(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada)
"If one wants to become the servant of the Lord directly, this is not as fruitful as engaging in the service of the Lord's servant. This is the direction of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who shows us the way to become gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ (CC Madhya 13.80). One should not be proud of becoming directly the servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Rather, one must seek a pure devotee, a servant of the Lord, and engage oneself in the service of such a servant. The more one becomes the servant of the servant, the more one becomes perfect in devotional service. This is also the injunction of Bhagavad-gītā: evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ (BG 4.2). One can understand the science of the Supreme Personality of Godhead simply by the paramparā system. In this regard, Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says, tāṅdera caraṇa sevi bhakta-sane vāsa: 'Let me serve the lotus feet of the devotees of the Lord, and let me live with devotees.' Janame janame haya, ei abhilāṣa. Following Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, one should aspire to be a servant of the Lord's servant, life after life. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura also sings, tumi ta' ṭhākura, tomāra kukura, baliyā jānaha more: 'O my Lord, O Vaiṣṇava, please consider me your dog.' One must become the dog of a Vaiṣṇava, a pure devotee, for a pure devotee can deliver Kṛṣṇa without difficulty. Kṛṣṇa se tomāra, kṛṣṇa dite pāra. Kṛṣṇa is the property of His pure devotee, and if we take shelter of a pure devotee, he can deliver Kṛṣṇa very easily. Prahlāda wants to engage in the service of a devotee, and therefore he prays to Kṛṣṇa, 'My dear Lord, kindly give me the shelter of Your very dear devotee so that I may engage in his service and You may then be pleased.' Mad-bhakta-pūjābhyadhikā (SB 11.19.21). The Lord says, 'Engaging in the service of My devotee is better than trying to engage in My devotional service.'"
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.9.42, Purport)