All of us have been drafted into Lord Chaitanya’s movement. We aren’t Krishna’s eternal associates who appear together with Lord Chaitanya just for the taste of it. We are conditioned souls who have been saved by His mercy.
Lord Chaitanya has established yuga dharma for this age and if we follow His orders we come under His care and protection. We also know that He is the most merciful avatara, taking on souls that otherwise wouldn’t be allowed to even come in contact with Krishna.
From His Navadvipa and Jagannatha Puri pastimes we also know that He is very very kind to His devotees, showering them with His mercy and even sometimes personally feeding them. He always makes sure that His devotees never lack in anything, that they are always happy, well fed and well looked after. He doesn’t normally put His devotees through severe austerities described in the Vedic literature.
Life in Lord Chaitanya’s movement is pretty sweet, there are no two opinions about this. We eat a lot, we sing, we dance, we have lots of feasts and festivals, and generally there’s no such thing as a morose soul in this sankirtana mission, if we do it right.
We, however, should not take this mercy for granted. Yes, Lord Chaitanya takes personal interest in well-being of His devotees but His main message to us is to always chant the Holy Names and strive for the mercy of Krishna, not of His own.
Yes, He will make sure that we never starve but His main concern is that by following His orders we get mercy of Krishna. We should make this our priority, too, because that’s what would make Lord Chaitanya happy. We should look beyond our basic necessities in life, beyond being satisfied that by performing yuga dharma they are being met, we should try to make Krishna notice our efforts instead.
Ours is not a feeding movement, using yuga dharma for material purposes might work very well but that’s not what chanting Hare Krishna is for.
Same applies to our preaching, too – we are not going out to make people happy, though we can do that, too, we are going out so that people do something, sacrifice something for Krishna. Receiving Lord’s prasadam is nice but real devotion starts with offering it to the Lord and in seeing that the Lord enjoys our service, not with appreciating Lord’s service to us.
As for Lord Chaitanya – real devotion starts with making Him happy by chanting the Holy Names and pleasing Krishna. Yes, He appreciates if we offer Him flowers, for example, but what would make Him really ecstatic is if we offer flowers to Krishna. Lord Chaitanya presented Himself as a devotee and so serving Him is lower on His list of priorities than serving Krishna.
One could ask – how can we approach Krishna without medium of Lord Chaitanya? True, we cannot, but it doesn’t mean He is not making sure that our service reaches its destination. Enabling our service to Krishna is one of His favorite things to do.
I bet He likes passing our service to Krishna Himsels better than feeding people with His own hands, and that is my main point today.