Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura remarks in this connection that if one takes shelter of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Nityānanda, follows Their instructions to become more tolerant than the tree and humbler than the grass, and in this way chants the holy name of the Lord, very soon he achieves the platform of transcendental loving service to the Lord, and tears appear in his eyes. There are offenses to be considered in chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, but there are no such considerations in chanting the names of Gaura-Nityānanda. Therefore, if one chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra but his life is still full of sinful activities, it will be very difficult for him to achieve the platform of loving service to the Lord. But if in spite of being an offender one chants the holy names of Gaura-Nityānanda, he is very quickly freed from the reactions to his offenses. Therefore, one should first approach Lord Caitanya and Nityānanda, or worship Guru-Gaurāṅga, and then come to the stage of worshiping Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. In our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, our students are first advised to worship Guru-Gaurāṅga, and then, when they are somewhat advanced, the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Deity is installed, and they are engaged in the worship of the Lord.
One should first take shelter of Gaura-Nityānanda in order to reach, ultimately, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura sings in this connection:
- gaurāṅga balite ha’be pulaka śarīra
- hari hari balite nayane ba’be nīra
- āra kabe nitāi-cāṅdera karuṇā karibe
- saṁsāra-vāsanā mora kabe tuccha habe
- viṣaya chāḍiyā kabe śuddha habe mana
- kabe hāma heraba śrī-vṛndāvana
In the beginning one should very regularly chant Śrī Gaurasundara’s holy name and then chant the holy name of Lord Nityānanda. Thus one’s heart will be cleansed of impure desires for material enjoyment. Then one can approach Vṛndāvana-dhāma to worship Lord Kṛṣṇa. Unless one is favored by Lord Caitanya and Nityānanda, there is no need to go to Vṛndāvana, for unless one’s mind is purified, he cannot see Vṛndāvana, even if he goes there. Actually going to Vṛndāvana involves taking shelter of the six Gosvāmīs by reading the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Vidagdha-mādhava, Lalita-mādhava and the other books that they have given. In this way one can understand the transcendental loving affairs between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Kabe hāma bujhaba se yugala-pirīti. The conjugal love between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is not an ordinary human affair; it is fully transcendental. In order to understand Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, worship Them and engage in Their loving service, one must be guided by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu and the six Gosvāmīs, Lord Caitanya’s direct disciples.
For an ordinary man, worship of Śrī Caitanya and Nityānanda Prabhu or the Pañca-tattva is easier than worship of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Unless one is very fortunate, he should not be induced to worship Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa directly. A neophyte student who is not sufficiently educated or enlightened should not indulge in the worship of Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa or the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. Even if he does so, he cannot get the desired result. One should therefore chant the names of Nitāi-Gaura and worship Them without false prestige. Since everyone within this material world is more or less influenced by sinful activities, in the beginning it is essential that one take to the worship of Guru-Gaurāṅga and ask their favor, for thus despite all his disqualifications one will very soon become qualified to worship the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa vigraha.
It should be noted in this connection that the holy names of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Gaurasundara are both identical with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore one should not consider one name to be more potent than the other. Considering the position of the people of this age, however, the chanting of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s name is more essential than the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra because Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the most magnanimous incarnation and His mercy is very easily achieved. Therefore one must first take shelter of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu by chanting śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda. By serving Gaura-Nityānanda one is freed from the entanglements of material existence and thus becomes qualified to worship the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Deity.