Devotee: Some people are saying that it is necessary to read only Prabhupāda’s books [Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda] and that this is the way to get his association. But on the other hand, Prabhupāda says in many of his purports that personal association with saintly persons is important. How can we fully realize that?
Śrīla Bhakti Vaibhāva Purī Mahārāja: You see, when sadhus are not available, there are the śāstras and you must read them. But when sadhus are available near or far, you have to approach them, you have to talk with them. Because the Scriptures may help us, but practically speaking wherever you find a sadhu practicing, you should go to that sadhu and receive direct instructions from him. The Scriptures cannot bless you. They may clear your doubts, but the blessings come from the sadhus. You have to approach a living sadhu. There is no other way. He must bless us. But if you go to a sadhu who is not a real sadhu, then he will delude you. Then you will have to pray to Lord Kṛṣṇa that He comes to You as a bona fide sadhu. You will do your duty by thinking, “Only when Kṛṣṇa will bless me, will I get that association.” We don’t know for how long we will survive, janma-mṛtyu-jarā-duḥkhair (birth, death, old age and their distresses). We should know that we are unreal, we don’t know what will happen one hour from now. So we should not procrastinate, we should not be lazy in doing this [searching for a real sadhu].

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