So far salvation is concerned, nobody can be liberated without bhakti, without devotional service.
Bhakti vinā, without devotion, or without the love of Godhead, without attaining… That is the verdict of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
So long one is not a surrendered soul to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there is no question of liberation from this material world.
Bhāgavata says, śreyaḥ-sṛtiṁ bhaktim udasya te vibho. Here’s a nice verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. It is said there that śreyaḥ-sṛtim, the real path of salvation, śreyaḥ-sṛtim, bhaktim, that is devotional service, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Śreyah-sṛtiṁ bhaktim. Bhaktim udasya te vibho. If somebody gives up the path of devotional service, kliśyanti ye kevala-bodha-labdhaye, and wastes time simply for understanding that “This is not Brahman, this is not Brahman…” That is the way of Māyāvādī philosophers. They scrutinize that “This is māyā and this is Brahman”; therefore they are called Māyāvādīs. Simply, what is not Brahman… They say it is one, but simply they distinguish, “This is māyā, this is Brahman.” Why this is māyā? They say, wherefrom the māyā comes? Then it becomes dualism actually. Although they say that “We are monists, one,” but they explain that this māyā is an illusion. Māyā is temporary, and actually, everything is one. Eko brahma dvitīya nāsti. But the Vaiṣṇava philosophy is that “Yes… It is…” It is called viśiṣṭādvaitavāda. We also say, “Yes, one,” but one in variety. There are varieties. We don’t say that māyā is something external. Māyā is there. Māyā is there. It is not external. It may be inferior, as it is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā that material energy, the material nature is inferior. That does not mean infer… Some part of my body is inferior. That does not mean it has no existence. It is not mithyā. They say everything mithyā. Mithyā means false. So inferior part of my body there may be, but it is not false. Similarly, the māyā, māyā is not false. It is temporary.
Lecture CC Madhya 25.19-31 – San Francisco, 20 January, 1967
By His Divine Grace A. C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada