In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear."
Devotional service is so pure and perfect that once having begun, one is forcibly dragged to ultimate success. Sometimes a person will give up his ordinary material engagements and out of sentiment take shelter of the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord and thus begin the preliminary execution of devotional service. Even if such an immature devotee falls down, there is no loss on his part. On the other hand, what is the gain of one who executes the prescribed duties according to his varṇa and āśrama but does not take to devotional service? Although a fallen devotee may take his next birth in a low family, his devotional service will nonetheless resume from where it left off. Devotional service is ahaituky apratihatā; it is not the effect of any mundane cause, nor can it be terminated by any mundane cause or permanently curtailed by any material interruption. Therefore a devotee should be confident about his engagement and should not be very interested in the activities of the karmīs, jñānīs and yogīs.
There are certainly many good qualities among fruitive actors, philosophical speculators and mystic yogīs, but all good qualities automatically develop in the character of a devotee. No extraneous endeavor is needed. As confirmed by Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (SB 5.18.12), all the good qualities of the demigods manifest progressively in one who has developed pure devotional service. Because a devotee is not interested in any material activity, he does not become materially contaminated. He is immediately situated on the platform of transcendental life. However, one who engages in mundane activity—be he a so—called jñānī, yogī, karmī, philanthropist, nationalist, or whatever—cannot attain the higher stage of mahātmā. He remains a durātmā, or cripple-minded person. According to Bhagavad-gītā (BG 9.13):
- mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha
- daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ
- bhajanty ananya-manaso
- jñātvā bhūtādim avyayam
"O son of Pṛthā, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible."
Since all the devotees of the Lord are under the protection of His supreme potency, they should not deviate from the path of devotional service and take to the path of the karmī, jñānī or yogī. This is called utsāhān niścayād dhairyāt tat-tat-karma-pravartanāt, enthusiastically executing the regulative activities of devotional service with patience and confidence. In this way one can advance in devotional service without hindrance.