Çukadeva Gosvämé continued: My dear King, Prince Priyavrata was a great
devotee because he sought the lotus feet of Närada, his spiritual master, and
thus achieved the highest perfection in transcendental knowledge. With
advanced knowledge, he always engaged in discussing spiritual subjects and did
not divert his attention to anything else. The Prince's father then asked him to
take charge of ruling the world. He tried to convince Priyavrata that this was
his duty as indicated in the revealed scriptures. Prince Priyavrata, however, was
continuously practicing bhakti-yoga by constantly remembering the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, thus engaging all his senses in the service of the Lord.
Therefore, although the order of his father could not be rejected, the Prince did
not welcome it. Thus he very conscientiously raised the question of whether he
might be diverted from devotional service by accepting the responsibility of
ruling over the world.
Çréla Narottama däsa Öhäkura has sung, chäòiyä vaiñëava-sevä nistära
päyeche kebä: "Without serving the lotus feet of a pure Vaiñëava or spiritual
master, no one has ever attained perfect liberation from material bondage."
prince Priyavrata regularly served the lotus feet of Närada, and thus the Prince
perfectly understood transcendental subjects in truth (sa-tattvaù). The word
sa-tattvaù means that Priyavrata knew all the facts about the spirit soul, the
Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the relationship between the spirit soul
and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he also knew all about this
material world and the relationship of the spirit soul and the Supreme Lord
within the material world. Thus the Prince decided to engage himself only in
rendering service to the Lord.
When Priyavrata's father, Sväyambhuva Manu, requested him to accept the
responsibility of ruling over the world, he did not welcome the suggestion. This
is the symptom of a great, liberated devotee. Even though engaged in worldly
affairs, he does not take pleasure in them, but remains always absorbed in the
Lord's service. While thus serving the Lord, he deals externally with worldly
affairs without being affected. For example, although he has no attraction for
his children, he cares for them and educates them to become devotees.
Similarly, he speaks to his wife with affectionate words, but he is not attached
to her. By rendering devotional service, a devotee acquires all the good
qualities of the Supreme Lord. Lord Kåñëa had sixteen thousand wives, all of
them very beautiful, and although He dealt with each of them as a beloved
husband, He was not attracted or attached to any of them. In the same way,
although a devotee may enter family life and act very affectionately toward his
wife and children, he is never attached to these activities.
This verse states that by serving the lotus feet of his spiritual master, prince
Priyavrata very soon attained the perfectional stage of Kåñëa consciousness.
This is the only way to advance in spiritual life. As stated in the Vedas:
yasya deve parä bhaktir
yathä deve tathä gurau
tasyaite kathitä hy arthäù
"If one has unflinching faith in the Supreme Lord and the spiritual master, the
essence of all Vedic knowledge is revealed to him. (Çvetäçvatara Upaniñad 6.23)
A devotee always thinks of the Lord continuously. While chanting the Hare
Kåñëa mantra, the words Kåñëa and Hare immediately remind him of all the
Lord's activities. Since his entire life is engaged in the service of the Lord, a
devotee cannot forget the Lord at any time. Just as an ordinary man always
engages his mind in material activities, a devotee always engages his mind in
spiritual activities. This is called brahma-satra, or meditating upon the
Supreme Lord always. Prince Priyavrata was perfectly initiated into this
practice by Çré Närada.