One who wants to be liberated from the entanglement of this material world and go back home, back to Godhead, is actually a mystic yogī. The words explicitly used here are yuktena bhakti-yogena. Those yogīs, or mystics, who engage in devotional service are first-class yogīs. They are described in Bhagavad-gītā as constantly thinking of the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. These yogīs are not without knowledge and renunciation. To become a bhakti-yogī means to automatically attain knowledge and renunciation. That is the consequent result of bhakti-yoga. In the Bhāgavatam, First Canto, Second Chapter, it is also confirmed that one who engages in devotional service of Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, has complete transcendental knowledge and renunciation, and there is no further explanation for these attainments. Ahaitukī - without reason, they come. Even if a person is completely illiterate, the transcendental knowledge of the scriptures is revealed unto him because of his devotion. To anyone who has full faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the spiritual master, all the import of the Vedic literatures is revealed. One doesn't have to seek separately; the yogīs who engage in devotional service are full in knowledge and renunciation. If there is a lack of knowledge and renunciation, it is to be understood that one is not engaged in full devotional service. The conclusion is that one cannot be sure of entrance into the spiritual realm - in either the impersonal brahma-jyotir effulgence of the Lord or the Vaikuṇṭha planets within that Brahman effulgence - unless he is surrendered unto the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord. The surrendered souls are called akuto-bhaya. They are doubtless and fearless, and their entrance into the spiritual kingdom is guaranteed.
Devotional service is most important because there is danger in every step in this material world. At any moment, our life can be finished. We may be walking along very nicely, but at some moment we may slip and break our neck; therefore this planet is called Martyaloka, the planet of death, the place where death is a certainty. Regardless of how strong or healthy one may be, one cannot avoid death. One may exercise on the beach daily, but one may die at any moment. There is no guarantee. Everyone wants health and security, but actually there is no security. There is simply a struggle for existence. People are struggling for security, but in reality this is all foolishness. People are always fearful because they have forgotten or rejected Kṛṣṇa. We have forgotten that we are Kṛṣṇa's eternal servants, His eternal parts and parcels, and that we have a most intimate relationship with Him. In the material world we are situated in asat, a nonpermanent situation. When a child has lost his father and mother, he is always in a fearful condition. He cries in the street, "Where is my father? Where is my mother?" If we no longer want to be in such a fearful condition, we have to take shelter at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is begging us to come to Him because we are all His sons. He says, "You are rotting here by repeatedly committing sins. You are changing from one body to another, and you are thinking that you are a human being, an American, this or that. The next moment you may become a dog or an insect." People are always thinking that they are secure, and this is called māyā, illusion.
Knowledge, jñāna, means understanding our relationship with Kṛṣṇa. A wise man asks, "What is my duty to Kṛṣṇa?" Once we understand our relationship with Kṛṣṇa and our duty to Him, we naturally become reluctant to engage in material activities. This is called vairāgya, detachment from material activities. Jñāna and vairāgya can be awakened by bhakti-yoga. Bhakti means surrender unto Kṛṣṇa. Without surrendering to Kṛṣṇa, we cannot understand our situation. Kṛṣṇa reserves the right of not being exposed to fools and rascals. He is simply meant for the devotees. We cannot understand Kṛṣṇa without becoming devotees.
Material life means sex. People work hard all day in order to have a little sex at night. In the material world everyone is suffering from the sharp arrow of Cupid. Madana, Cupid, shoots his arrow into men and women to make them mad after one another; however, when one actually sees Kṛṣṇa, he sees Madana-mohana, the charmer of Cupid. Then one is no longer pierced by Cupid's arrow. This means that one actually becomes fearless. One can then enter into bhakti-yoga and renounce this material world. According to the śāstras, there is śreyas and preyas. Śreyas is the ultimate goal. We should act in such a way that ultimately we will become happy. However, if we want immediate happiness and disregard the future, we want preyas. Preyas is for unintelligent people and children. A child enjoys playing all day; he does not want to be sent to school to be educated. Education is śreyas, the ultimate goal. No one is interested in this. The śāstras instruct us to aim for śreyas and not be captivated by preyas. The supreme śreyas is bhakti-yoga.
In the material world we are struggling for existence with the hope that someday in the future we will be happy. Yet we are bewildered. An animal in the desert sees a mirage, a shadow of water, and he runs after this shadow again and again. He runs further and further, and in this way, as he crosses the hot sands, he becomes more and more thirsty and he finally dies. Our struggle for existence is like this. We are thinking, "Let me go a little further. There will be water eventually. There will eventually be happiness." Yet there is no water in the desert. Those who are unintelligent, who are like animals, seek happiness in the desert of the material world. This false attachment has to be given up by the process of bhakti-yoga. This must be taken up very seriously, not artificially. Kṛṣṇa in all seriousness wants to see whether one has finished all his material desires. When Kṛṣṇa sees this, He is very pleased. We are actually busy with dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa, but when we transcend these, bhakti begins.
If we study the history of the world, we see that it is simply a history of struggle. Mankind attempts to relieve its miserable condition, but it simply brings about another miserable condition. As we try to overcome one problem, another problem arises. Our determination to renounce our association with this material world is called mukti. Mukti means coming to the spiritual platform. Since we belong to the spiritual atmosphere, it is impossible for us to be happy in the material atmosphere. If a land animal is placed in water, he will simply struggle for existence, despite being an expert swimmer. We have come into this material world to gratify our senses, but our attempts will never be successful. If we actually want to attain a state beyond fear, we have to accept this bhakti-yoga process enunciated by Lord Kapiladeva.