Imitation versus Following

There may be a fine line between imitation (the sincerest form of flattery?) and ‘following in the footsteps.’ But this fine line can be the difference between an inebriate and a dhira, or sober person. One form of taking intoxication is to imitate Lord Siva. Here’s something Srila Prabhupada said about it: “Just like Lord Siva, he drank an ocean of poison and he kept it on the throat. He did not allow to go down. So therefore his name is Nilakantha. It became bluish. His neck is blue. But if somebody imitates Lord Siva and indulges intoxication, ganja, he’ll go to hell. He is powerful. Somebody says ‘Well, Lord Siva is a smoker so we can also smoke.” No. You cannot imitate. You can simply follow.” (Lecture on BGAII, 3.27, Jan 1,1976, Madras)