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karmani ca yatha-kalam
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Being self-satisfied, Maharaja Prthu executed his duties as perfectly as possible according to the time and his situation, strength and financial position. His only aim in all his activities was to satisfy the Absolute Truth. In this way, he duly acted.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Maharaja Prthu was a responsible monarch, and he had to execute the duties of a ksatriya, a king and a devotee at the same time. Being perfect in the Lord’s devotional service, he could execute his prescribed duties with complete perfection as befitted the time and circumstance and his financial strength and personal ability. In this regard, the word karmani in this verse is significant. Prthu Maharaja’s activities were not ordinary, for they were in relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Srila Rupa Gosvami has advised that things which are favorable to devotional service should not be rejected, nor should activity favorable for devotional service be considered ordinary work or fruitive activity. For example, an ordinary worker conducts business in order to earn money for his sense gratification. A devotee may perform the same work in exactly the same way, but his aim is to satisfy the Supreme Lord. Consequently his activities are not ordinary.
Prthu Maharaja’s activities were therefore not ordinary but were all spiritual and transcendental, for his aim was to satisfy the Lord. Just as Arjuna, who was a warrior, had to fight to satisfy Krsna, Prthu Maharaja performed his royal duties as king for the satisfaction of Krsna. Indeed, whatever he did as emperor of the whole world was perfectly befitting a pure devotee. It is therefore said by a Vaisnava poet, vaisnavera kriya-mudra vijñe na bujhaya: no one can understand the activities of a pure devotee. A pure devotee’s activities may appear like ordinary activities, but behind them there is profound significance — the satisfaction of the Lord. In order to understand the activities of a Vaisnava, one has to become very expert. Maharaja Prthu did not allow himself to function outside the institution of four varnas and four asramas, although as a Vaisnava he was a paramahamsa, transcendental to all material activities. He remained in his position as a ksatriya to rule the world and at the same time remained transcendental to such activities by satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Concealing himself as a pure devotee, he externally manifested himself as a very powerful and dutiful king. In other words, none of his activities were carried out for his own sense gratification; everything he did was meant for the satisfaction of the senses of the Lord. This is clearly explained in the next verse.