We should come to Śrī Mahāprabhu’s līlā. Do you know Kolaveca Śrīdhara? He used to quarrel with Mahāprabhu, saying, “I will not give You these banana flowers or this bundle of śāk (spinach).”
Mahāprabhu would reply, “I will have it,” and then take it by force.
Śrīdhara would say, “You can go to other shops. There are so many rich shopkeepers. Why do You always come to me and quarrel? I am such a poor person, with only a very small garden. When I sell my produce, I use half of the profits to worship the Ganges, and half of the remainder I use to support some devotees. I barely maintain my life with the little that is left.”
Mahāprabhu responded, “You should not worship the Ganges. She is My wife. If you give all that to Me and worship Me, your worship will be complete.”
“Don’t say that!” Śrīdhara would cry, “That is offensive. You shouldn’t say that.” To alleviate this offense he would block his ears and chant, “O Rāma! Rāma!” Then he would say to Mahāprabhu, “You should not call Yourself the husband of Ganges. I do not want to hear that from You.”
“One day you will know that I am the husband of Ganges, Lakṣmī, and everyone else.”
Śrīdhara and Mahāprabhu used to quarrel in this way.
Was Śrīdhara a family man or a renunciant? He was not a family man. He lived alone, without any family, but he was also like a gṛhastha, because he had his own house. All the rain water used to fall in his room, because there were numerous holes in the roof. There were no rats in his house because he had no grains. He had a loṭa (drinking cup) made of iron that had many holes. Still, Mahāprabhu used to take it and drink water from it.
I think Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita was higher than Śrīdhara, and he was a householder. One night, his son died while Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita was performing kīrtana for Mahāprabhu. He told his family, “If you weep and disturb the kīrtana, I will jump in the Ganges and give up my body. Do not disturb the kīrtana.” What a high-class devotee he was.
One day he was clapping his hands three times and said, “One! Two! Three!” Mahāprabhu asked, “Why are you clapping and calling, ‘One, two, three?’”
Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita immediately answered, “We have nothing to eat today. There is nothing in my house, and we have so many people living here. There are we four brothers, our wives, and the children as well, but we have no grains. What will we take at midday and in the night? Nothing. But we are performing kīrtana with karatālas day and night. If we have nothing to eat one day, that is all right. If we still have nothing to eat on the second day, that is still all right, and if there is still nothing on the third day and Kṛṣṇa does not arrange anything, then all of us will jump in the Ganges.”
Mahāprabhu began to smile and said, “Even if Lakṣmī, the goddess of wealth and fortune, goes begging with a bhikṣā-pātra (begging bowl), you will never have to beg; never, never. Kṛṣṇa may beg for you. He will do everything by His kaṭākṣa, His sidelong glance. He will do everything for you.”
So we should try to be devotees. If you are in the renounced order, then give up everything like Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, and all the other Gosvāmīs. And if you are a householder, offer everything to Kṛṣṇa and Mahāprabhu.
Do not keep anything for yourself. You are not the owner of anything and you are not the doer. If you have so much false ego that you think yourself the doer, and if you are very attached to your body, then you are not a follower of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. However, if you offer everything to Kṛṣṇa, you can have the mercy of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa conjugal, and your high-class gurudeva. Maintain your life somehow or other, as best you can. Do not become so involved in your maintenance; try to develop your Kṛṣṇa consciousness instead. Always be hopeful and do not become absorbed in problems. Try to keep your feet on the head of your problems. Actually there is only one problem: how to remember and serve Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu, and Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa conjugal. If this problem is solved, then all problems will be solved forever and ever. If you do not solve this problem, there will always be newer and newer problems, and your mind will be disturbed. If your only concern is to chant and remember Kṛṣṇa, then all your problems will serve you and help you, no matter what they are. Even if the whole world is kicking you and insulting you, you will think, “Oh, this is the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. I wanted to be alone and to chant always, continuously. Now I have this opportunity.”
―Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja