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