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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Shrimad Bhagavatam > Canto-5 > King Priyavrata



 King Priyavrata.



        At the end of the Fourth Canto, Shukadeva Gosvami described how Priyavrata had entered household life after having been perfectly instructed in self-realization by the great sage, Narada. When Maharaja Parikshit heard this, he was highly astonished that a self-realized, first-class devotee of the Lord could accept household life, which is the root cause of bondage to fruitive activities, and thus defeats the mission of human life. Maharaja Parikshit knew very well that liberated souls who have taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot possibly become absorbed in household affairs, nor attached to family members.

He thus inquired from Shukadeva Gosvami, “O great brahmana, this is my doubt. How was it possible for a person like King Priyavrata, who was attached to wife, children and home, to achieve the topmost perfection in Krishna consciousness?”

     Shukadeva Gosvami replied, “What you have said is correct. One who has become attached to the nectar-like honey of the Lord’s lotus feet, and whose mind is always absorbed in hearing His glories, can never give up his exalted position, although he may sometimes become checked by an impediment.”

In this way, Shukadeva Gosvami accepted both of King Parikshit’s suggestions- that one who is advanced in Krishna consciousness cannot once again embrace materialistic life, and that one who is fully absorbed in materialistic life cannot take up Krishna consciousness at any stage. But, Shukadeva Gosvami qualified this by saying that the devotee may sometimes become influenced by impediments, and these are of two kinds; Vaishnava-aparadha; and the desire of the Lord or His devotee to impede one’s devotional service, as when Jaya and Vijaya were cursed by the four Kumaras.

     Under Narada Muni’s direction, Priyavrata practiced austerities, by which he was able to achieve the highest perfection of transcendental knowledge. Due to Priyavrata’s absence, however, his younger brother, Uttanapada, had ruled the earth under the direction of his father, Svayambhuva Manu. Up until the time of the Prachetas, all kings had been descendents of Uttanapada. Then, when there was no suitable king after the Prachetas, Svayambhuva Manu went to the Gandhamadana Mountain, to bring back his eldest son to rule the world.

     Although Manu tried to convince Priyavrata that this was his duty according to revealed scriptures, because of his advancement in spiritual life, the prince did not welcome the idea of becoming the emperor. Thus, even though he knew that the order of his father could not be rejected, Priyavrata respectfully raised the question of whether he might become diverted from Krishna consciousness as a result of accepting so much material responsibility.

     When Lord Brahma, who is ultimately responsible for the welfare of the universe, saw how Priyavrata had politely refused to accept the throne, he descended to the Gandhamadana Hill upon his great swan carrier. Brahma knew that only his order would make Priyavrata relent, because the son of Manu had received very impressive instructions about renunciation from Narada. All of the demigods, headed by Lord Shiva, as well as the great sages and the Vedas Personified assembled in the sky to receive and worship Lord Brahma. Thus, the Grandsire appeared just like the full moon, surrounded by innumerable shining stars. 

     As soon as Narada saw the swan carrier, he could understand that his father had arrived and so he immediately stood up with folded hands, as did Svayambhuva Manu and Priyavrata, to receive and worship Lord Brahma with great respect. While being praised by all present, Lord Brahma became compassionate while seeing Priyavrata before him, and so he mildly smiled. This indicated that in spite of the fact that he was going to convince Priyavrata of the necessity to accept household life and govern the world, Lord Brahma knew that his grandson would not become deviated from devotional service.

     It is very well known there is sometimes competitive joking between grandfather and grandson. In this case, Priyavrata was determined to remain absorbed in meditation, whereas Lord Brahma was determined that he would rule the earth.

Lord Brahma then said, “My dear Priyavrata, please listen to me attentively. Do not be envious of the Supreme Lord, who is beyond our power of imagination. All of us, including Lord Shiva, Narada and myself, must carry out His orders. No one can avoid the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead on the strength of his austerities, mystic powers, physical prowess, intelligence, or by any other means.”

     “My dear boy, do not think that I have come here as your enemy. As one of the great authorities, I always act under the direction of the Supreme Lord. We are all bound by the Vedic injunctions, just as bulls are forced to move when the driver pulls the ropes that are knotted in their noses. Because we are all being ultimately controlled by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we should voluntarily accept His direction, just as a blind man is happy to be led around by a person who has eyes. Although most exalted, a liberated soul does not resent having to accept the results of his past karma, because he knows that the material body is acting under the influence of the modes of material nature, whereas he is transcendental.”    

     “My dear prince, if one is not self-controlled, he must always fear material bondage, even if he goes from forest to forest, because he is living with six co-wives, the mind and the senses. On the other hand, even household life cannot harm a self-satisfied person who has conquered his senses. Indeed, one who is situated in household life and systematically conquers his mind and senses is like a king in his fortress who defeats his powerful enemies. After having controlled his lust by training in the grihastha ashram, one can move freely anywhere, without danger. Therefore, you should fix your mind firmly upon the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord and accept whatever material enjoyment He has ordained for you.”

     Considering his position to be inferior, Priyavrata offered his obeisances to Lord Brahma and accepted his order with great respect. At this time, neither Narada, who was frustrated in making a disciple, nor Priyavrata, whose vow of brahmacharya had been broken, looked upon Lord Brahma with feelings of resentment, for they knew very well how to respect a superior personality.

After being worshiped by Svayambhuva Manu, who was very grateful that his son had been persuaded to accept his order, Lord Brahma returned to his own abode, Satyaloka. Finally, with the permission of Narada, Svayambhuva Manu gave his son the responsibility for maintaining and protecting the earth. After thus becoming relieved from the most dangerous poison of material life, Manu happily retired to the forest.

     After returning home, Priyavrata married Barhismati, the daughter of Prajapati Vishvakarma, and through her he begot ten sons, headed by Agnidhra, and also one daughter. Three of his sons were trained from the very beginning of their lives to become paramahamsas, and thus they never married. By another wife, Priyavrata begot three more sons named Uttama, Tamasa and Raivata, who later on became Manus. Priyavrata continued ruling the earth for one billion, one hundred million years, and due to his unparalleled prowess, no inimical persons dared to even approach him.

      He greatly loved his wife, Barhismati, and with the passing of the days, their exchange of conjugal love increased more and more. By her feminine behavior in dressing herself, walking, smiling, laughing, and glancing about, the queen greatly increased King Priyavrata’s energy so that he could perform his royal duties very attentively. Thus, although he was a great soul, Priyavrata appeared to act just like an ordinary man, merged in the feminine conduct of his wife.

     Once, Maharaja Priyavrata became dissatisfied with the way the sun circumambulated Mount Sumeru. For six months of the year the sun travels on the northern side, giving the southern side less light, and for six months it travels on the southern side, giving the northern side less light. Considering this, the king decided to make daylight in that part of the universe where there was night. To accomplish this, he followed the sun-god on a brilliant chariot, having received such wonderful prowess due to having worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

As King Priyavrata drove his chariot behind the sun, the rims of the wheels created impressions that later on became the seven oceans dividing Bhu-mandala into seven islands. Maharaja Priyavrata later on gave the sovereignty of these seven islands to his seven sons, and gave his daughter, Urjasvati in marriage to Sukracharya, who begot in her a daughter named Devayani.

     Finally, while enjoying his material opulence with full strength and influence, Priyavrata began to consider how he had somehow become entangled in material activities after having surrendered unto the lotus feet of Narada Muni, and becoming firmly situated on the path of Krishna consciousness.

In this way, the king’s mind became very restless, and he began to exhibit a spirit of renunciation by criticizing himself as follows: “Oh, how condemned I have become due to a life of sense gratification! Now, I have had enough! I am not going to remain here any longer like a dancing monkey being led around by the hands of my wife.”

     Thus, by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Maharaja Priyavrata was reawakened to his good sense. After dividing his possessions amongst his sons, he gave up his wife and very opulent kingdom, and with a purified heart, he returned to the Krishna conscious position that he had previously attained by the grace of the great sage Narada.