Gold, Guns and God: Vol. 4—Perversion in Paradise/Anomalies in Utopia/Deviations in the Dhama

A Biography of Swami Bhaktipada and a History of the West Virginia New Vrindaban Hare Krishna Community in Ten Volumes by Henry Doktorski

Cover photo: Swami Bhaktipada affectionately pets his German shepherd guard dog while devoted gurukula boys massage him in the RVC temple room (c. 1986).


U. S. Geological Survey topographic map of McCreary Ridge showing location of principle sites of New Vrindaban.

Kirtanananda Swami samples his Sunday feast plate at Bahulaban, while his seven-year-old protégé, the first-born son of Hayagriva and Shama dasi, patiently waits for remnants (c. 1977). The shirtless devotee behind Kirtanananda is rendering devotional service by fanning the “pure devotee” with a peacock feather fan.

Two New Vrindaban girls on the cover of Life magazine (April 1980). Photo by Ethan Hoffman.

Former Nandagram headmaster Gopinath dasa (Ronald Nay), who is himself learning Sanskrit, attempts to teach the language to the older boys at the Nandagram school. (c. January 1980). Photo by Ethan Hoffman from Life magazine.

Nandagram ashram moderator Aravinda dasa (Alex Georgiadis) reads the boys a bedtime story from Krishna Book (c. January 1980). Photo by Ethan Hoffman from Life magazine.

Three boys request Swami Bhaktipada to give them a sacred flower during early morning services at the Bahulaban temple (c. January 1980). Only one boy will get the flower. Photo by Ethan Hoffman from Life magazine.

Boy offers Tulsi puja at the Bahulaban temple.

Boys resting on a fallen log in the woods near Old Nandagram.

Boy hangs on grape vine in the woods near Old Nandagram.

Another boy swings on grape vine in the woods near Old Nandagram.

Swami Bhaktipada, teachers—including headmaster Shri-Galim (Gary Gardner)—and students at the gala open house festival at New Nandagram (c. November 1982).

Students at New Nandagram (c. 1982).

Teachers and students pose with a photo of Swami Bhaktipada at New Nandagram (c. 1982).

Nine boys in the New Nandagram temple room.

Four boys sitting on a log outside New Nandagram.

Sleeping boy with baby bottle. It appears that one of the boy’s ashram-mates placed the bottle by his lips as a joke.

Thoughtful boy holding a pencil.

Smiling boy.

Boy playing with shaving cream. It seems that he is pretending to be a bearded, long-haired sage with Vaishnava tilak as depicted in paintings in Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s Srimad-bhagavatam.

Boy diving into Wheeling Creek (New Yamuna River) at New Nandagram.

“That was fun!”

New Nandagram headmaster Shri-Galim (Gary Gardner) with student.

Two boys and a tricycle.

Swami Bhaktipada, teachers—including New Nandagram headmaster Shukavak dasa (Brian D. Marvin) and former headmaster Shri-Galim dasa (Gary Gardner)—and students (boys and girls) pose for a formal photograph on the front steps of Prabhupada’s Palace (c. 1986).

Ten boys relax after school in their ashram on the first floor of the New Vrindaban Guest Lodge.

Ten boys chant japa at the RVC temple while ashram moderator Raghunath dasa (Ralph Seward) maintains discipline.

Boy under a table massages Swami Bhaktipada’s feet while the “spiritual master” eats lunch in the RVC temple men’s prasadam room.

A girl plays with a balloon during a cart festival as the deities of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Lady Subhadra journey along Palace Road (McCreary’s Ridge Road) from Bahulaban to the RVC temple. To the right can be seen New Vrindaban’s stained glass studio and Meghamala’s general store (c. mid-1980s).

Girls and women are “protected” and segregated from the men and boys during worship services by standing behind the balustrade in the rear of the Bahulaban temple (c. January 1980). They must enter and exit the temple by the back door. Photo by Ethan Hoffman from Life magazine (April 1980).

The 14-year-old [above] caught in a reflective moment, was married recently. “She was developing a lot of crushes,” a devotee explained. Her sister, 16, is married and pregnant. “Some children produced here are very special,” the swami says. “The parents’ souls are pure and they attract a pure soul into the womb.” Text by Hillary Johnson; photo by Ethan Hoffman, from Life magazine (April 1980).

What is this pensive girl thinking? Could she be wondering, “I heard the temple authorities have picked a husband for me. Oh crap! Not me! I don't want to marry some gross old coot twice my age. This is horrid!”?

Women in the sewing room.

Four New Vrindaban women in the lobby of the Palace Gift Store (1987 or later).

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