Unripe mangoes and ripe mangoes — both are mangoes, aren’t they? But no one enjoys eating unripe mangoes — they are sour, sometimes bitter, often detestable. The ripe ones, however, are delicious, juicy and succulent. If the unripe mangoes have to become ripe, all they need to do is stay attached to the tree. Over a period of time, they will soon become ripe and enjoyable for everyone.

Srila Prabhuada explains that a devotee filled with material desires is like the unripe mango detestable and cannot be offered to Krishna. But if one remains “attached to the tree,” or, in other words, stays in the association of devotees and continues to perform devotional service, one will soon become a “ripe mango,” a perfect devotee who can be offered to Krishna. Krishna becomes greatly pleased to take such a devotee back home, back to Godhead.