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Tag: Sri Hari

From The Bhagavatham – The Story Of Dhruva

Today is the second anniversary of my blog and I thank you all readers for encouraging me so much. Incidentally, this is my seventy fifth post in this blog. Please keep reading the stories and enjoy!!

This is yet another story from Srimad Bhagavatham from which earlier I have retold the stories of The Syamantaka Gem and The Rescue Of Gajendra.

This is the story of Dhruva, who, as a young boy exhibited tremendous determination in his goal and achieved what he wanted.

Long long ago, there lived King Uttanapada, with his two wives Suniti and Suruchi. Suruchi, being the younger wife was the favourite of the King. She was also very beautiful and arrogant. Suniti had a child Dhruva and Suruchi’s son who was slightly younger than Dhruva was named Uttama.

One day, when Uttanapada was seated on his throne, Uttama, the son of Suruchi climbed up his lap to play with his father. The King also fondled Uttama and was speaking loving words to him. Suruchi was standing nearby.

Dhruva, who was also playing nearby, also had a wish to climb on to his father’s lap. All of five years then, he rushed to his father and tried to get up on his lap. Suruchi who was nearby got furious and pushed Dhruva down saying “You are not fit to sit on your father’s lap and as king on this throne as you have not been born of me. Go, go to the jungle and pray to Sri Hari to make you my son in your next birth and then, you can sit on your father’s lap”

The King did not rebuke Suruchi or console Dhruva. He remained a mute spectator as his love for Suruchi prevented him from saying anything harsh to her. Dhruva was very much hurt more at the act of his father than his stepmother and with his eyes full of tears, ran to his mother’s room. Suniti was aghast at seeing the sobbing child and when she came to know what had happened, all she could do was to hug the child and shed tears.

Seeing his mother in tears, Dhruva stopped crying and asked his mother, “Mother, who is Sri Hari?”

Dhruva’s mother, little aware of the child’s thoughts said, “Dhruva, Sri Hari is Maha Vishnu and the ultimate Lord. He is one who can give you everything you ask! Why do you ask?”

Dhruva came out of her embrace with a decisive look on his little face and said in the most determined tone she had ever heard, “Mother, then I shall go to the jungle and meditate on Sri Hari. I shall pray to him for us to live happily with father!”

Saying thus, he did not look back and started walking out; Suniti was at a loss as to what to do. The child walked and walked and was nearing the jungle, when Sage Narada chanced to see him.

Curious as he was to see Dhruva, with swollen eyes, walking furiously towards the jungle. The sage knew Dhruva as he was a regular visitor in King Uttanapada’s court. He stopped Dhruva and asked what happened. Dhruva told him what happened and the purpose for which he was heading to the jungle.

Sage Narada was surprised at the grit of the child and tried to dissuade him from going to the jungle. “There are many wild animals, child!” said he. “They will eat you up fast. Please go back now and come back to do penance after you attain a certain age. Go back”.

Dhruva listened to the sage but his face showed that his mind was made up already. “Nothing will happen to me O Sage”, he said. “Please bless me so that I can go ahead with my tapas. I want to see Sri Hari.”

Narada was astonished at the determination of Dhruva and decided he would help Dhruva. “Child Dhruva!” he addressed him tenderly. “Come here and I shall teach you how to meditate on my beloved Lord Sri Hari!”  He described the beautiful form of Sri Hari and then taught the child the nuances of meditation and initiated him to chant the Lord’s name “Om Namo Bhagavathe Vasudevaya”.  Dhruva grasped the knowledge which was given to him and set out to meditate. Narada also told him to go to the place called Madhu Vana near the river Yamuna and start his penance there.

The first month, Dhruva sustained on some fruits he found in the jungle. The next month, it was leaves and thereafter a handful of grass and in six months time, he had controlled his hunger and thirst and gained the control of his breath and was standing on one leg, with eyes closed in meditating upon the glorious form of Sri Hari as Sage Narada had described to him. He was oblivious of the surroundings. His penance was causing lot of vibrations and the king of the Devas, Indra was perturbed thinking that Dhruva was doing penance to become the king of Devas. He wanted to distract and if possible destroy the child but the seven celestial rishis formed a circle around him to protect him.

When the tapas (penance) became more severe, it started to affect the atmosphere. Changes in the climate were visible and the heat became unbearable. The Devas then rushed to Sri Hari to request Him to save them. The Lord smiled and said that he would grant their wish and shortly appeared before Dhruva. Dhruva had his eyes closed and was meditating upon the form described by Sage Narada and the Lord had to call again to make the child aware that He was present in front of him.

Dhruva opened his eyes and to his joy found Sri Hari looking at him with great affection. “What do you want my child” the Lord asked in a loving voice.

Dhruva realised that he had forgotten everything he wanted to ask the Lord. The sight of Sri Hari was so blissful that he wanted only to remain with the Lord forever.

“I want to remain with you forever, my Lord” he said. His voice was full of peace and longing to be with the Lord.

Sri Hari said, “Dhruva, I know the purpose for which you came here to meditate. Now, you go back to your palace with no fear. Your father will welcome you and you will live a wonderful life and rule the kingdom for numerous years. After your tenure is over in this earth, you shall come to me and I shall give you a place where nobody can reach you. Go Child, go back!”

Dhruva prostrated to the Lord and got up and Sri Hari vanished.

Meanwhile as soon as Dhruva had left the kingdom, Uttanapada felt remorse for his action and the bad treatment which had been meted to Dhruva, who was a mere kid. He decided to bring him back and set out on the mission when Sage Narada came and pacified Uttanapada.

“He will come back after achieving his goal” said Narada. “He is an extraordinary child! You wait patiently at the palace.” Uttanapada returned to the palace reluctantly and was eagerly awaiting Dhruva’s return.

Now, that Dhruva was coming back, Sage Narada came to the king and announced that his child had surpassed great sages in his meditation and attained the impossible – the darshan of Sri Hari within such a short span of time. The king was elated and so were the queens Suniti and Suruchi. Suruchi had also realised her fault and was repentant. Uttanapada sent elephants, horses and chariots to escort little Dhruva home and it was the most joyful reunion!

Dhruva succeeded his father to the throne and ruled the country for many years. At the time of his leaving this material world, Sri Hari sent two Vishnu Dhootas (messengers of Lord Vishnu) and made him the Pole Star, who would shine till the Universe existed. His mother was also given a place near him.

Even today, we can see the Pole star, Dhruva shining happily as if immersed in the bliss of Sri Hari!!

 

From The Bhagavatham – The Rescue Of Gajendra

Long long ago, in an island amidst the ocean was a huge mountain by name Trikuta. It had three peaks whose colours resembled iron, silver and gold. The mountain was very huge in its base and had terrific height also. It was surrounded by a dense forest. The mountain contained in itself many caves and there was a beautiful valley also. The scenic beauty around the mountain and the forest could not be described in words. The multi coloured birds making sweet sounds, the green trees, the fragrance of the flowers and the cool scented breeze made it a paradise on earth. There were lot of wild animals in the forest, lions, tigers, leopards and elephants.

There was a herd of elephants led by Gajendra, the majestic one. Gajendra  was always surrounded by many female elephants and elephant calves. Gajendra was indeed so majestic and powerful that he was a terror to all the other animals in the jungle. The trumpeting of Gajendra would send lions and tigers running for cover.

Near the valley around the mountain, there was a beautiful lake owned by Lord Varuna. It was a huge lake with great depth and it was a treat to the eyes with its blue coloured water and pink lotuses in full bloom. The animals of the forest quenched their thirst there and the lake was house to crocodiles also.

One day, Gajendra came with his herd to drink water in the lake. The herd was thirsty and on seeing the water, they got into the water and frolicked and played to their heart’s content.  Gajendra went inside deeper into the water. Suddenly, a crocodile came and caught his leg. A painful tug, and before he could realise what was happening, he was being pulled in deeper.

Gajendra was not the one to give up or even think of giving up. He tried to pull out his leg with all his might. Gajendra put up a brave fight trying to extricate his leg from the jaws of the crocodile but the crocodile would not give up so easily. It was a ‘tug of war’ which no one had ever witnessed ever before. Both of them seemed to possess equal strength. But as the saying goes, crocodiles are stronger in water. Gajendra , however strong he was seemed to be losing his might.

The herd of elephants, on seeing Gajendra’s plight, came and tried with their trunks to pull Gajendra out, but could not succeed. Soon they gave up and all they could do was to shed tears.

The fight went on for a long long time and slowly, Gajendra’s physical strength started depleting. He was overcome by fatigue and a feeling of helplessness. Once the physical strength diminishes, the mental strength follows suit.  Gajendra was becoming desperate. At the same time, the crocodile was gaining strength and was now confident of pulling Gajendra into the deeper waters.

Suddenly, the tired mind of Gajendra, in a flash, remembered Sri Hari, the Lord of all the beings. All this long Gajendra was fighting with his own might and when he could not manage anymore, he remembered his earlier birth in which he was a great devotee of Lord Narayana (Sri Hari). Now that he remembered the Lord, he knew that the Lord was his only saviour and therefore called out to the Lord , singing a hymn and seeking asylum.

With such sincerity and devotion did he call out that Sri Hari immediately mounted his Garuda and came to the rescue of Gajendra. The next moment the crocodile was vanquished by the Sudarshana Chakra of the Lord. Gajendra, overwhelmed by the Lord’s mercy, plucked a lotus and offered it to the Lord addressing him as “Akhila Loka Natha” (Lord of all the worlds). Tears were streaming from the elephant’s eyes in joy as the very appearance of Sri Hari was ever so blissful.

From the body of the crocodile, rose a Gandharva, who bowed to Lord Sri Hari, thanking him for releasing him from a curse that had made him live the life of a crocodile.

Now this Gandharva, by the name of Huhu in his earlier birth, was once bathing in river Godavari with his wives. In another part of the river was a Sage by name Devala who was in deep prayer offering Arghya (water offering) to the Gods. Huhu, wanted to amuse his wives and so swimming under the current, he went and pulled the sage’s leg. The sage was greatly angered by this act of Huhu and cursed him. “May you become a crocodile, as you are acting like one!” said the sage. Huhu immediately realised his folly and sought for forgiveness.  When he repented, the sage relented and said that the curse will be lifted when he would be hit by Sri Hari.

Huhu now having regained his beautiful original form, left for his abode.

The Lord was pleased with Gajendra and as he blessed Gajendra by keeping his hand on Gajendra’s head, a beautiful being who was as beautiful as Sri Hari emerged from the body of Gajendra and the being merged with Sri Hari.

Gajendra was, in his previous birth a valiant Pandya king by name Indradyumna. Though he was a king, he was a great devotee of Sri Hari and his mind was always filled with the name of the Lord.

Once when Sage Agastya went to his palace, the King was deeply engrossed in the thought of Sri Hari. So he did not realise the arrival of the sage and did not get up or welcome him. This enraged Agastya who cursed him. “You are acting so dull like an elephant and therefore may you become an elephant!”

Now, he was released from his curse by Lord Sri Hari himself and was given a place with the Lord permanently!

This is the story of Gajendra Moksham from Srimad Bhagavatham.

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