(Srila Prabhupada's lotus footprints, New Gokula Dhama, Vancouver, Canada)
"One cannot come to the precincts of Krishna consciousness unless he touches the dust of the lotus feet of a person who has become a mahatma, a great devotee. This is the beginning of the surrendering process. Lord Krishna wants everyone to surrender unto Him, and this surrendering process begins when one touches the lotus feet of a bona fide spiritual master. By sincerely rendering service to a bona fide spiritual master, one begins his spiritual life in Krishna consciousness. Touching the lotus feet of a spiritual master means giving up one's false prestige and unnecessarily puffed-up position in the material world. Those who remain in the darkness of material existence due to their falsely prestigious positions -- so-called scientists and philosophers -- are actually atheists. They do not know the ultimate cause of everything. Although bewildered, they are not ready to surrender themselves to the lotus feet of a person who knows things in their proper perspective. In other words, one cannot arouse Krishna consciousness simply by his own mental speculation. One must surrender to a bona fide spiritual master. Only this process will help one."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.26.20, Purport)
*Special thanks to Gary Paterson for his beautiful photograph.