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Krishna group in Hawaii
Posted by: devadasi ()
Date: May 21, 2006 09:38PM

Devadasi,
Did you experience any guilt or fears after you left?


When I finally decided to leave I felt much guilt I had been carrying go away. The guilt of continually rejecting my intuition (paramatma). I did not like his harsh manner, the way he used humiliation as a way of correcting his followers or his irrational behavior. Put it simply, my karma there was over. As far as I am concerned that is all it was, just some type of karma.

His methods looked more Zen like than Krishna Conscious. I have to admit I felt the same relief I felt when I rejected the Catholic Idea of going to hell I was brainwashed into believing as a child. When I realized I could disagree with Siddha without being a demon or going to hell much fear went away.

Shortly after leaving I can honestly say I felt closer to Krishna.

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Krishna group in Hawaii
Posted by: initiate ()
Date: May 22, 2006 12:49AM

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just-googling
Hi Devidasi,

Regarding your question of homophobia, my impression is that it was a great target for criticism in order to boost his political agenda, as most of the Christians were also against the laws that favored homosexuals, and thus more potential votes. Maybe you saw the info about the recent political campaign in Honolulu with Mike Gabbard running for office. I can gather that there were countless lectures on the subject to the point that all the disciples could talk about was connected to anti-homosexuality.

Just as at one time there was the anti-ISKON sentiment prevalent to the point that one would feel very guilty just for glancing at someone wearing saffron robes!

Yes, I remember the ridiculous germ phobias, and the big "giardia" scare in Honolulu. One time I offered a garland to Siddha and one to Vaisnava dasi and the feeling was one that they were so high and mightly and I was just some sort of scumbag ass - this was such a terrible feeling that I will never forget to this day.


Hi Googling,

I had forgotten about Tusta’s tape about sex desire and celibacy not being for this age! You are right. I had also forgotten about the giardia scacre. OMG! EVERYONE had to swallow that (GAG, cough, cough) string. I don’t know if anyone really had giardia anyway. That was nuts!

Lots of people were made to feel like crap. I managed to keep quietly under the radar, but witnessed a lot of elitism. Maybe Vaishnava dasi was the Yoko Ono of Siddha’s group!? LOL. I saw a lot of people working their asses off never getting acknowledged or appreciated. If you were “in” or highly skilled or monied you got a lot of attention.

You are correct about using the anti-homosexual platform for politics. But there is more and I'll write about that later.

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Krishna group in Hawaii
Posted by: initiate ()
Date: May 22, 2006 12:56AM

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barabara
I have recently had the experience of listening to musical recordings by Butler, and viewed music videos featuring Wai Lana, posted on her website.

Perhaps the benefits of being the leader of a "spiritual" group are similar to those given to media celebrities.

I wonder if Mr. Butler isn't a frustrated would-be rock star. The group certainly seems to put a lot of emphasis on recording music and videos. I would guess that there is a ready-made market for these among group members.

Barbara,
You are right. He DID cut an album once. He had all of his diciples call into the radio station to request air play. The D.J. finally got suspicious and figured the whole thing out. He refused to play any songs after that! Needless to say the album flopped. It was called “This World/Another World”. It was actually quite good and had good lyrics if you like soft rock. He had great musicians playing on it. Wai Lana’s stuff is very similar. He also has had several followers who have made CDs of their own who are quite acomplished musicians and singers.

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Krishna group in Hawaii
Posted by: initiate ()
Date: May 22, 2006 01:00AM

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gulag
What was the "spiritual" practice called the "dreaming" that Butler and others indulged in during early years?
What did this practice have to do with the Krishna precepts?

I have no idea. Never heard of it. May have been from his Sai days, several years before I came along. They experimented with different meditation practices blowing their kundalinis out trying to experience the white light. Perhaps it was the guided meditation they used to do while laying down, while “Sai” provided the imagery. Was it meditation or hypnosis or both? I don’t know.

After he got initiated by A.C Bhakitvedanta he stopped those practices. Above the temple in Kapaa, Kauai they painted a sign in drippy, psychedelic letters "Krishna ~ Beyond Mystic Liquid" to imply that Krishna realization was beyond the emptiness of nirvana or what they termed the impersonalist realization of God, saying what people were experiencing was only the effulgence of krishna. Seeking spirituality was part of the culture of the surfers and hippies at the time - people were taking drugs and blowing holes in their brains with some of their "spiritual" experiences. At least Siddha got a lot of kids off drugs by getting them to chant --- kind of a drug free methadone treatment :)

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Krishna group in Hawaii
Posted by: initiate ()
Date: May 22, 2006 02:02AM

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devadasi
Initiate,
My only regrets are I did not move on out of the group sooner. I also regret the necessity for websites like this. I regret so many people move in and out of cultish groups and end up thinking they represent the religion said cults have deviated away from. At least you did not give up religion altogether. But it is sad you have such a bad taste towards Vaishnavism in general. I am sorry for that and I apologize to you for people like Siddha. I also regret so many pseudo gurus appeared after the departure of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami and that so many people were misled and hurt by them.
quote]

Devadasi,
You don’t need to apologize for Siddha’s actions. You are not to blame. I don’t blame him. I made the choice to follow. I learned a lot and am grateful for the experiences. Don’t feel bad for me because I don’t follow the Vaishnava path, as if I have lost out somehow. I am proud and happy to be what I am. You are happy with what you are doing now. I believe people should live and let live and be free to join Siddha or anyone else. If G*d gives you free will to do stupid things, who am I to interfere, unless someone is violating basic human rights. I can only advise people to open up and use their G*d-given eyes, brains and discernment powers. We also have been given the free will to do wise things.

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Krishna group in Hawaii
Posted by: initiate ()
Date: May 22, 2006 03:56AM

Devadasi and Googling-

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. It’s confirming some things and jogging a lot of memories. A lot of people are afraid to speak out openly for lots of reasons. For me, it was not because I never witnessed anything illegal, perverted or subversive. We all had the freedom and autonomy to live and work where we wanted. The core constrictions were self inflicted. I chose to believe that Siddha had authority to direct me because I thought he was a pure devotee, a saint, a sadhu. I let his ideas over ride my own inner authority and discernment.

The thing to look at, whether you believe yourself to have been in a cult or not, is why do you feel so bad there and why do you feel afraid to leave or why does it take so long to leave after you start seeing red flags?

I agonized for years with an inner conflict between my own wisdom and truth detectors versus Siddha’s/ followers teachings/ lifestyle. First, I had to deal with the embarrassment that I had been an idiot like my father and brothers had been telling me. Then I had to deal with the regret of the lost years, like the grasshopper in Aesop’s tales who played and didn’t store up his food for winter. Or like in the Japanese film, “Ugetsu”, about a poor man who is led away from his family by a beautiful woman. He stays with her for years forgetting about his wife and children. One day as he is walking down the road and runs into a Buddhist priest. When the priest found out where the man lived, he was horrified. He made the man remove his shirt and wrote Sanskrit prayers on his back. When he returned to the woman she became extremely agitated and the man finds out that he has been living with a ghost all those years. When he returned home all these misfortunes had fallen on to his family due to his long absence.

The fear and secrecy was all about fearing what people would think and therefore jeopardize any proselytizing activities or undermine mainstream businesses. When he had his followers venture into politics, where facades are built in to prevent too much scrutiny by the opposition, they could no longer be open about their beliefs. (I’ll examine this more when I write about politics). ISKON had already poisoned the well and alienated most people with their pushy tactics and criminal behavior of their leadership. Siddha rightfully distanced himself from that organization. The problem was that he was not able to counter peoples’ bias against alternative religions. Instead of being open and honest, as it was in the beginning, and slowly building good relationships and reputations with the community by doing good deeds, even risking losing an election, in time they would have been accepted. This was already happening with locals who had contact working with Katyayani, Balakhiya, Phenop and others. They were well liked by the community.

But to be open and transparent would mean that Siddha would lose control and be demoted to and scrutinized by the same standards as that of an ordinary man. Not that he was ordinary. He was an extraordinary man, a leader, advisor, philosopher, entrepreneur, innovator, but a man nonetheless.

There was a grandiose feeling in the group that we had a superior spiritual understanding. All of his lectures are filled with mocking and sarcasm, building up “straw men” to knock them down. Jesus was a pure devotee, but Christians were generally materialists. Gurus and Buddhists were offensive “impersonalists/voidists”. Rabbis were ignorant because they can’t tell you what G*d looks like. No one knows the truth but Siddha and the Brahma sampradaya. Just chant and serve “Jagad Guru”, Lord Guru of all gurus, because he is god’s humble representative on earth.

The basic philosophy was universal and attractive. We are more than matter, flesh, or chemicals. A materialistic lifestyle alone will not make you happy. You need to have a personal relationship with G*d based on love and not on fear. Serve G*d and fulfill the purpose of your creation. Be kind to animals, don’t eat them. Live simply; think highly. Don’t do drugs or alcohol. Don’t gamble. Don’t have sex outside of marriage. Don’t exploit people or the natural environment. Siddha’s projects seemed pure enough. Health food stores, organic farms, vegetarian cooking shows, a new political party with pro-life, anti-development and environmentalist platforms, plans for a drug rehab center, exposing organized crime in the Hawaiian tour industry and in politics, plans for an educational center showcasing eco-friendly technologies, a media center, music, schools for children that did not crush their spirits, all seemed noble goals. And he found great people to help him. But there was something not genuine. What was the lie?

What if he was not really G*d’s representative? What if I just realized that I am making major life decisions based on a man who is delusional, paranoid, and phobic no matter how kind and gentle or humble he appears? You question things. You question your questions. You are told, “Doubts are like demons.” Things don’t add up. Am I being paranoid or did I commit a horrible offence? No one is really being abused, forced, coerced. If chanting is a chore, I must not be doing it right. No one can be friends anymore. No one helps each other out because they are too busy frantically and jealously serving “Prabhupad”. People are having affairs and marriages are crumbling. Don’t complain. If you get sick everyone avoids you so they won’t be quarantined from seeing the guru. You are not your material body or mind, so any desire or thought could be maya (illusion). Just love guru and Krishna. It’s not Siddha or Bhaktivedanta or the philosophy (they are pure), it’s the stupid followers, you tell yourself. Your internal B.S. gauge gets rusty. The only happiness that is legitimate is love for the “blue boy” who incarnates in his pictures and statues. But I don’t get it, I’m not happy. I lie to myself every time I offer food on the alter. If I am honest with myself, I feel even worse. I’m a failed devotee. I must be a materialist. I must be a horrible person! Nope, I never reached Krishna consciousness or Prabhupad consciousness for that matter.

Deny this, deny that. You feel bad for that sleep deprived cook that just got fired because the tofu wasn’t cooked right. Someone else gets yelled at for suggesting that Siddha put some footnotes and to quote references at the end of his books. Mass call-ins are ordered to radio talk shows to support a cause. Staged interviews in books and videos where no real questions were asked, only prepared ones. Door to door cookies sold to raise funds for a drug rehab center that never materialized. You see a political candidate in a fake marriage ordered by Siddha so a family can be pictured on a brochure.*

All the devotees get blamed for every sneeze Siddha and his wife gets. People are told that their very spiritual lives are in grave danger if his health fails and if they are not sending in enough money. All disciples are blamed for an accident where his wife gets a head injury from a pipe that accidentally fell because of the apparently shoddy construction work of a follower. Everyone else is responsible for HIM, but himself.

He simultaneously had contempt and love for his followers, resentment and dependency. The post describing followers attending to Siddha by taking him out in the ocean on a raft to help him surf (so he didn’t have to paddle out himself) reminded me of a story he used to tell us. He used to mock Indian gurus who were impersonalists (did not worship Krishna’s form as god). He told the story of a guru who meditated day and night. He meditated so long and hard that he attained the highest Brahman realization. The problem was that he remained in the lotus position for so many years that his arm and leg muscles atrophied and locked into position. He was totally helpless and at the mercy of his followers. They would carry him around on a palanquin and parade their great guru around in his locked lotus position. He became completely dependent on them to feed him, bath him, and take him to the toilet and wipe his butt. This was the humiliating fate for a man so in control and in want of a following.

Just by me saying all of this is considered blasphemy and devotees are instructed from the Krishna scriptures to do one of three things if they hear blasphemy of a pure devotee; kill the blasphemer; and if you can’t do this, then kill yourself. If you can’t do that; then run away. Apparently Krishna will forgive blasphemy of himself, but not his pure devotee. Siddha was also considered a blasphemer when he broke from ISKON and there WERE guys crazy enough to bump him off. So his paranoia is this was not unfounded. And maybe now there are followers of Siddha crazy enough to go after me, but I really don’t pose a threat to his businesses or income. They will ride me off as an envious, disgruntled, lustful materialist who never tasted love for G*d and must be a miserable, hateful person who has committed such a great offence that I will be cut off from Krishna forever. To them, I am spiritually dead. This is the real deal for those of you who asked.

*(NOT Mike Gabbard who was really a great guy with a loving wife when I knew him).

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Krishna group in Hawaii
Posted by: devadasi ()
Date: May 22, 2006 08:01AM

Initiate,

Thank you for sharing and being brave enough to speak your mind. I remember the pipe incident with Vaishnava dasi, it was a simple accident. But Siddha was so angry he said it was a conspiracy and the result would be she would have to die 10 years early!!!! This is so outrageous I kick my self in the butt for not leaving immediately after this incident!!! Then he said because she would die 10 years early that meant he would die 10 years early because they would both be going back to Krishna together. In other words because she got a little bump on the head we were all condemned for causing them both to leave the world 10 years early!!!!

Concerning Siddha becoming dependent on his followers. I remember an incident when everyone was condemned, I can't remember the exact reason, he got a hair in his soup or something like that, anyway he cut everyone off and would not accept anyone's service. He even tried washing his own cloths. This lasted about two days. He was not capable of doing anything for himself and so he had to forgive everyone to get his house cleaned, clothes washed and meals served.

Concerning offenses and scripture. Many things are exaggerated in the Veda, it says so within the Veda itself. The fear of offense was way overused in Chris's cult in order to keep people under control. Just a fear tactic, the same thing is used in Christianity, the fear of going to hell. But also one will find in the Vedic scripture that nothing is more powerful than service to God, so offenses are overridden by service and in a healthy situation in Krishna Con. it is love not fear that motivates the practitioners. That is why the association of sadhus is recommended. But Siddha never really had any association of sadhus because he already imagined he was one. He was as alienated away from his guru as he was his material father. Prabhupada tried to get him to have more of his association but Siddha refused thinking himself a great sadhu already.

We were told Srila Prabhupada was happy that Siddha did not need his association. Siddha told the story many times that Srila Prabhupada wanted him to come to India with him. Siddha said Prabhupada was very pleased that he did not feel it necessary to go to India with him. In fact Prabhpada said later, 'what kind of a sanyasi does not want to go to India with their guru?' He was very dismayed that Siddha did not want more of his association.

The picture that was painted concerning his guru recognizing him as a pure devotee and blessing his own outside movement was completely concocted by Sidhha and his top men. Maybe his top men really believed it. But all one has to do is go to the Prabhupada Folio (practically every word Prabhupada said is recorded) one will find that in fact Prabhupada denied the idea that Siddha was a pure devotee, Prabhupada says himself, 'I never said that, (that Siddha is a pure devotee), that is a concoction.' He says in another letter, 'Siddha has his own philosophy.' In a room converstation Srila Prabhpada is trying to convince one of his diciples NOT to be part of Siddhas group and he succeeds. The devotee was asking if she could join with Siddha and Prabhupada tells her emphatically NO.

Everyone knows it was practically a sin to use the word 'Prabhu' (master) Tusta himself would not allow anyone to call him that even his godbrother and people outside of Siddhas cult were asked not to call him that. That was a direct insult to Srila Prabhupada as Prabhupada himself told Tusta everyone should be referred to as Prabhu, (master).

72-12-14
Ahmedabad
14th December, 1972

Byron's Bay, Australia

My dear Tusta Krishna,

…You speak of pure devotee, that he is saktyavesa avatara, that we should obey him only--these things are the wrong idea. If anyone thinks like that, that a pure devotee should be obeyed and no one else, that means he is a nonsense. We advise everyone to address one another as Prabhu. Prabhu means master, so how the master should be disobeyed? Others, they are also pure devotees. All of my disciples are pure devotees. Anyone sincerely serving the spiritual master is a pure devotee, it may be Siddhasvarupa or others, a-Siddhasvarupa. This must be very clearly stated. It is not only that your Siddhasvarupa is a pure devotee and not others. Do not try to make a faction. ….. But others should not be misled. Anyone who is surrendered to the spiritual master is a pure devotee, it doesn't matter if Siddhasvarupa or non-Siddhasvarupa. Amongst ourselves one should respect others as Prabhu, master, one another. As soon as we distinguish here is a pure devotee, here is a non-pure devotee, that means I am a nonsense. Why you only want to be in the spiritual sky with Siddhasvarupa? Why not all?….

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

I shortened the letter, Tusta asks many questions, all the questions are completely neophyte questions. But even at that time Tusta was regarded as a 'pure devotee', while all others were demoted to being eternally neophytes. Just the big three were the pure ones, Tusta, Katyayani and Sudama. Everyone else the eternal neophyte.


Concerning others being demons, the Veda is clear that every soul will eventually go back home to God, demons, atheists, impersonalist even Siddha are all actually not seen as demons by the very advanced Vaishnava. And all the so-called demons in the Krishna pastimes are actually devotees just playing the role.

Siddha mixed up Christianity with Vaishnavism, not a good mix at all when employing the fear tactics. He just made it up as he went, and he is still making it up as he continues to go on his own way misleading so many.

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Krishna group in Hawaii
Posted by: barabara ()
Date: May 22, 2006 09:41AM

Initiate;

You, a former devotee, have written that the religious scriptures believed in by followers of this guru say that anyone who blasphemes this guru should be killed?
Are these some of the secret teachings of this group?

I'm just trying to get this straight. I have read this sort of thing before, on other forums.

How do these murderous teachings fit in with other teachings about the qualities of a vaisnava, taken from the Srimad Bhagavatam, 5th Canto, Chpt. 18, Text 13?

How is this reconciled with the group alledgedly having a "pro-life" stance?

How is this consistent with the teaching of ahimsa, or not harming animals, or respect for life?

How can these people claim to be Christians, as they are reported to be doing nowadays?

And yet you say that there is nothing in this cult that would ever wind up on "60 minutes"? This begins to sound more and more like Jim Jones.

Does anyone still doubt that this is a dangerous cult after reading the previous post by initiate?

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Krishna group in Hawaii
Posted by: just-googling ()
Date: May 22, 2006 12:17PM

Hi Deva Dasi and Initiate and all!

great posts! Yes, I ALSO remember the accident to Vaisnava dasi's head and the ridiculous accusations that I had done something wrong to cause that!!! Siddha was also complaining at that time that he was living in a 1200 square foot house and it was not good enough for him.

And then there was a "heart attack" incident experienced by Vaisnava dasi and again Siddha said it was due to his disciples... (By this time I was beginning to think because I would wake in the morning with an erection, that this would cause Vaisnavi dasi to have a heart attack!) :oops: And then when I received by phone the order to fast for six months, I started thinking "This is absolutely CRAZY!"

Like you, I got involved with Siddha in 1973 and left Honolulu in the mid 1980s but I was receiving bulletins and pages and pages of Siddha's complaints for quite a few years after this. (there was also the incident of the disciple who had his briefcase stolen with all these pages of complaints and he got into deep trouble for this!)...

We were hanging onto every word of this guru as though he was God's only representative on this planet, yet when he started blasting people for minor mistakes and saying these angry, ridiculous accusations, I just would not communicate any more with the group. I also was visited by two from the group who were probably just checking me out but also condemning me for not chanting the prescribed number of rounds, etc. etc.

Yet another lecture (remember, we hung on to every word that was spoken in those lectures) that I found quite obnoxious was when he was telling people to donate 25% of their income to him and his cause... He said it was the duty of the spiritual master to take from the householders what was most dear to them - their money - and then he laughed quite obnoxiously at this (and to be thankful that it was not 50%). I found this rather troubling as at that time many of the devotees were struggling to pay their rent and purchase even a small amount of food to keep body and soul together...

I also found it odd when the cook in Honolulu said she wanted to commit suicide, and I thought why was she not experiencing any spiritual bliss for serving so dearly the one and only representative of god on this planet? Ridiculous, ridiculous, ridiculous.

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Krishna group in Hawaii
Posted by: initiate ()
Date: May 22, 2006 02:14PM

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just-googling

And then there was a "heart attack" incident experienced by Vaisnava dasi and again Siddha said it was due to his disciples... (By this time I was beginning to think because I would wake in the morning with an erection, that this would cause Vaisnavi dasi to have a heart attack!) :oops: quote]

LOL! That's so funny! It really was like that.

As for those pages of complaints, I also had copies of them as well as a huge packet on "the care and feeding of Siddha" I had forgotten about. Few people had access to this and we were sworn to secrecy. I wish I had kept it all. It was full of the most rediculous instructions like for some fussy prima donna. Nothing nefarious, just how he liked his sheets and how to set up the room, face mask wearing, recipes, schedules, cleaning, laundry, on and on - everything had to be done perfectly.

Does anyone know if Wai Lana is Vaishnava dasi or if they had any kids?

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