Bhagawatam 199: Dhruva reaches Madhuvana and begins austerities; Narada visits King Uttanapada

Vishnave namah

Maharishi Narada continued, “The ancient seers have taught the following procedure of offering services to Srihari,

‘Among all mantras, the 12 sylabled mantra (dwādaśākśara mantra) is the greatest. The yoga practitioner should eternally chant the mantra. Mantra is nothing but Veda. It represents the Lord. While chanting the mantra, the Lord should be worshipped with all the services (seva).’

Evaṁ kāyena manasā vacasā ca mano-gatam

Paricaryamāṇo bhagavān bhaktimat-paricaryayā


Puṁsām amāyināṁ samyag bhajatāṁ bhāva-vardhana

Śreyo diśaty abhimataṁ yad dharmādiṣu dehinām 

Human beings should accumulate material objects only as much as is necessary for sustaining the body. Without any pretense (deception), they should worship the form of Lord Srihari in their hearts. Mentally they should meditate upon Him. They should chant the mantra eternally. In this way, He should be served with complete devotion.

Srihari, who accepts these services from devotees, rewards them not only by fulfilling their desires but also by strengthening their devotion towards Him! In addition, among the four-fold principles of life, He bestows upon them whatever they desire. The devotee who has developed dispassion towards sensory pleasures develops eternal love towards Lord Srihari. With that devotional love, he intensifies his spiritual efforts and prays to Srihari for liberation”.

In this way Maharishi Narada preached Dhruva. Dhruva was fortunate to get such supreme initiation directly from Maharishi Narada!

Prince Dhruva circumambulated around Maharishi Narada and prostrated before him. He then left for the Madhuvana forest.

Madhuvana, the clean and pure garden, has been rendered absolutely sacred due to the footprints of the Lord who resides within it. As soon as Dhruva reached Madhuvana forests, Maharishi Narada arrived at the inner apartments of King Uttānapāda, Dhruva’s father.

King Uttānapāda warmly welcomed Maharishi Narada in a befitting manner. Maharishi Narada accepted the gifts given by the king. Sitting comfortably on the seat that was offered to him he asked,

“O King! Why do you appear very dejected? Your face looks pale and lusterless. What is it that is bothering you? What are you thinking about? Have you faced any dearth in any area pertaining to dharma, artha and kāma?”

The King replied, “O Maharishi! My son is only 5 years old. He is very wise, intelligent and possesses noble qualities. However being in the grip of his step-mother, I neglected him totally. I threw him away and banished him. I even neglected his mother.

O Maharishi! My son Dhruva must be very tired after roaming about all alone in the forests. He will be hungry. His lotus face would have withered by now. Perhaps wolves and lions would have devoured him.

O saint! I am the foremost among the wicked men who have got carried away by the charms of women. Just see my wickedness! When Dhruva lovingly wanted to sit on my lap, I could not pamper him. I could not give him my love”. The king began to lament for his deeds.

Maharishi Narada replied, “O King, do not grieve for your son. Do not worry about him as Srihari is directly protecting him! You do not have any idea about his influence. His fame is going to spread throughout the world.

O King! Dhruva will accomplish those great levels that are beyond the reach of even the guardian deities (loka-pālakas). Having accomplished his goal, he will shortly return. He will enhance your glory”. Having instilled confidence in the King, Maharishi Narada resumed his travels.

The King attentively heard all that the Maharishi said. He spent his time totally thinking about his son Dhruva and he completely neglected administration and other kingly tasks.

Meanwhile Dhruva reached Madhuvana. He bathed in the River Yamuna and fasted that entire night. As instructed by Maharishi Narada, with absolute concentration he worshipped the Supreme Lord Srihari. Once in three days he would eat fruits and berries, that too as much as was needed to sustain his body. At all times he meditated upon Lord Srihari. In this way he spent the first month.

During the second month, once in every six days, he would eat dry grass and leaves that had fallen to the ground. He continued to meditate upon Lord Srihari without any break at all times.

During the third month, once in every nine days, he would drink water. Remaining in complete meditative state, he eternally worshipped the Supreme Lord Srihari, who is of unsurpassed repute.

During the fourth month, he inhaled and exhaled once in twelve days. In this way, he mastered breath control. Meditating exclusively upon Srihari, he retained his life force. In this way, this 5 year old boy achieved mastery over his inhalation and exhalation.

Standing on one leg, like a mountain or a pillar he remained in a fixed position without any movement and meditated upon the indestructible Parabrahma.

Through the medium of the five sense organs the mind understands sound, touch, form, taste and smell in the creation. The Lord’s form cannot be understood by mind or by these sense organs that originate from the subtle sensory perceptions (tanmātras).

Dhruva withdrew his mind from all objects of this world. In the heart he meditated upon the Supreme Lord who is beyond the senses and mind. His mind did not flow towards any other object. At all times it was exclusively focused upon the Lord. Such was the intensity of his austerities!

Everything i.e. avyakta (illusory power, māya), Mahat tattva (cosmic intelligence), ahamkāra (sense of I-ness), five subtle sensory perceptions, five gross elements, originate from that Supreme Lord. Little Dhruva meditated upon that Supreme Lord who was over and above illusion.

The three worlds trembled under the intensity of his austerities. When he was standing on one leg immersed in penance, the earth shook due to the pressure of his big toe. Just as a ship in which a huge elephant is placed sways from side to side, the earth began to sway from side to side under the weight of his big toe!

Madhusudanāya namah.

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