etavan eva loke ’smin
pumsam dharmah parah smrtah
bhakti-yogo bhagavati
etavan—this much; eva—indeed; loke asmin—in this material world; pumsam—of the living entities; dharmah—the religious principles; parah—transcendental; smrtah—recognized; bhakti-yogahbhakti-yoga, or devotional service; bhagavati—to the Supreme Personality of Godhead (not to the demigods); tat—His; nama—of the holy name; grahana-adibhih—beginning with chanting.
Devotional service, beginning with the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, is the ultimate religious principle for the living entity in human society.
As stated in the previous verse, dharmam bhagavatam, real religious principles, are bhagavata-dharma, the principles described in Srimad-Bhagavatam itself or in Bhagavad-gita, the preliminary study of the Bhagavatam. What are these principles? The Bhagavatam says, dharmah projjhita-kaitavo ’tra: [SB 1.1.2] in Srimad-Bhagavatam there are no cheating religious systems. Everything in the Bhagavatam is directly connected with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Bhagavatam further says, sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje: [SB 1.2.6] the supreme religion is that which teaches its followers how to love the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is beyond the reach of experimental knowledge. Such a religious system begins with tan-nama-grahana, chanting of the holy name of the Lord (sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam [SB 7.5.23]). After chanting the holy name of the Lord and dancing in ecstasy, one gradually sees the form of the Lord, the pastimes of the Lord and the transcendental qualities of the Lord. This way one fully understands the situation of the Personality of Godhead. One can come to this understanding of the Lord, how He descends into the material world, how He takes His births and what activities He performs, but one can know this only by executing devotional service. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, bhaktya mam abhijanati: [Bg. 18.55] simply by devotional service one can understand everything about the Supreme Lord. If one fortunately understands the Supreme Lord in this way, the result is tyaktva deham punar janma naiti: [Bg. 4.9] after giving up his material body, he no longer has to take birth in this material world. Instead, he returns home, back to Godhead. That is the ultimate perfection. Therefore Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (8.15):
“After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogis in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.”

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