In the preliminary phase of spiritual life there are different kinds of austerities, penances and similar processes for attaining self-realization. However, even if an executor of these processes is without any material desire, he still cannot achieve devotional service and aspiring by oneself alone to achieve devotional service is also not very hopeful, because Krishna does not agree to award devotional service to merely anyone. Krishna can easily offer a person material happiness or even liberation, but He does not agree very easily to award a person engagement in His devotional service. Devotional service can in fact be attained only through the mercy of a pure devotee.
Devotional service is dependent on the mercy of Krishna and His devotees. Unless we surrender to the lotus feet of a pure devotee, it is not possible to come to the platform of pure devotional service. By his own efforts a bee cannot taste the honey within a bottle. The bottle must be opened by a superior. If the bee simply licks the outside of the bottle, thinking “Now I am tasting honey,” then he is in illusion. Similarly, no one can enter into devotional service unless the door is opened by a devotee.
From association with devotees is born faith. From faith is born pure knowledge. From pure knowledge is born meditation. From meditation is born devotional service, which pleases Lord Krishna and destroys all sufferings.
One should not be impatient in discharging devotional service, but should take instructions from the spiritual master and execute them with patience, depending on the mercy of guru and Krishna. The successful execution of Krishna conscious activities requires both patience and confidence.
A pure devotee is the supreme transcendentalist and one has to receive his mercy for one's dormant Krishna Consciousness to be awakened. One has to associate with pure devotees. If one has firm faith in the words of a great soul, pure devotional service will awaken.
The flow of devotional service is so potent that any onlooker also becomes liberated from the influence of the modes of passion and ignorance.