Gold, Guns and God: Vol. 4—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).

The Preface to Gold, Guns and God, Vol. 4

The Introduction to Gold, Guns and God, Vol. 4

The Foreword to Gold, Guns and God, Vol. 4


September 4, 2021: If you’re looking for a book that minimzes or excuses New Vrindaban’s history with women and children, this is not that book. This book tells the true story.

Nori Muster
Author of Betrayal of the Spirit and Child of the Cult
Phoenix, Arizona





Chapter 38: Three Things Improve with a Good Beating

    Women are spiritually equal to men
    A negative perspective?
    Women at New Vrindaban
    Some women were happy at New Vrindaban
    Wife beating at New Vrindaban
    Five things improve with a good beating
    Women are less intelligent
    Women are not to be trusted
    Women are nine times lustier than men
    Women are dangerous
    The “dark well” of married life
    Fish night
    One should spit at the thought of sex with a woman
    Women must understand their position
    Mismatched arranged marriages
    Vedic matchmaking: boy and girl must be similar in “character and taste”
    Marriage is a curse

Chapter 39: Scam Kirtan

    Money is the honey
    Vehicle insurance scam
    The pick
    The Citation Line
    Transcendental trickery
    Bhaktipada preaches in Pakistan
    Bhaktipada arrested, charged with smuggling
    Copyright issues
    Some loved the pick
    Others hated the pick
    Children on the pick

Chapter 40: The Dharmettes, Part One

    Does size matter?
    Two thirteen-year-old girls join the Pittsburgh Sankirtan House
    Sankirtan House moves to New Vrindaban

Chapter 41: The Dharmettes, Part Two

    Prabhupada and polygamy
    Prostitution in Krishna’s service
    Pickers weakened from overwork
    New Vrindaban’s biggest picker
    Dharmatma banned from the Alachua ISKCON temple
    Brijabasis blinded by deranged devotion

Chapter 42: The Secret Inner Sanctum

    Kirtanananda orders a kshatriya to kill Cheryl Wheeler
    Cheryl secures a court order to retrieve her son
    Where Cheryl’s suspicions correct?
    Kirtanananda and Hayagriva backslide
    The inner sanctum
    Kirtanananda Swami bathes naked boys
    Kirtanananda Swami attempts to seduce a godbrother
    Kirtanananda’s boy servants
    Young boys massage Bhaktipada in the temple
    “Just as I love boys, they love me”
    Few suspected
    Bhaktipada’s personal favorite: adolescents
    Parties with the Mexican laborers
    Rumors ignored

Chapter 43: Suffer Little Children

    Dallas gurukula established, abandoned
    New Vrindaban gurukula opens
    1974: Varnashram College at New Vrindaban established; abandoned
    1976: Nandagram School established
    Children isolated
    The notorious nursery
    Cults and mass movements undermine the family
    Suffer, sankirtan mothers and their children
    Gurukula faculty untrained
    Parents are the problem?
    Academics inferior
    Institutionalized brutality
    The girls at New Vrindaban
    I was so long in the gurukula I forgot who were my parents

Chapter 44: He touched me all over. I was nine. He was thirty-eight.

    The penis/lotion incident
    An agitated brahmachari
    1981: New Nandagram
    Children isolated from their parents
    1981: Varnashram College re-established
    Manihar accused by student
    The riot at New Nandagram
    Manihar molests nine-year-old girl
    Unbridled passion reigned supreme
    Vrindaban India gurukula
    Manihar establishes his own orphanage in India
    Manihar apologizes
    The demise of Matthew Norton
    Shukhavak becomes New Vrindaban headmaster
    Gurukula ashrams under new management
    Arranged marriages with child brides
    Bhaktipada’s explanation why the marriages failed

Chapter 45: How much sex have you had?

    The story of SH
    Sex is sex
    Investigation ordered
    New Vrindaban headmaster and teacher’s aide charged with sex crimes
    SOH reunited with her adopted daughter
    Ashram aide arrested; Shri-Galim flees
    Charges against Shri-Galim dropped
    Dharmatma’s estranged wife files custody suit
    Gopinath molests boys
    Gopinath dasa becomes a Swami

Chapter 46: A Lying, Cheating, Cock-Sucking Pedophile

    Head injuries often affect sexual behavior
    Bhaktipada loses control
    Bhaktipada’s boys
    The boys return from India
    Bhaktipada’s “dream house”
    The story of CW
    Bhaktipada molests other teenage boys
    Middle-age brahmachari “seduced” by six-year-old girl?
    The Winnebago Incident
    News of Bhaktipada’s sexual activity spreads throughout the community
    Bhaktipada insists, “None of it is true!”
    “I am completely innocent!”
    Kirtanananda dasa: confirmed pedophile
    Bhaktipada: word juggler
    New Vrindaban boarding school shuttered
    Perverted sex at New Vrindaban: one explanation

Chapter 47: Cleaning House

    RVC evicted from Brooklyn ISKCON by abused gurukula alumnus
    ISKCON pressures New Vrindaban to expel Shri-Galim
    Shri-Galim leaves New Vrindaban
    Shri-Galim moves to Pittsburgh
    Former headmaster asks for forgiveness
    Shri-Galim takes sannyasa

Chapter 48: Children of ISKCON vs. ISKCON

    Gurukula alumni find their voices
    Gurukula alumni speak at the 1996 North American GBC meeting
    ISKCON commissions study on gurukulam
    The Turley lawsuit
    ISKCON pledges $1,000,000
    Federal case filed
    Federal case dismissed
    Case filed in State Courts
    ISKCON temples file for bankruptcy
    Nirmal-Chandra’s story
    A mother’s lament
    Was Prabhupada aware of the abuse to the children?
    Did Prabhupada effectively deal with the abuse?
    Kings, parents and spiritual masters
    Deranged devotion

Conclusion: Children in History

Photo Gallery


About the Author


End Notes


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

Women in the sewing room.

A woman’s place is in the kitchen.

Citation pad used by New Vrindaban traveling sankirtan “pickers.”

Bumper stickers printed at Palace Press featuring Peanut’s cartoon characters Snoopy and Woodstock.

One of New Vrindaban’s biggest pickers, Bhaktisiddhanta dasa (William Crockett) in his sankirtan van.

Bhaktisiddhanta counts his daily Lakshmi points.

Three women collectors relax after a hard day on the pick.

During his September 1972 visit to the Dallas gurukula, Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada personally showed nine-year-old Dvarakadhisa dasa how to write Sanskrit letters. Mr. D. D. D. recalled, “Shrila Prabhupada called for a volunteer. Everyone froze. I stood up, walked over, and sat to the right of Shrila Prabhupada’s desk. Placing a pen in my hand, he guided my hand to form the first letters of the Sanskrit alphabet.” Photo and caption from Back to Godhead, Vol. 21, No. 12 (December 1986), pp. 10-12.

Dvarakadhisa dasa at the age of twenty-three. Photo from Back to Godhead (December 1986), p. 10. He left ISKCON soon after this photo was taken. Today (October 2021) he is 58. He described himself on his Facebook page, “Gurukula survivor. Proud dad of two fantastic kids: a boy and girl. I am glad I broke the pattern of neglect that I received in ISKCON gurukulas.”

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.

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

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.

Varnashram College student works in the mold shop.

Letter to Jayapataka Swami from Bhaktipada’s housemaid (January 12, 1986), Part 1.

Letter to Jayapataka Swami from Bhaktipada’s housemaid (January 12, 1986), Part 2.

Letter from Jayapataka Swami to Kirtanananda Swami Bhaktipada (April 23, 1986).

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

Bhaktipada pets his German shepherd guard dog, Gudakesh, while nine-year-old gurukula boys massage the “spiritual master” in the RVC temple room (c. December 1985 or early 1986).

Manihar (Matthew Norton), Vaiyasaki (Per Sinclair) and Haridhama (Haynes Busby) chant with the Varnashram College boys at Prabhupada’s Palace (Autumn 1981).

Manihar with his Indian boys at the SKCV orphanage (undated).

Girls at New Vrindaban (c. mid-1980s).

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!”?

New Vrindaban Gurukuli Reunion.

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