Regarding accepting initiation from the spiritual master, in the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, 17th Chapter, 22nd verse, it is stated by Lord Kṛṣṇa: "My dear Uddhava, the spiritual master must be accepted not only as My representative but as My very self. He must never be considered on the same level with an ordinary human being. One should never be envious of the spiritual master, as one may be envious of an ordinary man. The spiritual master should always be seen as the representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and by serving the spiritual master, one is able to serve all the demigods." To Follow in the Footsteps of Saintly Persons
In the Skanda Purāṇa it is advised that a devotee follow the past ācāryas and saintly persons because by such following one can achieve the desired results, with no chance of lamenting or being baffled in his progress.
In the scripture known as Brahma-yāmala it is stated as follows: "If someone wants to pose himself as a great devotee without following the authorities of the revealed scriptures, then his activities will never help him to make progress in devotional service. Instead, he will simply create disturbances for the sincere students of devotional service." Those who do not strictly follow the principles of revealed scriptures are generally called sahajiyā, those who have imagined everything to be cheap, and who have their own concocted ideas, and who do not follow the scriptural injunctions. Such persons are simply creating disturbances in the discharge of devotional service.
In this connection, an objection may be raised by those who are not in devotional service and who do not care for the revealed scriptures. An example of this is seen in Buddhist philosophy. Lord Buddha appeared in the family of a high-grade kṣatriya king, but his philosophy was not in accord with the Vedic conclusions and therefore was rejected. Under the patronage of a Hindu king, Mahārāj Aśoka, the Buddhist religion was spread all over India and the adjoining countries. However, after the appearance of the great stalwart teacher, Śaṅkarācārya, this Buddhism was driven out beyond the border of India.
The Buddhists or other religionists who do not care for revealed scriptures sometimes say that there are many devotees of Lord Buddha who show devotional service to Lord Buddha and who therefore should be considered devotees. In answer to this argument, Rūpa Gosvāmī says that the followers of Buddha cannot be accepted as devotees. Although Lord Buddha is accepted as an incarnation of Kṛṣṇa, the followers of such incarnations are not very advanced in their knowledge of the Vedas. To study the Vedas means to come to the conclusion of the supremacy of the Personality of Godhead. Therefore any religious principle which denies the supremacy of the Personality of Godhead is not accepted and is called atheism. Atheism means defying the authority of the Vedas and decrying the great ācāryas who teach Vedic scriptures for the benefit of the people in general.