Again, he has described Mathurā-maṇḍala: "I remember the Lord standing by the banks of the Yamunā River, so beautiful amidst the kadamba trees, where many birds are chirping in the gardens. And these impressions are always giving me transcendental realization of beauty and bliss." This feeling about Mathurā-maṇḍala and Vṛndāvana by Rūpa Gosvāmī can actually be felt even by nondevotees. The places in the eighty-four-square-mile district of Mathurā are so beautifully situated on the banks of the River Yamunā that anyone who goes there will never want to return to this material world. These statements by Rūpa Gosvāmī are factually realized descriptions of Mathurā and Vṛndāvana. All these qualities prove that Mathurā and Vṛndāvana are situated transcendentally. Otherwise, there is no possibility of invoking our transcendental sentiments in these places. Such transcendental feelings are aroused immediately and without fail after one arrives in Mathurā or Vṛndāvana.
In these statements about devotional service, sometimes it may appear that the results have been overestimated; but actually there is no overestimation. Some devotees, as is evidenced from revealed scriptures, have had immediate results by such association, although this is not possible for all. For example, the Kumāras immediately became devotees simply by smelling the incense in the temple. Bilvamaṅgala Thākur simply heard about Kṛṣṇa and then immediately gave up his beautiful girl friend and started out for Mathurā and Vṛndāvana, where he became a perfect Vaiṣṇava. So these statements are not overestimations, nor are they stories. They are actual facts, but are true for certain devotees and do not necessarily apply to all. These descriptions, even if considered overestimations, must be taken as they are in order to divert our attention from the fleeting material beauty to the eternal beauty of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And for a person who is already in contact with Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the described results are not unusual.
Some scholars argue that simply by following the principles of varṇa and āśrama one can gradually rise up to the perfections reached by practicing devotional service, but this argument is not accepted by the great authorities. Lord Caitanya also condemned this idea while He was talking with Rāmānanda Rai about the gradual development of devotional service. He rejected the idea of the importance of varṇāśrama-dharma when it was put forward by Rāmānanda Rai. He said that this advancement of varṇa and āśrama is merely external. There is a higher principle. In the Bhagavad-gītā also the Lord says that one has to give up all other principles of elevation and take simply to the method of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That will help him in achieving the highest perfection of life.
In the Eleventh Canto, 20th Chapter, 8th verse, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam the Lord Himself says: "One should execute the prescribed duties of varṇa and āśrama as long as he has not developed spontaneous attachment for hearing about My pastimes and activities." In other words, the prescribed forms of varṇa and āśrama are ritualistic ceremonies of religion intended for economic development, sense gratification or for salvation. All of these things are recommended for persons who have not developed Kṛṣṇa consciousness; in fact, all such activities are recommended in the revealed scriptures only to bring one to the point of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. But one who has already developed spontaneous attachment for Kṛṣṇa does not require to execute the duties prescribed in the scriptures.