Introduction : He
was a little boy of five years when he was insulted by his step-mother and
ignored by his father. With determination and devotion, he succeeded.To this
day the Pole Star reminds Indians of this great devotee of God.
Who has not seen the Pole Star? It guides travelers in remote forests and
sailors at night. There is an interesting legend about this star.
In ancient times, a king used to have many wives. This was a common
practice. But often the wives were not friendly towards one another.
Disputes arose as to who should be given a higher place and enjoy greater
pomp, and whose son should be the future king.
Once upon a time there was an emperor, by name Uttanapada. He had two
queens. Suniti was his first wife and the Chief Queen. Suruchi was the
younger wife. But yet the King loved Suruchi more. Her word was law to him.
She had no patience. She would grow angry in no time. Her own happiness and
glory were important to her. Yet the king loved her. Whatever she said he
accepted;he never considered whether it was right or wrong.Even when he
clearly saw that she was wrong, he was not bold enough to say so.
But Suniti was of a gentle nature. She would first 'consider what was right
and what was wrong and then she would choose the right course. She was
patient by nature. She was helpless before Suruchi's arrogance. The status
of the Chief Queen justly due to Suniti wasgiven to Suruchi. As the King was
a puppet in Suruchi's hands, she exercised greater
authority in the affairs of the state.
Suniti had a son, Dhruva by name. Suruchi also had only one son, by name
Cannot Live In The Palace
Suruchi was not content with her pomp and power. She did not allow Suniti
and Dhruva to live in the palace. Her desire was that her son Uttama should
succeed to the throne. If Suniti and Dhruva lived in the palace, people
would always remember that Suniti was the Chief Queen andDhruva the first
son of the King Uttama might not become the king this was Suruchi's fear.
Though Suniti was the Chief Queen, she lived on the outskirts of thecity
like a commoner. King Uttanapada did nothing. He would not even turn towards
herhouse. He had so much fear and love for Suruchi.
Comfort To The Other
In spite of such sufferings Suniti was true to her name ; 'Suniti' means one
who is virtuous. She uttered not a word of complaint against her husband,
nor would she blame Suruchi. She always wished them well. She accepted
whatever fell to her lot. Submitting everything to God, she was silent. Her
only treasure was Dhruva. Every day she would call him to her and teach him
the holy stories of saintly persons.Thus she would forget hersorrow. She
spent her days praying for the pros- perity of Dhruva who was her only
Dhruva had great love for his mother; he was devoted to God and he respected
elders. Though young, he had pleasing manners. Under the guidance of the
mother, he had developed great devotion to God; and it grew every day.
Sometimes he thought, 'My father is a king; but why do my mother and I not
reside in the palace? Why does my father not come to our house at al l? ’
Again and again he questioned his mother. She managed to
console him somehow and then grew silent.
Every child wishes that his father and his mother should treat him with
love. Is this not so? Dhruva's mother fondled him, told him stories and
dressed him with great affection. But he was denied the father's love. This
pricked his mind.
Lift Me In Your Arms"
One day little Dhruva was playing; he went to the palace. He was just five
years old. The King was seated with Suruchi and Uttama on the throne studded
with gems. The magnificent hall glittered with pearls and gems. Many things
there delighted one's eyes - pure white cushions here and there, golden
chairs decorated with silver figures and lovely figures carved on marble
Dhruva entered the hall. He saw Uttama sitting on the lap of the father. He,
too, wished to sit on his father's lap.Hestepped towards the throne.
Suruchi saw Dhruva approaching hisfather. Her wickedness stirred at once.
Dhruva climbed the steps of the throne. Standing near his father, he said,
"Father, I too want to sit on your lap; lift me in your arms."
" Are You
The King did not even look at Dhruva standing nearby. Poor boy! Dhruva was
very eager to sit on the father's lap like Uttama. He put his hand on
Suruchi flared up. Her eyes seemed to send forth sparks of anger. The King
also noticed her angrily glaring at Dhruva. He, too, felt pity for the boy.
Yet, on one side there was the natural desire of his little son; on the
other side was his beloved queen glaring at Dhruva like a provoked lioness.
He did not dare to face her anger. So he was silent.
Suruchi could not control her anger. She stormed at the child. "YOU fellow,
how dare you presume to aspire to sit on the King's lap? You were not born,
as my sons are you worthy of touching the throne? If you aspire after the
throne, perform tapas; Pray to God and be born as my son. Only then can you
be like Uttama. Stand back! Otherwise you will have to be pushed out. Get
out!" she said scornfully.
Back To The
Poor boy! He was confounded. He looked at his father, who did not even
glance at the boy. Dhruva could not bear the sorrow. He was angry, too,like
a wounded serpent. He felt deeply insulted. His father had not spoken a word
to him, and had remained quiet when he was insulted. Tears rolled down his
cheeks. Leaving his father, he went down the steps of the throne.
A servant had watched what hadhappened and saw the sobbing boy. She felt
sorry for him. She came forward to lift him up. But Dhruva escaped and ran
away. The servant followed him.
Even as Suniti saw her son at a distance she felt as if the skies had come
down on her. Dhruva had always been full of laughter. But here he was,
coming home sobbing. Suniti ran to the child hugged him and lifted him up.
She kissed him and tried to console him. But he was still sobbing. He could
A servant had followed Dhruva, hadn't she? Suniti asked her, "Why is the
child weeping? Do you know? "
The servant narrated the incident.
Suniti could not bear the
anguish of her heart on hearing the servant's story the insult done to
Dhruva by Suruchi, her words and her keeping him at a distance as though he
had no right even toapproach his own father. Sorrow welled up in her. For a
while she could not even speak. She sat silent. The selfish Suruchi had
insulted Dhruva who was the real heir to the throne Suniti felt sad. Poor
boy! Dhruva was an innocent child. Why should Suruchi have ill-treated
him?Suniti thought,'I should have enjoyed the status of the Chief Queen.
When I myself live the life of a commoner, should Suruchi take revenge upon
my child?' ;
Shedding tears, Suniti consoled the child. She said: "My darling, no doubt
you are a prince but you are not fortunate enough to enjoy the position of a
prince. When God takes pity on us, our condition will improve. I am an
unfortunate woman; and because you are my child, you were subjected to
suffering. Everything happens according to God's will. We can only surrender
ourselves to Him and beg Him to save us from difficulties. That is all. Who
else will help us? Take comfort. All is God's will."
"How Can I
Every day the mother used to tell Dhruva many stories about God.The boy had
heard stories about the devotees in dis- tress whom God had saved.The mother
now stressed the fact that thesole strength and shelter of those in distress
is God, who is full of mercy. On hearing her words, a new Hope surged in the
"Mother, how can I see God? Will He not appear if I appeal to Him?" he
"True, my child, we should think of God, that Ocean of Mercy, and pray to
Him. Then we can be sure of His help," replied Suniti.
Dhruva said, "But how can I see Him at all? I will see Him, tell Him about
our sorrows and try to get His help."
"Let Me Go
And See God"
Suniti smiled at the words of the child, but she also felt pity. She said,
"My darling, there is no place where God is notpresent. In different forms,
He pervades all places. He is present in all men. He is in the good and in
the evil, in joy and in sorrow. But it is not easy to see God. He will be
pleased with the devotion of a pure mind. My child, you should have a firm
mind, absolute 'devotion and perfect faith."
"But mother, you have often told me that sages and ascetics go to the forest
to see God. Is he present there, too?'
"Yes, my darling. He is everywhere. But, Dhruva, to perform tapas in a
forest is not an easy task. The forest is full of wild animals like tigers
and lions. There are poisonous creatures like serpents and scorpions.
Whatever roots and fruits are found is all the food. One has to put upwith
everything like the rain, the winds, cold and heat. A little boy like you
cannot do all this, my love" Suniti said.
A firm decision shone in the innocent face of Dhruva as he heard these
"Mother, I will go to the forest and see God. I will please Him with my
devotion and secure boons. Bless me that I may succeed." With these words,
he respect- fully touched her feet.
Easy, My Child"
Suniti was taken aback at these words. She had not thought that Dhruva would
take such a decision. A little child to go to the forest? A little child to
perform tapas? She could hardly believe her ears. But he had made up his
mind. She spoke comfortingly and lovingly, and said, "It is not so easy to
see God my darling. Singleness of purpose is necessary to please Him. You
must have faith that nothing can shake; your heart must be full of the
nectar of devotion. All this is beyond a child like you. We must accept
whatever falls to our lot - joy or sorrow. Whatever joys and sorrows we may
face, we should consider them the gifts of God and surrender everything to
Him.This is theonly way left to us." With these words Suniti lifted the boy
in her arms.
Surely See God"
But the mind of the innocent Dhruva was distrubed. He was determined to see
whatever the difficulties he had to face. He had resolved to place his
sufferings and those of his mother before God and put an end to them. He
rose from his mother's lap.
Mother,I cannot delay any longer.Whatever may happen,whatever hardships I
may encounter, I will see God. Do not be anxious till I come back. The sages
have seen God; will He not appear to me? Send me with your blessings,' so
saying, he again touched her feet.
Suniti heard the words of her son. "You were not born as my son. Do you
deserve the throne?' - these words of Suruchi to Dhruva she remembered. She
too felt that the way he had chosen was the only way left for them to wipe
out the insult. She said, "My love, what your step-mother said is true. Your
father is ashamed even to admit that I am his wife. Then,how can you, my
son, become the king? It is useless to blame Suruchi. The only right thing
to do is for you to worship God. Pray to Him with single-minded devotion.
May you succeed!"
Dhruva bowed to his mother. She took him in her arms and fondled him, and
blessed him.The little boy, barely five years old, went to the forest
determined to see God.
Dhruva had only one goal before him, and that was to see God. He walked on,
unmindful of the stones and the thorns in his path, and of the Lips and
downs; he had no thought of hunger,thirst and fatigue. The name of the Lord
was ever on his lips. His mind was filled with the nectar of the Lord's
Walking without rest, Dhruva entered a thick forest. He walked on,
struggling to find a path. Stones and thrones hurt his tender feet. All day
long the boy walked on. He was hungry and thirsty. He was very tired.
Darkness was descending. The forest was full of terrifying sounds. Ele-
phants trumpeted, lions and tigers roared. But Dhruva was not conscious of
them at all. H e was chanting the sacred words, 'Obeisance to Lord Narayana'.
The words were his sole protection. It grew dark. He could not find his way
in that thick forest. Unable to do anything and utterly ex- hausted, he
collapsed under a tree. But the lips still uttered the name of the Lord. The
tiny boy, exhausted by thewanderings, soon fell asleep.
The night passed.Day dawned.The chirp- ing birds came out of their nests.
Little animals, which crept out of their holes, noticed the child asleep on
dry leaves. The deer timidly and cautiously approa- ched Dhruva and smelt
him. One creature attracted another, and soon a number of birds and animals
gathered there and surrounded the boy. The noise woke him up.He opened his
eyes and lookedaround. He saw it was morning and stood up. The birds and
animals were all frightened and ran away in different directions.
Only the words. 'Obeisance to Lord Narayana' came from the lips of Dhruva.
He was quite certain he would see the Lord.
Sir, Guide Me"
Dhruva had comb with the yearning to see god. He got up in a hurry, and
began his journey. Wandering in the wild forest full of stones and thorns,
his tender little feet were already bleeding. He could hardly take a step.
Just then the great sage Narada un- expectedly appeared there. Narada was a
great devotee of Lord Vishnu (Narayana). He visited the three worlds. Dhruva
was filled with joy at the sight of the holy sage with cymbals and the 'tamboora'
in his hands, who was singing the glory of the Lord. He bowed down and
touched Narada's feet.
By intuition, the sage had understood everything about Dhruva. He raised the
boy. Dhruva said, "Sir, I must see God. That is why I have come here. You
are a holy man. Show me the way."
Stroking his back, Narada said with affection, "My child, you are a very
small boy. In your mad desire to see God, you have come to this thick forest
and exposed yourself to danger. What a difficult task you have undertaken!"
The touch of Narada's hands infused a new spirit in Dhruva.
Dhruva narrated everything in detail - how his stepmother had insulted him,
how his father had ignored him and how his mother had advised him. Embracing
Dhruva, Narada said, "Dear child, your parents are really fortunate. I am
filled with joy at your determination to see God. But child, it is not so
easy to see the Lord Sages have performed tapas in several lives and yet
have not seen the Lord. If you give up your food and wander in a forest, you
cannot see Him. Today you yearn to see God because a great sorrow has
bewildered you. But only a man who can treat both joys and sorrows equally
can see God. Hurt by your stepmother's words, you now seek God to get
relief. But he who wishes to see the Lord should give up desire and anger.
The desire for this thing or that must leave you. Look! You came here
because your stepmother insulted you, didn't you? You were angry at her
words. If you were wise, you should have remained calm, whatever your
stepmother might have said. Without peace and calm of mind, how can you see
God? If you gain experience of worldly life and attain maturity of mind, you
can see Him. Now go back. Live like the others. Experience joys and sorrows.
When you grow old, come to the forest and perform tapas; then you will see
But, though young, Dhruva did not relish these words. 'Great Sir, I belong
to the warrior caste. Your advice cannot alter my decision. I came here to
see God. Show me the way and bless me. My mother has told me that He is
visible to the sages doing tapas in forests. According to her, God will look
after the person who loves Him. Now I do not seek the throne. I want a
position which none of our elders has so far obtained. When I see the Lord,
that is what I will beg of Him. Show me the way, Sir," he said to the sage
and bowed down
and touched his feet. The little boy's courage and confidence pleased Narada.
He said,'Look, my child, do you remember what your mother told you?That is
valuable advice. Forget everything else and pray to God.There is a place by
name Madhuvana on the banks of the Yamuna. Go there. Bathe in the river.
Think of God with a pura mind. Have His image fixed in your mind. His face
is lovely and innocent like that of a sweet child. His face is radiant. His
lips are ever smiling. His is an enchanting figure, shedding light all
around . Have that image fixed in your mind. ' Make that image the center
of your thoughts, and pray. Control your mind so that it may not
turnelsewhere. The Lord will be pleased with truedevotion. May you prosper!'
The sage then taught him the sacred words of prayer to Vasu- deva (Narayana).
He also blessed the boy.
The venerable sage had initiated and blessed him. So Dhruva's heart was
'filled with joy. He forgot all fatigue. Elated at the joyful thought of
seeing God, he bowed down to Narada's feet and set out to Madhuvana.
" I Did
After parting from Dhruva, the sage Narada went to the palace of Uttanapada.
When Suruchi insulted Dhruva, the King was afraid of her and so he kept
silent. But he could not forget the boy's sorrow and tears. He sent his
servants to Suniti's house to bring Dhruva. They returned with the news that
the boy had gone to the forest to see God.Grief flooded the King's heart.
When Narada arrived, Uttanapada was full of repentance for his inaction.
Every one was cursing Suruchi. Suruchi, who was once so arrogant, was now
ashamed to show her face and crouched in a corner. Having lost her son,
Suniti had given up food and had become weak.
The great sage Narada arrived at the court of Uttanapada. The King received
him with all honor. He offered him a seat of honour. Narada said, "Great
King, your face shows deep misery. What is the reason?"
"'Venerable sage," replied the King, "unfortunately 1. Did wrong. Because of
my love for Suruchi, I drove away my sweet, child with his mother. Dhruva
was happy with his mother. I insulted him and sent him to the forest. So I
have become a sinner." And the King broke down with grief.
Result From All This"
Narada consoled. The King saying, 'Great King, your son Dhruva is an
exceptional child. God himself looks after him. Do not be troubled. With his
firm mind, Dhruva will earn such a place as no one else has attained, and
will come back. Take courage."
Full of repentance, Uttanapada said, "Revered Sir, I acted blindly and
thought- lessly. I have committed a hundred sins. Forgive me," and he fell
at the Sage's feet. Then Narada consoled the King and advised him. He Said,
"Oh King! What you have done is wrong. Yet good will come of all this. Bring
your Chief Queen Suniti to the palace and treat her with all honor." Then
the Sage went away singing the sweet name of Lord Narayana.
Dhruva did not move from his seat. Reciting the divine name of Lord Vasu-
deva,he fixed the divine, auspicious image of the Lord in his heart. Without
food, with out caring for heat and cold, and not even conscious of the world
around him,he went on reciting the divine hymn only. One day passed, two
days passed; a month went by. Dhruva's tapas grew more rigorous. He
dedicated himself to the merciful image of the Lord fixed in his mind.
Months passed. In the beginning, he used to eat whatever fruits he could
get. Gradually all thought of food disappeared. Both his mind and his body
were absorbed in praying to God. Because of his rigorous tapas, a divine
light shone round him. Terrified by it, the wild animals of the forest fled
from him. The flame of Dhruva's tapas began to burn the three worlds.
Lord Narayana was pleased with Dhruva's devotion and his determination. He
appeared before Dhruva in his divine radiance. A conch shone in one hand, a
discus in the second and a mace in the third. Placing His divine hand on
Dhruva's head, the Lord said, "Dhruva, arise. I am pleased with your
devotion." Dhruva opened his eyes. He saw before him the Lord whose
auspicious image he had fixed in his heart. He had left behind him his
loving mother and his kingdom, and had gone without food, all because he
yearned to see God. Now, that All-Merciful Lord stood before him smiling.
Dhruva was thrilled. Wonder and joy made him speechless. He prostrated
before the lotus-like feet of the Lord. Then he gazed on the divine,
auspicious figure, as if he would contain the - Lord in his eyes. He was
eager to speak to God and praise Him. But joy had sealed his lips. The Lord
affectionately touched his cheeks. That divine touch enabled him to speak.
I Am Your Devotee"
Dhruva praised God with all joy and gratitude. "Lord, I cannot describe your
greatness. You are a fountain of bounty. You are everywhere in creation.
Even the wisest of men cannot understand you. What, then, of me, a mere
child! As a cow protects her new-born calf, you must protect me," he prayed.
Dhruva had only one desire before going to the forest; and that was to see
God. But on seeing him, the boy did not know what to pray for. He said,
"Lord, I performed tapas in order to see you. What can I seek after seeing
you? I am young. I do not know how to worship you and honor you. I ask for
nothing. Only grant me the highest of all positions - that of Your devotee."
The boy's words brought great joy to the Lord. Embracing him again, the Lord
said, "Child, all your desires will be fulfilled. Go back to your kingdom
now; at the right age become the king and rule with righteous- ness. See
your image in each of your subjects; share their ambitions, honor, prestige,
joy and sorrow. Rule your king- dom righteously. Then enter the world of
stars and adorn the highest position which none has secured so far." So
the boy, God vanished.
After God disappeared, Dhruva grieved like a fish out of water. 'Did I
conduct myself properly before the Lord? Was there any lapse on my part? I
do not know. I did not achieve the goal of merging in Him; alas, once again
I am to be caught up in the affairs of this world!' He was un- happy. He
said to himself, 'I should have begged of the Lord to make me a part of
Himself. Instead I asked for something trivial! I am like a man who begs the
emperor for a handful of rice!' So he was displeased with himself for a
while. But had not the Lord himself asked him to go back and rule the
kingdom? Now once again Dhruva's mind turned to his mother. He set forth for
his kingdom. He was troubled fearing that separation from himmight have made
his mother unhappy. But he had seen God and the experience had brought him
a new vigor, a new delight and a new splendor.
Back To The
King Uttanapada learnt that Dhruva had fulfilled his oath and was returning
kingdom. His anxiety ended, he was supremely happy. Accompanied by his
ministers and the elders of his state, the King went forth to greet Dhruva
with auspicious music. As soon as he saw Dhruva, he affectionately embraced
him. Then Dhruva respectfully fell at the feet of his stepmother Suruchi.
Overjoyed, she lifted him up and blessed him. His mother
Suniti's joy knew no bounds. Sorrow mixed with joy made her speechless. She
held him tight to her heart. Then at Uttanapada's command Dhruva was seated
on a royal elephant and the procession moved towards the city. The
enthusiastic citizens had decorated the city with archesbunches of flowers
and pearls. Every house was brightly illuminated. Women stood on both sides
of the road, holding plates of flowers and fruits. Honored by all citizens,
Dhruva received their blessings and reached the city.
Uttanapada gave him excellent education. Dhruva mastered all the arts. When
the king grew old, he decided to crown him King. As he desired, Dhruva
married Brahmi, the daughter of king - Prajapati Simsumara and Ila the
daughter of Vayu. Dhruva became the king. Then Uttanapada went to the forest
to perform tapas. Dhruva ruled over his subjects with affection. Suruchi's
son Uttama followed Dhruva in loving devotion.
The City Of
The Yakshas In Ruins
Once Uttama went out hunting. When he was roaming about the forest, a
powerful Yaksha killed him. His mother Suruchi was troubled in mind that he
did not return. She went to the forest in search of him. The Yaksha caused a
wild fire in the forest and Suruchi perished in the fire. Dhruva got the
news that his loving brother and his step- mother were killed by the Yaksha.
He was filled with grief. At the same time he was angry. He made
preparations to fight. With the Yakshas.
Dhruva invaded Alakapuri, the city of the Yakshas. He began to strike them
down. Dhruva rained arrows on the Yakshas and they fell down like dry leaves
in a storm. They used their supernatural powers. It grew dark. A terrible
storm arose.Serpents and lions chased Dhruva. He grew angry. From his
quiver, he took the arrow named after Lord Narayana and shot it. All the
Yakshas, their wives and children were killed. The city of Alakapuri became
Dhruva belonged to the dynasty of Manu. His grandfather Swayambhuva Manu saw
that the Yakshas were being killed need lessly. His heart melted.
Accompanied by many great sages, he went to Dhruva. He taught him the path
of wisdom. Dhruva bowed to his grandfather.
Swayambhuva Manu said, "Dhruva, you are killing the innocent people for the
wrong committed by some one. Get rid of anger; for anger is the root of all
troubles. Ignorance leads to anger. You are a wise man; how could you become
involved in this highly sinful act? One devoted to God will never be angry
and act rashly. You are a holy man, for you have seen Lord Narayana you must
not do such a cruel act. It is your duty to have patience with those who do
wrong. You should be patient with criminals. Pity those in sorrow and be
friendly towards all creatures. Don't you know that the Lord is present in
all living beings? You have now killed the Yakshas and thus hurt Kubera's
feelings. The Yakshas are the followers of Kubera. Now go to Kubera, be
respectful and win his favor."
The advice of his grandfather Swayam- bhuva Manu brought down Dhruva's
anger. He stopped fighting. This news pleased Kubera very much. Accompanied
by his people, he himself went to see Dhruva. Seeing Kubera, Dhruva bowed
down respectfully to him and sought his bless- ings. Kubera ' was pleased
with Dhruva's modesty. He said, "My boy Dhruva, I am pleased with your
goodness. I am not at all displeased with you for killing the Yakshas. You
did not disobey your grandfather Swayambhuva Manu. You curbed your anger
and ended the fighting. I am therefore pleased. Every being born in this
creation must die one day or the other. So do not grieve over the death of
yourbrother and your stepmother; and do not be angry. Ask for whatever you
wish. I will gladly Grant the boons."
But Dhruva did not wish to ask for anything. He had worshipped Lord Narayana
his childhood and had secured His grace what could he desire in his old age?
Hearing Kubera's words, Dhruva humbly said, "Master, I do not seek any kind
of pleasure now. Just grant me this boon - that the auspicious form of Lord
Narayana may ever shine in my heart." So saying he bowed to Kubera. Kubera
was much pleased with his devotion to God. He said, "So be it!," and
Dhruva returned to his capital. He ruled his kingdom, always helping those
in need; his
heart was ever with God. He considered the people's happiness his happiness
and was a just ruler. The auspicious image of the Lord was ever in his heart
and before his eyes. Whatever he did, he did in the name of the Lord.
Dhruva became old. He entrusted his son with care of his kingdom. Going to
Badarikashrama, he forgot the world in praying to the lord. And one day he
departed from this world.
According to the boon granted in his boyhood by Lord Narayana, Dhruva became
as it were, the crowning of the entire galaxy of stars. Also he became the
lord of stars. Also he became the lord of the world of Dhruva. To this day
when Indians see the Pole Star they remember Dhruva, the devotee of perfect
purity of mind. His fame is deathless.