About Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa (Chris Butler)

Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa (Chris Butler) Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa is a disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in the disciplic succession (parampara) known as Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya. Jagad Guru is the founder of Science of Identity Foundation. He has been teaching the science of yoga to people around the world for over 45 years. Many serious individuals inspired by Jagad Guru have now taken on the role of teachers to assist him in spreading yoga wisdom.

As a long-time proponent of nonsectarianism, Jagad Guru has worked in union with other Vaishnava acharyas (teachers), including Puri Maharaj, Paramadvaiti Maharaj, B.B Tirtha Maharaj, and others to establish the World Vaishnava Association, an umbrella organization composed of more than 30 different Vaishnava missions around the world.

Vaishnavas recognize that despite the various ways and methods that different acharyas teach, the apex of perfect yoga, and the ultimate goal of the human form of life, is the achievement of pure bhakti, or spiritual love. Yoga can be simply compared to a ladder. The lowest rung is yoga asanas and the highest rung—the culmination and definition of yoga—is perfect spiritual love.

Jagad Guru Meets His Guru

Jagad Guru appeared in this world in 1948 as Chris Butler. His spiritual quest began in his teens and he became a master of astanga and kundalini yoga by the time when he was only 20 years old. Later, Jagad Guru came into contact with His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakivedanta Swami. Although Jagad Guru had already realized the impersonal (Brahman) feature of the Original Cause, the teachings of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami drew him beyond Brahman realization to the personal aspect of the Original Cause.

In 1970, Siddhaswarupananda offered himself and all his possessions at the feet of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, begging to be accepted as a disciple. He offered all his properties, wealth, and the position he had as an honored teacher with hundreds of followers to become a humble servant of his spiritual master. Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami accepted him as a disciple and gave him the name Siddhaswarupananda, which means “one’s spiritual form which is full of bliss.”

Teaching on Behalf of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was the strongest proponent of bhakti yoga, and He wanted to distribute spiritual love to everyone. Five hundred years ago He gave the instruction, “By My command, be guru [spiritual teacher] and save the people from their suffering.” Thus, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami passed on this instruction to all of his disciples, and Jagad Guru took this instruction as his life and soul. Jagad Guru traveled penniless to the Hawaiian island of Kauai, where by God’s grace he opened a yoga ashram in the countryside with no running water or electricity. He became a siksha (instructing) guru of many not only in Hawaii, but around the world. As a humble disciple, he always sent his disciples to Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami to be initiated. After the disappearance of his Gurudev from this world in 1977, Jagad Guru took the role of diksha (initiating) guru and began to initiate disciples. Today he has a worldwide following of tens of thousands of individuals who attempt to apply the teachings of yoga in their daily lives.

Because Siddhaswarupananda presents ancient yoga and Vedic wisdom in a down to earth, scientific, and philosophical manner rather than dogmatically and fanatically, countless people who were previously skeptics now find a genuine spirituality that has real application in their modern lives. While uncompromising in his presentation of bona fide yoga teachings, Jagad Guru is also a master of innovation and thus deals with different people in different ways according to time, place, and circumstance.

Jagad Guru has written several important books, such as Who Are You? Discovering Your Real Identity and Reincarnation Explained. In addition, he has authored many booklets covering a wide variety of personal and social issues. His television series, Jagad Guru Speaks, aired internationally for many years.

Organization Founded by Jagad Guru

Perhaps one of the most difficult concepts for the Western mind to comprehend in relation to traditional yoga and Vedic thought is the question of spiritual authority. In the bona fide yoga tradition of Vaishnavism, as with all theology, spiritual authority lies with the Original Cause and is manifest in the world through shastra (yoga spiritual literature), sadhus (previous saintly gurus), and guru (the yoga spiritual master).

According to Veda and yoga, the perfection of life and of yoga is the achievement of pure bhakti (spiritual love). Yoga is not something one can join or quit, but is rather the eternal truth (sanatana dharma) of our identity. Yoga is an individual (rather than a team) pursuit or endeavor. While the association of like-minded seekers is encouraged, the concept of being “saved” by joining an institution or church is foreign (and alien) to the Vedic or yoga system.

Science of Identity Foundation was established by Jagad Guru in 1977 to offer to the public ancient yoga wisdom and techniques that individuals can apply in their own lives to optimize their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Many disciples and students of Jagad Guru around the world are doing their best to also make these teachings and practices available to others. To this end, many of them have also started yoga organizations and schools in different countries.

For the Soul There is Neither Birth Nor Death

The following is an excerpt from a lecture by Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda which provides a brief overview of the science of identity.

Who Am I?
In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna says in the verse 20, chapter 2,

For the living entity, for the soul there is never birth nor death. The soul is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. The soul is not slain when the body is slain.

Sometimes people make the mistake when they hear the word “soul”. They think that it means something, “The soul is something that I possess.” But this is not accurate. The soul is not something that you possess or that you own. Rather, you ARE the soul. You ARE the eternal spark of God. It is not that you are your body and you own a soul. The truth is you are the eternal soul and you possess a body temporarily.

In the next... in verse 23, we learn, we hear from Krishna that in the same way that a person puts on new clothes when their old clothes are worn out, similarly, you, the soul, you put on a new... you take on a new physical body when your old body is too old. It can no longer function.

Sometimes people ask the question, “How do I know that when I... when my body is old and it dies, how do I know that I will continue to exist? How do I know this?” Actually it does not take a great amount of faith to know this. It takes very little faith to know this. All you need to do is look at your present situation and you will see the truth in this.

For example, let us say your body is twenty years old. This means, if you look back, maybe you can remember or you can look at a family photo album. You will see some picture or you will remember your body when it was only ten years old. So you can ask yourself this question, “Where is that body that you had ten years ago?” It is a scientific fact that the body that you had ten years ago is already gone. You have left it behind. If your body is twenty years old, that body you have on now is a completely different body than the body you had when it was ten. That ten-year-old body is gone.

They have done research and it has been shown that all of the material particles, all of the molecules and atoms which were present when your body was ten years old, all of those material particles, all those atoms and molecules are gone. They are no longer there. The matter which made up your body ten years ago is gone. It’s gone. There’s not a single molecule, not a single atom present today which was there ten years ago.

So the body, that matter that you thought was you, it’s gone. But you are not gone. You are still existing. The body you had no longer exists. But you, the spirit soul, you continue to exist. You were present in a ten-year-old body. Now you are still existing but in a twenty-year-old body. Then you will be in a thirty-year-old body and a fifty-year-old body, and you’ll be leaving behind all the other bodies you wore, that you’ve been wearing. You leave them behind.

Ask yourself this question: where is the shirt or pair of pants that you wore twenty years ago? Most of you, you will not know where that is. It’s gone already. If you used to wear these tiny little clothes when your body is four years old, where are those little clothes? You’ve left them behind. Have you not? Everyone has left them behind. In the same way you don’t know where the pair of pants that you were wearing when you were four years old, you don’t know where they are, similarly, you don’t know where the body is you had at that time, that little body. You don’t know where it is.

Who here remembers, who here has any memories of your life ten years ago? You don’t have any memory of your life ten years ago? You don’t have any memory? You don’t have any memory of your life ten years ago? What about six years ago? You have any memory of your life six years ago? So what this means is that you were there six years ago. You existed six years ago. Do you understand this? You cannot remember something from six years ago if you weren’t there. You, the spirit soul, you existed six years ago and you had a body that was... that at that time you had a certain body. So you existed six years ago. Does anyone here not understand that you existed six years ago? You existed six years ago. But the body you had six years ago, it no longer exists. Now who here is aware that you exist now? Are you aware that you exist now?

So if you are aware you exist now and you existed then, six years ago, ten years ago, twenty years ago. But the bodies you had six years ago, twenty years ago, even three years ago, they’re gone. They no longer exist. What this means, if you still exist and your body that you had ten years ago no longer exists, then what can you conclude from this? You can conclude that you are not your body. You are not the body you had ten years ago. You are not the body you had twenty years ago. You’re not the body even that you had three years ago. You were not that body three years ago. The body you had three years ago was not you. It wasn’t you. That’s why it can be gone, but you’re not gone. It no longer exists, but you still exist.

From the yoga point of view, the point of view of yoga philosophy, you are the atma, the soul, and you possess the body. You wear the body just like a person wears clothes. And when the clothes are no longer useable, they go away. You throw them away. Similarly, when this body is no longer able to be used, we leave it behind.