Once a man fell into a deep well. There was no way for him to free himself. He shouted for help, and finally a kind-hearted passerby flung a rope down to him, telling him “Just hold tightly to this rope and I will pull you up.”
The man shouted back, “Help me to hold the rope!”
The kind hearted passerby represents the spiritual master, who gives the means by which the conditioned soul may become free of material existence. But it is not that the conditioned soul should do nothing to free himself. He must strongly cling to the mercy of his spiritual master; only then can he be elevated. If, for instance, he thinks that he need not chant the Hare Krsna Mahamantra given by the spiritual master, that the spiritual master will chant it for him, then he can never get free of maya.