The Bhagavata Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 780,972 words | ISBN-10: 8120838203 | ISBN-13: 9788120838208

This page describes Kubera’s Boon and Dhruva’s Attainment of Vishnu’s Realm which is chapter 12 of the English translation of the Bhagavata Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas containing roughly 18,000 metrical verses. Topics include ancient Indian history, religion, philosophy, geography, mythology, etc. The text has been interpreted by various schools of philosophy. This is the twelfth chapter of the Fourth Skandha of the Bhagavatapurana.

Chapter 12 - Kubera’s Boon and Dhruva’s Attainment of Viṣṇu’s Realm

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Maitreya said:

1. Learning that Dhruva’s anger had been appeased and that he had desisted from slaughter, the divine Lord of Wealth (Kubera) who was being eulogised by Gāraṇas, Yakṣas and Kinnaras, arrived there, and spoke to him (Dhruva) who folded his hands (to pay respects to Kubera).

Kubera (the donor of riches) said:

2. Oh sinless Kṣatriya Prince! I am extremely pleased with you, as at the behest of your grand-father, you have given up the feeling of enmity which is very difficult to renounce.

3. (The fact of the matter is that) neither you have killed the Yakṣas nor did they slay your brother. It is none but Kāla (the power of God called Time), which is responsible for the creation and destruction of created beings.

4. Just as a notion in the state of dreaming is false and meaningless, so is the notion of difference as ‘I’ and ‘You’ which arises in man due to his ignorance, and on account of continuous thinking of the physical body as the Soul. Bondage of saṃsāra and miseries are due to this notion.

5. Oh Dhruva! Please return now. God bless you. For the sake of Liberation from Saṃsāra, adore Lord Adhokṣaja (Viṣṇu) who manifests himself in the bodies of all creatures, and consider that he is the antaryāmin (indwelling Soul) abiding in all beings[1].

6. For terminating Saṃsāra (the cycle of births and deaths), please worship him whose feet are worth resorting, and who destroys saṃsāra, and who, though associated with his own māyāśakti constituted of the three Guṇas (attributes—Sattva, Rajas and Tamas), is yet aloof from it.

7. Oh son of Uttānapāda, we have learnt that you are very close to Viṣṇu’s (God with a lotus in His navel) feet. Oh King Dhruva, as you deserve to receive a boon, ask of me freely and without any hesitation, any boon at will, cherished by you in your heart.

Maitreya said:

8. The great devotee of the Lord, that highly intelligent Dhruva, who was thus induced by Kubera (the king of Kings) to ask for a boon (from him), sought to be blest with the constant remembrance of Hari, whereby one effortlessly goes beyond the darkness (of ignorance or saṃsāra) which is very difficult to cross.

9. With a glad heart, Kubera (the son of Iḍaviḍā), having conferred that boon (on Dhruva), immediately disappeared while Dhruva was gazing. He also repaired to his capital.

10. Thereafter, by performing sacrifices with liberal donations and sacrificial fees, he worshipped the Lord of Sacrifices who is both the donor of the fruit of religious karmas, and is himself the reward of the religious duties (sacrifices). He performed them with proper materials as per ritualistic technique and with due offerings to Gods.

11. Bearing an intense flow of devotion to Acyuta (Viṣṇu) who abides in all as their Soul, yet is distinct from them, he visualised the All-pervading Lord as dwelling within himself and in all other beings.

12. The subjects considered him as their father (protector)—him, who was of such noble character, friendly to Brāhmaṇas, compassionate to the afflicted, and the protector of the bounds of religion.

13. Exhausting the fund of his meritorious deeds by enjoyments of pleasures, and the balance of inauspicious deeds by performing sacrifices and other religious acts, he governed the sphere of the earth for thirty-six thousand years.

14-15. In this way, the great-Souled king of perfectly controlled senses, passed a long time in performing a number of sacrifices which result in the attainment of the Trinity—of Dharma, Ārtha and Kāma. He then regarded this universe as being illusory—constructed by Māyā on the basis of the Soul, like the dream city of Gandharvas created by Avidyā (Māyā or Nescience), and abdicated the throne in favour of his son.

16. Comprehending that his own body, wife, children, friends, army, rich treasury, harem, beautiful places of sport and recreations and the whole sphere of the earth engirdled by the ocean, are subject to destruction and hence transitory, he proceeded to Viśālā (Badarikāśrama).

17. Having performed ablutions in the sacred waters thereof, he purified his mind (by observing yama and niyama, the code of Yogic discipline). Having steadied himself firmly in a yogic posture, and controlled his breath (through prāṇāyāma), and restraining his senses by his mind, he concentrated his mind on the gross (Cosmic) form of the Lord, viz. the Virāṭ-rūpa. In course of meditation, the consciousness of the distinction between the meditator and the object of meditation, was lost. Being absorbed in meditation, he forgot the thought of that gross (Cosmic) form also.

18. He cherished constant devotion to the venerable Lord Hari. He was now and then overwhelmed with tears of joy. His heart melted (with emotions for the Lord), and his hair stood on their ends all over the body. He detached himself from his gross body, and did not remember that he was so-and-so (Dhruva).

19. Dhruva noticed an excellent heavenly car descending from the heavens, illumining the ten directions like the rising full moon.

20. Later on, in that heavenly car, (he saw) two prominent gods in the prime of their youth. They were four-armed of dark complexion and with eyes (beautiful) like red lotuses. They were richly attired, and were adorned with crowns, pearl necklaces, armlets and beautiful ear-rings. They stood leaning against their maces.

21. Comprehending them to be the attendants of Hari (the God of excellent renown), he stood up (to show respect). Forgetting the due procedure of worship in the hurry of that (agitated) moment, he folded his hands uttering the names of Hari, as he thought them to be the chief attendants of Viṣṇu (the slayer of the demon Madhu).

22. Sunanda and Nanda, the esteemed servants of Viṣṇu (the lotus-navelled god) approached him (Dhruva) who had concentrated his mind on Kṛṣṇa’s (Viṣṇu’s) feet; had folded his palms and bowed down his neck in humility.

Sunanda and Nanda said:

23. Oh King! May you be extremely blessed! Your honour, who, while yet a child of five, had pleased the Lord by your penance, listen to our speech attentively.

24. We both are the attendants of the God with the Śārṅga bow (Viṣṇu) who is the sustainer of the whole world. Both of us have arrived here for taking you to the Lord’s abode.

25. You have successfully attained to the region of Viṣṇu which is extremely difficult to secure, and to which sages, (the saptarṣis—Ursa Major) not being able to reach, merely look up from below. Now occupy that place round which (luminous bodies like) the Moon, the Sun (and other luminaries), planets, constellations of stars and (independent) stars go, keeping it to their right.

26. Dear (Dhruva), take your abode in the realm which has never been occupied by your forefathers. That highest region of Viṣṇu is adorable to all worlds.

27. Oh long-lived one, you should now ascend this excellent aerial car, despatched to you by Viṣṇu who is the foremost among persons of meritorious renown.[2]

Maitreya said:

28. Having heard the extremely sweet (honey-dripping) words of the two prominent deputies of Lord Viṣṇu, Dhruva, the beloved devotee of Viṣṇu[3], took his bath, performed his daily auspicious duties, paid his obeisance to sages and received their blessings.

29. Having circumambulated that excellent heavenly car, he worshipped it. He bowed down to both the attendants of Viṣṇu. Assuming a form brilliant like gold, he desired to get into the car.

30. At that time, when the son of Uttānapāda (Dhruva) saw that the god of Death had come, he placed his foot on the head of that god (of Death)[4] and mounted that wonderful aerial mansion.

31. At the very moment, drums and musical instruments like Paṇava, etc. were sounded. Prominent Gandharvas sang his praise. Showers of flowers fell on him from above.

32. As he was about to fly to the heavenly regions, Dhruva suddenly remembered his mother Sunīti, (saying to himself), ‘How am I to proceed to the inaccessible celestial region, leaving my poor mother behind?’

33. Having understood this wish of Dhruva, the two excellent gods showed to him the brilliant queen-mother Sunīti—going ahead of him, in an aerial car.

34. At every stage on way, Dhruva was being showered with flowers and praised by gods seated in their heavenly cars; and he went past planets, one after another.

35. Then he (Dhruva) who was blest with an eternal position, went by the devayāna path (or by the celestial car sent to him by the Lord), beyond the three worlds and the astral positions of the seven sages (Ursa Major), and reached the abode of Viṣṇu which lies beyond them.

36. It (Viṣṇu’s abode) shines brilliant by its own splendour. It illuminates these three worlds (the earth, the heaven etc.) by its light. The people who are not compassionate unto living beings never attain to this realm. Only those who always perform auspicious deeds, reach there.

37. Those who are of tranquil mind, who look upon all beings as equals, whose minds are cleansed of all sins and impurities (like rajas and tamas), who are pleasing to all beings, who look upon Acyuta (Viṣṇu) as their dear relative—those easily reach the abode of Viṣṇu.

38. In this way, Dhruva, the son of Uttānapāda who was solely devoted to Kṛṣṇa (Viṣṇu), became as if a refulgent crest-jewel of the three worlds.

39. Oh Vidura (descendant of Kuru)! Riveted to this (Dhruva’s) post, the whole group of heavenly luminaries revolve round it ceaselessly, just as (pairs of) bullocks tied to a post in the middle of the threshing ground, go round with great speed (for threshing out the corn by trampling).

40. Having seen the great glory of Dhruva, the venerable sage Nārada, playing on his lute, sang the (following) verses at the sacrificial session of Pracetas:

Nārada said:

41. Despite their knowledge of the means, Brāhmaṇa sages, the expounders of Vedas, are not able to reach the attainment secured by the dint of his austere penance, by Dhruva, the son of Sunīti who looked upon her husband as god. How can then, kings attain to it?

42. As a child of five, he went to the forest with his heart afflicted by being wounded with the arrow-like words of his stepmother. Abiding by my advice, he conquered i.e. won the favour of the unconquerable Lord who is overpowered only by the excellent qualities of his devotees.

43. Can an ordinary Kṣatriya on the earth even imagine to reach after many years to the exalted position occupied by Dhruva who, as a child of five or six years, secured it by propitiating Lord Viṣṇu within a few days?

Maitreya continued:

44. I have narrated to you everything that you asked me here about the life-story of Dhruva of excellent fame—the life story which is held in high regard by the righteous.

45. If heard and recited, it (Dhruva’s life story) leads to wealth, glory and longevity; it is meritorious and brings in great auspiciousness; it helps to attain to the celestial region and to reach even the eternal abode; it leads to godhood; it is extremely praiseworthy, and cleanses all sins.

46. By constantly listening with faith and devotion the lifestory of Dhruva who was dear to Lord Acyuta (Viṣṇu), devotion unto the Lord will be engendered, which will lead to the destruction of all miseries.

47. Here this story is a sacred fountain of greatness for those who seek it. When it is heard, virtues like good-naturedness generate in the listeners. Those who desire bravery and splendour get it developed (in them by listening to it). It bestows respectability on the noble-minded (listeners who aspire after it).

48. One should recite both in the morning and in the evening, the glorious life, with a concentrated attention, of Dhruva of sacred glory, in the assembly of the Brāhmaṇas.

49-50. Or one who resorts to the sacred feet of Hari, should narrate to the faithful (audience, the life of Dhruva) on the full-moon day or the new moon day, the twelfth day of a fortnight or when the moon passes by the constellation of stars called Śravaṇa or on dina-kṣaya or on (the astronomically inauspicious yoga called) the Vyatipāta, or on the Saṅkramaṇa day (when the Sun crosses the sign of the zodiac) or on Sundays. He should cherish no desire and be self-contented; thereby he attains Liberation.

51. Gods bestow favours on the merciful man who is helpful to the afflicted and who imparts this knowledge (which is like) nectar in the pathway to God, to persons who are ignorant of the Truth.

52. Oh Vidura (the foremost descendant of Kuru), I have narrated to you this biography of Dhruva who is well- known for pious deeds, and who, as a child, abandoned his toys and mother’s house, and resorted to Viṣṇu.

Footnotes and references:


Or: considering all beings as your own self.


Urukrama: Viṣṇu, so called because in the Vāmana incarnation he took very long strides to occupy the three worlds from Bali.


Bhāvāratha Dīpikā narrates the episode thus: When Dhruva was about to enter that heavenly car, the God of Death arrived there, bowed to him and requested him to accept him. Dhruva welcomed him, requested him to sit down for a moment; and remembering Lord Viṣṇu placed his foot on the head of that God (Death) and ascended into the heavenly car.

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