Bhakta Druva

We pray to God to seek riches, fame, power or position, but a five-year-old boy had a wonderful revelation. He felt if he was to pray to God, he should not seek love or Kingdom, he should seek the highest position never heard before.

Once upon a time there lived a king called Uttanapada. He had two wives by name Suneethi and Suruchi. The first wife Suneethi was good-natured but the King loved his second wife more. To be more specific the cunning second wife, Suruchi saw to it that he loved her more. She didn’t stop there. She also made sure that, he treated his first wife as a slave. Automatically he ignored Suneethi’s son, Dhruv too. Dhruv was older than Suruchi’s son, Uttamudu. So Suruchi lived in constant fear that Dhruv would be crowned as a king. The five year old Dhruv was unaware of his step mother’s scheming nature and so he played wholeheartedly with his younger brother. Suneethi guided her son in the right path.

One day, Uttamudu sat on the lap of his father in the royal court. Dhruv saw the scene and the brotherly instinct prompted him to rush to his father to sit on the other lap, but there was no love lost from his father. Adding insult to injury, Suruchi, who was seated beside the king sneered at Dhruv. She said, ‘Oh Dhruv! you have no right to sit over the King’s lap. Only my son is priviledged to do so. You lost the right as you were born to a slave like Suneethi. If you so desire, pray to God to be born in my womb. Then you can sit on your father’s lap and even on the throne. So saying she pushed him aside bluntly. Nobody dared to oppose her atrocities. When the king himself was dumbfounded, how could his courtiers or ministers raise their voice against the beautiful but cruel Queen?

| Dhruv was deeply hurt at her cruel behaviour and at his father’s indifference. He cried bitterly but it fell into deaf ears. Finding no consolation from any corner he went to his mother crying bitterly.

Suneethi’s heart melted at the bruises on the body and at the pain on his heart. She was told the whole scene by the servant maid. Dhruv showered a number of questions to his mother. ‘Ma! What harm have I done to my aunt? Why is she so cruel to me? You know how much I love my brother and how much I respect her ! But do you know how mean she is? I am cursed for being born as your son ! If I want to sit on my father’s lap, it seems I should pray to God to be born again in her womb. Then she will give me the chance of sitting on his lap. What’s so special about her! If there is any specialty, you should have it, as King’s first wife! Why is father so dumbfounded? Don’t I have a right to sit on his lap? Why didn’t he say anything to console me? Suneethi cried bitterly for her son’s miserable position, but she controlled herself in no time and consoled her son. ‘Dhruv I am helpless.

I can only feel sorry for you. I may be his first wife but my position is worse than that of a servant maid. As my son, you are destined to suffer! Suruchi is right! Had you been born as her son, you would have been in Uttam’s place. God takes care of helpless souls like us. Have faith in him. A day will come when those who laughed at you will respect you. Life doesn’t remain the same forever, Day follows night. Till such time have patience. Don’t be disheartened by the comments of others. God sees the truth but waits. He will punish or reward a person at the opportune moment.’

Dhruv had a flash of an idea! Mother asked him to have faith in God. Stepmother asked him to pray to God to be born as her son. Isn’t it silly? Should he waste his energy on penance to be born as her son? What benefit would he get in return by doing so? He would be blessed with the power to sit on his father’s lap! Is it so great a task that he should pray wholeheartedly? Is it the crown of Lord Indra? Is she worried that he would usurp the kingdom and deprive her son of the royal crowning? If at all he was going to do penance, he would rather do it for a nobler cause. He would ask for a higher and permanent position. He would undertake any hardship in prayer for that. He revealed all these thoughts to his mother and sought her blessings to go into the forest to meditate upon God in peace. ‘I am sure I can achieve what I want if you bless me. I am inspired by your words. If we have zeal and undaunted spirit, we will achieve what we want.’ Mother was shocked at his desire. She tried to dissuade him. ‘My son! What made you get such a strong desire! You are a mere boy of five. Life in the forest is not like a bed of roses. You will have a tough time there with the harsh weather and the wild animals. You cannot get tasty food. You cannot do penance like the Rushis. Moreover how can I live without you? You are my only hope.’ Dhruv’s spirit remained undaunted. The lessons of faith the mother had imbibed in him earlier came to the forefront then. He replied, ‘Mother! Don’t you worry! Don’t you remember your stories of Sadhus and wild animals? You said that in the ashram of Sadhus domesticated cows and deer play with tigers. You also said that the wild animals know whom to harm and whom to love. Regarding my stature as a boy, I can bear with any situation. For that matter you told me quite often that if we hope to achieve anything we should have determination and will power. So, mother, please bless me and send me on my mission. Leave the rest to God. She saw that the boy had formed a firm opinion already. So, she blessed him and advised him to continue his faith in the Lord, since he alone would help him. He proceeded on his way, secretly.

On the way he met Narada. Narada being a saint, knew the mission of Dhruv but he wanted to test him. He asked him his story. Dhruv didn’t know who he was. He narrated his grievances at length. Narada tried to convince him first. He said, Don’t take such hasty decisions. Insult is one thing we can never escape. I wonder if you know me. I am Narada. I help everyone in all the three lokas only to be criticized as ‘Kalahabhojan’. I am neither disturbed by their comments nor did I put an end to my friendly behaviour. So ignore such rudeness. Accept whatever comes in your life as God’s Prasad. Your stepmother might have insulted you in a weak moment, but now she might be repenting her words. Moreover think of the grief you would have caused to your mother and father. Attaining God’s blessings is not all that easy. So, now you go back. Try it later after you grow up.

Dhruv replied politely but with a determination ‘Oh Rushi! I am blessed by your Darshan! I deem it as a good sign. I was wondering how to do the penance. Please guide me in those lines. I want to attain such an elevated post which nobody else in my clan had attained. My mother knows it and she has blessed me. So please don’t discourage me.

Narada was impressed by Dhruv’s persistence. He said, ‘Dear son! I like your undaunted spirit. You will definitely attain God’s blessings. Go to Madhuvan forest beside Yamuna River. Go there and meditate upon God. Do pranayamam, control your sense organs and chant ‘Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya’. If you surrender yourself to God totally, God will definitely manifest himself before you. But beware! Before you have the Lord’s Darsan, Indra will spoil your penance in as many ways as possible. He might send Devatas to dishearten you or wild animals to frighten you. Remain as firm as you are now. Your prayers will be answered.’

Dhruv followed accordingly. He thrived on the wild fruits and leaves available in the forest. His penance reached heights as the months rolled by. He stood on one foot and prayed incessantly with concentration. Narada was right! Indra sent wild animals, which roared at Dhruv. Dhruv was least bothered. Devatas came in the guise of devils and demons. One Devata came with crocodile tears, in the guise of his mother pleading him to go back home. Another Devata came as Suruchi to plead him to forgive her. Dhruv could not be fooled so easily. He stood steadfast in different seasons Sun and shower could affect him in no way.

God answered his prayers. Lord Vishnu manifested himself before Dhruv on his Garuda Vaahan! The sight of the four armed God with his Sankhu and Chakra filled Dhruv’s heart with ecstasy. He prostrated himself before God. He wanted to shower prayers on God but he was too young to do so! God touched his Sankhu to his cheeks to fulfil his desire. Then there was a spontaneous overflow of his powerful emotions.
God said, ‘I know what you want? Reaching great heights is not an easy task, but still I will bless you with that I will create a Dhruv Lok for you. Other Lokas may perish but your Loka continues to remain. The stars, Lord Yama, Indra seven Rushis and Kasyap will rotate round you but not now. Time is not yet ripe for that. Go back to your kingdom, rule it after your father, hand it over to your son and then pray to me. You will reach the saptarshi mandal.

Dhruv want back to his family. The father and mothers were overwhelmed with joy on his return. His younger brother showered his love on him. The courtiers and the people gave him a warm welcome.

Dhruv succeeded his father to the throne. In due course married Bhrami, Sinsumara prajapati’s daughter. He begot two sons. They were named Kalpa and Vatsara. He also married Ila, vayudeva’s daughter and gave birth to a son and a daughter.
Once his younger brother Uttam went for hunting to the vicinity of Himalayas. There he was killed by the Yakshasas. Suruchi was grieved by death of her only son. She betook herself to the forests to find peace, but faced a tragic death there.

This news angered Dhruv and waged a war against Yakshasas. The Yakshasas inspite of their tricks were no match to Dhruv. They were dying in clusters. It appeared as if their entire clan would be washed away. So Dhruv’s grandfather Swayambhuva reasoned out with Dhruv. ‘You have no right to destroy the entire clan just because one yaksa killed your brother. God will be impressed by those who have patience with elders, pity for the inferior ones, friendship with equals and sense of oneness with all the creatures. God decides their life span. You, who had the darsan of God, should not fall a prey to the petty jealousies of human beings. Moreover, the Yakshas are the assistants of Kubera. Kubera is a close friend of Parameswara. This act of yours will involve the anger of both Kubera and Paramesa. So, seek forgiveness from them both. Dhruv listened to his grandfather’s words, and gave up war.

Kubera manifested himself before Dhruv and inculcated jnana to him. He explained how the soul is different from the body and how we attach ourselves to the body, being unaware of the all pervasiveness of the soul.

Dhruv earned the name of a kind ruler. When the time was ripe, he crowned his son Utkal as king and reached Badari. There he prayed to the Lord. Lord sent him a pushpak viman. God’s assistants Nandu and Sanandu came out of the viman, bowed to Dhruv and requested him to get into it. As he was about to do so, he thought of his mother. The Lord’s assistants told him that she was already on her way to Heaven in another viman, Dhruv was happy.

Dhruv’s viman shot its way up the sky, beyond the Saptarshi Mandal to an elevated position. Due to the grace of Lord Vishnu, Dhruv became a brilliant star. He is known as pole star. That area is known as Dhruv Mandal.

Dhruv, the pole star, guides us to seek the unattainable and shows us how it can be attained with an undaunted spirit and an invincible soul!

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