Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj describes some of the qualities needed for the practitioner to progress on the devotional path.
utsahan nishchayad dhairyat, tat tat karma pravartanat
sanga tyagat sato vritteh, shadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati
In Upadeshamrita, according to the advice of Mahaprabhu, Srila Rupa Goswami has given this shloka to us. What should be our fare, the capital for the journey? Utsahat: enthusiasm; nishchayat: pure faith; dhairyat: patience; tat tat karma pravartanat: perseverence, to perseveringly go on doing those very programmes which are mentioned and required of us to do, kirtan, and so on. Sanga tyagat: we must leave the opposite association, anti-God association; and sato vritteh: we shall accept, try to accept, the sentiments, the feelings, the nature of thought, of the higher. We shall try to associate with the sadhus, with the devotees, and give up what is anti to devotion.
We must continue this programme infinitely, and thereby we shall find Him everywhere, in them [these practices]. If I withdraw from them I will see darkness. It can’t be truth. If we are following the real path, then if we stop, it will simply be horrible for us. So unconsciously we will enter God’s domain. It is the nature of the Infinite. Sometimes He will seem to be very nearer, close by. Sometimes it will seem, “Oh, am I making progress in the wrong direction?” And at the next moment again, no, no! I am all right.” The play of Him from the background.
So many things may come, but we must always keep the association of the genuine devotee. That is the most important factor. And in the absence of that, we must keep the association of the scripture: the words and thoughts of the devotees. That is our solace, consolation, capital, everything: the holy books and holy persons. And we must think that we are infinitesimal on the way to have Infinite.
The real sadhu is a concrete thing to us. Everything is almost abstract, but a sadhu is a concrete thing. In his heart we shall find the existence, feelings surcharged with God consciousness, and that is something tangible. We can converse with each other. That will seem to be something tangible. Otherwise almost everything is abstract. Hare Krishna.