(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada)
Prabhupāda: We are not introducing anything new. We are simply following the footprints of our predecessors. That's all.
Just like we are trying to understand Bhagavad-gītā just as Arjuna understood. Arjuna was direct hearer from Kṛṣṇa. So as he understood Bhagavad-gītā, we are trying to understand in that way. Kṛṣṇa said, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66), that, "You give up all other engagements. You just surrender unto Me." And what we are preaching? We are also saying that, "You surrender unto Kṛṣṇa." Kṛṣṇa said: "You surrender unto Me," because He is the Supreme Person Himself. And we are canvassing, "You surrender to Kṛṣṇa."
So what is the difference? There is no difference. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ (CC Madhya 17.186). The spiritual path is to follow the footprints of predecessors, great ācāryas who has realized. Then you become perfect. Not imitate, but to follow. Imitation is different thing.
So this is not imitation, but this is following the footprints. So one who wants to become devotee, he has to follow certain rules and regulation which are enacted by authorized persons in this line. We cannot deny it. Therefore there is necessity.
Devotee: In the Gītā Kṛṣṇa says so many times, "You must surrender unto Me." Why do people say: "No, there's something else"?
Prabhupāda: Because they want something new. This is very old. There is a song by a great dramatist in India. He is singing, ekṭā navana kichu koro. That means "You do something, invent something new. You invent something new, and then you become very popular." You see? That is the way of modern thoughts. You invent something new. Not modern; this is going on. Just like there is version in the Vedic literature, na cāsāv muni yasya mataṁ na bhinnam (CC Madhya 17.186). If you want to be a muni or a sage, you must put forward some new theory. Otherwise he is not a philosopher. A philosopher is not counted a philosopher unless he defies all other philosophers and puts some new theory. And that is going on. Na cāsāv muni yasya mataṁ na bhinnam. So whose philosophy you will accept? Every day you will find a new philosophy. So whom to follow?
Therefore, out of disgust, everyone is trying to follow his own principle, whatever he likes. And there are some missionary activities, they also advocate that, "You can do whatever you like, and you will get God." So people are trying like that. But our process is different. We are following the old principles. We do not say something new. The old saying, as Kṛṣṇa said five thousand years ago, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66). So nothing new. We are simply repeating. That, our Hare Kṛṣṇa, is it also repetition: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare.
What is that English word, "Putting the old wine in the new bottle," or what is that? (laughs) So it is old wine. Simply putting in new bottles. That's all. And what is new? There is nothing new in the world. The sun was rising on the eastern side. Still it is rising on the eastern side. The sun was setting on the western side. It's still setting. Your forefathers, grandfather, they were also eating; you are also eating. They also died, and we shall also die. What new thing is there? They died, and you will not die? What new we can give? Nothing. You have to follow by nature's law the old principles. They died; I will have to die. They ate; I am eating. They beget children, I am also begetting. So what is the difference? What is the new?
Everything is going on in the old principles. It is simply our imagination that we are doing something new. There is nothing new. Āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunaṁ ca sāmānyam etat paśubhir narāṇām (Hitopadeśa 25). We are under such stringent laws of the nature, there is no scope for inventing something new. That is not possible. We have to follow the old principles by force, by nature's law.
All right. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Los Angeles, January 14, 1969)