An apparently pitiable condition in devotional service may appear to be distressing to the inexperienced student, but the feelings of the devotee in this pitiable condition are considered to be ecstatic by expert devotees. For example, the subject matter of the Rāmāyaṇa is sometimes considered to be pitiable and distressing to the heart, but actually that is not the fact. The Rāmāyaṇa narrates how Lord Rāma was sent to the forest by His father just when He was going to be enthroned. After Lord Rāma's departure, Mahārāj Daśaratha, His father, died. In the forest His wife, Sītādevī, was kidnapped by Rāvaṇa, and there was a great war. When Sītādevī was finally delivered from the clutches of Rāvaṇa, Rāvaṇa's whole family and kingdom, and Rāvaṇa himself, were vanquished. When Sītādevī came home she was tried by fire, and after some days she was again banished to the forest. All of these subjects in the Rāmāyaṇa seem very pitiable, and they may appear to be very distressing to the reciter, but actually this is not so. Otherwise, why would Hanumān, the great devotee of Lord Rāmacandra, read daily about the activities of Lord Rāmacandra, as described in the Rāmāyaṇa itself? The fact is that in any of the above-mentioned twelve transcendental humors of devotional service, everything is transcendentally pleasing.
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī mourns in this connection for persons who are in the fire of false renunciation, the dry speculative habit, and who neglect devotional service. Persons who are attached to the ritualistic ceremonies recommended in the Vedas and to the impersonal Brahman cannot relish the transcendental pleasure of devotional service. Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī advises, therefore, that devotees who have already tasted the nectar of devotion should be very careful to protect devotional service from such dry speculators, formal ritualistic elevationists and impersonal salvationists. Devotees should protect their valuable jewel of spiritual love from the clutches of thieves and burglars. In other words, a pure devotee should not describe devotional service and its different analytical aspects to dry speculators and false renouncers.
Those who are not devotees can never achieve the benefits of devotional service. For them the subject of devotional service is always very difficult to understand. Only persons who have dedicated their lives unto the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead can relish the real nectar of devotion.