Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī also says that if anyone is regularly discharging devotional service there will be no question of a falldown. But even if circumstantially there is some falldown, the Vaiṣṇava need have nothing to do with the prāyaścitta, the ritualistic ceremony for purification. If someone falls down from the principles of devotional service, he need not take to the prāyaścitta performances for reformation. He has simply to execute the rules and regulations for discharging devotional service, and that is sufficient for his reinstatement. This is the mystery of the Vaiṣṇava (devotional) cult.
Practically there are three processes for elevating one to the platform of spiritual consciousness. These processes are called karma, jñāna and bhakti. Ritualistic performances are in the field of karma. Speculative processes are in the field of jñāna. One who has taken to bhakti, the devotional service of the Lord, need have nothing to do with karma or jñāna. It has been already explained that pure devotional service is without any tinge of karma or jñāna. Bhakti should have no tinge of philosophical speculation or ritualistic performances.
In this connection Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī gives evidence from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Eleventh Canto, in which it is said by Lord Kṛṣṇa to Uddhava, "The distinction between qualification and disqualification may be made in this way: persons who are already elevated in discharging devotional service will never again take shelter of the processes of fruitive activities or philosophical speculation. If one sticks to devotional service and is conducted by regulative principles given by the authorities and ācāryas, that is the best qualification."
This statement is supported in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, First Canto, 5th Chapter, 17th verse, wherein Śrī Nārada Muni advises Vyāsadeva thusly: "Even if one does not execute his specific occupational duty, but immediately takes direct shelter of the lotus feet of Hari (Kṛṣṇa), there will be no fault on his part, and in all circumstances his position is secure. Even if, by some bad association, he falls down while executing devotional service, or if he doesn't finish the complete course of devotional service and dies untimely, still he is not at a loss. A person who is simply discharging his occupational duty in varṇa and āśrama, however, with no Kṛṣṇa consciousness, practically does not gain the true benefit of human life." The purport is that all conditioned souls who are engaged very frantically in activities for sense gratification, without knowing that this process will never help them to get out of material contamination, are awarded only with repeated births and deaths.
In the Fifth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is clearly stated by Ṛṣabhadeva to his sons: "Persons engaged in fruitive activities are repeatedly accepting birth and death, and until they develop a loving feeling for Vāsudeva, there will be no question of getting out from these stringent laws of material nature." As such, any person who is very seriously engaged in his occupational duties in the varṇas and āśramas, and who does not develop love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva, is to be understood as simply spoiling his human form of life.