It is imperative that one sincerely seeks the association of pure devotees and hears them patiently and submissively from any position of life.
Although there is a process of gradual elevation, if one, by the association of pure devotees, takes directly to Krishna Consciousness, that is the best way.
The root cause of devotional service to Lord Krishna is association with advanced devotees. Even when one's dormant love for Krishna awakens, association with devotees is still most essential.
The influence of a pure devotee is such that if someone comes to associate with him with a little faith, one gets the chance of hearing about the Lord from authoritative scriptures like Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam.
Simply by the association of pure devotees one can understand the transcendental name, fame, quality and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Simply by associating with a pure devotee, one becomes wonderfully advanced in Krishna Consciousness. Sadhu-sanga, or association with a devotee, means always engaging in Krishna Consciousness by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra but he whose heart is contaminated sees things differently. Therefore by sat-sanga, or association with devotees, one becomes perfectly pure in heart.