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CC Ādi 6.100


কৃষ্ণের সমতা হৈতে বড় ভক্তপদ ।
আত্মা হৈতে কৃষ্ণের ভক্ত হয় প্রেমাস্পদ ॥ ১০০ ॥


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 hṛdayaṁ mahyaṁsādhūnāṁ hṛdayaṁ tv aham
mad anyat te na jānanti
nāhaṁ 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.