In his commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam 8.17.24, Srila Prabhupada writes, “The Supreme Personality of Godhead exists everywhere. . . . Therefore when one chants His transcendental names – Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare – the Supreme Personality of Godhead is automatically pleased by such sankirtana. It is not that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is absent; He is present there. And when a devotee utters the transcendental name, it is not a material sound. Therefore, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is naturally pleased. A devotee knows that the Lord is present everywhere and that one can please Him simply by chanting His holy name.”
Most theists would agree with the first point here: God is everywhere. But Prabhupada characteristically builds on this point and presents valuable insights into the nature of God. Not only is He everywhere, but He has names. And those names are personal names, as Prabhupada indicates by quoting the maha-mantra. Of course, Prabhupada has already referred to God as “the Supreme Personality of Godhead,” his standard term for God. It is a clear expression of God’s personhood, unlike the term God, which many people use when speaking of something impersonal.
What does Srila Prabhupada say here about this Supreme Personality of Godhead, addressed by names like Krishna and Rama? He is pleased when we chant His names.
Prabhupada would often point out that we can learn things about God by studying ourselves. Because God is a person, He has all of the characteristics of personhood that we have. In fact, He’s the source of them. As every salesperson knows, people like to be addressed by their name. So does Krishna, especially, again like us, when He’s called upon with love.
The idea that we can please Krishna by chanting His names implies another important theological point: we have the power to please God. This is not a given for someone speculating about God. God might be so aloof that anything we do has no effect on Him. Maybe He couldn’t care less about whatever we countless insignificant souls do to gain His favor.
But we learn from the Vedic literature that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is not like that. He cares about what each of us does, and, as He says in the Bhagavad-gita (4.11), He responds in kind.
But not in degree. Srila Prabhupada stated it simply: If you please Krishna, then you will be pleased, and because Krishna has unlimited resources at His disposal, there’s no limit to His ability to reward you many times over for anything you do that pleases Him.
Krishna consciousness is the science of pleasing God. If you can do that, what more do you need? He’ll fulfill all your desires.
People tend to approach God with material desires, and to get what they want they might like to know how to please Him. In traditional Vedic culture, people with material desires were encouraged by religious guides to worship God through various sacrifices, the idea being that their faith in God would increase when their sacrifices to Him produced tangible results. But God wants more from us than childish requests for material things. He wants our love and devotion. That’s what really pleases Him.
– Nagaraja Dasa