2 07-23-87 02:56 ped Editors: The United Press International West Virginia news report for

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2 07-23-87 02:56 ped Editors: The United Press International West Virginia news report for Friday morning newspapers will include: ___ General (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 Moundsville. 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 and us." 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.


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