Ramananda, having realized the desire of Lord Caitanya, then suggested an improved process, called calculated devotion (jnana-misra-bhakti). Driven by a false sense of oneness with the Absolute Truth, the empiric philosopher tries to make an analytical study of the cosmic situation to find out the Absolute Truth. When he has done so, he becomes cheerful on account of his self-realization.
The symptoms of perfect realization of the Absolute Truth, which promote one to the stage of pure devotional service to the Personality of Godhead, are described in the Bhagavad-gita (18.54). This was quoted by Ramananda as a further improvement on the suggestion of renunciation of karma:
na socati na kanksati
samah sarvesu bhutesu
mad-bhaktim labhate param
“The practitioner who has realized the Absolute Truth as the nondifferentiated impersonal Brahman does not lament over any material loss, neither does he desire any material gain. He is equipoised towards all objects of the material world, and these conditions make him fit to be promoted to the pure devotional service of Godhead.”
However, the brahma-bhutah state of consciousness is also not a fully transcendental state of spiritual existence. The supramental consciousness, as exists in the spiritual kingdom of Vaikuntha, is a further development. The brahma-bhutah state of consciousness is undoubtedly free from gross material consciousness, and although touching the Absolute Truth indicates a transcendental feeling, it is not the actual transcendental position for realizing the activities of Vaikuntha. As such, it is also external.
Lord Caitanya wants the living entity to be free from every type of material consciousness, including becoming unconcerned with empiric knowledge and fruitive activities. One should stay in pure consciousness, as even a slight tinge of material consciousness causes an impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth. In all these different stages of material consciousness, only imaginary arguments predominate over the Absolute Personality of Godhead. Imaginary argumentative endeavors are detrimental to the pure devotional service of Godhead, and, as such, even the liberated state as above mentioned is external. This liberated state is something like the convalescent stage after relief from a disease. If a convalescent person is not properly taken care of, a relapse of the disease may mar the whole attempt at recovery.
In the brahma-bhuta liberated stage, one has not yet obtained a resting place at the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead. As such, one is still unsupported and thus runs the chance of falling down again into material activities. It is therefore also external and thus the fourth suggestion of Ramananda was rejected by Lord Caitanya.
[Excerpted from the Bhaktivedanta VedaBase 2011.1]