IN THE DIFFICULT TIMES after Srila Prabhupada departed this world, misunderstandings arose on a crucial issue: Who would be the next spiritual master?
Srila Prabhupada had clearly taught that he wanted all his disciples to follow his teachings, teach them to others, and thus become spiritual masters.
But by the influence of maya, illusion, a different idea soon evolved—that Srila Prabhupada had appointed eleven "pure devotees" to serve as the onlygurus after him. These eleven, the idea went, should each serve as the spiritual master for a specific geographical "zone" of the world.
This zonal guru system, as it came to be called, prevailed in ISKCON for about ten years, until its falseness became clear and an ever-growing reform movement overthrew it and reasserted Srila Prabhupada's original instructions. In 1986, ISKCON's Governing Body Commission formally dismantled the system.
In the years till then, Back to Godhead sometimes reflected and supported the erroneous zonal guru system.
Here, therefore, we wish to admit this mistake. Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, editor in chief during those years, joins with me in apologizing to our readers for BTG's conformity to the "zonal guru" error. In particular, we express our heartfelt apologies for contributing to the hurts and wrongs devotees endured when ISKCON diverged from Srila Prabhupada's instructions.
May Lord Krsna henceforward keep us straight on the path of Krsna consciousness, as Srila Prabhupada taught it.
Editor in Chief