What follows may well be the most important posting I’ve ever made!
Only time will tell. Last week I learned of the existence of a 42-year-old newspaper article “Absolute power over devotees…one man rules Haiku Krishnaites; The Honolulu Advertiser, July 28, 1970
” With the help of a private suggestion from VitaminC, I was able to scan the only known copy of the article. High-five VitaminC! The article’s location will not be revealed and hopefully better scanning will be possible someday.
I’ve typed a transcription of the original below plus the PDF file has been uploaded and preserved for posterity. The bold emphasis is my own. My reactions are typed below the transcription and I’d love to hear the comments of others. Enjoy!
There are two groups of young people in Hawaii who practice Krishnaism, a Hindu religion.
One is the Iskon group, which has been banned from soliciting donations on the streets and which is suing the City because of that prohibition. The other, which does not solicit funds, is the Haiku Meditation Center
, with groups at Sunset Beach, Haiku, Maui, and Alewa Heights. Recently The Honolulu Advertiser sent its religion writer, Janice Wolf, to visit the Haiku group at Sunset Beach. Here are her impressions:Janice Wolf, Religion Writer, Honolulu Advertiser
About 20 straggly haired young people between 18 and perhaps 22 live in an old, green Quonset hut. The place is cramped and smells of rotten bananas and body odor, incense and cockroach spray.
At the door I was greeted with a chant of ''Hare Krishna" and a glass of thick, smelly mashed banana juice and a Community bowl of cream-colored fudge-like candy into which everyone dips a finger.
The chanters played drums and guitars and tambourines. They looked as if they were having a sexual experience.A few seemed completely hypnotized.
There wasn't much furniture — a couple of Hollywood beds and a carpet. The walls contained an assortment of colorful posters of Krishna and copies of the chant. Sometimes things fell off the walls and had to be replaced by the starry-eyed chanters.
THE FOCAL POINT of the room was the altar
, containing an assortment of pictures of Krishna, another copy of the chant, some candles, fan, electric sound system, an abundance of flowers and a small photograph of Sai Young, the 22-year-old mystic who is local spiritual teacher — and dictator
— of the group.
I was told that Young was ''resting and cannot be disturbed."
They were very apologetic, but said the teacher needed his sleep. While Young rested, I spent three hours talking to 18-year-old Tulsi
and 21-year-old Boni, two of the teacher's female converts. Boni used to be named Joanie, but Young renamed her. The girls were hospitable, friendly, and eager to discuss their involvement with Krishnaism. They were obviously sincere in their convictions, and spoke highly of their dynamic young leader. They said Young receives his enlightenment directly from Krishna and is the only one in the group to "know" and communicate with Krishna.
"SAI KNOWS EVERYTHING. We know nothing," said Tulsi. “We are just fools with no knowledge.
"Sai is our complete adviser." Boni said. "He even knows everything we do before we do it.
There are thousands of times we would have done something, not knowing it was wrong. But thank goodness Sai knew and stopped us." Single members of the group said they are celibate. Married couples are forbidden to engage in sex except for the procreation of children
—"to have babies for Krishna."
"The sex drive is the most powerful energy in the body," Boni explained. "Chanting on the streets and serving Krishna takes a lot of energy and people who are engaged in sex don't have enough energy for service to Krishna." They chant for at least an hour before each meal. "All food is offered to Krishna," I was told. "We even sleep for Krishna."
THE GROUP DISCUSSES nothing but Krishna all day. Boni said they don't talk about politics or current events and read only' what will help them in their Service to Krishna.
They have stopped subscribing to newspapers.Sai Young tells them what to do. "We don't ask why. We know that if Sai tells us to do something it is for our own good," I was told.
I asked what they'd do if Young told them to kill themselves for Krishna — with the promise of reincarnation.
"For sure we'd do it if Sai told us to," was the reply.
THE GIRLS SAID THEY'D sleep with anybody Young told them to, but expressed the certainty that he wouldn't give such instructions. They said they would kill anyone who tried to attack Young and said any devotee would do the same.Tulsi said Young had told her to marry one of the group “in service to Krishna." She did.
They were married by a judge. Young, with all his alleged powers, doesn't have the authority to ordain marriages.
Tulsi's husband left for the Mainland on "Haiku business" five months ago and hasn't been back since. Tulsi didn't seem particularly upset. SOME OF YOUNG'S teachings, according to Tulsi and Boni:
• Everyone is punished for the pain he's caused living organisms, including "the bugs we run over with our car on the way to work" and the flowers we pick.
• Flowers scream when they're picked. So do trees when they're trimmed… Tulsi and Boni were sitting on the lawn chewing blades of grass when they said this.)
• We're also punished for inflicting pain on the germs in our bodies when we take medicine. Germs are real living things too."
I explored the well-kept Haiku garden—beets, lettuce, spinach, kale, tomatoes, turnips. The devotees eat no fish, meat or eggs.
SAI YOUNG FINALLY emerged from his reverie. He's clean-shaven and handsome, with deep blue eyes, white teeth, and a dark suntan.
He says he chants a lot on the streets and when he's not doing that or sleeping he likes to surf. Young lives well in the commune. He is revered and doted upon. His hair was long and uncombed. He wore a sarong and he was quite sweaty. He is the son of Dr. and Mrs.
A devotee turned on a tape recorder to preserve his words
as he talked to me. He talked about absolutes beyond the mind. I didn't understand any of this, but his worshipers seemed to cling to every word.
I asked him about his awesome responsibility of regulating the lives of his 45 followers who do his bidding without question. He seemed a bit embarrassed about it.
I DON'T LIKE MY position at all," he said, "and if somebody else wanted to step in, I'd let them. He also said he has a lot of enemies
There's a lot of envy." he said. "Everyone wants to be No. 1, and because I'm No. 1 and not them, they resent it." He also said there had been a lot of threats made against him
. He didn't say by whom. He also said the State Health Department frequently inspects the temple.Apparently the devotees aren't too popular with their neighbors or with their landlord
. Young said they were being evicted soon.
Young said a Krishna devotee could be a student, a lawyer, an engineer or anything else and serve Krishna. The girls had told me that such occupations only serve the self, not Krishna.
YOUNG ALSO SAID the use of material things such as automobiles, electric guitars and tape recorders is proper if they serve Krishna. Young said it costs each devotee $2,500 a year for living expenses—or about $100, 000 for all of them. He said the money comes from donations—but he didn't say where the donations come from.
He said the group doesn't sell incense or solicit funds on the street, as does the rival Iskon organization. “Such practices tend to turn people off." Young added.
Although both groups chant, in public, he wanted it made clear that his Haiku folks aren't the ones being banned from soliciting on the streets. THE HAIKU MEMBERS dress and wear their hair as they please. The Iskon members wear robes and shave their heads. The Haiku group holds two free "gatherings” a week --Sunday nights at Church of the Crossroads and Wednesday nights at the Sunset Beach location.
They would like Mayor Fasi, the police department, and the public to attend the gatherings to find out directly what it is all about."My reactions:
First, what a happy coincidence that a young cult member named “Tulsi” was quoted. That will keep this article in the “Tulsi Gabbard”
search results for a very long time because of quotes like this "SAI KNOWS EVERYTHING. We know nothing," said Tulsi. 'We are just fools with no knowledge."
And this one, “Tulsi said Young had told her to marry one of the group “in service to Krishna." She did.”
Second, I felt a profound sense of sadness for the girls while reading their words uttered so long ago. They were someone’s children and abused by a sick egomaniac. I couldn’t help comparing Chris Butler to Charles Manson, David Koresh and Jim Jones – all who professed love while being as evil as the devil himself.
Third, Chris Butler must have been thrilled to realize that his followers would die for him and kill for him
How do we know that he hasn’t tested their convictions? We’ve heard rumors of suicides and deaths. What about that bomb exploding in New Zealand? It was being disguised in a fire-extinguisher and killed the cult bomb maker. The parents of Chris Butler’s current driver were eye witnesses to the explosion.
Fourth, this madman plus a hundred (perhaps hundreds) of his followers live in Kailua
endangering the community. It is truly a destructive cult with a dangerous leader. One word to his hypnotized devotees, and death and destruction are a distinct possibility. One of my early posts was titled The Manchurian Candidate and it gives me a creepy feeling knowing that President Obama just loves to spend his vacations in Kailua. Perhaps the Secret Service should investigate Right-Winger Chris Butler prior to Obama’s next visit.
Last, if you are a devotee of Butler, please don’t defend him. Get yourself out of your hopeless situation and do something important with your life like the ex-members on this forum.
Here is the PDF file:
By the way, the name “Sai Young” shows Chris Butler’s devious nature.
“…he will show up for a couple hours to lecture about servitude and to throw raisins to his ecstatic followers. He prides himself on his throwing abilities, having played some baseball as a youth in Hawaii
Cy Young was the best (most wins) pitcher in the history of major league baseball.