hṛtātmano hṛta-prāṇāṁś ca bhaktir
anicchato me gatim aṇvīṁ prayuṅkte
There are three divisions of devotees: first class, second class and third class. Even the third-class devotees are liberated souls. It is explained in this verse that although they do not have knowledge, simply by seeing the beautiful decoration of the Deity in the temple, the devotees become absorbed in thought of Him and lose all other consciousness. Simply by fixing oneself in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, engaging the senses in the service of the Lord, one is imperceptibly liberated. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā. Simply by discharging uncontaminated devotional service as prescribed in the scriptures, one becomes equal to Brahman. In Bhagavad-gītā it is said, brahma-bhūyāya kalpate This means that the living entity in his original state is Brahman because he is part and parcel of the Supreme Brahman. But simply because of his forgetfulness of his real nature as an eternal servitor of the Lord, he is overwhelmed and captured by māyā. His forgetfulness of his real constitutional position is māyā. Otherwise he is eternally Brahman.
When one is trained to become conscious of his position, he understands that he is the servitor of the Lord. “Brahman” refers to a state of self-realization. Even the third-class devotee — who is not advanced in knowledge of the Absolute Truth but simply offers obeisances with great devotion, thinks of the Lord, sees the Lord in the temple and brings forth flowers and fruits to offer to the Deity — becomes imperceptibly liberated. Śraddhayānvitāḥ: with great devotion the devotees offer worshipful respects and paraphernalia to the Deity. The Deities of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, Lakṣmī and Nārāyaṇa, and Rāma and Sītā are very attractive to devotees, so much so that when they see the statue decorated in the temple of the Lord they become fully absorbed in thought of the Lord. That is the state of liberation. In other words, it is confirmed herewith that even a third-class devotee is in the transcendental position, above those who are trying for liberation by speculation or by other methods. Even great impersonalists like Śukadeva Gosvāmī and the four Kumāras were attracted by the beauty of the Deities in the temple, by the decorations and by the aroma of tulasī offered to the Lord, and they became devotees. Even though they were in the liberated state, instead of remaining impersonalists they were attracted by the beauty of the Lord and became devotees.
Here the word vilāsa is very important. Vilāsa refers to the activities or pastimes of the Lord. It is a prescribed duty in temple worship that not only should one visit the temple to see the Deity nicely decorated, but at the same time he should hear the recitation of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Bhagavad-gītā or some similar literature, which is regularly recited in the temple. It is the system in Vṛndāvana that in every temple there is recitation of the śāstras. Even third-class devotees who have no literary knowledge or no time to read Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhagavad-gītā get the opportunity to hear about the pastimes of the Lord. In this way their minds may remain always absorbed in the thought of the Lord — His form, His activities and His transcendental nature. This state of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is a liberated stage. Lord Caitanya therefore recommended five important processes in the discharge of devotional service: (1) to chant the holy names of the Lord, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, (2) to associate with devotees and serve them as far as possible, (3) to hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, (4) to see the decorated temple and the Deity and, if possible, (5) to live in a place like Vṛndāvana or Mathurā. These five items alone can help a devotee achieve the highest perfectional stage. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā and here in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. That third-class devotees can also imperceptibly achieve liberation is accepted in all Vedic literatures.