The previous post  covered the facet of Narada as the foremost  “News of the World” dispenser – he was the first journalist and was omnipresent across the three lokas . But then how was a perpetual meandering ascetic, with no ashrama to call his own, a Guru to some of the most brilliant and transformative individuals across yugas ?

Narada had a unique teaching style – he frequently tested his aspiring students, often strengthening their conviction in the process  and also asked them insightful questions to discover their own truth . Nothing brings this out better than the story of Dhruv Maharaj .

Narada and Dhruva

King Uttanpada was the grandson of Brahma and the son of the first Manu – Swyambhu Manu. He had two wives Suniti and Suruchi . Uttama was the son of Suruchi and Dhruva was born to Suniti . Suruchi was the king’s favorite consort and naturally therefore Uttama got more royal attention . One day when the King and Suruchi were playing with Uttama -Dhruva came and naturally desired to sit on his father’s lap too. Suruchi ,seeing Dhruva’s efforts got angry and admonished him for this supposedly impudent behavior , telling him – “To sit on this throne you have to be born from my womb – so do austerities in this life so that in the next you are blessed with this fortune”

Stung by the words of Suruchi- Dhruva looked pleadingly at his father but the King did not extend his hand in consolation fearing the wrath of his favorite wife. With tears flowing from his eyes , Dhruva ran to his mother Suniti – but  she herself was powerless and helpless . While burning inside with Suruchi’s words she still told Dhruva not to think of inflicting any pain on anyone .She told Dhruva – that only Sri Hari can help him meet his desire of earning his father’s respect and ruling the kingdom and advised her 5 year old son to pursue Tapas.

Narada Muni, as usual, instantly heard the story and was struck with wonder over Dhruva’s resolve . He appeared before Dhruva and affectionately placed his hand on Dhruva’s head .

The Narada – Dhurva conversation is one of the most beautiful and insightful conversations in Srimad Bhagvatam Canto 4 ( Canto 4 – Chapter 8. 27 onwards) and a part of it  has been produced as a postscript to this piece . I have attempted to summarize it and beg forgiveness for any errors and mistakes .

Narada told Dhruva – that he is just a kid – and his attachment should be to sports and other frivolities. ( Very similar  by the way to advice adults receive when they follow the spiritual path – go back to “normal”  life of fun ,family and responsibilities)

He advised Dhruva this isn’t his age to do austerities for the Divine. That while his sense of honor is insulted by his step mother’s words he shouldn’t be taking them to heart .  As a devotee  any situation that one faces – whether favorable or unfavorable should be accepted with complete surrender as God’s will.

He further tried to test Dhruva’s resolve by telling him that yogis and saints after many births of detachment  and executing tough penances still find it difficult to find Sri Hari and hence his immature endeavors as a 5 year old boy definitely don’t have a chance of success .

Dhruva however was undeterred . He humbly told Narada – that while he respects his sterling advice – which might be fit for sages , he himself is covered with ignorance .He beseeched Narada that just as sun brings light to the entire world , Narada should show him the light to progress on the path of attaining a greater kingdom than his father and even his grandfather Swyambhu Manu himself .

Seeing his steely resolve – Guru Narada melted and  was happy to find a true disciple . He instructed Dhruva to pray in Madhuvana on the banks of Yamuna , a divine place which is very dear to Krishna. He schooled Dhruva in the art of controlling one’s breath and in ashtanga yoga to sit or stand in an asana for long period of time .

He got lost in describing to Dhruva the indescribable beauty and perfection  of Sri Hari . And finally he introduced Dhruva to the mysteries dwadashakshri (12 syllabic)  mantra – Om Namo Bhagvate Vasudevaya. Narada further instructed Dhruva on the art of chanting and engaging in Bhakti or devotional service by meditating on the transcendental form of the Lord.

Dhruva , having received this knowledge , circum-ambulated Narada and offered his respectful obeisance before proceeding for Madhuvana . It is said that in 5 months Dhruva controlled his breath perfectly and stood stable on one leg continuously meditating on the lord and chanting the mantra . And the world shook with the power of his penance.

Then the Lord appeared before him . Dhruva offered his obeisance awkwardly  .He wanted to sing glories of the Lord and Master of the world and offer prayers but as a 5 year old boy, did not know how to sing stutis . Sri Hari understood the desire in Dhruva’s heart and placed his conch on Dhruva’s cheek which immediately gave Dhruva the Vedic knowledge and insight into to the Absolute Supreme Being .

Dhruva was blessed by the Lord to rule from the throne of his father for 36000 years . Post that he and his mother Suniti attained Dhruva Loka – much better than the three Lokas and more elegant even in comparison to his great grandfather’s Brahma’s abode . The Dhruv Tara , the North star was given the immortal and unchanging position in sky and stars occupied by sages such as Agastya , Kashyapa etc circumambulate this polestar which remains even after the dissolution of all planets .

Finally , he was blessed to find his destination at his Lord’s feet in Vaikuntha .

Meanwhile , Narada had visited King Uttanpada right after instructing Dhruva . The King was remorseful that he had sent his son away fearing his wife.  Narada however reassured him on the well being of Dhruva and asked him to meditate on the Lord too .On Narada’s instruction , the King too meditated on Sri Hari . When Dhruva finally arrived , the King welcomed him with open arms and retired to the forest.

Narada therefore played a pivotal role in helping Dhruva attain his dreams and infact a glory far beyond his dreams . Dhruva was going for the worldly ambition of  getting his father’s throne – Narada elevated his ambition further to attain Sri Hari. If outcomes can be classified as good better or best , Narada guided Dhruva to the path for the best desisting him to go for only the good. He also counseled the King and guided him on the right path.

Very often , we want to stay in our comfort zones and when someone who is experienced  tells us about the difficulties of the journey we are happy to step back immediately. Narada subtly trained Dhruva not to fall in the trap and overcome all difficulties on the path of penance . As a true Sadhaka of Bhagwaan – Narada gave the most potent tool – the dwadashakshari mantra to reach the Lord .

There is nothing that’s impossible when you have the right teacher and the unconquerable spirit to make your dreams a reality.

PS : the original conversation in Sanskrit from the Bhagwatam. Its simple Sanskrit so am leaving the literal translation and would encourage you to try and read.

नारद उवाच

नाधुनाप्यवमानं ते सम्मानं वापि पुत्रक ।

लक्षयामः कुमारस्य सक्तस्य क्रीडनादिषु ॥ २७॥

विकल्पे विद्यमानेऽपि न ह्यसन्तोषहेतवः ।

पुंसो मोहमृते भिन्ना यल्लोके निजकर्मभिः ॥ २८॥

परितुष्येत्ततस्तात तावन्मात्रेण पूरुषः ।

दैवोपसादितं यावद्वीक्ष्येश्वरगतिं बुधः ॥ २९॥

अथ मात्रोपदिष्टेन योगेनावरुरुत्ससि ।

यत्प्रसादं स वै पुंसां दुराराध्यो मतो मम ॥ ३०॥

मुनयः पदवीं यस्य निःसङ्गेनोरुजन्मभिः ।

न विदुर्मृगयन्तोऽपि तीव्रयोगसमाधिना ॥ ३१॥

अतो निवर्ततामेष निर्बन्धस्तव निष्फलः ।

यतिष्यति भवान् काले श्रेयसां समुपस्थिते ॥ ३२॥

यस्य यद्दैवविहितं स तेन सुखदुःखयोः ।

आत्मानं तोषयन् देही तमसः पारमृच्छति ॥ ३३॥

गुणाधिकान्मुदं लिप्सेदनुक्रोशं गुणाधमात् ।

मैत्रीं समानादन्विच्छेन्न तापैरभिभूयते ॥ ३४॥

ध्रुव उवाच

सोऽयं शमो भगवता सुखदुःखहतात्मनाम् ।

दर्शितः कृपया पुंसां दुर्दर्शोऽस्मद्विधैस्तु यः ॥ ३५॥

अथापि मेऽविनीतस्य क्षात्रं घोरमुपेयुषः ।

सुरुच्या दुर्वचो बाणैर्न भिन्ने श्रयते हृदि ॥ ३६॥

पदं त्रिभुवनोत्कृष्टं जिगीषोः साधु वर्त्म मे ।

ब्रूह्यस्मत्पितृभिर्ब्रह्मन्नन्यैरप्यनधिष्ठितम् ॥ ३७॥

नूनं भवान् भगवतो योऽङ्गजः परमेष्ठिनः ।

वितुदन्नटते वीणां हितार्थं जगतोऽर्कवत् ॥ ३८॥

नारद उवाच

नाधुनाप्यवमानं ते सम्मानं वापि पुत्रक ।

लक्षयामः कुमारस्य सक्तस्य क्रीडनादिषु ॥ २७॥

विकल्पे विद्यमानेऽपि न ह्यसन्तोषहेतवः ।

पुंसो मोहमृते भिन्ना यल्लोके निजकर्मभिः ॥ २८॥

परितुष्येत्ततस्तात तावन्मात्रेण पूरुषः ।

दैवोपसादितं यावद्वीक्ष्येश्वरगतिं बुधः ॥ २९॥

अथ मात्रोपदिष्टेन योगेनावरुरुत्ससि ।

यत्प्रसादं स वै पुंसां दुराराध्यो मतो मम ॥ ३०॥

मुनयः पदवीं यस्य निःसङ्गेनोरुजन्मभिः ।

न विदुर्मृगयन्तोऽपि तीव्रयोगसमाधिना ॥ ३१॥

अतो निवर्ततामेष निर्बन्धस्तव निष्फलः ।

यतिष्यति भवान् काले श्रेयसां समुपस्थिते ॥ ३२॥

यस्य यद्दैवविहितं स तेन सुखदुःखयोः ।

आत्मानं तोषयन् देही तमसः पारमृच्छति ॥ ३३॥

गुणाधिकान्मुदं लिप्सेदनुक्रोशं गुणाधमात् ।

मैत्रीं समानादन्विच्छेन्न तापैरभिभूयते ॥ ३४॥

ध्रुव उवाच

सोऽयं शमो भगवता सुखदुःखहतात्मनाम् ।

दर्शितः कृपया पुंसां दुर्दर्शोऽस्मद्विधैस्तु यः ॥ ३५॥

अथापि मेऽविनीतस्य क्षात्रं घोरमुपेयुषः ।

सुरुच्या दुर्वचो बाणैर्न भिन्ने श्रयते हृदि ॥ ३६॥

पदं त्रिभुवनोत्कृष्टं जिगीषोः साधु वर्त्म मे ।

ब्रूह्यस्मत्पितृभिर्ब्रह्मन्नन्यैरप्यनधिष्ठितम् ॥ ३७॥

नूनं भवान् भगवतो योऽङ्गजः परमेष्ठिनः ।

वितुदन्नटते वीणां हितार्थं जगतोऽर्कवत् ॥ ३८॥

Jai Sri Hari!

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