A pure devotee is like a match, and the recipient the wood. If both are good then there is fire.
Panca Dravida Swami wanted to know how a person can attain perfection simply from one lava, one eleventh of a second’s association with a pure devotee.
Srila Prabhupada stopped and turned to him as we all gathered around. He said that it is like dry wood, which can be ignited immediately. Similarly, if one is sincere, then he immediately becomes spiritually ignited. And if he is still “moist” from material contact, it may take hundreds of years or lifetimes. A pure devotee is like a match, and the recipient the wood. If both are good then there is fire.
“When you go to the fire, you become dry. But willfully we put again water. This nonsense business makes us wet. This process is already there, how to become dry. But instead of taking the process, we put water. Then how it will be ignited? The rules and regulations are the drying process. But without following the rules and regulation, if you again become victimized by maya, then there is water and again dry it. So this is going on, watering and drying, watering and drying. Difficulty is that we dry and again water.”
Reference: A Transcendental Diary Volume 1 – Hari Sauri Dasa