After Kavi, Mahavira and Savana were completely trained in the
paramahamsa stage of life, Maharaja Priyavrata ruled the universe for eleven
arbudas of years. Whenever he was determined to fix his arrow upon his
bowstring with his two powerful arms, all opponents of the regulative principles of religious life would flee from his presence in fear of the unparalleled prowess he displayed in ruling the universe. He greatly loved his wife Barhismati, and with the increase of days, their exchange of nuptial love also increased. By her feminine behavior as she dressed herself, walked, got up, smiled, laughed, and glanced about, Queen Barhismati increased his energy. Thus although he was a great soul, he appeared lost in the feminine conduct of his wife. He behaved with her just like an ordinary man, but actually he was a great soul.
In this slokam, the word dharma-pratipakshah ("opponents of Dharmic
principles") refers not to a particular faith, but to varnasrama-dharma, the
division of society, socially and spiritually, into four varnas (brahmana,
kshatriya, vaisya and sudra) and four asramas (brahmacarya, grahastha,
vanaprastha and sannyasa). To maintain proper social order and help the
citizens gradually progress toward the goal of life—namely spiritual
understanding—the principles of varnasrama-dharma must be accepted. From
this slokam, Maharaja Priyavrata appears to have been so strict in maintaining
this institution of varnasrama-dharma that anyone neglecting it would
immediately flee from his presence as soon as the King warned him by fighting
or administering light punishment. Indeed, Maharaja Priyavrata would not
have to fight, for simply because of his strong determination, they dared not
disobey the rules and regulations of varnasrama-dharma. It is said that unless
human society is regulated by varnasrama-dharma, it is no better than a bestial
society of cats and dogs. Maharaja Priyavrata, therefore, strictly maintained
varnasrama-dharma by his extraordinary, unparalleled prowess.
To maintain such a life of strict vigilance, one needs encouragement from
his wife. In the varnasrama-dharma system, certain classes, such as the
brahmanas and sannyasis, do not need encouragement from the opposite sex.
Kshatriyas and grahasthas, however, actually need the encouragement of their
wives in order to execute their duties. Indeed, a grahastha or kshatriya cannot
properly execute his responsibilities without the association of his wife. Sri
Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally admitted that a grahastha must live with a
wife. Kshatriyas were even allowed to have many wives to encourage them in
discharging the duties of government. The association of a good wife is
necessary in a life of karma and political affairs. To execute his duties properly,
therefore. Maharaja Priyavrata took advantage of his good wife Barhismati,
who was always very expert in pleasing her great husband by properly dressing
herself, smiling, and exhibiting her feminine bodily features. Queen
Barhismati always kept Maharaja Priyavrata very encouraged, and thus he
executed his governmental duty very properly. In this slokam iva has twice been used to indicate that Maharaja Priyavrata acted exactly like a henpecked
husband and thereby seemed to have lost his sense of human responsibility.
Actually, however, he was fully conscious of his position as a spirit soul,
although he seemingly behaved like an acquiescent karmi husband. Maharaja
Priyavrata thus ruled the universe for eleven arbudas of years. One arbuda
consists of 100,000,000 years, and Maharaja Priyavrata ruled the universe for
eleven such arbudas.