Devotees in our Gaudiya Vaishnav dhara often neglect Nitai Balaram as they are fully convinced that the worship of Radha is the highest. Yes, the loving service of Radhika is highest but is it relevant to us even in our fallen state? As long as one has not overcome Maya completely, how can one engage oneself in the loving service of Radharani?
Radharani is the personification of the superior pleasure potency of the Lord and Durga represents the inferior or external potency. Those who are fully surrendered souls can transcend the inferior energy and secure their position under Shrimati Radhika.
daivi hy esa guna-mayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te
“This external energy of Mine, which consists of the three modes and which bewilders the living entities, is certainly very difficult to overcome, but those who take exclusive shelter of Me can easily transcend this mäyä.” (Bhagwad Gita 7.14)
As a matter of fact, if one is fully surrendered then one becomes a liberated soul. Thus, Shrimati Radhika has a connection with the liberated souls and not the eternally conditioned fallen souls.
However, Nitai Balaram is the personification of the Sandhini shakti which manifests both the material as well as the spiritual creation. (1) Nitai Balaram only is the origin of all souls and (2) He alone has a connection with the fallen souls even in a non-surrendered, non-liberated, and degraded state as the supersoul.
Let me provide proofs for the above statements:
1 Shrila Bhaktisidhhant Saraswati Thakur writes,
“The dissociable individual soul is distinct from the divine categories. He is a particle of the marginal potency of the divinity. Shri Nityananda who is identical with Balarama is the ultimate source of the jiva. The conditioned soul is a particle of the marginal potency, who has been sent into this world by the will of the Purusa, viz., Vishnu reposing in the Causal Ocean, who is a plenary part of Nityananda exercising the divine function of creator of all mundane existence including the conditioned state without Himself belonging to the mundane plane.” (Source: Marginal Potency, Associates of Shri Chaitanya)
2 Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi Lila, 5.109:
poṣṭā viṣṇur bhāti dugdhābdhi-śāyī
kṣauṇī-bhartā yat-kalā so ’py anantas
taṁ śrī-nityānanda-rāmaṁ prapadye
“I offer my respectful obeisances unto the feet of Śrī Nityānanda Rāma, whose secondary part (a portion of a portion of a plenary portion) is the Viṣṇu lying in the ocean of milk. That Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu is the Supersoul of all living entities and the maintainer of all the universes. Śeṣa Nāga is His further subpart.”
So, we have a connection with Nitai even in our present degraded state where we are too rebellious to surrender. Nitai still accompanies us always in the form of the supersoul. In this deadly material world, we are alone. Our only companion is Nitai. How can we neglect His worship and jump directly to the worship of Shrimati Radharani? Radharani is only available in the spiritual world whereas Nitai is there for us when we are still in the material world. Radharani does not expand in the form of the supersoul to give us company. Nitai does that. Nitai awards us higher spiritual bliss which enables us to overcome the temptations of Maya. Nitai comes in the form of Guru to teach us how to surrender. He overwhelms us with so much mercy that we are naturally compelled to surrender. And as soon as we surrender, He hands us over to Shrimati Radhika. He only makes us fit for the service of Shrimati Radhika. By showering His unparalleled affection upon us, He purifies us in His own way without causing any pain. He completely cures our material disease at its root and transforms us into liberated souls fit for coming in touch with the superior pleasure potency of Gaur-Krishna.
Actually, Gaur and Radhey Shyam are blissfully busy in Their eternal pastimes in Golok. It is only Nitai who extends Himself to the material world and paves the way for us to enter Golok. It is only Him who is truly concerned about us. And as Sadhakas when we take up the process of chanting the Holy Names, He only causes the Supreme Lord Gaur-Krishna to descend upon our tongue as the Suddha-Nam. Thus, He takes us to Golok when we leave this material world and He brings Golokpati (Gaur-Krishna) to us as long as we are still in the material world.
samsarera para hai’ bhaktira sagare
ye dubibe se bhajuk nitai-candere
One who would cross over the ocean of material existence and swim in
the bhakti ocean should worship the lotus feet of Nityananda.
(Cb. Adi 1.77)
What to speak of conditioned souls, even eternally liberated souls, even Manjaris, received everything by the mercy of Nitai in their worldly pastimes.
I would like to conclude with the most enlightening words of Shrila Bhaktisiddhant Saraswati Thakur,
“Shrimati Radhika is the guru of the inner circle of the servants of Krishna. Shrimati, however, accepts the offer of service of only those souls who are specially favored by Nityananda and are deemed by Him to be fit for Her service. There is, therefore a most intimate relationship between the function of Nityananda and that of Shrimati which is at once supplementary and inclusive of the former.” (Source: Shrimati Radhika, Associates of Shri Chaitanya)
Worthless disciple of Shrila Nitaipreshthji,