By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda
So this Krishna consciousness movement is so nice that we are trying to engage everyone in pure devotional service. anyābhilāsitā-śūnyam [Bhakti Rasāmrita Sindhu. 1.1.11]. Pure devotional service means to serve Krishna without any motive. That is pure (bhakti) – “without any motive”. If one aspires to become liberated without rendering service to Krishna, then that is the jnānī’s aspiration. The jnānīs want to merge into the existence of Brahman (impersonal aspect of God). Therefore pure devotional service should be uncontaminated with that jnāna idea also. jnāna-karmādy anāvrtam [Cc. Madhya 19.167]. The karmīs want to get promoted to the higher planetary systems, the heavenly planets. The jnānīs want to become liberated. The yogis want some mystic power. But a devotee should be free from all these things. No mystic power, no elevation to the heavenly planet, no merging into the existence of Brahman.
“Never mind – What Krishna desires, that’s all right.” The devotee does not dictate anything, nor does he desire anything. That is pure devotional service. So there are many śāstric injunctions. So long you have got demand, you cannot be happy. That is one thing. Either you demand to be elevated to the heavenly planet, or you demand to be one with Brahman, or if you want some mystic power, these are all demands. So, so long you’ll have demand, you’ll never be happy.
Therefore in the Caitanya-caritāmrta, Krishnadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī says, bhukti-mukti-siddhi-kāmī sakali aśānta. Bhukti means the karmīs, those who are demanding to be elevated in the heavenly planets, or higher planetary system for more elevated material happiness, they are called bhukti-kāmī. Bhoga, enjoyment of the bodily concept of life. Mukti means the jnānīs, they want to be liberated from material bondage and merge into the existence of Brahman, Absolute. That is mukti. And the yogis, they want siddhi, asta-siddhi. Animā, laghimā. They can become more smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest. prāpti, īśitā vaśitā prākāmya. There are eight kinds of siddhis the yogis can attain. But a devotee does not want all these things. He has no demand.
These are the three demands: bhukti-mukti-siddhi. But devotee has no demand. That is the special qualification (of a devotee). The devotee never demands anything. Just like Dhruva Mahārāja, as soon as Krishna appeared, he said: svāmin krtārtho ‘smi varam na yāce [Cc. Madhya 22.42]. “I don’t want anything.” So this is pure devotee. And as soon as you become pure devotee, then your love for Krishna becomes actual fact in the spiritual world, and you can associate with Krishna in conjugal love or as parent, or as friend, or as servant, in whatever… Or as trees or flower, as a water, as you desire. That is perfection of life. This is the perfection of bhakti.
[An excerpt from a lecture on the Nectar of Devotion delivered in Mumbai on Jan 1, 1973]