As enunciated by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in His Śikṣāṣṭaka, ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam: as soon as one’s heart is cleansed, the blazing fire of material existence is immediately extinguished. Our hearts are meant for the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This means that one should be fully Kṛṣṇa conscious, thinking of Kṛṣṇa, as He Himself advises (man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru). This should be our only business. One whose heart is not clean cannot think of the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Lord, but if one can once again place the Supreme Personality of Godhead in his heart, he very easily becomes qualified to renounce material attachment. Māyāvādī philosophers, yogīs and jñānīs try to give up this material world simply by saying, brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā: “This world is false. There is no use of it. Let us take to Brahman.” Such theoretical knowledge will not help us. If we believe that Brahman is the real truth, we have to place within our hearts the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, as Mahārāja Ambarīṣa did (sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ). One has to fix the lotus feet of the Lord within his heart. Then he gets the strength to be freed from material entanglement.
Mahārāja Priyavrata was able to give up his opulent kingdom, and he also gave up the association of his beautiful wife as if she were a dead body. However beautiful one’s wife and however attractive her bodily features, one is no longer interested in her when her body is dead. We praise a beautiful woman for her body, but that same body, when bereft of a spirit soul, is no longer interesting to any lusty man. Mahārāja Priyavrata was so strong, by the grace of the Lord, that even though his beautiful wife was alive, he could give up her association exactly like one who is forced to give up the association of a dead wife. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said:
na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ
kavitāṁ vā jagadīśa kāmaye
mama janmani janmanīśvare
bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi
“O almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor do I desire beautiful women, nor do I want any number of followers. I only want Your causeless devotional service birth after birth.” For one who desires to advance in spiritual life, attachment to material opulence and attachment to a beautiful wife are two great impediments. Such attachments are condemned even more than suicide. Therefore anyone desiring to cross beyond material nescience must, by the grace of Kṛṣṇa, be freed from attachment to women and money. When Mahārāja Priyavrata became completely free from these attachments, he could again peacefully follow the principles instructed by the great sage Nārada.