people who are affected, but for persons like us it is very difficult to see it the way you said it. (36) The spirit of the ruler is not so much of submission, considering the intolerance I met with Queen Suruci; thus I cannot tolerate it to be pierced by the arrows of the harsh words. (37) Please tell me an honest way that fits with my desire for a superior position in the three worlds, o brahmin, that not even others like my father, grandfather and forefathers could acquire. (38) Your Honor, of Lord Brahmâ you are born as a true part playing the vîna traveling like the sun all over the world for its welfare.'

(39) Maitreya said: 'Thus hearing of what he told him, was Nârada very pleased, whereupon he compassionately replied to give the boy good advice. (40) Nârada told him: 'That path your mother told you about is certainly your ultimate destination; render the Supreme Lord Vâsudeva your service by fully absorbing Him in your mind. (41) One who in the name of duty, virtue, gratification and liberation desires after the goal of life of the soul, should in that only be for the cause of serving His feet. (42) To that, my dear, with my blessing, go to the bank of the Yamunâ and be purified by the holy of the Madhuvana forest where one is always nearer to the Lord. (43) When you have taken a bath in that river there, the Kâlindî [the name of the mountain where the Yamuna rises], three times a day, which is very auspicious performed the right way, you should seat yourself having prepared a sitting place. (44) Through the threefold of breathcontrol [prânâyâma: controlling the in-, the outgoing and balanced breath] gradually giving up the impurities of ones thinking to the life's air and the senses, one should with an undisturbed mind meditate upon the supreme spiritual master. (45) Always willing to grace, with His pleasing mouth and way of looking, his straight nose, high brows and intelligent forehead, he is the beauty of the demigods. (46) Youthful, attractive in all his limbs and with lips as red as a rising sun, He is the shelter of the surrendered, transcendental in every respect; the worthy one merciful like the ocean. (47) Marked with the srîvatsa [a few white hairs on His chest]and of a deeply bluish color, He is the original Personality, garlanded with flowers, showing the conchshell, the disc, the club and lotus flower in His four hands. (48) His helmet, pearl earrings, necklace, bracelets and the Kausthuba jewel, He wears to garments of yellow silk.(49) He has small bells of gold around His waist and His ankles and is of a superior calm, peace and quietude pleasing as well the eye as the mind. (50) He takes His place on the whorl of the lotus of the hearts of those who in worship unite in the light of the glittering of the nails of His lotus feet. (51) One should this way regularly see the Lord His smiling, so affectionate with the devotees and thus in full attention with ones mind meditate on the greatest of all benedictors. (52) The mind thus meditating the very auspicious form of the Supreme Lord is, being enriched, very soon freed from all material contamination and will never come down from that.

(53) Please hear from me the very, very confidential mantra to chant, o prince, from which, done for a seven nights, a person can see the beauty of the beyond. (54) 'Om Namo Bhagavate Vâsudevâya' - MP3 - [my respects for Vâsudeva, the Supreme Lord]; with this mantra [called the dvâdasâksara-mantra] should the learned one exercise respect for the physical of the Lord, the way it should be done, with the diverse paraphernalia and as someone conversant with the differences to place, time and the country [desa kala vibhaga-vit]. (55) One purifies with the help of water, garlands of forest flowers, roots, the diverse fruits and vegetables, fresh grass, buds, bark and with the respect of tulsi-leaves, which are very dear to the Lord your master. (56) One can begin with getting oneself and worshiping a deity made of physical elements like earth and water [clay], or, as a great personality, be of full self-control and in peace control your speech and eat frugally from whatever the forest offers. (57) To that one should meditate on the intriguing activities performed by the Supreme Lord of Wisdom, the way He, by His own potency, so inconceivably incarnates out of His own will. (58) To be in service of the Supreme Lord as I told you is the recommendation of the previous teachers of example who one, within ones heart, for sure should respect with the mantra's, as they are the embodiment of them. (59-60) Thus with ones body, mind and words simply thinking of the Lord engaged in the service is the Supreme Lord to the regulations of bhakti worshiped. The devotees engaged sincerely and seriously does the Lord who brings love, reward what they desire in regard of the spiritual life and benefits [the so-called purusârtha's] of conditioned souls. (61) In complete detachment from all sense-gratification must one, being serious in bhakti-yoga about ones liberation, unrelenting exercise respect that is steeped in love for Him directly.'

(62) Thus being addressed by him, circumambulated the son of the king him offering his obeisances and did he go to the Madhuvana forest which, imprinted by the feet of the Lord, was the right place to be. (63) When he thus had withdrawn himself entering the forest, thought the respected sage it wise to pay the king a visit in his palace and seated there comfortably, he spoke to him. (64) Nârada said: 'Dear King, what are you thinking so deeply about with a wry face - have you lost your grip on the gratification, the religion or the economy?

(65) The king replied: 'O brahmin, my sweet boy, my son, although he is only five years old and actually a great personality and devotee, I have, being too attached to my wife and too hard of heart, banished from here together with his mother. (66) I worry whether, without being protected by anyone in the forest, o brahmin, the helpless boy who's face is like a lotus, hasn't, emaciated of hunger, in fatigue lying down, been devoured by wolves. (67) Alas, how cruel I was, being conquered by a woman; just imagine how most hard hearted I refused him the affection when he out of love tried to climb on my lap.'

(68) Nârada said: 'Do not, I say, do not be aggrieved about your son. He is well protected by the Godhead, o master of men, you don't know how widespread his influence is over all the world. (69) The boy is quite capable; after performing what is impossible for even the greatest around, he will, to the better of your reputation, directly come back to you, my dear King.'

(70) Maitreya Muni said: 'The king, hearing of what Nârada had told him, began to think about him and fell in neglect about his opulent kingdom. (71) Meanwhile was, after taking a bath, fasting that night, the Original Personality worshiped [by Dhruva] with perfect attention as Nârada had advised it. (72) For the first month worshiping the Lord, he only ate, to the bare necessity of preserving his body, fruits and berries in the morning after every third night. (73) The next month the innocent boy continued his respect for the Almighty, eating every sixth day as mentioned, having daily food prepared from grasses and leaves gone dry. (74) The passing third month long he drank each ninth day water only, fully absorbed in his respect for the Lord of Wisdom, Uttama Sloka. (75) That way continuing into the fourth month, each twelfth day he ate air only, controlling his breath, meditating in worship of God. (76) By the fifth month still in control of his breath, did the son of the king, meditating on the Creator, stand on one leg like a column without moving. (77) In all respects concentrating the mind in the heart, meditating the resting place for the senses and their objects, did he not look for anything else but the form of the Supreme Lord.  (78) Finding his repose, having taken into the heart the Absolute, the complete of the reality, the primary principle and person of all, all the three worlds began to tremble. (79) As he remained standing on the one leg did he, the child of the king, press half the earth down with his big toe bent, just like the king of elephants does who as a boat balances left and right with every step. (80) Thus he, in the full of his meditation having stopped his breathing, closing all gates of the body confining the life's air, suffocated all the worlds and soon all the great ones from all places sought their refuge with the Lord.

(81) The godly said: 'We never saw anything like this, o Supreme Lord, seeing the flow of the universal breath obstructed; You as the reservoir of all existence, so kind to the needy, we all, taking shelter with Your Honor, therefore approach to save us from the calamity.'

(82) The Supreme Lord replied: 'Fear not, this choking of the life's air happens on account of the son of King Uttânapâda who is in deep thought of Me; I will ask the boy, strong in his determination of penance, to stop with this. Please return to your homes.'  

(1) Maitreya said: 'They, thus being freed from all fear, offered the Lord of the extraordinary their obeisances, upon which they returned to their three worlds. The Lord with the thousand faces [Sahasrasîrsâ, the original Vishnu] then from there went away to the Madhuvana forest desirous to see him, His servant [Dhruva]. (2) He who from the maturity of his meditation was seeing Him, brilliant as lightening manifested on the lotus of his heart, all of a sudden noticed that He had disappeared, but looking around he could see Him there outside of him in the same form. (3) With Him present before him, he, confounded, fell to the ground; prostrating his body like a rod offering Him his obeisances and while looking at Him, was the boy as if he was drinking Him, like he was kissing Him with his mouth and embracing Him with his arms. 

(4) Seeing that he wanted to glorify Him, but lacked in experience to do so, did the Lord, who is the prayer in accord with the scripture in the heart of each, understanding the boy, mercifully touch his forehead with His conchshell. (5) By that receiving the inspiration to be able to say just what he wanted, could he, offering his prayers in the love of his devotion, understand what the supreme of the soul was all about and that, without jumping to conclusions, he would be the Dhruva of renown and fame who could not be denied his own world.

(6) Dhruva said: 'Let me offer my obeisances to You, the Supreme Lord and Original Person, who as the One within, from His internal potency commanding the universal energy, entering my words and breath has brought to life my passive senses as well as my other limbs, my hands, legs and skin. (7) Certainly You are the One, Supreme Lord, who, after by his own potency creating this vast outer world called mâyâ - that unlimited complete of the reality with its modes - has entered as the Original Personality, appearing in the temporary qualities variously the way fire does in fire wood. (8) Like a man rising from his sleep, could the one [Brahmâ] of surrender to You, see this whole universe through the knowledge given by You, o my Lord; in relation to You as the shelter of all who desire liberation, how can anyone who is of learning forget about Your lotusfeet, o friend of the distressed? (9) It suffers no doubt that for those, who under the influence of the outer world are missing the right conception and worship You for other purposes, You are, as the cause of liberation from birth and death, like a desire tree; and You are that even for persons in hell who desire a gratification that is only appealing to their senses. (10) That which is the bliss of the embodied, derived from the impersonal spirit can't compare to the bliss derived from meditating on Your own, You Magnificence, Your lotus feet and the hearing of the topics from the ones who love You. And what to say comparing it to the bliss of those who from their high positions have to fall down destroyed by the sword of death? (11) I pray to enjoy the intimate association of those who are constantly engaged in your devotional service, o Unlimited One, of those great devotees by whose purified hearts one can easily cross the terrible and vast ocean of dangers that is the material existence; I pray that I go mad of drinking the nectar of the stories about Your qualities. (12) They, so high, my dear Lord, never think of the material body, their relating to their sons, friends, home, wealth and wife; they, o One of the Lotus Navel, have achieved the association with those who in their hearts are always after the fragrance of Your lotus feet. (13) The animals, trees, birds, reptiles, gods, demons and men, driven by the material energy are found throughout the gross of the universe in varieties of existence and are for several reasons seen and not seen, o Unborn One, that I know, but this I do not; from this transcendental form, O Supreme One, I do not know but the end of my argument. (14) At the end of each epoch is all of this universe withdrawn in the belly of the Supreme Person lying down in retrospect in the company of Ananta Sesa as His bed; from the ocean of His navel sprouted the golden sphere, with Brahmâ on the whorl of the lotus. Him, that Supreme Lordship I do offer my obeisances. (15) You are the eternal of liberation, the uncontaminated, the Supreme Soul full of knowledge, the changeless, the authentic Original Person, the Supreme Lord and ruler of the three modes, the continuing intelligence through all actions of the intellect, the transcendental vision and witness, the maintainer, enjoyer and the one that is different from all. (16) You, in whose opposite nature the various energies of knowledge and ignorance are always found and who is that continuing Brahman, the cause of the material manifestation, the original one and unlimited that is simply blissful, I offer my respects. (17) Compared to other benedictions are Your lotus feet for sure the true one, o my Lord, and although as such You are thus the personification of the goal of life of each person, o beloved Fortunate One, you do, eager to bestow your mercy, maintain the poor of heart like I am, the way a cow does a calf.'

(18) Maitreya said: 'Then, thus truly being worshiped by the fine intelligence of his good intentions only, did the Supreme Lord who is always in favor of his devotees, speak after first having congratulated him. (19) The Supreme Lord said: 'I know of the determination within your heart, o Son of the King. Since you are sworn to piety, I shall give to you, although it is difficult to fulfill, all that good fortune. (20-21) Never, My good boy was there such a brightly glowing place known as the planet of Dhruva, around which all the other planets and constellations of stars are circling like a group of bulls does stationary around a central pole [for crushing grain]. It is the planet around which, keeping it to their right, along with the stars, all great sages of the forest, whose lives stretch beyond a millennium, like Dharma, Agni, Kasyapa and Sukra, move circumambulating. (22) As soon as your father has left for the forest, will you be awarded the whole world. It will be under the pious protection of your rule for thirty-six thousand years without decay in the full sense of power. (23) When your brother Uttama, being killed in hunting, is sought in the forest by the all too afflicted mother, will she run into a forest fire. (24) After performing great sacrifices for Me, the heart of all sacrifice, and having distributed great charities, you will also, after having enjoyed the blessings within this world, at the end of your life be able to remember Me. (25) Thereafter you will head for My abode that is worshiped on all planets and is situated above those of the rishi's and having gone there, you will never come back.'

(26) Maitreya said: 'Thus, after assuring the boy His personal protection, did He the honored and worshiped Supreme Lord who has Garuda in His flag, with him looking on, return to His own place. (27) Although with the result of service Dhruva had of his determination achieved the feet of Vishnu, was he not very pleased with the satisfaction obtained and did he return home.'

(28) Vidura said: 'Why is it that he, with the very affectionate worship of His lotus feet obtaining the in one lifetime rarely achieved supreme position of the Lord, having reached that far, being so wise, felt not fulfilled within his heart ?

(29) Maitreya replied: 'Of his stepmother her harsh words he was pierced in his heart and remembering them all he did not desire liberation from the Lord of salvation and thus he suffered grief. (30) Dhruva said to himself: 'What by their trance the four Kumâra's, those infallible celibates, never could achieve in one birth, I've understood within six months, but achieving the shelter of His lotusfeet I fell down because I had my mind on other things than Him. (31) Oh alas, just see the unfortunate of my bodily consciousness; having approached the lotus feet of Him who can cut all bonds, I have prayed for that which is perishable. (32) My intelligence was contaminated by those intolerant ones of God who are doomed to fall down and so I most ignorantly could not accept the truth of the instructions of Nârada. (33) Like dreaming in my sleep I sought my refuge with the illusory energy of the divine, complaining from within my heart; seeing it in opposition I, under the influence of the outer world, lamented that my brother was my enemy, although he is just of the temporary. (34) This, what was prayed for by me, is as useless as treatment given to someone whose life has already ended; after satisfying the Soul of the Universe by austerities, which is very difficult to do, I prayed with the One of Cutting with the World, for a repetition of birth and death and are thus without fortune. (35) From Him, willing to offer me His full independence I, alas, of material foolishness, asked for material prosperity; it is like a poor man who asks a great emperor that is impressed by his virtue, for a few broken grains of husked rice.'

(36) Maitreya continued: 'My dear Vidura, for sure are persons, like yourself, who are eager to taste the dust of the lotus feet of the Lord of Liberation, in serving Him, of no interest for themselves after that which is automatically achieved by it; they consider themselves very rich. (37) Having heard that his son had returned as if he came back after dying, could king Uttânapâda, not believe it why a sinner like him would befall such a good fortune.  (38) Keeping faith in the words of devarishi Nârada, he was overwhelmed by the tidings the messenger brought and being very satisfied, he offered him a highly valuable pearl necklace. (39-40) Very eager to see his son, he in great haste got on a gold ornamented chariot drawn by the finest horses and left, accompanied by the sound of conchshells, kettledrums, flutes and the chanting of hymns, the city together with brahmins, the elderly and his officers, ministers and friends. (41) Both his queens Sunîci and Suruci got, hung with gold, together with Uttama on a palanquin and joined the procession.(42-43) Seeing him approaching a small forest nearby, the king hurried down from his chariot and was immediately overwhelmed with love as he came near him. Emotional of his great anxiety he with both his arms for a long time embraced his son, whose bondage of endless material contamination was destroyed by the Lord His lotus feet. (44) Thereupon smelling his head over and over, he, seeing his greatest desire fulfilled, bathed his son with the water cool from his eyes. (45) After respecting his fathers feet receiving his blessings, he bowed his head to his two mothers and was honored by the foremost of the nobles. (46) Suruci, having picked him up as the innocent boy fell at her feet, embraced him and spoke, choked up with tears, to him the words: 'May you live long'. (47) Anyone with whose qualities and friendship the Supreme Personality, Lord Hari, is pleased; unto him do all living beings, like water of itself flowing to the lowest position, offer respect. (48) Uttama and Dhruva both overwhelmed with affection embraced one another over and over, with their hairs standing up, while they let their tears run freely. (49) Sunîti, his mother, embracing her son more dear to her then her life air, gave, being satisfied touching his body, up all grief. (50) There and then, o heroic one, he was wetted auspiciously by the incessant tears from the eyes and the milk that started flowing from the breasts of the mother of this hero. (51) The people around offered her, the Queen, praise: 'The fortune of your son will vanquish all your pains now he has returned in order to protect the face of this earth, after being lost for such a long time. (52) The Supreme Lord, who can deliver one from the greatest danger, must have been honored by you, conquering death so difficult to overcome, as do great saints meditating constantly on Him.'

(53) Dhruva, thus praised by the people around, was by the king together with his brother placed on the back of a she-elephant and that way pleased and glorified, he returned to his capital. (54) Here and there, from rows of banana trees and young betel nut trees, were set up brilliant arched gateways that looked shark-toothed with bunches of flowers and fruits. (55) At each gate there was the decoration of hanging mango leaves, cloth, flower garlands and strings of pearls together with pots filled with water and burning lamps. (56) With its surrounding walls, city gates and houses, were the domes of the palace glittering on all sides, beautifully decorated with golden ornaments. (57) The squares, lanes and rooftops were thoroughly cleansed and sprinkled with sandalwood water and provided with auspicious presentations of fried rice, barley, flowers and fruits. (58-59) Seeing Dhruva on the road here and there the woman of the houses, uttering affectionate blessings, showered him with white mustard seeds, barley, curd, water, fresh grass, flowers and fruits and thus hearing their very pleasant songs he entered the palace of his father. (60) In that fine mansion bedecked with inlays of precious stones he, always being lifted up to the divine by his father, lived there like a god. (61) It had seats and furniture of gold with very valuable ivory beds with golden embellishments and bedding white like the foam of milk.  (62) The walls, made of marble, had precious gems in them and also the lamps that shone with jewels were held by female figurines made of precious stones as well. (63) Also the gardens were very beautiful with various heavenly trees, pairs of singing birds and the humming of mad bumblebees. (64) Emerald staircases lead to ponds full of lilies and blue lotuses, swans and ducks and flocks of geese and cranes dwelt nearby.

(65) The saintly king Uttânapâda under the influence of hearing and seeing his totally wonderful son, felt extremely happy about the supreme of his wonder. (66) When he saw that Dhruva was mature enough of age made the king him, with the approval of his loving subjects and ministers, the master of the world. (67) He, this king of Vishnu, pondering over the salvation of his own soul, considered himself also old enough and went detached into the forest.  

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Written by N. Kasturi M.A., B.L.