In a talk on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.15.51, on December 28, 1973, in Los Angeles, Srila Prabhupada spoke about bhagavat-priyanam, those who are very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
“Bhagavat-priyanam. There is a common saying in English, ‘If you love me, love my dog.’ That is very important. If you love such person who is very dear to Krishna (bhagavat-priyanam), then Krishna is more pleased.
“There is a version in the Padma Purana. Parvati was asking questions to Lord Shiva, and he was replying. This is the process at home. The wife is supposed to inquire from the husband about spiritual advancement of life, and the husband must be competent to answer all the wife’s questions. That will keep the relation very nice. Sravanam kirtanam, hearing and chanting. (SB 7.5.23) That is bhakti. So, Parvati was asking . . . Because according to the Vedas, there are so many demigods. Vishnu is sometimes taken as one, but He is not. Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh are the principal deities. So, her inquiry was, ‘Which worship is the best—Vishnu or Lord Shiva or Brahma or Chandra?’ There are so many demigods. Sometimes they are misunderstood, that all of them are Gods. No. They are called demigods. God is one. Originally, God is Krishna. Isvarah paramah krsnah (Bs 5.1). [“Krishna, who is known as Govinda, is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin, and He is the prime cause of all causes.”]
“So, her inquiry was, ‘There are so many gods—which worship is the best?’ And Lord Shiva replied,
visnor aradhanam param
tasmat parataram devi
(Padma Purana, Laghu-bhagavatamrta 2.4)
The meaning is, ‘My dear wife, Devi.’ The wife is addressed ‘Devi,’ not by name. The husband should address the wife, ‘Devi.’ They must be like devis. ‘Devi’ means goddess. And the wife must address the husband as ‘lord.’ This is the system. So, Lord Shiva replied, ‘Devi, aradhananam sarvesam.’ There are many kinds of recommendations. ‘If you want this, you worship this god. If you want this, if you worship . . .’ These are described in the Bhagavatam. So, Lord Shiva said, ‘Of all different types of worship, the worship of Lord Vishnu is the best (aradhananam sarvesam visnor aradhanam param). And further he said, tasmat parataram devi: ‘There is still better worship.’ What is that? Tadiyanam samarcanam: ‘To worship the devotee of Vishnu, the Vaishnava.’ That is the best. First he said, visnor aradhanam param—’That is the supreme.’ But then he said, tasmat, ‘above that,’ tasmat parataram, ‘still better,’ tadiyanam samarcanam, ‘to worship the devotee of God.’
“This is very simple method. You cannot approach God. It is not a very easy thing. But God’s representatives, God’s devotee, who is canvassing on behalf of God, tadiyanam—that worship is better. Tadiyanam samarcanam.
“So, to worship God is very good, but to worship the devotee of God is still better. That is also stated in the Bhagavad-gita (18.69), na ca tasman manusyesu kascin me priya-krttamah. Krishna says, ‘Anyone who is preaching this Bhagavad-gita,’ na ca tasman manusyesu kascin me priya-krttamah. Bhagavat-priyanam. Priya-krt. Priya means dear, very dear. Krishna says, ‘Anyone who is preaching the message of Bhagavad-gita to the suffering people of the world,’ na ca tasmat priya-krt, ‘nobody is dearer to Me than he.’ ”
I aspire to serve and worship those who are bhagavat-priya, dear to God—first and foremost, Srila Prabhupada—and by doing so, by their mercy, I may also become dear, to them and to God.
Yours in service,