- Siddhaswarupananda, Jagad Guru
- (1948– )independent bhakti yogiThe American-born yogi Jagad Guru Siddhaswa-rupananda was a teacher in the INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS (ISKCON) before forming his own offshoot organization.Chris Butler was born in 1948 in New Orleans, Louisiana, but moved to Hawaii as an infant and grew up in the islands. His interest in religion in general and YOGA in particular emerged during his last years of high school. He studied with the YOGA teachers available to him and experienced SAMA-DHI sublime consciousness. As a young man, he founded the Haiku School of Nirvana Yoga (also known as the Haiku Meditation Center) on the island of Maui, where he taught ASHTANGA YOGA and KUNDALINI YOGA.Around 1970 he met Srila BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA, the founder of ISKCON. Butler accepted Bhaktivedanta’s teaching of devotional or BHAKTI yoga and his emphasis on a personal deity, as opposed to Butler’s previous belief in an imper-sonal divinity. Butler closed his work in Hawaii and accepted an initiation from Bhaktivedanta to join his movement. He remained with ISKCON until after Prabhupada died in 1977.In the year after Bhaktivedanta died, Butler concluded that his GURU had emerged as a non-appointed pure devotee who held his status by virtue of his own spiritual attainment, not via his relationship to the GAUDIYA MAT H center. Shortly before his death Bhaktivedanta, following the example of his guru, Bhaktisiddhanta, appointed 12 men to manage the math. Similarly, Bhaktive-danta appointed 12 men to manage ISKCON. None of these appointees was a guru by virtue of this appointment; each could be a guru only as an unappointed, but accomplished, devotee.Butler assumed that he was such an unap-pointed guru, and, in 1978, as Jagad Guru Sid-dhaswarupananda, he began to initiate disciples. He founded the Science of Identity Foundation as a vehicle to facilitate his teachings. He has led a rather low-key existence, traveling constantly and staying in various locations for relatively short periods as he is invited by his initiates. He has written several short books and produced a vari-ety of video and audio materials for his followers.The Science of Identity Foundation (originally the Hari Nama or Holy Name Society) is located in Honolulu, Hawaii. Siddhaswarupananda became a founding member of the WORLD VAISHNAVITE ASSO-CIATION.Further reading: Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda, God: Supremely Lovable (Honolulu: Science of Identity Foundation, 1989); ———, The Holy Name Real Protec-tion (Honolulu: Science of Identity Foundation, n.d.); ———, Reincarnation Explained (Honolulu: Science of Identity Foundation, 1987).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.