Someone may be GBC of some region of the world, so according to the management system he is authority. We accept him because we are in a society. But by the spiritual system, unless I am convinced, I cannot accept him as authority. That is up to me. I have independence. It is my choice. As far as the management system goes, I accept him because he is GBC. But as far as spiritual things go, unless I am convinced I cannot accept. “Please excuse me.” Acceptance of someone as a spiritual authority should not be forced or compulsory. That is a principle. For me to accept someone as a spiritual authority, my heart must be convinced, because it is based on the desire of the heart. It is not an external thing. It is internal. Acting in that way is not offensive. I am not disregarding him. He is a vaishnava, so I offer him obeisances. We pay obeisances to all vaishnavas, regardless if they are kanishta, madhyama, or whatever. That is etiquette. But accepting someone as spiritual master, that is something else.
(Sri Srimad Gaur Govind Swami Maharaja, Bhubaneswar, 1990)