81. Mother’s Reaction to the Story of Dhruva
Here is another incident which shows how much the sorrows and sufferings of others actually entered the heart of the Mother. A certain ‘writer-son’ of hers had sent to the Mother a copy of Dhruva Charita written by him At this the Mother was very happy and was eager to have it read out to her.
Accordingly, one evening after nightfall a mat was spread on the veranda, and the Mother sat to listen to the reading. With her there were the other ladies of the household. A son sat at a little distance from them to read. As the reading proceeded, they were all very happy. After a while there came the description of a sad incident. King Uttanapada, sitting on his throne and taking up on his lap Uttama, the little son of his by his favourite wife Suruchi, was fondling him Seeing this, Dhruva, the son of his other wife Suniti, came forward to get on to his father’s lap. At this Suruchi, scolding Dhruva, said, “How dare you do this, my boy? If you have the desire to get on to the king’s lap, then take your birth again from my womb.” The henpecked king could not bestow any attention on Dhruva out of fear of Suruchi. The boy therefore burst out crying in utter sorrow. Listening to this tale of woe the Mother too started shedding tears. The reader stopped a little. When the Mother became pacified and wiped her eyes, the reading started again. Soon there came another incident. The five year old boy Dhruva was ready to go to the forest to invoke Sri Hari. For Suniti, her son was the only cheer in her miserable life. That son was now going to the forest leaving her alone. She argued with him to make him desist from his resolve, but Dhruva was adamant. The Mother’s heart melted at the sorrows of Suniti, as if she were Suniti herself, and her heart was bursting at the thought of letting her son go to the forest. Tears gushed forth in streams from her eyes. Dumbfounded, the readers and the others there watched this scene of woe with unwinking eyes. After a while when the Mother became her normal self, the reading continued. Dhruva took to the forest path alone. Tears again flowed from the Mother’s eyes. In that hazardous forest route, when Dhruva got much help through the grace of the Lord, the Mother’s heart became filled with joy, and a smile played on her lips. Later, on hearing how Narada appeared on the scene and gave right instructions to Dhruva, her joy increased. She said, “Just see how the Lord showers His grace – how he helps those who want Him!” The reading proceeded. There came the descriptions of Dhruva’s practising severe austerities, the various fearful experiences that Dhruva underwent in that dense forest full of wild beasts. The heart of that small boy Dhruva was trembling with fear and he was crying alone, helpless. As soon as she listened to it, the Mother’s heart got filled with sorrow again. Taking Dhruva as her own little son, she shed torrents of tears at his predicament. It was only after much effort that she was able to control herself. The reader started his reading again. But on Dhruva’s picture coming before the Mother’s eyes the very next instant, she burst out crying again Soon she became very much agitated as if her heart and soul were running to protect Dhruva in that deep forest at the dead of night. Those assembled, including the reader, were dumbfounded seeing this unique expression of sorrow. After some time they left the place quietly. The reading had to be stopped. Every heart there was steeped in sorrow – for whom? Who will answer?