आत्मवृत्त्यनुसारेण मासं निन्येऽर्चयन्हरिम् ॥ ७२ ॥
māsaṁ ninye ’rcayan harim
tri — three; rātra-ante — at the end of night; tri — three; rātra-ante — at the end of night; kapittha-badara — fruits and berries; aśanaḥ — eating; ātma-vṛtti — just to preserve the body; anusāreṇa — as it was necessary, minimum; māsam — one month; ninye — passed away; arcayan — worshiping; harim — the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
For the first month Dhruva Mahārāja ate only fruits and berries on every third day, only to keep his body and soul together, and in this way he progressed in his worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Kapittha is a flower which is known in Indian vernacular as kayeta. We do not find an English equivalent for the name of this flower, but its fruit is generally not accepted by human beings; it is eaten by monkeys in the forest. Dhruva Mahārāja, however, accepted such fruits, not for luxurious feasting but just to keep his body and soul together. The body needs food, but a devotee should not accept foodstuff to satisfy the tongue in sense gratification. It is recommended in Bhagavad-gītā that one should accept as much food as necessary to keep the body fit, but one should not eat for luxury. Dhruva Mahārāja is an ācārya, and by undergoing severe austerities and penances he teaches us how one should execute devotional service. We must carefully know the process of Dhruva Mahārāja’s service; how severely he passed his days will be shown in later verses. We should always remember that to become a bona fide devotee of the Lord is not an easy task, but in this age, by the mercy of Lord Caitanya, it has been made very easy. But if we do not follow even the liberal instructions of Lord Caitanya, how can we expect to discharge our regular duties in devotional service? It is not possible in this age to follow Dhruva Mahārāja in his austerity, but the principles must be followed; we should not disregard the regulative principles given by our spiritual master, for they make it easier for the conditioned soul. As far as our ISKCON movement is concerned, we simply ask that one observe the four prohibitive rules, chant sixteen rounds and, instead of indulging in luxurious eating for the tongue, simply accept prasāda offered to the Lord. This does not mean that with our fasting the Lord should also fast. The Lord should be given foodstuff which is as nice as possible. But we should not make it a point to satisfy our own tongue. As far as possible we should accept simple foodstuff, just to keep the body and soul together to execute devotional service.
It is our duty to remember always that in comparison to Dhruva Mahārāja we are insignificant. We cannot do anything like what Dhruva Mahārāja did for self-realization because we are absolutely incompetent to execute such service. But by Lord Caitanya’s mercy we have been given all concessions possible for this age, so at least we should always remember that neglect of our prescribed duties in devotional service will not make us successful in the mission we have undertaken. It is our duty to follow in the footsteps of Dhruva Mahārāja, for he was very determined. We should also be determined to finish our duties in executing devotional service in this life; we should not wait for another life to finish our job.