Dhruva Wages War – Part One

Dhruva’s brother Uttama was unmarried when a powerful god from the mountains killed him while he was hunting. His mother searched after him and met a similar fate. When Dhruva heard that his brother had been killed, he gave himself up completely to revengeful anger and grief. On his victorious chariot, he went to the realm of those powerful gods.

King Dhruva went north into the lands of Rudra’s followers. There, in a snowy Himalayan valley, he saw a city full of mysterious beings. Dhruva blew mightily on his conchshell, filling all the directions with its roar. The mysterious sub-gods were alarmed and shocked. Angered by the conch’s declaration of threat, the sub-gods came out from their city in armies, armed with weapons and prepared for war.

Dhruva, an excellent warrior and fierce bowman, began killing them; shooting each one with three simultaneous arrows. Seeing these arrows marked straight and sure for their foreheads, they knew they were doomed and thought highly of Dhruva’s skill.

Like trampled serpents, they struck back at him – each one shooting six simultaneous arrows. Then, the loosed thirteen ten-thousands of clubs, blades, spears, lances, pikes, and other weapons, like arrows with amazing feathers. They ferociously wanted to drench him, his chariot, and his charioteer, in a downpour of death. Uttānapāda’s Son could not even be seen in that incessant shower of weapons, like a mountain hidden by incessant storms.

The Siddha Gods had gathered in the heavens to see what was going on. They began to cry, “No! No!” when Mānu’s grandson disappeared like the Sun setting into the ocean.

The gods shouted in victory, but then, from amidst all their destruction, Dhruva’s chariot charged forward, like the sun bursting through the mist. They tried to attack him again, but the twang of his bow routed their confidence, as his arrows destroyed their weapons like the wind destroys clouds. Those arrows pierced their armor and viciously stabbed the bodies of those Rakṣa-gods – like thunderbolts smashing into mountains.

The battlefield overflowed with rent and torn bodies: heads with precious earrings, legs like golden palm trunks, arms with fancy bracelets… very valuable necklaces, armlets, crowns and turbans, which had delighted the heroes who wore them, were now strewn everywhere. The Rakṣa soldiers who somehow survived the onslaught of the greatest Kṣatriya fled from the battlefield, almost dead, like wounded elephants fleeing from a victorious lion.

Comment: Its strange how Dhruva had previously been so purified that he lost all anger and enmity. But about 10 years later became so uncontrollably enraged that he attacked a whole city. In the next chapter, his grandfather Svāyambhuva Manu will chastize him sternly for this.

Translation of Śrī Bhāgavata 4.10.1 ~ 20

by Vraja Kishor dās


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