Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Dhruva included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Dhruva

Birth and childhood.

Manu Svāyambhuva the son of Brahmā, had two sons named Priyavrata and Uttānapāda. They were mighty heroes and of righteous character. Uttānapāda had two wives, Suruci and Sunīti. Suruci gave birth to Uttama and Sunīti to Dhruva. Uttānapāda showed more favour towards Uttama and Suruci. But he looked upon Dhruva and his mother with disfavour.

Once Uttama sat on the lap of his father when the latter was sitting on the throne. Seeing this, Dhruva wanted to sit along with his brother. But fearing the displeasure of Suruci, who was also there, the King did not take Dhruva on to his lap. Seeing the endeavour of Dhruva, Suruci said to him, "Child, if you wish to sit on the lap of your father, you ought to have been born in my womb. You cherish high ambition which you do not deserve." These words of Suruci were not palatable to Dhruva who ran to his mother and sat on her lap. When Sunīti knew what had happened she shed tears. After a few moments Dhruva stood up and made a vow. "I will get a position unattainable even for my father, by my own endeavour." He then started for the forest. He attained self-renunciation even in childhood becoming a disciple of hermits and performing severe penance.

Dhruva began penance in the forest of Madhuvana on the river Jamunā. Sunīti came and tried to take him to the palace. But he did not return. He intensified his penance more and more. At last Mahāviṣṇu appeared before him. Dhruva requested for a lofty, and eternal place which would become a prop of the world. Accordingly, Viṣṇu pointed out to Dhruva, a noble place, higher than the planets, stars Saptarṣis (Ursa Major) and the devas who travelled in aeroplanes. Mahāviṣṇu said that Dhruva would live in a lofty place as a star till the end of the Kalpa and his mother Sunīti would also remain as a star near Śiva as long as Dhruva lived (Viṣṇu Purāṇa, Aṃśa 1, Chapters 11 and 12).

The previous birth of Dhruva.

Mahāviṣṇu appeared before Dhruva and revealed his previous birth.

Dhruva was a Brahmin in his previous birth. He used to meditate on Viṣṇu with concentration of mind. In course of time he befriended a prince who was a youth, of beautiful and bright complexion, enjoying all the pleasures of the world. Attracted by the position and status of the prince, the Brahmin wanted to become a prince. Mahāviṣṇu granted his wish. Accordingly Dhruva took his next birth as the son of Uttānapāda. (Viṣṇu Purāṇa, Aṃśa 1, Chapter 12).

The reign and end of Dhruva.

After receiving the boon from Mahāviṣṇu, Dhruva returned. All who were there embraced Dhruva. Years passed by. Uttānapāda left his kingdom to Dhruva and became a forest householder. Dhruva became King. The King Dhruva married Brāhmī, the daughter of Śiśumāra a Prajāpati. The queen gave birth to two sons Kalpa and Vatsara. Dhruva married Ilā the daughter of Vāyu (wind). She gave birth to a son named Utkala.

Uttama remained unmarried. While he was hunting in the forest a Yakṣa (a demi-god) killed him. Suruci was caught in wild fire and died. Hearing about the death of Uttama, Dhruva took his weapons and reached the realm of the Yakṣas. He stood at their gate and challenged them for battle. One lac and thirty thousand Yakṣa warriors fought with Dhruva. Dhruva destroyed the entire army. The Yakṣas began illusive and magical arts. Dhruva overcame that also. At last Kubera himself appeared before Dhruva and blessed him. They got him into a plane and placed him in a place higher than all the planets. (Viṣṇu Purāṇa, Bhāgavata).

The descendants of Dhruva.

Two sons named Śiṣṭi and Bhavya were born to Dhruva by his wife Śambhu. Succhāyā the wife of Śiṣṭi gave birth to five sinless sons named Ripu, Ripuñjaya, Vipra, Vṛkala and Vṛkatejas. Bṛhatī the wife of Ripu gave birth to Cākṣuṣa of extreme bright complexion. Manu was born to Cākṣuṣa by his wife Puṣkaraṇī the daughter of Vīraṇaprajāpati and included in the children of Varuṇa. Ten sons were born to the bright Manu by his wife Naḍvalā, daughter of Prajāpati Vairāja. These ten bright sons were Kuru, Pūru, Śatadyumna Tapasvī, Satyavān, Śuci, Agniṣṭomā, Atirātra, Sudyumna, and Abhimanyu. Āgneyī, the wife of Kuru gave birth to six children. They were Aṅga, Sumanas, Khyāti, Kratu, Aṅgiras and Śibi. A son named Vena was born to Aṅga by his wife Sunīthā. Hermits churned the right hand of Vena to obtain children. As a result of churning Vaineya was born from the right hand of Vena. That King is the famous Pṛthu. This Pṛthu milked the earth for the prosperity of his subjects. (Viṣṇu Purāṇa, Aṃśa 1, Chapter 13).

The place of Dhruva.

The origin of the river Gaṅgā was through the hole at the top of the shell of the mundane egg. It flowed down and fell on the highest part of heaven. That place is called Viṣṇupāda. Sitting in this Viṣṇupāda, Dhruva does penance to Viṣṇu. So this place got the name Dhruvamaṇḍala. (Devī Bhāgavata, Skandha 8).

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