(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada applying tilaka.)
Devotee: How does that work, that if somebody has the association of a pure devotee for only a lava, one-eleventh of a second, that he attains all perfection?
Prabhupada: If he is so sincere. Just like dried wood immediately ignites. And if it is moist, it does not. It is the quality of the wood. One takes three hundred years; one in three minutes. That's it. One is dry from the material moist of contamination, he becomes immediately ignited in spiritual...
Devotee (2): What is that drying process?
Prabhupada: Drying process is for many, many years one has tried to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, for many, many lives, bahūnāṁ janmanām ante (BG 7.19). When he actually becomes man of knowledge he surrenders unto God. Otherwise he is lost. His drying process may take three minute or three millions' years.
Devotee (3): But that knowledge that Kṛṣṇa is everything comes by Kṛṣṇa's mercy, Śrīla Prabhupada?
Prabhupada: Kṛṣṇa's mercy is already there, but if you are not able to take it...
Devotee (1): Then you don't even have to hear from a self-realized soul. Simply by seeing him you can become completely purified.
Prabhupada: Yes. Both required. The matches must be also all right, and the wood must be also. Then there is fire. If one of them is defective, then it will not... But when you go to the fire, you become dry. But willfully we put again water. This nonsense business makes us late. This process is already there, how to become dry. But instead of taking the process, we put water. Then how it will be ignited? The rules and regulations is the drying process. But without following the rules and regulation, if you again become a victimized by māyā, then there is water, and again dry it. So this is going on: watering and drying, watering and drying. No straightforward process for drying. That will help. But difficulty is that we dry, and again water.
(Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, Mayapur, March 11, 1976)