In 2017 and 2018, His Holiness Kadamba Kanana Swami took us to Madhuvana, specifically at Dhruva-tila, where a young Dhruva Maharaja endured great austerities in his quest to find the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Check out Maharaja’s full kirtans and lectures below, along with a few photos, at Dhruva-tila in Madhuvana during Parikrama 2017 and Parikrama 2018.
When Dhruva Maharaja desired to sit on his father’s lap, where his step-brother Uttama was already seated, his step-mother held him back and said, “No! You cannot sit on the lap of the king. You should worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be able to take birth from my womb in your next life, then you can sit on your father’s lap.” Dhruva Maharaja’s birth-mother, Suniti Devi, then says to Dhruva, “Your step-mother gave you a very good instruction because she told you to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Follow that instruction!” When Dhruva Maharaja asks where the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be found, his mother says, “I have heard from the sages that the Supreme Lord can be found in the forest.” Dhruva Maharaja then encounters Narada Muni, and Narada Muni gives Dhruva transcendental instructions, “My dear Dhruva, all these things are taking place in the temporary world. Whatever happens in this material world is not really important because it relates to the body and to temporary conditions. One should just detach oneself and not worry!” Dhruva Maharaja responded, “Your instructions are absolutely true, but they do not resonate in my heart.” Narada Muni then advises Dhruva Maharaja to make a clay deity of the Supreme Lord and worship Him. He continues that in this way, Dhruva Maharaja should control his mind and senses through the astanga yoga process and chant the mantra om namo bhagavate vasudevaya. Narada Muni then instructed Dhruva Maharaja to go to the forest called Madhuvana, where we are now.
Dhruva Maharaja performed his sadhana and through his astanya yoga, he endured great austerities and controlled his breathing. At one point, Dhruva Maharaja stopped breathing altogether and the whole universe started to choke. Indra then approached the Supreme Lord and it was then that the Supreme Lord appeared to Dhruva Maharaja. Here, in the central altar at Dhruva-tila, we see the deity of Lord Narayana, Lord Visnu, who appeared before Dhruva Maharaja.
It is interesting that Dhruva Maharaja has an anger issue. Despite Narada Muni’s advice, he could not give it up in his youth. Later, Dhruva Maharaja got the darsana of the Supreme Lord, who told him that all his desires would be fulfilled. Dhruva said, “No, my Lord, my desires are already fulfilled because I have the darsana of You! What more could I desire? Your darsana is the most desirable boon. All my desires are now fulfilled! I wanted a kingdom greater than my family lineage. I wanted broken pieces of glass but now I got a jewel.” So as soon as Dhruva Maharaja got the darsana of the Lord, everything he had been desiring from the Lord previously, transformed at that point. It all looked insignificant.
We should also understand that we are going to spend a whole life and maybe more than one life, doing devotional service. In that devotional service, we struggle. In that struggle, we are trying to get benefit, sukrti, which goes into our eternal spiritual bank balance. At the end of our life, what do we have to show? Only the credit in our spiritual bank balance. We come to the gates of the spiritual world and say, “Look at this!” And they go, “That is not enough. It is not going to do it.” But then when we say, “I have something else. I have the blessings of my spiritual master”, that is a much greater wealth. All the wealth we can accrue from a whole lifetime of service is insignificant compared to the blessings of our spiritual master. It is the blessings that are the principal factor and not only from our spiritual master but from the entire sampradaya. One should approach through the lineage and through the Vaisnavas and therefore one has to become soft. We have to admit at one point that all the Vaisnavas become good, except for one, ourself.
So here in Dhruva-tila, our meditation is to try to come to that transcendental platform of simply being a servant and appreciating and glorifying all the Vaisnavas. In that way, we go forward as Dhruva Maharaja did, faithfully following the process. In this age of Kali, everyone is extremely independent and no wants to align himself. We all have a spiritual master but to fully embrace his spirit is extremely difficult. It is difficult in this age to have that humility. In Srila Prabhupada, we see this incredible humility where he does not put himself but his spiritual master in the foreground. So, looking at Dhruva Maharaja and seeing his lack of alignment, we see our own lack of alignment. We pray that we can embrace the desires of our spiritual master, not only externally but wholeheartedly, and make the spiritual master’s desires our own.