Joy Nitai , Joy Nitaipreshthji , Joy Guru Parampara.
Krsna/Nitai Consciousness means to become a menial and non-sectarian devotee of the Supreme Lord.
One who becomes a part of sectarian groups they can’t elevate themselves in the bhakti as they are all the time busy in hating , criticizing other devotees and their respected Guru’s. This attitude makes unhappy the Lord as he himself said on many occasions that “Worshiping my devotee is higher than me.”
Balarama-Nitai is the first class and the supreme devotee of Lord Krsna. Therefore worshipping Nitai will make Lord krsna very happy. And worshipping devotees of the devotee is still higher therefore one needs to remain all the time non-sectarian as all the devotees are the same and dear to lords. Who are we to discriminate that which is better or worst devotee.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur said in Krsna-Samhita 8:22 : sampradaya-virodho 'yam davanalo vicintyate
“The eleventh obstacle for the Vaishnavas is sectarianism, which takes the shape of the forest fire. Due to sectarianism a person cannot accept anyone outside of his own group as a Vaishnava, and as a result he faces many obstacles in finding a guru and associating with sincere devotees. Therefore extinguishing the forest fire is most important by giving up this mentality.”
Srila bhaktivinoda Thakur here stating it indirectly that “Devotees of the devotee are higher” because you can’t avoid or discard any devotee as all are same and dear to Lord and we have no rights to discriminate them.
Therefore the real Guru is the one who follows non-sectarian path and asks his disciple to follow the same and respect all the devotees along with their respective Guru’s.
> And I am proud to say that “Nitaipreshthji Bhaktiratna Sadhu” is the real guru who gave all above mentioned pure teachings to his all the disciples and I am one of them.
Guru is the messenger of the God and he truly is “Worshipper God.”
Following is the extract from the srila prabhupada’s teachings which we are simply trying to follow which states directly or indirectly that worshipping of Nitai is more valuable and more effective because he is the First staunch devotee of Lord Krsna:
SB Canto 1
The Lord declares very emphatically that worship of His devotee is more valuable than the worship of the Lord Himself.
SB 1.9.25, Translation and Purport:
Sūta Gosvāmī said: Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, after hearing Bhīṣmadeva speak in that appealing tone, asked him, in the presence of all the great ṛṣis, about the essential principles of various religious duties.
Bhīṣmadeva, speaking in that appealing tone, convinced Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira that he was very soon passing away. And Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was inspired by Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa to ask him of the principles of religion. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa inspired Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira to ask Bhīṣmadeva in the presence of many great sages, indicating thereby that the Lord’s devotee like Bhīṣmadeva, although apparently living as a worldly man, is far superior to many great sages, even Vyāsadeva. Another point is that Bhīṣmadeva at that time was not only lying on a deathbed of arrows, but was greatly aggrieved because of that state. One should not have asked him any question at that time, but Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa wanted to prove that His pure devotees are always sound in body and mind by dint of spiritual enlightenment, and thus in any circumstances a devotee of the Lord is in perfect order to speak of the right way of life. Yudhiṣṭhira also preferred to solve his problematic questions by asking Bhīṣmadeva rather than ask anyone else present there who was seemingly more learned than Bhīṣmadeva. This is all due to the arrangement of the great wheel-carrier Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who establishes the glories of His devotee. The father likes to see the son become more famous than himself. The Lord declares very emphatically that worship of His devotee is more valuable than the worship of the Lord Himself.
SB Canto 2
Worship of the devotee is considered more effective than direct worship of the Lord.
SB 2.4.10, Purport:
A powerful devotee of the Lord is, by the grace of the Lord, more than the Lord Himself. The Personality of Godhead Śrī Rāmacandra attempted to bridge the Indian Ocean to reach the island of Laṅkā, but Śrī Hanumānjī, the unalloyed devotee of the Personality of Godhead, could cross the ocean simply by jumping over it. The Lord is so merciful upon His pure devotee that He presents His beloved devotee as more powerful than Himself. The Lord expressed Himself to be unable to save Durvāsā Muni, although the Muni was so powerful that he could reach the Lord directly under material conditions. But Durvāsā Muni was saved by Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, a devotee of the Lord. Therefore, not only is a devotee of the Lord more powerful than the Lord, but also worship of the devotee is considered more effective than direct worship of the Lord (mad-bhakta-pūjābhyadhikā (SB 11.19.21)).
The conclusion is, therefore, that a serious devotee must first approach a spiritual master who not only is well versed in the Vedic literatures but is also a great devotee with factual realization of the Lord and His different energies. Without the help of such a devotee spiritual master, one cannot make progress in the transcendental science of the Lord.
SB Canto 3
Worship of the devotee is more potent than worship of the Lord.
SB 3.13.4, Translation and Purport:
Persons who hear from a spiritual master with great labor and for a long time must hear from the mouths of pure devotees about the character and activities of pure devotees. Pure devotees always think within their hearts of the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead, who awards His devotees liberation.
Transcendental students are those who undergo great penance in being trained by hearing the Vedas from a bona fide spiritual master. Not only must they hear about the activities of the Lord, but they must also hear about the transcendental qualities of the devotees who are constantly thinking of the lotus feet of the Lord within their hearts. A pure devotee of the Lord cannot be separated from the lotus feet of the Lord for even a moment. Undoubtedly the Lord is always within the hearts of all living creatures, but they hardly know about it because they are deluded by the illusory material energy. The devotees, however, realize the presence of the Lord, and therefore they can always see the lotus feet of the Lord within their hearts. Such pure devotees of the Lord are as glorious as the Lord; they are, in fact, recommended by the Lord as more worshipable than He Himself. Worship of the devotee is more potent than worship of the Lord. It is therefore the duty of the transcendental students to hear of pure devotees, as explained by similar devotees of the Lord, because one cannot explain about the Lord or His devotee unless one happens to be a pure devotee himself.
Lord Śiva simply advises his great wife that of all kinds of worship, the worship of Viṣṇu is the highest, and greater than that is the worship of a great devotee or anything in relation with Viṣṇu.
SB 3.14.26, Purport:
The remnants of foodstuff offered to Lord Kṛṣṇa are called prasāda, but when the same prasāda is eaten by a great devotee like Lord Śiva, it is called mahā-prasāda. Lord Śiva is so great that he does not care for the material prosperity for which every one of us is so eager. Pārvatī, who is the powerful material nature personified, is under his full control as his wife, yet he does not use her even to build a residential house. He prefers to remain without shelter, and his great wife also agrees to live with him humbly. People in general worship goddess Durgā, the wife of Lord Śiva, for material prosperity, but Lord Śiva engages her in his service without material desire. He simply advises his great wife that of all kinds of worship, the worship of Viṣṇu is the highest, and greater than that is the worship of a great devotee or anything in relation with Viṣṇu.
SB Canto 4
The worship of My devotees is better than worship of Me.
SB 4.3.3, Translation and Purport:
Dakṣa began a sacrifice named vājapeya, and he became excessively confident of his support by Lord Brahmā, He then performed another great sacrifice, named bṛhaspati-sava.
In the Vedas it is prescribed that before performing a bṛhaspati-sava sacrifice, one should perform the sacrifice named vājapeya. While performing these sacrifices, however, Dakṣa neglected great devotees like Lord Śiva. According to Vedic scriptures, the demigods are eligible to participate in yajñas and share the oblations, but Dakṣa wanted to avoid them. All sacrifices are intended to pacify Lord Viṣṇu, but Lord Viṣṇu includes all His devotees. Brahmā, Lord Śiva and the other demigods are all obedient servants of Lord Viṣṇu; therefore Lord Viṣṇu is never satisfied without them. But Dakṣa, being puffed up with his power, wanted to deprive Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva of participation in the sacrifice, understanding that if one satisfies Viṣṇu, it is not necessary to satisfy His followers. But that is not the process. Viṣṇu wants His followers to be satisfied first. Lord Kṛṣṇa says, mad-bhakta-pūjābhyadhikā: (SB 11.19.21) “The worship of My devotees is better than worship of Me.” Similarly, in the Padma Purāṇa, it is stated that the best mode of worship is to offer oblations to Viṣṇu, but better than that is to worship the devotees of Kṛṣṇa. Thus Dakṣa’s determination to neglect Lord Śiva in the sacrifices was not fitting.
If a devotee is worshiped by the Lord, why should a devotee not be worshiped by other devotees on the same level with the Lord?
SB 4.24.30, Purport:
The devotees must always know that Lord Viṣṇu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that Lord Śiva is His devotee. A devotee should be offered respect on the level of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and sometimes even more respect. Indeed, Lord Rāma, the Personality of Godhead Himself, sometimes worshiped Lord Śiva. If a devotee is worshiped by the Lord, why should a devotee not be worshiped by other devotees on the same level with the Lord? This is the conclusion. From this verse it appears that Lord Śiva blesses the asuras simply for the sake of formality. Actually he loves one who is devoted to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
One should worship such a confidential devotee of the Lord.
SB 4.29.51, Purport:
The conclusion is that one cannot become a spiritual master unless he is a pure devotee of the Lord. One who is a spiritual master in accordance with the above descriptions of devotional service is to be understood as the Supreme Personality of Godhead personally present. According to the words mentioned here (gurur hariḥ), consulting a bona fide spiritual master means consulting the Supreme Personality of Godhead personally. One should therefore take shelter of such a bona fide spiritual master. Success in life means accepting a spiritual master who knows Kṛṣṇa as the only supreme beloved personality. One should worship such a confidential devotee of the Lord.
SB Canto 7
An advanced Vaiṣṇava is to be respected more than Viṣṇu.
SB 7.14.39, Translation and Purport:
My dear King, when great sages and saintly persons saw mutually disrespectful dealings at the beginning of Tretā-yuga, Deity worship in the temple was introduced with all paraphernalia.
As it is said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (12.3.52):
kṛte yad dhyāyato viṣṇuṁ
tretāyāṁ yajato makhaiḥ
kalau tad dhari-kīrtanāt
"Whatever result one obtained in Satya-yuga by meditating on Viṣṇu, in Tretā-yuga by performing sacrifices and in Dvāpara-yuga by serving the Lord’s lotus feet one can also obtain in Kali-yuga simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra." In Satya-yuga, every person was spiritually advanced, and there was no envy between great personalities. Gradually, however, because of material contamination with the advance of the ages, disrespectful dealings appeared even among brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas. Actually, an advanced Vaiṣṇava is to be respected more than Viṣṇu. As stated in the Padma Purāṇa, ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param: of all kinds of worship, worship of Lord Viṣṇu is the best. Tasmāt parataraṁ devi tadīyānāṁ samarcanam: and recommended more than worship of Viṣṇu is worship of the Vaiṣṇava.
Formerly, all activities were performed in connection with Viṣṇu, but after Satya-yuga there were symptoms of disrespectful dealings among Vaiṣṇavas. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has said that a Vaiṣṇava is he who has helped others become Vaiṣṇavas. An example of one who has converted many others into Vaiṣṇavas is Nārada Muni. A powerful Vaiṣṇava who has converted others into Vaiṣṇavas is to be worshiped, but because of material contamination, sometimes such an exalted Vaiṣṇava is disrespected by other, minor Vaiṣṇavas. When great saintly persons saw this contamination, they introduced worship of the Deity in the temple. This began in Tretā-yuga and was especially prominent in Dvāpara-yuga (dvāpare paricaryāyāṁ). But in Kali-yuga, worship of the Deity is being neglected. Therefore chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is more powerful than Deity worship. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu set a practical example in that He did not establish any temples or Deities, but He profusely introduced the saṅkīrtana movement. Therefore Kṛṣṇa consciousness preachers should give more stress to the saṅkīrtana movement, especially by distributing transcendental literature more and more. This helps the saṅkīrtana movement. Whenever there is a possibility to worship the Deity, we may establish many centers, but generally we should give more stress to the distribution of transcendental literature, for this will be more effective in converting people to Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
It is said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.47):
arcāyām eva haraye
pūjāṁ yaḥ śraddhayehate
na tad-bhakteṣu cānyeṣu
sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smṛtaḥ
"A person who is very faithfully engaged in the worship of the Deity in the temple but does not know how to behave toward devotees or people in general is called a prākṛta-bhakta, or kaniṣṭha-adhikārī." A prākṛta devotee, or neophyte devotee, is still on the material platform. He certainly engages in worshiping the Deity, but he cannot appreciate the activities of a pure devotee. It has actually been seen that even an authorized devotee who is engaged in the service of the Lord by preaching the mission of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is sometimes criticized by neophyte devotees.
"Even though a person is a very learned scholar of the Sanskrit Vedic literatures, he is not accepted as My devotee unless he is pure in devotional service. However, even though a person is born in a family of dog-eaters, he is very dear to Me if he is a pure devotee who has no motive to enjoy fruitive activity or mental speculation. Indeed, all respect should be given to him, and whatever he offers should be accepted. Such devotees are as worshipable as I am.“
SB 7.15.2, Purport:
The Supreme Lord also says:
na me 'bhaktaś catur-vedī
mad-bhaktaḥ śva-pacaḥ priyaḥ
tasmai deyaṁ tato grāhyaṁ
sa ca pūjyo yathā hy aham
"Even though a person is a very learned scholar of the Sanskrit Vedic literatures, he is not accepted as My devotee unless he is pure in devotional service. However, even though a person is born in a family of dog-eaters, he is very dear to Me if he is a pure devotee who has no motive to enjoy fruitive activity or mental speculation. Indeed, all respect should be given to him, and whatever he offers should be accepted. Such devotees are as worshipable as I am.” (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 10.127) Therefore, even if not born in a brāhmaṇa family, a devotee, because of his devotion to the Lord, is above all kinds of brāhmaṇas, whether they be karma-kāṇḍīs or jñāna-kāṇḍīs.
SB Canto 8
"Better than the worship of Lord Viṣṇu is the worship of His devotee, the Vaiṣṇava."
SB 8.5.49, Translation and Purport:
When one pours water on the root of a tree, the trunk and branches of the tree are automatically pleased. Similarly, when one becomes a devotee of Lord Viṣṇu, everyone is served, for the Lord is the Supersoul of everyone.
As stated in the Padma Purāṇa:
viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param
tasmāt parataraṁ devi
"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."
SB Canto 10.1 to 10.13
The Lord says, "Worshiping My devotees is better than worshiping Me directly."
SB 10.5.15-16, Purport:
Although it has become fashionable to speak of daridra-nārāyaṇa, the words viṣṇor ārādhanārthāya do not mean that all the people satisfied by Nanda Mahārāja in this great ceremony were Viṣṇus. They were not daridra, nor were they Nārāyaṇa. Rather, they were devotees of Nārāyaṇa, and by their educational qualifications they would satisfy Nārāyaṇa. Therefore, satisfying them was an indirect way of satisfying Lord Viṣṇu. Mad-bhakta-pūjābhyadhikā (SB 11.19.21). The Lord says, “Worshiping My devotees is better than worshiping Me directly.” The varṇāśrama system is entirely meant for viṣṇu-ārādhana, worship of Lord Viṣṇu. Varṇāśramācāravatā puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān/ viṣṇur ārādhyate (CC Madhya 8.58) (Viṣṇu Purāṇa 3.8.9). The ultimate goal of life is to please Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Lord. The uncivilized man or materialistic person, however, does not know this aim of life. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum (SB 7.5.31).
SB Cantos 10.14 to 12 (Translations Only)
Performing first-class worship of the Lord’s devotees is one of the actual religious principles.
SB 11.19.20-24, Translation:
Firm faith in the blissful narration of My pastimes, constant chanting of My glories, unwavering attachment to ceremonial worship of Me, praising Me through beautiful hymns, great respect for My devotional service, offering obeisances with the entire body, performing first-class worship of My devotees, consciousness of Me in all living entities, offering of ordinary, bodily activities in My devotional service, use of words to describe My qualities, offering the mind to Me, rejection of all material desires, giving up wealth for My devotional service, renouncing material sense gratification and happiness, and performing all desirable activities such as charity, sacrifice, chanting, vows and austerities with the purpose of achieving Me—these constitute actual religious principles, by which those human beings who have actually surrendered themselves to Me automatically develop love for Me. What other purpose or goal could remain for My devotee?
"My devotees worship other devotees and find all living entities related to Me."
CC Madhya 11.29-30, Translation and Purport:
"My devotees take great care and respect in rendering Me service. They offer obeisances to Me with all their bodily limbs. They worship other devotees and find all living entities related to Me. For Me they engage the entire energy of their bodies. They engage the power of speech in the glorification of My qualities and form. They also dedicate their minds unto Me and try to give up all kinds of material desires. Thus My devotees are characterized."
These two verses are quoted from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.19.21–22). They were spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa, who was answering Uddhava’s inquiry about devotional service.
"Better than the worship of Lord Viṣṇu is the worship of His devotee, the Vaiṣṇava."
CC Madhya 16.65, Translation and Purport:
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.
Nectar of Devotion
"Even higher than the worship of the Lord is the worship of the Lord’s devotees."
Nectar of Devotion 12:
In the Padma Purāṇa, there is a nice statement praising the service of the Vaiṣṇavas, or devotees. In that scripture Lord Śiva tells Pārvatī, "My dear Pārvatī, there are different methods of worship, and out of all such methods the worship of the Supreme Person is considered to be the highest. But even higher than the worship of the Lord is the worship of the Lord’s devotees."
A similar statement is in the Third Canto, Seventh Chapter, verse 19, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: "Let me become a sincere servant of the devotees, because by serving them one can achieve unalloyed devotional service unto the lotus feet of the Lord. The service of devotees diminishes all miserable material conditions and develops within one a deep devotional love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
In the Skanda Purāṇa there is a similar statement: "Persons whose bodies are marked with tilaka, symbolizing the conchshell, wheel, club and lotus—and who keep the leaves of tulasī on their heads, and whose bodies are always decorated with gopī-candana—even seen once, can help the seer be relieved from all sinful activities."
A similar statement is found in the First Canto, Nineteenth Chapter, verse 33, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: "There is no doubt about one’s becoming freed from all reactions to sinful activities after visiting a devotee or touching his lotus feet or giving him a sitting place. Even by remembering the activities of such a Vaiṣṇava, one becomes purified, along with one’s whole family. And what, then, can be said of rendering direct service to him?"
In the Ādi Purāṇa there is the following statement by Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself, addressed to Arjuna: “My dear Pārtha, one who claims to be My devotee is not so. Only a person who claims to be the devotee of My devotee is actually My devotee.” No one can approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly (CC Madhya 13.80). One must approach Him through His pure devotees. Therefore, in the system of Vaiṣṇava activities, the first duty is to accept a devotee as spiritual master and then to render service unto him.
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
"I consider worship of My devotees to be better than direct worship of Me."
Krsna Book 86:
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is naturally very much affectionately inclined to His devotees. When He heard Śrutadeva’s prayers of pure devotion, He was very much pleased and immediately caught his hands and addressed him thus: “My dear Śrutadeva, all these great sages, brāhmaṇas and saintly persons have been very kind to you by personally coming here to see you. You should consider this opportunity to be a great fortune for you. They are so kind that they are traveling with Me, and wherever they go they immediately make the whole atmosphere as pure as transcendence simply by the touch of the dust of their feet. People are accustomed to go to the temples of God. They also visit holy places of pilgrimage, and after prolonged association with such activities for many days by touch and by worship, they gradually become purified. But the influence of great sages and saintly persons is so great that by seeing them one immediately becomes completely purified.
“Moreover, the very purifying potency of pilgrimages or worship of different demigods is also achieved by the grace of saintly persons. A pilgrimage site becomes a holy place because of the presence of the saintly persons. My dear Śrutadeva, when a person is born as a brāhmaṇa, he immediately becomes the best of all human beings. And if such a brāhmaṇa, remaining self-satisfied, practices austerities, studies the Vedas and engages in My devotional service, as is the duty of the brāhmaṇa—or in other words, if a brāhmaṇa becomes a Vaiṣṇava—how wonderful is his greatness! My feature of four-handed Nārāyaṇa is not so pleasing or dear to Me as is a brāhmaṇa Vaiṣṇava. Brāhmaṇa means “one well conversant with Vedic knowledge.” A brāhmaṇa is the insignia of perfect knowledge, and I am the full-fledged manifestation of all gods. Less intelligent men do not understand Me, nor do they understand the influence of the brāhmaṇa Vaiṣṇava. They are influenced by the three modes of material nature and thus dare to criticize Me and My pure devotees. A brāhmaṇa Vaiṣṇava, or a devotee already on the brahminical platform, can realize Me within his heart, and therefore he definitely concludes that the whole cosmic manifestation and its different features are effects of different energies of the Lord. Thus he has a clear conception of the whole material nature and the total material energy, and in every action such a devotee sees Me only, and nothing else.
“My dear Śrutadeva, you may therefore accept all these great saintly persons, brāhmaṇas and sages as My bona fide representatives. By worshiping them faithfully, you will be worshiping Me more diligently. I consider worship of My devotees to be better than direct worship of Me. If someone attempts to worship Me directly without worshiping My devotees, I do not accept such worship, even though it may be presented with great opulence.”
1972 Conversations and Morning Walks
Viṣṇu worship is the best, and better than Viṣṇu worship is to worship Vaiṣṇava.
Room Conversation – July 4, 1972, New York:
Prabhupāda: When Śiva was asked by Pārvatī that “What method of worship is first-class?” Then he said, “The first-class worship is worshiping Lord Viṣṇu.” Viṣṇu ārādhanaṁ param. Tasmāt parataraṁ devi tadīyānām ārādhanam. He said the Viṣṇu worship is the best. There are many demigods, but he recommended, “Viṣṇu worship is the best.” And the better than Viṣṇu worship is to worship Vaiṣṇava. Tadīyānām ārādhanam. Tadīyā means His servant, or one who is, or what is in relationship with Him. Just like we are worshiping this plant, Tulasī. We are not worshiping all plants, but because this Tulasī has very intimate connection with Kṛṣṇa and Viṣṇu, therefore we are worshiping. Tadīyānām ārādhanam. Similarly, anything who is intimately related with Kṛṣṇa, worship of that thing is better than worship of Viṣṇu, Kṛṣṇa.
Bob Cohen: Why is that?
Bob Cohen: Why is that? Worshiping… ?
Prabhupāda: Because, because Kṛṣṇa will be pleased. Just like if you have a dog, and some friends come and pats your dog, you become pleased. You become pleased, “Ah, he is my good friend.”