“The great sage Narada Muni has a spiritual body; therefore old age, disease, birth and death do not affect him. Narada is the most kind devotee of the Supreme Lord, and his only business is to travel all over the universe and preach God consciousness.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.27.22)Download this episode (right click and save)
What would you do if you suddenly came into a lot of money? What if you were made king? How would you act? What things would you ask for? What would you insist upon for your happiness? One of the jokes made about becoming rich is that you can then hire people to constantly sing your praises. Wherever you go, a group follows that does nothing but extol your virtues. Interestingly enough, this already occurs with one person. The distinction is that He doesn’t have to pay anything to have this done. The people follow of their own volition, and the occupation of offering praise is enough to satisfy them.
Wherever the President of the United States goes, the song “Hail to the Chief” plays. The wealthy tycoon of industry has his handlers follow him. He has a security detail and assistants to take care of important matters. The important leader has an official spokesperson, who always spins things in favor of their client. The large company has a public relations department, whose job it is to garner favorable coverage in the media.
In each of these instances, the people serving have an interest to be met. The people working for the president don’t want to lose their job. Even if they don’t like the president, if they think he is doing a lousy job in office, they have to play the song wherever he goes. The assistants to the wealthy businessman get handsomely paid. In fact, they are likely paid so much that they won’t think about taking another job. A great way to maintain loyalty is to ensure that no other employer will pay as much.
There is one person who gets praise without any solicitation. Not surprisingly, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the Ramayana, one of the sons of King Dasharatha mentions how another son used to always be awoken to the beautiful music that sung His praises.
The son who was awoken in this way was Shri Rama, an incarnation of God. Bharata knew about mornings in Ayodhya since he was one of Rama’s younger brothers. He lived in the kingdom too. Bharata is unique in that He constantly worshiped the Supreme Lord Rama and didn’t get anything in return. To his dismay the kingdom of Ayodhya was handed over to him instead of Rama. Bharata decided he would rule as Rama asked him to, but not in the typical way. He would remain in a hut, living like an ascetic, until Rama came back to the kingdom and took over the post that was rightfully His.
There is the famous Narada Muni to consider. He travels the three worlds, carrying very little with him. Wherever he goes, he sings the name of Narayana constantly. Narayana is the same Rama. Narayana is also Krishna, the all-attractive one. Vedic culture provides many names for God, each describing a unique attribute belonging to the Lord. These attributes can only belong to a person; hence the common use of the term “Supreme Personality of Godhead” when discussing the Divine.
Narada does not receive a salary. He does not get instant validation for his efforts either. It’s not like God is there with Him saying “thank you” over and over. Narada and others get satisfaction through the process itself. Through always chanting the holy names, a person associates directly with the Supreme Lord. His association is the greatest reward, more important than any material benediction.
What are some of the glories these selfless souls sing? Bharata and his brothers know that Rama never plays favorites, that even the enemies He must punish from time to time find no fault with Him. Narada knows that Krishna is so kind that He treats each of the queens in Dvaraka as most exalted. He knows that Krishna fights when necessary, like when the wicked Jarasandha constantly attacks. Narada knows that Narayana is the most tolerant, not taking any offense when the sage Bhrigu kicks Him in the chest.
Most importantly, these souls know that God has invested full potency in His name. It is for this reason that the chanting of the name is done more than any other devotional process. “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare” is the simplest and most effective way to sing the praises of the Lord in the present day. The process itself brings satisfaction. There is no other interest to be met, as the Supreme Lord’s association has the most value.
Glories of the client to say,
Only when first with money to pay.
Hail to the chief the president hearing,
Only because of job repercussions fearing.
Narada Muni holy name to repeat,
Without any remuneration to seek.
Association of Divine in that sound,
From process itself coming joy abound.