Sri Rupa Gosvami says bhakti develops from sadhana to bhava by passing through eight steps (BRS 1.4.15-16). The first step, sraddha, leads to the second, sadhu-sanga: association with a sadhu, a Vaishnava saint. Commenting on these verses, Sri Jiva Gosvami writes that prior to attaining sraddha, a person
Recently an article entitled “Disobedience and Deviation is More Dangerous than a Falldown!” by Mahasrnga Dasa was published on the Sampradaya Sun website and brought to my notice. This article warns ISKCON devotees against associating with the bābājīs in Vraja, specifically Vrindavan and Rādhākuṇḍa.
In the following verse, Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī simultaneously describes both qualities of Vaikuṇṭha [discussed in the two previous sections]: It is beyond the visible or manifest world and is a place from which no one falls down:
Teaching is an art. An expert teacher is one who educates in such a way that the students embrace the teaching as their own, without confusion or degradation. The conditioned souls, being unaware of any other reality, do not aspire to become free of the material world, but would rather be happy in this life, or at best, in some future heaven. Yet a compassionate teacher is moved to help relieve them of their material identification.
So the conclusion is that nobody, whether nitya-siddha or sādhana-siddha, ever falls from Vaikuṇṭha. The question that naturally follows is, “So then, where do we come from?” or, “How did we come to be in this bound condition?” The simple answer is that we are nitya-baddha (perpetually bound), which is to say that till now, and indefinitely onwards till the moment of liberation, we have always been bound by the material energy,
Our disputant may set forth yet another objection: If this section is properly analyzed, we can conclude that it refers only to those devotees who reach Vaikuṇṭha from the material world. This can be ascertained by studying the six items that determine the import of a text, such as its opening and closing statements. These are described in the following verse
Another objection could be raised: Conditioned souls are called patita, or fallen, and this implies that previously they were not fallen. When we say, “This is a mashed potato,” it means that it was not mashed previously. So, although we are unable to understand how we fell, we must have, otherwise we would not be designated as “fallen.