Voice of a Victim
Date: July 07, 2015 03:32AM

What follows is a first-hand narrative written by Rama Das Ranson which documents the child abuse he suffered at the hands of his Mother and family who withheld vital medical care. Abusers want their victims to remain silent, be powerless, and bury their memories deep. However, when a victim speaks up, the power transfers from the abuser to the victim. Thank you, Rama, for once again providing a voice for all those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, the destructive force of the Science of Identity cult.

Collage by Rama Das Ranson

Rama’s story relates to the strict orders from cult leader, Chris Butler, regarding the absolute avoidance of Doctors and Drugs. Like everything else about this fraudulent guru, there is a big helping of hypocrisy served up with each order. How does Chris Butler treat his own medical emergencies?

Zelig wrote: “Chris Butler’s father was a doctor…I spoke with his father once on the telephone. Chris was really ill and needed a free antibiotic prescription. The acupuncture wasn’t working...

The story continues at my blog article: [flashlightonroaches.wordpress.com]

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Re: Chris Butler, Jagad Guru, Science of Identity
Posted by: dharmabum ()
Date: July 07, 2015 05:49AM

That's what the Science of Identity is very good at — creating an illusion. When you speak to a practitioner, you could tell how genuinely they feel they are so true. It's as is if, what you eat is what defines you as a human being. They will not tell you what life really is inside the cult, especially those born in it. That's what Bhakti Yoga Shack is all about — to put blinders on people — the retreats are simply meat-grinders, packaged as a well-meaning, feel good and innocent boot camp (pictures of beautiful scenery and beautiful women). Well, "You are what you eat" does not define you as a human being, it is what you feel and what you see. And definitely not recommended for cats and dogs too.

If people want to understand the Science of Identity, just look at Wai Lana — all made up, all smile outside, but mean-spirited inside. It's all an illusion.

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Re: Voice of a Victim
Date: July 07, 2015 06:33AM

flashlight_on_roaches Wrote:

> Rama’s story relates to the strict orders from
> cult leader, Chris Butler, regarding the absolute
> avoidance of Doctors and Drugs. Like everything
> else about this fraudulent guru, there is a big
> helping of hypocrisy served up with each order.
> How does Chris Butler treat his own medical
> emergencies?

> The story continues at my blog article: [flashlightonroaches.wordpress.com]

These comments just came in:
Yes, the animal abuse was rampant in the cult. Every animal I knew that was raised by a cult member was raised vegetarian regardless of the animals actual dietary needs. Many animals died or had major health issues. One of our cats went into catastrophic organ failure and died the most painful death, with our family standing around chanting at it while it screamed in pain. I actually wanted to suffocate it, because that seemed more humane at the time than what we were doing. Other animals I knew about went blind, had hearing problems, teeth falling out, all sorts of problems. It was just really, really cruel.

As for the refusal to accept medical help, that also ran rampant. No-one was taken to a doctor unless it was an emergency. It was against God to take drugs of any kind. I heard of one girl that had Schizophrenia, and she was being encouraged off her medication in favour of chanting. I had to ask my parents to take me to the doctor a few times as a child, because I knew I was too sick and needed help. It just gets beyond ridiculous and abusive. Meanwhile, while all the kids are suffering this kind of neglectful abuse, Chris Butler gets a stomach bug, and apparently vomits so badly he dislocates his jaw. All the devotees were in trouble for this, because they weren't devoted enough and that meant Chris got sick, so they had to chant 24 hours a day, in rotating shifts, to make sure he didn't leave his body. He doesn't get the flu, he doesn't even get Man Flu. He gets Chris Butler flu, which is the worst flu of all and everyone is to blame, and they eat that shit up all the time and don't even question it.

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Re: Chris Butler, Jagad Guru, Science of Identity
Posted by: eigenerherr ()
Date: July 07, 2015 07:45PM


I'm new to the forum, but have been reading for a while. I thought I would finally post here. I'm a ex child member of the Chris Butler cult, or SOI. My name's Lalita Mann, my dad is Hare Rama Das (Harvey Mann) and mum Jamuna Dasi (Josie Mann). My dad is one of the musical ones from SOI, doing most of Chris Butlers and Wai Lana's music in the past. My brother and sister and cousins (Pedersen family) are also involved. I got out 20 years ago, ended up having to cut off contact from my parents for a while, and then got in contact with them recently, but all the secrecy and craziness was still there (I was hoping they'd moved on), and I am done with it all. I'm sick of Chris Butler hiding behind a veil of secrecy and lies while many innocent people suffer (mostly the kids that didn't choose this life). I recently released this statement to my Facebook page, which has meant they have stopped talking to me. Which is the norm when you dare to say anything bad about the group and Chris Butler:


It is with a heavy heart that I write this. What I have to say is not easy, and it’s why I’ve not said anything for over 20 years. Writing this will come at great personal cost, one that I’ve struggled with the last couple of months, with many sleepless nights. But I’ve made the decision to speak up because the cost of not speaking up is far greater than my own personal loss.

I want to preface what I say next with this. I do not believe my parents or siblings are bad people. I love them all more than they realise, this is why doing has been so difficult. I’ve never, ever wanted to cause them any pain, but by keeping this secret, it has been hurting me over and over again for a very long time, and I can’t do that anymore. I just want this out so I don’t have to keep ahold of it anymore.

In the early 70’s my parents joined the ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciousness - or Hare Krishna's in layman's terms), living a life based loosely on the Hindu faith. The founder of that movement passed away in 1977, a month before I was born, without leaving a successor and the foundation split off into different factions. My parents decided to follow a self-appointed guru by the name of Chris Butler, aka Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa, aka Srila Prabhupada. I was brought up in the new group, called the Science of Identity Foundation (SOI from hereon in) from birth. As were my brother and sister, my cousins and a large group of other children across Australia, New Zealand, the US, UK and Philippines.

As a child growing up in SOI, I had no freedom, no space to grow emotionally. I was told how to dress, what to think, and there were serious consequences to not conforming to this. I saw kids refused access to their biological parents, and who were told that their parents were demons because the parents didn’t want to be part of SOI. And while I don’t have proof, I am fairly certain that some kids were kept hidden from their biological, non-follower parents for this reason. I’ve seen other kids be emotionally and verbally abused for asking questions and trying to speak out. One person I know was told by his mother that her obligation to him as a parent ended the day he spoke out. There is an unspoken rule that if you step out of line, say anything bad about Chris Butler, your whole family will cut you off and disown you, and that is what is probably going to happen to me by writing this. I hope not. But that is the most likely personal cost I will have for speaking out.

SOI and Chris Butler do not want their existence known. There are groups of followers who search online 24 hours a day (considered part of their devotional service), shutting down anything that is seen as threatening Chris Butler’s credibility, usually by threatening to sue for defamation. This also happens on the forums of their various forays into mainstream media. I've seen my own mother doing this as a moderator on some of their forums (little ninjai I think). This has happened a few times before and it will happen again. As it stands now with my family, they are secretive around me, to the point they hide their Facebook friends list on their profiles from me (even though their friends were also my friends growing up) because I am now an outsider. I wasn’t invited to my sister’s wedding, or my cousin’s, and the most hurtful thing is being told that people who my family and extended family, but don’t even know I exist. I’m a dirty little secret all because I went out and made a life for myself, something most parents would normally encourage and be proud of.

There is a lot of psychological abuse within the group. Parents are taught to disconnect from their kids, that family is just a temporary state, so to not get emotionally attached. As a child growing up in that it leaves you feeling rudderless and lost, and on top of that you have these incredibly strict rules. Everything you do is monitored including letters to friends, diaries, posts online, and if it doesn’t conform, you have to face the consequences. I know personally, when I was 17, I had written down in my diary that I had doubts, that I wanted to leave SOI. My mum read this and I overheard her tell my dad loudly that she didn't want me in the house anymore because I didn't respect their beliefs. I didn’t know anyone outside of the group, so you can imagine the impact that threat had on me, not to mention the violation of trust by having her reading through my private thoughts and punishing me for having them. And I am not the only person who has faced this. It’s everywhere. Depression runs rampant, but because therapy is seen as an outside influence, the kids who need it are denied that too. I have heard of people taking their own lives, or turning to drugs to cope. Instead of being shown compassion, they were seen as too weak and looked down on.

We were also denied an education. I was one of the lucky ones, in that I got a public school education from years 2 to 5 (age 8 - 11). I was taken out after that, and had to fight to be allowed access to a correspondence course that would give me my year 10 (basic high school) equivalency. Most SOI kids get even less useable education than that. After I left the group I worked my butt off putting myself through University preparatory classes, audio school and finally gaining a post grad diploma in acoustics. And while I am so proud of that achievement, I know that the damage has been done, and I can’t overcome my upbringing enough to free myself of the thought that I’m doing something wrong fighting for a better life for myself, because it’s outside of SOI. So I stick to a job I have no love for, that was the only job I could get when I first got out because I had no education, because ultimately I’m not strong enough to completely overcome my upbringing. No amount of education now will allow me to feel like I’ve caught up or that I will ever be smart enough to compete with everyone else, because it took me so long to catch up, I feel like I have nothing to offer. It’s really hard to live with that sometimes.

As I said, most kids that are growing up in SOI have no education. When they are old enough, they are shipped off to a boarding school in the Philippines (usually between 12-14 years old) where they are subjected to extreme living conditions, which one can only assume is there to break and mould them into more compliant followers, and they see very little of their own families after that. I believe the schools are run by an ex-military follower. It was only recently that it clicked how wrong that actually is. I was conditioned to think these things are normal.

Women in SOI are taught we are less than men. We’re told what to wear (long skirts/dresses, long sleeve tops, hair back, no makeup – dress up a bit too “nicely” and you’re verbally abused) and we wait for a husband. Kids are segregated at a young age, and we’re not allowed to communicate with the opposite sex without a chaperone. This means there are a lot of arranged marriages, girls as young as 16 were married off to 30+ men they barely knew. For myself, it took me a lot of years to be able to have something resembling normal relationships with people.

Children are expected to do everything in service of Chris Butler, including working hours that would border on slave labour. I have had friends who were working 11 hours out of 24 when they were 17, washing Chris Butler’s clothes and preparing his food, and it was all free labour. Kids as young as 14 are labouring for him. For free. I'm fairly certain this breaks a number of child labour laws.

SOI are also extremely homophobic, to the point that when I was younger, I saw followers encouraging children to go around putting stickers on random parked cars that said things like “GAY – Got Aids Yet” and other lovely things like that. I heard lecture after lecture of Chris Butler saying how much he hated gay people and egging all of his followers to hate them too…

Chris Butler is the leader solely responsible for all decisions made within the group. He demands complete blind obedience from his followers, and they follow him without question and sacrifice the well-being of their children readily in order to serve him. In return he berates and verbally abuses his followers for the tiniest infractions and constantly demands money from them so he can keep up his lavish lifestyle (my parents were giving him money even though they could barely feed and clothe us). He tells people he is their only way to God, and that he is so close to God he can choose the moment of his death, and yet he has a house lined with tin foil, special kitchens with tasters to ensure he isn’t poisoned, special air conditioning in his homes, teams of followers called “Air patrol” that sniff the air for toxins to ensure that where he travels to (always in a mask to protect himself from the toxins) is always free from life threatening toxins (did I mention the toxins??)… This is the man who is supposedly so unafraid of death he can choose when it will happen. Right, because all evidence supports that... not. I also heard him speak once about his reasons for following the path he did. To cut a long and boring story short, it was because he was dumped by a girl for rich guy, and he couldn’t take that (I’m sure it had to do with him hating to feel someone was better than him) so I spent years of my life oppressed for being a woman because of this… person. I would like to use stronger words but I won’t. It just makes me so angry thinking about what he has gotten away with for the past 40 years and what people refuse to open their eyes to or question. For this reason I believe he is an evil and dangerous man who will do anything to protect and expand the empire he has built for himself.

On top of everything are recent allegations that SOI was funded by a drug cartel. I would have laughed it off, but I knew of one of the main players and I know that he had drug charges pending against him all the way back in the 80’s. With everything that I now know, a lot of things are starting to make a lot more sense. The hypocrisy of it all is just terrifyingly mind blowing.

This is a deeply secretive, subversive group, I cannot say this enough. I haven’t worked up enough courage yet to speak out about this in public, which is why I am starting with you, my friends. It has been a huge step to even say this much.
When I left SOI at age 19, I had to literally leave everything I knew behind me and start again. I didn't know anything, I had no education, no support, and I didn't know how to ask for help, because I was taught not to. It has been a long, hard struggle to become the person that I am today.

I’ve had a lot of people over the years tell me I’m brave and strong, but I don’t feel that I am. Writing this was terribly hard because in spite of everything I’ve written above, I feel so much guilt over revealing the existence of this group. I know as soon as I hit “post” I will be switching everything off including my phone because I am terrified of the response. The conditioning I grew up with is so strong, that even now, 20 years after getting out, I am still terrified of the backlash that is coming for speaking out. That everyone I know will abandon me because I was honest about my feelings and my experiences. The trauma is so strong, that seeing a picture of Chris Butler recently had me shaking and feeling ill. Even just hearing his name is enough to trigger a pounding headache. I haven’t slept properly in a couple of months now because life has a way of swinging back around and making you face things you previously weren’t ready/able to face. That's what's happened now and it's time.

There is so much I want to say but this is already excessively long. I just had to get this off my chest. I have no doubt that after exposing the existence of this group and what they do, that my family will cut off contact from me, and/or send me a bunch of abusive messages. I just hope that one day they wake up to what is going on and stop following Chris Butler. They don’t have to give up their faith. There is a lot of beauty in the Hindu faith, but he has corrupted it and turned it into something awful, secretive and destructive, and if I can have a hand in stopping him, I will do that. I’m a survivor of Chris Butler's cult, and I’m not going to stay silent about it anymore.


So that's what I wrote. Predictably, I got the usual "stop making us feel bad, our fingers are in our ears lalalala" response from my parents.

I'm also starting a Youtube channel talking about my experiences growing up in the group. The link is here [www.youtube.com]. there isn't much up there right now, but there will be soon.

Thanks for listening.

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50 Shades of Child and Animal Abuse
Posted by: Vera City ()
Date: July 07, 2015 08:12PM

Regarding Flash's and Rama's story~

You only need look at the example of AC Bhaktivedanta who allegedly had open heart surgery without anesthesia to know where this anti drug idea came from. The prohibition against intoxication was probably never meant to include life saving drugs and procedures.

For a mother to be so conflicted about giving her son asthma medication and fearful of it's repercussions is astounding! Asthma medication is not an intoxicant. But to continue the 50 Shades of Grey analogy, it just shows you how powerful the indoctrination goes. The character Christian Grey took a girl to a place where she would willingly accept horrific torture. I wrote earlier how a Butler follower will find him/herself one day doing things that were once unacceptable.

Rama's mother's natural instinct was destroyed to the point that she was willing to let her child suffer almost to death before getting him treatment. Her fear of her own salvation over her child's health and welfare made her throw the medication at a toddler and make him responsible for the decision --- one he had to make on his own just to stay alive. That is psychological torture. In his mother's twisted logic, she did not want to take on the karma for her son taking the forbidden "drugs". This whole story sickened me, but I know it is not the only one.

This is not a rare story of one crazy woman. This is part of the whole culture of Butler followers. They are terrified and bound up in their ludicrous and dangerous beliefs. It turns caring, nurturing, idealistic people into monsters. Just read what happened to Shyam Dodge's sister in his book.

I have heard other stories like this. The young woman who died of leukemia many years ago also refused medication and was told to just chant. No one visited her because they were too busy "serving" Butler.

I can also confirm animal abuse. Dogs can live on a balanced vegetarian diet with supplements and proper care, but cats can not. They go blind for lack of taurine. An exer friend of mind had a cat go blind before reading an article about this. Too late for the poor cat. She also remembers admonishing her cat for catching lizards. Because of the dispassionate attitude engendered by the Butler group, they can easily ignore the needs of the animals or even children in their care. Just chant to them and everything will be all right. If you get sick too bad. It's your karma. ...hack...hack...

These people live in a fairy tale world while Butler and his elites get the best care and drugs from both conventional and alternative doctors. I do not know what he gets today, but in the past he had massage therapists, acupuncturists, Chinese medical doctors, and took prescription drugs. When he gets ill, dear Bhakti Yoga Shack people, you get blamed. He claims to take on your karma. So if you fuck up consciously or unconsciously, you make him sick. But notice that your making him sick includes "neglecting your spiritual master" which means you are not handing over enough of your money to him.

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Bhakti Yoga Love Bomb Shack
Posted by: Vera City ()
Date: July 07, 2015 09:03PM

Just a short post here about the obvious LOVE BOMBING going on over at the Bhakti Yoga Shack and other Butler recruitment centers. In case you don't know, love bombing comes in many forms. You need to recognize it as part of the cult indoctrination process. Even the sweet, idealistic recruiters may not be fully aware of being part of an insidious end game that they can not see.

While there are great resources here on the Cult Education site, I found this link which does a good job of explaining things simply. [I did check it out with Rick Ross and he stated that he has not heard any complaints about the group.] It is Christian based. See CULT WATCH

Since the Bhakti Yoga Shack is such an obvious LOVE BOMB enterprise, I thought it would be useful to explain what that actually means.

Love Bombing & Relationship Control

Cults know that if they can control your relationships then they can control you. Whether we like it or not we are all profoundly affected by those around us. When you first go to a cult they will practice “love bombing”, where they arrange instant friends for you. It will seem wonderful, how could such a loving group be wrong! But you soon learn that if you ever disagree with them, or ever leave the cult then you will lose all your new “friends”. This unspoken threat influences your actions in the cult. Things that normally would have made you complain will pass by silently because you don’t want to be ostracized. Like in an unhealthy relationship love is turned on and off to control.

Cults also try to cut you off from your friends and family because they hate others being able to influence you. A mind control cult will seek to manoeuvre your life so as to maximize your contact with cult members and minimize your contact with people outside the group, especially those who oppose your involvement.

Beware of instant friends. Remember that true friendships develop over time.

Beware of a group that tells you who you can and can not see.

I would add, beware of a group that discourages you from investigating other points of view or reviews of the group.

Beware of lots of free stuff or unbalanced reciprocation. In a blog, Radha Harvey brags about putting on feasts that cost $60 while only getting $5 in donations to prove to you what great, community service, spiritually oriented people they are. This is a form of love bombing. Cooperative groups, churches, and synagogues don't have this issue to attract participants and costs are shared.

Beware of a group that emphasizes "association" too much. They will imply that you can not make any spiritual progress unless you only hang out with them. This is a way to isolate you and control your relationships.

Beware of groups that are secretive about their guru or leadership hierarchy.

Beware of groups that tell you wild stories of their leaders mystical powers and infallibility.

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Love Bombing -- It does not seem obvious
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 07, 2015 09:36PM

What is the goal of Love Bombing?

Love bombing aims to shut down critical thinking by inflaming heedlessness.

By getting people high.

By getting people high on large doses of the neurochemicals
that accelerate and inflame the human bonding process.

Highs produced by artificially scripted and intense social settings
fade when you return to real relationships.

You find you want to return to the setting where you felt so wonderful, so

But...you do not know that this setting was fake, was not at all spontaneous
but was scripted, rehearsed, and that you are regarded as human chattel.

To serve the needs of a leader whom you are not told about.

Where the long term costs for you are kept hidden.

Real human companionship develops gradually.

Love bombing may have a more subtle onset.

You may feel you have finally met delightful people who share your

If you've been feeling depressed or lonesome, such an
encounter may feel like 'synchronicity'.

You are actually on the receiving end of a technique.

More sophisticated groups may even set it up so that the sweet
people who welcome you are unaware of the role they are playing.

These nice people are newbie members. They are still high and happy,
eager to share their newfound joy.

They have not yet been squeezed dry.

The ones who are standing off in corners and monitoring who is
responsive and should be invited back -- those are the older members.

The recruiters.

Love bombing is a tried and true technique.

So much so that some groups probably rehearse how to do it, just the
way dancers spend hours rehearsing for what seems like a spontaneous

Problem with the term 'love bombing' is that it sounds like such an obvious ploy that you can tell yourself:

"I'd spot this in a minute.

I'd never fall for it."


Instead of love bombing, think of pseudo companionship.

You feel understood.

But someone is actually scrutinizing you. Assessing you.
That spy is over on the sidelines, watching the whole thing.

You'd be creeped out if you know that you were in a set up,
not a loving friendly environment.

Like what the ISIS recruiters do.

Instead of running Yoga Shack events, the ISIS recruiters go online and
look for idealistic young people.

When a promising candidate is ID'd the ISIS recruiter spends lots of time
and attention on that youngster.

The target has no background information.

The target feels he or she is valued as a person, and is totally
unaware that he or she is -- a target.

Totally unaware that the recruiter is telling all this to a higher level
operator who briefs the recruiter on what mind game to play next.

The target knows none of this. The target is unaware of being just one among many.

The target feels as though this is a real friendship, not that it is
just the opening phase of a diabolical chess game.

Meanwhile the recruiter and manager are figuring out which young
person is a waste of time versus the person who
is worth long term cultivation.

The goal being to get the target excited, and on a mission. -- with the aim of cutting them off from outside sources of information.

Above all, making it seem their own loving families are boring and oppressive.

People who love you for real will annoy you.

Because they changed your diapers, knew you when you threw food against
the wall.

They wont buy it if you run some line about their spirituality being
inferior to yours.

People who love you and know you will catch on that you're
changing -- and will tell you that.

People who love you will insist that you question your inspirations.

People who love you will warn you that you need background information
from outside sources before you get involved with a project.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/08/2015 02:33AM by corboy.

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The Man Who Fell ~ Revisiting Shyam Dodge's Writing
Posted by: Vera City ()
Date: July 08, 2015 12:46AM

Yes! Thanks corboy for furthering the Love Bomb explanation.

I've been thinking a lot about you Rama and found some of Shyam Dodge's writings that I don't think have been posted here. I believe that you and others will benefit and relate to many of his experiences in the cult.

Shyam grew up in the Butler cult. His father Patrick Bishop (Purushatam) was a follower of AC Bhaktivedanta as well as Chris Butler and Katyayani. His parents set up an "ashram" with Katyayani as the house guru or resident theocrat. She would set herself up on a vyas asana and hold court. The word ashram conjures up all sorts of imaginings, but it was Butler style all the way. It was a commune. It was a place where they gave classes, held kirtans, and put on feasts ala the Bhakti Yoga Shack.

The guru from whom Shyam hid his secret book was Katyayani. Because he was intelligent and could memorize long passages, Shyam was raised to be the perfect brahmachari and began teaching at a young age. Quite different from the disappointing eldest sons of Katyayani and her husband Brahmanatirtha. Those boys got in trouble with the law and engaged in typical teenage shenanigans. At a certain time, Katyayani declared Shyam "enlightened". There was a battle between gurus who would get this boy. What happens next is the subject of his book "Wet, Hot, and Wild American Yogi" (2012).

The "monastery" that his parent's guru (Butler) sent his sister away (to cure her grief) was the same "missionary school" to which Tulsi Gabbard went. It was the Hari Bol school for girls in the Philippines. Run by nuns? No. Just Butler "devots". Gotta love all these euphemisms for the cult's indoctrination school. In the book Wet, Hot, and Wild American Yogi Shyam details the severe abuse his sister experienced at this school.

The following excerpts are from two Yoga Brain articles. Well worth a read.

The Drag Humans and The Man Who Fell

Infinite Revisions and the Pursuit of a Life More Ordinary

Excerpt from The Drag Humans and The Man Who Fell Posted by Shyam Dodge on Thursday, August 30, 2012
...I’m a writer of many unfinished books. One of these screeds ending in unintentional ellipsis was about my sister. I didn’t know this for years, it remained unconscious. It was a novel with a boy narrator who loses one of his only true friends, his foster sister. Her name was Samantha (one syllable away from being Samadhi, my real life sister). Her disappearance is a mystery. She is taken away one night. Years later the boy sees his foster sister on the street. When he tries to talk to her she looks at him as if he were a stranger. The boy’s heart is broken, his past forever unrecoverable.

It was veiled biography. I knew this much, as the events leading up to Samantha’s disappearance were set in the neighborhood of my youth. The novel also featured two other foster brothers, whom the boy narrator loves. He loses them too.

I secretly wrote this book (I kept its existence hidden from my guru) in the wake of my father’s death. I wrote it as my sister was taken from us by my parents’ guru who claimed she needed spiritual training at a monastery in Southeast Asia, that somehow banishment was a cure for trauma and grief. I lost my sister. When she returned from her internment I was a stranger to her. Her senior nuns had told her that to be alone in a room with any male (including her own brother) was to risk rape.

From the moment my sister left until well after her return my nights were sleepless with worry and rage.

Soon after Sam’s (elide antha or adhi) return I abandoned the novel (as well as another book). I left being a monk. I became a secularist, a humanist–‘I fell from grace‘–and began the long process of fighting for the freedom of my youngest brother and sister (the two minors left in our family). Both of them made it out of our native community and, one by one, came to California to live near me. It wasn’t easy. There was nearly endless bargaining. Threats on my life were made. But, slowly, over the years my former gurus (and community) began to let us go...

An editor’s note, an addendum, a postscript that breaks the trance of first-person narration. The author of the work you are reading has kept something from the reader. A secret that is nearly unbearable to utter: his nights are sleepless for another reason as well. He has two brothers (he comes from a big family) who will not speak to him. This is due to the actions the narrator took in trying to liberate his two youngest siblings. There is very little likelihood that the narrator of this essay will ever find a way to heal this fracture in his family.

His nights are sleepless with grief. He is still alienated. When he left his native community, after burning so bright as a monk, they called him “the man who fell…”

Excerpt from Infinite Revisions and the Pursuit of a Life More Ordinary Posted by Shyam Dodge on Friday, August 3, 2012

Infinite Revisions and the Pursuit of a Life More Ordinary

Posted by Shyam Dodge on Friday, August 3, 2012 · 10 Comments

Two months after my father died of an aortic dissection, my guru asked me to write a book about death and dying. I soon compiled hundreds of pages of notes—Moleskins filled with my bulky childlike scribble, hard drives crammed with 17th century Bengali verbiage, underlined passages cluttering my desk (from Kubler-Ross to Tibetan death meditations). I spent hours sitting at the feet of my guru going over my copious compilation of neti-neti infused deconstructionism, syncretist associations and careful textual research... I began to knit these threads of socio-cultural study into a compelling narrative of our inherent fear of death and the unknown. I undermined the dream of resurrection by pointing out its patent materialism and over-identification with the corporeal...

One day, nearly four years into the drafting process, I printed out the 1,100 pages of my book. I spent weeks reading—highlighting and underlining—my manuscript(s). And I began to realize they were so many words against myself. ...I was having a crisis of faith on the page. All this verbiage was an attempt to make a case against my inherent disbelief. My own doubt was on trial, and I was launching every carefully constructed argument...to attack the fulminating grief inside me. Yet erupting through the cracks of my Hindu-Stoicism were these interludes of raw inconsolable emotion... Ironically, these mournful elegies undermined the central thesis of my self-directed attack—no matter how much I practiced yogic detachment (“The wise grieve not the living nor the dead,” Bhagavad Gita 2.11) my torment did not go away, no matter how much I deconstructed (neti-neti) the ‘illusion’ produced by my identification with the impermanent I could not rid myself of my humanity...

The more verbose portion of this disjointed dialogue spun intricate intersecting lines of false reasoning in support of a central thesis: the fear of death (and therefore the pain of life) was a product of our misidentification with the body and all of its attendant body-connections (mother, father, sister, brother). After all my research, the body was being rejected as the fundamental obstacle to our ultimate and final transcendence over death. I knew better. I knew that what mattered was that my dad was once alive, and he was my friend. Now he was gone, irretrievable...,

The book was unfinishable. If I was going to continue in the same manner, my doubt would never end, and therefore neither would the "Art Of Death". I slowly began to realize, as I wielded my editor’s highlighting pen, that I could very well bury myself in volumes of alternate versions of the same flimsy argument.

“I know a way out of grief: die to your idea of who you are.”

Grief never ends. You learn to tend to it, to have a relationship of increasing complexity and depth with it. But you never transcend it—and if you do, then you’ve simply fractured and severed yourself from a significant portion of what it means to be human...I grew sick with spinning theological nonsense in the effort to disintegrate our (my sister’s, my brother’s, my mother’s) mourning.

...The denial of grief’s validity was representative of the futility of my Vedantic quest to void the significance (and reality) of my humanity. The body-negative, ironically, was the ultimate denial of death and so, ipso facto, I was a fraud. I was a fraud on the page. I was a fraud as I instructed my students in grief denying meditations. I was a fraud as consoler and counselor to my body-connections.
A few months later, I met a woman and I felt my body below the waist for the first time in a decade. I gave voice to my doubt in the community I had been raised in (and had been teaching in for years) and for the first time, since I was a kid, I didn’t feel like a fraud. Affirming the body resulted in the loss of my station in life (my position as a teacher) and the community that had fostered me into adulthood. But I gained a possibility—a life that was authentic for me. Previously, my math had been regressive, subtracting entire portions of my humanity—the true self was not my genitals (therefore I had no need for them), my true self was not the feeling of affinity I had for other people (as it was impermanent), my true self was not this body (and therefore I had no need for this life). The possibility I was entertaining was about reclamation, restoring these discarded portions back to life. It was (metaphorically) about resurrecting the body.

After voicing my doubt to a committee of violent opposition, I realized that there was no place for me in the community I had been raised in, no place for the discarded portions of my humanity. I made my escape during a time of day that no one else was home. Carrying my few possessions out to the car—mostly books—I abandoned the "Art Of Death"...The printed pages...were disposed of in a blue recycling bin. I have not seen or heard of the book since.


A guru in Rishikesh, nearly a year after I left my life as a monk, asked me if I was prepared for death. “No. For the first time, I want to live.” Squatting beneath a banyan tree overlooking the Ganges he pressed further: “You have a human birth. You must seek the absolute truth.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I was seeking a life more ordinary. A life where children and mothers and siblings constitute the meaning of human existence.

Six months after conversing with this riverbank yogin I fought for the freedom of my younger brother and sister. Both of them made it out of our native community and, one by one, came to California to live near me. It wasn’t easy. There was nearly endless bargaining. Threats on my life were made. But, slowly, over the years my former gurus (and community) began to let us go.

Just the other morning I had coffee with my sister. There was no conversation about enlightenment or gurus, no deconstruction of Vedantic idealism (let alone scriptural injunctions to realize ancient truths), no discussion that would indicate we were survivors of our own personal nightmare. We talked about her two English bulldogs (one of them a puppy) for an hour. And I realized that she had done more than just make it out alive, she had made a life worth living.

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Re: Chris Butler, Jagad Guru, Science of Identity
Posted by: eigenerherr ()
Date: July 08, 2015 11:43AM

Hi, I'm new here, was one of the first gen Chris Butler cult kids like Rama. I tried to post an introduction post, but it hasn't been approved yet, so writing a short one to test if it works.

Saw everyone talking about psychological trauma, and thought this article might be of some use for those wanting to understand more about that trauma [www.icsahome.com].

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Get a Real Job You Fucking Vampire!
Posted by: Vera City ()
Date: July 08, 2015 07:06PM

Here's Flash's blog again Voice of a Victim

(Flash, if you want to add the following comment to your blog, feel free.)

Scroll down to the Butler letter
Butler to his diciples:
“To my disciples
December 29, 1987
…one week after Vaishnava dasi’s injury, her symptoms continued and they got worse on a particular night. At around 11 at night she was having bad symptoms in her head. I tried to get our driver to take us to the hospital emergency rooms. But when I inquired, I found out that the driver didn’t know where the hospital emergency room was in the sense that he had never actually driven there, even though it’s only 20 minutes from here. This was particularly astounding and upsetting to us because on three other occasions the driver had supposedly been standing by during situations where our health was deteriorating and we needed a driver standing by late at night in case we needed to go to the emergency room... ...
I tried to get an ambulance. I called an ambulance, but I couldn’t get one here because they didn’t know this address -it was a new street in a new area, and the address or directions to this house were not anywhere in the house, so I could not give the ambulance people any directions to get here....”

What stands out the most in this letter, besides the obvious egotism, is the depth of ignorance, the lack of responsibility towards his own wife, and the level of dependency Butler has on his servants. He is absolutely infantile in his rant. He probably made his wife suffer a great deal before even considering going to the emergency room at 11 pm! She apparently had suffered for days.

I know this was before GPS, but damn, a call to 411 (information) or the hospital to get directions would be too easy. Ambulance? Don't know your own location because it is not on the map? You can't find a map? Butler can't take responsibility for the simplest things in life - like knowing your location. This is one of the first life skills you teach kids with intellectual disabilities. Surely you could drive to/from the closest known street! Chances are the driver was so freaked out about displeasing his guru and in shock from being yelled at and blamed, that even if he knew how to get to the main street he could not think.

And what did they expect?! They don't pay their servants except for in leftover food and a cot! Their servants are only vetted for loyalty and mind control, not always for experience or expertise. Butler does not pay a living wage, taxes, or any medical benefits. It is slavery. Half the time these servants are exhausted and stressed to the max from the petulant demands of Shri Butler and his tune-impaired wife.

What else is notable is that Butler not only blames his wife's head injury on his followers in other letters (claiming they are not taking care of their spiritual master like g0d, or sending enough money, and therefore threatens them with spiritual death if they don't comply), but is also projecting his own incompetence on the poor driver! I will bet you that the driver got fired and crawled back for more. The saddest thing of all is that the driver is probably still working for Butler in the cult.

Everyone is afraid to stand up to this asshole and say,"You fraud! Drive your own ass to the hospital! Get a real job you fucking vampire!"

And you are considering surrendering your life to this fool?!

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