Dudley, I don't believe your view is appropriate here as well. To be honest, one random case you heard about is not proof of anything. At the same time, I see your devotee logic at play, as most devotees are willing to accept one guru or some one scripture to base their life around. I like to see things from assorted angles and real, sound proof of something working. Chanting hare krishna and worshipping butler does not have any verifiable effect. None. Getting a covid vaccine does.
The entire rhetoric of the hare Krishna religion is to base ones whole life on the so-called authority of the "Vedas". In which case for most devotees is contemporary Upanishads/Puranas of questionable origin and Bhagavatam—a book of mythological tales (some with ethical import and lessons, others just plain weird). If you read tattva sandharba you will quickly see that Jiva goswami glosses over all rational methods of inquiry to establish the authority of the Veda on nothing more than flimsy logic. Not one single story of Chaitanya saint defeating the so-called mayavadhis or buddhists is described in any meaningful and wholistic detail. It basically starts from the premise of the reader already accepting the Chaitanya saint as an incarnation of the unified god and goddess. These are called MASSIVE MENTAL LEAPS. You are asking the average person to just accept something on nothing more than hot air. Not only is there hardly any mention of Vishnu as a supreme deity in the 4 core vedas, but Krishna is not even mentioned as a popular god till much later in Puranic lore and mainly in medieval times. Radha is not even mentioned in their core scriptures and was largely invented as a consort of the god krishna in erotic poems of Jayadev and Nimbarka, otherwise no ligitimate scriptural mention of the couplign exists beyond a few contemporary texts—hardy 5000+ years old. The maha-mantra is mentioned in one very questionable Upanishad text. The so-called parampara is hardly unbroken and Bhaktisiddhanta admits to fabricating it to suit his narrative. There are breaks lasting more than 1000 years between guru and disciple... that's definitely not a long "unbroken" lineage...
And here I thought Dudley was doing the right thing for deleting/retracting their previous post where they promoted bad info about the covid vaccine (Dudley, you mentioned not getting the jab because some random person died after getting vaccinated. You have a right to get vaccinated or not—I could care less—but this is not a realistic view about the covid vaccine grounded in any science. Thank goodness, it was moderated. I would hate for conspiracies to flourish on this forum any more than they need to). I don't think my joking about the fact that it's the best thing Butler has done in 40+ years is counter to this forum's message. I can assure you his reasons for it are not altruistic by a long shot.
Meanwhile Tulsi is striking deals with conspiracy channel Rumble: https://thehill.com/policy/technology/567607-youtube-rival-rumble-strikes-deals-with-tulsi-gabbard-glenn-greenwald
. She always has a knack for rubbing shoulders with such entities that reveal her exacting ties to Butler and his mentality and style of politics. Fox news would not take her so off to the next highest bidder... you still can't quite decipher what her website please fro donations are meant to do to and be used for? Rolls of tin foil from Amazon?
I've seen/heard it all. From taking powdered turmeric (and other ayurvedic pseudo-science if you can even call it that) to chanting extra rounds or protective mantras, devotees love to create conspiracy theories around reason and logic and replace it with complete fantasy. Hence what they believe in as the absolute truth.
One thing that always puzzles me about krishna devotees is their propagation of karma theory, yet feeling like they have some kind of control over their destiny (it's a largely deterministic philosophy that even promotes that nothing the bhakta does is getting them closer tot he goal, but rather that it all depeneds on the gods and guru's causeless mercy—by that logic why even try?). Just go get the vaccine. By your belief system, you're either going to die from it or you won't (no avoiding karma). But at least you'd be doing the right thing in terms of scientifically verifiable facts. Just think, you'd be doing something based on the research of brilliant minds and the verifiable results of millions of people around the world. Instead of basing your ideology on archaic scriptures, conspiracy theories, and all-around bullshit. Or shall I say cow shit?
Butler has been using his followers as guinea pigs for medical and health-related reasons for over 40 years. He used to have his disciples fly all the way to the mainland to go get prescriptions for him for all sorts of medications by feigning different symptoms and illnesses. I'm not surprised if he uses this as a way to test his follower's loyalty. After months of his followers spreading conspiracy and paranoia surrounding Covid, Butler is now going to have his followers get the jab to prove their allegiance.
Longtime butlerites like J. Harvey, who had no problem sending his 9 and 10 year old kids all the way to the Philippines Butler school for boys in the 90s is a typical conspiracy nut job: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002877543732
You will find thousands of these types of pages in the hare krishna community (ironically mostly old timers—is th enew generation waking up the charade??). Devotees emboldened by nothing but the air between their ears to spread complete nonsense while virtue signaling (recently a slew of devotees are promoting a "plant-based" vegan narrative/agenda. Milk and Honey are a part of the typical vaishnava diet—so are they hoping on the trendy band wagon to fit in as a recruitment tactic?). I'm all for alternate perspectives as long as they are grounded in rational thought and not fantasy fluff. The later is 99% the case with most butler devotees. Ironically, if Butler is indeed telling followers to get the covid vaccine, it will backfire internally in their community with all the misinformation and half-baked opinions his followers promote regarding the virus.
Even Bhaktivedanta (who used tobacco snuff
for "health reasons" while kicking his wife to the curb for drinking tea) was realistic about vaccines:https://www.alachuatemple.com/what-srila-prabhupada-said-about-taking-vaccines-medicines-and-caring-for-your-material-body/
Never mind the part where he says boiling a goat in ghee cures tuberculosis (or his claims that salt in milk causes lepracy). You know, take everything the swami says with a giant grain of salt (or a pinch of snuff), but you get the idea. After all, he was no scientist or medical doctor.
Or, you can read sound medical advice:https://covid-101.org/science/how-many-people-have-died-from-the-vaccine-in-the-u-s/
Do you trust all the things the guru says? Some of it? When do you know it's nonsense? Is there a line you draw? Is it ok to call him on the nonsense (maha-aparadha)? Or do you just sort of keep rolling with it all and pretending that it didn't happen? The swami had no problem keeping the child abuse happening in his mission from being reported to the authorities. He was told, informed, but chose to keep it an "internal" affair. Is that responsible? Butler's devotees have full-time jobs cleaning up their guru's words over the years and creating a disney Vanilla version of his persona. The fact is that there are many things in all these krishna groups and with all these gurus that don't line up perfectly with guru, sadhu and sastra. That's a fact as plain as day. Bhaktisiddhanta took diksha in a dream and gave himself sanyassi diksha/title. He also inveted the idea of giving brahman threads to people not born into brahman families? In a movement that touts "I ma not a brahmana, I am not a sudra", what was the scriptural purpose of this? The answer is nothing. total concoctions that suited some personal agenda. Period. It only created an artificial hierchy in the cult and superiority complexes.
Butler devobots operated kids schools and there are still new ones popping up in both his organization and ISKCON. Sure, they may be "better", but if they are still teaching that the sun is being pulled around by a horse-drawn chariot, I don't know what to tell you. They are breeding a generation of uneducated and naive followers. The kids may know every myth in the vedas, but they "fear" and distrust basic common sense and logic.
Literally, every other post from great top-devotee of Butler's
, is a conspiracy theory. She's quoting literally one fake news outlet after another and getting censored by Facebook for misinformation and spreading crap lies. This is who Butler has managing his organizations and involved in any number of projects for him—his top tier disciples. Conspiracy nuts. So much for the holy name protecting them and Narasigha dev sheltering them from harm. You can't save someone who is afraid of logic and reason. You can tell them, and they can see with their own eyes, that the snake is just a rope, and they will still cower and scream like raving lunatics that there is some possible threat to them.
As FrozenNick91 has said above, you become what you worship... in this case his followers have become the very thing they are worshiping: A frail, angry, scared old man who has lived his life spreading nonsense and fear.
Dudley, I'm sure you know, but no vaccine for anything is 100% effective and comes with a near-insignificant rare possibility of death (you are more likely to die getting into your car or walking down the stairs). Usually, someone has either a weak immune system, autoimmune disease, obesity, or a very rare allergic reaction. Vaccines for covid offer protection. They make it so you get less sick if you get it and are less likely to get it. Though you still can get sick from covid and you can still pass it on. Low symptoms or asymptomatic usually mean you will be less likely to pass it on. If a vaccine makes it so you have less severe symptoms, then you are less likely to pass it on. We learn new things about this virus every day. It's a free jab (and please don't tell me my tax dollars are paying for it—I'm glad my tax dollars are going to something useful and not Butler's tinfoil mansion). There are deaths related to covid vaccines, very few (sad nonetheless), but it's a grand alternative to many millions dying if we keep letting this crap spread because folks refuse to get vaccinated because a neighbor they knew had a brother in Bulgaria whose third cousin (who is an alcoholic) died after getting the jab... or in most cases because they read it on a shared article from some butler devbots Facebook page on [www.collective-evolution.com
This should clarify things, and is a lot more verifiable proof and authority, than the average butler/krishna devotee ever asked of Butler or Bhaktivedanta in verifying what they peddle or that their maha-mantra can magically reveal their eternal gopi body and send them to cow-land goloka. They were eager and ready to gobble that mind garbage right up, but god forbid reading a few scientific papers to put your mind at ease about getting vaccinated. No, no, no. There must be some evil demon behind it all looking to get rid of you as if you are a gift to the universe and some sort of threat to them. Come on, guys. It's one thing to mess up science, admit things, adjust our views and theories and evolve and progress. Can't say that for the average Butler follower. They are quick to dismiss vaccinations during a pandemic but have no problem making unfounded mental leaps about all manner of crazy.
I have spent a good chunk of my life running the opposite direction of this cult and opening up to others about my time in it and trying to stimulate the courage in others to abandon this highly unnatural lifestyle that has literally zero redeeming qualities if you are to be honest with yourself. Seriously. What has happened to anyone of you in this cult or others like it that is something that you can't access and have in other more rational contexts? The answer is nothing. You can find any manner of groups that appreciate Brahma vidya, Samkhya, and practice some sort of yoga, play instruments, dance and even kirtans and philosophy that don't ask you to lay your head at some asshole's feet. Yet they promise that by doing so you will somehow be able to access some higher-level truth.
20-40 years down the line, hardcore devotees are chanting 16 rounds on their beads against all odds asking the 3rd or 6th guru they have been following the same question, "Gurudev, why am I not tasting the nectar? I have been chanting for so many years and engaging in devotional service and my mind is still disturbed and I cannot control my senses... I must be such a low offensive worm in stool" (that about sums up every Vyasapuja offering ever written). And the guru, usually someone who is being massaged daily, worshipped, wearing gold watched, rings and sitting on a seat of authority and surrounded by his "yes-men" in some beautiful ocean-front home, surrounded by people giving him accolades for "showing up", smugly answers, "Just keep chanting and it will all be revealed...".
It's an insanely confusing feeling to have invested the better part of your life believing wholeheartedly that you are following some "eternal truth/path" only to see the prime example of what it should lead to (Butler), be revealed as less than savory. I initially felt such a heavy weight be lifted in acknowledging that Butler was a fool. Everything in my mind screamed that this was the case. I then looked deeper into Bhaktivedanta, his life, words, beliefs and the result of his movement. It was not that difficult to accept that he too was not worthy of dedicating my life to. When looking into Bhaktisiddhanta and his father and the odd claims they made, the totalitarian way they rejected other Vaishnavas of the time and the dreams and visions they used to claim authority on matters of importance in the gaudiya sects, I was disillusioned. It was plain for me to see these were largely religious fanatics masquerading and promoting a very sectarian religion that was hinged on ideas that fall apart when looked at under the microscope. I saw a lot of what all religions promote: Guilt, fear, shame, paranoia, conspiracy theories, odd unfounded rituals and practices (giving brahman threads and sanyas initiation in a cult that largely rejected the usefullness of such external ideas). The list went on. And disputes about basic philosophical points were disperate: Ritvik, Jiva Tattva, scriptural secret and hidden interpretations to support the chaitanya saint as some sort of avatar, exaggerated claims in all the religious books they hold dear and so on. I remain largely agnostic and I do value a universal notion of Brahman and the basic theories of Samkhya and Advaita. But never again will I fall for any of the hodgepodge concoctions of the hare krishna cults. They absolutely misconstrue and put irresponsible focus on the guru figure and are generally a personality cult through and through that breeds an unhealthy mental dependency and way too much emphasis on scriptural myths and lore than is rational. There is a systematic way to understand the scriptural myths and many have shown how that is done and why it's a more rational way to view such stories and the danger of takign them on face value.
If you are disenchanted with this group, it does not take much to reveal the cracks and holes to understand why it's a fabricated concoction. Take the good and leave the rest. And as you leave, you can bet that you'll be slandered a demon, offender and sinner by your "friends" and "family". They will avoid you like the black plague or become belligerent in their claims and scare tactics. But take heart that you'll forge a more authentic life for yourself moving forward.
As always... Run.