"We have to follow the footsteps of great ācāryas. That is the way. These mahājanas are described in the śāstra like Lords Brahmā, Lord Śiva, svayambhūr nāradaḥ śambhuḥ kapilaḥ kumāro manuḥ (SB 6.3.20). They are all mentioned.
So you follow any one of these great personalities. Brahmā... Brahmā is the greatest personality within this universe, and he has got his sampradāya, which is known as Brahmā-sampradāya. Similarly, Lord Śiva has also a sampradāya, which is called Rudra-sampradāya. Similarly, Nārada-Pañcarātra, Kumāra-sampradāya.
So follow the sampradāya. Sampradāya vihīnā te mantrās te viphalaṁ matāḥ (Padma Purāṇa). If you do not follow any bona fide sampradāya, then your path of spiritual advancement will be baffled. You will simply waste your time. Viphalaṁ matāḥ. So we should follow the footsteps of great ācāryas. Then our progress is positive. There is no fear."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Vrindavan, October 27, 1972)