Re: Chris Butler, Jagad Guru, Science of Identity
Posted by: padmepurana ()
Date: October 28, 2021 04:18PM

Hi everyone,

My name is not, for obvious reasons, Padme. But I'm one of the kids, 27/F and I grew up in this cult and have struggled to cope in the real world.

In particular, I feel like my moral compass isn't quite the same. The things I respect in others like unconditional love, kindness, transparency, humility, accepting responsibility for one's own mistakes and forgiveness are not as valued by others. I am way too loyal to people, even when theyare treating me objectively badly.

In addition, I have trouble valuing things like respect, privacy and freedom as much as other people do. I am quite free with my emotions and love, and have confused some people and broken a lot of hearts.

Even though I am quite, for lack of a better term, materially successful (car, job, living situation) and well educated (about to complete a degree in a very lucrative field), I am struggling to not 'make mistakes' because the way I view the world is fundamentally different.

I knew how to be a good chanting community member - I'm finding it hard to cope on the outside.

Love,
Padme

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Re: Chris Butler, Jagad Guru, Science of Identity
Posted by: Vera City ()
Date: October 28, 2021 08:51PM

Padme~ Just curious; Did you find the virtues you describe growing up in the cult?

Do you view things as they are or what you wish them to be?

How is it really different on the outside of the cult for you?


Are you constantly struggling with the feeling that you are not good enough, but are you also thinking that everyone on the outside of the cult are also not good enough, up to your standards, or deficient?
Perhaps it is your own judgements and idealism that make it difficult for you to relate to people not from the culture in which you grew up?

Perhaps it is just a matter of accepting people of different cultures, backgrounds, points of view, as they are - not what you were told they are.
And not what you may wish them to be.

With patience, keen observation, and understanding, you may have a lot more to learn about life --- information and things from which you were deprived growing up in the cult.

Not that your life was devoid of many good values and virtues, but that your group is not the only one to possess them. The Butler group is also not free from hippocracies, lies, misanthropy, criminal behaviors like the rest of the human race.

The main thing is the Butler group lacks nuance. Everything is absolute. It is not a free culture. It is tyranical in a soft way with its absolutism.

Good luck. I have yet to meet anyone who regreted leaving the cult.

Adjustment time varies, but the new found spirit of freedom and revelation are exhilarating.

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Re: Chris Butler, Jagad Guru, Science of Identity
Posted by: RUN_FOREST_RUN ()
Date: October 29, 2021 02:42AM

Padme,

There are aspects of what we grew up with (in your case I assume you were born into it, hence heard things and practiced things that had a lasting impact on your psyche and how you relate to the world) that are not doing you any favors. These are a few:

1. You were raised form birth being told that Siddhaswarupanada was your one and only link to god.

2. You were that any number of activities, thoughts and words can be damning to your spiritual life and that displeasing and pleasing Siddhaswarupananda and the Krishna god were your life directives.

3. You built your very identity and sense of self on the above.

4. Activities you were encouraged to preform like communial singing, dancing, worship, cooking etc strengthened your possitive associations to the group over many yeras. Anythign that seemed unpleasant or odd was quickly made out to be your lack of faith, offences, or some other lack of virtue.

5. Your entire view on history/culture/religion/faith was built around one very specific way of thinking. Even if you appreciated other approaches, you were made to believe that your specific faith/culture/history was the only truth and absolutely right and pure and perfect.

6. Inquiry and true self-exploration was discouraged in the classic sense of what that truly means. Most of what you chose to explore in life had to find it's way back to the group/guru/god in some way.

7. Most relationships you have experienced, romantic or otherwise were likely with other group members or with the hope that you could convince or convert someone to your faith.

8. You grew up hearing your guru speak in ways that perhaps made you question his absolute knowledge, but it was considered offensive or a fault in your character to suggest he was incorrect.

9. Your entire sense of ethics and morals are deeply rooted in the archaic traditions of your faith. In general, you consider any expression of moral or ethical consideration to be explicitly tied to your faith. The outside world tends to be viewed as a mess or immorality and ethical paradoxes that are not in line with your faith and hence wrong (i.e. LGBTQ rights, abortion, etc, though squarely moral and ethical considerations, tend to be viewed as simply immoral and unethical)

10. When you express autonomy, you are encountered with either your parents or other members making an effort to "keep you in the fold". If you take it too far, you risk ex-communication or guilt-tripping/shaming, or social embarrassment within the group.

When we build our very sense of self on these groups, we become addicted to aspects of the process or personalities because we associate them with the "high" we get from them. In most cases, it is simply a matter of finding similar outlets outside the scope of the group that you still respond to, and develop your own, authentic emotional connections with that, rather than the group. Give yourself permission to approach the process/god/life on your own terms. What parts of the philosophy and process make sense to you? Are they functional to your wellbeing or are they things that distort your ability to enjoy and relate to other aspects of the world? Are you truly proud of who your Gurudev is and the role they play in your life? Do you truly believe in the scriptural stories as literal fact? Are you indeed feeling a level of bliss from chanting or engaging in service that cannot be replicated in other ways?

In the 90s a group of devotees in Siddhswarupanandas group were feeling spiritually isolated. Butler was no longer speaking and making public appearances and in general, became a recluse slowly. Craving association and a renewed vigor in their spiritual life they started to seek some inspiration in the association of other gaudiya vaishnava groups. It was not very long before Butler completely lost his composure and blasted all these devotees who were hungry for association and spiritual support. To me that was the day I realized that Butler was not my teacher or a guru in the truest sense of the word. He was trivial, self-absorbed and ultimately cared little for his follower's welfare. Over the years many other scenarios unfolded that showed him to be a narcissist. All of a sudden a history and idea I had built around this person was dissolving rapidly like a melting ice cube. It was for many of us a jarring sensation to feel your very sense of self deteriorates. Yet, no support was there. as support from the outside was basically taking shelter in demons/materialists/karmis. So we went to the only thing we knew: Another guru. And then that gave way and we went to another one, then another. Others share similar stories.

On thing that I really recall during those times is a sincere feeling on the part of all my godbrothers and sisters that we were somehow like boats adrift with no anchor. It was daunting, scary and bewildering.

If a forum like this had existed at the time I would have not wasted so many years guru hopping and hoping against hope that I would find my spiritual anchor.

Your spiritual anchor is already in you. Whatever you are, wherever you are and whatever is happening in your life IS your spiritual journey and exactly where you are meant to be. Going to school, dealing with family, working, engaging with the world, experiencing enjoyment and suffering. That is all your spiritual life and teaching you and helping you grow. Sometimes you may not feel that way as mundane as it may get, but even that sensation is a part of the process.

These groups tend to complicate what life is about and make your mind hyper-dependent on answers and directives from old scriptures, old gurus and old gods. If god is ever fresh, then it is acceptable to understand and accept that god is evolving with us at all times. You may call this Krishna. I may call it brahman. We can label it by any number of names that help us ground our understanding of what we are talking about. But it's got to be what is authentic to you and based on your actual realizations. Not what Butler told you to believe or your parents or some highly exaggerated scriptural texts.

If it's not based on that, then it is being artificially imposed on your mind as a method/practice/dogma that may be totally obscure and abstract to your current level of perspective. And if you do that dance long enough, it distorts how you relate to the world, your self-image and what you should be doing with your life.

You may not be able to RUN, as I often encourage, but by golly, at least skip to your own tune for a while and see where that gets you.

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Re: Chris Butler, Jagad Guru, Science of Identity
Posted by: DaWatcher ()
Date: October 29, 2021 04:22AM

RUN_FOREST_RUN Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In the 90s a group of devotees in
> Siddhswarupanandas group were feeling spiritually
> isolated. Butler was no longer speaking and making
> public appearances and in general, became a
> recluse slowly. Craving association and a renewed
> vigor in their spiritual life they started to seek
> some inspiration in the association of other
> gaudiya vaishnava groups. It was not very long
> before Butler completely lost his composure and
> blasted all these devotees who were hungry for
> association and spiritual support. To me that was
> the day I realized that Butler was not my teacher
> or a guru in the truest sense of the word. He was
> trivial, self-absorbed and ultimately cared little
> for his follower's welfare. Over the years many
> other scenarios unfolded that showed him to be a
> narcissist. All of a sudden a history and idea I
> had built around this person was dissolving
> rapidly like a melting ice cube. It was for many
> of us a jarring sensation to feel your very sense
> of self deteriorates. Yet, no support was there.
> as support from the outside was basically taking
> shelter in demons/materialists/karmis. So we went
> to the only thing we knew: Another guru. And then
> that gave way and we went to another one, then
> another. Others share similar stories.
>
> On thing that I really recall during those times
> is a sincere feeling on the part of all my
> godbrothers and sisters that we were somehow like
> boats adrift with no anchor. It was daunting,
> scary and bewildering.
>
90's.

Are you able to give a cut-off date for this transformation or at least a year? Or accompanying significant events in the cult especially on-site?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/29/2021 04:23AM by DaWatcher.

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Re: Chris Butler, Jagad Guru, Science of Identity
Posted by: RUN_FOREST_RUN ()
Date: October 29, 2021 08:09AM

Must have been around 1996-1998.

Several families including the Fergusons (Mahabhagavata Das) and many others were affected. During this time Butler became vocally belligerent and sent many letters and calls through his secretary chastising and reprimanding devotees for essentially wanting to stay spiritually inspired.

This has been extensively covered on this forum and similar events.

During this time Tusta Krishna was sent on behalf of Butler to Vrindavan to give money and join the WVA as a founding member. This was a preemptive political move to gain acceptance from other Vaishnava groups (many of which Butler warned his disciples about or forbade to have any association with) in a time when the internet was finally gaining prominence and Butler was a NOBODY on the world stage. He needed to redefine himself. It was also around this time leading into the 2000s that a dramatic push was made by Butler and his followers to scour the internet and create a bunch of fake sites for him in an effort to cover up any inevitable bad publicity that was bound to arise as forums and social media took hold.

Mahabhagavata and many other longtime devotees were shamed publically by Butellr in vindictive letters to all of his disciples worldwide. Mahabhagavatas family was banned and humiliated and made an example of as well as other families who were trying to find shiksha.

During this time Butler and Wailana spawned a bunch of "projects" in an attempt to mobilize and "engage" devotees worldwide. Such projects too enormous time, money energy as well as legal and political involvement. All of these projects miserably failed. Including the attempt to get Tulsi into office as a president.

Bali Ferguson, son of Mahabhagavata as well as many younger generations became increasingly disillusioned with the brand of krishna consciousness peddled by Butler. Eventually devotees, for lack of a real relationship with their gurudev, started to look into other groups, travel to India and, for lack of better words, THINK FOR THEMSELVES.

Eventually, this cross-pollination was capitalized on by Butler during the Tusli campaign and they essentially labeled themselves "hindu" to appeal, fit in and morph into what they are today.

Never once in the history of being in this group was the words "hindu" used to describe what we were. Dressing in vaishnava attire was unheard of. In fact, if a devotee in Butler's group showed up wearing a dhoti or kurta in the 80s and 90s it would have been taken as a red flag.

Much of the blunt criminal activity in this cult (besides recent tulsi campaign fund questionable usage being funneled to one Kris Robinson in the North Western United States for "web design" amounting in the hundreds of thousands) took place in the 70s/80s/90s. By the early 2000s, Butler devotees worldwide were being tasked to scrub the web of any negative leaks. But during those key years, everything ranging from drug money, embezzlement (Chrissy Gralow's research on this connects many of the dots), fraudulent business scams, and all manner of crazy "service" for Butler abounded (there is a famous picture that has circulated of Butler laughing and laying on an exercise ball in a room lined with white linen and tin foil walls—this was while in NZ on a supposed film project that went south on account of well documented Butler insanity. Essentially Butler wanted to sue the owners of the property he was renting and make crazy alterations to his living quarters—all the stuff cost well into the millions—all money made by his followers so he can pretend to be a film director). Acharya Das, Bhalakilya and many others were directly involved or assisted.

There are MANY devotees who know a lot of shady shit. Some have posted here, others have alluded to things. Others are in fear or do not want to reveal things only they would know out of fear of retaliation). Butler used to have Nitai Bishop go into gay nightclubs to do "research" for him about the gay community. Jai jai! What an amazing devotional service opportunity! Other devotees used to go to the mainland for Butler and feign illnesses to get pills from doctors for him and his wife. The level of service Butler required in those days would blow your mind. He would have disciples stay up all night lining the entire insides of private jetliners for him in white linen to literally fly him over from the mainland to Hawaii... a 5-hour flight.

Many other stories remain hidden and kept secret out of fear that in classic Vaishnava fashion, Butler will sue or in some way threaten ex-members who suffered incredible physical and mental agony in his direct service. Never mind the mental anxiety, depression, confusion many aspects of the religious beliefs can dish out in the long run.

The kitchen lists, the laundry lists, the habit of publically shaming and humiliating disciples, attacking their relationships and sexuality, having disciples keep insane schedules to the effect that they could not even watch after their children properly and even having his core disciples send their kids overseas to schools so he can indoctrinate them into massaging him and becoming his bodyguards. So that they can ride his boat up and down the beach and terrorize divers and swimmers so that he can lay on his boat and get a sun tan. They killed a man using his boat that they were instructed to ride up and down the coastline to scare off tourists getting too close to Butelrs beach house for his comfort. A whole separate house for his wife is also maintained with similar service schedules. You're talking millions of dollars over many many years. You're talking about many personal servants sworn to secrecy and asked to sign NDAs as if they were going to work for a fucking international diplomat.

This is not even close to the behavior of a saint, Vaishnava or even a casually humble person.

And again, these are just some tidbits and known stories. On this forum, many other such recollections abound. In the minds of his fanatical followers, the memories are even more vivid and will eventually all come to light. And all this madness because a man told you that you are not the body and that god is a blue and likes stealing clothes from little girls.

Why are they protecting this scoundrel?

ISKCON is making needed shifts to address internal issues and give followers a voice and protection. Will SIF follow suit or will they keep posting new fake Butler sites and scouring the web for "demon offenders" and engage in the endlessly thankless job of protecting their master, suing for him, dumping millions into his failed naive projects, and supporting his clinical insanity? will they keep enabling this megalomaniac?

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Re: Chris Butler, Jagad Guru, Science of Identity
Posted by: DaWatcher ()
Date: October 29, 2021 04:29PM

That seems incredible more than before....

Just as a comment and reminder or reference to these numerous projects, there was a small internet group in Poland around 2000. They worked for a short period of time on "internet projects". Mainly it was one initiated disciple helping Ninjai project and also several on the commercial VillaGetaways project - for which they did not get money, they had to pay for rented apartments themselves and there were times when they did not have money to eat.

I think two of them went to Australia. Back in torn pants. Spanking poverty, but then they went to work or set up a business and it finally went forward.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/29/2021 04:31PM by DaWatcher.

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Re: Chris Butler, Jagad Guru, Science of Identity
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 29, 2021 10:30PM

I suggest that to be Butler's servant is to be worse off than to have been a servant to a Nazi overlord. The latter could still possess their own soul

Here is a story:

In Nazi occupied Poland Hans Frank was appointed governor, The Frank family lived in a mansion staffed by Polish servants. Frank's so Niklas, a boy of seven years at that time, has written memoirs.

(Frank was later tried during the first Nuremberg trials and executed for crimes against humanity)

One day, in the kitchen, the cook and servants prepared to send dinner upstairs to Herr Excellanz Frank and his guests.

Young Niklas Frank was in the kitchen.

The cook, seeing Niklas, asked whether the child was dining at the main table upstairs.

The answer was no.

The cook, a Polish patriot unbuttoned his trousers, pissed into the soup tureen, replaced the lid and directed that it be sent upstairs to the Nazi tyrant and his guests. All the kitchen staff were patriots and the cook's secret was safe.

The tragedy for Butler's devotee slaves is that their souls have been so crushed by skilled cult indoctrination and socialization that none of them could IMAGINE pissing into any of Butler's meals!



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 10/29/2021 10:45PM by corboy.

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Re: Chris Butler, Jagad Guru, Science of Identity
Posted by: RUN_FOREST_RUN ()
Date: October 30, 2021 05:51AM

Corboy,

Yes, that is the paradox of the relationship with Butler and many other gurus. A sense of fear, oppression, and yet a scriptural backing that dictates unquestionable allegiance, faith and surrender. In many cases at great odds with what any sane person would tolerate. at least for folks on-site and those engaged in direct projects for him.

Like the example, DeWatcher gave of poor devotees slaving on internet projects for otherwise lucrative ventures for the cult: Ninjai and VillaGateways. How is that even justified by any scriptural standards? It's as if by a miracle of osmosis or mystic alchemy, real estate and cheesy ninja cartoons have become "devotional service" to god. Because, as the scripture dictates, the guru knows what god wants and apparently god wants you to work for a ninja cartoon and real estate company for free for Gurudev.

The ideals of karma yoga are that anything can become a service if it is utilized for the service of guru or god. Certainly, the owners and managers of VillaGateways and Ninjaai were not free employees. So is it that they're grandfathered in status as long-time cult members exempt them from free work, i.e. devotional service? Or is it that their devotional service is so special that it warrants a payment to them? It's immensely confusing to other devotees to see this and witness it but has little to no recourse in addressing it with the guru or leader to get honest answers—without the risk of ruining their spiritual life or offending the guru—basically, their spiritual progress suffering in some way. that is the culture within the cult through and through.

So in the gita god accepts a simple leaf, flower, fruit or water as an offering, but apparently gods representative is not satisfied with anything less than free labor for one of his many lucrative businesses run by his followers.

The company in question, VillaGateways is also a highly suspect company. Patrick Christopher Bowler and a bunch of old-time Aussie gurukulis run the company. Butler and Wailana stay at these assorted "villas" regularly as do their children and grandchildren.

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Re: Chris Butler, Jagad Guru, Science of Identity
Posted by: DaWatcher ()
Date: October 30, 2021 09:48PM

it is pathetic that when today we ask comrades of early days C. Butler who give lectures and kirtans on Facebook as spiritual authorities - do you know P. Bowler - they say no, we don not know him. Then how is it possible you HAVE HIM in your Facebook friends.

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Re: Chris Butler, Jagad Guru, Science of Identity
Posted by: RUN_FOREST_RUN ()
Date: October 30, 2021 10:53PM

No one knows nobody no how. Never did never will.

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