The Story of Dhruva

Annapurna Saripella

Nov 30 2022

<div style=' background:#FFFFFF;color:#000000;font-size:15px;font-family:Verdana;width:auto;padding:5px;max-height:100%;'><span><p>An article on, on parenting, drew my attention to a profound statement that no matter what one’s faith may be, we all have a common goal of raising kind, compassionate and strong minded children. Talking to our children about ‘faith’ and ‘God’ should not be a topic loaded with ‘political correctness’, ‘ negative connotations’, and ‘bias’. <br><br>On the contrary, having conversations about various beliefs and religions makes children respect others’ interpretations of the world around them. They will learn to create a place for family and friends with mindsets different from their own. They will learn to understand that ‘faith’ versus ‘actions arising from the faith’ are two different concepts.<span></div><div style=' background:#FFFFFF;color:#000000;font-size:15px;font-family:Verdana;width:auto;padding:5px;max-height:100%;'><span><p>We often find ourselves engrossed and entangled in material desires and tastes that we find no time or very little time for good words, philosophy and spirituality— like the king.<br><br>One day,the king Uttanapada sat his second son Uttama on his lap and was entertaining the boy with tenderness. His eldest son Dhruva, a 5 year old and heir to the throne, ran to Uttanapada and asked to be seated on his father’s lap. He wanted his father to shower some affection on him too.<br><br>Suruchi was quick to pull Dhruva away and insulted him with unkind words.<br>“You should have had the good fortune to be born as my son to claim your right to sit on your father’s lap. Pray to Mahavishnu for His grace and be born to me in another lifetime. Only then can you earn your place here.” <br><br>Uttanapada watched helplessly at Suruchi’s cruel behavior towards his beloved son.<br><br>Words hurt. Hurtful words of parents, who are supposed to be caring and supportive figures, leave children feeling angry and confused. It can be an eternally damaging experience to a child.<br>It was no different for Dhruva. He ran away weeping to his mother, Suneeti.<br><br>Suneeti was distraught at the sight of her weeping son, who was visibly angry and inconsolable. All Dhruva could utter were words “ Aunt Suruchi”…..” dragged me”…..”good fortune”………. “ask Mahavishnu”.<br><br>Suneeti gathered from the maids what happened in Uttanapada’s chamber and was overcome with sorrow. She wept for her son, who deserved what any child had a right to -a father’s love and affection. She tried her best to comfort her son. Yet, his anger could not be dissipated.<br><br>A mother is an important pillar of support and strength. Mother’s empathy makes a child feel heard. To build valuable connections in their world, empathy is an essential quality. Validating a child’s feelings gives confidence to a child about his/her own right to those feelings.<br><br>Dhruva asked his mother about Mahavishnu. He wanted to understand what Suruchi’s words meant. <br>Suneeti embraced Dhruva and said,” My child! You must be heartbroken by your Aunt’s words. Unfortunately, your father does not value me or my words. I am helpless.<br><br></p><span></div><div style=' background:#FFFFFF;color:#000000;font-size:15px;font-family:Verdana;width:auto;padding:5px;max-height:100%;'><span><p>Your Aunt Suruchi is right. Vishnu is indeed the power who can bestow anything to anyone. He is the universal giver and this world is His creation and we all seek Him for our needs and wants.”<br><br>Parents’ honesty helps their children accept harsh truths of life. By being truthful in telling children what is in their control and what is not, parents can make children build realistic expectations from people and situations they encounter .<br><br>Although Dhruva was filled with apprehensions about Vishnu, he was also delighted to hear about Him. Suneeti patiently answered all his questions and reassured him that Vishnu is the One who Dhruva should seek.<br><br>Suneeti said, “He is kind and considerate and helps the helpless. Your father, your grandfather and all our illustrious ancestors did penance to Vishnu and begot many boons. If you really want something so earnestly, then go and do tapas(penance) to Lord Vishnu. He will not disappoint you.”<br><br>A child places immense faith in his/his mother’s words. A mother has the power to change the course of her child’s thoughts and mold his/her personality. <br>By giving direction and pointing the way, Suneeti was able to divert Dhruva’s mind from feelings of anger and resentment towards his father and Aunt. Through compassion and kindness, she guides Dhruva in goal-setting and puts him/her on the path of ‘right thoughts’ and ‘right actions’. <br><br>That 5 year old left home, determined to find Vishnu and ask Him for his father’s love and a ‘big position’.<br>He met the Saptarishis (Seven Sages) on the way. Pleased with the boy’s determination and goal, they imparted to the boy the greatness and valor of Vishnu and His divine deeds. Dhruva, enlightened by this knowledge, moved on in his quest.<br><br>Determination in children makes them do courageous deeds. Since young minds are easily impressionable and easily swayed, parents should talk to their children about the strength of character,fortitude, and dedication of great people and set the right role models in their minds.<br>Parents’ encouragement and advice should serve as a guiding light, so children do not go astray. <br><br>Onwards as Dhruva walked deeper into the forest, he met Narada, the celestial sage. Narada tried to dissuade him from taking on the strenuous tapas. He talked about the philosophy of good and bad, happiness and joy and the impermanence of the world. Dhruva listened to him patiently, but remained steadfast in his mission to find Vishnu.<br>Convinced that the boy’s quest was genuine, Narada gave him a mantra (divine sounds ) and guided him on ‘how’ to meditate on Vishnu. He also described the physical attributes of Vishnu, by which Dhruva will know that he attained his goal.<br><br>Children, once set in their minds, will not give up until they achieve their goal. We try to talk about the big picture of life and its deep meanings to mere toddlers, which frustrates them and leaves them disoriented. <br><br></p><span></div><div style=' background:#FFFFFF;color:#000000;font-size:15px;font-family:Verdana;width:auto;padding:5px;max-height:100%;'><span><p>A good mentor will understand a child’s mind and turn their determination towards worthwhile activities. When they encounter the right people, children learn to ask meaningful questions about the process and understand how to identify the goal-post. <br><br>Armed with all the knowledge of Vishnu and the method of seeking Him, Dhruva meditated long and hard for 5 months. He set his mind on the form of Lord Vishnu, just as Sage Narada had instructed. <br>He controlled his senses and then his mind through food and breath. <br>At last, Vishnu appeared before him and blessed Dhruva.<br>Dhruva’s boons for love and acceptance were granted. Vishnu promised Dhruva the ‘highest position’ when the time came. Dhruva went home to a loving family and eventually became the king, keeping faith that his ‘position’ will be awarded in time.<br><br>At the end of Dhruva's life, Lord Vishnu kept His promise and bestowed on him the highest position -the brightest star on the horizon, Dhruva Nakshatra.<br><br>Children’s goals should be respected, not trivialized. It may be unimportant for others, but it is the greatest joy for them. When all efforts pay off and their hard work materializes, their happiness knows no bounds. These small successes and joys motivate children to aim higher, go further and reach their potential. <br><br>Life altering lessons make children feel secure and sure, as the process teaches them that worthy things need focus, right qualifications, time, and patience. They learn to appreciate qualities of hard work, kindness and compassion; above all, faith in themselves and in the words of elders, is firmly established.<br><br>Author- Annapurna Saripella<br>Cupertino, USA<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br></p><span></div>

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