The Vedic name of the Pole Star is Dhruva Nakshatra, named after Dhruva, the son of King Uttanapad. At a very young age, Dhruva demonstrated such steadfast commitment to Lord Vishnu that he was blessed by Vishnu to take the position of the steadfast Pole star.
Uttanpada was the son of King Manu. After the death of Manu Uttanpada became the king and he was married to two girls named Suniti and Surichi where the former was the eldest and the later was the youngest. Dhruva was Suniti's son and Uttama was Surichi's son. The King was more attached and concerned about the younger wife Surichi, only for the fact that she was more beautiful than Suniti. Suniti was also extremely possessive in nature and at times she even did not let the King see his first wife and Dhruva. One evening Surichi was enjoying a chat with her husband and son Uttama was playing on his lap. At that time Dhruva, son of Suniti also came there and seeing Uttama playing there he also wanted to get on to his father's lap. Uttanpada ignored Dhruva knowing Suniti's nature. Suniti seeing Dhruva tryng to climb got very furious and she pushed him aside and said that if Dhruva needs to climb his father's lap then he has to be born to her. So she asked Dhruva to go do penance, so that in his next life, he may be born as her son. Poor Dhruva felt sad and Uttanapada did not even take steps to console or embrace him with love.
Uncontrollable Dhruva being very sensitive ran to his mother crying. He was sobbing and told his mother about the happenings. Suniti's heart was touched by seeing tears in her son. She took him in her arms, smoothed back the locks of hair from his forehead, and kissed his tears away. She soothed him with soft, loving words and gentle whispers. Once Dhruva was kind of consoled she asked him not to grieve at the words of his step mother. Suniti asked Dhruva not to be angry with his step mother for God is always there to take care of evil things and evil people for everyone must pay the price of Karmas, good or bad. But then she told her son just to think the truth what Surichi conveyed to Dhruva where everything is possible by the grace of Lord Narayana. And to get the blessings of the Lord Narayana, it is possible only through penance and prayer. With still tears in his eyes Dhruva asked his mother of who was Narayan and where can he see him. Then Suniti explained to Dhruva about the mighty Narayana and how he takes off the miseries of those who are in difficulty and fulfill their desires. But this happens only when we take refuge to the Lord. And to attain the Lord it is not an easy thing for one has to do austerity and penance for years and years. That is how rishis and yogis have realized the presence of the almighty by their intensive devotion both physically and mentally.
After his mother went to sleep Dhruva kept thinking over his mother's word and then decided to set out of the palace in search of Lord Narayana. So he came out of the palace and moved forward towards the deep woods. Then he walked into the forest for days and nights with food and water. He was crying out loudly, "Vasudeva! Narayana! Where are you?" At a point of time he even started enquiring the lions, tigers, bears and jackals of the forest about Narayana. So as Dhruva went in search of the Lord and cried out his name, Narayana, the great sage Narada who was sitting under a tree heard his cries for the vision of Lord. So Narada went in search of the boy and finally on locating him tried to test his earnestness. He advised Dhruva to go back to the place where he belongs to for this is not the age to start off in search of God. He also told Dhruva it is the age to enjoy and one can meditate upon after he finishes of all the duties in life. So Naradha insisted Dhruva to get back home and have a great life. Dhruva folded his palms respectfully and said, "Revered sage! My burning desire is to realize God and to attain the highest goal in life. Please show me the path."
Narada now knowing that Dhruva is a sincere seeker of Lord Narayana, made up his mind and taught him Japa and how to meditate with a free mind, the sacred Dvaadashakshara Mantra – OM NAMO BHAGAVATHE VASUDEVAYA. He then asked Dhruva to repeat it constantly. He asked Dhruva to always feel the presence of Lord with him and devote himself entirely to his worship. Dhruva was then directed by Naradha to practice meditation and to perform tapas at Madhuvanam located on the sacred banks of the river Yamuna. So as directed by Narada, Dhruva went to the Madhuvanam to perform his penance. Though it was difficult for him to concentrate soon he got himself into rigorous tapas. He really started enjoying the meditation for some times he went into long spells of Samadhi. Slowly he also started avoiding fruits and water where he went to an extent of sipping water once in nine days. As months passed by and was getting deeper into meditation Dhruva got himself totally cut and lost all consciousness of the outer world. He stopped all movements of his body and stood poised only on the big toe of one foot. The force of his penance was getting fierce and the three worlds began to rock. The earth tilted at the point where his toe pressed the ground. When he stopped his breathe in Samadhi, the breath of the three worlds also stopped, all but suffocating the living creatures.
Finally Lord Narayana was pleased by his tapa and decided to please Dhruva with his desire. So he mounted on his garuda and landed on earth in front of Dhruva. When Dhruva opened his eyes, he was amazed to see Lord Narayana and his sparkles around him dazzed the sight of Dhruva. Struck by the resplendence of Sri Narayana, Dhruva could not speak a word for he was totally taken aback and prostrated in front of him in full length. The Lord who was also pleased very much by Dhruva, blessed him with his divine conch, saying that his wishes will be granted. Narayana also told Dhruva that he can join him only after his period as human is over on the earth. Till then he has to go and take over his father and rule his kingdom, after which he will ascend to the celestial sphere, thereby joining other celestial beings like apsaras, devas and gandharvas and take a permanent place in the name Dhruva nakshatra. Saying this Lord Narayana disappeared. Following the God's instruction Dhruva went to his country where he was welcomed by his people with great pomp. Suruchi begged his forgiveness and his mother Suniti embraced him with tears of joy in her eyes.