Richard (now Radhanath Swami) was intrigued by an incarnation of Krishna who had apparently descended to earth. This was a thirteen year old Prem Rawat who was worshipped as the incarnation of Lord Rama and Krishna and he was now being addressed as Guru Maharaji. He wore a crown and peacock feather and played a flute like Krishna and also stood in the pose of Krishna. Richard realized this incarnation looked a lot different from the painting of Krishna he had purchased on a pavement at Delhi. Guru Maharaji offered Richard initiation which he politely declined. Later as Guru Maharji left with much fanfare with thousands of his disciples swooning, Richard thought, “Who God is a serious subject, not to be taken lightly.” Thinking like this Richard felt no inclination to accept him as Krishna.
Radhanath Swami explains that in India there are many mystic yogis who can manipulate material nature and perform miracles. They can even transmit some super natural experiences to their followers. However all of this does not necessarily make them God. God is a title for someone who is the source of all mysticism and powers.
Radhanath Swami also notes that in spiritual circles lot of superficiality goes in the name of substance and likewise many ordinary souls are worshipped as God. Radhanath Swami’s guru Srila Prabhupada would often say that this world is a world of ‘cheaters and cheated’- a world where many con men go around in the guise of holy men and gullible people get cheated by them. He quotes an interesting story that his spiritual master would narrate. Sometimes young ladies go to holy places thinking, “if a sadhu marries me and impregnates me then it is very auspicious and I will have an excellent off spring.” With this intention these women go to holy places, especially to make the sadhus fall down from their vows. In the mood of serving a sadhu sweetly, they entice the sadhu and cheat him to give up his vows. However there are lowest grade of dacoits who know this ploy of certain women. These rogues disguise themselves as sadhus and accept the service from these beautiful young girls and enjoy them and eventually give them their dacoit seed. Narrating this example, Radhanath Swami exposes the mentality prevailing in some spiritual circles- of cheaters and cheated.
Radhanath Swami has often explained that there have always been cheaters posing as gurus. Many thousands of years ago, the demon Ravana dressed himself as a svami to win an audience with Sita, the wife of Lord Ramacandra (an incarnation of Lord Krishna). Ravana kidnapped Sita, but Lord Ramacandra killed him. Five thousand years ago, when the Lord appeared in the world in His original form as Krishna, He dealt with another cheater: King Paundraka donned an extra set of arms, in imitation of Lord Krishna’s four-armed Vishnu form, and demanded that Krishna worship him. Again, the Lord did away with the cheater personally. So Radhanath Swami concurs that we shouldn’t be surprised if someone claims to be God. We should respect such men and keep a safe distance from them, for God, as Radhanath Swami says is a serious subject matter and can’t be taken lightly by awarding the title of ‘God’ to an ordinary human of flesh and bones.