Krishnas: Gurus. Karma. Murder – Untold Story of Spiritual Movement

Krishnas Gurus Karma Murder

Table of Contents

Peacock‘s upcoming docuseries, Krishnas Gurus Karma Murder, delves deep into the less-explored aspects of the Hare Krishna movement, shedding light on a world marked by power struggles, greed, and violence. The true crime series takes a closer look at the mysterious journey of Guru Kirtanananda Swami Bhaktivedanta, also known as Keith Ham, who took charge of the New Vrindaban community in West Virginia after the passing of the movement’s founder, Swami Prabhupada.

Under Ham’s leadership, New Vrindaban thrived as a commune, but it also faced allegations of misconduct, financial irregularities, and even a tragic homicide. This docuseries unveils accounts from former devotees, experts, and law enforcement authorities, uncovering the untold narrative of the darkest chapter in the history of the Hare Krishna movement.

Krishnas Gurus Karma Murder

What’s Docuseries Krishnas: Gurus. Karma. Murder About?

Krishnas Gurus Karma Murder is a compelling three-part docuseries that unveils the untold narrative of the Hare Krishna movement’s darkest chapter. Featuring insights from former devotees, experts, and law enforcement officials, it sheds light on Ham’s rise to power, his transgressions, and the enduring impact of his reign of terror. The official synopsis says:

“When an Indian Swami gives a lost generation of Americans a new message of love, the Hare Krishna religion is born. But when the Swami dies without finishing his mission, an American Guru tries to seize control of the movement, leading to accusations of racketeering and murder, and investigations by a West Virginia Sheriff’s Detective, the LAPD and the FBI. Krishnas: Gurus. Karma. Murder. gives a glimpse into the epic American tale about charismatic personalities that offer divine light, and Krishna devotees who discover their movement has been corrupted by greed, lust for power and vengeance.”

Who was Keith Ham?

Keith Ham, born in 1946 in Brooklyn, New York, grew up in a Jewish household but developed an early interest in Hinduism. In 1969, he embraced the Hare Krishna movement and became a disciple of Swami Prabhupada.

Ham’s rapid ascent within the movement made him one of Prabhupada’s most trusted confidants. He assumed leadership of the New Vrindaban community in 1973, rapidly transforming it into a thriving commune celebrated for its ornate temples, self-sustaining agriculture, and vibrant cultural life. In 1987, Ham was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to life in prison. Although he was released on parole in 2004, he succumbed to cancer a few years later.

The Hare Krishna movement has since distanced itself from Ham and his crimes, but his legacy continues to cast a long shadow over the movement.

Krishnas Gurus Karma Murder

The Dark Underbelly of New Vrindaban

Nonetheless, Ham’s leadership fostered an environment where dissent was suppressed, and abuse was alarmingly common. Fear and intimidation were wielded to maintain control, and absolute obedience was demanded. Reports emerged of his involvement in the sexual abuse of both children and adults.

In the early 1980s, accusations of financial misconduct were brought against Ham. Allegations of embezzling millions of dollars from the Hare Krishna movement and using its resources to finance a lavish lifestyle tarnished his reputation.

The Tragic Murder of Steve Bryant

The Hare Krishna movement was shaken in 1986 by a shocking murder: Steve Bryant, a former devotee who had turned against Ham, was found dead in his home, bearing multiple gunshot wounds.

An investigation led to the arrest of four men closely associated with Ham, and they were eventually convicted of murder. Ham himself faced charges of conspiracy to commit murder.

Krishnas Gurus Karma Murder

When and Where to Watch Krishnas: Gurus. Karma. Murder?

The new true-crime series is streaming on Peacock from October 24th. You’ll have to subscribe the streaming service to get access to the docuseries. It is priced at $5.99 per month, provides full access to the entire range of content available on the platform.

Krishnas: Gurus. Karma. Murder Official Trailer

Check out the trailer below.

Ending Notes

Krishnas Gurus Karma Murder is a compelling and unsettling docuseries that lays bare the darker facets of the Hare Krishna movement. This docuseries is a must-watch for those intrigued by the Hare Krishna movement, true crime, or the psychology of cults. It serves as a cautionary tale on the perils of unchecked authority and the significance of critical thinking.



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