“In the Hari-bhakti-sudhadaya there is another example, forwarded by Maharaj Dhruva. He says there, ‘My dear Lord, I have practiced austerities and penances because I was desiring to receive something from You, but in exchange You have allowed me to see You, who are never visible even to the great sages and saintly persons. I had been searching out some pieces of broken glass, but instead I have found the most valuable jewel. I am therefore fully satisfied, my Lord. I do not wish to ask anything more from Your Lordship.’” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 46)
Friend1: Let me describe a scene to you.
Friend1: You are in a store.
Friend2: What kind? Retail? Hardware? Book? Actually, those are becoming a thing of the past.
Friend1: For sure. One day children will ask their parents about what they were. Bookstores will be considered like a museum exhibit, the way of our ancestors for accessing information.
Friend2: There is always the local library, but even that is going digital in many ways.
Friend1: For this example, let’s say it’s your big box retailer. Something like a convenience store but more.
Friend2: Where you can get groceries and clothes. Where they have a little of everything, and they are open most of the time.
Friend1: And on the weekends their parking lot resembles one associated with a rock concert or football game.
Friend2: It’s amazing, isn’t it? In some small towns this kind of store is everything. It is the place to be on a Saturday.
Friend1: You are in this store, looking for a specific item.
Friend2: I am able to find it?
Friend1: You are not. That is the premise.
Friend2: I hate asking people for help. For some reason I will continue searching for a while by myself. I get upset about it, in fact. It’s like I’m punishing myself for not being smart enough to figure out the solution on my own.
Friend1: For this example, you have finally given up. You ask someone who works there. They bring someone else in for support. It turns into this whole ordeal, with people checking the stock room and the like.
Friend2: Okay. Do they eventually find it?
Friend1: They tell you to come back the next day. The item is in their system, but right now it’s at a different store. This local store will order it for you and the next day it will be available.
Friend2: Alright, cool.
Friend1: Here’s the thing. By the time you arrive the next day you no longer want the item.
Friend2: Why? I have found a better price? Some other store had it in stock?
Friend1: Worse. You simply changed your mind. The desire is gone.
Friend2: What do I tell the store people?
Friend1: You are honest about it. Obviously, they are upset, but they don’t show it. This is part of the business; it goes with the territory. Changing customer demands. Worst case, someone else might want to buy it, and at least it will be in stock going forward.
Friend2: Okay, so no harm done.
Friend1: Can we say that, though? Didn’t you waste everyone’s time?
Friend2: Sure, but what can you do?
Friend1: I’m asking in relation to the Dhruva story.
Friend2: From the Shrimad Bhagavatam?
Friend2: You want to know if going to the forest and meditating for so long was a waste of time?
Friend1: Obviously, it wasn’t. The story wouldn’t be passed on to future generations if there weren’t lessons to take away. My concern is with Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Friend2: What about Him?
Friend1: Dhruva sought a meeting. A five year old, a little impulsive in the desire for revenge, there was something specific he wanted. Authority figures, people he had respect for, guided him in the direction of isolated meditation. They said that if anyone would be able to help him, it would be Vishnu.
Friend2: The wise understand this. Go straight to the top. You could approach a deputy, but the extra benefits, which turn out to be more valuable, are missing.
Friend1: And we know that the added benefit here was purification for Dhruva. The question is, wasn’t Vishnu’s time wasted? The Supreme Lord got called to the scene and then the desire suddenly vanished.
Friend2: You mean Dhruva wanted something in the beginning and by the time the order supplier arrived he changed his mind?
Friend1: Yes. Exactly! Is there no penalty for that? Should we be so casual in our dealings with someone so important?
Friend2: There is a key difference here.
Friend1: What is that?
Friend2: The desire changed because of the meeting with Vishnu. The Supreme Lord was responsible for the shift, to where Dhruva no longer wanted anything. The boy compared the previous desire to pieces of broken glass and the meeting with Vishnu to the most valuable jewel.
Friend1: We should blame Vishnu, then?
Friend2: There is no one to blame. Do you have any idea how many people pray to God on a daily basis for trivial things? Think of the players on the sideline hoping for a kick to be good in football. Think of the child wanting a bike for Christmas. Even good health is not that important in the grand scheme, since death arrives at the end for every person.
Friend1: Okay, but not everyone gets a face-to-face meeting with God the person. They can pray all they want, but it doesn’t mean someone picks up the phone on the other side, so to speak.
Friend2: It is the same distinction, for sure. Bhagavan’s eyes and ears are everywhere. Dhruva didn’t waste anyone’s time, since the meeting ended up helping so many people. It is natural for a person to start their devotional life with a specific desire, such as for wealth or the removal of distress.
चतुर्विधा भजन्ते मां जनाः सुकृतिनोऽर्जुन।
आर्तो जिज्ञासुरर्थार्थी ज्ञानी च भरतर्षभ।।
caturvidhā bhajante māṃ janāḥ sukṛtino’rjuna।
ārto jijñāsurarthārthī jñānī ca bharatarṣabha।।
“O best among the Bharatas [Arjuna], four kinds of pious men render devotional service unto Me—the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.16)
What matters is the result of the connection. After the fact, does the person change their ways? Is consciousness purified? Vishnu never would have arrived in Dhruva’s presence if there wasn’t going to be something important occur as a result.
Like Supreme Court taking the case,
High chance of past to erase.
So with Dhruva the meeting,
With Vishnu on Garuda seating.
Shifted desire but time not wasted,
Since nectar of Divine’s grace tasted.
Revenge to broken glass compared,
Since now of higher purpose aware.