(Srila Prabhupada conducts the first initiation ceremony, New York, 1966)
"For knowledge we have got to go to the right person, tattva-darśī. Tattva-darśī means 'one who has actually seen or experienced the Absolute Truth.' So unless we find out such a person who has actually seen the Absolute Truth or who has in his experience what is Absolute Truth, so there is very little chance of our spiritual advancement.
If we can find out such a person who is experienced in the Absolute Truth, and if we follow the principles, as it is stated here, praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā. Praṇipāta means to surrender, and paripraśna means to inquire, and sevayā means service. Three things. You should find out a person who is self-realized, who has experience in the Absolute Truth, and, on your part, you have to surrender there, and you have to inquire, and you have to render service. When these things are completed, there is no doubt about one's spiritual salvation.
If we have actually found out a person who is self-realized and we have surrendered there honestly, with inquiry and service, then we must know that our spiritual salvation is guaranteed. Guaranteed. There is no doubt about it."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, New York, August 17, 1966)