Swami Bhaktipada

MARGALIT FOX “Swami Bhaktipada, Ex-Hare Krishna Leader, Dies at 74” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/25/us/swami-bhaktipada-ex-hare-krishna-leader-dies-at-74.html

ハレ・クリシュナの元指導者 Swami Bhaktipada(本名Keith Gordon Ham)、印度のムンバイにて死す。享年74歳。2004年に出獄した後、印度に移住していた。

Mr. Bhaktipada, also known as Kirtananda Swami, was born Keith Gordon Ham on Sept. 6, 1937, in Peekskill, N.Y., the youngest of five children of the Rev. Francis Gordon Ham and the former Marjorie Clark.

The elder Mr. Ham was a Baptist minister steeped in old-line tradition, Gerald Ham said.

“My father would fit in very well with some of the evangelical people we have today raising such a ruckus,” Mr. Ham said. “The Bible was inerrant. We were all indoctrinated and baptized and so forth. Keith, too.”

Keith Ham earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Maryville College in Maryville, Tenn., in 1959, graduating first in his class of 118. As a senior, he received a prestigious Woodrow Wilson fellowship for graduate study.

He entered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to pursue a doctorate in American religious history. But in the early 1960s, his brother said, the university asked him to leave after a love affair he had with a male student came to light. He settled in New York, where he did graduate work in history at Columbia.

Like many young people then, his brother said, Keith Ham became an experimenter and a seeker, dabbling in LSD and above all looking for a spiritual haven. In 1966, after leaving Columbia without a degree, he met Swami Prabhupada, who was running a storefront mission on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He joined the Hare Krishnas and was initiated as a swami in 1967.

バプテスト派牧師の息子から宗教史研究者へ。そしてドラッグ体験を経て、ハレ・クリシュナに入信。この頃は同性愛がばれて大学院を追い出される時代だったんだね。彼はベビーブーマー*1よりは上だが、取り敢えずはGetting Saved From the Sixties(Steven Tipton)な人だったといえるだろう。
Getting Saved from the Sixties

Getting Saved from the Sixties

さて、Swami Bhaktipadaはヴァージニア州Moundsvilleの郊外に米国で最大のハレ・クリシュナのコミューンNew Vrindaban*2を建設したことで知られる。

New Vrindaban eventually comprised more than 4,000 acres ― a “spiritual Disneyland,” its leaders often called it ― with a live elephant, terraced gardens, a swan boat and bubbling fountains. A major tourist attraction, it drew hundreds of thousands of visitors in its heyday, in the early 1980s, and substantial annual revenue from ticket sales.

The baroque frenzy of the place stands in vivid contrast to the founding tenets of the Hare Krishna movement. Rooted in ancient Hindu scripture, the movement was begun in New York in the mid-1960s by an Indian immigrant, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada*3. It advocates a spiritual life centered on truth, simplicity and abstinence from drugs, alcohol and extramarital sex.

しかし、1980年代半ばから地元自治体、州政府、連邦政府との軋轢が強まり、ハレ・クリシュナ内部からもSwami Bhaktipadaの独裁的傾向に対する批判が強まってくる。1987年に紐育のハレ・クリシュナ本部はSwami Bhaktipadaを破門し、翌年には彼はNew Vrindabanからも放逐されてしまう*4。さらに、1990年には詐欺、New Vrindabanにおける信者殺害への関与、幼児への性的虐待の容疑で裁判にかけられ、1996年には司法取引に応じ、詐欺についての罪状のみを認め、懲役20年に処せられる(後に12年に減刑され、2004年に仮釈放される)。