Sunday, August 30, 2015

No Kidding - Follow this child - Part 1 - Dhruva

            The Indian subcontinent has been specially blessed throughout its history with an unbroken spiritual connection since antiquity. No other civilization can boast of such a foundation. The socio-economic-political events pretty much had no impact on this aspect until the last century when we have proactively started distancing ourselves from the high values that formed the core of our civilization. There is a sustained influence from the West in the form of perverted academic works by the likes of Wendy Doninger, Sheldon Pollock. Not only that they have their Sepoys like Mihir Sharma and the heavy communistic bent historians, media people who consistently twist Hinduism in the name of secularism. Even these would not have a dent, if people stuck to the core values. The values that guided the freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi are not even heard of today. We all are passionate about the next generation having a greater future. But this will be a fantasy, unless we take individual responsibility. This may mean more self discipline, reaching for higher goals than having a routine Tamasic indulgence.
            We will be looking at some of the ancient stories with the objective of squeezing few more drops than the nectarine story. I believe, this will be interesting to the younger readers who are following this blog. There have been wonderful examples of children who have raised the spiritual consciousness of generations. The standards set by them are so high that one wonders how disciplined one must be even as an adult to follow even a fraction of the spiritual rigor exhibited by these kids. We will kick off this series with Dhruva.

Dhruva – Shining like the Pole Star named after him
Dhruva, maybe a legend or a story based on remote human history, we may never be able to verify. True to the Pole Star, named after him, Dhruva has inspired innumerable children with a stellar example defying his young age of five.  Every cycle of humanity repopulating in every epoch, mahayuga, is initiated by a Manu. Svayambhuva Manu has two sons Uttanapada and Priyavrata. The King tended to favor Suruchi openly, which she took full advantage by abusing Suniti and Dhruva. One day, seeing Uttama on Uttanapada’s lap, Dhruva was overcome with the desire to sit on his father’s lap. An enraged Suruchi snapped at Dhruva, telling that though he is born as the King’s son, he doesn’t get that privilege of enjoying his father’s lap, as Dhruva is not born of her womb. She advised him that maybe he should pray that he be born to her womb in his next birth.
Dhruva’s anger and pain knew no bounds. His helpless mother, unable to console the child, advises him to think of the Lotus Feet of Narayana. She hopes a spiritual thought can soothe the burn in Dhruva’s heart caused by his Stepmother and an irresponsible father trapped in the beauty of Suruchi.
The purposeful words of his mother galvanized Dhruva, who leaves the house with the determination to meditate upon Narayana. He encounters Narada, the divine sage, mind-born son of Brahma, the creator of the universe. Narada tests the child’s determination by explaining the daunting task is beyond the reach of even the highest sadakas. Narada dissuades that a child must not take these small things to heart. Dhruva says that he being a Kshatriya, his pride is wounded and he cannot tolerate anyone insulting him like that. It was his birth right to yearn for his father’s love. Dhruva displays amazing maturity in immediately pleading Narada to counsel him on the easiest path to reach the lotus feet of Narayana, as he wants to attain the most superior position in the three worlds. My humble pranams to the wisest change agent of spiritual evolution, an embodiment of compassion, Sage Narada. (I hate how we portray this great soul as a comic character in the media and books of today).
Narada initiates him with the dvadasa-akshara mantra, Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya and guides him to go to Madhuvana, on the banks of river Yamuna. He initiates him in simple techniques of taking bath in the river, sitting in one place and regulating the breath, Pranayama (controlling and watching the ingoing, outgoing and balanced breath). The fire of determination burning as bright as his heart melted in devotion to the Lord brings the best student in Dhruva. Narada goes to the grieving, remorseful Uttanapada and tells him that the Supreme Godhead will guide and protect him.
Eating frugally on what the forest offered, Dhruva follows the spiritual prescription to the last letter. His heart dwelling on the mantra and his thoughts fully absorbed in the thoughts of Lord Narayana. His bhakthi grew from strength to strength with every practice. For the first month, he eats fruits and berries in the mornings, every three days, spending all the hours of day and night, in the thoughts of the Lord. In the second month, eats only once is six days, partaking only grasses and dry leaves. In the third month, he drinks only water, once in nine days. In the fourth month, he breathed once in twelve days with no food or water to accompany. In the fifth month, he stood on one leg with his breath totally controlled.
For people with little initiation to meditation, these austerities look like a fairy tale. But for a person on such an inward journey, their consciousness keeps expanding. Wish such a fiery intensity, all vital air in the universe was stalled by the wonderful feat of a little boy’s innocent devotion. The Devas unable to perform their duties in the blinding blazing fire of tapasya of this little boy, who could not be tempted by Indra’s failed attempts, thanks to the guidance of Narada, plead Narayana to bless him.
The intensity of Dhruva’s meditation was so intense that even Lord Narayana ‘s appearance could not shake him. Asakening from such a meditation, Dhruva prostrates at the lotus feet he had been seeing in front of his mind all along. He bursts in praising the Ocean of Mercy, which is famously known as Dhruva Stuti. The Lord praising the pure devotion of the child, whose heart is filled with no desire, immortalizes him by naming the Pole Star after him. What great souls take several births to purify their mind and achieve, Dhruva achieved it in six months of intense focus. Lord Narayana grants the entire world to Dhruva, who has already risen above desires. HE blesses him of Narayanapada after his long life of service to humanity.
Dhruva returns to the kingdom. Uttanapada is overjoyed to see his son return from the jaws of certain death. Suruchi has a total transformation of heart is amongst the first to rush and invite the child. The joy of mother Suniti knew no bounds to see her son back in flesh. The subjects expressed their happiness in different ways. Uttanapada takes his opportunity to crown Dhruva as the next King, as he found his more than worthy to guide the subjects and also hasten his retirement to the forest.
Satchitananda’s microscope
  • Whenever one is distressed by mundane sorrows of the world, one has a choice to chase the ephemeral material objects or to revitalize the mind to a higher goal. Dhruva takes the higher path to the lotus feet of the Lord instead of brooding of the issues of the lower plane. Krishna offers a clear direction in this sloka.
उद्धरॆत् आत्मना आत्मानं आत्मानम् अवसादयॆत्
आत्म एव हि आत्मनः बंधुः आत्म एव रिपुः आत्मनः

uddharEt AtmanA AtmAnaM na AtmAnam avasAdayEt |
Atma eva hi AtmanaH baMdhuH Atma eva ripuH AtmanaH || Bhagavad Gita 6.5 ||

By means of the mind, one should lift up the soul, but should not ruin the soul; because mind alone is the friend of the soul, mind alone is the enemy of the soul.

  • Suniti, despite her resignation to a state of misery is able to guide the child with words of wisdom, because she herself is tuned to that frequency, in an effort to console her own mind. Association with right person can lead in right direction. In this case, the mother role comes secondary to her wisdom.
  • A Guru is critical for making the path to Self-Realization. A Guru may test the mettle of the student like Narada did. A Guru also customizes the path based on the student’s temperament. Guru’s environs provide a stable, safe environment to the sadak.
  • What if I do not have a Guru? Narada appeared only after Dhruva did little purushartha, self-effort by leaving the comforts of the Palace and going into a forest. We have enough wisdom left in the form of preparatory aides like so many scriptures. By raising our self effort, we will attract the right Guru into our lives.
  • Like Dhruva, single minded focus and emphasis on increasing preparedness is vital for us to achieve success in any aspect of life. Dhruva showed that maintaining a purity of purpose, one can achieve even the highest human goal in the shortest span of time and age has no barrier.
  • Dhruva transmuted his one desire to a desireless state, by following his Guru’s instructions. Our effort based on the sage guidance of the wiser predecessor, can make the impossible to be within our reach.
  • Nama Japa is a simple potent tool, which anyone can practice and reap potent benefits.

May we follow the exemplary footsteps of Dhruva to achieve the higher human ideals in this very birth. May the compassion of great Gurus like Narada continue to guide mortal selves like us.
Om Tat Sat
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1 comment:

  1. Since times immemorial, the Pole star has been a beacon of Navigation for ancient mariners who took to the high seas to explore what lay beyond. Again, in his inimitable style, the author has used the legend of Dhruva to lay bare few key lessons for self- realisation, self-awareness, self-motivation, etc which in an increasingly sequestered world of self-aggrandisement, perhaps holds the key for our future and that of our generations. Thank you Satchitananda.