How to Understand Dhruva’s Rage?

Question: What can explain Dhruva’s rage in attacking all the puṇya-jana upadevas in revenge for his brother?

Answer: What is there to explain? If someone kills your brother, would you not be upset? It is human nature. Devotees are human beings too. Moreover, Dhruva was a king and it is the duty of the king to maintain law and order and punish the offenders.

Question: How did a devotee of his caliber, who had personal darśana of Bhagavān, fall into such anger?

Answer: Who says that devotees do not get angry? Even God gets angry. Mahāprabhu got angry when Jagāi and Madhāi attacked Nityānanda. Kṛṣṇa got furious at Bhiṣma who was trying to kill Arjuna. Why do people think that devotees have no emotions? Devotees are not pieces of stone that they will tolerate everything, especially if they have the responsibility to maintain law and order (like Dhruva). You are only stressing the devotional side of Dhruva, but are forgetting that he was also a king with responsibilities. 

Question: I don’t think it is reasonable or normal anger to try to extinguish a whole race. Dhruva’s grandfather, Svāyambhuva Manu, chastised Dhruva heavily, so I don’t think I’m the only one who finds his anger unnaturally excessive.

I wish there was some sort of explanation. Maybe towards the end of life, he would do some sādhana to purify anarthas, so that at this point we can say he is not fully pure?

Answer: Thank you for at least saying that his anger was unnaturally excessive and not that all anger is wrong. 

Dhruva was a kṣatriya and he was in power. Kṣatriyas find it difficult to tolerate injustice. When in power, they may take the decision to destroy.

You are seeing Dhruva only as a devotee – a typical bhakta, living in an āśrama, listening to Gītā classes, being balanced in happiness or distress, etc. I am trying to show you the other side of his personality, a kṣatriya, a king and a very powerful person. If he did not take any action, what would his subjects think of him? They would not think of him as their protector, which is the prime duty of a kṣatriya. What would other kings think of him? They would think Dhruva was a sissy. You need to consider his position.

If he were a devotee in the renounced order, then he would be expected to be tolerant.

He had an overdose of anger, because the offenders did not surrender to him but accepted his challenge. So what could he do? Just kill a few and then run away? That would be a joke. A kṣatriya does not run away (yuddhe cāpy apalāyanam, Gita 18.43) and a kṣatriya has the nature to rule over others (īsvara-bhava). If they did not attack him back, there would have been no reason to kill all of them.  

His grandfather Manu intervened because the puṇya-janas are associates of Kubera and they belong to the upadeva category. Wiping out their whole race would have created disturbance in the management of the universe. Manu is responsible for that, therefore he came and instructed Dhruva to stop. 

From the devotional point of view, Kubera is an intimate friend of Śiva, who is a Mahā-bhāgavata. Therefore offending Kubera would also amount to an offense towards Śiva, which is not at all desirable for a devotee. Therefore this story ultimately teaches one how to guard very carefully against Vaiṣṇava aparādha.

4 thoughts on “How to Understand Dhruva’s Rage?”

  1. This is the common error almost everyone makes is that a bhakta is free from anger and should be peaceful at all times. like said here, a kshatriya’s duty is to protect its citizen and sometimes a fight is required and can’t be done without anger.
    in current political arena in India, sometimes people complained about the PM why is he so rude, etc while forgetting what another side is propagating. here the principle is tit for tat.

  2. Śrī Hari and Their uttama-bhaktas unfold a wide range of transcendental emotions. However, if sādhakas just imitate them, do they not run the risk of falling into a gross self-justification? Indeed, among the devotees it would seem that krodha-vega are often “transcendentalized” without efforts required for self-control.

    1. Bhakti is a path of truthfulness and sincerity. One has to feel it for oneself. But if one is not sincere, then śāstra can be misinterpreted for one’s own vested interest. There is nothing that can be done about it.

  3. I’m sorry, I made a mistake, the correct expression is: “Śrī Hari and His uttama-bhaktas”. Thanks for your reply.

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