The Vedic name of the Pole Star is Dhruva Nakshatra, named after Dhruva, the son of King Uttanapad. At a very young age, Dhruva demonstrated such steadfast commitment to Lord Vishnu that he was blessed by Vishnu to take the position of the steadfast Pole star.
Let us hear the story of Dhruva which is taken from the Bhagawat Purana. Dhruva’s father, King Uttanapad, was a great ruler of ancient India. He had two queens. The elder one, Queen Suniti, was Dhruva’s mother. Queen Suruchi, the younger one, did not like her stepson, Dhruva and wanted her own son, Uttam, to become king . Unfortunately, King Uttanapad liked Queen Suruchi better than Queen Suniti and did not want to disagree with her even though Dhruva was older and was the rightful heir to the throne.
One day, little Dhruva went to sit on his father’s lap along with his stepbrother, Uttam. But he was stopped by Queen Suruchi’s cruel words. “You are not allowed in your father’s lap,” she scolded. “Only my son is allowed to sit on the King’s lap. Pray to Lord Vishnu that you should die and be reborn as my son if you want to sit in your father’s lap!” Deeply hurt, Dhruva went crying to his mother. But Queen Suniti was helpless. “Pray to Lord Vishnu,” she said. “He will surely help you if you can pray long and hard enough.”
Dhruva made up his mind that he would go deep into the jungle to meditate on Lord Vishnu and would not return to the kingdom until the Lord had answered his prayers. On his way to the jungle, he met the eternal sage, Narada. Narada was concerned that Dhruva was too young to be in the jungle alone. He tried to dissuade Dhruva, warning him that he would be eaten up by wild animals if he stayed. But Dhruva was steadfast in his resolve. Satisfied that Dhruva had the mental strength to remain in the jungle, Narada taught Dhruva the art of meditation.\par \par Little Dhruva meditated for many months, giving up all worldly comforts. He even stopped eating. Lord Vishnu was amazed at the little boy’s determination and finally appeared before him. He blessed the boy and told him to return to his kingdom.
In the meantime, King Uttanapad repented the injustice done to Dhruva. He was heartbroken at the thought of little Dhruva being devoured by wild beasts. Narada consoled him, telling him that Dhruva’s resolve was firm and that he would received Lord Vishnu’s blessings. Narada was sure that Lord Vishnu would protect the boy from the wild animals.
When Dhruva finally returned safely home after receiving Lord Vishnu’s blessings, King Uttanapad went personally to receive him. Queen Suniti was overjoyed at her son’s safe return. In the course of time, when King Uttanapad became old, Dhruva was crowned king, and ruled wisely for many years.
The story of Dhruva is a lesson to us all. We do not have to wait until we are old to attain spirituality. Sincere, steadfast, meditation on God helped such a young child overcome the obstacles thrown in his way. It can help us all.