Summer 2004

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

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.  We see that one of the original 11 Guru hijackers, H.H. 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'.