Q. When and how does a devotee feel the necessity of a spiritual master?
A. In the purport to the verse where Arjuna accepts Krishna as His spiritual master (Bg. 2.7), Srila Prabhupada describes how in this material world, there is perplexity in every step and this behooves one to approach a spiritual master. Arjuna was in total despair and confusion about his duty and what is best for him.
Similarly, by arrangement, the conditioned soul repeatedly finds himself/herself in the midst of perplexities, bewilderment and despondency.
Srila Prabhupada also explains the culmination of all these repeated fleeting problems are the insurmountable problems of repeated birth and death. When one wants to find ultimate solution to all these problems, and wants to inquire into the subject of the Absolute Truth, when one wants guidance in knowing and achieving the goal of life — then one needs to seek a spiritual master.
In third canto of Srimad Bhagavatam (25th chapter) Devahuti approaches her son Lord Kapiladeva in mood of disciple…..
I am very sick of the disturbance caused by my material senses, for because of this sense disturbance, my Lord, I have fallen into the abyss of ignorance. Your Lordship is my only means of getting out of this darkest region of ignorance because You are my transcendental eye, which, by Your mercy only, I have attained after many, many births.
Srila Prabhupada says in the purport…..
Unless one becomes tired of material sense gratification, there is no opportunity to hear transcendental messages from a person like Kapila. Devahuti expressed that she was tired. Now she wanted to get relief by hearing the instructions of Lord Kapila.
A conditioned soul is put into the darkest region of ignorance and therefore is entangled in the material existence of sense gratification. It is very difficult to get out of this entanglement and attain freedom, but if one is fortunate enough to get the association of a spiritual master like Kapila Muni or His representative, then by his grace one can be delivered from the mire of ignorance.