The fact is that Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself becomes the enjoyer of the fruits of the work performed by the transcendentalist. Thus, the transcendentalist has no responsibility for the results of his work, may those results be good or bad in the estimation of worldly people. The transcendentalist acts under the impetus of his obligation to do everything for the sake of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He never views any activity as an object of enjoyment or renunciation on his own account. In contrast, the sannyāsī or renouncer relieves himself of all worldly responsibilities in order to free himself for acquiring knowledge relating to the all-pervasive Spirit. The mystic takes similar measures so that he can enhance his meditation and better visualize within himself the localized aspect of the same Supreme Spirit. But the transcendentalist who acts only for the satisfaction of the Supreme Person, without being impelled by a motive of self-satisfaction, is actually free from all worldly duties—without the separate effort made by the sannyāsīs and the mystics. The spiritual knowledge acquired by the sannyāsīs and the eightfold perfections achieved by the mystics are all within easy reach of the transcendentalist. Therefore, the transcendentalist does not desire to achieve any profit, adoration, or distinction. He desires no gain whatever, except to be engaged in the transcendental service of Godhead—because simply by such service, he gains all. Once one achieves the supreme gain, which encompasses all other gains, what is there still to be achieved?
The mystic, who virtually ceases his various bodily functions according to Patañjali's system of mysticism, tries to attain trance by these systematic modes of meditation and so forth. Thus, the mystic tolerates all sorts of tribulations in order to visualize the localized aspect of the Supreme Spirit. In other words, he does not care about what it may take, even if it means meeting with death, to realize his ideal, which has no equal in the universe. To underscore the validity of such mystics or devotees, the Personality of Godhead says in Bhagavad-gītā (6.22) that He does not consider anything more valuable than the attainment of that transcendental state: "It is the greatest gain. To be in that state means not to be perturbed by any distress, however heavy and intolerable it may be."
According to Patañjali's system, mysticism means perfect control of the mental plane with its various fickle inclinations. According to Patañjali, the transcendental state is to become free from sensuous activities and to attain the stage of perfection perceptible purely by the spirit soul. In such a state, the attention of the mystic never deviates from that spiritual achievement. The eightfold material perfections—such as aṇimā, laghimā, prāpti, īśitā, vaśitā, prākāmya, and so on—are concomitant in the attainment of perfection in mysticism, and are but indirect by-products of that process.
After attainment of one or two of the above perfections, many mystics fall into the trap of mental oscillation. In such a state, the mystic fails to attain to the highest perfection, namely, pure devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But the transcendental worker, or karma-yogī, has no such fear of falling down, for his attention is already fixed in the transcendental service of the Personality of Godhead. Thus, he does not need to enter separately into trance. For the karma-yogī, the mystic perfections manifest automatically due to the ever-increasing freshness of their object of attention, the Personality of Godhead. A mundaner is surely unable to realize how there can be so much transcendental happiness in the service of the Personality of Godhead.
Further, there can be no loss for either the mystic or the karma-yogī in his attempt to perfect such transcendental activities. And the gain is always assured, even if the process is only partially completed. Anything that is material or mundane—be it acquisition of knowledge or of wealth—is vanquished along with the annihilation of the material body. But the transcendental work of the karma-yogī surpasses the mundane limits of the material body and mind, because it is performed in relation with the transcendental spirit soul. Being thus spiritualized, these transcendental activities transcend the limits of material annihilation. Just as the soul is not annihilated, even after annihilation of the material body, so also these spiritualized activities are not annihilated, even after the annihilation of the body or mind.