When a devotee is found to be always associated with the Lord in ecstatic love, it is to be understood that such a position is awarded by the Lord Himself out of His causeless extraordinary mercy. An example of such extraordinary mercy is given in the Eleventh Canto, 12th Chapter, 6th verse, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, wherein Lord Kṛṣṇa tells Uddhava: "The gopīs in Vṛndāvana did not study the Vedas to achieve Me. Nor had they ever been in holy places of pilgrimage. Nor did they devoutly execute any regulative principle. Nor did they undergo any kind of austerity. It is simply by My association that they have attained the highest perfection of devotional service."
From the example of Candrakānti as found in the Padma Purāṇa and from the example of the gopīs as found in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, it appears that a devotee who always thinks of Kṛṣṇa and who always chants His glories in ecstatic love, regardless of his condition, will attain the highest perfection of unalloyed devotional love due to Lord Kṛṣṇa's extraordinary mercy. This is confirmed in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: "If Hari, the Supreme Lord, is worshiped, adored and loved by a person, it should be understood that the person has finished all kinds of austerities, penances and similar processes for self realization. On the other hand, if after undergoing all types of austerities, penances and mystic yoga practices, one does not develop such love for Hari, then all his performances are to be considered a useless waste of time. If someone always sees Kṛṣṇa inside and out, then it is to be understood that he has surpassed all austerities and penances for self realization. And if, after executing all kinds of penances and austerities, one cannot always see Kṛṣṇa inside and out, then he has executed his performances uselessly."
Spontaneous attraction to Kṛṣṇa, which is said to be due to the extraordinary mercy of the Lord, can be placed under two headings: one is profound veneration for the greatness of the Lord, and the other may be one's automatically being attracted to Kṛṣṇa without any extraneous consideration. In the Nārada-pañcarātra it is said that if on account of profound veneration for the greatness of the Supreme Lord, one attains a great affection and steady love for Him, one is certainly assured of attaining the four kinds of Vaiṣṇava liberation—namely, achieving the same bodily features as the Lord, achieving the same opulence as the Lord, dwelling on the planet where the Lord is residing, and attaining eternal association with the Lord. The Vaiṣṇava liberation is completely different from the māyāvāda liberation, which is simply a matter of being merged into the effulgence of the Lord.
In the Nārada-pañcarātra pure unalloyed devotional service is explained as being without any motive for personal benefit. If a devotee is continuously in love with Lord Kṛṣṇa and his mind is always fixed upon Him, that devotional attitude will prove to be the only means of attracting the attention of the Lord. In other words, a Vaiṣṇava who is incessantly thinking of the form of Lord Kṛṣṇa is to be known as a pure Vaiṣṇava.
Generally, a devotee who has achieved the causeless mercy of the Lord on account of following the strict rules and regulations of devotional service becomes attracted by the supreme greatness of the Lord, by the transcendental beauty of the Lord and by the spontaneous execution of devotional service. To be more clear, by executing the regulative principles of devotional service, one can fully appreciate the transcendental beauty of the Lord. In any case, such exalted positions are only possible by the extraordinary mercy of the Lord upon the devotee.