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SB 1.5 - The state of a fallen devotee

Even if a devotee of Kṛṣṇa falls down, he does not undergo material existence like others because having once relished the taste of the lotus feet of Lord Mukunda, he can do nothing but remember that ecstasy again and again. A devotee may fall down due to uncongenial association but he is not like a fallen karmī. The person who serves Mukunda never returns to saṁsāra, the place for enjoying the results of karma. This is because the devotee does not experience happiness and distress from karmas, but only the fruit of happiness and distress directly given by the Lord. Padma Purāṇa confirms that the Vaiṣṇavas do not have rebirth caused by karma. If a devotee foolishly wants to accumulate some material power, he is put into difficulty by the Lord, who as a special favor may remove all material paraphernalia. By such action, the devotee is forsaken by all friends and relatives, and so he comes to his senses again by the mercy of the Lord and is set right to execute his devotional service.

Sometimes the fallen devotees are given a chance to take birth in a rich family but that position is not as fortunate as one who is chastised by the Lord and put into a position of seemingly helplessness. The fallen devotees born in a good family may forget the lotus feet of the Lord because they are less fortunate, but the forlorn devotee swiftly returns to the lotus feet of the Lord. Pure devotional service is so spiritually relishable that a devotee becomes automatically uninterested in material enjoyment. That is the sign of perfection in progressive devotional service.

Remembering from previous practice alone the mental embrace of the Lord’s lotus feet, he has no desire to give that up. Even if a devotee gives up worshiping the Lord once, twice or three times due to poor determination, after some time by remembering his previous state of bliss and remembering his present state of distress, he repents and begins worshiping the Lord. The devotee desires he be devoid of pride in his practice. The accomplishment is in the hands of the Lord. Since he is haunted by rasa, he does not desire to give up worship of the Lord. After the stages of niṣthā, ruci and āsakti, worship becomes actual rasa at the stage of rati. However, even from the first day of worshipping the Lord, there is certainly a portion of tasting rasa in a covered form.