"Unless one is favored by a pure devotee, one cannot attain the platform of devotional service. To say nothing of krsna-bhakti, one cannot even be relieved from the bondage of material existence.
"O King Rahugana, without taking upon one's head the dust from the lotus feet of a pure devotee (a mahajana or mahatma), one cannot attain devotional service. Devotional service is not possible to attain simply by undergoing severe austerities and penances, by gorgeously worshiping the Deity, or by strictly following the rules and regulations of the sannyasa or gṛhastha order; nor is it attained by studying the Vedas, submerging oneself in water, or exposing oneself to fire or scorching sunlight.
"Unless human society accepts the dust of the lotus feet of great mahatmas -- devotees who have nothing to do with material possessions -- mankind cannot turn its attention to the lotus feet of Krsna. Those lotus feet vanquish all the unwanted, miserable conditions of material life.
"The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment's association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success.
"The value of a moment's association with a devotee of the Lord cannot be compared even to the attainment of the heavenly planets or liberation from matter, and what to speak of worldly benedictions in the form of material prosperity, which is for those who are meant for death."
(Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 22.51-55)