It is inconceivable to understand how Nitai is the topmost God and topmost devotee simultaneously. When we perceive someone as the topmost God we are not able to perceive Him as the topmost devotee. And when we know that a personality is the topmost devotee, then it is very difficult for us to accept Him as the topmost God. It is quite natural on our part to think like that. However, we must realize that Nitai Balaram is the most unique personality in this entire creation and such contradictory truths are His defining features. Whether we are ready to accept it or not, the truth remains the truth. The truth does not change according to our acceptability. In fact, no one has much problem in accepting Nitai as the topmost devotee. But when someone says that Nitai is the topmost God then everyone has a problem. Let us throw some more light on this issue based on Chaitanya Charitamrit.
sarva-avatārī kṛṣṇa svayaṁ bhagavān
tāṅhāra dvitīya deha śrī-balarāma
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is the fountainhead of all incarnations. Lord Balarāma is His second body.” (CC Adi Lila 5.4)
Purport by Shrila Prabhupad:
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the absolute Personality of Godhead, is the primeval Lord, the original form of Godhead, and His first expansion is Śrī Balarāma. The Personality of Godhead can expand Himself in innumerable forms. The forms that have unlimited potency are called svāṁśa, and forms that have limited potencies (the living entities) are called vibhinnāṁśa.
eka-i svarūpa doṅhe, bhinna-mātra kāya
ādya kāya-vyūha, kṛṣṇa-līlāra sahāya
“These two are one and the same identity. They differ only in form. Lord Balarāma is the first bodily expansion of Kṛṣṇa, and He assists in Lord Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental pastimes.” (CC Adi Lila 5.5)
Purport by Shrila Prabhupad:
“Balarāma is a svāṁśa expansion of the Lord, and therefore there is no difference in potency between Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. The only difference is in Their bodily structure. As the first expansion of Godhead, Balarāma is the chief Deity among the first quadruple forms, and He is the foremost assistant of Śrī Kṛṣṇa in His transcendental activities.”
Let us understand this concept in simple words, once and for all. The original Supreme Personality of Godhead is Krishna. There is no doubt in that. Lord Balaram is the first expansion of Krishna. Thus, Krishna is the first and the original candle and Lord Balaram is the second candle which is lit by the first candle. This is what we know about their origin. After Krishna expanded as Balaram, He delegated the entire task of creation of the spiritual and material worlds to Balaram. So, thereafter, unlimited candles were lit by the second candle (Balaram). Thus, Krishna is the origin of Balaram, and Balaram is the fountainhead of all other incarnations and expansions. So there is nothing wrong in saying that Krishna and Balaram both are the fountainhead of all incarnations and expansions. When this happened nobody knows. And now it doesn’t even really matter that Krishna expanded as Balaram in the first place. Why? Because at the present moment both have equal potencies. Shrila Prabhupad explains that Krishna has two types of expansions, namely, svāṁśa and vibhinnāṁśa. Svāṁśa expansions have unlimited potency and vibhinnāṁśa expansions have limited potencies. In the next purport Shrila Prabhupad tells us that there is no difference between Krishna and Balaram because Balaram is Krishna’s svāṁśa expansion. Had He been a vibhinnāṁśa expansion, the case would have been completely different. But because Balaram is svāṁśa expansion there is no difference in the potency of Krishna and Nitai Balaram. Both Krishna and Nitai are full in the six opulences. The only difference is in Their outward bodily structure. Shrila Bhaktisiddhant Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad also confirms this fact in his commentary to CB 1.1.17:
“It should be understood that Shri Nityananda-Sankarshana Prabhu is the Supreme Absolute Truth, Lord Vishnu, so He is the qualitatively equal personal manifestation of the original Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna.”
In fact, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself confirms this fact when He instructed Sanatan Goswami in the science of the Absolute Truth,
vaibhava-prakāśa kṛṣṇera — śrī-balarāma
varṇa-mātra-bheda, saba — kṛṣṇera samāna
“The first manifestation of the vaibhava feature of Kṛṣṇa is Śrī Balarāmajī. Śrī Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa have different bodily colors, but otherwise Śrī Balarāma is equal to Kṛṣṇa in all respects.”
(CC Madhya Lila 20.174)
The vaibhava-prakāśa is explained in CC Madhya 20.171 — “If one form or feature is differently manifested according to different emotional features, it is called vaibhava-prakāśa.
The Vaibhav-prakāśa of Krishna is completely equal to Krishna in terms of potency, it is just differently manifested in terms of outer appearance according to different emotional features. And Nitai Balaram is the first manifestation of this Vaibhav feature of the Lord.
Thus, we must never take Nitai lightly as simply a devotee of the Lord. He is also the absolute truth. There is nothing that Krishna can give us but Nitai can’t. Moreover, our claim that worship of Nitai is much more higher than worship of Krishna is completely valid. As Nitai is both the topmost devotee and topmost God combined. We get the benefit of worshipping the topmost devotee and topmost God together when we worship Nitai. Nitai’s worship is the greatest shortcut to perfection in this rare human life.
Worthless disciple of Shrila Nitaipreshthji,