The Story of Dhruv

As part of the Namdev 750 project I am trying to rewrite the Story of Dhruv. I have added stories that I have found elsewhere on the internet at the bottom of this blogpost. I have also included poems from Guru Arjan, Bhagat Kabir, Bhagat Namdev and Bhai Gurdas at the end of this post for reference. 

The Story of Dhruv

Legend goes that long long ago, there was a King by the name of Uttanapada who had two wives. The first wife was Suniti who had one son called Dhruva, and the second wife called Suniti who had a son called Uttama. Suruchi who was very pretty and very dear to the king  while Suniti, and by extension Dhruva, were not much cared about. 

Then came an incident that changed Dhruva's life when he was five years old. That fateful day, when the king was sitting in his court, Dhruva saw Uttama, Suruchi’s son run to sit on the lap of the king, their father. He too wanted to be on his father's lap and ran towards him.  When the king took up Dhruva on his lap, a jealous Suruchi severely abused the king and had him thrown out of the royal court. 

Dhruva went away heart-broken to his mother and asked why his father did not love him. She explained that the true father of all truly loved him and that he was the one who had the power to give or take any space. Dhruva wanted to meet this true father and his mother told him that he had to pray, not realizing that he would be serious and actually leave home in search of the true father.  He kept looking for his father in the forest and seeing his devotion, the sage Narada came down from the heavens to guide him.  

Dhruva was devoted and determined. He did what Narad had taught him and was rewarded.  Apparently God came riding on the back of a giant bird, Garuda, and told Dhruva that he was pleased with his worship and he could have anything he wanted.  But by this time, Dhruva had lost all worldly attachment and told God that he didn't want anything apart from God himself.  God granted him a region in the sky which is called Dhruva-loka, and he still lives there as the Dhruva taara (called the North Star or Pole Star).  

From a mere human, Dhruva became divine, in an instant.  From having no place or love, through his determination he secured an eternal abode called Dhruva loka in which he continues to shine as the Dhruva taara, the north star. The story shows how the divinity of true and lasting love can be attained through unconditional surrender. 

Story as found on

Dhruva's was the son of king Uttanapada. Literally "Dhruva" means the one who has become "immortal". The story is briefly narrated as follows. His father had two queens, named Suniti and Suruchi. Suruchi was much more dear to the king. But Suniti, the mother of Dhruva, was not his favorite. Once upon a time, the king was patting the son of Suruchi, Uttama, placing him on his lap. Dhruva, who was playing nearby, was also trying to get on his father's lap.

But because of king's favoritism towards his queen Suruchi, the king did not very much welcome Dhruva. While Dhruva was trying to get on the lap of his father, Suruchi, his stepmother, became very envious of him and said: "my dear child, you do not deserve to sit on the throne or on the lap of the King. Surely you are also the son of the King, but because you did not take your birth from my womb, you are not qualified to sit on your father's lap."

Furthermore, though sarcastically, she told Dhruva if he desired to rise to the throne of the King, then he had to undergo severe austerities to satisfy the Divine, and then, when he is favored by the Divine because of such worship, he would have to take his next birth from her womb.

Having been struck by the strong words of his stepmother, and upon seeing his father silent and not protesting, Dhruva immediately left the palace in anger and went to his mother. He was five years old then.

He said to her 'I am a prince but they shout at me like a servant boy. Why don't they respect your son Mata jee...I thought you were a queen not a slave?' She replied 'because of my destiny i am a queen, but because i never meditated on God's name I have no more respect than a slave.'

Dhruva was furious that they didn't respect his mother. Dhruva's mother advised her son not to wish for anything inauspicious for others; for anyone who inflicts pains upon others suffers himself from that pain.

He told his father the King, 'I am leaving this kingdom to go and meditate on God's Name, one day when I have enough spiritual power I will reclaim the throne.' His father insisted he stayed, but the other queen was quite happy to let him go. He was determined and left into the wilderness.

Travelling to the jungle were all holy people went to meditate he was met by a Saint the Saint spoke to the little boy and was surprised to hear a child saying he was going to the jungle to meditate. So he tested the boy to see if he was serious. He said to Dhruva, 'you know it's dark and dangerous in the jungle, wont you get scared of the wild animals?' Dhruva replied, 'I dont care if its dark and dangerous, I'm going to meditate on God's Name.' The Saint tested him again, 'But you're the son of a king and used to being fed the finest food, will be able to live on berries and roots in the jungle?' Dhruva was determined and replied, 'I'm going to meditate on god's name even if there's no food.' The saint was truly impressed by Dhruva's determination and whispered the secret name of God into Dhruva's ear.

Indirectly, the harsh words of Dhruva's stepmother turned out to be benediction for him; for because of the influence of his stepmother's words, he became a great Spiritual Being (Gurmukh). To achieve the desired results of attaining his father's kingdom, Dhruva's mother motivated him to engage himself in the worship (Bhakti) of the One Divine Being and nobody else. Determined to execute devotion, Dhruva left the palace.

He had met his true guru and for the next few years he meditated long and hard. When he was a teenager he felt he had enough spiritual power to overtake the king and claim the kingdom. He had been meditating on God's name with this sole target for all these years and now his ego had got the better of him. On his way to the palace, his True Guru met him again and laughingly said were are you going, Dhruva replied 'I'm going to fight the kings army and reclaim the throne.' His True Guru laughed and said how are you going to beat an army?. Dhruva replied, 'I have meditated on God's name for years and years and the spiritual power I have is immense.' His True Guru handed him his staff and said 'Before you break the Kings Army, just break my measly staff.' Dhruva tried with all his might but failed miserably to even break a 3 foot stick! He fell at his True Guru's feet and begged for forgiveness, his ego had broken.

He returned to the jungle were he continued to meditate. He followed the Divine Teachings with faith, love and dedication. Later when he actually became Self-realized, he turned completely satisfied within and forgot all about his father's kingdom.

Instead, he said, "My dear Lord, I was searching for some pebbles, but instead I have found valuable Jewel. I no longer care for my father's kingdom. Now I am fully satisfied."

His feelings of insult and honor (duality or Doojaa Bhaav) banished, and he attained Transcendental Bliss. Thus Dhruva, for example, first became a devotee with the motive of getting a better kingdom than that of his father, but as he progressed in devotion he became selfless and contented.

Story of Dhruv as written by Harjinder Singh Khalsa

Sri Dhru Bhagat Ji

''Paach Barukh Ko Anaath Dhru Baarik Har Simaruth Amar Attaarae."

'The five year old orphan boy Dhru, by meditating in remembrance upon the Lord,
became stationary and permanent.'
(Guru Arjan Dev Ji; GGSJ: 999)

In the Age of Satyug, Bhagat Dhru was born. He was born in the house of Raja Utanpadh. Dhru's mother's name was Mata Suniti, who was a very religious and virtuous woman.

Raja Utanpadh had two wives. The youngest one was very beautiful and the other one was a very jealous woman, who had a very strong hold on Raja Utanpadh. Within the palace, she had a young son, who stayed with the Raja. The Raja was very loving towards this child and sat the child upon his laps and played with him.

One day, Dhru went to his father and sat upon his laps. On seeing Dhru in the laps of Raja Utanpadh, and the connection between both father and son caused Surichi's mind to fill with great anger and envy. Surichi had cunningly planned to make her son the next Raja of the palace. In great anger she exclaimed, "Get away, you are not allowed to sit in the Raja's laps! Move this instance and don't return to this palace!"

Seeing the anger in Surichi's eyes, Raja Utanpadh remained silent. Having been forcefully removed from his father's laps, Dhru was deeply distressed. He sat there thinking, why he was not allowed to sit in his father's laps and what did he do that was so wrong. Dhru returned to his mother, crying and in deep pain. His mother, Suniti picked up Dhru and held him against her bosom and asked, "What is the matter with you, why are you crying, has someone hit you?"

"O mother, I was sitting on my father's laps and my step-mother shouted at me and told me that I was not allowed to sit on my father's laps", Dhru said in great anguish.

"O my child, do not worry. You should have not sat in your father's laps, as you have no right to do so", Suniti explained to her son.

Dhru then asked his mother, "O mother, explain me this to me then, are you a wife or a mistress. I don't understand!"

"O my child, of course I'm his wife! But..!" Suniti paused and remained quiet.

"Then why can't I sit in my own father's laps?"

"It is because you have not meditated on the Lord".

"Then tell me O mother what I should do so that I can obtain eternal bliss and not be shouted at again?"

Dhru's mother explained that the only way he would achieve eternal bliss would be by meditating upon the Lord's name.

"Fine mother I will go and mediate," Dhru spoke.

"O my child! Now is not the time to meditate, as you are far too young. What will I do when you are gone? You are all I have", cried Suniti.

Night had fallen and Dhru had not slept. All he could see in front of his eyes was his step-mother's anger, grabbing his arm and pulling him away from his father. He looked over and saw that his mother was asleep. On seeing her asleep, Dhru decided that he will leave home and find the Lord. Dhru made his way towards the jungles barefooted. On hearing the frightening sounds of the jungle, Dhru prayed to God, "Bhagwan! I am coming to you. I do not know Your name…I do not know what to call You-but I am coming to You."

Dhru sat on the ground and rested. The rays of the sun brightened the whole jungle, the flowers blossomed and the birds sang sweetly. The jungle was a place of tranquillity and peace. Dhru looked forward and saw a blue river. He saw birds sitting at the river bank, drinking the water. He made his way to the river bank and took a sip from the flowing blue river. He sat up and said "Where could the Lord be?" He then cried aloud, "Bhagwan! Bhagwan! I have come." On continually shouting the Lord's name, Narad Muni, a Rishi came. Dhru said, "Are you Bhagwan?"

"No, dear child, I am not Bhagwan- Bhagwan is faraway. You cannot go there," Narad explained.

Dhru: "Why can't I go?"

BhagatDhru (41K)Narad: Your age is far too small. You are the son of Raja Utanpadh. Tapoban (forests) is far. Along the way are many jungles. The tigers and lions will eat you up. You will not be able to survive, for there is no food to eat. Come with me, I will take you back to your father. He will grant you with half his kingdom."

Dhru began to laugh, "Half the kingdom! I am going to meet Bhagwan. If I am given a chance to meet Bhagwan then I will most definitely obtain half a kingdom. Look, I do not know who you are or where you have come from, but if you continually stop me from meeting with the Lord then you are my enemy! Leave me alone! If something eats me, then let it be!"

Narad was amazed at this innocent child and was moved by his words. "Okay fine. Your thoughts are wise and correct. Meditating upon the Lord's name is the greatest achievement in life. Remember this mantra: 'Om Nameh Bhagvateh Vaasdevey' and then close your eyes and chant 'Keshav Kalesh Hari', no pain or obstacles will come near you. All your wishes will be fulfilled."

On giving this mantra, Narad disappeared. Dhru sat upon a rock and began to meditate. On the other side, Suniti awoke. She looked around for Dhru, but he was nowhere to be found. She began to panic and cried, "Dhru! Dhru! Where are you?" Suniti searched the whole palace, but Dhru was nowhere to be found. It seemed as though a shadow of darkness had overcome Suniti's world.

Raja Utanpadh heard the news and made his way to see Suniti, but his second wife, Surichi stopped him, "Don't go! He'll be found. He has deceived us all. He has hidden from us and just wants to get your attention." Raja Utanpadh paused for a moment and looked up and saw Narad. Narad said to Raja Utanpadh, "O Raja! What is the matter? You seemed surprised. What has your younger wife done now?"

On hearing Narad's words, Raja Utanpadh felt ashamed. "O Muni Ji! My older wife, Suniti's son, Dhru is missing. Yesterday, Surichi shouted at him and told him to get lost. Now we have no idea what has happened to Dhru."

"Hari Narayan! O Raja…your son is not lost. He has become a hermit and is meditating in the jungles. You have hurt that poor soul's heart. He has lost attachment in your kingdom and riches. You have not loved your son. You have ill-treated Suniti. Anyone who commits such an act will suffer for life. Dhru will meditate upon 'Keshav Kalesh' and obtain the kingdom.

"Please tell me, is it really true that my son has gone to Tapoban? Will he be meditating? O my son will be hungry, how will he cope with the heat and coldness?" Raja Utanpadh began to question Narad. "Narad go and bring my son back. I will present him with half my kingdom. Tell him he will obtain peace within this palace. Let him meditate but don't let him starve."

Narad: "O Raja! He will not return. He will most definitely continue with his meditation". On saying this, Narad disappeared and went to see Suniti. He offered his condolences and said, "O Suniti! Do not worry for the offspring you brought into this world has become successful. Remain happy, your son will become a saint."

DhruVishnu (66K)Raja Utanpadh went to the jungles to find Dhru but he was unsuccessful. He came back disappointed. On seeing his father leave, Dhru felt more confident and continued with his meditation. Dhru's mediation was so powerful, even Indar made many attempts to break his mediation but was unsuccessful. Indar sent the demon 'Maya May' to break Dhru's mediation by shaking the earth, making it rain and causing tornados but Indar saw that there was nothing that he could do and he became increasingly afraid.

Indra returned and went to see Vishnu. Vishnu said, "O Indar. It is Dhru's wish to meditate; therefore it is our duty to let him. His wish is not to take over your kingdom. His concentration is on his father's kingdom. He will gain this kingdom and will reach a very high level in his meditation."

On hearing this Indar returned to his kingdom. Vishnu altered his appearance and went to Tapoban to see Dhru. He changed his appearance in accordance to what Dhru was thinking whilst he was meditating. Vishnu broke Dhru's meditation and stood in front of him. Dhru was ecstatic. Vishnu uttered these words to Dhru, "Through this strenuous meditation your mind has attained bliss. You will attain rule over your father's kingdom for 36,000 years. Your name will remain on this earth when you die." On giving these words to Dhru, Vishnu vanished.

Narad Muni went and told Raja Utanpadh all of this. There was great jubilation and excitement in the palace. People began to congratulate Suniti. Raja Utanpadh presented Dhru with the entire kingdom and he ruled the entire kingdom for 36,000 years, as Vishnu granted.

Key References to Dhruv in Gurbani and Sikh Literature 

Guru Arjan's Paach Barukh Ko Anaath Dhru Baarik 

'The five year old orphan boy Dhru, by meditating in remembrance upon the Lord,
became stationary and permanent.' Guru Arjan Dev Ji; GGSJ: 999 -

Maaroo, Fifth Mehl:

ਪਾਂਚ ਬਰਖ ਕੋ ਅਨਾਥੁ ਧ੍ਰੂ ਬਾਰਿਕੁ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਤ ਅਮਰ ਅਟਾਰੇ ॥
पांच बरख को अनाथु ध्रू बारिकु हरि सिमरत अमर अटारे ॥
Pāʼncẖ barakẖ ko anāth ḏẖarū bārik har simraṯ amar atāre.
The five year old orphan boy Dhroo, by meditating in remembrance on the Lord, became stationary and permanent.

ਪੁਤ੍ਰ ਹੇਤਿ ਨਾਰਾਇਣੁ ਕਹਿਓ ਜਮਕੰਕਰ ਮਾਰਿ ਬਿਦਾਰੇ ॥੧॥
पुत्र हेति नाराइणु कहिओ जमकंकर मारि बिदारे ॥१॥
Puṯar heṯ nārā▫iṇ kahi▫o jamkankar mār biḏāre. ||1||
For the sake of his son, Ajaamal called out, "O Lord, Naaraayan", who struck down and killed the Messenger of Death. ||1||

ਮੇਰੇ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਕੇਤੇ ਅਗਨਤ ਉਧਾਰੇ ॥
मेरे ठाकुर केते अगनत उधारे ॥
Mere ṯẖākur keṯe agnaṯ uḏẖāre.
My Lord and Master has saved many, countless beings.

ਮੋਹਿ ਦੀਨ ਅਲਪ ਮਤਿ ਨਿਰਗੁਣ ਪਰਿਓ ਸਰਣਿ ਦੁਆਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
मोहि दीन अलप मति निरगुण परिओ सरणि दुआरे ॥१॥ रहाउ ॥
Mohi ḏīn alap maṯ nirguṇ pari▫o saraṇ ḏu▫āre. ||1|| rahā▫o.
I am meek, with little or no understanding, and unworthy; I seek protection at the Lord's Door. ||1||Pause||

ਬਾਲਮੀਕੁ ਸੁਪਚਾਰੋ ਤਰਿਓ ਬਧਿਕ ਤਰੇ ਬਿਚਾਰੇ ॥
बालमीकु सुपचारो तरिओ बधिक तरे बिचारे ॥
Bālmīk supcẖāro ṯari▫o baḏẖik ṯare bicẖāre.
Baalmeek the outcaste was saved, and the poor hunter was saved as well.

ਏਕ ਨਿਮਖ ਮਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਅਰਾਧਿਓ ਗਜਪਤਿ ਪਾਰਿ ਉਤਾਰੇ ॥੨॥
एक निमख मन माहि अराधिओ गजपति पारि उतारे ॥२॥
Ėk nimakẖ man māhi arāḏẖi▫o gajpaṯ pār uṯāre. ||2||
The elephant remembered the Lord in his mind for an instant, and so was carried across. ||2||

ਕੀਨੀ ਰਖਿਆ ਭਗਤ ਪ੍ਰਹਿਲਾਦੈ ਹਰਨਾਖਸ ਨਖਹਿ ਬਿਦਾਰੇ ॥
कीनी रखिआ भगत प्रहिलादै हरनाखस नखहि बिदारे ॥
Kīnī rakẖi▫ā bẖagaṯ parhilāḏai harnākẖas nakẖėh biḏāre.
He saved His devotee Prahlaad, and tore Harnaakhash with his nails.

ਬਿਦਰੁ ਦਾਸੀ ਸੁਤੁ ਭਇਓ ਪੁਨੀਤਾ ਸਗਲੇ ਕੁਲ ਉਜਾਰੇ ॥੩॥
बिदरु दासी सुतु भइओ पुनीता सगले कुल उजारे ॥३॥
Biḏar ḏāsī suṯ bẖa▫i▫o punīṯā sagle kul ujāre. ||3||
Bidar, the son of a slave-girl, was purified, and all his generations were redeemed. ||3||

ਕਵਨ ਪਰਾਧ ਬਤਾਵਉ ਅਪੁਨੇ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਮੋਹ ਮਗਨਾਰੇ ॥
कवन पराध बतावउ अपुने मिथिआ मोह मगनारे ॥
Kavan parāḏẖ baṯāva▫o apune mithi▫ā moh magnāre.
What sins of mine should I speak of? I am intoxicated with false emotional attachment.

ਆਇਓ ਸਾਮ ਨਾਨਕ ਓਟ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਲੀਜੈ ਭੁਜਾ ਪਸਾਰੇ ॥੪॥੨॥
आइओ साम नानक ओट हरि की लीजै भुजा पसारे ॥४॥२॥
Ā▫i▫o sām Nānak ot har kī lījai bẖujā pasāre. ||4||2||
Nanak has entered the Sanctuary of the Lord; please, reach out and take me into Your embrace. ||4||2||

Bhagat Kabir's Deen Dayaal Bharose Tere

English Transliteration

gourree ||

raam japo jeea aisae aisae || 
dhhroo prehilaadh japiou har jaisae ||1||

dheen dhaeiaal bharosae thaerae ||
sabh paravaar charraaeiaa baerrae ||1|| rehaao ||

jaa this bhaavai thaa hukam manaavai ||
eis baerrae ko paar laghaavai ||2||

gur parasaadh aisee budhh samaanee ||
chook gee fir aavan jaanee ||3||

kahu kabeer bhaj saarigapaanee ||
ouravaar paar sabh eaeko dhaanee ||4||2||10||61|
(GGS Page 337)


Just as Dhroo and Prahlaad meditated on the Lord, so should you meditate on the Lord, O my soul. ||1||

O Lord, Merciful to the meek, I have placed my faith in You;
along with all my family (of kaam krodh etc.), I have come aboard Your boat. ||1||Pause||

When it is pleasing to Him, then He inspires us to obey the Hukam of His Command.
He causes this boat to cross over. ||2||

By Guru's Grace, such understanding is infused into me;
my comings and goings in reincarnation have ended. ||3||

Says Kabeer, meditate, vibrate upon the Lord, the Sustainer of the earth.
In this world, in the world beyond and everywhere, He alone is the Giver. ||4||2||10||61||

Bhagat Namdev's Moko Taar Le

English Transliteration 

Mo kao ṯār le rāmā ṯār le.
Mai ajān jan ṯaribe na jāno bāp bīṯẖulā bāh ḏe. ||1|| rahāo.

Nar ṯe sur hoe jāṯ nimakẖ mai saṯgur buḏẖ sikẖlāī.
Nar ṯe upaj surag kao jīṯio so avkẖaḏẖ mai pāī. ||1||

Jahā jahā ḏẖūa nāraḏ teke naik tikāvahu mohi.
Ŧere nām avilamb bahuṯ jan uḏẖre nāme kī nij maṯ eh. ||2||3||


Ferry me, Raama, ferry me across.
I'm ignorant, I can't swim; Father Beethla, give me your arm!

Satgur's wisdom can transform a human to the divine instantly, 
Pour within me the elixir that empowers an earthling to win heaven

Please place me wherever you placed Dhroo through Naarad
I know You have ferried across countless without delay 

(See Moko Taar Le for more details on this shabad)

Bhai Gurdas' Dhroo Hasda Ghar Aaya

ik oa(n)kaar sathiguraprasaadh ||

dhhroo hasadhaa ghar aaeiaa kar piaar pio kushharr leethaa||
baaho(n) pakarr out(h)aaliaa man vich ros mathraeee keethaa||
dduddahulikaa maa(n) pushhae thoo(n) saavaanee hai k sareethaa||
saavaanee haa(n) janam dhee naam n bhagathee karam dhrirreethaa||
kis oudhaam thae raaj milai sathr oo thae sabh hovan meethaa||
paramaeshar aaraadhheeai ji(n)dhoo hoeeai pathith puneethaa||
baahar chaliaa karan thap man bairaagee hoe atheethaa||
naaradhamun oupadhaeshiaa naam nidhhaan amiouras peethaa||
pishhahu raajae sadhiaa abachal raaj karahu nith neethaa||
haar chalae guramukh jag jeethaa ||a||

One Oankar, the primal energy, realized through the grace of the divine preceptor

Boy Dhru came smiling to his house (palace) and his father full of love put him into his lap.

Seeing this, the stepmother got angry and catching hold of his arm pushed him out of the lap of the father (the king).

Tearful with fear he asked his mother whether she was a queen or a maidservant?

O son! (said she) I was born queen but I did not remember God and did not undertake acts of devotion (and this is the reason of yours and mine plight).

With that effort can the kingdom be had (asked Dhru) and how can enemies turn friends?

The Lord should be worshipped and thus the sinners also become sacred ones (said the mother).

Listening to this and getting totally detached in his mind Dhru went out (to the jungle) to undertake rigorous discipline.

On the way, sage Narad taught him the technique of devotion and Dhru quaffed the nectar from the ocean of the Name of the Lord.

(After some time) King (Uttanpad) called him back and asked him (Dhru) to rule forever.

The gurmukhs who seem to be losing i.e. who turn their faces from the evil propensities, conquer the world.