1 07-23-87 10:36 aed calif., n.y., krishna states MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. (UPI) _ A Hare Krishn

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1 07-23-87 10:36 aed calif., n.y., krishna states MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. (UPI) _ A Hare Krishna devotee convicted of murder was ordained a swami during a ceremony in the West Virginia Penitentiary but the Krishnas' governing body says the ordination is invalid without its approval. Thomas Drescher, serving a life sentence after being found guilty of killing another Krishna devotee, Wednesday took the order of Sannyasa in a religious ceremony inside the maximum-security prison. Wood was burned and seeds were tossed into the blaze during the ceremony directed by a minister from New Vrindaban, the Krishna community located near Moundsville. Drescher's Krishna name was changed to Tirtha Swami, thus increasing his rank among devotees and forces him to end all ties with his family. 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 thepermission 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 it was part of ISKCON's ongoing feud with Swami Kirtanananda Bhaktipada, Drescher's spiritual master and leader of New Vrindaban. 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." The swami and his followers have been under investigation by federal and state authorities for alleged criminal activities at New Vrindaban.


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