This does not mean, however, that we should give up the principles of discharging devotional service or neglect abiding by the rules and regulations prescribed therein. In the neophyte stage of devotion one must follow all the principles, regulated by the authority of the spiritual master. The acceptance and rejection of things should always be in pursuance of the devotional principles; not that one can independently manufacture some idea of what should be accepted or rejected. The spiritual master as the visible manifestation of Kṛṣṇa is necessary, therefore, to direct the devotee on behalf of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The spiritual master must never be carried away by an accumulation of wealth or a large number of followers. A bona fide spiritual master will never become like that. But sometimes, if a spiritual master is not properly authorized, and only on his own initiative becomes a spiritual master, he may be carried away by an accumulation of wealth and large numbers of disciples. His is not a very high grade of devotional service. If a person is carried away by such achievements, then his devotional service becomes slackened. One should, therefore, strictly adhere to the principles of disciplic succession.
A Kṛṣṇa conscious person, being naturally purified, has no need of developing any other purificatory process of thought or action. On account of his being highly elevated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he has already acquired all the good qualities and is following the rules and regulations prescribed for the mystic yogic process. Such rules are automatically practiced by the devotees. A concrete example is the quality of nonviolence, which is considered a good qualification. A devotee is naturally nonviolent and therefore doesn't have to practice nonviolence separately. Some people seek purification by joining a vegetarian movement, but a devotee is automatically a vegetarian. He doesn't need to practice separately in this matter or to join any society for vegetarians. He is automatically a vegetarian.
There are many other instances showing that a devotee needn't practice anything but Kṛṣṇa consciousness; all the good qualities of the demigods automatically develop within him. Those who are intentionally practicing to be vegetarians or to become nonviolent may have good qualifications by a material estimation, but these qualifications are not sufficient to make them devotees. A vegetarian is not necessarily a devotee, nor is a nonviolent person. But a devotee is automatically both vegetarian and nonviolent. We must conclude, therefore, that vegetarianism or nonviolence is not the cause of devotion.
In this connection, there is a story in the Skanda Purāṇa about a hunter who was converted into a great devotee under the instruction of Nārada Muni. When the hunter became a perfect devotee, he was not prepared even to kill an ant. Parvata Muni, a friend of Nārada's, saw the wonderful transformation of the hunter by devotional service, and remarked: "My dear hunter, your unwillingness to kill even an ant is not very astonishing. Any person who develops the devotional attitude has all the good qualities automatically manifested in his person. A devotee is never a cause of distress to anyone."
Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī affirms herein that purification of consciousness, purification of bodily activities, austerities, peace of mind, etc., all become automatically manifest in the person who is engaged in devotional service.