Kirtanananda Swami, also known as Swami Bhaktipada, (born September 6, 1937) was the highly-controversial charismatic ISKCON guru and founder/acharya of the New Vrindaban Hare Krishna community in Marshall County, West Virginia, where he served as spiritual leader for 26 years (from 1968 until 1994). Events 3114 BC - According to the Proleptic Julian calendar the current era in the Maya Long Count Calendar started Year 1937 ( MCMXXXVII) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The Sociologist Max Weber defined charismatic authority as "resting on devotion to the exceptional sanctity heroism or exemplary character of an individual person The International Society for Krishna Consciousness ( ISKCON) also known as 'the Hare Krishna ' movement is one of several Vaishnava groups An acharya ( acariya in Pali) is an important religious teacher ( Guru) who teaches by his own example (from Sanskrit 'achara' behavior New Vrindaban is an ISKCON ( Hare Krishna) Intentional community located near Moundsville, West Virginia. The Hare Krishna Mantra, also referred to reverentially as the Maha Mantra ("Great Mantra" is a sixteen-word Vaishnava mantra made well Marshall County is a County located in the US state of West Virginia.
Kirtanananda was born Keith Gordon Ham on September 6, 1937, the son of a Southern Baptist minister. Events 3114 BC - According to the Proleptic Julian calendar the current era in the Maya Long Count Calendar started Year 1937 ( MCMXXXVII) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The Southern Baptist Convention ( SBC) is a United States -based mostly conservative Christian denomination He imbibed his father's missionary spirit and attempted to convert classmates to his family's faith. Despite an acute case of poliomyelitis which he contracted around his 17th birthday, he graduated with honors from Peekskill, New York, high school in 1955. Poliomyelitis, often called polio or infantile paralysis, is an acute viral Infectious disease spread from person to person primarily via Peekskill is a city in Westchester County New York. It is situated on a Bay along the east side of the Hudson River. In high school and college he excelled at debate. Debate ( American English) or debating ( British English) is a formal method of interactive and position representational Argument.
Ham received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee on May 20, 1959 and graduated magna cum laude, first in his class of 117. This article is about Maryville College in Maryville Tennessee Maryville is a city in and the County seat of Blount County, Tennessee, in the Southeastern United States. Latin honors are Latin phrases used to indicate the level of academic distinction with which an Academic degree was earned He then received a Woodrow Wilson fellowship to study American history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he remained for three years. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation is a private Non-profit grant -making foundation based in Princeton, New Jersey. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ( UNC, North Carolina, or simply Carolina) is a public, Coeducational Research There he met an undergraduate English major from Mobile, Alabama, who became his lifelong friend and lover, Howard Morton Wheeler (1940-1989). The two resigned from the university on February 3, 1961 and left Chapel Hill after being threatened with an investigation regarding an alleged sex scandal. A sex scandal is a Scandal involving allegations or information about Embarrassing Sexual activities, such as Adultery, being made public
Keith and Howard moved to New York City where they lived as hippies. The City of New York The Hippie Subculture was originally a Youth movement that began in the United States during the early 1960s and spread around the world Keith also promoted LSD use and became an LSD guru. For some time he worked as a reviewer of unemployment claims. Keith enrolled at Columbia University (1961-64) where he received a Waddell fellowship to study religious history with Whitney Cross, but he quit academic life when he and Howard travelled to India during October 1965 in search of a guru. Columbia University is a private University in the United States and a member of the Ivy League. Whitney R Cross is the author of The Burned Over District The Social and Intellectual History of Enthusiastic Religion in Western New York 1800-1850, published in 1950 India, officially the Republic of India (भारत गणराज्य inc-Latn Bhārat Gaṇarājya; see also other Indian languages) is a country A guru (गुरु গুরু is a person who is regarded as having great knowledge wisdom and authority in a certain area and uses it to guide others Unsuccessful in their quest, they returned to New York after six months. 
In June 1966, after returning from India, Keith met the Bengali Gaudiya Vaishnava guru A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (then known simply as "Swamiji" to his disciples), the founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), more popularly known in the west as the Hare Krishnas. Year 1966 ( MCMLXVI) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar of the 1966 Gregorian calendar. The Bengali people are the ethnic community from Bengal (divided between Bangladesh and India) on the Indian subcontinent with a history dating Gaudiya Vaishnavism (also known as Chaitanya Vaishnavism) is a Vaishnava religious movement founded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1534 in India Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada ( Sanskrit:, abhaya-caraṇāravinda bhakti-vedānta svāmī prabhupāda, Bangla: অভয়চরনাবিন্দ An acharya ( acariya in Pali) is an important religious teacher ( Guru) who teaches by his own example (from Sanskrit 'achara' behavior The International Society for Krishna Consciousness ( ISKCON) also known as 'the Hare Krishna ' movement is one of several Vaishnava groups The Hare Krishna Mantra, also referred to reverentially as the Maha Mantra ("Great Mantra" is a sixteen-word Vaishnava mantra made well After attending Bhagavad-gita classes at the modest storefront temple at 26 Second Avenue, Keith decided to accept Swamiji as his spiritual master, receiving initiation as "Kirtanananda das" ("the servant of one who takes pleasure in kirtan") on September 23, 1966. Kirtan ( Sanskrit - "to repeat" is call-and-response chanting performed in India's devotional traditions Swamiji sometimes called him "Kitchen-ananda" because of his cooking expertise. 
Kirtanananda was among the first of Swamiji's western disciples to shave his head (apart from the sikha), don robes (traditional Bengali Vaishnava clothing consists of dhoti and kurta), and move into the temple. The sikha or shikha is a Sanskrit word that refers to a long tuft or Lock of hair left on top or on the back of the shaven head of a male Orthodox The pancha in Telugu, called dhoti or doti in Hindi, Laacha in Punjabi, Mundu in Malayalam A kurta ( Persian / Urdu: کرتا, Hindi: कुरता কুর্তা also called a panjabi in Bengali (or kurti During March 1967, on the order of Swamiji, Kirtanananda and Janus Dambergs (Janardan das), a French-speaking university student, established the Montreal ISKCON temple. Montreal, or Montréal in French ( pronounced in French, in English) is the largest city in the Canadian province of Quebec
On August 28, 1967, while travelling with Swamiji in India, Kirtanananda das became Prabhupada's first disciple to be initiated into the Vaishnava order of renunciation (sannyasa: a lifelong vow of celibacy in mind, word and body), and received the name Kirtanananda Swami. Vaishnavism is a tradition of Hinduism, distinguished from other schools by its worship of Vishnu or its associated avatars principally as Rama and "Sanyasi" redirects here For the motion picture see Sanyasi (1975 film Sannyasa, ( Devanagari: संन्यास Within weeks, however, Kirtanananda Swami returned to New York City against Prabhupada's wishes and attempted to add exoteric cultural elements of Christianity to Prabhupada's devotional bhakti system. Christianity ( Greek Χριστιανισμός from the word Xριστός ( Christ)is a monotheistic Religion centered on the life and teachings Bhakti ( Devanāgarī: भक्ति) is a word of Sanskrit origin meaning devotion. Other disciples of Prabhupada saw this as a takeover attempt. In letters from India, Prabhupada soundly chastised him and banned him from preaching in ISKCON temples. 
Kirtanananda promptly moved in with his friend Howard (now known as Hayagriva das), who had accepted a position teaching English classes at a community college in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. New Vrindaban is an ISKCON ( Hare Krishna) Intentional community located near Moundsville, West Virginia. Wilkes-Barre (ˈwɪlksbɛrə or /-bɛri/ is the central city of the Wyoming Valley and County seat of Luzerne County in northeastern Pennsylvania In the San Francisco Oracle (an underground newspaper), Kirtanananda saw a letter from Richard Rose, Jr., who wanted to form an ashram on his land in Marshall County, West Virginia. The Oracle of the City of San Francisco, also known as the San Francisco Oracle was an Underground newspaper published from September 20 1966 The phrase underground press is most often used to refer to the independently published and distributed underground papers associated with the Counterculture of the Richard Rose ( March 14, 1917 - July 6, 2005) was an American mystic, esoteric philosopher, author An Ashram in ancient India was a Hindu hermitage where sages lived in Peace and tranquility amidst Nature. Marshall County is a County located in the US state of West Virginia. "The conception is one of a non-profit, non-interfering, non-denominational retreat or refuge, where philosophers might come to work communally together, or independently, where a library and other facilities might be developed. "
On a weekend free of classes (March 30-31, 1968), Kirtanananda and Hayagriva visited the two properties owned by Rose. When Hayagriva returned to Wilkes Barre, Kirtanananda stayed on in Rose's backwoods farmhouse. In July 1968, after a few months of Kirtanananda's living in isolation, he and Hayagriva visited Prabhupada in Montreal. Prabhupada “forgave his renegade disciples in Montreal with a garland of roses and a shower of tears. ”
When the pair returned to West Virginia, Richard Rose, Jr. and his wife Phyllis E. Rose gave Hayagriva a 99-year lease on the 132. 77-acre property for $4,000, with an option to purchase for $10 when the lease expired. Hayagriva put down a $1,500 deposit. 
Prabhupada established the purpose and guided the development of the community in dozens of letters and four personal visits (1969, 1972, 1974 and 1976). Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada ( Sanskrit:, abhaya-caraṇāravinda bhakti-vedānta svāmī prabhupāda, Bangla: অভয়চরনাবিন্দ New Vrindaban would fulfill four major functions for ISKCON:
Kirtanananda eventually established himself as leader and sole authority over the community, and over time the community expanded, devotees from other ISKCON centers moved in, and cows and land were acquired until New Vrindaban properties consisted of nearly 5,000 acres. New Vrindaban became a favorite ISKCON place of pilgrimage and many ISKCON devotees attended the annual Krishna Janmashtami festivals. Krishna Janmashtami ( Devanagari कृष्ण जन्माष्टमी, also known as "Krishnashtami","Saatam Aatham"," Gokulashtami
Kirtanananda's previous offenses were forgiven. Many devotees admired him for his austere lifestyle (for a time he lived in an abandoned chicken coop), his preaching skills and devotion to the presiding deities of New Vrindaban: Sri Sri Radha Vrindaban Chandra. In Hinduism, a murti ( Devanagari: मूर्ति typically refers to an image a deity in which the Divine Spirit is expressed ( murta)  For other devotees who had challenged him and thereby encountered his wrath, he was a source of fear.
Late in 1972 Kirtanananda and sculptor-architect Bhagavatananda das decided to build a home for Srila Prabhupada. Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada ( Sanskrit:, abhaya-caraṇāravinda bhakti-vedānta svāmī prabhupāda, Bangla: অভয়চরনাবিন্দ In time, the plans for the house developed into an ornate memorial shrine of marble, gold and carved teakwood, dedicated posthumously during Labor Day weekend, on Sunday, September 2, 1979. Marble is a nonfoliated Metamorphic rock resulting from the Metamorphism of Limestone, composed mostly of Calcite (a crystalline form of Gold (ˈɡoʊld is a Chemical element with the symbol Au (from its Latin name aurum) and Atomic number 79 Teak ( Tectona) is a genus of tropical Hardwood Trees in the family Verbenaceae, native to the south and southeast of Asia The completion of the Palace of Gold catapulted New Vrindaban into mainstream respectability as tens (and eventually hundreds) of thousands of tourists began visiting the Palace each year. Prabhupada's Palace of Gold is a memorial Shrine built by Hare Krishna devotees for their spiritual master A
A "Land of Krishna" theme park and a granite "Temple of Understanding" in classical South Indian style were designed to make New Vrindaban a "Spiritual Disneyland. Granite (ˈɡrænɪt is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, Felsic, igneous rock. A basic Hindu Temple consists of an inner sanctum the Garbha griha or womb-chamber in which the image is housed often with space for its circumambulation " The ground-breaking ceremony of the proposed temple on May 31, 1985, was attended by dozens of dignitaries, including a United States congressman from West Virginia. One publication called it "the most significant and memorable day in the history of New Vrindaban. "
Upon Prabhupada's death on November 14, 1977, Kirtanananda and ten other high-ranking ISKCON leaders declared themselves as initiating gurus to succeed him. Events 1533 - Conquistadors from Spain under the leadership of Francisco Pizarro arrive in Cajamarca, Inca Also 1977 (album by Ash. Year 1977 ( MCMLXXVII) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link displays In March 1979, he accepted the honorific title "Bhaktipada," a title which the current ISKCON leadership does not recognize.
Kirtanananda Swami awarded sannyasa initiation to several godbrothers, most notably Bhakti Tirtha Swami (1979), Bhaktisvarupa Damodar Swami (1980), Radhanath Swami (1982), Vedavyasa Swami (1986), Varsana Swami (1986), Chandramauli Swami (1986), Umapati Swami (1987), Tirtha Swami (1987), Hayagriva Swami (1989), and the female sannyasini Malati Swami (c. Bhakti Tirtha Swami ( February 25 1950 &ndash June 27 2005) was an influential Guru within the Bhaktisvarupa Damodar Swami (1937-2006 original name Dr Thoudam Damodar Singh was a scientist spiritual teacher (Acharya teacher and poet His Holiness Radhanath Swami (1951-presentis a leading member and Guru within the International Society for Krishna Consciousness Malati devi dasi, a senior religious leader of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, was born in San Francisco and became an initiated disciple of 1992). 
In 1986 Kirtanananda began his so-called interfaith experiment and the community became known as the "New Vrindaban City of God. The term interfaith or interfaith dialogue refers to cooperative and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions (ie " He again attempted to "de-Indianize" Krishna Consciousness to help make it more accessible to westerners, just as he had done previously in 1967.
Devotees wore Franciscan-style robes instead of dhotis and saris; they chanted in English with western instruments such as the pipe organ and accordions instead of chanting in Sanskrit and Bengali with mridanga drums and cymbals; male devotees grew hair and beards instead of shaving their heads and faces; female devotees were awarded the sannyasini order and encouraged to preach independently; japa was practiced silently; and an interfaith community was attempted. The term Franciscan is commonly used to refer to members of Catholic The pancha in Telugu, called dhoti or doti in Hindi, Laacha in Punjabi, Mundu in Malayalam for the town in Nepal see Sari Nepal A sari or saree or shari is a female garment in the Indian subcontinent The pipe organ is a Musical instrument that produces sound when pressurized air (wind is driven through a series of pipes, controlled by a keyboard The accordion is a portable box-shaped Musical instrument of the hand-held Bellows -driven free-reed aerophone family sometimes referred to as a Squeezebox Sanskrit (sa संस्कृता वाक् saṃskṛtā vāk, for short sa संस्कृतम् saṃskṛtam) is a historical The mridangam (மிருதங்கம் is a Percussion instrument from India, especially South India. Karatalas (Fr Caratalas pronounced "kartels" are a Percussion instrument played by striking them together often used within the traditions of Hinduism Japa ( Sanskrit: जप is a Spiritual discipline involving the meditative repetition of a Mantra or name of God.
On October 27, 1985, during a New Vrindaban bricklaying marathon, a crazed and distraught devotee bludgeoned Kirtanananda on the head with a heavy steel tamping tool.  He was critically injured and remained in a coma for ten days. Gradually he recovered most of his faculties, though devotees who knew him well said that his personality had changed. Some close associates began leaving the community.
On March 16, 1987, during their annual meeting at Mayapur, India, the ISKCON Governing Body Commission expelled Kirtanananda from the society for "moral and theological deviations. WikipediaWikiProject Indian cities for details --> Mayapur (মায়াপুর is located on the banks of the Ganges river at the point of its Governing Body Commission (GBC is the name for the managerial authority of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON " They claimed he had defied ISKCON policies and had claimed to be the sole spiritual heir to Prabhupada’s movement. Thirteen members voted for the resolution, two abstained, and one member, Bhakti Tirtha Swami, voted against the resolution. Bhakti Tirtha Swami ( February 25 1950 &ndash June 27 2005) was an influential Guru within the 
Kirtanananda then established his own organization — "The Eternal Order of the League of Devotees Worldwide" — and took several properties with him, including New Vrindaban. New Vrindaban was excommunicated from ISKCON the following year in 1988.
In 1990 the US federal government indicted Kirtanananda on five counts of racketeering, six counts of mail fraud, and conspiracy to murder two of his opponents in the Hare Krishna movement (Chakradhari and Sulochan). Year 1990 ( MCMXC) was a Common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1990 Gregorian calendar) The federal government of the United States is the central United States Governmental body established by the United States Constitution. A racket is an illegal business usually run as part of Organized crime. Mail fraud refers to any scheme which attempts to unlawfully obtain money or valuables in which the Postal system is used at any point in the commission of a criminal offense The government claimed that he had illegally amassed a profit of more than $10. 5 million over four years. It also charged that he ordered the killings because the victims had threatened to reveal his sexual abuse of minors. Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is the forcing of undesired sexual acts by one person upon another
On March 29, 1991, Kirtanananda was convicted on nine of the 11 charges (the jury failed to reach a verdict on the murder charges), but the Court of Appeals, convinced by the expert arguments of defense attorney Alan Morton Dershowitz (a criminal law professor at Harvard University who represented such celebrated and wealthy clients as Claus von Bülow, Mike Tyson and O. J. Simpson), threw out the convictions, saying that child molestation evidence had unfairly prejudiced the jury against Kirtanananda, who was not charged with those crimes. Events 1461 - Wars of the Roses: Battle of Towton - Edward of York defeats Queen Margaret to become King Year 1991 ( MCMXCI) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian Calendar. Court of Appeal, Court of Appeals, and Appellate Division redirect here for a list of specific courts using those titles see Court of Appeal Alan Morton Dershowitz (born September 1, 1938) is an American Lawyer, Jurist, and political commentator. The term criminal law, sometimes called penal law, refers to any of various bodies of rules in different Jurisdictions whose common characteristic is the potential Claus von Bülow (born Claus Cecil Borberg on August 11, 1926, in Copenhagen Denmark) is a British socialite of German and Danish Orenthal James "O J" Simpson (born July 9 1947 who has also been called The Juice, is a retired American football player, Child sexual abuse is a form of Child abuse in which a child is abused for the sexual gratification of an adult or older adolescent A jury a sworn body of persons convened to render a rational, impartial Verdict (a finding of fact on a question officially submitted to them On August 16, 1993, he was released from house arrest in a rented apartment in the Warwood neighborhood of Wheeling, where he had lived for nearly two years, and returned triumphantly to New Vrindaban. In Justice and Law, house arrest (also called home confinement, home detention, or electronic monitoring) is a measure by which Wheeling is a city in West Virginia, in the United States. Most of the city is in Ohio County, with a small
However, Kirtanananda lost his iron grip on the community after the September 1993 "Winnebago Incident" during which he was accidentally observed in a compromised position with a young male Malaysian disciple in the back of a Winnebago van, and the community split into two camps: those who still supported Kirtanananda and those who challenged his leadership. During this time he retired to his rural retreat at "Silent Mountain" near Littleton, West Virginia. Littleton was a town in Wetzel County, West Virginia, United States. The challengers eventually ousted Kirtanananda and his supporters completely, and ended the "interfaith era" in July 1994 by returning the temple worship services to the standard Indian style advocated by Swami Prabhupada and practiced throughout ISKCON. Most of Kirtanananda's followers left New Vrindaban and moved to the Radha Muralidhar Temple in New York City, which remained under Kirtanananda's control. New Vrindaban returned to ISKCON in 1998.
In 1996, before Kirtanananda's retrial was completed, he pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering (mail fraud). Year 1996 ( MCMXCVI) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar) He was sentenced to 20 years in prison but was released on June 16, 2004. .
On September 10, 2000, the ISKCON Child Protection Office concluded a 17-month investigation and determined that Kirtanananda had molested two boys. He was prohibited from visiting any ISKCON properties for five years and offered conditions for reinstatement within ISKCON:
Kirtanananda never satisfied any of these conditions. 
For four years after his release from prison, Kirtanananda (now confined to a wheelchair) resided at the Radha Murlidhara Temple at 25 First Avenue in New York City. This temple was purchased in 1990  for $500,000 and is maintained by a small number of disciples and followers, although the temple board attempted to evict him. 
On March 7, 2008, Kirtanananda left the United States for India, where he says he expects to remain for the rest of his life. “There is no sense in staying where I’m not wanted,” he explained, referring to the desertions through the years by most of his American disciples and to the attempts to evict him from the building. Kirtanananda still has a significant number of loyal disciples in India and Pakistan, who worship him as "guru" and publish his latest books. 
Kirtanananda said he intends to continue preaching a message of interfaith: that the God of the Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Vaishnavas is the same; and that men of faith from each religion should recognize and appreciate the faith of men of other paths. "Fundamentalism is one of the most dangerous belief-systems in the world today. Fundamentalism doesn’t promote unity; it causes separatism. It creates enmity between people of faith. Look at the Muslims; Mohammed never intended that his followers should spread their religion by the sword. It is more important today than at any other time to preach about the unity of all religions. "
Triyogi had asked Kirtanananda to initiate him into the order of sannyas. Kirtanananda said that he must first "prove himself" as a preacher: "I told him I didn’t feel I could do it. I didn’t know him well enough. I told him to stay here at New Vrindaban for six months to a year first, and he became disturbed about that. " (Kirtanananda Swami, quoted by Eric Harrison in "Violence is Focus of Krishna Inquiry," The Philadelphia Inquirer (August 21, 1986), 16-A. )
Triyogi was visibly upset and confided in another New Vrindaban devotee that "he felt he had to either kill himself, kill Bhaktipada, or leave. " Later he told that same devotee that he would not kill anyone; he would simply leave. (Tulsi das quoting Triyogi, cited by Terry Smith in "Krishnas May Investigate New Disciples," The Wheeling Intelligencer (October 31, 1985), 1,6. )