समानशीलेषु विसृज्य धीर: ।
वनं विवेशात्मनि वासुदेवे
मनो दधद् ध्वस्तगुणप्रवाह: ॥ २६ ॥
athāmbarīṣas tanayeṣu rājyaṁ
samāna-śīleṣu visṛjya dhīraḥ
vanaṁ viveśātmani vāsudeve
mano dadhad dhvasta-guṇa-pravāhaḥ
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca — Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; atha — in this way; ambarīṣaḥ — King Ambarīṣa; tanayeṣu — unto his sons; rājyam — the kingdom; samāna-śīleṣu — who were equally as qualified as their father; visṛjya — dividing; dhīraḥ — the most learned person, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa; vanam — into the forest; viveśa — entered; ātmani — unto the Supreme Lord; vāsudeve — Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is known as Vāsudeva; manaḥ — mind; dadhat — concentrating; dhvasta — vanquished; guṇa-pravāhaḥ — the waves of the material modes of nature.
Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: Thereafter, because of his advanced position in devotional life, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, who no longer desired to live with material things, retired from active family life. He divided his property among his sons, who were equally as qualified, and he himself took the order of vānaprastha and went to the forest to concentrate his mind fully upon Lord Vāsudeva.
As a pure devotee, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa was liberated in any condition of life because, as enunciated by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, a devotee is always liberated.
karmaṇā manasā girā
nikhilāsv apy avasthāsu
jīvan-muktaḥ sa ucyate
In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī thus instructs that if one’s only desire is service to the Lord, he is liberated in any condition of life. Mahārāja Ambarīṣa was undoubtedly liberated in any condition, but as an ideal king he accepted the vānaprastha order of retirement from family life. It is essential for one to renounce family responsibilities and fully concentrate on the lotus feet of Vāsudeva. Therefore Mahārāja Ambarīṣa divided the kingdom among his sons and retired from family life.