sa evam aparimita-bala-parākrama ekadā tu devarṣi-caraṇānuśayanānu-patita-guṇa-visarga-saṁsargeṇānirvṛtam ivātmānaṁ manyamāna ātma-nirveda idam āha.
saḥ—he (Mahārāja Priyavrata); evam—thus; aparimita—unparalleled; bala—strength; parākramaḥ—whose influence; ekadā—once upon a time; tu—then; deva-ṛṣi—of the great saint Nārada; caraṇa-anuśayana—surrendering unto the lotus feet; anu—thereafter; patita—fallen down; guṇa-visarga—with material affairs (created by the three material modes of nature); saṁsargeṇa—by connection; anirvṛtam—not satisfied; iva—like; ātmānam—himself; manyamānaḥ—thinking like that; ātma—self; nirvedaḥ—possessing renunciation; idam—this; āha—said.
While enjoying his material opulences with full strength and influence, Mahārāja Priyavrata once began to consider that although he had fully surrendered to the great saint Nārada and was actually on the path of Kṛṣṇa 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 Vaiṣṇava, takes to Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa 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 Mahārāja was serving according to the instructions of Nārada 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 Kṛṣṇa reawakened by the grace of his spiritual master, Nārada.
As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (6.41), śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yoga-bhraṣṭo ’bhijāyate. 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 brāhmaṇa, or in a rich family, to be given the chance to revive his Kṛṣṇa 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 Mahārāja Priyavrata, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, in this verse, describes his tendency for renunciation.
The words devarṣi-caraṇānuśayana indicate that Mahārāja Priyavrata, having fully surrendered to the great sage Devarṣi Nārada, was strictly following all the devotional processes and regulative principles under his direction. In regard to strictly following the regulative principles, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says; daṇḍavat-praṇāmās tān anupatitaḥ. By immediately offering obeisances (daṇḍavat) unto the spiritual master and by strictly following his directions, the student becomes advanced. Mahārāja 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 (guṇa-visarga). It is not that Mahārāja 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-gītā (3.27), prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ. According to the modes of material nature we acquire, the material nature gives us facility for material enjoyment.
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