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(Srila Prabhupada and the parampara—click to enlarge)

Prabhupāda: Adulterated things are not good. Pure thing, that is good. Why do they not accept? Let us discuss something. Why these people interpret? What is the reason to spoil it?

Indian lady: To gain the leadership?

Prabhupāda: But with that leadership, if you cheat others, does it mean leadership?

Indian lady: Or importance. Or the ego, which they, "I have got so many followers. Whether I'm wrong or right, everyone thinks I'm right."

Prabhupāda: So what is the meaning of these followers who are all...? What is called? Just like sometimes the... What is called? You take so many lambs, what is that called?

Devotee: Shepherd?

Prabhupāda: Shepherd. Yes. The shepherd has many followers. But does it mean any meaning?

Indian lady: We are the sheep. Without any understanding we blindly follow. The public, I mean.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So that does not mean that that man is very important, the shepherd, because you follow. What is the meaning of...

Indian lady: But the sheep has no sense of herd. What poor sheep can do?

Prabhupāda: That's all right. Because thousands of sheep following one shepherd, does it mean the shepherd is an important man?

Indian lady: One sheep thinks that "So many sheeps are following, with me..."

Prabhupāda: That's all right. I say the shepherd is an important man because there is...?

Indian lady: No, not that. No, no.

Prabhupāda: No. Then why you take that? That is explained in the Bhāgavatam, śva-viḍ-varāhoṣṭra-kharaiḥ saṁstutaḥ puruṣaḥ paśuḥ (SB 2.3.19). The shepherd may be followed by so many sheep, but that does not mean he's an important man. That is the... That is the, going on. The so-called leaders, they are just like shepherd, and we are like sheep. But that does not mean the shepherd is an important man.

Devotee: Then what is alternative of that? Can we not change? Suppose I am a sheep...

Prabhupāda: You can change immediately. Sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇam (BG 18.66). You can change immediately, within a second.

Devotee: Within a second.

Prabhupāda: But because you are sheeps, you'll not do.

Indian lady: But we'll change only when there is a gurukṛpā.

Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa says... You are taking Bhagavad-gītā, the leader is taking Bhagavad-gītā, and he's speaking nonsense. So we are human beings; we should know what Kṛṣṇa says. Kṛṣṇa says, evaṁ paramparā prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ (BG 4.2). The paramparā— whether he's speaking paramparā or he's speaking whimsically, that much sense we must have. Otherwise, I am the same sheep. Then why you are speaking which is not in the paramparā? At least you should be... Now this movement is started because on this principle, that why these rascals are speaking not in the paramparā? That is my seed of starting this movement. I must start the movement. That is the impetus of this movement, that they must speak according to the paramparā. And someone allowed them to speak otherwise. Therefore I wrote this book, Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. Don't make interpretations. And by the grace of Kṛṣṇa it has become to some extent successful. That is the impetus. Why they should talk nonsense?

(Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, Bombay, December 26, 1976)
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What Is the Alternative to Being a Sheep?