A Chronology of Swami Bhaktipada’s Life
from a forthcoming book by Henry Doktorski titled Gold, Guns and God

A note about names: In Gaudiya-Vaishnava tradition a person’s name changes as one progresses through various orders of religious life. Swami Bhaktipada was born Keith Gordon Ham; in 1966 he became known as Kirtanananda dasa; in 1967 he became Kirtanananda Swami; and in 1979 he started using the name Bhaktipada. Similarly A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has had a succession of names. This timeline uses the name most common during the selected time period.

1781 Bhaktipada’s great-great-great grandfather William Ham is born in Cornwall, England. He works in the copper mines. Illiterate.
1821 Bhaktipada’s great-great-grandfather Joseph Ham is born in Cornwall, England. He works in the copper mines, Illiterate.
1851 Bhaktipada’s great-grandfather Francis Jenkins Ham is born in Cornwall, England and immigrates to Peckville, Pennsylvania. He is the first in his family to learn how to read and write.
1874 Bhaktipada’s grandfather Francis Ham, Jr. is born in Gwennap, England (January 17). At the age of nine he moves to the United States with his father and works as a blacksmith, machinist and later as an independent merchant.
Bhaktipada’s grandguru, Bimal Prasad Dutta (later known as Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur), is born in Jagannath Puri, India (February 6).
1896 Bhaktipada’s guru, Abhay Charan De (later known as A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada) is born in Calcutta, India (September 1).
1903 Bhaktipada’s father Francis Gordon Ham is born in Peckville, Pennsylvania (December 7). He is the first in his family to become a minister. Later moves to Peekskill, New York where he becomes pastor for a Conservative Baptist congregation.
1905 Bhaktipada’s mother Marjorie Grace Clark is born (March 17) in Lackawanna City, Pennsylvania.
1922 Abhay Charan De meets his future spiritual master Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur.
1928 Francis Gordon Ham marries Marjorie Grace Clark (May 30). They have five children. She claims her unborn fifth child will become a great preacher.
1932 Abhay Charan De formally accepts Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur as his spiritual master and takes the name Abhay Charanaravinda (November 21).
1937 Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur dies (January 1).
Keith Gordon Ham (Swami Bhaktipada) is born in Peekskill, New York (September 6), the fifth of five children.
1939 The Gaudiya-Vaishnava Society honors Abhay Charanaravinda with the title “Bhaktivedanta.” He becomes known as A. C. Bhaktivedanta.
1940 Howard Morton Wheeler (Hayagriva) is born in Pensacola, Florida. One source claimed it was Mobile, Alabama (September 2).
1949 Keith has his first “real religious experience” at age twelve and attempts to convert his classmates to the Conservative Baptist faith.
1952 Keith graduates from Drum Hill Junior High School—9th grade (June 23).
Keith begins 10th grade at Bob Jones Academy in Greenville, South Carolina (fall semester), but contracts hepatitis and returns home to recover.
1953 Keith attends Stony Brook School in Long Island, New York, but has a relapse of hepatitis after ten days and returns home to recover. Keith contracts a severe case of polio (late summer), spends months in the hospital recovering.
1954 Keith returns to high school (Junior year) and makes up his missed classes during summer school.
1955 Keith graduates with honors from Peekskill High School; he excells at debate and develops a reputation for heavy drinking at parties.
The Ham family moves from Peekskill on the Hudson River to the town of Merrick on Long Island.
1955-1959 Keith attends Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee and graduates magna cum laude (May 20, 1959).
1959 Keith begins graduate studies in American History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (September).
A. C. Bhaktivedanta is initiated into the renounced order and becomes known as A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami (September 17).
1960 Keith meets his life-long friend and lover Howard Wheeler at a gay bar in Chapel Hill (October).
1961 Keith and Howard resign from UNC due to sex scandal (February 3) and move first to Merrick with Keith’s parents, then to Manhattan where they end up in an apartment in the Lower East Side.
1961-1964 Keith attends Columbia University, New York City, but fails to fulfill requirements for his doctorate degree due to personal problems. On the other hand, Howard receives a Master Degree in English from New York University in 1964 and that same year accepts a position teaching English at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
1965 A. C. Bhaktivedenta Swami arrives in New York City from India on the steamship Jaladuta (September 19).
Keith and Howard travel to India on the steamship Jaladhir in search of a guru (October).
1966 Keith and Howard return to the United States from India, unsuccessful in their quest (January).
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami (known affectionately as “Swamiji” to his disciples) moves from Uptown Manhattan to the Lower East Side and establishes a storefront preaching center at 26 Second Avenue (June 1).
Keith and Howard begin attending A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami’s Bhagavad-gita classes and assisting him in his work (July).
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami incorporates ISKCON (July 22).
Keith moves into the temple, shaves his head, wears traditional Indian robes and tilak, and serves as Swamiji’s cook (c. August).
Keith is incarcerated at Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital (August-September).
The first initiation ceremony (September 9). Eleven disciples accept Swamiji as their spiritual master. Howard becomes Hayagriva dasa and serves as Swamiji’s principal editor.
The second initiation ceremony (September 23). Keith formally becomes Swamiji’s disciple and becomes known as Kirtanananda dasa.
1967 Kirtanananda helps establish the Montreal ISKCON center (March).
Swamiji has a stroke (May 31), is hospitalized, then attempts to recover at at rented cottage in Long Branch, New Jersey. Kirtanananda serves as Swamiji’s nurse.
Swamiji and Kirtanananda arrive at Stinson Beach, near San Francisco (June 25).
Kirtanananda accompanies Swamiji to India where Swamiji hopes to recover his health (July 22).
Kirtanananda becomes Swamiji’s first disciple to enter the renounced order; he becomes known as Kirtanananda Swami (August 28) and asks Swamiji for a certificate of sannyasa.
Swamiji claims, “Kirtanananda is now a fully Krishna conscious person.” (September 5).
Kirtanananda returns to New York City against Swamiji’s order (Swamiji told him to go to London) and tells the devotees that Swamiji is probably not coming back and will most likely die in India. He attempts to take over as “spiritual master” and make Krishna Consciousness more accessible for Westerners by removing the “sectarian” Indian elements in ISKCON, such as shaving heads, leaving sikhas, and wearing tilak and Indian robes (September).
Kirtanananda is banned from the temple. In retaliation, he steals Swamiji’s Bhagavad-gita manuscript, removes A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami’s name from the title page and replaces it with his own and tries to sell the book to New York religious book publishers. Unsuccessful, he leaves New York and moves in with Hayagriva in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania (October).
Swamiji now claims, “Kirtanananda is a crazy man.” (November 9).
1968 Kirtanananda visits his brother and sister-in-law (March 13-25) and he smokes marijuana in their living room. His sister-in-law makes note of this in her diary.
Kirtanananda and Hayagriva first visit the New Vrindaban property in West Virginia (March 30-31) and try to start their own non-sectarian ashram. They tell the owner they are “former Hare Krishnas” but left because the devotees were “closed-minded.”
Kirtanananda and Hayagriva, unable to attract followers, visit Swamiji in Montreal, apologize, are forgiven, and are welcomed back to ISKCON. Swamiji orders his disciples to “forget about our past incidences with Hayagriva and Kirtananda [sic]. . . They have come back with sincerity.” (July 29).
Hayagriva signs a 99-year lease on the New Vrindaban property (August 7).
Swamiji, still suspicious of Kirtanananda, sends Brahmananda to New Vrindaban to inspect the premises and report back to him (September 5-6).
Kirtanananda and Hayagriva are observed engaging in flirtatious sexually-suggestive banter (winter).
1969 Kaliya, New Vrindaban’s first cow, is acquired (spring).
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami becomes widely known as “Prabhupada” (as noted in the April 18 issue of Back to Godhead).
Prabhupada’s first visit to New Vrindaban (May 21-June 23). He tells devotees, “We must all follow in the footsteps of Kirtanananda Maharaj.”
1970 Kirtanananda travels with Prabhupada in India (August 7-late November) and helps establish ISKCON centers in Calcutta and Gorakhpur. He is also chastised for bathing naked boys.
New Vrindaban’s first annual Janmastami Festival (August 21-23). ISKCON has a major crisis at New Vrindaban when four newly-initiated sannyasis confuse the devotees by preaching mayavada philosophy. Hayagriva—well versed in Prabhupada’s books—leads the battle against the errant sannyasis.
Pittsburgh ISKCON center established (September).
Spiritual Sky incense manufacturing plant established in Pittsburgh.
Madhuban property purchased for $7,000.
1971 Kirtanananda establishes the Road Show and becomes a traveling preacher (August 1971-May 1972).
Radha-Vrindaban Chandra Deities installed (August 13).
Bahulaban property purchased for $20,000 (c. 1971).
1972 Hayagriva resigns as New Vrindaban Temple President, Kirtanananda takes charge, moves Deities to Bahulaban (May).
Kirtanananda becomes Prabhupada’s first disciple authorized to chant on new disciples’ beads and to select their Sanskrit names on his behalf during intiation ceremonies (June).
On a morning walk in Los Angeles, Prabhupada says, “Kirtanananda, he is a pure devotee.” Kirtanananda becomes known as a pure devotee throughout ISKCON and especially in New Vrindaban where the “Cult of Kirtanananda” begins.
Prabhupada’s second visit to New Vrindaban (August 31-September 8); he tells devotees to build “seven temples on seven hills”
Plans drawn for proposed Govindaji Temple on top of a hill behind Bahulaban.
Plans begun for Prabhupada’s home, later to become known as Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold (winter).
1973 Guruban property purchased (future site of Prabhupada’s Palace).
Groundbreaking ceremony for the proposed Govindaji temple and Prabhupada’s house (June2-3).
“Motorcyle Gang” attack at New Vrindaban (June 5), devotees injured by gunshot, Deities toppled and damaged, Kirtanananda told to dig his own grave.
Community purchases guns and ammunition, establishes a target-shooting range, begins training men in fighting to protect the community from attacks by outsiders.
Birth of New Vrindaban Traveling Fundraising.
1974 The first issue of Brijabasi Spirit: The Journal of the New Vrindaban Community is published (April).
Prabhupada visits New Vrindaban for the third time (July 18-24), tours the site of his proposed-Palace and states, “These devotees are my jewels.”
Prabhupada tells devotees that Kirtanananda can be accepted as an “instructing spiritual master.“ “If Kirtanananda Maharaj speaks what I speak, then he can be taken as siksa guru.” (June 20).
Prabhupada gives Kirtanananda carte blanche, “So you develop New Vrindaban to your heart’s content.” (November 12).
The first Christmas marathon (December).
1975 Referring to his Palace-under-construction, Prabhupada tells Kirtanananda, “One would have to be a great fool not to like it.” (February)
Marble cutting machine purchased and installed at Bahulaban (March).
The concrete for the last of twenty-eight lotus arches at the Palace is poured (September).
1976 Nandagram School for boys opened.
New Vrindaban quarantined by the West Virginia governor because a visitor dies from hepatitis (March 2-April 1).
Prabhupada visits New Vrindaban for the fourth and final time (June 21 to July 2), tours his Palace-under-construction and states, “Actually, I am already living here because you want me to.”
1977 Prabhupada dies in India (November 14).
Kirtanananda begins initiating disciples (December 25), the first ISKCON guru to do so.
1978 Kirtanananda, along with ten senior ISKCON leaders, becomes an official “GBC-approved” spiritual master (March). Five months later, Kirtanananda orders two eleven-year-old boys to bathe naked together in his personal shower stall in his apartment at Bahulaban while he watches (August).
1979 Kirtanananda’s father, Francis Gordon Ham, dies (January 11).
Kirtanananda accepts the honorific title “Bhaktipada.” (March)
The Palace Marathon (March-September). All resources are directed toward finishing Prabhupada’s Palace in time for the Labor Day Festival, at the expense of all other departments (including cows and children).
Dedication of Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold (September 2) during a Grand Festival attended by seven ISKCON gurus, about one thousand ISKCON devotees, and dozens of news media reporters and photographers.
A seven-year old boy proudly tells his mother that Bhaktipada fondled his genitals. The mother dismissed the boy’s story as “nonsense.” (December)
1979-1986 The seven-year “Golden Age” of New Vrindaban. The community becomes ISKCON’s favorite North American Place of Pilgrimage; hundreds, if not thousands, of devotees and up to hundreds of thousands of tourists visit Prabhupada’s Palace each year. Traveling fundraising parties illegally collect millions of dollars each year for fictitious charities, later called “scam-kirtan” by some.
1980 Bhaktipada begins the worship of the statue of Prabhupada at the Palace in opulence and places a gilded crown on his head and a mace in his hand (December).
1981 Palace Restaurant and Lodge open for business (summer).
The pilot program of Bhaktipada’s weekly radio show is broadcast (September).
The children’s school is moved to New Nandagram near Wheeling Creek (November).
1982 Vrindaban Village Estate cabins are built (April).
Bhaktipada visits Karachi, Pakistan, for two days and is arrested when leaving the country by airport customs officers when they discover six ounces of gold coins in his handbag. The authorities release him after a week or two (September 22-October).
Bhaktipada says he had a vision to build a huge granite temple in South-Indian style—the largest in the world—at New Vrindaban (c. November).
1983 Indian architect M. Mutiah Staphati visits New Vrindaban to begin designing the “Temple of Understanding” (February).
Prabhupada’s crown is removed and put in mothballs due to pressure from ISKCON (April). Bhaktipada increasing resents GBC annoyance and says GBC means “Great Big Cow-turd.” He saves face by claiming that Prabhupada appeared to him “in a dream” and told him to take off the crown. Bhaktipada’s disciples glorify their spiritual master for his great humility.
The first Master Plan Meeting of architects and engineers for New Vrindaban Krishna-Land development.
Charles Saint-Denis spreads rumors about Bhaktipada engaging in homosexual activities with Mexican workers after hearing stories told to him by Hayagricva or Hayagriva’s wife.
Charles Saint-Denis is murdered (June 11) at New Vrindaban by devotee residents Daniel Reid and New Vrindaban de facto constable Thomas A. Drescher. Bhaktipada had told Drescher “He’s a danger to the community. . . he has offended the spiritual master. . . Take care of it and let me know when it’s done. I don’t want to hear about it. Just let me know when it’s done.”
The Deities are moved from Bahulaban to a newly-constructed temple behind the Palace during a Grand Festival (July 4).
1984 Bhaktipada’s first book, Song of God, published.
Lakes are excavated and outdoor statues of Gaura-Nitai erected.
Steven Bryant leaves New Vrindaban (June 24) and begins writing a book (The Guru Business) exposing Bhaktipada as a fraud.
1985 Stone quarry purchased in Littleton, West Virginia (Silent Mountain).
Excavation begins at the proposed “Temple of Understanding” site (spring).
Inaugural voyage of the Swan Boat (May).
Groundbreaking ceremony for the proposed ”Temple of Understanding” (May 31). A United States Congressman speaks at the ceremony.
Bhaktipada’s second book, Christ and Krishna, published.
Bhaktipada begins talking about adding Christian elements to New Vrindaban temple worship to “de-Indianize” Krishna Consciousness and help make it more attractive to Westerners, just as he attempted to do in ISKCON in 1967.
Bhaktipada begins “Krishna-izing” Western literary masterpieces and giving devotees English initiated names, such as Equanimity, Faithful, Good Hope, Humble Heart, etc.
The “Guru Reform Movement” within ISKCON attempts to limit the powers of the gurus due to widespread abuses and fall downs by GBC-approved “pure devotees.”
Bhaktipada, who considers himself a “self-effulgent acharya” and beyond the control of the GBC, reads a draft of his paper “On His Order” at the Prabhupada Disciples Meeting at New Vrindaban (September) to combat the “Guru Reform Movement.”
Bhaktipada is assaulted (October 27) by a deranged visiting devotee resulting in severe head trauma, spends ten days in coma, one month in hospital. Permanent brain damage ensues.
Prabhupada’s worship with a crown at the Palace is resumed (November) in direct defiance of the GBC.
1986 Nrsimhadev deity installed (January 6).
The weekly newspaper column “Dear Swami” debuts in the Moundsville Daily Echo.
Bhaktipada molests at least two teenage boys; one reports this to the Temple President who questions Bhaktipada on three separate occasions.
Malini the elephant arrives at New Vrindaban (March 15). Years later, when the community undergoes hard times, she is sold to a circus.
Bhaktipada moves into his new house on a ridge between Palace Road and the Old Vrindaban Farm (April) which includes a temple room and an ashram for the older gurukula boys, some of whom he molests.
A distraught mother tells Bhaktipada that her young son claimed he had been repeatedly sexually molested for several years by the headmaster and teacher’s aide at the New Vrindaban school. Bhaktipada dismisses her concerns and counters, “How much sex have you had? . . . Sex is sex. It is all the same.” c. April/May.
Steven Bryant is murdered by Thomas Drescher (May 22). Bhaktipada had allegedly told Drescher, “It would be better for New Vrindaban and me if Sulochan was not around. . . Yes. It would be best.”
Bhaktipada’s third book, Eternal Love, published.
New Vrindaban reaches pinnacle of population: 550 fulltime residents. (October) There were 377 adults (213 men and 164 women) according to census reports. Although children were not included in census reports, another source states there were 140 children enrolled in New Nandagram school in 1986. If we add 33 for infants and toddlers, we arrive at 550 residents.
Krishna Chorale (New Vrindaban Choir) rehearsals begin (October).
Rama, Sita, Lakshman, Hanuman deities installed (November 2).
Devotees begin leaving New Vrindaban (December), in small numbers at first, then in droves. Traveling fundraising collections decrease. Tourist attendance at the Palace decreases due to unfavorable publicity about child molestation and murders at the community. Indian support decreases after Bhaktipada “Christian-izes” the temple services. New Vrindaban begins a downward spiral as residents desert and sources of funding dry up.
1987 FBI raids New Vrindaban (January 5), confiscates computers, cash, documents and fundraising paraphernalia (stickers and hats).
Bhaktipada begins “First Amendment Freedom Tour” and proclaims his innocence; he claims that anti-religious zealots are persecuting him unjustly.
Bhaktipada claims to have “a vision” to build a “City of God” in a dream (February 27). The idea gradually evolves into a long-range plan to build twelve walled “Cities of God” in strategic locations around the earth: (1) United States: New Vrindaban, (2) Canada: Vancouver Coast, (3) Costa Rica: Pacific Coast, (4) Peru: Andes Foothills, (5) Switzerland: Foothills, (6) Soviet Union: North of Kiev, (7) Israel: East of Jerusalem, (8) Ghana: Accra Coast, (9) India: Himalayan Foothills at Rishikesh, (10) Malaysia: Penang Coast, (11) Japan: Northern Coast (Inland Sea), and (12) Australia: Eastern Coast.
Bhaktipada excommunicated from ISKCON (March 16) for “moral and theological deviations.”
Bhaktipada retaliates by threatening ISKCON with $100,000 lawsuit (April 8), then later forms his own organization: “The Eternal Order of the League of Devotees Worldwide.”
“Dial Om For Murder” published in Rolling Stone (April 9), incriminating Bhaktipada in 1983 Saint-Denis and 1986 Bryant murders.
New Vrindaban sued for copyright infringements of traveling fundraising paraphernalia (June 24).
The plans for construction material for the “Temple of Understanding” changes from granite to bronze (July).
Bhaktipada begins wearing a Christian-style robe, growing hair and beard (September 7). Members of the community quickly follow suit.
Bhaktipada’s big 50th birthday party (September 7) featuring classical music concerts, choir concerts and huge feasts; special guests include his 82-year-old mother and other family members.
Bhaktipada’s 4th, 5th and 6th books published: On His Order, The Illustrated Ramayana, and Lila in the Land of Illusion.
New Vrindaban announces plans to purchase a 300-acre site in rural New Jersey to build a walled “City of God” (November 9). The plan meets with opposition from local New Jersey municipalities.
Bhaktipada visits a 400-acre property for sale near the town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, and announces plans to build a walled “City of God” for 12,000 devotees (November 15). Eight-hundred local residents wearing “Swami-Buster” T-shirts attend town meeting to block proposed sale of land to the “cow-worshipers.”
Bhaktipada begins initiating women into the renounced order (November 16).
Bhaktipada in court, charged with arson, found not guilty (December).
1988 Allen electronic organ purchased (January) and installed in the temple room in Bhaktipada’s house.
Bhaktipada’s mother Marjorie Grace Clark Ham dies (January 28).
New Vrindaban expelled from ISKCON (February).
The design of the proposed “Temple of Understanding” changes dramatically from bronze to glass (April).
New Vrindaban hosts first of fifteen Interfaith Conferences (June 10-12).
Palace Rose Garden receives “Certificate of Award” from All-America Rose Selections (June).
Allen organ installed in temple room; English worship services begin (July) featuring rhymed English translations of Sanskrit and Bengali texts set to original Western classical music.
The name of the proposed “Temple of Understanding” is changed to the “Cathedral of Understanding” (late August); temple, hospital and health spa—all under one roof.
The steel frame for the Great Gateway of the proposed “Cathedral of Understanding” is erected (September 3).
Bhaktipada’s 7th and 8th books published: A Devotee’s Journey to the City of God and Joy of No Sex.
The book Monkey on a Stick: Murder, Madness and the Hare Krishnas is published (November), incriminating Bhaktipada in 1983 Saint-Denis and 1986 Bryant murders.
The first of New Vrindaban’s dozen interfaith residents, a Catholic couple, move into the “City of God” (c. November). They leave some three years later with great bitterness, claiming that Bhaktipada had lied to them and cheated them.
A statue of Jesus Christ sitting crosslegged is installed in the temple (December 25).
1989 “Bhaktipada’s Rule” introduced (May 21).
The name of the “Cathedral of Understanding” is changed to the “Cathedral of Healing” (July).
New Vrindaban announces plans to purchase San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and spray paint it gold as a publicity stunt. ISKCON “disavows any connection” to New Vrindaban (July/August).
Silent chanting before the morning service introduced (August).
Hayagriva dies (August 31).
1990 The name of the “Cathedral of Healing” is changed to the “Cathedral of Healing and Light” (March).
The name of the “Cathedral of Healing and Light” is changed to the “Cathedral of the Holy Name” (May).
A Federal Grand Jury charges Bhaktipada with racketeering: kidnapping, running a fraudulent charity scam, mail fraud, and conspiring to murder two devotees—Charles Saint-Denis and Steven Bryant (May 24).
Bhaktipada’s 9th, 10th and 11th books published: Heart of the Gita, How to Say No to Drugs and Spiritual Warfare.
Giant outdoor statue of Prabhupada resembling the Buddha sitting in a lotus posture and wearing a turban dedicated on his disappearance day (November 14).
1991 New Vrindaban Interfaith residents stage their first protest demonstration against abuses by Bhaktipada.
Bhaktipada convicted in RICO and mail fraud charges on Good Friday (March 29), serves several months in jail then imprisoned under house arrest in Warwood (Wheeling).
New Vrindaban Temple Orchestra (12-15 musicians) performs daily at Morning Services.
1992 Six cast bronze bells, weighing a total of 16,800 pounds, are installed in the Great Gateway of the proposed “Cathedral of the Holy Name.” (March) They are programmed by computer to ring the Hare Krishna maha-mantra melody on the hour. The computer malfunctions and the bells are silent.
Bhaktipada’s 12th book published: How to Love God.
New Vrindaban management meets with Bhaktipada in Warwood and requests money for the starving cow herd; Bhaktipada refuses to divert a penny from the legal fund for the spiritual master (c. 1992).
1993 New Vrindaban Interfaith residents stage second protest demonstration against abuses by Bhaktipada (February).
Bhaktipada announces plans to purchase an island off the coast of Costa Rica to build a “City of God” and sends one devotee there to scout out land (February).
Möller pipe organ installed in temple room (April/May).
Bhaktipada’s 1991 conviction overturned after appeal won by defense attorney Alan Morton Dershowitz who was reportedly paid $3,000,000 for his services (July 1).
Bhaktipada is released from house arrest and triumphantly returns to New Vrindaban (August 16).
The Winnebago Incident (September 6). Bhaktipada is observed in a compromised position in bed with a teenage male disciple; the community splits into two camps: those who support Bhaktipada and those who want him removed from leadership. Bhaktipada retires to Silent Mountain and announces “I have not broken any of the regulative principles since I met Srila Prabhupada; there must be a conspiracy against me.” One angry disciple boldy proclaims, “Coffins should be procured for the blasphemers who dare to spread slanderous lies about Krishna’s pure devotee.” Chaos reigns. Radhanath Swami flees.
Möller pipe organ sold (October).
1994 English temple services terminated (July). Bhaktipada loses all influence at New Vrindaban.
1995 Bhaktipada leaves New Vrindaban in shambles. “The income from tourism is down. The old sources of funding are gone forever. The grand cathedral that the Swami envisioned is a shell. The heavy machinery purchased for its construction lies rusting in a field. The place is financially crippled and faces the possibility of more fines and forfeitures. There has been no electricity in the Palace of Gold for months. Worst of all, New Vrindaban’s reputation has been ruined by the Swami.”
1996 Bhaktipada appears again in Federal Court for re-trial (April).
Murderer Thomas Drescher, finally convinced that Bhaktipada is not a pure devotee, instead of protecting his former spiritual master now threatens to testify against him that he authorized the murders of both Saint-Denis and Bryant. Bhaktipada realizes he is defeated and pleads guilty to one count of mail fraud. He is sentenced to the maximum term: 20 years in prison (July).
Most disciple desert him. Bhaktipada’s few remaining supporters leave New Vrindaban and move to Bhaktipada’s Interfaith Sanctuary in New York City.
1997 In federal prison, Bhaktipada is locked down in solitary confinement after his cellmate accuses him of making sexual advances (January).
1998 Giant Prabhupada statue destroyed under cover of darkness (c. 1998). Bulldozer operator states, “That wasn’t Prabhupada; that was a maya Prabhupada.”
New Vrindaban provisionally accepted back into ISKCON.
2000 New Vrindaban fully accepted back into ISKCON.
After a 17-month investigation ISKCON Child Protection Office determines that “Kirtanananda dasa” had molested boys (September 10).
2004 Bhaktipada released from prison early because of poor health, moves to Interfaith Sanctuary with disciples in New York City (June 16). He is confined to a wheelchair and wears traditional Bengali-Vaishnava garments. ISKCON notifies temples that he is not permitted to visit any ISKCON properties.
Bhaktipada admits having “broken the regulative principles” in a letter posted on his website (June 26), ostensibly to pacify a former disciple who discovered many secrets about his past while researching and writing a book about him and New Vrindaban.
2005 A visibly-shaken young man visiting the Interfaith Sanctuary claims that Bhaktipada attempted to molest him during a private darshan. Many of Bhaktipada’s disciples lose their faith and the Sanctuary Board attempts to evict him from the premises. (c. 2005 or 2006).
2007 His parole completed, Bhaktipada visits India and Pakistan (November-December) and is welcomed by hundreds, if not thousands, of adoring disciples and followers who believe he was unfairly expelled from ISKCON and New Vrindaban and sentenced to prison.
2008 Bhaktipada leaves the U.S. permanently, moves to India (March 7). He says, “There’s no sense in staying where I’m not wanted,” and makes his headquarters at the Ulhasnagar Temple managed by his disciples, on the outskirts of Mumbai. His disciples build a suite for him on the top floor of the temple which they call “Bhaktipada’s Palace of Love.”
2010 Bhaktipada goes on pilgrimage to Vrindaban, where he visits the Gokulananda and Radha-Ramana temples, and the Sri Temple on Varshana Hill (December).
2011 Bhaktipada is diagnosed with cancer; a tumor is removed from his neck (February 8) and he begins chemotherapy and radiation treatments. He continues to attend mangal aroti, tulsi puja, guru puja, and Greeting of the Deities in the temple. He also goes with his disciples daily to a nearby park for harinama chanting.
Bhaktipada is admitted to Jupiter Hospital in Thane, India (near Mumbai), in critical condition with a collapsed lung (July 31). He falls into a coma for several days; a CAT Scan reveals bleeding in his brain.
Bhaktipada’s condition improves and he is released from the hospital on or around his 74th birthday (September 6).
Bhaktipada returns to the hospital (c. September 12). Both his kidneys fail.
Bhaktipada dies from kidney failure at Jupiter Hospital on Monday morning 7:15 a.m. Mumbai time (October 24). Some accounts erroneously list his date-of-death as October 23, probably because when he died it was still Sunday evening in the United States. Hundreds, if not thousands, of newspapers publish his obituary.
An ISKCON press release indicates that Bhaktipada “made no efforts to reconcile with the New Vrindaban community and ISKCON.” (October 24).
Bhaktipada is buried in Vrindaban, India (October 26), despite protests from members of the local Vaishnava community.
Bhaktipada’s biographer and former disciple, Henry Doktorski, renews attempts to complete his biography and find a publisher.