Priest: So how can we have faith of anyone who said he was an avatāra?
Prabhupāda: No, no, we don't accept anyone as avatāra. We have got documents who is avatāra.
Prabhupāda: No, Kṛṣṇa is... Kṛṣṇa is avatārī. He is the origin. That is stated here, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ (BG 10.8). You know Sanskrit? What is the meaning of ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ? "I am the source of all avatāra."
Priest: Yeah, but who has written that?
Priest: Who has written that? Śrīla Vyāsa.
Prabhupāda: Anywhere he has written. Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa has written. Kṛṣṇa has spoken, Vyāsadeva has written, and it is accepted.
Priest: But this is what the Christians say about the Bible, and I don't believe it (inaudible).
Prabhupāda: No, no, you don't believe anything, that is another thing. That is another thing. Without belief, you cannot make progress.
Priest: Ah, you have to go beyond.
Prabhupāda: As soon as you... Just like you learn who is your father. You take the version of your mother and you believe that "He is my father." Otherwise there is no other way. How can you know your father? The only means is his mother recommends, "My dear boy, he is your father." And that is perfect, that's all. Otherwise you cannot know who is your father.
Priest: Yeah, but you know...
Prabhupāda: If you say, "Mother, I don't believe it," you don't believe it, but you cannot know.
Priest: The trouble, you know, is that so many people are coming either in India or (inaudible)...
Prabhupāda: No, no, I mean to say...
Priest: ...that "I am an avatāra" or "I am Guru Mahārāj-ji" or "I am," so to say, "Meher Baba or Satya Sai Baba," so many bābās exist, you know as well as I do. Now, who has to say this one is really bābā. They are all abusing us. Now, if so many people today pretends to be avatāra and they have many disciples.
Prabhupāda: But we don't believe them.
Priest: No, but they have many disciples.
Prabhupāda: Many disciples, that is another thing.
Prabhupāda: Millions, trillions, that is another thing. But we have to see what is the disciple. That we have to see. Simply if somebody... So many disciples by number, we have to see the quality. What is the quality, not the number, not the quantity.
Priest: And if I had said that...
Prabhupāda: It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā,
- manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu
- kaścid yatati siddhaye
- yatatām api siddhānāṁ
- kaścin vetti māṁ tattvataḥ
- (BG 7.3)
Kṛṣṇa does not say that "millions and millions of people know Me." No. Out of millions and millions of people, one is perfect. And out of millions of perfect person, one may know Him. That He says. So we cannot accept because one is accepted by millions, therefore he is God. We don't accept it.
Priest: That's right.
Prabhupāda: We want to see the quality, not the quantity. So our process is paramparā. Just like in India—you have been in India—there are ācāryas: Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Nimbārka, Viṣṇu Svāmī, Caitanya. If the ācārya accept, then we accept. This is our process. We don't go the millions; we see the quality. Rāmānujācārya, high quality devotee; Madhvācārya, high quality devotee; Caitanya, high quality devotee. If they say he is God, then we accept. This is our process. We don't see how many millions of followers. No. We want to see the quality man. He says yes. So Śaṅkarācārya says "Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead," Rāmānujācārya says "the Supreme Personality of Godhead," Madhvācārya says "Supreme," Caitanya says "Supreme," then we accept. That's all. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ (CC Madhya 17.186).