Zonal Acarya Hoax Revival Continues!


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 52, Summer 2016

In the last issue, we exposed GBC member and GBC-elected guru HH Sivarama Swami engaging in historical revisionism to falsely claim that Srila Prabhupada selected diksa gurus for different geographical areas. ("Reviving the Zonal Acarya Hoax"). This idea that Srila Prabhupada specifically "appointed" or selected certain individuals to be the designated diksa gurus for ISKCON is part of the discredited zonal acarya hoax.

We now find another GBC-elected guru, HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami ("BVKS"), promoting a version of the same discredited idea. On his personal website, he presents a lecture from ex-GBC member HG Rupanuga Dasa ("RD") which claims that Srila Prabhupada specifically "appointed" 11 persons to be diksa gurus for the movement, and BVKS states in an email that this understanding is correct (21/8/16). Excerpts from this lecture, given on 5/5/16, are in the shaded boxes.

Appointment hoax

"Srila Prabhupada did appoint eleven madhyama-adhikaris to become diksa gurus. There's no question about it. I was there when it happened. [...] I signed off as one of the eighteen GBC men. We all understood exactly what had happened. [...] We knew, when we walked out of that meeting, all of us knew".

1) RD refers here to the May 28th, 1977 "meeting", and claims that in this conversation Srila Prabhupada "did appoint eleven madhyama-adhikaris to become diksa gurus". That he and others present at this meeting, as well as all the GBC, "knew" this, is offered as support for this claim.

2) However, as noted in the previous article, we already know that all those present at the meeting, as well as the entire GBC, had a completely wrong understanding of what happened at this meeting. For it was admitted that the zonal acarya appointment hoax that the GBC implemented as a result of what they "understood" from this meeting, was due to "maya".

Rtviks appointed

"on the 9th of July, Srila Prabhupada came out with a famous letter in which he said, "These men will initiate people on my behalf." [...] He put them in that letter. They were going to be ritviks, or the officiating acaryas for Srila Prabhupada. And anyone they initiated would be his disciple."

RD accepts that Srila Prabhupada appointed rtviks/officiating acaryas on July 9th, 1977, who would conduct initiations by making disciples for Srila Prabhupada.

Rtviks for future

"That whole discussion was all about the future. [...] So we asked the first question about what to do about first and second initiations, especially when you are not with us. [...] And Srila Prabhupada replied, "Yes, I'm going to appoint some of you." "

Continuing with his version of the May 28th, 1977 conversation, RD states that the "whole" discussion was "all" about the "future". RD refers to the first question asked of Srila Prabhupada, which was specifically about how initiations would continue "especially" when Srila Prabhupada is "not with us". Thus, according to RD, there is absolutely no doubt that the answer to this question refers to what will happen after Srila Prabhupada physically departs. And here is the answer:

Satsvarupa Goswami: "Then our next question concerns initiations in the future, particularly at that time when you're no longer with us. We want to know how first and second initiation would be conducted."
Srila Prabhupada: "Yes. I shall recommend some of you. After this is settled up, I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acaryas."
Tamala Krsna: "Is that called rtvik-acarya?"
Srila Prabhupada: "Rtvik, yes."

So, according to RD's own interpretation, in a conversation which is only about the future, and in response to a question especially about how initiations will be conducted after Srila Prabhupada's departure, Srila Prabhupada states that such initiations will be conducted by rtviks. Yet, we just saw RD accept that these rtviks were appointed on July 9th, 1977, and would conduct initiations by making disciples for Srila Prabhupada.

No guru appointment

"And the next question was, "Whose disciple will they be?" And he said, "Disciple of my disciple, my grand-disciple." "

RD continues with his interpretation of the May 28th conversation, and refers to the following question:

Tamala Krsna: "The people who they give diksa to, whose disciple are they?"
Srila Prabhupada: "They're his disciple."
Tamala Krsna: "They're his disciple."
Srila Prabhupada: "Who is initiating. His* grand-disciple. [...]"
Srila Prabhupada: "When I order you become guru, he becomes regular guru. That's all. He becomes disciple of my disciple."

a) * The current official transcript of this conversation from the GBC has this word rendered as "He is". However, one can listen to the tape for oneself here:


-- and clearly hear that Srila Prabhupada is stating one word "his", rather than two words "He is". And it's the same "his" that he says when he says, "They're his disciple", just 4 words earlier.

b) Thus, Srila Prabhupada does not answer the question with "disciple of my disciple". Srila Prabhupada actually answers as follows:

"They're his disciple. Who is initiating. His grand-disciple."

And Srila Prabhupada repeats the "his" in the answer "They're his disciple", just 4 words later by saying "His grand-disciple". This same "his" can therefore only refer to Srila Prabhupada, as only he could even theoretically have a grand-disciple. Thus, since the "his" refers to Srila Prabhupada, he is stating the disciples are his.

c) Srila Prabhupada then states that "His grand-disciple" only emerges: "when I order you become guru". For then you get a "regular guru", and a "disciple of my disciple" (grand-disciple). Thus, Srila Prabhupada states that he will only get grand-disciples if and when he orders diksa gurus. Therefore, an appointment of eleven diksa gurus is definitely not made in this conversation, as RD claims, since Srila Prabhupada only speaks of what will happen when such an order is made. But the only appointment on record was for "rtviks" to make disciples for Srila Prabhupada, as already quoted from RD, and not diksa gurus.


Though BVKS and RD try to revive the zonal acarya hoax, we can prove using RD's own words, and those of Srila Prabhupada, that:

a) Srila Prabhupada appointed rtviks to make disciples for him, for when he is "no longer with us".
b) No appointment of diksa gurus took place.

Therefore Srila Prabhupada remains ISKCON's diksa guru.

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