Uttanapada was the son of Svayambhuva Manu. Uttanapada's wives were Suniti and Suruchi. He had a son called Dhruva by Suniti and another son called Uttama by Suruchi. Suruchi was his favorite wife. One day he was fondling the son Uttama. Dhruva saw this and wanted also to get on to the father's lap. Suruchi, Dhruva's stepmother prevented this saying that only Uttama was entitled to sit on his father's lap. Dhruva was crying and informed of this to his mother Suniti. Suniti implored patience and said that she and Dhruva should submit to the fate that they were not the favored ones. She advised Dhruva. " Son, try to acquire religious merit. Be kind and friendly to all living creatures. You will be endowed with good fortune."
Dhruva said, "Let Uttama get the crown. I will by my own efforts attain a rank higher than my father's and get to be respected by the entire world." Having said this, he moved into the forest.
In the forest, he saw seven saints sitting on antelope skins, performing tapas. Dhruva narrated his story to them. The sages asked, "What do you want from us?"
Dhruva said, "I do not want money. I do not want
dom. I want the highest rank in the world. Tell me how I can attain this."
The sages said in one voice: "Anything desired by man can be attained by worshipping Vishnu-anything, even the highest rank in the highest of the three worlds."
Dhruva inquired, "Instruct me, O holy sages, how do I worship Vishnu, the god of gods."
The sages explained, "Remove your mind from all external objects; fix it steadily on the Supreme Soul on whom the entire universe exists. Repeat the prayer: Glory to the Supreme who is divine wisdom and whose form is this Universe."
Prince Dhruva went to a holy place on the Yamuna river and performed tapas. He meditated and prayed. The Supreme Being entered his soul. He became the repository of supreme, divine power. The gods were frightened that Dhruva may supersede the gods themselves in power. One of the gods even tried to deceive Dhruva and interrupt Dhruva's tapas by appearing before him in the form of Suniti and cried before him, saying " Son, you are only five years old. You are my only solace. Don't leave me. Protect me, my child, from the taunts of Suruchi. Your duty is to make your mother happy. If you do not come back to me, I will kill myself."
Dhruva was deeply meditating; he did not hear or see his mother weeping before him. The illusion disappeared from his presence. Only one object was seen by his mind's eye: the Supreme soul.
The gods were alarmed indeed. They had failed to shake Dhruva's resolve. So they went to Vishnu and complained, "This child is attaining superhuman powers by his tapas. We do not know what rank he wants, an Indra, a Sun or a guardian deity. Divert him, O Vishnu, from this tapas."
Vishnu calmly replied, "I know what Dhruva wants; he does not want sovereignty of the solar sphere or the earth or the oceans. I will grant Dhruva's wish and stop his tapas. Don't be alarmed; return to your stations and do your duties."
Swift as thought, Vishnu came to Dhruva appearing before him in the form in which he worshipped Vishnu and said, "I am pleased with your devotion, O son of Uttanapada. Ask me, what do you want?"
Dhruva opened his eyes and saw before him the Supreme Being. He was enthralled. He was overwhelmed. He was dumbfounded. After a few speechless moments, Dhruva said, "O Lord, I want this boon: let me know how to praise thee. I cannot find words to glorify you. My heart is full of love and devotion. God, give me the power to lay my prayers at your feet."
Vishnu's sacred conch touched Dhruva's head; instantly, Dhruva burst forth into a long song of praise of such glory that no man had heard before. When Dhruva had finished, the Lord asked, "Tell me what are the wishes of your heart."
Dhruva replied: "O Lord, you reside in all peoples' hearts. You therefore know all the wishes in my heart. All you are as
for is my confession. I confess: I do not want the rank of Indra, the rank of the Sun; nor do I want the sovereignty of the earth and the oceans. I just wanted to attain the highest position which no one had attained before. I do not know that position. You decide. I surrender completely."
Vishnu said, " You shall attain that rank; it will be a station which will sustain all the stars and the planets, above that of the sun and the moon. As the ever-present Pole Star, you will be an example to all people of what devotion can attain. Suniti, your mother will also dwell as a star near you. Your task now is to go back to your father, reconcile with your stepmother and be the guardian of your brother. Your old father is old and unhappy that you left him. You take over the
dom from him and rule according to the laws of Dharma. In due time, you will attain your place in the heavens."
Saying these, Vishnu disappeared. Dhruva bowed. When he returned home, he found a warm welcome from his father, mother and stepmother. He carried out the divine commands. He attained his place as the Pole Star (Dhruva taara) in the sky. Suniti shined beside him.