The Miracle of Chanting Part – 02
In our last article we discussed a disciple of Narada Muni, by name Valmiki. In this article, we will discuss another disciple of Narada named Dhruva Maharaj. His story on the power of the Holy Name is one of perseverance, courage, and inspiration. Though he started out praying to Lord Vishnu to fulfill his material desires, his continued prayers to the Lord destroyed them. Even after many thousands of years, his story continues to inspire all those who walk the path of Bhakti.
Dhruva was born a son of the King Uttānapāda (the son of Svayambhuva Manu) and his wife Suniti (or Sunrita, the daughter of Dharma). The king also had another son Uttama, born to his second queen Suruchi, who was the preferred object of his affection. Once, when Dhruva was a child of five years of age, the two princes playfully raced towards their father's lap. But, the headstrong Suruchi chided Dhruva and insulted him for trying to woo the attention of his father, when he did not deserve it because "he was not born to her." She further mocked at his plight, by asking him to redeem himself by seeking Vishnu's blessings.
Suniti consoled the distraught child, by asking him to take Suruchi's words seriously and to observe penance in meditation of the Lord. She bid him farewell as he set out on a lonely journey to the forest. Dhruva was determined to seek for himself his rightful place, and noticing this resolve, the divine sage Narada appeared before him and tried to desist him from assuming a severe austerity upon himself at such a tender age. But, Dhruva's fierce determination knew no bounds, and the astonished sage guided him towards his goal by teaching him the rituals and mantras. The one mantra which Narada taught and which was effectively used by Dhruva was Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya. Having been advised, Dhruva started his penance, and went without food and water for six months, his mind fixed on the Lord. The austerity of his penance shook the heavens and the Lord appeared before him, but the child would not open his eyes because he was still merged in his inner vision of Vishnu's form described to him by Narada. Lord Vishnu had to adopt a strategy of causing that inner vision to disappear. Immediately Dhruva opened his eyes, and, seeing outside what he had been seeing all along in his mental vision, prostrated himself before the Lord. But he could not utter a single word. The Lord touched his right cheek by his divine conch and that sparked off his speech. Out poured forth a beautiful poem of praise of the Lord in 12 powerful verses, which together are called Dhruva-stuti.
Dhruva Maharaj was inspired to go through such austerities by the strength of his sincere chanting of the Holy Name. Like the Namacharya thousands of years later, he was sustained by the spiritual strength of the Holy Name. Due to his devotion, the Lord blessed him with a life in memory of Him. Lord Vishnu also gave him the world of Dhruvaloka which would not be touched even during Maha Pralaya. This made him even greater than his ancestor, Lord Brahma.
I urge all devotees to read the story of Dhruva Maharaj in the 4th canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam.