This imitative attachment can be divided into two headings—namely, shadow attachment and parā (transcendental) attachment. If someone, without undergoing the regulative principles of devotional service or without being guided by a bona fide spiritual master, shows such imitative attachment, it is called shadow attachment. Sometimes it is found that a person actually attached to material enjoyment or salvation has the good fortune to associate with pure devotees while they are engaged in chanting the holy name of the Lord. By the good grace of the Lord one may also cooperate and join in the chanting. At that time, simply by the association of such pure devotees, the moonlike rays from their hearts reflect on him, and by the influence of the pure devotees he may show some likeness of attachment caused by inquisitiveness, but this is very flickering. And, if by the manifestation of such shadow attachment one feels the disappearance of all material pangs, then it is called parā attachment.
Such shadow attachment or parā attachment can develop by associating with a pure devotee or by visiting holy places like Vṛndāvana or Mathurā; or if an ordinary man develops such attachment for Kṛṣṇa and fortunately performs devotional activities in the association of pure devotees, he can also rise up to the platform of pure devotional service. The conclusion is that transcendental attachment is so powerful that even if such attachment is seen manifested in some common man, by the association of a pure devotee it can bring one to the perfectional stage. But such attachment for Kṛṣṇa cannot be invoked in a person without his being sufficiently blessed by the association of pure devotees.
As attachment can be invoked by the association of pure devotees, so attachment can also be extinguished by committing offenses at the lotus feet of pure devotees. To be more clear, by the association of pure devotees attachment for Kṛṣṇa can be aroused, but if one commits offenses at the lotus feet of a devotee, his shadow attachment or parā attachment can be extinguished. This extinguishing is like the waning moon, which gradually decreases and at last becomes darkness. One should therefore be very careful while associating with pure devotees to guard against committing an offense at their lotus feet.
Transcendental attachment, either shadow or parā, can be nullified by different degrees of offenses at the lotus feet of pure devotees. If the offense is very serious, then one's attachment becomes almost nil, and if the offense is not very serious, one's attachment can become second-class or third-class.
If someone becomes attached to the principles of salvation or to merging into the existence of the brahma-jyoti, his ecstasies gradually diminish into shadow and parā attachment or else transform into the principles of ahaṅgrahopāsanā. This ahaṅgrahopāsanā describes a living entity when he begins spiritual realization by identifying himself with the Supreme Lord. This state of self realization is technically known as monism. The monist thinks himself one with the Supreme Lord. Thus, without differentiating between himself and the Supreme Lord, it is his view that by worshiping himself he is worshiping the supreme whole.