In Bhagavad-gītā (BG 12.5) it is said that the impersonalist undergoes a series of difficult programs on account of his impersonal meditation. But the devotee, due to the Lord's personal service, progresses very easily. Impersonal meditation is therefore a source of suffering for the impersonalist. Here, the devotee has an advantage over the impersonalist philosopher. The impersonalist is doubtful about the personal feature of the Lord, and therefore he always tries to meditate upon something which is not objective. For this reason there is an authentic statement in the Bhāgavatam regarding the positive concentration of the mind on the factual form of the Lord.
The process of meditation recommended herein is bhakti-yoga, or the process of devotional service after one is liberated from the material conditions. Jñāna-yoga is the process of liberation from the material conditions. After one is liberated from the conditions of material existence, i.e., when one is nivṛtta, as previously stated herein, or when one is freed from all material necessities, one becomes qualified to discharge the process of bhakti-yoga. Therefore bhakti-yoga includes jñāna-yoga, or, in other words, the process of pure devotional service simultaneously serves the purpose of jñāna-yoga; liberation from material conditions is automatically achieved by the gradual development of pure devotional service. These effects of bhakti-yoga are called anartha-nivṛtti. Things which are artificially acquired gradually disappear along with the progress of bhakti-yoga. Meditation on the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead, the first processional step, must show its effect by anartha-nivṛtti. The grossest type of anartha which binds the conditioned soul in material existence is sex desire, and this sex desire gradually develops in the union of the male and female. When the male and female are united, the sex desire is further aggravated by the accumulation of buildings, children, friends, relatives and wealth. When all these are acquired, the conditioned soul becomes overwhelmed by such entanglements, and the false sense of egoism, or the sense of "myself" and "mine," becomes prominent, and the sex desire expands to various political, social, altruistic, philanthropic and many other unwanted engagements, resembling the foam of the sea waves, which becomes very prominent at one time and at the next moment vanishes as quickly as a cloud in the sky. The conditioned soul is encircled by such products, as well as products of sex desire, and therefore bhakti-yoga leads to gradual evaporation of the sex desire, which is summarized in three headings, namely profit, adoration and distinction. All conditioned souls are mad after these different forms of sex desire, and one shall see for himself how much he has been freed from such material hankerings based primarily on the sex desire. As a person feels his hunger satisfied after eating each morsel of foodstuff, he must similarly be able to see the degree to which he has been freed from sex desire. The sex desire is diminished along with its various forms by the process of bhakti-yoga because bhakti-yoga automatically, by the grace of the Lord, effectively results in knowledge and renunciation, even if the devotee is not materially very well educated. Knowledge means knowing things as they are, and if by deliberation it is found that there are things which are at all unnecessary, naturally the person who has acquired knowledge leaves aside such unwanted things. When the conditioned soul finds by culture of knowledge that material necessities are unwanted things, he becomes detached from such unwanted things. This stage of knowledge is called vairāgya, or detachment from unwanted things. We have previously discussed that the transcendentalist is required to be self-sufficient and should not beg from the rich blind persons to fulfill the bare necessities of life. Śukadeva Gosvāmī has suggested some alternatives for the bare necessities of life, namely the problem of eating, sleeping and shelter, but he has not suggested any alternative for sex satisfaction. One who has the sex desire still with him should not at all try to accept the renounced order of life. For one who has not attained to this stage, there is no question of a renounced order of life. So by the gradual process of devotional service under the guidance of a proper spiritual master, and following the principles of the Bhāgavatam, one must be able at least to control the gross sex desire before one accepts the renounced order of life factually.
So purification means getting free gradually from sex desire, and this is attained by meditation on the person of the Lord as described herein, beginning from the feet. One should not try to go upwards artificially without seeing for himself how much he has been released from the sex desire. The smiling face of the Lord is the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and there are many upstarts who at once try to begin with the Tenth Canto and especially with the five chapters which delineate the rāsa-līlā of the Lord. This is certainly improper. By such improper study or hearing of Bhāgavatam, the material opportunists have played havoc by indulgence in sex life in the name of Bhāgavatam. This vilification of Bhāgavatam is rendered by the acts of the so-called devotees; one should be free from all kinds of sex desire before he tries to make a show of recital of Bhāgavatam. Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura clearly defines the import of purification as cessation from sex indulgence. He says, yathā yathā dhīś ca śudhyati viṣaya-lāmpaṭyaṁ tyajati, tathā tathā dhārayed iti citta-śuddhi-tāratamyenaiva dhyāna-tāratamyam uktam. And as one gets free from the intoxication of sex indulgence by purification of intelligence, one should step forward for the next meditation, or in other words, the progress of meditation on the different limbs of the transcendental body of the Lord should be enhanced in proportion to the progress of purification of the heart. The conclusion is that those who are still entrapped by sex indulgence should never progress to meditation above the feet of the Lord; therefore recital of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam by them should be restricted to the First and Second Cantos of the great literature. One must complete the purificatory process by assimilating the contents of the first nine cantos. Then one should be admitted into the realm of the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.