Srimad-Bhagavatam: Canto 5 - Chapter 1 - Verse 29


एवमुपशमायनेषु स्वतनयेष्वथ जगतीपतिर्जगतीमर्बुदान्येकादश परिवत्सराणामव्याहताखिलपुरुषकारसारसम्भृतदोर्दण्डयुगलापीडितमौर्वीगुणस्तनितविरमितधर्मप्रतिपक्षो बर्हिष्मत्याश्चानुदिनमेधमानप्रमोदप्रसरणयौषिण्यव्रीडाप्रमुषितहासावलोकरुचिरक्ष्वेल्यादिभि: पराभूयमानविवेक इवानवबुध्यमान इव महामना बुभुजे ॥ २९ ॥


evam upaśamāyaneṣu sva-tanayeṣv atha jagatī-patir jagatīm arbudāny ekādaśa parivatsarāṇām avyāhatākhila-puruṣa-kāra-sāra-sambhṛta-dor-daṇḍa-yugalāpīḍita-maurvī-guṇa-stanita-viramita-dharma-pratipakṣo barhiṣmatyāś cānudinam edhamāna-pramoda-prasaraṇa-yauṣiṇya-vrīḍā-pramuṣita-hāsāvaloka-rucira-kṣvely-ādibhiḥ parābhūyamāna-viveka ivānavabudhyamāna iva mahāmanā bubhuje.


After Kavi, Mahāvīra and Savana were completely trained in the paramahaṁsa stage of life, Mahārāja 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 Barhiṣmatī, 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 Barhiṣmatī 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 verse, the word dharma-pratipakṣaḥ (“opponents of religious principles”) refers not to a particular faith, but to varṇāśrama-dharma, the division of society, socially and spiritually, into four varṇas (brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra) and four āśramas (brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa). To maintain proper social order and help the citizens gradually progress toward the goal of life — namely spiritual understanding — the principles of varṇāśrama-dharma must be accepted. From this verse, Mahārāja Priyavrata appears to have been so strict in maintaining this institution of varṇāśrama-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, Mahārāja Priyavrata would not have to fight, for simply because of his strong determination, they dared not disobey the rules and regulations of varṇāśrama-dharma. It is said that unless human society is regulated by varṇāśrama-dharma, it is no better than a bestial society of cats and dogs. Mahārāja Priyavrata, therefore, strictly maintained varṇāśrama-dharma by his extraordinary, unparalleled prowess. To maintain such a life of strict vigilance, one needs encouragement from his wife. In the varṇāśrama-dharma system, certain classes, such as the brāhmaṇas and sannyāsīs, do not need encouragement from the opposite sex. Kṣatriyas and gṛhasthas, however, actually need the encouragement of their wives in order to execute their duties. Indeed, a gṛhastha or kṣatriya cannot properly execute his responsibilities without the association of his wife. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu personally admitted that a gṛhastha must live with a wife. Kṣatriyas 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, Mahārāja Priyavrata took advantage of his good wife Barhiṣmatī, who was always very expert in pleasing her great husband by properly dressing herself, smiling, and exhibiting her feminine bodily features. Queen Barhiṣmatī always kept Mahārāja Priyavrata very encouraged, and thus he executed his governmental duty very properly. In this verse iva has twice been used to indicate that Mahārāja 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 karmī husband. Mahārāja Priyavrata thus ruled the universe for eleven arbudas of years. One arbuda consists of 100,000,000 years, and Mahārāja Priyavrata ruled the universe for eleven such arbudas.