sa evam aparimita-bala-parakrama ekada tu devarsi-carananusayananu-patita-guna-visarga-samsargenanirvrtam ivatmanam manyamana atma-nirveda idam aha.
sah—he (Maharaja Priyavrata); evam—thus; aparimita—unparalleled; bala—strength; parakramah—whose influence; ekada—once upon a time; tu—then; deva-rsi—of the great saint Narada; carana-anusayana—surrendering unto the lotus feet; anu—thereafter; patita—fallen down; guna-visarga—with material affairs (created by the three material modes of nature); samsargena—by connection; anirvrtam—not satisfied; iva—like; atmanam—himself; manyamanah—thinking like that; atma—self; nirvedah—possessing renunciation; idam—this; aha—said.
While enjoying his material opulences with full strength and influence, Maharaja Priyavrata once began to consider that although he had fully surrendered to the great saint Narada and was actually on the path of Krsna consciousness, he had somehow become again entangled in material activities. Thus his mind now became restless, and he began to speak in a spirit of renunciation.
“One who has forsaken his material occupations to engage in the devotional service of the Lord may sometimes fall down while in an immature stage, yet there is no danger of his being unsuccessful. On the other hand, a nondevotee, though fully engaged in occupational duties, does not gain anything.” If one somehow or other comes to the shelter of a great Vaisnava, takes to Krsna consciousness because of sentiment or realization, but in course of time falls down because of immature understanding, he is not actually fallen, for his having engaged in Krsna consciousness is a permanent asset. If one falls down, therefore, his progress might be checked for a certain time, but it will again become manifest at an opportune moment. Although Priyavrata Maharaja was serving according to the instructions of Narada Muni meant for going back home, back to Godhead, he returned to material affairs at the request of his father. In due course of time, however, his consciousness for serving Krsna reawakened by the grace of his spiritual master, Narada.
As stated in Bhagavad-gita (6.41), sucinam srimatam gehe yoga-bhrasto ’bhijayate. One who falls down from the process of bhakti-yoga is again offered the opulence of the demigods, and after enjoying such material opulence, he is given a chance to take birth in a noble family of a pure brahmana, or in a rich family, to be given the chance to revive his Krsna consciousness. This actually happened in the life of Priyavrata: he is a most glorious example of this truth. In due course of time, he no longer wanted to enjoy his material opulences and his wife, kingdom and sons; instead, he wanted to renounce them all. Therefore, after having described the material opulences of Maharaja Priyavrata, Sukadeva Gosvami, in this verse, describes his tendency for renunciation.
The words devarsi-carananusayana indicate that Maharaja Priyavrata, having fully surrendered to the great sage Devarsi Narada, was strictly following all the devotional processes and regulative principles under his direction. In regard to strictly following the regulative principles, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says; dandavat-pranamas tan anupatitah. By immediately offering obeisances (dandavat) unto the spiritual master and by strictly following his directions, the student becomes advanced. Maharaja Priyavrata was doing all these things regularly.
As long as one is in the material world, he has to be under the influence of the modes of material nature (guna-visarga). It is not that Maharaja Priyavrata was freed from material influence because he possessed all material opulences. In this material world, both the very poor man and the very rich man are under material influences, for both wealth and poverty are creations of the modes of material nature. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (3.27), prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah. According to the modes of material nature we acquire, the material nature gives us facility for material enjoyment.
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