“Anyone who is going forward to the goal of Krishna is called krishna-parayana, or fully Krishna conscious. The example of Dhruva Maharaja indicates that every Krishna conscious person can expect to reach the topmost summit of all three planetary systems within the universe. A Krishna conscious person can occupy an exalted position beyond the imagination of any ambitious materialist.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.12.38 purport)Download this episode (right click and save)
Dhruva Maharaja was insulted by his step-mother. At the advice of his birth mother, he decided to retreat to the forest. He was only a young boy at the time. It wasn’t expected for him to practice the austerities of the adult brahmanas, or priests. After all, most children are interested in play. It is difficult to get them to attend school, for that means sitting down quietly and learning. The school experience is the opposite of playing with toys.
Though initially desiring something material, everything changed for Dhruva when he had a face to face meeting with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The form of the Divine arriving before Dhruva is known as Narayana or Vishnu. He has four hands and is beautiful in every way. He is the embodiment of complete opulence and so He can grant similar opulence to His devotees. Those who are on the path towards achieving Him can get practically anything in the material world rather easily.
1. King on earth
Dhruva originally wanted a higher stature. If he could sit on the king’s lap, he would right the wrong. The king is the acknowledged leader over a specified jurisdiction. Formerly, great kings would be in charge of the entire world. For this reason they were addressed by such names as Mahipati, which means “lord of earth.”
The path of devotion is known as bhakti. It can only be practiced when the beneficiary is God the person. There is a hint of bhakti when there is only knowledge of the impersonal spiritual energy known as Brahman, but something key is lacking: interaction. You can’t please an energy or an abstract. You can’t worship a concept.
When there is full bhakti, then it is easy for a devotee to become a king. Dhruva Maharaja eventually got to become king, but he would go beyond as well.
2. King of heaven
The word Indra means “best” or “first.” It appears in many compound Sanskrit words to describe the best of something, the topmost. For example, Nagendra means “the king of snakes.” Narendra means “the king of men.”
Indra is also a name used to address the king of the heavenly planetary system. The person occupying that post can also be addressed as Surendra, which means “the king of the suras.” The suras are the demigods. They are something like saints described in other spiritual traditions.
Life in the heavenly planetary system is the reward for maintaining the mode of goodness while living as a human being. Just as with the post of ordinary king, becoming the king of heaven doesn’t actually require devotion to God. Just be pious. Don’t sin. Stay on the righteous path. Follow it long enough and you can go as high as king of heaven. But devotees can easily get the same benediction without having to specifically work for it.
3. An exalted post beyond imagination
Lacking bhakti, a person thinks of different things they can enjoy. King of the world. King of the heavenly realm. But actually God Himself is beyond comprehension. Since the magnitude of His features cannot be measured, He is known as Adhokshaja.
In the same way, the benedictions available to the devoted souls are beyond comprehension. The Supreme Lord can give us things that we never thought were possible. Dhruva Maharaja is described in the Shrimad Bhagavatam to be krishna-parayana. This means “going forward on the path of Krishna.” Krishna is another name for the Almighty. He is non-different from Vishnu, except He has a slightly different visual manifestation.
Dhruva got his own planet as a reward for his great devotion. This was not desired at the outset. That planet is known as the polestar, and in Vedic astrology we learn that it is the central point of outer space. The other planets are dependent on it. Dhruva resides on that planet, where he maintains his steady devotion. The bhaktas can get anything very easily, but since they are simple at heart, they want only continued devotion to the all-attractive one.
When on bhakti’s path proceeding,
From Lord any gift easily receiving.
King in earthly place can be,
And post in heavenly realm can see.
Dhruva his own planet the gift,
Though to higher consciousness to lift.
Anything beyond imagination can gain,
But with Krishna always simple to remain.