When Brahma himself had to advise an unworldly prince

There has been hardly anyone who matches Narad Muni in his devotion to Vishnu Bhagwan.  So deep is his love for the Deity that he keeps roaming from place to place in the fear lest the charms of this world or the heaven should turn him away from his devotion.  He is also known for his habit to advise everyone to reject this world and offer oneself fully to the Deity.  Once, driven by his habit, Narad Muni paid a visit to the court of King Svayambhumanu, who ruled the entire world.  He sought out the crown-prince Priyavrat to tell him that everything around him was just Maya, an illusion, and better it was for him to dedicate himself entirely to the Deity, than to prepare himself for ruling the vast empire. Heeding the sage’s advice, the young prince retreated to the mountains to meditate.  His father, the ageing king, got worried. Who after him would run the whole world if the crown-prince turned a sanyasi?  He approached Brahma for help.  Realising the grave situation, Brahma appeared before Priyavrat and told him that there was time for everything.  At his age, he owed it to his father, King Svayambhumanu and the wide world to devote his energies to improve the life here, than to retreat to mountains.  The noble prince heeded Brahma’s sage advice.  In time, he ascended to the throne of his father and spent all his energies to make his domain a better place to live.  It was King Priyavrat who with his one-wheeled chariot made the darkness of night disappear and divided the earth into seven continents.
The ancients thought that true Dharma lay in doing one’s duty as best as one could, rather than running away from the world. Shri Krishna has this to say on the issue:
Niyatam kuru karma tvam karma jyayo hykarmanah
Sarira-yatraapi cha ten a prasiddhyed akarmanan
Perform your prescribed duty, for doing so is better than not working.  One cannot even maintain one’s physical body without work.
(Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, p.153)
Prince Priyavrat’s responsibility to perform his duties was all the more serious since he as the future ruler had to set an example before his subjects.
There is also an interesting aspect of the story.  Riding his one-wheeled chariot, King Priyavrat made the darkness of night disappear and divided Earth into seven continents.  A ruler’s job is like riding a one-wheeled chariot. A successful ruler is he, who by dividing power and delegating authority, is able yet to maintain a balance.  Only such a one can remove the gloom and despondency from his country.