The boy who became a star

This extract from the Srimad Bhagavatam tells the story of a little boy who became a star with his single mindedness, faith, and devotion. King Uttanapada, the son of Man

Published: 12th January 2012 11:48 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:13 PM   |  A+A-


Illustration: Amit Bandre

This extract from the Srimad Bhagavatam tells the story of a little boy who became a star with his single mindedness, faith, and devotion.

King Uttanapada, the son of Manu, had two queens, Suniti and Suruchi. Suniti had a son named Dhruva and Suruchi, the younger queen, had a child named Uttama. The king did not care much for Suniti while Suruchi was very dear to him.  

One day, the King was seated in the royal gardens with Uttama on his lap. Little Dhruva saw this and rushed to his father. “Let me sit on your lap too, father,” he said to the king and tried to clamber up on his father’s lap.

Suruchi who was nearby saw this and dragged the boy away. “You cannot sit on your father’s lap, Dhruva. That privilege belongs only to one fortunate to be born as my son. Pray to the Lord to make you the son of Suruchi in your next birth.” As he heard his stepmother’s harsh words, Dhruva looked at his father who remained silent. The boy ran to his mother and told her what had happened. Wiping his tears, Suniti held her son close and said, “Do not cry, my child. Pray to Lord Narayana, he will rid you of all unhappiness.”

Dhruva was determined to follow his mother’s advice. He left the palace and wandered in the forests looking for a place to begin his penance. Sage Narada took pity on the child and appeared before him. Teaching him a mantra to invoke the Lord, ‘Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya’, he directed the boy to Madhuvan by the banks of the river Yamuna to begin his penance. Dhruva found a peaceful spot there and meditated on the Lord. For the first month,he lived on the fruit he found in the forest. In the second month he ate only grass and dried leaves. The third month saw him drink just water. By the fourth month he lived on the air he breathed. He kept repeating the mantra the sage had given him, focusing his mind on god alone.

The power of his tapas shook the heavens and the earth. The devas tried to disrupt his penance sending wild animals and serpents to frighten him. But Dhruva was unmoved.

The devas approached Lord Narayana in his abode and appealed to him, “Lord, please get that boy stop his penance. Our world is in peril. Such is the intensity of his tapas that no living creature can breathe.”

The Lord smiled. “Do not worry, he means no harm. I will go and bless the child.” Lord Narayana came to the banks of the Yamuna and appeared before young Dhruva who opened his eyes to the vision of the divine. His eyes brimming with tears he sought nothing but moksha or salvation, a release from the cycle of birth and death. “You are but a child, Dhruva. The time has not come yet. Go back to your father’s kingdom. You shall be king and rule for many years to come. When this life on earth is over, you will become a star in the heavens. I shall place you above all creations, the sun and the moon, the Saptarishis will all revolve around you. When people look up to the sky, they will remember you and your power of devotion.”

And so it came to be. Long after he ruled the world for thirty thousand years, Dhruva became a star in the sky. He is the pole star,  never moving, always constant just as his devotion . The seven stars or the Saptarishis can be seen revolving around him.

(They are known as the Great Bear in other parts of the world.)  

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