2 07-23-87 02:56 ped
Editors: The United Press International West Virginia news report for
Friday morning newspapers will include:
(DRESCHER) Moundsville _ Hare Krishna devotee convicted of murder
ordained as swami during ceremony in prison, but Krishnas' governing
body says ordination is invalid because they didn't approve it. 300.
3 07-23-87 04:44 ped
calif., n.y., krishna states
Drescher, Krishnas' governing body disagree on his swami title
MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. (UPI) _ A Hare Krishna devotee ordained a swami
at a ceremony in the West Virginia Penitentiary says his religion's
governing body rejects his ordination because of an ongoing feud with
his spiritual master.
Thomas Drescher, serving a life sentence for murdering another
devotee, this week had his Krishna named changed to Tirtha Swami when he
took the order of Sannyasa at a ceremony in the prison.
However, a spokesman for the Krishnas' Governing Board Commission
of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness said Drescher's
ceremony was invalid.
"Iskcon does not recognize the conferring of the order of Sannyasa
without the permission of the Iskcon governing body commission,"
Michael Grant said from California. "Awarding Thomas Drescher the title
of swami is, therefore, not authorized by the Hare Krishna movement."
Drescher scoffed at the statement, saying he needed only the
approval of Swami Kirtanananda Bhaktipada, Drescher's spiritual master
and leader of New Vrindaban, the Krishna community located near
The inmate said Iskcon's position resulted from a feud with
Bhaktipada. The governing body expelled Bhaktipada March 18, citing
philosophical differences and insubordination. The panel later agreed to
consider readmitting Bhaktipada as a rank-and-file member if he
"cleaned up his act."
"Iskcon's governing board doesn't give a title to anyone," said
Drescher, a native of Buffalo, N.Y. "It's between the spiritual master
Bhaktipada and his followers have been under investigation by
federal and state authorities focusing on the community's finances as
well as allegations of drug dealing and child abuse.
Wood was burned and seeds were thrown into the fire during
Wednesday's ceremony directed by a New Vrindaban minister.
Becoming a swami increases his rank among devotees, enables him to
preach and forces him to end all ties with his family, Drescher said.