The Krishnas, from the time of Bhaktivinode and throughout history have a typical cult mentality of feeling they are above the law. They feel that the rules do not apply to them. Prabhupada wanted to build varnashram farm communities. The major experiments of that in the US, Canada, Europe, India, South America etc all failed and broke laws.
You can say that Butler's own cult started in the same way. Breaking laws, making offenses and all-around bullshitery.
All things go in cycles.
Now, for the purpose of letting things simmer down and not attract unwanted press, they are controlling themselves. But just give it some time. Look at Tulsi. She went from authoritarian dictator-like republican policies masquerading as "liberal" and "conservative progressive" to now, much to no ones surprise, back to the original MO. Her guru's MO. Bhaktivedantas MO. Bhaktisiddhantas MO. You can say that "love" is their MO. But this is a typical psychopathic charm at work. The ability to control the narrative, push your agenda and control people on the premises of "love" is an all-time favorite cult tactic.
Anything that feels off in these cults is immediately posited as "dovetailing" with the wish of god, the wish of guru, some obscure scriptural verses etc. But mostly it is doing the bidding of one man. Butler for SIF, and other gurus.
How is that? How do thinking people fall for a guy like Butler. Anyone who would see this man walking down the street (something he will not do without a bodyguard and dressed from head to toe in covering) you would think he is a nut job. But put him on a fancy chair dressed in flower leis and white clothing, he is all of a sudden transformed to the level of divinity in the eyes and minds of his blind followers. They will doubt any instinct they have to run and abandon all critical thinking to believe in total nonsense ideology and dogma.
As a child I ate this stuff up. As a youth, I had my doubts but kept at it and considered that I must be a total demon for ever doubting it. As an adult and now, I MARVEL that I had ever fallen for any of it. I am astounded that it had such deep hooks in me.
Cultthusiast, I know where you are coming from about your attraction to guna/karma and some of the Samkhya philosophy in Vaishnavism. This is all amalgamation and usurped into the larger "vedic" cannon and eventually puranic Vaishnavism (https://www.jstor.org/stable/44148078), but by no means has any origins in a blue god playboy god named krshna. In fact in general Guna theory and karma and so forth are concepts available in most philosophical traditions since the dawn of time. As soon as man became more thoughtful about himself and the universe, there was some visible assessment that life is governed by assorted forces of nature and psychological states. Categorical and organized philosophical systems were no doubt evolved and created by amazing minds. But I can 100% assure you they were men, human, flawed and often in no more better shape than you or I as far as unraveling the puzzle of life. If you read between the lines of the Puranas, many of the myths actually highlight this one FACT over and over: Humans, gods and all you comprehend are flawed and there is no one, right answer to understanding it all. I think "absolutism" in Vaishnava ideology became a response to Christian ideology/perfectionism and purism. Even the creation of focal deities (out with the old gods, in with the new top dog in town) was something that started to evolve more in puranic vaishnvaism around the time of Christian influence around the world. Before that, human's had no concern or desire for a single focal "god". Nature was their gods and went by many names. Humans were comfortable wit this type of primal spirituality and sense of unity and connection with life for thousands of years before they toppled Indra, Agni, Vayu and Vishnu in favor of monotheism. Which in turn gave rise to city-states and kingdoms (dictatorships) under the rule of one social group (brahmanis) and a kind that was treated and accepted as "god on earth". This model of ruling and creating social order and civilization was a natural product of population increase and evolution in human consciousness. The more autocratic the human mind, the more variables, wild-cards. The solution? Allegiance to one banner and mode of thinking. Anyone who disagrees with us, "BAM!", as Prabhupada fantasized about the future of Hare Krishna's killing the "Mudhas"...
It's a testament to the follower mentality and lack of democratic and tolerant thinking to suggest that humanity's problems will be solved by chanting one mantra and following one ideology. Talk about being narrow-minded and closed-minded.
As I have always said, it is fine and dandy to preach "I am not the body", but this largely has zero functional value in life, while sounding great on paper. Think about it. The body you have is what provides the very structure of a brain that can process language—something that requires a brain, tongue, mouth and ears to harness. So abstractly thinking of yourself as a "spirit soul" (whatever the fuck that even means) has no real bearing on anything within your rational and functional scope of true realization. You can only realize something if you have a brain, a physical body. You would not even comprehend a single fancy spiritual ideology without your body and mind. To say that a "spirit soul" has the faculty of thought, mental processes, etc, means that such a supposed "transcendent" element has the physical capacity, effectively making it nothing transcendent at all, but simply a figment of imagination. That life "leaves" a body upon death is nothing more than the breakdown of an organic system. You know, until fucking proven otherwise. And I have to tell you, if indeed there is a spirit soul/god/absolute truth, in some million years of human evolution we have not found an iota of proof for it. So while it may be nice to contemplate the mechanics of guna theory and higher/lower self, subtle bodies, souls and god, the fact remains, it has little to no functional value.
What does have functional value is that we are here, right now, and we have a planet, body, friends and family that all function squarely within this field of experience. Anyone claiming a transcendent experience is, to put it politely, full of large amounts of shit.No matter how "ecstatic" they look while chanting some Indian sanskrit words.
Butler and many guru's close their eyes during chanting to put on an aura of "going to another place". But the reality is they are simply thinking about the same basic shit we all think about when we close our eyes: Things that happened today, random things we need to tend to like financial matters, relationships and assorted frustrations and anxieties. For Bhaktivedanta, those anxieties were to finish his translations of fairy tale books before he died. For Butler it's to upgrade his home air filter system to the best one and how many dumb disciples he needs to hit up for money to make that happen... and while he's at it, he's really been fancying his friends' wife, so maybe he can hit that too...
Meanwhile, old-timer Prabhupada and butler disciples sit and cry and wonder why they are not "tasting the nectar" or why they still have "mundane material" thoughts after sincerely chanting and serving for over 40 years... Surprise motherfuckers! You've been had. Now stop crying over spilled milk, tighten your shoelaces and start jogging, running and finally sprinting far away from all these ideologies that cripple your ability to think for yourself and make your own choices. They rob you of your own self-trust and make yo a monkey chanting on rote and feed you a line that this equals "bliss" and is some sort of transcendent state. RUN.