Srimad Bhagavatam 02.02.36 - Making heart a better place (download mp3)
by Radhanath Swami Maharaj at ISKCON Chowpatty
tasmāt sarvātmanā rājan
hariḥ sarvatra sarvadā
śrotavyaḥ kīrtitavyaś ca
smartavyo bhagavān nṛṇām
O King, it is therefore essential that every human being hear about, glorify and remember the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, always and everywhere.
Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī begins this verse with the word tasmāt, or “therefore,” because in the previous verse he has already explained that there is no auspicious means for salvation other than the sublime process of bhakti-yoga. The bhakti-yoga process is practiced by the devotees in different methods like hearing, chanting, remembering, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, worshiping, praying, rendering service in love, becoming friendly, and offering all that one may possess. All nine methods are bona fide methods, and either all of them, some of them or even one of them can bring about the desired result for the sincere devotee. But out of all the nine different methods, the first one, namely hearing, is the most important function in the process of bhakti-yoga. Without hearing sufficiently and properly, no one can make any progress by any of the methods of practice. And for hearing only, all the Vedic literatures are there, compiled by authorized persons like Vyāsadeva, who is the powerful incarnation of Godhead. And since it has been ascertained that the Lord is the Supersoul of everything, He should therefore be heard and glorified everywhere and always. That is the special duty of the human being. When the human being gives up the process of hearing about the all-pervading Personality of Godhead, he becomes victim to hearing rubbish transmitted by man-made machines. Machinery is not bad because through the machine one can take advantage of hearing about the Lord, but because machinery is used for ulterior purposes, it is creating rapid degradation in the standard of human civilization. It is said here that it is incumbent upon the human beings to hear because the scriptures like Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam are made for that purpose. Living beings other than human beings have no ability to hear such Vedic literatures. If human society gives itself to the process of hearing the Vedic literature, it will not become a victim to the impious sounds vibrated by impious men who degrade the standards of the total society. Hearing is solidified by the process of chanting. One who has perfectly heard from the perfect source becomes convinced about the all-pervading Personality of Godhead and thus becomes enthusiastic in glorifying the Lord. All the great ācāryas, like Rāmānuja, Madhva, Caitanya, Sarasvatī Ṭhākura or even, in other countries, Muhammad, Christ and others, have all extensively glorified the Lord by chanting always and in every place. Because the Lord is all-pervading, it is essential to glorify Him always and everywhere. In the process of glorifying the Lord there should be no restriction of time and space. This is called sanātana-dharma or bhāgavata-dharma. Sanātana means eternal, always and everywhere. Bhāgavata means pertaining to Bhagavān, the Lord. The Lord is the master of all time and all space, and therefore the Lord’s holy name must be heard, glorified and remembered everywhere in the world. That will bring about the desired peace and prosperity so eagerly awaited by the people of the world. The word ca includes all the remaining processes or methods of bhakti-yoga, as mentioned above.