(Srila Prabhupada taking darshan of Radha Govinda, New York—click to enlarge)
Devotee: Sometimes, Prabhupāda, when we expose them, their argument is, "Oh, you are a saintly person. Why are you criticizing me?"
Prabhupāda: No, it is not criticizing. It is opening your eyes. You are blind, you are thinking yourself as very big, so we are opening eyes. You are not big. You are not even pig or fig. That is... Ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā (Śrī guru-praṇāma). You are blind with ignorance, so we are trying to open your eyes. See things as they are. It is favoring you. It is not criticizing you. (break) ...words: vibhu, the great, and aṇu, the small. So these rascals, they do not understand these two important words, "God is great; I am small." They think, "I am as good as God." This is the folly. (break) ...English proverb? "Where angels dare not, the fools rush in." Eh?
Devotee: "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread."
Prabhupāda: Yes, like that. So the angels—Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva—they are offering their obeisances, and these rascals are claiming, "I am God." How great rascals they are. Śiva-viriñci-nutam (SB 11.5.33). Śiva-viriñci-nutam. Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā, they are offering their respects, and these things are: "I am equal with God." This Māyāvāda philosophy. Mūḍhas.
Devotee (2): Śrīla Prabhupāda, that tendency to be puffed up seems to be so strong, as soon as they get just a little bit of so-called qualification, then they... Everyone is becoming puffed up, even great personalities like Lord Indra and Lord Brahmā.
Devotee (2): What to speak of all the...
Prabhupāda: Lord Brahmā is also one of the living entities.
Devotee (2): So how is it possible that... We're so insignificant, but at the same time we become so puffed up. How is it possible for us...?
Prabhupāda: That is material consciousness, that you are nothing; you are thinking very big. That is material consciousness. And as soon as you become Kṛṣṇa conscious, you'll simply think, "Kṛṣṇa is great; we are nothing, insignificant." That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And so long you think that you are independent of Kṛṣṇa—you are also another Kṛṣṇa—then you are fool, rascal. Mūḍho 'yaṁ nābhijānāti loko mām ajam avyayam (BG 7.25).
Devotee: That's our madness.
Prabhupāda: Madness. The whole world is going on on this foolish understanding. Therefore they have been described, mūḍha, all rascals. Anyone who is thinking, "There is no God, there is no Kṛṣṇa. It may be He is impersonal, there is no personality, and I am equal to Him"—these are all rascals, fools.
Devotee (2): So actually there is no way to become detached...
Prabhupāda: The only way is that you become Kṛṣṇa conscious.
Devotee (2): ...except through Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Mām eva ye prapadyante (BG 7.14). You surrender to Kṛṣṇa and everything will be clear, just like as soon as the sun rises, everything is clear, no covering. That is our propaganda, that you become Kṛṣṇa conscious; then you become fully aware of everything. Otherwise you remain rascal, fools, gādhā, asses. If you prefer to remain asses, you can do so, but we are servant of Kṛṣṇa. We must preach real, reality.
Devotee (2): Even the jñānīs and yogīs become...
Prabhupāda: What is these jñānīs? They are also another rascal, another edition of rascals. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate (BG 7.19). Therefore so-called jñānīs, after many, many births' practical realization, they surrender to Kṛṣṇa. Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā (BG 7.19). Then he understands that Kṛṣṇa is everything. But such great person is very, very rare. Sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ, very, very rare.
Devotee (2): But what about the persons who may be a little bit devoted but who have not achieved that unalloyed devotion?
Prabhupāda: Kaniṣṭha-adhikārī. They are not devotees, but they are called bhaktābhāsa. There is some signs of bhakti. Actually they are not bhakta. Bhaktābhāsa. Ābhāsa. Ābhāsa means a simple, a little light.
Devotee: So devotee really means one who has love for Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Unalloyed, without any condition. Anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.1.11), zero, all other, that "I am this," "I am that," "I am jñānī," "I am yogī," "I am karmī," "I am minister," "I am king"—all these are thinking like that, they're all nonsense. "I am servant of Kṛṣṇa"—that is greatness. Jīvera svarūpa haya nitya-kṛṣṇa-dāsa (CC Madhya 20.108). That is self-realization, ātma-tattvam.
Devotee (2): So because that person is very rare, then I guess the only way we can possibly know how to become like that is to find one pure devotee and exactly follow that way of Kṛṣṇa consciousness that he has.
Devotee (2): I mean to say that because a pure devotee is so rare, the only way must be to find out a pure devotee and exactly follow.
(Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, Mayapur, February 6, 1976)