(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada)
"The pure devotee thinks himself fallen into the ocean of birth and death and incessantly prays to the Lord to lift him up. He only aspires to become a speck of transcendental dust at the lotus feet of the Lord. The pure devotee, by the grace of the Lord, absolutely loses all attraction for material enjoyment, and to keep free from contamination he always thinks of the lotus feet of the Lord. King Kulaśekhara, a great devotee of the Lord, prayed:
adyaiva me viśatu mānasa-rāja-haṁsaḥ
kaṇṭhāvarodhana-vidhau smaraṇaṁ kutas te
'My Lord Kṛṣṇa, I pray that the swan of my mind may immediately sink down to the stems of the lotus feet of Your Lordship and be locked in their network; otherwise at the time of my final breath, when my throat is choked up with cough, how will it be possible to think of You?'
There is an intimate relationship between the swan and the lotus stem. So the comparison is very appropriate: without becoming a swan, or paramahaṁsa, one cannot enter into the network of the lotus feet of the Lord. As stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā, the mental speculators, even by dint of learned scholarship, cannot even dream of the Absolute Truth by speculating over it for eternity. The Lord reserves the right of not being exposed to such mental speculators. And because they cannot enter into network stem of the lotus stem of the Lord, all material speculators differ in conclusions, and at the end they make a useless compromise by saying, 'as many conclusions, as many ways,' according to one's own inclination (yathā-rucam). But the Lord is not like a shopkeeper trying to please all sorts of customers in the mental speculator exchange. The Lord is what He is, the Absolute Personality of Godhead, and He demands absolute surrender unto Him only. The pure devotee, however, by following the ways of previous ācāryas, or authorities, can see the Supreme Lord through the transparent medium of a bona fide spiritual master (anupaśyanti). The pure devotee never tries to see the Lord by mental speculation, but by following in the footsteps of the ācāryas (mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ (CC Madhya 17.186)). Therefore there is no difference of conclusions amongst the Vaiṣṇava ācāryas regarding the Lord and the devotees. Lord Caitanya asserts that the living entity (jīva) is eternally the servitor of the Lord and that he is simultaneously one with and different from the Lord. This tattva of Lord Caitanya's is shared by all four sampradāyas of the Vaiṣṇava school (all accepting eternal servitude to the Lord even after salvation), and there is no authorized Vaiṣṇava ācārya who may think of the Lord and himself as one.
This humbleness of the pure devotee, who is one hundred percent engaged in His service, puts the devotee of the Lord in a trance by which to realize everything, because to the sincere devotee of the Lord, the Lord reveals Himself, as stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (BG 10.10). The Lord, being the Lord of intelligence in everyone (even in the nondevotee), favors His devotee with proper intelligence so that automatically the pure devotee is enlightened with the factual truth about the Lord and His different energies. the Lord is revealed not by one's speculative power or by one's verbal jugglery over the Absolute Truth. Rather, He reveals Himself to a devotee when He is fully satisfied by the devotee's service attitude."
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.4.21, Purport)