Here is my second installment of the 1977 pre-Internet articles written by Walter Wright of the Honolulu Advertiser (it takes some effort to travel back in time and then transcribe the words). I apologize if these words from the past bring back unpleasant memories to ex-members (or even current members for that matter). My purpose is not to make anyone uncomfortable. Rather, shining some light on the truth can lead to freedom from the sins of the past. It is my hope, and the hope of others on this forum, that Tulsi Gabbard will tell the whole truth about her upbringing and fully address all the past and current involvement with Chris Butler and his followers. If she does not, she is likely to go down with Butler when the full extent of his criminal enterprise is revealed.
The country of Belgium decided to quit referring to Scientology as a religious “cult” and instead investigate them for criminal acts. Raids on their property produced evidence now being used to bring criminal charges against that “church”. My first installment by WW reported on Butler “funneling” money to his candidates. Guess what? Funneling is illegal and Butler’s used the same approach in more recent elections including Tulsi’s.
Here are the clippings and transcription without comment (it is easier on the eyes to read the transcribed version). I’d like to hear from forum members on Butler’s admitted drug use and ties to drug dealing. Also, I’d like to know more about Butler being kicked out of Kailua High School, attending Kalani High School where he met Kathy Hoshijo, and allegedly attending the University of Hawaii.
• Rebel against power trips: Chris Butler, maverick with 1,000 followers, Hawaii’s Other Krishna’s – Part II, The Honolulu Advertiser, August 22, 1977
Rebel against power trips
Chris Butler, maverick with 1,000 followers
Hawaii's ‘Other’ Krishnas
When a small new newspaper on Maui called The Valley Isle published a rumor about an alleged "godfather" of organized crime and was hit with a multimillion-dollar lawsuit as a result, Advertiser staff writer Walter Wright was assigned to find out who started the paper and what their goals were. He concluded that the paper was only a small part of the "real" story: a loose-knit community of religious devotees, taught by a charismatic young guru and quietly making giant strides in business and politics. Second of a-three-part series
By WALTER WRIGHT Advertiser Staff Writer
First a whispering on a hundred lips: the sound of one brook flowing through many stones. Then four notes played on an ukulele by an old and near-blind Hawaiian called Sam in the tin-roofed temple that cloudy Kauai night. Four notes. And then, voiced, sung — slow, heavy, pausing, pregnant — it sounds: HA RE KRISH NA. Name of God so perfect the sound alone can free a man from the world. HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA. In dim moon shine and candle glow, devotees slowly rise swaying to their feet. HARE HARE, HARE RAMA HARE RAMA. Less slow the sound, louder, pushing, steady, rising, faster. RAMA RAMA HARE HARE. Devotees drift, dance, run to the rising names of God, now hard as the pounding conga drums, sad as the wailing harmonium, sweet as the crushed flowers. A rushing carousel of frenzy now, they stream past, hands raised high, some in tied Hindu garments flowing, single locks of hair streaming from shaved heads, sweat glistening, down clay markings on their faces. Froth his picture behind the altar, blue-skinned Krishna watches. Below Krishna, a spare man sits in lotus posture, draped, with leis, forehead knotted in concentration, above closed eyes, hands ringing twin tiny cymbals, lips moving with the chant. He rises. A murmur sweeps the whirling worshipers, who break their circle to receive him. He takes stick to bell and beats a tempo, grinning beats a tempo, faster, faster faster faster faster — Who is he? His Grace Siddha Swarup Ananda Goswami, 29, born Chris Butler ("that also means servant of Krishna"), spiritual master of 1,000 Krishna devotees by his own estimate, perhaps 200 of them in Hawaii and others in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, California and Colorado. He says A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, founder of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), is his own spiritual master. But he broke from Prabhupad's ISKCON organization about four years ago, rebelling against "certain people in ISKCON who are on power trips and really don't want people to chant 'Hare Krishna.' They want it for a little class of men who live in buildings and think they own Krishna." Butler says that envious ISKCON bureaucrats told him to stop preaching after he first joined the organization and that he complied for a while but finally left the temple. “I’m a symbol of decentralization in that I teach people to take Krishna into their own homes" he said. "They (in ISKCON) want everyone to live in the temple in a welfare state where they centralize food and sleeping and have control over them," It is,
Butler said, “often a system not based on love, but based on slavery." ISKCON officials are ambivalent about Butler, now inviting him to speak at their temple, now tolerating him sometimes just barely. "I guess he's back to his guru business," ISKCON's man in the Pacific, Guru Kripa, sighs. "Our society's program, given by our guru, is book distribution. Siddha Swarup finds this work not in his line and he approaches people who are a little bit soft.” Butler's version of Krishna consciousness, Kripa said, is "watered down," Honolulu temple president, Surti Kirti, says Butler's following in Hawaii is the largest band of Krishna devotees outside the ISKCON structure in the world. Butler, born in New Orleans, was brought as a baby to Molokai, where his father, well known antiwar activist Dr. Willis Butler, had a medical practice. The pidgin accent Chris Butler learned on Molokai still tinges his speech; added to the preachy delivery he sometimes uses, it gives a hauntingly East Indian sound to his lessons. His family later moved to Kailua, where Butler got into enough trouble in school that he was booted out of Kailua High School and transferred to Kalani High School, he-says. "I was raised in a humanistic household against churches, a socialist family," Butler says. He says he now tries to show his father "philosophically the imperfections of
see 200 KRISHNAS on Page A-3
… materialistic communism. He believes the world was created by chance, I have faith there is a creator; we debate for hours." (Butler's mother says the family is neither materialistic nor Marxist, but Quaker, and that her children went to different churches, like other children on Molokai, primarily as a social activity.) Beyond debate in the Butler family was the war in Vietnam. Butler demonstrated against the war and two of his brothers raised a Viet Cong flag over the University of Hawaii to mark the Fourth of July. Butler began meditating in high school, became interested in yoga and "took as many courses as I could in religion and philosophy" at the University of Hawaii. In 1968, "finding no actual meaning or purpose to his existence," he dropped out of college, moved to Maui, took the name "Sai" and set up the Haiku Meditation Center to teach an "impersonalist" yoga philosophy. He defines the impersonalist view as the "feeling that I am the supreme spirit, that I have created this world as my dream to enjoy." He says he fasted for six months on water and juice. He also had experimented with LSD and marijuana and hashish "as an aid to meditation," he said, and found that while "you can understand certain impersonal features of God through acid, you can't know the personality of God." Butler said that while he turned away from drugs, the later jailing in Mexico of one close fellow impersonalist on drug charges stimulated rumors that drugs figured in financing of his group. He said the same rumors may have been fed by a highly placed ISKCON official's later use of marijuana while associated with Butler and by deep involvement in drug use and dealing by many of the devotees before they came to his groups and to ISKCON. Butler first met devotees of Krishna Yoga during the Sunshine Music Festival in Diamond Head Crater on New Year's Day, 1969: He joined in their Hare Krishna chants and then used the chant at his Maui center and at a. Sunset Beach branch of the center, known then as the Krishna Yoga Community. Soon Butler's followers from Sunset Beach were chanting right alongside the ISKCON devotees on the streets of Waikiki. “Thus the seed of the perfect tree," he said later, "was planted." One of Butler's early followers at Sunset Beach was Maile Griffin, now an ISKCON devotee in Los Angeles. She said she was attracted not only by his teaching but also because, she said, his center offered a refuge from the heavy drug scene at her school, which frightened and confused her. She and other followers, many of them Haole girls from middle-class homes, obeyed his wishes in all matters. Siddha was also "very strict about sex," she remembered. "He is celibate and always has been," she said. Butler's group left its Sunset Beach Quonset, was evicted from an Alewa Drive home and set up a camp beneath the raised lanes of Lunalilo Freeway at University. But they were not penniless. Butler says he did not handle money and is not sure to this day where he and his followers got the money to buy a $31,000 Haiku farm for the meditation center from friend Alan Bolton in 1970. "It might have been from donations," Butler says. "We had quite a scene going, speaking at the Church of the Crossroads and a few hundred people at each lecture making donations and a lot of people joining us and giving all they had, and rock 'n' roll bands. It was an opulent time and it was bad. We could have come up with more than $30,000 easily." Butler's group came into increasing conflict with the ISKCON devotees who operated a Honolulu temple on McKinley Street and fielded dozens of book sellers every day. "The public got the unfortunate impression that I was the spiritual master of the Hare Krishna movement," Butler said much later. ISKCON founder Prabhupad abruptly declared that Butler was not a bona fide spiritual master. Butler submitted to Prabhupad, surrendering the assets of his Krishna Yoga Community to ISKCON • and sending his students into ISKCON temples across the country late in 1970. One of the students was Kathy Hoshijo, daughter of a Honolulu accountant, raised a Buddhist, who had started practicing impersonal yoga and met Butler about 1969. She lived at his Haiku Meditation Center on Maui for less than a year, then followed him into ISKCON and temple life. But temple life and street chanting were not enough for Butler, who felt he would "die spiritually" if he didn't "start speaking as my spiritual master Prabhupad had asked me to do." He left the temple and went to Kauai to teach. A handful of Butler's followers, including Hoshijo, also soon left their temples but remained worshipers of Krishna and students of Krishna philosophy as taught by both Prabhupad and Butler. Butler's first student on Kauai was Michael White, a California-born surf bum who had burned out on drugs and was into impersonalistic yoga. White's old Kauai farmhouse became the starting place not only for Butler's new Krishna teaching but also for a community of Krishna-oriented businesses and, in 1975, a political party called Independents for Godly Government. White now bears the initiate name "Phenop das," works in construction and on the Krishna Farm on Maui and was a major contributor to the IGG cause last year. One who came to chant with Butler and White was Johnny Baldwin Midgett, who five years later would surface as an IGG candidate for the State House of Representatives and a financial backer of Hoshijo and the IGG. Midgett and White, wearing dhotis and the shaven heads of Krishna devotees, were hitchhiking home when they were picked up by a young graphic artist from Honolulu named Bill Penaroza. Penaroza, later to become party chairman of IGG, its candidate for Congress from Kauai and another of its major financial backers, gave the two men a lift to the farmhouse, heard Butler teach, "and that way came to chanting." "Come to the hidden temple," John Moore read on a poster at Hanalei, and did, and found Penaroza, Midgett, White, Butler — and Krishna. Moore, the IGG's handsome, gaunt-faced candidate for mayor of Honolulu last year and a major financial contributor to the party, had been a musician, then a cook at a Waikiki hotel after quitting the University of Texas at Austin in his freshman year. He had read of yoga practice, and become a vegetarian, but this new teaching seized him, he says, While Butler continued his teaching in rural Kauai and Maui and traveled to India, Brazil, the Philippines, New Zealand and the Mainland with his maverick brand of Krishna Consciousness. The other men who had met on Kauai tried to apply their new spiritualism to the material world. It was the beginning of a business which has involved Moore, Penaroza, Midgett, Butler and a band of other IGG figures and Krishna devotees — a business which Moore hopes will gross $2 million in the next year.
Tomorrow: Business, not begging for Krishna. Top photo: White (in foreground) playing harmonium for chanters at a Butler lecture. Above left, Moore and right, Midgett. Right, Penaroza.
Laid philosophical basis
Religious leader's role in politics played down
John Moore, principal spokesman for the Independents for Godly Government party, says his spiritual master, Chris Butler, probably didn't contribute much to the political views of IGG candidates. Moore says the Democratic Party and E.F. (“Small Is Beautiful") Schumacher probably had more influence than Butler. But Butler at the very least expressed many of the IGG's major positions before the party existed and laid a philosophical basis for political activity by Krishna devotees. "The innocent people of the world . . . are presently suffering from the heavy burden of crooked, inhuman, unrighteous political leaders," Butler declared in a 1975 tract called “Why politicians are stupid”. "It is the responsibility of the individual politicians to develop godly qualities and it is the responsibility of the people . . . to see that nobody is allowed to step into or remain in office unless he is really qualified." Butler may have been getting his ideas from the founders of IGG rather than vice versa; he says Kathy Hoshijo is so spiritually advanced that he is not qualified to be her teacher. But what was clear was Butler's crusading zeal on the political front: "The inept politicians should be removed from their seats and replaced with self-satisfied leaders . . "Sometimes . . saintly persons will take it upon themselves to accept such political posts." IGG candidates repeated Butler's themes, condemning "materialism" in the schools, dependence on tourism, urbanization and growth. Hoshijo and Moore both conferred with Butler before launching their political efforts. - "He said, 'If you do, okay, but don't expect to get me involved in it, because I 'm a Sanyasi and forbidden to associate with women, rich people, or politicians.": Moore recalls. Butler himself said he warned Hoshijo: "If you bring your political business to me, what you should do and how you should vote, our relationship would be broken." But Butler apparently influenced the IGG 's recent decision to reorganize. William Penaroza, party chairman, said in an interview with The Valley Isle: "There was an interesting conversation with a friend of mine who I consider to be a "'very spiritually advanced person whose name is Siddha Swarup Swami. "I know that he shuns partisan politics so I didn't really want to ask him any questions about politics per se but I did ask him what he thought about IGG. "He said he thought we were a little too self-righteous and that we seem to have limited ourselves to working with people who were of Eastern spiritual disciplines, neglecting many of the people we could probably work with in the more established Western-oriented churches." — By WALTER WRIGHT
PDF file of the clippings: