A devotee is never afraid of death or of changing his body; his consciousness is transformed into Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and even if he does not go back to Godhead, even if he transmigrates to another material body, he has nothing to fear. A vivid example is Bharata Mahārāja. Although in his next life he became a deer, in the life after that he became completely free from all material contamination and was elevated to the kingdom of God. The Bhagavad-gītā affirms, therefore, that a devotee is never vanquished. A devotee’s path to the spiritual kingdom, back home, back to Godhead, is guaranteed. Even though a devotee slips in one birth, the continuation of his Kṛṣṇa consciousness elevates him further and further, until he goes back to Godhead. Not only does a pure devotee purify his own personal existence, but whoever becomes his disciple also becomes purified and is ultimately able to enter the kingdom of God without difficulty. In other words, not only can a pure devotee easily surpass death, but by his grace his followers can also do so without difficulty. The power of devotional service is so great that a pure devotee can electrify another person by his transcendental instruction on crossing over the ocean of nescience.
The instructions of a pure devotee to his disciple are also very simple. No one feels any difficulty in following in the footsteps of a pure devotee of the Lord. Anyone who follows in the footsteps of recognized devotees, such as Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, the Kumāras, Manu, Kapila, King Prahlāda, King Janaka, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, Yamarāja and their followers in disciplic succession, very easily finds the door of liberation open. On the other hand, those who are not devotees but are engaged in uncertain processes of self-realization, such as jñāna, yoga and karma, are understood to be still contaminated. Such contaminated persons, although apparently advanced in self-realization, cannot even liberate themselves, what to speak of those who follow them. Such nondevotees are compared to chained animals, for they are not able to go beyond the jurisdiction of the formalities of a certain type of faith. In the Bhagavad-gītā they are condemned as veda-vāda-rata. They cannot understand that the Vedas deal with activities of the material modes of nature—goodness, passion and ignorance. But as Lord Kṛṣṇa advised Arjuna, one has to go beyond the jurisdiction of the duties prescribed in the Vedas and take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, devotional service. The Lord says in the Bhagavad-gītā, nistrai-guṇyo bhavārjuna: “My dear Arjuna, just try to become transcendental to the Vedic rituals.” This transcendental position beyond the Vedic ritualistic performances is devotional service. In the Bhagavad-gītā the Lord clearly says that persons who are engaged in His devotional service without adulteration are situated in Brahman. Actual Brahman realization means Kṛṣṇa consciousness and engagement in devotional service. The devotees are therefore real brahmacārīs because their activities are always in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, devotional service.
The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement therefore issues a supreme call to all kinds of religionists, asking them with great authority to join this movement, by which one can learn how to love God and thus surpass all formulas and formalities of scriptural injunction. A person who cannot overcome the jurisdiction of stereotyped religious principles is compared to an animal chained up by his master. The purpose of all religion is to understand God and develop one’s dormant love of Godhead. If one simply sticks to the religious formulas and formalities but does not become elevated to the position of love of God, he is considered to be a chained animal. In other words, if one is not in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he is not eligible for liberation from the contamination of material existence.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī has composed a nice verse in this regard: “Let others engage in severe austerities, let others fall to the land from the tops of hills and give up their lives, let others travel to many holy places of pilgrimage for salvation, or let them engage in deep study of philosophy and Vedic literature. Let the mystic yogīs engage in their meditational service, and let the different sects engage in unnecessary arguing as to which is the best. But it is a fact that unless one is Kṛṣṇa conscious, unless one is engaged in devotional service, and unless one has the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he cannot cross over this material ocean.” An intelligent person, therefore, gives up all stereotyped ideas and joins the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement for factual liberation.