SKANDHA IV. CHAP. 8-12.
(From the Bhagavata Purana)
Uttânapâda is one of the sons of the First Manu. Uttânapâda means “with uplifted foot”. This perhaps refers to the period when the Jiva, having still the spiritual element strong in him, was not fixed in the course of material descent, but had one foot towards Mahar-Loka. Uttânapâda had two wives Suruchi (with good graces) and Suniti (of good morals). Uttama or the Highest was the son of Suruchi. Dhruva or the fixed was the son of Suniti. Once upon a time, Dhruva found Uttama on his father’s lap and he wished to be there himself. For fear of Suruchi, Uttânapâda did not dare stretch forth his hands towards Dhruva, while Suruchi herself taunted the boy for his impudent aspiration. Stung to the quick by the bitter words of his stepmother Dhruva forthwith left the place and went straight to his mother and related to her his grievances. Suniti advised her son who was only five years old to make Tapas. Dhruva did not lose time but left home to make Tapas as directed by his mother. Nârada met him on the way. “Thou art a child Dhruva” said the great Rishi. “How is it possible for thee to find out Him by Tapas, Who is attainable by intense Yoga concentration and freedom from passion practised for several births. Desist my boy, for the present. Try, when thou hast enjoyed all the things of the world and hast grown old”. But Dhruva was fixed in resolve and he importuned Nârada to teach him how to meditate. Nârada initiated Dhruva into the mysteries of the Mantra “Om Namo Bhagavate Vâsudevaya”, told him how to meditate on Vâsudeva and asked him to make Tapas at Mathurâ where Bhagavân permanently resides. Dhruva passed his days in austere asceticism, standing on one foot and living on air. The prince at last controlled his breath and with deep concentration saw the Divine Light in the heart. Bhagavân withdrew that Light from the heart, and on the break of Samâdhi, Dhruva found the same Divinity outside, standing before him. Words he had none for a time. Bhagavân addressing him said: — “O Thou Kshatriya boy! I know thy resolve. Do thou ever prosper. I give thee a place which is ever bright and where Nirvana is constant. The planets and stars are all attached to that place. Those that live for a Kalpa will die, but that place shall never be destroyed. Dharma, Agni, Kasyapa, Indra and the seven Rishis with all the luminaries of the sky are constantly revolving round the place. Thou shalt succeed thy father on the throne and reign for 36,000 years. Thy brother Uttama shall disappear in a forest. Thy stepmother Suruchi shall die in pursuit of her son. The place where thou shalt finally go is my own abode, higher than that of the Rishis, and there is no return from it.”
Dhruva returned to his parents and was placed by his father on the throne. He married Bhrami, the daughter of Siśumâra, and had two sons by her, Kalpa and Vatsara. He had another son Utkala by Ila. Uttama was killed by a powerful Yaksha while out on a hunt. Dhruva went out to the north to take revenge on the Yakshas for his brother’s death. He killed several thousands of innocent Yakshas, Râkshasas and Kinnaras in battle. Manu took pity on them and asked his grandson to desist from fight. Dhruva bowed in obedience to Manu and so Kubera the king of Yakshas became much pleased with him and blest him too. After thirty six thousand years, Sananda and Nanda, two companions of Vishnu came with a chariot and took Dhruva to the promised abode.
Utkala was the eldest son of Dhruva and he was entitled to succeed his father. But he was a sage and had united himself with Brahmâ. He declined the throne. Bhrami’s son Vatsara became the king. Vatsara married Subithi and had six sons by her, — Pushpârna, Tigmaketu, Ishâ, Urja, Vasu and Jaya. Pushpârna had two wives, — Pravha and Doshâ. Prabhâ had three sons, — Prâtar, Madhyandina and Sayam, Doshâ had three sons, — Pradosha, Nisitha and Vyushta. Vyushta married Pushkarini. His Son was Sarvatejas, afterwards called Chakshus. Chakshus had one son, — Nadvala Manu.
THOUGHTS ON THE ABOVE
[The line of Uttânapâda, as I have said above, represents the appearance of individual life-forms. Limitation had to be put to the life-periods of individuals. We commence with Dhruva, who presides over the polar star, and lives for one Kalpa. His sons are Kalpa and Vatsara. “Vatsara” means year. The sons of Vatsara are the six seasons. “Pushpârna” is the flower season or spring. “Tigmaketu” means fierce-rayed. The word denotes summer season. “Isha” means full of sat and is the name of the month of Asvina. But it means here the rainy season. “Urja” is the name of the month of Kartika. It is indicative of autumn. “Vasu” meaning wealth is the season between autumn and winter, when paddy becomes ripe. “Prabhâ” is light. “Doshâ” is darkness. “Pratar,” “Madhyandina” and Sayam are morning, midday and evening, respectively. “Pradosha” is first part of the night, “Nisitha” is midnight. “Vyushta” is day break. “Sarva-tejas” is all-fire. He was subsequently called Chakshus or eye. The names other than Chakshus indicate different capacities of individual life, ranging from portions of a day to the whole Kalpa. When the downward flow of Jivas was the rule, Dhruva had to make great sacrifice to remain fixed on the spiritual plane. Hence he worshipped Vishnu, as directed by Nârada. Sarva-tejas or Chakshus perhaps indicates the appearance of perceptive faculties. The son of Chakshus is glorified with the title of Manu. This is significant. He is called Nadvala, or one made of reeds. This marks a new era in the progress of Monads. As the reed is made up of sheaths over-lapping each other, so the sons of this Manu were constituted of overlapping principles. Why Nadvala is called Manu, has to be found out in the circumstances that attended the progress of the Monads from the mineral to the vegetable stage. The son of this Manu was Anga or the limbs. And Anga was wedded to the daughter of the death god. So there was no death up to the Nadvala form of life, and no limbs. It was something like the appearance of protoplastic matter, with all its potentialities of evolving life forms. Thus we can understand the importance of Nadvala as a Manu. Death or decay made the inorganic to develop organs or anga.] (Excerpts from “A Study of the Bhagavata Purana”)