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FTR #942 Who Is Tulsi Gabbard? (Part 2)

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment [5].

NB: This pro­gram con­tains mate­r­i­al not con­tained in the orig­i­nal pro­gram.

Tulsi Gabbard and Hindu nationalist/fascist Narendra Modi [6]

Tul­si Gab­bard and Hin­du nationalist/fascist Naren­dra Modi

Tulsi Gabbard and Hare Krishna fiance Abraham Williams [7]

Tul­si Gab­bard and Hare Krish­na fiance Abra­ham Williams

Intro­duc­tion: The sec­ond of two pro­grams about Tul­si Gab­bard, a Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­gress­woman from Hawaii, this pro­gram fur­ther explores Gab­bard’s pro­found links to a branch of the Hare Krish­na cult run by a fel­low named Chris But­ler aka Jagad Guru Sid­dhaswaru­panan­da Parama­ham­sa.

A major focal point of the pro­gram is the occult fas­cist nature [8] of the views of Hare Krish­na sect founder Abhay Cha­ra­nar­avin­da Bhak­tivedan­ta Swa­mi Prab­hu­pa­da, whom we shall refer to as Prabuha­da [9].

Prab­hu­pada’s views are note­wor­thy [8] for our pur­pos­es: “. . . . ISKCON founder A C Bhak­tivedan­ta Swami’s views were even more bizarre than I expect­ed: rape vic­tims asked for it, Blacks are infe­ri­or and should be enslaved, Aryans are the supreme race, Hitler was right when attack­ing the Jews, and the ‘non-Aryan’ major­i­ty of the human race are use­less eaters no bet­ter than dogs. The pre­ferred form of gov­ern­ment is an abso­lutist monar­chy. Racism is appar­ent­ly an inte­gral part of the ide­al Vedic soci­ety, since ‘shu­dra’ (the des­ig­na­tion of the work­er-caste) means ‘black,’ which in turn lit­er­al­ly refers to blacks, a cat­e­go­ry which also includes Dra­vid­i­ans from south­ern India. . . .”

Again, specif­i­cal­ly, Prab­hu­pa­da viewed blacks [9], both Amer­i­can and the dark­er skinned peo­ple of India, as infe­ri­or: ” . . . .For one thing, Prab­hu­pa­da spewed vit­ri­olic racial hatred toward black/African peo­ple — repeat­ed­ly and explic­it­ly. Exam­ples of his racial big­otry are numer­ous and fre­quent­ly record­ed in lec­tures and pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions by his many devo­tees and dis­ci­ples over the decades. Even if some of his com­ments were tak­en out of con­text (as his defend­ers and apol­o­gists some­times assert), the sheer vol­ume and mag­ni­tude of his immense big­otry can­not be ignored nor sug­ar-coat­ed. Part of Prab­hu­pada’s hatred of blacks stemmed from his deep-seat­ed Hin­du beliefs that dark-skinned peo­ples rep­re­sent the very bot­tom of the hier­ar­chy of the human race — a direct reflec­tion of Indi­a’s ancient col­or-based caste sys­tem. . . .”

In the first part of the pro­gram, the views of “Swa­mi Prab­hu­pa­da” are detailed, illus­trat­ing a con­ver­gence with Nazi phi­los­o­phy. In FTR #172 [10], we exam­ined how aspects of Hin­du phi­los­o­phy and cul­ture were seen as dove­tail­ing with Hit­ler­ian fas­cism. In the con­text of Naren­dra Mod­i’s BJP, the RSS, Prab­hu­pa­da and the Hare Krish­na cult, we should strong­ly empha­size that one should effec­tive­ly dis­tin­guish between the Hin­du faith and “weaponized” Hin­duism. In FTR #‘s 842 [11] and 843 [12], we vis­it­ed with Peter Lev­en­da, pre­sent­ing his views on weaponized reli­gion as a form of mass mind con­trol.

Assess­ing the beliefs [9] of Prab­hu­pa­da, we note:

Mar­ket­ed as “the first Hin­du in Con­gress,” Gab­bard, her fam­i­ly, her in-laws and polit­i­cal milieu are deeply con­nect­ed [13] to an off­shoot of the Hare Krish­na sect in Hawaii led by Chris But­ler aka Jagad Guru Sid­dhaswaru­panan­da Parama­ham­sa:

The Huff­in­g­ton Post arti­cle above dis­counts any pub­lic pro­nounce­ments by Gab­bard about But­ler being her guru. These are con­tra­dict­ed in the third embed­ded video con­tained in the linked post [14]. At around 3:45, she cred­its Chris But­ler, aka Jagad Guru Sid­dhaswaru­panan­da Parama­ham­sa with being her guru.

NOTE: Civ­il Beat [15]is actu­al­ly a pub­li­ca­tion found­ed by Pierre Omid­yar [16]. It is car­ried by The Huff­in­g­ton Post but is not actu­al­ly part of their oper­a­tion. This note­wor­thy because Civ­il Beat claims it could not find any pub­lic record of Gab­bard assert­ing that Chris But­ler, aka Jagad Guru Sid­dhaswaru­panan­da Parama­ham­sa was her guru. Actu­al­ly, such infor­ma­tion is not hard to find. The audio track for the above embed­ded video of Gab­bard con­tains just such a state­ment!

This is sig­nif­i­cant for our pur­pos­es, because Omid­yar:

Omid­yar, of course, also bankrolls Nazi fel­low trav­el­er Glenn Green­wald’s [17] jour­nal­is­tic activ­i­ties. The Civ­il Beat­’s puz­zling inabil­i­ty to locate any state­ments by Gab­bard assert­ing that Chris But­ler is her guru may derive from Gab­bard’s and Omid­yar’s mutu­al inter­est in pro­mot­ing Mod­i’s Hin­du nationalist/fascist agen­da.

In the sec­ond embed­ded video in the linked post [14], we note Chris But­ler’s phi­los­o­phy, one that dove­tails nice­ly with fas­cism.

The pro­gram con­cludes with analy­sis of the frag­men­ta­tion of the Hare Krish­na cult after the death of Prab­hu­pa­da in 1977 (he alleges that he was poi­soned), the cult frag­ment­ed, and many of the off­shoots have engaged in tru­ly insid­i­ous [18] activ­i­ties:

“. . . . For a small orga­ni­za­tion, ISKCON has had more than its share of bad pub­lic­i­ty, and most of it was well deserved. When Prab­hu­pa­da ‘left’ in 1977, there was a deep pow­er strug­gle over who would lead the move­ment. The 11 gurus who carved the world made up the ‘Gov­ern­ing Body Com­mis­sion,’ which Prab­hu­pa­da set up before he died. He may or may not have appoint­ed the 11. No one knows for sure. . . .

. . . . One thing that is cer­tain is that their unchecked pow­er was too much for most. Accord­ing to some devo­tees, 90 per­cent of Prab­hu­pada’s ini­ti­at­ed dis­ci­ples either left or were pushed out of ISKCON, so the GBC could rule unques­tioned. Hansadut­ta, the West Coast guru, start­ed stock­pil­ing weapons. Kir­tananan­da, at the ‘Palace of Gold’ in the Appalachi­an hills of West Vir­ginia, oper­at­ed a mul­ti-mil­lion dol­lar rack­e­teer­ing oper­a­tion. There was ram­pant phys­i­cal and sex­u­al abuse in the guruku­las (the board­ing schools). At least two dis­si­dent ISKCON mem­bers were mur­dered, and there is talk of oth­ers dis­ap­pear­ing in India. All along, there have been rumors of drug smug­gling. It some­times looked like Machi­avel­li and The Prince had replaced the Krish­na and Bha­gavad Gita.

In the mid-1980s, some peo­ple went to jail for the mur­ders, a few gurus quit, and oth­ers broke away to form splin­ter groups. For a while it looked like ISKCON was self-destruc­t­ing, because ‘too many gurus did not want to spread Prab­hu­pada’s teach­ings, they want­ed to be Prab­hu­pa­da,’ accord­ing to John Hub­n­er and Lind­say Gru­son in their book, Mon­key on a Stick. ISKCON teetered for a while, and there was talk of reform, but lit­tle came. In the mid-1990s, the pres­i­dent of the New Orleans tem­ple was found tied to a chair with his throat slit. . . .”

The foun­da­tion of the inquiry into Gab­bard con­cerns her posi­tion as a “ris­ing star” in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, her inco­her­ent views on Islam and Mus­lims, her net­work­ing with Naren­dra Modi, the BJP and the RSS, as well as the Trump busi­ness empire’s links to Modi/BJP. In addi­tion, Steve Ban­non, the “Alt-right” advi­sor to Trump likes Gab­bard. Trump inter­viewed her for a cab­i­net posi­tion.

For con­ve­nience, we recap key points of the analy­sis from FTR #941. [19]

Note­wor­thy for our pur­pos­es is Tul­si Gab­bard’s high-pro­file sup­port for Bernie Sanders [20]” . . . . Sanders has been sur­pris­ing­ly low-key in his response to this lat­est wave of pop­ulist delu­sion. Time is short. He must force­ful­ly tell his sup­port­ers to aban­don their mis­guid­ed write-in mis­sion, and soon. Every minute he keeps qui­et, spoil­er cam­paigns such as Op Deny 270 and BernieVote.com recruit more vot­ers from Face­book and Twit­ter to write in Sanders. In Cal­i­for­nia, 55 peo­ple man­aged to reg­is­ter as “elec­tors” to get Sanders approved as an offi­cial write-in can­di­date, with Hawaii Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep. Tul­si Gab­bard as vice pres­i­dent. The Sandernistas spent last week argu­ing that Clin­ton is just as “evil” as Trump, based on rumors – whipped up dis­grace­ful­ly by rogue pro-Trump FBI agents, then quashed Sun­day with a big ‘nev­er mind’ by FBI Direc­tor James Comey – that fresh­ly unearthed emails might yet get her indict­ed. .[We won­der if “Op Deny 270 and BernieVote.com might be some of the vot­er sup­pres­sion oper­a­tions Trump dirty tricks maven Roger Stone boast­ed of dur­ing the campaign?–D.E.] . .”

Of con­sid­er­able inter­est are Gab­bard’s inco­her­ent views on Muslims/Islam and how they relate to her sup­port for Sanders:

Next, the pro­gram recaps net­work­ing between the milieux of Don­ald Trump, Tul­si Gab­bard and Naren­dra Modi:

1. The views of “Swa­mi Prab­hu­pa­da” are detailed, illus­trat­ing a con­ver­gence with Nazi phi­los­o­phy. In FTR #172 [10], we exam­ined how aspects of Hin­du phi­los­o­phy and cul­ture were seen as dove­tail­ing with Hit­ler­ian fas­cism.

Those views are on dis­play at length and in detail in the arti­cle below.

“Swa­mi Prab­hu­pa­da: Founder Of Hare Krish­na Move­ment, And A Vir­u­lent Racist, Anti-Semi­te”
by Palash Ghosh; Inter­na­tion­al Busi­ness Times; 09/27/13.

Abhay Cha­ra­nar­avin­da Bhak­tivedan­ta Swa­mi Prab­hu­pa­da — bet­ter known as A.C. Bhak­tivedan­ta or sim­ply by the hon­orif­ic “Prab­hu­pa­da” — was a Ben­gali Indi­an Hin­du spir­i­tu­al leader who found­ed the Inter­na­tion­al Soci­ety for Krish­na Con­scious­ness, itself bet­ter known in the West as the “Hare Krish­na” move­ment. . . .

. . . . But the man who spear­head­ed the Hare Krish­na empire, Prab­hu­pa­da, espoused some very con­tro­ver­sial views that would like­ly upset, and even out­rage, those who are oth­er­wise sym­pa­thet­ic to spir­i­tu­al endeav­ors and the­ol­o­gy.

For one thing, Prab­hu­pa­da spewed vit­ri­olic racial hatred toward black/African peo­ple — repeat­ed­ly and explic­it­ly. Exam­ples of his racial big­otry are numer­ous and fre­quent­ly record­ed in lec­tures and pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions by his many devo­tees and dis­ci­ples over the decades.

Even if some of his com­ments were tak­en out of con­text (as his defend­ers and apol­o­gists some­times assert), the sheer vol­ume and mag­ni­tude of his immense big­otry can­not be ignored nor sug­ar-coat­ed.

Part of Prab­hu­pada’s hatred of blacks stemmed from his deep-seat­ed Hin­du beliefs that dark-skinned peo­ples rep­re­sent the very bot­tom of the hier­ar­chy of the human race — a direct reflec­tion of Indi­a’s ancient col­or-based caste sys­tem.

For exam­ple, in an April 1968 let­ter to a senior dis­ci­ple named Satsvaru­pa Dasa Goswa­mi (born an Ital­ian Roman Catholic in Stat­en Island named Stephen Guar­i­no), Prab­hu­pa­da wrote: “Cer­tain­ly we are not going to say these things about the Negro peo­ple pub­licly, we have no dis­tinc­tion between black or white, or demon or demigod, but at the same time, so long as one is demon or demigod, we have to behave in the prop­er way.” These words, which sug­gest­ed that blacks should be kept at a dis­tance, were uttered short­ly after the assas­si­na­tion of Mar­tin Luther King Jr.

Dur­ing a speech before a class in Los Ange­les lat­er that year, Prab­hu­pa­da told a bizarre tale of how the apart­ment he was stay­ing at in New York City had been bur­glar­ized and his type­writer and tape recorder stolen.

”When I came back [to the apart­ment] I saw the door [was] bro­ken,” Prabupha­da said. “That [build­ing] super­in­ten­dent, he was a Negro. He [had] done [it], I know that. This is [a] very com­mon case here [in Amer­i­ca].”

In a con­ver­sa­tion with devo­tees on the island of Mau­ri­tius from 1975, Prab­hu­pa­da chas­tised the gross mate­ri­al­ism of the West, while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly slur­ring black peo­ple.

“It is all [a] non­sense civ­i­liza­tion,” he declared. “A first-class Rolls Royce car, and who is sit­ting there? A third-class Negro. This is going on. You will find these things in Europe and Amer­i­ca. This is going on. A first-class car and a third-class Negro.”

Prab­hu­pa­da fre­quent­ly used the term “Negro” even though that word had fall­en out of favor in most Anglo­phone nations.

The theme of black peo­ple as cursed by God and hope­less­ly beyond redemp­tion appeared repeat­ed­ly in Prabhupada’s com­ments.

Dur­ing an ini­ti­a­tion ses­sion in Bom­bay (now called Mum­bai), he told some devo­tees who were prepar­ing to go to Africa: “You have got [a] good oppor­tu­ni­ty. You are going to Africa to deliv­er these per­sons ... These groups of men are con­sid­ered very fall­en … the black men … They are habit­u­at­ed to steal; there­fore they have been giv­en a sep­a­rate place, [the] African jun­gles.”

For a man who came from a coun­try col­o­nized by the British, Prab­hu­pa­da made some rather shock­ing state­ments about impe­ri­al­ism, in par­tic­u­lar as it per­tained to the Unit­ed States. In a dis­cus­sion with a dis­ci­ple named Sya­ma­sun­dara Dasa, Prab­hu­pa­da seemed to equate the Native Amer­i­cans (pejo­ra­tive­ly called “Red Indi­ans”) of North Amer­i­ca with the Sudras (the low­est-caste, dark­est-skinned Indi­ans of the Hin­du sys­tem in India).

“Sudras [black peo­ple] have no brain,” he said. ‘In Amer­i­ca also, the whole [of] Amer­i­ca once belonged to the Red Indi­ans. Why they could not improve? The land was there. Why [did] these for­eign­ers, the Euro­peans, came and improved [it]? So sudras can­not do this. They can­not make any [improve­ments].’

Prab­hu­pa­da appar­ent­ly also deeply embraced the myth of the “Aryan” super-race and linked the ancient peo­ples of India to Europe and the U.S. Dur­ing a talk in Aus­tralia one year pri­or to his death, Prab­hu­pa­da declared that “the Aryans spread [to] Europe also, and the Amer­i­cans, they also spread from Europe. So the intel­li­gent class of human being, they belong to the Aryans, [the] Aryan fam­i­ly. Just like [Adolph] Hitler claimed that he belonged to the Aryan fam­i­ly.”

The Swa­mi also equat­ed the Dra­vid­i­ans, that is, the dark-skinned orig­i­nal inhab­i­tants of India who now pre­dom­i­nate in the south­ern part of the coun­try, with black Africans. He also bemoaned that the Dra­vid­i­ans (black peo­ple) mixed with the Aryans (white peo­ple) through­out Indi­an his­to­ry, includ­ing in his native Ben­gal.

“In Ben­gal the … black mixed up with [the] white,” he com­plained. “In Ben­gal and Madras [now called Chen­nai, a city in South India], so many Dra­vid­i­an have been mixed up with the Aryan. There­fore in Ben­gal and Madras you’ll find many [peo­ple who are] black.”

The Dra­vid­i­ans, Prab­hu­pa­da declared, are “non-Aryans. Just like these Africans, they are not Aryans.”

Prab­hu­pa­da also appeared to warn that the race-mix­ing that occurred in India was also occur­ring in Europe and Amer­i­ca, and that it would cre­ate seri­ous prob­lems in the future.

He also held some deeply pes­simistic views about the racial con­flict in the Unit­ed States. Speak­ing in Tehran, Iran, in 1976, Prab­hu­pa­da declared, “I don’t think the Negro ques­tion [in the U.S.] is solved … The whites, they do not like the Negroes still. Wher­ev­er there are Negroes, in that [neigh­bor­hood] the whites do not go in …. Although they [black peo­ple] have been giv­en equal [rights], but at heart the whites, they do not like it. Is there any improve­ment? I don’t think [so].”

Prab­hu­pa­da also appeared to endorse seg­re­ga­tion — the sep­a­ra­tion of the races, by refer­ring to behav­ior in the ani­mal king­dom.

“[Black] crows will not like to live with the ducks and white swans,” he report­ed­ly said dur­ing a train trip in India dur­ing the final year of his life. “And white swans will not like to live with the crows. That is [a] nat­ur­al divi­sion.”

In a con­ver­sa­tion with an Amer­i­can dis­ci­ple named Rames­vara, Prab­hu­pa­da sug­gest­ed that with­out gov­ern­ment con­trol through wel­fare, black peo­ple would become “out of con­trol” and cre­ate dis­or­der in soci­ety.

“Espe­cial­ly in your coun­try [the U.S.] it will be dan­ger­ous because these blacks, if they don’t get employ­ment, they will cre­ate hav­oc, these blacks,” he said. “And they are not civ­i­lized. They want mon­ey, and if they don’t get mon­ey, then they will cre­ate hav­oc.”

In a Feb­ru­ary 1977 con­ver­sa­tion in Maya­pur, along the Ganges, Prab­hu­pa­da pon­tif­i­cat­ed on what must be done with the “blacks” (the Sudras) of India — again, equat­ing them with African-Amer­i­cans of in the U.S. Most appalling­ly, he sug­gest­ed that black peo­ple should remain in bondage.

“[The] Sudra is to be con­trolled only,” he said. “They are nev­er [to be] giv­en… free­dom. Just like in Amer­i­ca. The blacks were slaves. They were under con­trol. And since you have giv­en them equal rights they are dis­turb­ing, most dis­turb­ing, always cre­at­ing a fear­ful sit­u­a­tion, [blacks are] uncul­tured and drunk­ards. What train­ing they have got? They have got equal [rights]? [It] is best, to keep them under con­trol as slaves but give them suf­fi­cient food, suf­fi­cient [clothes], not more than that. Then they will be sat­is­fied.”

Prab­hu­pa­da also had some choice words about the Jews.

Dur­ing anoth­er con­ver­sa­tion with Rames­vara, Prab­hu­pa­da alleged that Hitler killed the Jews in Ger­many because banks in the Unit­ed States and West­ern Europe (alleged­ly con­trolled by Jews) were help­ing to finance Vladimir Lenin and the Com­mu­nist rev­o­lu­tion in Rus­sia and else­where.

“They [Jew­ish bankers] were financ­ing against [the inter­ests of] Ger­many,” Prab­hu­pa­da said. “Oth­er­wise, he [Hitler] had no enmi­ty [against] the Jews… The Jews have got mon­ey. They want to invest and get some prof­it. Their only inter­est is how to get mon­ey, [not] nation­al­ism, [not] reli­gion, noth­ing of the sort ... There­fore [William] Shake­speare wrote [of] ‘Shy­lock, the Jew.’”

Also, speak­ing in New York in March 1966, the Swa­mi declared: “Hitler was a great stu­dent of Bha­gavad-gita [clas­sic Hin­du scrip­ture]”

A devo­tee named Gopagopis­vara Dasa wrote that Prab­hu­pa­da clear­ly embraced racism and eugen­ics.

“Prab­hu­pa­da cer­tain­ly believed that there was a mas­ter human race, the Aryans, and that they were white or tan,” he wrote. “Most oth­er races, such as Africans or Native Amer­i­cans, were infe­ri­or.” . . . . 

Cen­tral to our exam­i­na­tion of Gab­bard is the ques­tion of whether or not she might be a “ringer” inside the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty and–possibly–a mind-con­trol job?

2a. The Huff­in­g­ton Post arti­cle above dis­counts any pub­lic pro­nounce­ments by Gab­bard about But­ler being her guru. These are con­tra­dict­ed in the third embed­ded video con­tained in the linked post [14]. At around 3:45, she cred­its Chris But­ler, aka Jagad Guru Sid­dhaswaru­panan­da Parama­ham­sa with being her guru.

2b. In the sec­ond embed­ded video in the linked post [14], we note Chris But­ler’s phi­los­o­phy, one that dove­tails nice­ly with fas­cism.

3. Gab­bard, her fam­i­ly, her fiance and in-laws-to-be and their respec­tive milieux are inex­tri­ca­bly linked with a branch of the Hare Krish­na cult head­ed by Chris But­ler, aka aka Jagad Guru Sid­dhaswaru­panan­da Parama­ham­sa.

“Tul­si Gab­bard Still Dogged by Krish­na Cult Rumors” by Rul Kaneya; The Huff­in­g­ton Post; 3/16/2015. [13]

 Eleven years ago, U.S. Rep. Tul­si Gab­bard, now a ris­ing star in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, was a lit­tle-known state rep­re­sen­ta­tive from a West Oahu dis­trict. It was her then-Repub­li­can father, Mike, who was in the polit­i­cal lime­light.

The elder Gab­bard, known for his vir­u­lent anti-gay cru­sade in the 1990s, was chal­leng­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic incum­bent Ed Case in the race to rep­re­sent Hawaii’s 2nd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict. So, for a pro­file piece, a writer at Hon­olu­lu Mag­a­zine emailed him and asked about his family’s ties to a guru named Chris But­ler, aka Jagad Guru Sid­dhaswaru­panan­da Parama­ham­sa, who leads an obscure off­shoot of the Hare Krish­na move­ment in Hawaii.

But Tul­si Gab­bard jumped in. “I smell a skunk,” she emailed back. “It’s clear to me that you’re act­ing as a con­duit for … homo­sex­u­al extrem­ist sup­port­ers of Ed Case.”

Much has changed with Tul­si Gab­bard since then. She enlist­ed in the Hawaii Army Nation­al Guard and served two tours in the Mid­dle East before suc­cess­ful­ly run­ning for a seat on the Hon­olu­lu City Coun­cil in 2010. Then, in 2012, she got what elud­ed her father — a seat rep­re­sent­ing Hawaii in Con­gress.

For years, rumors about their ties to guru Chris But­ler have hound­ed U.S. Rep. Tul­si Gab­bard and her father, state Sen. Mike Gab­bard. . . .

. . . . Still, the Inter­net con­tin­ues to pro­vide a ready forum for the com­mo­tion over Gab­bard to fes­ter — you need look no fur­ther than a thread on the Cult Edu­ca­tion Institute’s forum titled, “Chris But­ler, Jagad Guru, Sci­ence of Iden­ti­ty.” Civ­il Beat recent­ly scanned the entire thread and found a trove of infor­ma­tion, includ­ing use­ful links, scanned copies of news arti­cles and oth­er his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments.

For this sto­ry, Civ­il Beat drew on infor­ma­tion from the forum that could be ver­i­fied, along with oth­er pub­licly avail­able doc­u­ments and news arti­cles, as well as inter­views with peo­ple who have inti­mate knowl­edge about the com­mu­ni­ty of But­ler devo­tees.

What emerged is a fas­ci­nat­ing look at the world Gab­bard and her close asso­ciates grew up in. It’s anoth­er lens through which to view the fast-ris­ing con­gress­woman.

“Sci­ence of Iden­ti­ty:”

The Cult Edu­ca­tion Institute’s forum on Chris But­ler began back in 2004 and is still going strong. It has last­ed long enough to reach near­ly 500 pages, con­tain­ing thou­sands of lengthy posts intend­ed to shed light on But­ler and the inner work­ings of his group, called the Sci­ence of Iden­ti­ty Foun­da­tion.

The group formed in the ear­ly 1970s, and its lead­ers lat­er sought to turn the orga­ni­za­tion into a polit­i­cal force in Hawaii by field­ing a num­ber of can­di­dates for key polit­i­cal offices over the years. By and large, the can­di­dates pushed for a brand of social reform that seemed to mim­ic Butler’s teach­ings, which stressed envi­ron­men­tal­ism, veg­e­tar­i­an­ism, and oppo­si­tion to homo­sex­u­al­i­ty and “illic­it” sex.

And they had some suc­cess­es: for­mer state Sen. Rick Reed; for­mer Maui Coun­ty Coun­cil Mem­ber Wayne Nishi­ki; Mike Gab­bard, who came back from his loss to Case to win a state Sen­ate seat; and Car­ol Gab­bard, who was elect­ed to the Hawaii Board of Edu­ca­tion.

It’s no won­der that long­time observers see Tul­si Gabbard’s steady climb from the Hon­olu­lu City Coun­cil to Con­gress as some­how con­nect­ed to But­ler.

But­ler, a Kalani High School grad­u­ate and son of a promi­nent Kailua doc­tor, Willis, was a dis­ci­ple of A.C. Bahkitevedan­ta Swa­mi Prab­hu­pad, who found­ed the Inter­na­tion­al Soci­ety of Krish­na Con­scious­ness 1966. The group is bet­ter known in Hawaii as Hare Krish­nas, and it was wide­spread through­out the coun­try in the 1960s and ’70s. Its mem­bers were high­ly vis­i­ble here — with their shaved heads and orange robes, they were often seen in Waiki­ki, chant­i­ng and solic­it­ing con­tri­bu­tions.

Chris But­ler, aka Jagad Guru Sid­dhaswaru­panan­da Parama­ham­sa, formed a Krish­na com­mu­ni­ty in Hawaii in the 1970s.

An inter­nal pow­er strug­gle even­tu­al­ly led But­ler to break away from ISKCON in the ear­ly ‘70s and form his own Krish­na com­mu­ni­ty in Hawaii. The group has since swift­ly expand­ed, reach­ing the main­land and as far as Aus­tralia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and the Philip­pines.

By most accounts, the com­mu­ni­ty was made up of a loose-knit col­lec­tion of indi­vid­u­als who eschewed the street-beg­ging and instead chant­ed in the pri­va­cy of their homes or makeshift wor­ship cen­ters. Over the years, they band­ed togeth­er to start a num­ber of busi­ness­es, includ­ing Down to Earth gro­cery stores and a host of oth­er health-food relat­ed busi­ness­es under a com­pa­ny called Healthy’s Inc. A por­tion of the pro­ceeds from these busi­ness­es usu­al­ly got divert­ed to sup­port the move­ment.

Around 2012, after Tul­si Gab­bard announced her can­di­da­cy for Con­gress, the focus of con­trib­u­tors to the Cult Edu­ca­tion forum turned from But­ler him­self to Gab­bard and efforts to pin down her ties to the guru. The result: More than 100 pages of the thread now doc­u­ment the activ­i­ties of Gab­bard and her par­ents, as well as her four sib­lings and asso­ciates. . . .

. . . . But Civ­il Beat was able to ver­i­fy a num­ber of the ties that link But­ler to Gabbard’s fam­i­ly and asso­ciates:

Kain­oa Penaroza, who was appoint­ed as Gabbard’s Wash­ing­ton, D.C.-based chief of staff last month despite his rel­a­tive lack of polit­i­cal expe­ri­ence, is the son of Bill Penaroza, who was among a slate of 14 can­di­dates run­ning for a vari­ety of offices in 1976 under an enig­mat­ic polit­i­cal par­ty called the Inde­pen­dents for God­ly Gov­ern­ment. The party’s con­nec­tion to But­ler was revealed in a three-part inves­tiga­tive series by the Hon­olu­lu Advertiser’s Water Wright in 1977.

Penaroza, 30, and his wife, Alana Leigh Penaroza, who now works as Gabbard’s D.C. fundrais­er, at one time lived in a Kailua prop­er­ty owned by Joseph Bis­mark, a Sin­ga­pore-based busi­ness­man whose com­pa­ny, QI Group, bought Healthy’s in 2007. Accord­ing to the Hawaii Depart­ment of Com­merce and Con­sumer Affairs, Healthy’s owns Noni Con­nec­tion LLC, which lists Kain­oa Penaroza as its direc­tor and sec­re­tary.

Abra­ham Williams, Gabbard’s 26-year-old fiancé, is a free­lance cin­e­matog­ra­ph­er who also grew up in a fam­i­ly with strong ties to But­ler. His moth­er, Anya Antho­ny, is list­ed as a reg­is­tered agent of Wai Lana Pro­duc­tions LLC, a com­pa­ny named after Butler’s wife, Wai Lan, that runs www.wailana.com, which sells yoga instruc­tion DVDs, cloth­ing and oth­er acces­sories.

Antho­ny is now the man­ag­er of Gabbard’s dis­trict office in Hon­olu­lu. Last month, Gab­bard put a post on Face­book intro­duc­ing Antho­ny as her soon-to-be moth­er-in-law. Gab­bard not­ed that she had asked the Con­gres­sion­al Ethics Com­mit­tee to deter­mine if it was eth­i­cal for the con­gress­woman to employ her future moth­er-in-law. The com­mit­tee signed off on Anthony’s con­tin­ued employ­ment, a com­mit­tee spokesman con­firmed to Civ­il Beat.

Sunil Khe­maney, who accom­pa­nied Gab­bard on her Decem­ber trip to India, is list­ed in Wai Lana Pro­duc­tions’ busi­ness reg­is­tra­tion records as its man­ag­er. He is also the direc­tor of Healthy’s and one of the trustees of Wai Lana Yoga Trust, whose mis­sion is to “edu­cate and teach the gen­er­al pub­lic about the phi­los­o­phy, moral stan­dards and prac­tices of yoga for the ben­e­fit of mankind.”

Khe­maney is also the vice pres­i­dent of the East West Yoga Foun­da­tion, a non­prof­it reg­is­tered in Ari­zona. Chris But­ler is list­ed in Ari­zona cor­po­ra­tion records as its direc­tor, along with his wife, who is the pres­i­dent and direc­tor.

Mike Gab­bard has long main­tained that he’s a Catholic, not Hare Krish­na. But, in Hon­olu­lu Magazine’s 2004 pro­file, he acknowl­edged his ties to But­ler: “Although I’m not a mem­ber of the Sci­ence of Iden­ti­ty Foun­da­tion, I’m eter­nal­ly thank­ful to Chris But­ler … whose teach­ings of kar­ma yoga (self­less ser­vice) and bhak­ti yoga (devo­tion to God) have brought me back to my Catholic roots and the fun­da­men­tal teach­ings of Christ.”

Plen­ty of evi­dence sug­gests that there’s more to the sto­ry than that.

mike gab­bard audi­ence
Mike Gab­bard was in the audi­ence at a tap­ing of Chris Butler’s TV show, “Jagad Guru Speaks,” which aired for sev­er­al years in the 1980s and 1990s.

Mul­ti­ple his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments show that, at var­i­ous points in the his­to­ry of the Sci­ence of Iden­ti­ty Foun­da­tion, both Mike and Car­ol Gab­bard sat on its board. Accord­ing to var­i­ous reports, they were bestowed San­skrit names, “Krish­na Katha das” and “Devahuti dasi,” respec­tive­ly.

The Gab­bards were also in atten­dance at at least one tap­ing of Butler’s local TV show called “Jagad Guru Speaks,” which aired for sev­er­al years in the 1980s and ’90s. In old footage of the show, they can be seen in the audi­ence, lis­ten­ing and laugh­ing as But­ler lec­tured on spir­i­tu­al­i­ty.

The Gab­bards also owned a veg­e­tar­i­an restau­rant in Hon­olu­lu called the Nat­ur­al Deli, housed inside a Down to Earth health food store on King Street. But they were forced to sell the restau­rant to Down to Earth in 1992 after an anti-gay com­ment Mike Gab­bard made on a local radio show trig­gered fer­vent protests.

Civ­il Beat found no evi­dence that Tul­si Gab­bard is — or ever was — a But­ler devo­tee. And we could find no record of her ever speak­ing pub­licly about it.

4. We note in pass­ing that the Hare Krish­na cult passed to the gov­er­nance (read “rule”) of eleven dif­fer­ent gurus after Prab­hu­pada’s pass­ing. Some of them have engaged in the stock­pil­ing of auto­mat­ic weapons, mur­der, sex­u­al abuse and rack­e­teer­ing. We note that many of the branch­es of the cult may not engage in these activ­i­ties and that many, per­haps most, of the fol­low­ers of the cult are sin­cere­ly unaware of this activ­i­ty.

“Mur­der, Sex and Free Food” by Frank Bures; The Port­land Mer­cury; 6/21/2001. [18]

. . . . After Prab­hu­pada’s death in 1977, ISKCON descend­ed into chaos and scan­dal. The Hare Krish­na world was carved up among 11 gurus, and in each guru’s zone, his author­i­ty was absolute. Some of the 11 became cor­rupt­ed absolute­ly.

In 1998, ISKCON opened a six mil­lion dol­lar tem­ple in India, com­plete with nine ani­ma­tron­ic Gods. The “Glo­ry of India” seemed to show how far the group had come. How­ev­er, a $400 mil­lion law­suit, filed in the US last year, points to a dark­er side. If it goes for­ward, it may be the last chap­ter of the story–a sto­ry of pow­er strug­gles, drugs, and mur­ders.

EVERY MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE

Those dark prob­lems seem far away at the Port­land tem­ple, where about 100 devo­tees and “frin­gies” are chant­i­ng, being hap­py, and think­ing about Krish­na. ISKCON’s shad­ows don’t hang over the Sun­day feast. It’s a mixed crowd of hip­pies and hip­sters, blacks, whites, and a few Indi­ans. Every­one is more or less focused on the two stat­ues at the front of the room, draped in gold robes, sequins and beads; the two broth­ers who, 500 years ago, first got the idea that chant­i­ng Krish­na’s name would bring them clos­er to him.

There are four devo­tees liv­ing at the Port­land Tem­ple. Tonight, Janar­dana das (for­mer­ly Louis Jack­son) beats the drum. Devap­rastha (David Willard) is down­stairs cook­ing. Jaya Ya Ram (John Per­due) and Bakhta Travis (Travis Gey­er) chant along with the rest.

Behind me is a small, dis­turbing­ly life-like stat­ue, a minia­ture Prab­hu­pa­da. Some­one put a lit­tle pur­ple hat and scarf on him, as if he was cold. His eyes are half-closed, and to me–a karmie, a meat eater–he looks either com­plete­ly detached, or com­plete­ly stoned. In anoth­er paint­ing of Prab­hu­pa­da on the wall, the bald prophet has bags under his eyes and looks tired and worn. This may be because he slept only three hours a night and wrote his 51 books between 1:30 and 4:30 in the morn­ing.

The chant­i­ng goes on for over an hour, but I don’t feel clos­er to any­thing except extreme bore­dom. Out the win­dow, I can see the Ben­jamin Franklin High School base­ball field and, as time drags on, it looks more and more beautiful–so geo­met­ric and famil­iar. So Amer­i­can. My mind wan­ders to the Dairy Queen–to dip cones and Mr. Mistys–then back to the tem­ple, and I won­der, “What am I doing here?”

Every now and then, the incense over­whelms, the cym­bals ring in my ears, and I feel like I’m on the edge of being trans­port­ed on the edge of rev­e­la­tion. Sud­den­ly I’m afraid I’ll be sucked in and by tomor­row I’ll be down­town ped­dling books with a bad hair­cut.

From behind a cur­tain, a woman comes out and blows into a shell. The sound is deep and pri­mor­dial and for some rea­son makes me hun­gry, which reminds me why I’m real­ly here: free food. Every Sun­day, Hare Krish­nas around the world bribe peo­ple to come hear their mes­sage by offer­ing a meal, even though you could pay with your soul–which, accord­ing to the Prab­hu­pa­da, is all you’ve got.

Devap­rastha. Janar­dana. Ja Ya Ram. Bhak­ta Travis. Names that strike ter­ror into every moth­er’s heart. I think of my own moth­er and how this is her worst nightmare–me, chant­i­ng at the Hare Krish­na tem­ple, sway­ing with the rest. She was ter­ri­fied that I would stop writ­ing, stop call­ing, and show up years lat­er as Chakradara ask­ing if she want­ed to buy flow­ers.

Now I can’t help won­der­ing if she was right. How do you know when some­one is con­trol­ling your mind? How do you know when you’re being brain­washed? I feel the urge to run out and purge myself with a banana split, to lie naked in the Ben­jamin Franklin base­ball dia­mond. But I don’t. I stay and slow­ly give in to bore­dom.

GUNS, RACKETEERING, AND SEX: THE KRISHNA MAFIA

For a small orga­ni­za­tion, ISKCON has had more than its share of bad pub­lic­i­ty, and most of it was well deserved. When Prab­hu­pa­da “left” in 1977, there was a deep pow­er strug­gle over who would lead the move­ment. The 11 gurus who carved the world made up the “Gov­ern­ing Body Com­mis­sion,” which Prab­hu­pa­da set up before he died. He may or may not have appoint­ed the 11. No one knows for sure.

One thing that is cer­tain is that their unchecked pow­er was too much for most. Accord­ing to some devo­tees, 90 per­cent of Prab­hu­pada’s ini­ti­at­ed dis­ci­ples either left or were pushed out of ISKCON, so the GBC could rule unques­tioned. Hansadut­ta, the West Coast guru, start­ed stock­pil­ing weapons. Kir­tananan­da, at the “Palace of Gold” in the Appalachi­an hills of West Vir­ginia, oper­at­ed a mul­ti-mil­lion dol­lar rack­e­teer­ing oper­a­tion. There was ram­pant phys­i­cal and sex­u­al abuse in the guruku­las (the board­ing schools). At least two dis­si­dent ISKCON mem­bers were mur­dered, and there is talk of oth­ers dis­ap­pear­ing in India. All along, there have been rumors of drug smug­gling. It some­times looked like Machi­avel­li and The Prince had replaced the Krish­na and Bha­gavad Gita.

In the mid-1980s, some peo­ple went to jail for the mur­ders, a few gurus quit, and oth­ers broke away to form splin­ter groups. For a while it looked like ISKCON was self-destruc­t­ing, because “too many gurus did not want to spread Prab­hu­pada’s teach­ings, they want­ed to be Prab­hu­pa­da,” accord­ing to John Hub­n­er and Lind­say Gru­son in their book, Mon­key on a Stick. ISKCON teetered for a while, and there was talk of reform, but lit­tle came. In the mid-1990s, the pres­i­dent of the New Orleans tem­ple was found tied to a chair with his throat slit. Today, mem­ber­ship is a frac­tion of what it was.

Nori Muster worked for 10 years as ISKCON’s pub­li­cist, before quit­ting in dis­gust. She thinks the group is beyond hope.

“They don’t like to let peo­ple know there’s real­ly as much chaos as there is,” she says of ISKCON’s lead­er­ship. In 1997, Muster pub­lished her book, Betray­al of Spir­it, about her 10 years in ISKCON’s pub­lic­i­ty depart­ment.

“What you have now is just a dying thing that’s kind of lin­ger­ing,” she says. “It would take a lot for them to turn it around at this point. And that would involve being more hon­est about their his­to­ry, open­ing up more about their finances, and where they get their mon­ey from, which we still can’t fig­ure out They (the lead­ers) have access to lots of mon­ey and they chan­nel it where they want it.”

For Muster, it’s a mat­ter of the cor­rup­tion and intran­si­gence of the GBC, espe­cial­ly the core group of gurus. “They took over the orga­ni­za­tion in about 1970, and they have run it ever since. And they have run it with an iron fist.” . . . .

. . . . “They have a whole side that’s under­ground,” she says of the GBC. “I think that’s why they’re so secre­tive, and pro­tec­tive, and uncar­ing about their mem­bers. None of the mem­bers know about this stuff. Nobody knows. The younger peo­ple don’t know any­thing. And that’s the way they like it.” Muster wor­ries that this means they will be doomed to repeat ISCK­ON’s mis­takes. . . .