Once the ecstatic kirtan was over. His Grace Bhurijan prabhu kept aside his mrndanga and began to prepare for his class – a class of 3 days that would leave us wondering, thinking, speechless and truly inspired. From his shoulder bag came out papers with notes, stationery kit and some medicinal tablets. The furniture around him made his space look like a small home office.
He said, “In this retreat, we shall look at the pastimes of Dhruva Maharajand the determination of this 5 year old boy and the steps he took to attain what he wanted. There is a lot we can learn from this story. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu loved to listen to the pastimes of Dhruva Maharaj and Prahlad Maharaj over and over again. Such is the power of these transcendental stories.”
I am still reading Canto 3 and so I was looking forward to hearing about Dhruv maharaj from Canto 4. I had read about Dhruva when I was a child from the Amar Chitra Katha comic book series but it was one of those stories that I didn’t remember much about. But in 2007, in an email conversation with a devotee where I was mentioning my impatience to progress in Krishna Consciousness, I received this line which became glued to my heart – “Remember the story of Dhruva? He wanted to attain the presence of Narayana and the Lord Himself immediately sent him Narada Muni to guide him along the right path. If you continue to pray to Krishna He will give you all protection”. I remembered that email now.
Bhurijan prabhu, over the 3 days would explain in great detail the verses of Canto 4, Chapter 8 – Dhruva Maharaj leaves homes for the forest. The verses start from 8 to 46 and can be read from this online Srimad Bhagavatam link. I suggest that you read this. I just did and it was so pleasurable.
Offended by his stepmother, young prince Dhruva performs austerities to gain a kingdom rivaling that of his father and eventually he gains the audience of none other than the Supreme Lord Himself. Dhruva was a devotee whose motive for meditating on the Lord was for fulfilling his material desires. He performed austerities for the sole purpose of attaining a kingdom. When Lord Narayana appeared before him, there was no need to ask for his desire. Without asking the Lord said, “I am now giving you the kingdom of the whole universe to rule for 36,000 years.”. After speaking thus, the Lord disappeared. And Dhruv began to weep because he knew that the kingdom was like broken glass compared to the fortune of seeing the Lord.
Bhurijan prabhu also fondly spoke about the forests of Madhuvan and Sri Vrindhavan dham and its relevance to spiritualists and vaishnavas.
SB 4.8.24: The great sage Maitreya continued: The instruction of Dhruva Maharaja’s mother, Suniti, was actually meant for fulfilling his desired objective. Therefore, after deliberate consideration and with intelligence and fixed determination, he left his father’s house.
Purport : Both the mother and the son were lamenting Dhruva Maharaja’s having been insulted by his stepmother and his father’s not having taken any step on this issue. But mere lamentation is useless — one should find out the means to mitigate one’s lamentation. Thus both mother and son decided to take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord because that is the only solution to all material problems. It is indicated in this connection that Dhruva Maharaja left his father’s capital city to go to a secluded place to search out the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is the instruction of Prahlada Maharaja also that if one is seeking peace of mind he should free himself from all contamination of family life and take shelter of the Supreme Godhead by going to the forest. To the Gaudiya Vaishnava this forest is the forest of Vrinda, or Vrindavana. If one takes shelter of Vrindavana under Vrindavanesvari, Srimati Radharani, certainly all the problems of his life are solved very easily.
– By His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
It was in the Madhuvana forest, that Dhruva Maharaja, at the age of five, attained the darshan of Lord Vishnu, in His form as Prisnigarbha during Satya-yuga. On top of the hill here called Dhruva Tila is the Dhruva-Narayana Vishnu Temple.
On one altar in this temple is the Deity of Dhruva-Narayana and below Him is a deity of Dhruva Maharaja. On the right side of the altar are Narada Muni and Garuda. To the right of this altar on the side-wall is another altar with the Deities of Laksmi Narayana and Sri Nathji on it. Below the Deities of Laksmi Narayana is a deity of Uddhava.
Bhurijan prabhu was so intense in his sharing of this pastime of Dhruva Maharaj. He wanted us to understand the power of each line, each verse, each word. He even questioned us during the lecture and the next day. If we didn’t understand he would go over it, again and again. The lectures would go for 3 hrs non-stop ! People would be shifting in their seats to let the blood flow in their legs, a few seemed hungry, perhaps a few others wondering when would the break arrive and one could sense that the kids were getting impatient with their parents. But in reality, none of the devotees wanted the lecture to stop. No matter what bodily inconveniences they had to face, no one wanted to miss the sweetness of the class. I loved it. We are still talking about those 3 days some 2 weeks after the retreat.
I learned so much about so many things. So, what is that I took away from the class? Here are some of the statements that made a deep impression in me:
(1) Anyone who inflicts pain on others suffers from that pain. Never think inauspiciously of anyone.
(2) No matter how painful, distasteful or pleasurable life maybe, just worship Krishna, since He is the most compassionate and the most merciful.
(3) Approach deities with loving sentiment and they will reciprocate.
(4) To have deep intense spiritual consciousness, one needs to be focused like a laser.
(5) We are labouring like a donkey carrying heavy loads instead of feeding on the grass on either side.
(6) Feelings of separation maintains a devotee’s life.
(7) One should go to Sri Vrindhavan dham to understand the theology of Krishna Consciousness and to Mayapur to understand the process of Krishna Consciousness.
(8) What will you do today that will help you progress in Krishna Consciousness? What will you today for Krishna?
(9) Great spiritualists can switch on and off their connections with Krishna Consciousness very easily in the same way that materialists move from one thought to another.
(10) No matter whatever our situation is, approach Krishna. Whenever there is difficulty, a devotee takes shelter of Krishna.
(11) What can I do in my capacity to gain the favour of the Lord
(12) Continue in giving Krishna to others
(13) We do not observe Krishna Consciousness with intense devotion like Dhruva Maharaj. We must follow it with intense absorption in Krishna. Be fixed. Be determined. “Please the Lord. Follow the principles, Do not be whimsical”
(14) Sometimes we want the product and not the process. But if we put in the process, the work, the efforts, we will not only get what we want but also experience and wisdom.
(15) The job of the spiritual master is to involve the student in devotional service
(16) Passion and ignorance cause the mind to be agitated. Our consciousness has to be full of Krishna. See the beauty of Krishna over and over again.
(17) Ignorance causes forgetfulness. Knowledge cures ignorance.
(18) We need devotee association for kirtan, support, to be humble, to have sweet relationships.
(19) Change ones consciousness before that of the world.
(20) Krishna is eager to give mercy!
You can listen to HG Bhurijan prabhu’s lecture given at the retreat from the Melbourne Temple website here.