In the preliminary phase of spiritual life there are diffrent kinds of austerities, penances and similar processes for attaning 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.
The Kingdom of Godhead is not a myth but it is situated far beyond the boundary of the material cosmos and one can know it by the process of devotional service only.
Speculative knowledge alone, without devotional service, is not able to give liberation. On the other hand, even without knowldege one can obtain liberation if one engages in the Lord’s devotional service. — Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita, Madhya Lila, 22.21.
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.
Always remember why you have joined ashrama or ISKCON. The real purpose of doing so is to be engaged in devotional service.
The human body is rarely achieved and although temporary like other bodies, it is meaningful because in human life one can perform devotional service. Even a slight amount of sincere devotional service can give one complete perfection.