(Srila Prabhupada offering arotika to Krishna-Balarama, Vrindavan, 1975)
"We have to receive mercy both from the spiritual master and Kṛṣṇa. We cannot jump over to Kṛṣṇa. That is another nonsense. We must approach Kṛṣṇa through guru. That is paramparā system. Kṛṣṇa is not so cheap thing that you can jump over. Somebody says, 'Oh, why shall I accept guru? I can approach Kṛṣṇa directly.' No. Kṛṣṇa does not accept such... Mad-bhaktaḥ pūjābhyadhikaḥ. Kṛṣṇa says that 'First of all you become devotee of My devotee.' Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ (CC Madhya 13.80): 'I am the servant of the servant of the servant of Kṛṣṇa.' This is called paramparā system.
You have to learn how to become servant of the servant of Kṛṣṇa. The more you become in the lower position—servant, servant, servant, servant, servant, hundred times servant's servant—then more you are advanced. Here in this material world everyone is trying to be master of the master. Just opposite. And the spiritual world, the endeavor is to become servant's servant. This is the secret.
yasya deve parā bhaktir
yathā deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthaḥ
(Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.23)
(Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.)
This is Vedic instruction."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, London, August 3, 1973)