It is not a fact that one has to offer his material possessions to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and be liberated before he can engage in devotional service. A devotee automatically attains liberation without separate endeavors. Bali Mahārāja did not get back all his material possessions merely because of his charity to the Lord. One who becomes a devotee, free from material desires and motives, regards all opportunities, both material and spiritual, as benedictions from the Lord, and in this way his service to the Lord is never hampered. Bhukti, material enjoyment, and mukti, liberation, are only by-products of devotional service. A devotee need not work separately to attain mukti. Śrīla Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura said, muktiḥ svayaṁ mukulitāñjaliḥ sevate 'smān: a pure devotee of the Lord does not have to endeavor separately for mukti, because mukti is always ready to serve him.
In this regard, Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Antya 3.177-188) describes Haridāsa Ṭhākura's confirmation of the effect of chanting the holy name of the Lord.
- keha bale—'nāma haite haya pāpa-kṣaya'
- keha bale—'nāma haite jīvera mokṣa haya'
Some say that by chanting the holy name of the Lord one is freed from all the reactions of sinful life, and others say that by chanting the holy name of the Lord one attains liberation from material bondage.
- haridāsa kahena,—"nāmera ei dui phala naya
- nāmera phale kṛṣṇa-pade prema upajaya
Haridāsa Ṭhākura, however, said that the desired result of chanting the holy name of the Lord is not that one is liberated from material bondage or freed from the reactions of sinful life. The actual result of chanting the holy name of the Lord is that one awakens his dormant Kṛṣṇa consciousness, his loving service to the Lord.
- ānuṣaṅgika phala nāmera—'mukti', 'pāpa-nāśa'
- tāhāra dṛṣṭānta yaiche sūryera prakāśa
Haridāsa Ṭhākura said that liberation and freedom from the reactions of sinful activities are only by-products of chanting the holy name of the Lord. If one chants the holy name of the Lord purely, he attains the platform of loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this regard Haridāsa Ṭhākura gave an example comparing the power of the holy name to sunshine.
- ei ślokera artha kara paṇḍitera gaṇa"
- sabe kahe,—'tumi kaha artha-vivaraṇa'
He placed a verse before all the learned scholars present, but the learned scholars asked him to state the purport of the verse.
- haridāsa kahena,—"yaiche sūryera udaya
- udaya nā haite ārambhe tamera haya kṣaya
Haridāsa Ṭhākura said that as the sun begins to rise, it dissipates the darkness of night, even before the sunshine is visible.
- caura-preta-rākṣasādira bhaya haya nāśa
- udaya haile dharma-karma-ādi parakāśa
Before the sunrise even takes place, the light of dawn destroys the fear of the dangers of the night, such as disturbances by thieves, ghosts and Rākṣasas, and when the sunshine actually appears, one engages in his duties.
- aiche nāmodayārambhe pāpa-ādira kṣaya
- udaya kaile kṛṣṇa-pade haya premodaya
Similarly, even before one's chanting of the holy name is pure, one is freed from all sinful reactions, and when he chants purely he becomes a lover of Kṛṣṇa.
- 'mukti' tuccha-phala haya nāmābhāsa haite
- ye mukti bhakta nā laya, se kṛṣṇa cāhe dite"
A devotee never accepts mukti, even if Kṛṣṇa offers it. Mukti, freedom from all sinful reactions, is obtained even by nāmābhāsa, or a glimpse of the light of the holy name before its full light is perfectly visible.
The nāmābhāsa stage is between that of nāma-aparādha, or chanting of the holy name with offenses, and pure chanting. There are three stages in chanting the holy name of the Lord. In the first stage, one commits ten kinds of offenses while chanting. In the next stage, nāmābhāsa, the offenses have almost stopped, and one is coming to the platform of pure chanting. In the third stage, when one chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra without offenses, his dormant love for Kṛṣṇa immediately awakens. This is the perfection.