False Gurus Imitate Srila Prabhupada


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 4, Summer 2004

"However, one should not imitate the behavior of an advanced devotee or mahabhagavata without being self-realized, for by such imitation one will eventually become degraded."
(Nectar of Instructio
n, 5, Purport)

Zonal Acharya Still Alive in ISKCON

The Guru hoax part 1, in which the 11 ritviks (secretaries) appointed by Srila Prabhupada hijacked ISKCON immediately upon his physical departure and declared themselves as his Guru successors, was characterised by grand worship in direct imitation of Srila Prabhupada. This involved the false Gurus receiving opulent worship while sitting on large ornate thrones known as vyasasanas, claiming false titles of reverence, and acquiring huge amounts of wealth and disciples. Of course, all these facilities were only ever meant to be used in the direct service of the real, bona fide Guru - Srila Prabhupada - the actual empowered representative of Lord Krishna.

This false imitation of Srila Prabhupada was known as the 'Zonal Acharya' system, since the newly created 'Acharyas' (Gurus) had divided the world between them into 11 separate geographical 'zones', with each Guru being the master of his particular zone. The blatant unauthorised nature of this system led to its apparent dismantling in 1986 (and was unfortunately replaced with another unauthorised system the 'Guru by vote' hoax). The most visible manifestation of the Zonal Acharya system was the worship accorded to the false Gurus which was on the same level as that offered to Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krishna. Below, we see that one of the original 11 Guru hijackers, HH Hridayananda dasa Goswami, is still worshipped in this grand style:

"Then Italian devotees performed a serenade at Acaryadeva's door to look for him and take him to the Temple, it was similar to Prince going to his Palace, [...] devotees sang Gurudev and then jaya Acaryadev and finally only "Acaryadeva Acaryadeva Acaryadeva Acaryadeva", it was completely moving. Then he sat down in a beautiful and charming vyasasana and the old disciples begun to give him their presents, all were very friendly and personal, were like love confessions from lovers.....that's true! [...] He sat down on in his throne, the Temple was full of devotees, singing the Sri Guru Astaka and while some devotees were washing him his lotus feet, shelter of mankind!!!!!!!! Then we drunk the water and ate the petals and everything !!!!!!! !!!!!!!! ...."
('Srila Acaryadeva VyasaPuja, part 2', 7/11/2003)

In this overblown worship, we see Hridayananda dasa Goswami being worshipped like a 'Prince' on his 'palace throne', and allowing himself to be glorified as 'Acaryadeva'.

Competing with Srila Prabhupada's Books

Another manifestation of the imitation of Srila Prabhupada is trying to surpass Srila Prabhupada's literary legacy by publishing books on Krishna's pastimes. Here is a message from HH Sivarama Swami's servant that shows how desperate Maharaja is to sell copies of his own "Krishna book":

Guru maharaja has suggested that i seek your help in mobilising some pandavas to help with selling the last remaining copies of na paraye 'ham. i think all together there are 1000 copies.
(30/5/2003, 18:20:36 +0100)

Sivarama Swami's book, Na paraye ham, is in fact a work of fiction, which he openly admits in the book:

"The first poetic license, therefore, was to induce the fictional characters Syamalata and Navasakhi. As a consequence of this decision, these literary characters interact with real historical persons such us Radha and Krsna."
(Sivarama Swami, Na paraye'ham, p.19)

"Disclaimer: 'One final note. I must reiterate that Syamalata, her story, and her interaction with Sri Radha and other residents of Vraja, is a literary device."
(Sivarama Swami, Na paraye'ham, p.29)

Yet we know that Srila Prabhupada has repeatedly condemned the idea of imposing one's imagination on the sacred, pure and transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Lord Krishna and His eternal confidential associates. Here are just two examples:

"One who follows his imaginations about the Supreme Personality of Godhead is condemned."
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 10.3.32, purport)

"The wonderful characteristics of the gopis are beyond imagination"
(Sri Caitanya caritamrta, Adi Lila, 3.111, purport, emphasis added)

Sivarama Swami also states that his work of fiction is more readable than Srila Prabhupada's books!

"The story line is meant to generate a more readable literature. Devotees, especially in modern times, are less inclined to read straight philosophy than an attractive story that illustrates points of philosophy. If by reading the latter they become versed in the principles of Krsna tattva, surely our purpose in spreading Krsna consciousness is served."
(Sivarama Swami, Na paraye'ham, p.20)

But what does Srila Prabhupada's magnum opus the multi volume Srimad Bhagavatam contain, if not the most highly attractive stories about Krishna, His incarnations and His confidential associates all of which are historical narrations, not fiction, and all of which are replete with philosophy as well? Why did Srila Prabhupada specifically publish his wonderful book, Krishna: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, if not to wean the common man away from fiction, and to attract him to the all blissful pastimes of Lord Krishna?:

"This book Krsna is another presentation to help the Krsna consciousness movement in the Western world. [...] People love to read various kinds of fiction to spend their time and energy. Now this tendency can be directed to Krsna. [...] We therefore request everyone to take advantage of this great transcendental literature. One will find that by reading one page after another, an immense treasure of knowledge in art, science, literature, philosophy and religion will be revealed, and ultimately, by reading this one book, Krsna, love of Godhead will fructify."
(Krishna: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Preface, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)

What need is there of anything else?


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