"Although Dhruva Maharaja was a small boy, he wanted to offer prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead in suitable language. But because he was inexperienced, he could not adjust himself immediately. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, being situated in everyone's heart, could understand Dhruva Maharaja's awkward position. Out of His causeless mercy He touched His conchshell to the forehead of Dhruva Maharaja, who stood before Him with folded hands." (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.9.4)Download this episode (right click and save)
What can be learned from a young child who roamed this earth thousands of years ago? He was the son of a king, and today monarchy is all but gone. Hardly anyone grows up in royalty, so what can the story of Dhruva Maharaja really teach?
As the information comes to us from the Shrimad Bhagavatam, which is the ripened fruit of Vedic literature, the lessons are timeless. Each point of instruction, both expressed and implied, has relevance to a wide spectrum of persons, circumstances and places. There is much to appreciate from the king’s young son who was desperate for revenge.
1. Even in family life there can be trouble
Ask your average person on the street what they are worried about, and the likely answer will be “money.” Will I have enough to support myself? Will I be able to afford a house? What if someone in the family gets sick?
Another common fear is remaining alone, not finding a person with whom to spend the rest of your life. These problems were absent in Dhruva’s case, yet we see that there were still issues. The young boy wanted to sit on the lap of his father one time, but the stepmother intervened and told Dhruva that it was not possible. He was a worthy son, for sure, but not better than her own son, who was preferred by the king.
2. Even a young person can seek after God
Dhruva lamented the incident to his own mother, who told him that only God could fix the situation. The information was not lost on the boy. Though very young, he immediately went to seek out the person who could help him. This shows that the Divine mercy is available to everyone, at every stage of life. No one is automatically prohibited from meeting with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
3. Better to take desires directly to the top
It is interesting that in Dhruva’s case the problems weren’t brought before a subordinate. There are many divine figures described in the Vedic tradition. These are devas, or gods. They are like deputies in the administration of the material world. They can grant amazing benedictions, like long life, good health, and tremendous opulence.
Dhruva wanted a higher status, but he eschewed worship of the devas. He went straight to the top, the Supreme Being. As would be learned from the outcome, this was the right choice. It is the best option for every person wanting to fulfill a desire. Akama, sarva-kama, moksha-kama - approach the Supreme Lord and get the highest benefit, sometimes in unexpected ways.
4. The influence of Vishnu is purifying
Dhruva meditated for a long time in the forest, and as a reward he saw God directly, in the beautiful, four-handed form of Vishnu. An interesting thing happened upon receiving the darshana, or vision. Dhruva suddenly forgot about his desires. The entire reason for going to the forest and seeking after the Supreme Being was now lost to him.
This is one aspect of the influence of Vishnu. He purifies desires. Sometimes what we want is not good for us. A person can be considered benevolent for giving in and helping us, but if the end result is harm then it isn’t really help. Vishnu uses discretion; He assesses the future impact of what the devotee is seeking.
5. There are no impediments to glorifying
Dhruva forgot his desire to be king and get revenge; instead he wanted to glorify Vishnu. The problem was that being so young he didn’t have much skill in the area. Once again, no problem. There are no impediments to devotional service when there is sincerity in the heart.
Vishnu touched Dhruva on the forehead with His conchshell. This transcendental contact enabled the boy to glorify Vishnu in a wonderful way. The Lord has similarly inspired many others to use the choicest words to describe Him, earning Him the name Uttamashloka. Even if a person can’t glorify as elaborately as they would prefer, there is always the option to simply chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Time the monarchy gradually to wipe,
Still lessons to take from prince with gripe.
Away from lap of father sent,
So to meditate in forest he went.
Eventually Supreme Vishnu to find,
But could not recall grievance to mind.
Purifying when in Lord’s company to stay,
Inspired from within for glorifying’s way.