Srimad Bhagavatam tells the story of Dhruva, who went to
the forest to undertake penance. Narada appeared before
him and asked him if he could withstand a severe penance.
Dhruva, who was only five years old, said he could do
penance, no matter how diicult it was. Dhruva said to
Narada: “You traverse the three worlds. I want to go to a
world better than any of these which none can reach. Show
me the way to such a place.” Narada then taught him the
There are thousands of mantras, but the Purushasuktam
says three are the most important of these — Shadakshara,
which is Vishnu mantra; Ashtakshara, which is Narayana
mantra; and Dvadasakshara, which is Vasudeva mantra.
Narada taught Dhruva the Vasudeva mantra. In the
Srirangam temple, Vasudeva mantra is the main mantra. To
show the greatness of this mantra, Sri Vaishnavas honour it
with the prefix ‘Thiru.’ The very meaning of the word
mantra is that which saves, and Dhruva’s story shows how
the Vasudeva mantra helped him, said P.T. Seshadri in a
After Dhruva had done penance for some months, Lord
Narayana appeared before him. Till then Dhruva had been
focusing on the Lord as Antaryami. Dhruva now opened
his eyes, saw the Lord and prostrated before Him. The
Dvadasakshara mantra means a mantra of 12 aksharas. This
was the mantra that Narada had taught Dhruva and Dhruva
sang the Lord’s praises in 12 slokas. The Lord promised
that once Dhruva’s time on this earth was over, he would
be a star around which other stars would revolve. Dharma
devatas would circle around him.
Dhruva’s story shows the importance of taking guidance
from an Acharya, as Dhruva did from Sage Narada.