Following the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Maharaja
Priyavrata fully engaged in worldly affairs, yet he always thought of the lotus
feet of the Lord, which are the cause of liberation from all material attachment.
Although Priyavrata Mahäräja was completely freed from all material
contamination, he ruled the material world just to honor the orders of his
The words mana-vardhano mahatäm ("just to show honor to superiors") are
very significant. Although Maharaja Priyavrata was already a liberated person
and had no attraction for material things, he engaged himself fully in
governmental affairs just to show respect to Lord Brahma. Arjuna had also
acted in the same way. Arjuna had no desire to participate in political affairs
or the fighting at Kurukshetra, but when ordered to do so by the Supreme Lord,
Krishna, he executed those duties very nicely. One who always thinks of the
lotus feet of the Lord is certainly above all the contamination of the material
world. As stated in Bhagavad-geeta :
Yoginam api sarvesam mad-gatenantaratmana
Sraddhavan bhajate yo mam sa me yuktatamo matah.
"Of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in
transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is
the highest of all." (Bg. 6.47) Mahahrja Priyavrata. therefore, was a liberated
person and was among the highest of yogis, yet superficially he became the
emperor of the universe in accordance with the order of Lord Brahma.
Showing respect to his superior in this way was another of his extraordinary
qualifications. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.17.28):
Narayana-parah sarve na kutaçcana bibhyati
Svargapavarga-narakesv api tulyartha-darsinah.
A devotee who is actually advanced is not afraid of anything, provided be has
the opportunity to execute the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
This is the proper explanation of why Priyavrata engaged in worldly affairs
although he was a liberated person. Also, only because of this principle does a
maha-Bhagavatam, who has nothing to do with the material world, come down to the second platform of devotional service to preach the glories of the Lord all
over the world.