Chris Butler aka Jagad Guru Srila Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa
Chris Butler aka Jagad Guru Srila Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa isn't really important enough to be categorised on this website but he's interesting both for his strange career as a guru, his secrecy and worldly success and his downright pathetic skills as a guru, teacher and musician. Its painful to listen to his nasal speeches with their repetition, long pauses between words (especially when he cannot think of the next word), his hatred of homosexuals and 'karmis' and his dyslexic, kindergarden version of Srila Prabhupada's 15th century Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Praphupad was a scholar, Butler was an LSD freak. There is a difference. Prabhupad was an old man, Butler is now an old man but you'd not know that by looking at his pictures on the web. Some of his critics insist he must be an expert in mind control and hypnotism but they have no idea just how many completely ignorant and incompetent gurus have gathered a loyal following based on chutzpah and bullshit.
Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa is a highly respected yoga guru (teacher) coming in a long line of authentic spiritual masters in the ancient Vedic tradition known as Vaishnavism. Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad (1896–1977), propagated Vaishnavism widely in the Western world. Jagad Guru Srila Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa is the humble disciple of this greatest of scholars and devotee in modern times.He is the founder of the Science of Identity Foundation and has expertly taught students all over the world in the science of yoga. - blurb from Science of Identity Foundation
Chris Butler was not a drop-out, he was expelled from high school. He was a doper and discovered God on an LSD trip. He certainly isn't unique but unlike most others he decided he should be a guru and called himself Sai. I recall it was "white lightning." It's difficult to maintain a delighted and dedicated following when drugs are the guiding light and Butler was floundering as a guru when he came across Krishna Consciousness. He may have been sincere or he may have decided to use ISKCON and Prabhupad as an aide to the big time but he announced he was now a devotee of Prabhupad and Krishna but (controversially) maintained a guru-disciple relationship with his 200 or so crew as they also joined ISKCON.
Siddhaswarupananda Goswami, as he was named, could not tolerate ISKCON's heavy discipline and harsh lifestyle and soon skipped and called his crew back to Hawaii along with anyone else they'd been able to gather in the ISKCON temples to which they'd been sent. Back to Hawaii sounded good. Prabhupad was okay with that as long as you chanted Hare Krishna and made donations. Who knew Butler wanted spiritual respectability but since then he just can't stop glorying in his parampara and using long, impressive Hindu titles. His followers glorified his "siddhas" which he'd renounced of course. Seeds of narcissism and megalomania sprout quickly and grow tall in the Hawaiian climate.
At first Butler lived like a sadhu in a simple hut with no electricity as he ahd no money but he, surprisingly, decided to go into business with his minions to do the work for free. He is not the only guru to come up with this business plan. He bought the first health food store on Kauai, opened one on Maui and then "Down to Earth" in Honolulu. The timing was right. As time went by he withdrew more and more, rarely appearing before his faithful. He started to record lectures and write books instead of mingling with the multitudes. Feeding them tapes and myths, he delegated leadership to his faithful lieutenants to maintain control. He became more and more critical and punitive. He would periodically disappear when his followers would get too familiar. His threatening to "leave the planet" if they didn't please him was another way of exerting control.
He went from simple living to luxury condos with a staff of cooks and housekeepers and gofers. He assumed full King of the World status after Prabhupad died including wife and pretty much anything else he could afford. Sure his followers worship him, they kiss his divine Lotus feet, drink the holy water in which his feet are washed, eat his toe-nails and brainwash their children but give him his due, Butler has been criticised heavily, understandably so, but he has never been charged with any crimes unlike his fellow authorised Krishna divine gurus. And it's difficult sometimes being a sensitive divine guru in this modern world. Like Rajneesh and others, Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa is allergic to many perfumes, detergents and other cleaning agents and can you imagine how difficult it is to clean away the residue of cleaning agents without using cleaning agents? It's no coinicdence that long-time follower and politician, Mike Gabbard, distributes air and water purifying systems.
In Australia they call themselves the Australian School of Meditation and Yoga and promote themselves as an introductory yoga, meditation and lifestyle teaching group. They have kirtans at my local beach and library and a vegetarian restaurant as well. They seem to be a successful organisation though there is no mention of Chris Butler or Siddhaswarupananda except amongst the playable and downlodable music section. As a singer/songwriter he is still totally crap and his Australian kirtan singers are ok but that's all. They've had a presence here on the Gold Coast since the early 1970s when they were a rag-tag bunch of ISKCON drop-outs praising Siddhaswarupanand in their ISKCON lingo and they've gradually gone mainstream over the years adding the Yoga to their name.
Like Sri Chinmoy, Butler has declared his wife, Wai Lana, to be holy and to be worshipped. They are both worshipped as the only 2 holy people on Earth who can connect you to Krishna, the only true "Pure Devotees" of Krishna alive. Unlike Chinmoy, Butler hasn't yet demoted his wife to being a karmi ('karmis' are materialistic people who have little or nothing to do with spirituality). Wai Lana looks like she is using plastic surgery to maintain her looks rather than yoga.
Its great being a divine guru even if you're only being worshipped by a small coterie of devotees and aren't really famous but Chris really wanted to be a rock star. Incredibly he has put his first single, Dear Fanatic, on the internet for anyone to hear. It does show why he isn't a rock star. Drag down the page to find it.
Butler has been able to influence politics in Hawaii with some of his long term followers becoming elected to local, state and even US House of Representatives. It is handy to have a rent-a-crowd available anytime which you don't have to pay for. They began with a fanatical anti-homosexuality platform. Ms Tulsi Gabbard who is a Hawaiian representative publicly calls Butler her guru and identifies as a member of the Gaudiya Vaishnavism Sect of the Hindu faith now claims to be a supporter of LBGT despite her earlier anti-gay statements. Anyone can grow up even if they've grown up in a cult.
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