When a Brahman-realized devotee who has come to the stage of steady trance comes into contact with the eternal form of Kṛṣṇa, his transcendental pleasure increases millions of times. One great sage once inquired from another, "My dear friend, do you think that after I perfect the eightfold yoga performance I shall be able to see the eternal form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead?" This enquiry from the sage is an instance of inquisitiveness in a devotee situated in the neutral stage of devotional service.
When Lord Kṛṣṇa, along with His elder brother Balarāma and sister Subhadrā, came to Kurukṣetra in a chariot on the occasion of a solar eclipse, many mystic yogīs also came. When these mystic yogīs saw Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, they exclaimed that now that they had seen the excellent bodily effulgence of the Lord, they had almost forgotten the pleasure derived from impersonal Brahman realization. In this connection one of the mystics approached Kṛṣṇa and said, "My dear Lord, You are always full with transcendental bliss, excelling all other spiritual positions. And so, simply by seeing You from a distant place, I have come to the conclusion that there is no need of my being situated in the transcendental bliss of impersonal Brahman."
When a great mystic was once awakened from his meditative trance by hearing the vibration of Kṛṣṇa's Pāñcajanya conchshell, the mystic became overpowered. So much so, in fact, that he began to bash his head on the ground, and with eyes full of tears of ecstatic love, he violated all the rules and regulations of his yoga performances. Thus he at once neglected the process of Brahman realization.
Bilvamaṅgala Thākur, in his book Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta, says, "Let the impersonalists be engaged in the process of transcendental realization by worshiping the impersonal Brahman. Although I was also initiated into that path of Brahman realization, I have now become misled by a naughty boy—one who is very cunning, who is very much attached to the gopīs and who has made me His maidservant. So I have now forgotten the process of Brahman realization."
Bilvamaṅgala Thākur was first spiritually initiated for impersonal realization of the absolute truth, but later on, by his association with Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana, he became an experienced devotee. The same thing happened to Śukadeva Gosvāmī, who also reformed himself by the grace of the Lord and took to the path of devotional service, giving up the way of impersonal realization.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī and Bilvamaṅgala Thākur's giving up of the impersonal conception of the absolute truth and taking to devotional service are the best examples of devotees being situated in the neutral state. According to some authorities, this condition cannot be accepted as one of the transcendental humors, or rasas, but Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī says that even if one does not accept it as a transcendental humor, one must still accept it as the beginning position of devotional service. However, if one is not further raised to the platform of actual service to the Lord, he is not considered to be on the platform of transcendental mellow. In this connection, in the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Lord Kṛṣṇa personally instructs Uddhava like this: "The state of being established in My personal form is called śānta-rasa, and without being situated in this position, no one can advance to actual pure devotional service." In other words, no one can be situated in the personal feature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead without being situated at least in śānta-rasa.