Ramya from San Jose commenced the lecture on Dhruva Charitra.
Sage Suka was expounding on the lineages of Manu from the fourth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. Manu had two sons – Priyavrata and Uttanapada. He also had three daughters – Aahuti, Devahuti and Prasuthi. It is normally the practice to talk about the lineage of the eldest son, but Sage Suka delineated on Uttanapadan and Devahuti. It was verily because, Devahuti was bestowed with Lord in her womb, who was Lord Kapila, which was Lord’s incarnation and Uttanapada’s lineage talks about the life-history of Dhruva, a great devotee of the Lord. The charitha of Dhruva shows how Divine name combined with determination can help us achieve everything.
“Jayae Uttanapadasya sunitihi suruchis thayoho”
Uttandapada had two wives – Suneethi and Surichi. Their names go to speak a lot and are loaded with meaning. When the prefix ‘su’ is dropped from both their names, Neethi and Ruchi are left. When one favors comforts and mundane world he may not adhere to dharma [ Neethi] and hence dharma might be lost. Dhruva was the son of King Uttanapada and Suneethi and Uttama was born to Uttanadapada and Surichi. Dhruva was the 5-year-old son of King Uttanapada and his elder queen, Suneethi. But Suneethi was not favored by the king, who preferred his second queen, Suruchi. Suneethi and Dhruva lived away from the palace. Nevertheless, Suneethi was very devoted to the Lord and she brought up Dhruva by feeding him stories of the Lord every day.
She did not disclose her sorrows in front of Dhurva and her life was centered around Dhruva. He was indeed a great Bhagavatotama and it is said that all Mahans and Sadhus would flock around him. It is also said that Sage Narada came to see Dhruva when he was born and he himself shared lot of stories with Dhruva. He had lot if interactions with Sage Narada even when Dhruva was only two years old.
When Sage Maitreya was expounding on the greatness of Shravanam to Vidura in the third canto, reminisced Dhruva, since he attained the Lord’s feet by listening to the divine glories of the Lord from Sage Narada.
“Uttanapadasya puthro Munina gitayaarbakah” – says Sage Maitreya.
Dhurva during his early years of child hood was akin to any other kid. His life revolved around his mother Suneethi. Slowly as years passed by, when he was four years, he started to go out of the palace and play with his friends. Uttama and Dhruva were close friends and always played together.
One day while Dhruva was playing, Uttama did not show up. Dhurva was perplexed as to why he didn’t come and enquired with his other friends about Uttama and went in search of him. As he entered the Surichi’s palace in search of Dhruva, the guards were taken aback by his divine radiance. They let him enter Surichi’s palace not because he was the heir to the throne, but by merely being enticed by his divine look. As Dhruva approached the court, he saw Uttaman being seated in his father’s lap and being fondled by him and Surichi standing next to him. Dhruva’s earlier intention was to only take Uttaman along for playing, but as he neared Uttanapada, the urge to sit on his father’s lap crept in him too.
When Dhruva tried to sit on his father’s lap, Suruchi pushed him away and told him that he would be eligible to do so only if he was born to her. She advised him to do tapas to Lord Narayana, and ask for His blessings to be born as her son. Dhruva, being a young child, did not understand all this. He was too shocked and hurt by the turn of events. Bhagavatham portrays Surichi as an arrogant lady – “Maha Garuvitha”.
na vatsa nrupather dhishnyam bhavaan Arodum arhati
na gruhito maya yath tvam kuksav api nrupatmajah
balo si batha natmanam anyasthri garbha sambhratam
nunam veda bhavan yasya durlabhe rathe manorathah
tapasaaradhya purusham tasyaivaanugraheNa me
garbhe tvam sadhayatmanam yadicchasi nrupaasanam [Srimad Bhagavatham 4.8.11-13]
Surichi in her dialogue with Dhruva conveyed to him that although he is the son of King Uttanadpada [Nrupathmajaha], he is not eligible to sit on his father’s lap since he was not born in the womb of Surichi.
Surichi, made a caricature of herself and scolded Suneethi for all the events that just happened and further added that Dhruva was trying to accomplish a desire that is absolutely impossible to fulfill.
This dialogue between Surichi and Dhruva can be totally viewed in a different perspective. Although Surichi reprimanded Dhruva by citing that he was not born in her womb, this can be perceived as a bhaava, where Surichi was feeling bad that a boy like Dhruva was not born to her. She then advised Dhruva to go to the forest to do penance on the Lord to bestow him with a boon for being born in Surichi’s womb. She also added that she does not possess any good merits to have a divine child like him and by Dhruva’s sheer penance; she will be bestowed with a child like him.
Uttanapada was witnessing the whole scene with his head down. Dhruva looked at his father once more to see if he will allow him to sit on his lap. Sage Maitreya says –
matuh sapatnyah sa durukti-viddhah svasan rusha daNDa hato yathahih
hitva mishantam pitharam sanna vacham jagaama matuh prarudan sakasam
Akin to a snake when stuck by a stick, breathes heavily, Dhruva filled with anger was also breathing fast and was holding up. When he saw his father who was silent and did not protest, Dhruva left the place and went to his mother. When he met his mother, his eyes were trembling with fear and cried grievously. Suneethi placed Dhruva on her lap while the palace maid servants who had witnessed the dialogue between Surichi and Dhruva related her everything in detail.
sotsrujya dhairyam vilalaapa soka davagnina dAva lateva bala
vakhyam sapatnyAh smarati saroja sriyA drushA bAshpa kalaam uvaha [Srimad Bhagavatham 4.8.16]
Suneethi was unable to bear the shock and was inconsolable.
Suneethi was getting ready to prepare Dhruva for the path that she was about to advocate and thus started –
dirgham svasanthi vrijinasya param apasyati balakam aha bala
mamangalam tata pareshu mamistha bhunkte jano yat para dukhadas tat [Srimad Bhagavatham 4.8.17]
In spite of Surichi’s harsh words on Dhruva, Suneethi advised Dhruva not to have any hatred against Surichi because a person who inflicts sorrow on others will himself suffer from that pain. She also added that when one goes out in search of the Lord with hatred and bad thoughts, the Lord will turn away from that devotee.
She said “Oh Dhruva, your stepmother Surichi’s words even though they were harsh, are indeed factual. You need to meditate on the Lord to attain him”.
aatishtha tat tatta vimatsaras tvam uktam samatrapi yad avyalikham
aradhayadhokshaja paada padmam yadhicchase dhyasanam uttamo yata [Srimad Bhagavatham 4.8.19]
The Lord will give himself to the devotee who holds on to his feet – [Athmanam api yachaati] and cited Lord Brahma and Swayambu Manu’s devotion to the Lord’s holy feet.
Suneethi in her instruction to Dhruva, thus asked him to meditate on the holy feet of the Lord and that is the only panacea for all the suffering in this world.
tam eva vatsashraya bhrutya vatsalam mumukshubhi mrugya padabja paddhatim
ananya bhave nija dharma bhavitae manasy avasthapya bhajasva purusham [Srimad Bhagavatham 4.8.22]
The mother’s love is generally considered to be the highest. However, if we take the case of animals, they go one step beyond. A dog when it gives birth, takes immense care and showers unconditional love on its puppies and it never expects anything in return from them. The Lord’s creation encompasses everything from an ant to a man and the Lord’s divine love on his own creation is incomparable. He is waiting to shower his grace only if one has a thought that the Lord exists and that one has to attain him. Once that earnest desire creeps in a devotee, the path to attain the Lord is verily shown by the Lord himself, says Suneethi when expounding on the greatness of the Lord to Dhruva.
nanyam tata padma palasa locanad duhkhacchidham the mrugayAmi kanchana
yo mrugyate hasta gruhita padmaya sriyetarair anga vimrugyamanaya. [Srimad Bhagavatham 4.8.23]
Suneethi continuing to expound on the greatness of the Lord told Dhruva that she was unable to find anyone who can mitigate the stress other than the Lord, who has eyes like lotus petals, who is the indeed the real father unto whom one should shower their love.
The satsang ended with prayers and Namasankirtan.