Hey, everyone. I just dug up a somewhat balanced article on Tulsi Gabbard from a Hare Krishna blog. I'll paste most of the text below in case the link disappears.
I doubt the article would have been written without the work done on this message board. Good job!
Read the comments at the end of the article and also click on the links since I have not pasted those here.
I hope this new information helps to further expose Chris Butler and perhaps inspire some reluctant people to come forward.
Ms. Tulsi Goes to Washington
Posted by Vrajabhumi in in the news, sanga
.Tags chris butler, congress, democrat, election, hare krishna, hawaii, homophobia, iskcon, jagatguru, mike gabbard, prabhupada, siddhaswarupa, siddhaswarupananda prabhupada, tulsi gabbardBarring something out of the expected, come November, there just may be a Hare Krishna elected to Congress, in America.
Tulsi Gabbard, daughter of Mike (Krishna Katha Das) and Carol Gabbard (Devahuti Dasi), and ex-wife of Eduardo Tamayo (don’t know his initiated name), has become the offical nominee of the Democratic Party, running for Congress from the State of Hawai’i. She came from way behind to an eventual landslide win over the expected victor, Hawai’ian political powerhouse, ex-mayor of Honolulu, Mufi Hannemann.
Mike Gabbard, Tulsi’s father, is also a politician in Hawai’i, a state senator since 2006. Her mom has also been elected to political office in Hawai’i.
So, how did she do it? How did a relative unknown, with some name recognition because of her parents and previous political work, go from being a 6 to 1 underdog—to winning by 20%? It had more to do with the other guy. Although Hannemann is, or was a political powerhouse in Hawai’i, he has a socially conservative bent. As a member of the Democratic Party, which in Hawai’i is not only the dominant political party, but also a fairly liberal version of the Democratic Party reflecting the fairly liberal majority of people in Hawai’i—having that socially conservative side, would end up being his downfall, as Democrat voters didn’t trust him representing them in Washington D.C. They feared he would be more of a Republican.
In Hawai’i they have a reason to worry, it wasn’t long ago that Tulsi Gabbard’s dad, a state senator, switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat. The reason he gave was that he needed to win in order to serve the people, but that as a Republican in Hawai’i his chances to win an election are much smaller than as a Democrat.
So, all’s well and good, right?
Tulsi Gabbard’s dad, Mike, wasn’t just another typical politician who switched party affiliation when it became convenient for re-election. For Mike Gabbard was the voice and face of the anti-gay agenda in Hawai’i.
He made his name as an anti-gay crusader in the 1990s, and then used that noteriety, especially among the older generation and conservative religious people, to get him elected to office. Eventually he wound up as a state senator.
The Democrats were rightly worried about Hannemann. Many people view him as a Democrat in name only, they see him like Mike Gabbard, taking advantage of the Democratic party. Because of that, Tulsi Gabbard got the backing of the Democratic leadership, and eventually of the people who voted. And why not? She has one of the most impressive backgrounds imaginable for a female politician. She was “the youngest woman ever elected to state office in the nation.” No kidding. She was elected as a state representative for Oahu when she was only 21. Obviously it was on the back of her father’s popularity among the anti-gay conservative religious community in Hawai’i. While not being the majority in Hawai’i, if they rally behind someone they can get people elected. She then joined the National Guard and spent a year in Iraq working with medics.
After her stint in Iraq she got a job as an aide for the powerful Hawai’ian Senator Daniel Akaka in Washington D.C. where according to her bio:
She was responsible for issues involving veteran affairs, energy and natural resources, judiciary, and homeland security. She served as a surrogate speaker for Senator Akaka on many occasions, and built a grassroots network with the veteran community in Hawaii.”
And then later according to her bio:
She continued to work for Senator Akaka until 2009 when she again voluntarily deployed with her unit to the Middle East. During this second deployment, in addition to leading her platoon on a wide variety of security missions, she also conducted non-military host-nation visits and served as a primary trainer for the Kuwait National Guard. She was one of the first females to set foot inside a Kuwait military facility, and became the first female ever to be awarded and honored by the Kuwait National Guard for her work in their training and readiness program.”
So, all’s well and good, right? Rising political star and a bag of Krishna chips, right?
This is where it gets interesting. Mike Gabbard, who claims to be a Catholic, was actually a follower of one Jagatguru Paramahamsa Siddhaswarupananda Prabhupada. And not just any follower, he was the main guy, the right-hand man, the top guy. He had his own vegetarian restaurant run inside of the cult’s main natural food store in Honolulu. No other follower had that type of clout.
Jagatguru aka Chris Butler, is the head of, and guru of, The Science of Identity Foundation. That’s the official name of his cult outreach organization. Among older Hare Krishna devotees, he’s famous as the guy who had his own hippie yoga cult in Hawai’i back in the 60s, who then came in contact with Prabhupada and his teachings, converted, and then joined ISKCON, taking with him a large number of his followers. He was embraced by Prabhupada closely, who gave him the name Siddhaswarupananda Swami. Maybe due to jealousy, or for whatever reason, Siddha (as he was known in ISKCON) claims he was driven out of ISKCON by fear of violence from other leaders, who he claims threatened him or attacked him.
Supposedly this upset Prabhupada, who also supposedly believed that Siddha was indeed driven out by some of the other leaders. Which is not surprising. There they were, having been in ISKCON for years—and in comes this “guru” who gets a special seat at Prabhupada’s table? They were probably all like: “Oh no you did NOT just go and blow up my spot son!” That was near the end of Prabhupada’s time with us, so there was definitely a concern about the succession of leadership among the leaders in ISKCON. Siddha was a guy they could do without, and I guess they let him know it.
He then left ISKCON and was actually the first of Prabhupada’s disciples to start acting like a Gaudiya Vaishnava spiritual master by initiating disciples. He started in Hawai’i, with many of his old followers and others who left ISKCON to join him, creating his own little guru cult. He modeled it after ISKCON, that is, the part where the guru is an absolute dictator to be worshiped as a God.
They have been a part of Hawai’ian society since the late ’70s, owning and running the only natural food store chain in Hawai’i, and being active in politics. They’ve been able to get a few people besides the Gabbards elected to office. When they first started out in politics they formed their own political party: Independents for Godly Government. For a long time they had a lone follower, at least he used to be a follower, I don’t know anymore, who maintained a permanent livelihood in Hawai’i politics. The popular and populist Maui County councilman, Wayne Nishiki, who has been a stalwart fighter for the environment since the early ’80s, gaining the reputation as the politician who fights for the people. He has not swayed into voicing support for social conservative causes like his guru-mate Mike Gabbard.
The cult’s fortunes have ebbed and swelled over the years. They used to have a big presence in the Philippines and Australia with many followers and a prominent school for kids (to avoid American laws). I haven’t heard of them much in recent years, I know they used to have a stronger presence in Hawai’i, holding kirtans and feasts, as well as giving out their books freely in their natural foods stores. But from what I hear, they’ve gone silent for the most part for quite some time, and Siddha has become a recluse. I hear his life was threatened by someone from ISKCON back in the early ’80s when his cult was booming in the Philippines, apparently there was some type of feud between him and the ISKCON zonal guru for that region over harsh criticism of ISKCON by Jagatguru—through local media outlets in interviews, and in his regular preaching and public outreach.
That serious threat evidently spooked him permanently, and from what I hear he has bodyguards and keeps his whereabouts secret. The threat is no longer there and hasn’t been there for 30 years, since the zonal guru whom the threat allegedly emanated from was kicked out of ISKCON just a couple of years after Siddha was threatened. And besides, ISKCON has had lots of competition for over 25 years, unlike back in the very early ’80s when they and Siddha’s cult were the only Gaudiya Vaishnava organizations who were active outside of India. Back then a few of ISKCON’s more irrational leaders (all long gone now) weren’t afraid of implementing or taking advantage of criminal actions in support of their dominance in the Bhakti-yoga marketplace.
Starting in the early ’80s, by the mid ’80s Bhakti Rakshaka Sridhar Maharaja’s group had expanded and become very active around the world, causing a huge problem for ISKCON, draining away not just ordinary followers and donors, but also swamis and temple presidents. ISKCON put out a ban on him, his followers, and his publications. After him many other Indian gurus followed, and a few years later Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja’s group would become even more active and became the dominant player among the new wave of Gaudiya gurus from India travelling and establishing ashrams and organizations. He had a following of tens of thousands all around the world, and was the most serious challenger to ISKCON’s domination yet.
By the ’90s Siddha’s group was forgotten by ISKCON, they had serious competition from serious traditionally educated Indian born elder gurus who were decimating their ranks by the thousands. Siddha’s small-time ragtag cult seemed entirely laughable in the face of what they were up against, i.e. a huge drain of people and resources away from ISKCON flowing to the older Indian gurus. Point being—Siddha’s paranoia, while understandable at the time in the face of a serious threat from an unstable loose cannon in ISKCON’s cadre of zonal acharyas (gurus/leaders), has been wholly unnecessary for almost 30 years. No one in ISKCON cares or has cared about his group for a very long time, they’re completely off their radar, non-entities.
I also hear all sorts of crazy about the man. Sorry. Had to say it. In fact there is a mini-industry on-line in badmouthing him and his cult. And, I gotta tell you, if they’re in any way very accurate criticisms, it’s a madhouse. He seems to possess the very worst qualities of the ISKCON gurus at the height of their pomposity during the ISKCON zonal guru era (’78-’87), where they acted like petulant egotistic dictators who saw themselves empowered to act with the power they saw Prabhupada wield over ISKCON—which was absolute.
I guess Jagatguru Siddha Paramaham Prabhupada Obi Wan Kenobi didn’t get the memo. Don’t be a jerk in the Internet age if you’re a guru—because that is gonna come back and bite you in the ass. Evidently his guru-itis has only gotten worse over the years, with ex-disciples spilling all sorts of unsavory “secrets within the cult.” And they don’t paint a pretty picture. Crazytown ISKCON looks like the model perfect ashram in comparison to the “Chris Butler Cult.” They seem, or maybe not so much anymore, to be a very insular and cultish group with little access given to outsiders, dominated by exploitative situations, with Siddha forcing himself on them as the Jesus Prabhupada savior figure who must be worshiped or else (God will hate you). But when you hear him speak to his followers, I don’t mean just the stuff on his website, he sounds like any other ISKCONISTAN Prabhupada spouting lamebrain. Not too bright, not too incisive, and not too rational, but with an enormous amount of chutzpah or arrogance.
Maybe it has to do with Siddha’s paranoia. Maybe it has to do with his peculiar version of what being a guru is all about. But whatever it is, the barbarians are at the gate. The critics of his cult are savage and unrelenting in their critique, as they are also of the Gabbards—who they tell all who will listen—are acting as fronts for Chris Butler, a dangerous and messianic cult leader, a Hare Krishna cult leader at that.
And whaddya know, the Republican minor league media has picked up on all that Chris Butler baggage for Tulsi. It will be interesting to see how the mainstream media reacts, if at all, to the stuff in the minor league media about the whole Gabbard saga now that Tulsi is the Democratic nominee, and highly favored to win.
The cult’s critics I’ve seen online adamantly refuse to believe that Mike Gabbard could have really converted to Catholicism. They probably also don’t believe Tulsi Gabbard’s “change of heart” when it comes to hot-button social conservative issues like gay marriage and abortion. Like her father, she was also on the right side of the fence on those issues, but upon returning from Iraq she claims to have experienced a change of heart. She now supports gay marriage, and the right to choose an abortion.
Even The Times of India has written an article on the possibility of a Hindu in Congress, albeit a white Hindu, but a Hindu nonetheless. Her father denied being a Hindu cult member when some media people brought it up a few years back, claiming he had converted to Catholicism some time ago. But due to some networking by some Hare Krishna devotees (Vrin Parker) within the Hindu community that supports Prabhupada, Tulsi became written about in the western Hindu media, reporting that there’s a Hindu with a good chance to be elected to Congress. Because of that publicity Tulsi started to get financial support from Hindus. And then she came out in a radio interview as a Hindu, unlike her Father she says her mother is still a Hindu. Cynical critics say she revealed the truth to head off any further problems down the road if her family’s connection to Chris Butler Prabhupada becomes a bigger media story. She can say she already laid that story to rest, the cynics say.
As for what do I think of all this? I’m a little taken aback at the attempt to portray Tulsi Gabbard by the anti-Siddhaswarupa/Chris Butler mob as without a doubt, a dupe, a front for Chris Butler and his cult. Even though his main critics used to be part of his cult, and or part of ISKCON, they ended up losing faith in Chris Butler or Prabhupada as worshipful God-men, they stopped acting like mindless followers willing to do whatever the guru wanted. So why don’t they give Tulsi some benefit of the doubt? Just because she grew up in a cult, and her father was the right-hand man of the cult leader, we must remember that she didn’t choose that life. Look at the ISKCON gurukulis, or the kids who grew up in that cultish community, most of them didn’t grow up to be devoted followers of ISKCON. Very few have done so. And what kind of agenda do they think Jaggedguru Chris Butler Prabhupada has? His agenda is obvious—to maintain his position of worship by followers. How would that affect Tulsi Gabbard in Congress even if she cared very much about him?
So it’s ironic, you know, Tulsi got elected because she was seen as a loyal Democrat, trusted where Hannemann wasn’t, by the party and the people. Yet, there are many who claim she’s also a fraud, not a real Democrat. Maybe she is, but maybe she isn’t. People shouldn’t be judged by their association alone. Sure, her parents lied about the depth of their involvement with Jagatguru’s cult of fools, but she’s not them. Sure, her parents have led the social conservative agenda in Hawai’i, but she repudiated those ideas, saying her eyes were opened while in the military. And really, look at the previous instance of a person from the cult getting elected to office. Wayne Nishiki has long been known as one of the few bright spots in Hawai’ian politics. And Mike Gabbard, besides his mindless support of the Prabhupada inspired Siddhaswarupa agenda of virulent homophobia, his other work has been for the good of the environment. And who knows, maybe he can grow, or maybe he has. It happens all of the time. It doesn’t take a lot of convincing to show the foolishness of a Siddhaswarupa or a Prabhupada when it comes to their hateful agenda against gays and others while all the while claiming to be all about love and peace.And to Tulsi, if you read this, I hope you can learn more about what a guru is supposed to be; how Prabhupada made many many mistakes, which were then passed on to Chris Butler as gospel, who then took those mistakes and made them worse due to being poorly educated and therefore wholly unqualified to play at being a fully God-conscious self-realized spiritual master. Becuase that is what it was, playing at being a guru. He could and can only fool those who were and are more ignorant than himself. Don’t be that girl.