"Better than the worship of Lord Viṣṇu is the worship of His devotee, the Vaiṣṇava."
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu continued, "You can perform a task that even I cannot do. But for You, I cannot find anyone in Gauḍa-deśa who can fulfill My mission there."
Lord Caitanya's mission is to deliver the fallen souls of this age. In this Age of Kali, practically cent percent of the population is fallen. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu certainly delivered many fallen souls, but His disciples mainly came from the upper classes. For example, He delivered Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī, Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya and many others who were socially elevated but fallen from the spiritual point of view. Śrīla Rūpa and Sanātana Gosvāmīs were situated in government service, and Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya was the topmost scholar of India. Similarly, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī was a leader of many thousands of Māyāvādī sannyāsīs. It was Śrīla Nityānanda Prabhu, however, who delivered persons like Jagāi and Mādhāi. Therefore, Lord Caitanya says, āmāra "duṣkara" karma, tomā haite haye. Jagāi and Mādhāi were delivered solely by Nityānanda Prabhu's mercy. When they injured Nityānanda Prabhu, Lord Caitanya became angry and decided to kill them with His Sudarśana cakra, but Nityānanda Prabhu saved them from the Lord's wrath and delivered them. In the incarnation of Gaura-Nitāi, the Lord is not supposed to kill demons but is supposed to deliver them by preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In the case of Jagāi and Mādhāi, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was so angry that He would have immediately killed them, but Nityānanda Prabhu was so kind that He not only saved them from death but elevated them to the transcendental position. Thus what was not possible for Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was carried out by Nityānanda Prabhu.
Similarly, if one is true to Gaura-Nitāi's service in the disciplic succession, he can even excel Nityānanda Prabhu's service. This is the process of disciplic succession. Nityānanda Prabhu delivered Jagāi and Mādhāi, but a servant of Nityānanda Prabhu, by His grace, can deliver many thousands of Jagāis and Mādhāis. That is the special benediction of the disciplic succession. One who is situated in the disciplic succession can be understood by the result of his activities. This is always true as far as the activities of the Lord and His devotees are concerned. Therefore Lord Śiva says:
- ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param
- tasmāt parataraṁ devi tadīyānāṁ samarcanam
"Of all types of worship, worship of Lord Viṣṇu is best, and better than the worship of Lord Viṣṇu is the worship of His devotee, the Vaiṣṇava." (Padma Purāṇa)
By the grace of Viṣṇu, a Vaiṣṇava can render better service than Viṣṇu; that is the special prerogative of a Vaiṣṇava. The Lord actually wants to see His servants work more gloriously than Himself. For instance, on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra, Śrī Kṛṣṇa provoked Arjuna to fight because all the warriors on the battlefield were to die by Kṛṣṇa's plan. Kṛṣṇa Himself did not want to take credit; rather, He wanted Arjuna to take credit. Therefore He asked him to fight and win fame:
- tasmāt tvam uttiṣṭha yaśo labhasva
- jitvā śatrūn bhuṅkṣva rājyaṁ samṛddham
- mayaivaite nihatāḥ pūrvam eva
- nimitta-mātraṁ bhava savya-sācin
"Therefore get up. Prepare to fight and win glory. Conquer your enemies and enjoy a flourishing kingdom. They are already put to death by My arrangement, and you, O Savyasācī, can be but an instrument in the fight." (BG 11.33)
Thus the Supreme Personality of Godhead gives credit to a devotee who performs any heavy task perfectly. Hanumānjī, or Vajrāṅgajī, the servant of Lord Rāmacandra, serves as another example. It was Hanumānjī who jumped over the sea in one leap and reached the shore of Laṅkā from the shore of Bhārata-varṣa. When Lord Rāmacandra chose to go there, He paved the way with stones, although by His will the stones were able to float on the sea. If we simply follow Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's instructions and follow in the footsteps of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement can advance, and even more difficult tasks can be performed by the preachers remaining faithful to the service of the Lord.