The History of Politics in Gaudiya Vaishnava Cults and the Road to Tulsi Gabbard.
This article is purely to establish political influence within the narrow confines of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sect, of which butler is a member.
This basic post was originally touched upon by the Whirlwind a few days back but was deleted for assorted reasons.
It is my hope that this will contextualize the original post in which there was an attempt to document the specific political leanings in the cult, and its origins.
Without addressing every single political influence within this cult and the hare krishna movement in general, I will attempt to draw as straight a line as possible from the contemporary creators of the Gaudiya Vaishnava faith leading to the attempt at putting Tulsi Gabbard in the Whitehouse.
Starting with Bhaktivinode thakur who himself held the political position of magistrate in the late 1800s, we can see that he used his political influence and connections to establish the so-called birthplace of the Chaitanya saint. This was done largely to legitimatize an otherwise dying Bengali cult and establish a "center" of attraction/pilgrimage for Gaudiya Vaishnavas. Something that up until then was a cause of dismissal of their cult by the larger Vaishnava sects who were more established historically and documented.
Bhaktivinode gained so-called access to "documents" and maps to verify the exact location of the saint's so-called birth. This was of course met with much opposition from gaudiya vaishnavas of the time but with enough persistence and "proof" it gained acceptance from some.
Bhaktivinode also used his connections in politics and background in education to send some of his writings to intelligencia and scholars in western universities.
Bhaktisiddhanta, foremost son of Bhaktivinode and totalitarian preacher of the "new" Gaudiya faith, then went on to establish Brahmin initiation. The main function of brahmins in varnashram was as political advisors to the kshatryias or the administrative caste. This was a fairly traditional set up in India and under British rule it persisted as a mode of influence in political settings. It is my opinion that this was a key reason to establish the "brahmin" in a cult that otherwise had nothing to do with traditional brahmin caste and was mostly composed of babjis, traditionally.
Bhaktisiddhanta then went on to often arrange meetings between himself and prominent political and social leaders to gain influence and preach to them about his new revived cult of brotherhood and Sankirtan. Not much interest or attraction was there and Bhaktisiddhnatas cult never gained much political momentum nor hardly left Inida aside from some attempt to send preachers to Germany and Britain.
Bhaktivedanta, Disciple of Bhaktisiddhanta came to the west during the pinnacle of political upheaval and created his ISKCON cult. The swamis focal preaching efforts involved a desire to establish a vibrant governance centered around the so-called vedic Varnashram system. Culturally known as the Caste System, a generally failed and well-abused format for social order and structure that has failed India on many levels historically and continues to in the present day.
Under his desire for such a society, his devotees started a political party called the In God We Trust Party which attempted to gain political traction and even had a newsletter as well as assorted campaigns all blessed by the swami: https://vanipedia.org/wiki/Special:VaniSearch?s=In+God+We+Trust+Party&tab=text
Eventually, the program/party was ceased by devotees under the swamis order. Presumably, he was fearful that reporters and other political parties would start to dig deeper int the movement and discover dirt or create issues about assorted backward practices of the hare krishnas. There is really no clear reason as to why the swami stopped it, but one can imagine that as with most political parties, journalists and other politicians put in a ton of energy to discredit opponents and one this real-life scenario came to the forefront and threatened the movement, Prabhupada put a stop to it and retreated back to the tried and true: Book distribution/kirtan/temples and day to day recruiting and operations of the cult. Or maybe Krishna told him he did not want him to run for president and save all of humanity. I dunno. Your guess is as good as mine.
The In God We Trust Political "party" persists in current times as this clown act: https://www.facebook.com/The-In-God-We-Trust-Party-1123135764447627/
One cannot say much more about him other than, "May god bless his little soul".
You can research more about the so-called IN GOd We Trust Party here; https://srilaprabhupadalila.org/read/8831
Suffice it to say, the seed was planted and something sprouted.
Butler, in his meager time in ISKCON, must have heard about the goings on of the In God We Trust Party, as his involvement in politics start almost as soon as Swami died.
Butler started the Independents for a Godly Government which has been extensively covered on this forum and here as well: https://www.meanwhileinhawaii.org/home/butlers-web-part-2-who-is-gabbards-guru
It involved "pure deovtee" Katyayani and William Peneroza, old Butler devbots and also disciples of Bhaktivedanta.
Later attempts in politics by Butler were through Reed, Nishiki, and the one and only Mike Gabbard and eventually Mikes Daughter, born and raised in the cult. I was around for those years and as I have mentioned before we were all told to vote for these clowns and defy the meaning of democracy.
Bhaktivednatas' many lectures and letters focus on establishing the so-called vedic society. To say it was a passing thought was disingenuous. The swmai praised the system of social governance, touted and promoted dictatorship-style governance in many purports, lectures and letters and private and pubic talks.
This is the only rational explanation for trying to spread a cult like this. Because if the fundamental ideology that they hope to spread is that people should simply chant gods names and dance and worship their specific blue God, then there's definitely more creative ways to get people interested in doing that.
If you have ever seen the production of the show Shen Yun (and it's vigorous and ambitious ad campaigns on every billboard in every damn town and village, you will see that such an avenue has a lot more prospects in affecting and influencing people to take a look at your group.
Entering politics in this day and age for any Gaudiya Vaishnava group is going to come under a tremendous amount of heat. Reporters and politicians will dig deep and expose the many aberrations and flaws within such institutions as we saw with the Gabbard fiasco. Eventually. all it leads to is tarnishing the cult's reputation even more. And then there is no going back since everything is online these days.
As I have always said, what business do devotees have playing politics? The lifestyle and entire concept behind gaudiya vaishnava philosophy is the furthest thing from the political sphere that one can get. It's the furthest thing from reality you can get, but that is another story.
All that aside and without giving my personal opinion and input too dramatically about the matter, I hope I have exemplifies how there is a rather straight line in this cult of interest in politics and political agendas.
Do with that information as you like. At the end of the day, politics is a game of ego and worldly affairs. There's hardly any way to get around the fact that one would have to play into the dirty hands of many in order to even mildly succeed as a Gaudiya vaishnava politician (some of you have pointed out the fact that abortion rights and other "difficult" areas have to be addressed in such a position that would go directly against the tenants of such a faith.
Ultimately politics is a game of ego and power/control. And to see so many devotees go absolutely crazy over Tulsi Gabbard and swarm all of the forums in a fanatical craze of support simply shows that they are truly not concerned about any sort of spiritual endeavors. Which begs the question, how much potency does their path really have if after 20, 30, 40 years a person is still enamored to get involved in the political game? What kind of nectar are they really tasting if they're going towards something so messy, distasteful and dirty.
Anyway, my ¢2. I am not here to argue about this stuff. The above is facts. You can research the details of things yourself and draw your own conclusions. Ultimately I am not on board with fanatical religious ideology and its rigidness of thought. It creates artificial systems that do not have a uniform outcome for all and many times cause harm in the process. I have written about my views about this cult from the philosophical angles and history etc. I have discussed abuses as well.
My opinion on so-called mystical experience is in agreement with most of you. Whatever thing the mind/brain/body generates that is interpreted as a "mystical" event beyond rational explanation is simply your own private affair and meant for you alone. It has little to no functional use to others.
On that note, the so-called mystical revelation of ones "eternal form" as a 12 year old manjari girl, which is the epitome of the religious experience offered by the chaitanya saint and the Gaudiya cult, is pretty much that: A mystical experience not likely shared uniformly by any group of people (if any in reality) hence nothing to be preached widely and "spread in every town and village". If mystical experiences are private and relatable only to the person having them, why create a cult trying to convince everyone that it's the highest attainment of a relationship with divinity?
Religious ideas are useful. They have their place. Where does this religious idea have a place? What is useful about it? The end result is a homophobic guru and a swami that thinks the moon is bigger than the sun. They may have "succeeded" spiritually, but down here, on earth, they have failed and are simply prisoners to their idiocy in their tin foil paradise.
I vote for pedro. And then I run.