Svayambhu Manu, who was a part of Hari and son of Brahma, had two sons with his wife Shatarupa - Uttanapada and Priyavrata. When Uttanapada became king, he took two queens, Suruchi and Suniti, and they both had sons - Uttama and Dhruva, respectively. However, Uttanapada favored Suruchi and her son Uttama, often taking him on his lap. One day, when Dhruva approached his father to sit on his lap, Suruchi forbade him, saying that he had no right to do so as he was Suniti's son. She advised him to pray to Lord Hari and practice spiritual disciplines to maybe be born as her son in another life and attain that privilege.
Dhruva wept bitterly and ran to his mother for comfort, who was also filled with sorrow. She hugged him and consoled him, saying, "My dear child, don't cry and don't hold any grudges against your stepmother. Those who cause pain to others will eventually suffer themselves. Can your stepmother ever find peace by speaking so cruelly to you? However, she was right in saying that the king does not care for me. Suruchi was correct in advising you to worship Sri Hari with devotion. There is no other way for you to gain the king's favour. Even Brahma attained his position through the worship of Hari's lotus feet. The sages meditate on those same feet. Pour your heart out to the lotus-eyed Sri Hari. Only he can alleviate your sorrow."
Dhruva was unwavering in his belief in his mother's advice. He quickly left his kingdom behind and headed for the forest. Along the way, he met Narada, a sage who is always present near devotees of God. When Dhruva explained his plan to Narada, the sage cautioned him, saying, "My dear Dhruva, you are still a child, yet you plan to undertake intense spiritual disciplines? Tapasya is incredibly challenging, and even great sages who have practised it cannot always attain God-realization. Therefore, dear boy, surrender yourself to the will of the Lord and accept whatever he ordains for you. In this way, you will gradually acquire knowledge."
Dhruva was unconvinced by Narada's words and responded, "The insult from my stepmother has deeply wounded me. My mind is restless and I cannot find peace. Your words do not alleviate my suffering. Oh great rishi, you are a descendant of Lord Brahma himself. Please guide me on the path to attain God."
Narada praised Dhruva's determination and revealed to him the true way to realize God. He said, "I was only testing you, and you have passed. Indeed, worshipping and meditating on Sri Hari is the only way to attain him. Go to Madhuvana, which is situated on the bank of the Yamuna river. Sri Hari is always present there. Call on him there with your whole heart and soul. With a focused and concentrated mind, meditate on his four-armed form that is adorned with all the auspicious qualities. Repeat this mantra: "Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya."
After receiving Narada's instructions, Dhruva left for Madhuvana and began practicing intense meditation and austerities. His tapasya became so intense that even the gods became frightened. He continued his austerities for six months until Sri Hari was pleased with his devotion and decided to reveal himself to the young boy.
Dhruva was taken aback as he saw Lord Sri Hari standing before him, radiating an enchanting aura of beauty. Overwhelmed with wonder and love, he immediately prostrated himself at the Lord's feet and surrendered his entire being to him. Eager to sing the Lord's praises, Dhruva felt at a loss, being just a young boy with limited knowledge. Sri Hari, with immense compassion, touched Dhruva's cheek with his divine conch, symbolizing the essence of the Vedas. Dhruva, his voice choked with emotion, began to sing to the Lord.
Dhruva was filled with joy and gratitude for Sri Hari’s grace. He spent some more time meditating and offering prayers to the Lord before returning to his kingdom. As he approached the capital, he was greeted with much fanfare and celebration, as news of his successful tapasya had spread far and wide.
Dhruva ascended his father’s throne and ruled with wisdom and justice, following the path of devotion shown to him by Sri Hari. He was loved and respected by his subjects, and his reign was marked by peace and prosperity.
Eventually, Dhruva passed from this world, remembering Sri Hari as he had been instructed. He went to the realm promised to him by the Lord, the eternal abode of the Dhruva polestar, where he lived in blissful communion with the divine. His story became an inspiration to generations of devotees, showing the power of faith and determination in the pursuit of the divine.
Despite having achieved his desire of propitiating the Lord, Dhruva was not content. He regretted not asking for the Lord's own blissful state when he had the opportunity to see him. He realized that he had been deceived by maya and had been satisfied with acquiring an earthly kingdom.
Upon learning that his son was coming back, the king rode out of the city in a lavishly adorned chariot with his ministers to greet him. Narada had already informed him about Dhruva's severe austerities and how he had been blessed by Sri Hari's appearance. Upon seeing his son again, the king was overwhelmed with joy, hugging and kissing him while tears streamed down his face. Uttanapada then placed Dhruva on the back of an elephant for a ceremonial procession back to the city.
Upon reaching adulthood, Dhruva was crowned king by Uttanapada and then he went to the forest to practice tapasya and meditation. He ruled the kingdom justly, as directed by the Lord. Meanwhile, his stepbrother Uttama, who was Suruchi's son, was killed by a Yaksha while hunting, and Suruchi died while searching for him.
After hearing of the deaths of his brother and stepmother, Dhruva was consumed with anger and sorrow. He set out to punish the yakshas responsibly and attacked them in their kingdom, Alakapuri. In a brutal conflict, thousands of yakshas were killed before Dhruva's grandfather, Svayambhu Manu, intervened and convinced him to stop. Kubera, the ruler of the yakshas, was pleased with Dhruva for recognizing his error and ending the battle, and he offered him a boon. Dhruva replied that his only wish was to always remember the Lord. With great joy, Kubera granted his request.
Dhruva, having become an enlightened ruler who recognized God within himself and all beings, ruled for a long time before passing the kingdom to his son and retiring to Badrikashrama for meditation on the Lord. At the end of his life, messengers of Vishnu took him directly to Dhruvaloka, within Vishnu's realm. The shining Dhruva star in the night sky serves as a reminder of this great soul even to this day.
Read the story of Puranjana at https://www.divineleelas.com/post/the-story-of-puranjana.