Dhruva Maharaja

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Dhruva Maharaja – a small boy who leaves his home and goes to the forest to find God
King Uttanapada had two queens, named Suniti and Suruci. Suruci was much more dear to the king; Suniti, who had a son named Dhruva, was not his favorite. Once upon a time, King Uttanapada, was patting the son of Suruci, Uttama, placing him on his lap. Dhruva was also trying to get on the king’s lap, but the king did not very much welcome him. While Dhruva was trying to get on the lap of his father, Suruci, Dhruva’s stepmother, with great pride began to speak harsh words to him. Queen Suruci said: “My dear child, you do not deserve to sit on the throne or on the lap of the king. Surely you are also the son of the king, but because you did not take your birth from my womb, you are not qualified to sit on your father’s lap. You should know that your attempt is doomed to failure. You are trying to fulfill a desire which is impossible to fulfill.”
As a snake, when struck by a stick breathes heavily, Dhruva Maharaja, having been struck by the strong words of his stepmother, began to breathe very heavily because of great anger. When he saw that his father was silent and did not protest, he immediately left the palace and went to his mother. When Dhruva reached his mother, his lips were trembling in anger, and he was crying very grievously . Queen Suniti lifted her son unto her lap, while the palace residents who had heard all the harsh words of Suruci related everything in detail. Thus Suniti also became greatly aggrieved. As she remembered the words of her co-wife, her bright, lotuslike face filled with tears. She could not find any remedy for the painful situation, and she said to her son: “My dear boy, don’t wish for anything inauspicious for others. Anyone who inflicts pains upon others suffers himself from that pain. Whatever has been spoken by Suruci is so, because the king, your father, does not consider me his wife or even his maidservant. He feels ashamed to accept me. Therefore it is a fact that you have taken birth from the womb of an unfortunate woman, and by being fed from her breast you have grown up. As far as I am concerned, I do not find anyone who can mitigate your distress but the Supreme Lord, whose eyes are like lotus petals. Without further delay, you must engage yourself in worshiping the Lord, whom even great yogis worship by controlling the mind and regulating the life air (prana). Thus you should take shelter of the Lord, who is very kind to his devotees. People seeking liberation from the cycle of birth and death always take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord in devotional service.” The instruction of Dhruva Maharaja’s mother was actually meant for fulfilling his desired objective. Therefore, after deliberate consideration and with intelligence and fixed determination, although he was only a child, he left his father’s home and entered the forest.
The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart as the Supersoul. Being very much pleased with the child’s firm determination, the Lord sent His representative, Narada Muni, to approach Dhruva and help him. As a great saint and pure devotee Narada Muni was able to connect to the heart of everyone and he could also understand the past, present and future of every living entity. Narada Muni told Dhruva: “My dear boy, you are only a little boy whose engagement is to play and sport. Why are you so affected by words insulting your honor? My dear Dhruva, if you feel that your sense of honor has been insulted, you still have no cause for dissatisfaction. This kind of dissatisfaction is another feature of the illusory energy; every living entity is controlled by his previous actions, and therefore there are different varieties of life for enjoying and suffering. The arrangements of God are very wonderful. Everyone who is intelligent should accept those arrangements and be satisfied with whatever comes, favorable or unfavorable, by His supreme will. Now you have decided to undertake the mystic process of meditation under the instruction of your mother, just to achieve the mercy of the Lord, but in my opinion such austerities are not possible for an ordinary man. It is very difficult to satisfy the Supreme Lord. After trying this process for many, many births and remaining unattached to material contamination, placing themselves continually in trance and executing many types of austerities, many mystic yogis were unable to find the end of the path of God realization. For this reason, my dear boy, you should not endeavor for this; it will not be successful. It is better that you go home. When you are grown up, by the mercy of the Lord you will get a chance for these mystic performances. At that time you may execute this function. One should try to keep himself satisfied in any condition of life – whether distress or happiness – which is offered by the supreme will. A person who endures in this way is able to cross over the darkness of nescience very easily.”
Dhruva Maharaja answered: “My dear Lord Naradaji, for a person whose heart is disturbed by the material conditions of happiness and distress, whatever you have so kindly explained for attainment of peace of mind is certainly a very good instruction. But as far as I am concerned, I am covered by ignorance, and this kind of philosophy does not touch my heart. My dear Lord, I am very impudent for not accepting your instructions, but this is not my fault. It is due to my having been born in a ksatriya family, a family of kings and administrators. The natural qualities of ksatriyas are heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and leadership and thus they are under the influence of the mode of passion. My stepmother, Suruci, has pierced my heart with her harsh words. Therefore your valuable instruction does not stand in my heart. O learned brahmana, my desire is to occupy a position more exalted than any yet achieved within the three worlds by anyone, even by my fathers and grandfathers. If you will oblige, kindly advise me of an honest path to follow by which I can achieve the goal of my life. My dear Lord, you are a worthy son of Lord Brahma, and you travel, playing on your musical instrument, the vina, for the welfare of the entire universe. You are like the sun, which rotates in the universe for the benefit of all living beings.”
The great personality Narada Muni, upon hearing the words of Dhruva Maharaja and understanding his determination, became very compassionate toward him, and in order to show him his causeless mercy, he gave him the following expert advice: “The instruction given by your mother, Suniti, to follow the path of devotional service to the Supreme Lord, is just suitable for you. You should therefore completely absorb yourself in the devotional service of the Lord. Any person who desires the fruits of the four principles religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and, at the end, liberation, should engage himself in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for worship of His lotus feet yields the fulfillment of all of these. My dear boy, I therefore wish all good fortune for you. You should go to the bank of the Yamuna, where there is a virtuous forest named Madhuvana, and there be purified. Just by going there, one draws nearer to the Supreme Lord, who always lives there. My dear boy, in the waters of the Yamuna River, which is known as Kalindi, you should take three baths daily because the water is very auspicious, sacred and clear. After bathing, you should perform the necessary regulative principles for astanga-yoga and then sit down on your asana [sitting place] in a calm and quiet position. After sitting on your seat, practice the three kinds of breathing exercises, and thus gradually control the life air, the mind and the senses. Completely free yourself from all material contamination, and with great patience begin to meditate on the Lord. The Lord’s face is perpetually very beautiful and pleasing in attitude. To the devotees who see Him, He appears never to be displeased, and He is always prepared to award benedictions to them. His eyes, His nicely decorated eyebrows, His raised nose and His broad forehead are all very beautiful. In fact, there is no form more beautiful in the three worlds than the form of the Lord. The Lord’s form is always youthful. Every limb and every part of His body is properly formed, free from defect. His eyes and lips are pinkish like the rising sun. He is always prepared to give shelter to the surrendered soul, and anyone so fortunate as to look upon Him feels all satisfaction. The Lord is always worthy to be the master of the surrendered soul, for He is the ocean of mercy. His bodily hue is deep bluish, He wears a garland of flowers, and He is eternally manifest with four hands, which hold [beginning from the lower left hand] a conchshell, wheel, club and lotus flower. The entire body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva, is decorated. He wears a valuable jeweled helmet, necklaces and bracelets, His neck is adorned with the Kaustubha jewel, and He is dressed in yellow silk garments. The Lord is decorated with small golden bells around His waist, and His lotus feet are decorated with golden ankle bells. All His bodily features are very attractive and pleasing to the eyes. He is always peaceful, calm and quiet and very pleasing to the eyes and the mind. Yogis meditate upon the transcendental form of the Lord as He stands on the whorl of the lotus of their hearts, the jewellike nails of His lotus feet glittering. The Lord is always smiling, and the devotee should constantly see the Lord in this form, as He looks very mercifully toward the devotee. In this way the meditator should look toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the bestower of all benedictions. One who meditates in this way, concentrating his mind upon the always auspicious form of the Lord, is very soon freed from all material contamination, and he does not come down from meditation upon the Lord. O son of the King, now I shall speak unto you the mantra which is to be chanted with this process of meditation. One who carefully chants this mantra for seven nights can see the perfect human beings flying in the sky: “OM NAMO BHAGAVATE VASUDEVAYA.” With the chanting of the mantra one should offer the Lord flowers and fruits and other varieties of foodstuffs exactly according to the rules and regulations prescribed by authorities. This should be done in consideration of place, time, and attendant conveniences and inconveniences. One should worship the Lord by offering pure water, pure flower garlands, fruits, flowers and vegetables, which are available in the forest, or by collecting newly grown grasses, small buds of flowers or even the skins of trees, and if possible, by offering tulasi leaves, which are very dear to God. It is possible to worship a form of the Lord made of physical elements such as earth, water, pulp, wood and metal. In the forest one can make a form with no more than earth and water and worship Him according to the above principles. A devotee who has full control over his self should be very sober and peaceful and must be satisfied simply with eating whatever fruits and vegetables are available in the forest. My dear Dhruva, besides worshiping the Deity and chanting the mantra three times a day, you should meditate upon the transcendental activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His different incarnations, as exhibited by His supreme will and personal potencies. One should follow in the footsteps of previous devotees regarding how to worship the Supreme Lord with the prescribed paraphernalia, or one should offer worship within the heart by reciting the mantra to the Personality of Godhead, who is nondifferent from the mantra. Anyone who thus engages in the devotional service of the Lord, seriously and sincerely, with his mind, words and body, and who is fixed in the activities of the prescribed devotional methods, is blessed by the Lord according to his desire. If a devotee desires material religiosity, economic development, sense gratification or liberation from the material world, he is awarded these results. If one is very serious about liberation, he must stick to the process of transcendental loving service, engaging twenty-four hours a day in the highest stage of ecstasy, and he must certainly be aloof from all activities of sense gratification.”
When Dhruva Maharaja, the son of the King, was thus advised by the great sage Narada, he circumambulated Narada, his spiritual master, and offered him respectful obeisances. Then he started for Madhuvana, which is always imprinted with the lotus footprints of Lord Krishna and which is therefore especially auspicious.
Read in the second part of the story how Dhruva Maharaja, executing the order of his spiritual master, Narada Muni, became so much absorbed in the Lord that he became practically one with the total consciousness, his big toe pushed down half the earth and by holding his breath the total universal breathing became choked up.

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Artwork courtesy of The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
www.krishna.com. Used with permission.

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