"If one is serious about escaping māyā's influence and returning home, back to Godhead, one must associate with a sādhu (devotee). That is the verdict of all scriptures. By the slight association of a devotee, one can be freed from the clutches of māyā. Without the mercy of the pure devotee, one cannot get freedom by any means. Certainly a pure devotee's association is necessary in order to obtain the loving service of the Lord. One cannot be freed from māyā's clutches without sādhu-saṅga (CC Madhya 22.83), the benediction of a great devotee. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (SB 7.5.32) Prahlāda Mahārāja says:
naiṣāṁ matis tāvad urukramāṅghriṁ
spṛśaty anarthāpagamo yad arthaḥ
niṣkiñcanānāṁ na vṛṇīta yāvat
One cannot become the Lord's pure devotee without taking the dust of a great devotee on his head (pāda-rajo-'bhiṣekam). A pure devotee is niṣkiñcana; he has no material desire to enjoy the material world. One has to take shelter of such a pure devotee in order to attain his qualities. The pure devotee is always free from the clutches of māyā and her influence."