The Guru and What Virabahu Said


GBC-elected initiating guru Virabahu Dasa (henceforward “VD”), has produced a book (revised 2012) titled The Guru and what Prabhupada Said (henceforward “GPS”). VD presents the conclusion of the entire book by quoting key parts from it in a detailed “Introduction” chapter:

“We have also reached the point of revealing to the reader the conclusion of this entire work. It is on the subject of Srila Prabhupada's succession, for which I will begin by drawing from the book itself”.
(Introduction, GPS)

Thus, by simply analysing this “conclusion” of the “entire work”, as given by VD himself in the Introduction, one can determine if the conclusion of the entire book is true or false. And this is what shall be done below. All statements made by VD in the Introduction wherein he gives this conclusion are reproduced in shaded boxes. All underlining is added, with all other emphasis reproduced from the original quotes in GPS.

The “rtvik” deception

Straight after making the statements quoted above, wherein VD states he would be “revealing” the “conclusion of this entire work” by “drawing from the book itself”, VD states the following: 

"GBC1:...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.
S. PRABHUPADA: Yes. I shall recommend some of you."
(Meeting with GBCs, Vrndavana 5/28/77)

There is much more to this conversation, which you will read later on. Here I want to concentrate on the fact that, as far as the question itself is concerned, "We want to know how first and second initiation would be conducted," that was his unmistakeable answer, "Yes. I shall recommend some of you."

VD presents an extract of a conversation between Srila Prabhupada and some GBC members. He states that the “unmistakeable answer” to the question of how initiations would be “conducted” when Srila Prabhupada is “no longer with us”, is that Srila Prabhupada would “recommend some of you”. However, VD does not then go on to reveal what it was that Srila Prabhupada was going to “recommend”. That answer is given by Srila Prabhupada as a continuation of the extract given above, and is as follows:

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.”
Tamal Krishna: “Is that called rtvik acarya?”
Srila Prabhupada: “Rtvik, yes.”

But this full answer is nowhere to be found in the rest of the Introduction, wherein VD is giving the “conclusion” to his “entire” book. Instead, VD gives his own made-up answer for who Srila Prabhupada said he would "recommend":

“in his official reply, he had indicated that he would recommend some of the GBCs to be initiating spiritual masters”

Yet, as we have just seen, Srila Prabhupada clearly states who he would “recommend”: “officiating acaryas/rtvik”, not “initiating spiritual masters”. Hence, the reason for VD’s deception, wherein he hides Srila Prabhupada’s actual answer, now becomes clear:

  1. VD claims that Srila Prabhupada would “recommend” diksa gurus (“initiating spiritual masters”).
  2. But, Srila Prabhupada gives “officiating acarya/rtvik” as the answer for whom he would “recommend” in reply to being asked how “initiations” would be “conducted” when he is “no longer with us”.
  3. And a “rtvik” is not a diksa guru.

Therefore, Srila Prabhupada's full answer defeats VD's conclusion of his entire bookthat Srila Prabhupada recommended “initiating spiritual masters”, and thus, VD simply omits Srila Prabhupada stating he would actually be recommending “officiating acarya/rtvik”! Otherwise VD would have to declare that Srila Prabhupada’s “unmistakeable answer” for how initiations would be conducted after his physical departure (“no longer with us”) was rtviks! Which is the IRM’s position! Thus, the title of this paper is “The Guru and what Virabahu Said”, since VD is giving his, rather than Srila Prabhupada’s, conclusion – and the two are very different.

VD’s DADTO theory

VD tries to justify his false Srila Prabhupada would “recommend diksa gurus” conclusion by claiming in regards to those whom Srila Prabhupada would “recommend”, that:

“On May 28, talking to the GBCs, he said, "I shall select some of you” […] On May 28 he had explained that while he was still present they would initiate on his behalf and after his departure – and on his order – they would initiate their own disciples.”

Thus, VD claims that Srila Prabhupada would select persons who were to initiate on Srila Prabhupada's behalf only until he physically departed, at which point they would act as diksa gurus. VD states that this selection was made on July 7th, 1977 and circulated on July 9th, 1977:

“there is only one record of his making a selection from the GBCs. It was on July 7. […] on July 7, he selected eleven GBC members to initiate on his behalf – an unquestionable match. […] On July 9, his approved list was officially circulated worldwide and consisted of eleven members.”

But in this July 9 “approved list” which was “officially circulated worldwide”, it is stated that the eleven who would initiate on Srila Prabhupada’s behalf were selected as rtviks. This is the same rtviks Srila Prabhupada had mentioned on May 28th, 1977, that he was going to “recommend” – and which, as we just saw, VD tried to hide. Hence, VD's claims effectively mean that Srila Prabhupada had selected rtviks to transition into diksa gurus. These claims by VD regarding those whom Srila Prabhupada would “select” can thus be summarised as the “Double Appointment Disguised Transition Diksa Guru Order” (“DADTO”). That is:

  1. Rtviks are initially selected to initiate on Srila Prabhupada’s behalf (the first “appointment”);
  2. But they are really being selected to turn into diksa gurus (the second “appointment”);
  3. Thus, they are actually selected to do the complete opposite of what the selection was intended forinitiate on Srila Prabhupada’s behalf as rtviks rather than initiate on their own behalf as diksa gurus (“disguised”);
  4. Then the selected rtviks just simply become diksa gurus as soon as Srila Prabhupada physically departs (the “transition”).

DADTO defeated by Srila Prabhupada

VD claims that Srila Prabhupada ordering diksa gurus in the May 28th, 1977, meeting via his DADTO theory is:

“perfectly in accordance with everything he had been saying all along, from the very beginning.”

However, one can check all of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions “from the very beginning”, and one will find no mention of Srila Prabhupada ever stating that he will order diksa gurus by the 2 step DADTO method which VD claims effectively happened:

  1. That there will first be a selection of rtviks;
  2. Who will then transition into becoming diksa gurus on Srila Prabhupada’s departure.

Nor does Srila Prabhupada state this in the May 28th, 1977 meeting as VD claims. Rather, in this May 28th, 1977 meeting, Srila Prabhupada actually contradicts the "Rtviks will automatically transition into diksa gurus" DADTO theory by making the point that there first actually needs to be an order from him before one can become a diksa guru:

“be actually guru. But by my order. […] When I order you become guru he becomes regular guru he becomes disciple of my disciple.”
(Srila Prabhupada, Meeting with GBCs, Vrindavana, May 28th, 1977)

And simply stating the need for an order, by definition, cannot be the order itself. Rather, as VD himself admits, the only order that was actually given was for 11 GBC members to initiate on Srila Prabhupada’s behalf (who were designated as rtviks in the "approved list" on July 9th):

“there is only one record of his making a selection from the GBCs. It was on July 7. […] on July 7, he selected eleven GBC members to initiate on his behalf

Thus, ironically, Srila Prabhupada’s specific warning that there first needs to be a diksa guru order, which would serve to prevent people like VD from falsely interpreting Srila Prabhupada's order for rtviks to also be an order for diksa gurus, is itself being used as the evidence for such a false interpretation! 

VD also quotes the following statement made by Srila Prabhupada in the May 28th, 1977 meeting later on, when he is discussing future BBT translations, as supposedly being evidence for the DADTO theory: 

“Or one who understands HIS GURU'S ORDER, the same parampara, he can become guru. And therefore I SHALL SELECT SOME OF YOU."
(Srila Prabhupada, Meeting with GBCs, Vrindavana, May 28th, 1977) 

But, as we just quoted VD himself admitting, “His Guru’s Order” which one must understand, was only to act as rtvik and “initiate on his behalf”, with no diksa guru order given. And Srila Prabhupada had already stated that only if his GBC men actually understand his orders so as to be able to teach them, will they become guru (instructor or siksa):

“The GBC should all be the instructor gurus. I am in the initiator guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing. This is not a title, but you must actually come to this platform. This I want.”
(Letter to Madhudvisa, 4/8/1975)

A point that Srila Prabhupada is again repeating here in the May 28th, 1977, meeting with his GBC men, wherein he states they must understand his order in order to become guru. Hence, this statement from the May 28th, 1977 meeting quoted by VD does not present an order for the rtviks to turn into diksa gurus, and thus also does not support VD's DADTO theory. Rather, it is simply emphasised that the actual order Srila Prabhupada gave – to act as rtviks – must be understood by those selected as rtviks.

Thus, nowhere, before, during or after the May 28th, 1977 meeting, does Srila Prabhupada state that when there is an order for rtviks, they will turn into diksa gurus, as VD’s DADTO asserts. Therefore, in conclusion, as there is no order from Srila Prabhupada for the rtviks he selected (which VD admits happened on July 7th and 9th, 1977) to change into diksa gurus, they will remain as rtviks, which again is the IRM’s position!

The reality regarding VD’s DADTO claim is given in the diagram below:

DADTO defeated by VD - 1

VD is a GBC member, and thus accepts the authority of the GBC. The GBC have rejected the idea that Srila Prabhupada selected diksa gurus by selecting them as rtviks, as they accepted the following testimony of HH Tamala Krsna Goswami in their official journal:

“Myself and the other GBC have done the greatest disservice to this movement the last three years because we interpreted the appointment of ritviks as the appointment of gurus. […] Unfortunately, the GBC did not recognize this point. They immediately supposed that these eleven people are the selected gurus.”
(Tamala Krsna Goswami, 3/12/80, quoted in ISKCON Journal, 1990, GBC Executive Committee)

Thus, VD is proposing the very DADTO which the GBC, and by extension, he himself as a GBC member, have rejected – interpreting the selection of rtviks as being the selection of diksa gurus. Hence, DADTO can be defeated by invoking VD’s own authority.

DADTO defeated by VD - 2

As quoted earlier, VD’s DADTO is based on (falsely) claiming that the selection made on July 7 was done specifically to fulfil Srila Prabhupada’s earlier statement on May 28th, 1977, that he would select initiating spiritual masters to solve the issue of how initiations would be “conducted” when he is “no longer with us”. And hence, the need for these supposedly selected diksa gurus to initially initiate on Srila Prabhupada's behalf arose because as a matter of formality they could only become diksa gurus after Srila Prabhupada physically departed:

“in his official reply, he had indicated that he would recommend some of the GBCs to be initiating spiritual masters. He was then clarifying that, as a matter of formality, they could only be in that role after his departure. This was a required clarification because he had stated that he would be selecting them precisely to act in that capacity—as regular gurus.”

However, VD also claims something completely different. VD claims that the selection of the GBCs to initiate on Srila Prabhupada's behalf on July 7th, 1977, arose only due to a health condition:

“On July 7, due to his health condition, Srila Prabhupada is recorded as appointing nine GBC members who would give initiations on his behalf.”

This contradicts his DADTO claim that their initiating on Srila Prabhupada's behalf had actually already been determined earlier on May 28th, 1977, due to their selection as diksa gurus and the need to observe the formality.

DADTO defeated by VD - 3

As noted above, VD claims that GBC men were supposedly selected to become diksa gurus via the selection that was made on July 7th and July 9th, 1977, and only due to the formality did they initially initiate on Srila Prabhupada's behalf. Thus, for those selected, VD's DADTO involved a seamless transition from initiating on Srila Prabhupada's behalf to initiating on their own behalf as diksa gurus. However, this selection necessitated that all initiations were to be carried out by whomever was nearest:

Srila Prabhupada: “you divide who is nearest.”
Tamala Krsna: “So there's no need for devotees to write to you for first and second initiation. They can write to the man nearest them. But all these persons are still your disciples. Anybody who gives initiation is doing so on your behalf.”
Srila Prabhupada: “Yes.”
(Room conversation, July 7th, 1977)

“Temple Presidents may henceforward send recommendation for first and second initiation to whichever of these eleven representatives are nearest their temple. After considering the recommendation, these representatives may accept the devotee as an initiated disciple of Srila Prabhupad”
(July 9th, 1977 directive, circulated worldwide)

Thus, they were selected to initiate “zonally”, since an initiation for a newcomer would be conducted by whomever was the nearest to their geographical zone. Hence, after Srila Prabhupada’s physical departure, in accordance with the DADTO, these selected men followed the seamless transition from initiating on Srila Prabhupada's behalf to initiating as diksa gurus. And therefore, they continued to initiate “zonally” as diksa gurus – with all initiations being conducted by whomever was “nearest”. However, in the very first chapter of the same book that is being analysed here, VD condemned this “zonal” system as not being authorized by Srila Prabhupada:

“Now, we sympathize very much with all who have suffered any kind of pain, disappointment, bewilderment and loss of faith under the so-called ‘Zonal Acarya’ system, by which a guru was assigned a geographical zone where all newcomers were expected to take initiation from him. Srila Prabhupada had warned about such a system:
“It is imperative that a serious person accept a bona fide spiritual master in terms of the sastric injunctions. SRI JIVA GOSVAMI ADVISES THAT ONE NOT ACCEPT A SPIRITUAL MASTER IN TERMS OF HEREDITARY OR CUSTOMARY SOCIAL AND ECCLESIASTICAL CONVENTIONS. One should simply try to find a genuinely qualified spiritual master for actual advancement in spiritual understanding.” (C.c. Adi 1.35 ppt.)”
(Chapter 1, GPS)

But, as just shown, the zonal acarya system arises from the seamless transition advocated by the DADTO, wherein the selected GBCs were to continue initiating, only now as the diksa gurus they were supposedly selected to be by the DADTO. And hence, again, VD’s DADTO is defeated by VD himself. 


1) VD states that the conclusion of his entire book is the DADTO:

Initiations were to be conducted after Srila Prabhupada's physical departure via those selected by him to initiate on his behalf as rtviks automatically transitioning into diksa gurus.

2) However, the DADTO is defeated both by Srila Prabhupada and VD himself.

3) Therefore, without the DADTO, there is no transition of the selected rtviks into diksa gurus, and thus we are then only left with Srila Prabhupada's selection of rtviks to initiate on his behalf as his answer for how initiations would be conducted when he is "no longer with us" – which is the IRM’s position!

Thus, the conclusion of VD’s entire book is defeated, and instead the IRM’s conclusion is upheld.

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