|Ādi-līlā||Chapter 6: The Glories of Śrī Advaita Ācārya|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Ādi 6.100
kṛṣṇera samatā haite baḍa bhakta-pada
ātmā haite kṛṣṇera bhakta haya premāspada
kṛṣṇera — with Lord Kṛṣṇa; samatā — equality; haite — than this; baḍa — greater; bhakta-pada — the position of a devotee; ātmā haite — than His own self; kṛṣṇera — of Lord Kṛṣṇa; bhakta — a devotee; haya — is; prema-āspada — the object of love.
The position of being a devotee is higher than that of equality with Lord Kṛṣṇa, for the devotees are dearer to Lord Kṛṣṇa than His own self.
The conception of oneness with the Supreme Personality of Godhead is inferior to that of eternal service to the Lord because Lord Kṛṣṇa is more affectionate to devotees than to His personal self. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (9.4.68) the Lord clearly says:
sādhavo hṛdayaḿ mahyaḿ
sādhūnāḿ hṛdayaḿ tv aham
mad anyat te na jānanti
nāhaḿ tebhyo manāg api
"The devotees are My heart, and I am the heart of My devotees. My devotees do not know anyone but Me; similarly, I do not know anyone but My devotees." This is the intimate relationship between the Lord and His devotees.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness