- Krishnas: Gurus. Karma. Murder is a charming and well-produced true crime docuseries that explores the rise and fall of the Hare Krishna motion.
- The collection stands out with its participating ensemble of speaking heads and never-before-seen archival footage, drawing true crime buffs deeper into the fascinating and sophisticated story.
- Episodes two and three uncover the management points and corruption inside the Hare Krishnas together with their homicide costs, making for an attractive and revealing watch.
Fans of true crime documentaries might get hooked on Krishnas: Gurus. Karma. Murder. The new three-part unscripted collection, which simply dropped on Peacock, presents an interesting and infrequently compelling in-depth take a look at the Hare Krishnas — from its earnest beginnings to its head-turning corruption and its curious rebirth. Executive produced by Joseph Freed, Allison Berkley, Tara Long, David Holthouse, and Tim Clancy, the time, cash, and a focus to element that went into this outing is obvious. And although the docuseries follows comparable, if not emotionally manipulative beats of comparable docs — nothing like a dramatic music crescendo to seize you earlier than fading to black — Krishnas: Gurus. Karma. Murder is a welcome shock.
The collection wins excessive marks for, oddly, its huge array of speaking heads, a typical documentary trope that may typically weigh issues down, however the ensemble that the producers lured in listed here are, for probably the most half, completely participating and typically eccentric. True crime buffs who love getting pulled in deeper and deeper in sophisticated tales will benefit from the inventive experience right here, which, along with its many interviews, options never-before-seen archival footage and a broader take a look at the Hare Krishna motion throughout. Meanwhile, the inventive carrot at all times dangles: murders, greed, corruption, vengeance — how can we resist?
Exploring the Rise of a Movement
“Hell has three entries — greed, anger, and lust,” is a well known Hare Krishna bon mot. The producers of Krishnas: Gurus. Karma. Murder deliberately leap off that be aware and inside the first three minutes of the documentary’s first episode discover the hellish occasions that befell the Hare Krishnas. A speaking head right here, one other there. All of it arrives with breakneck velocity to offer a glimpse of what’s to return and to entice audiences additional. You’ll forgive the ploy and need to know extra.
This story a few religious group gone fallacious has humble beginnings. Through interviews, archival images, and movie footage, we’re launched to Swami Prabhupada, the noble founding father of the Hare Krishnas. We be taught the gist of the Hare Krishnas — it was a motion, sure, however not a cult we’re instructed by many. At its core, the group strove to unfold the teachings of Krishna, asserting that there’s a soul inside every part. Peace and love. A beautiful inside cocktail. What might go fallacious?
Plenty. Episode one tracks Prabhupada’s rise, transferring viewers by means of the Nineteen Sixties and the early Seventies, that includes the person who would grow to be the guru’s largest foil: a devotee named Keith Ham (who would grow to be Kirtanananda Swami). This set off a flurry of drama in what would grow to be a well known Hare Krishna compound in West Virginia known as New Vrindaban.
One of the successful elements of the documentary collection is that’s by no means lands in a single space too lengthy. There’s a breezy tempo to what we expertise right here, and every episode covers lots of floor. Episode one introduces us to figures who’re very important to the story. There’s stalwart West Virginia Det. Tim Westfall, former guru William Ehrlichman (a standout), early devotee Malati Devi Dasi, and plenty of others. We’re finally taken to a crossroads to find out how Kirtanananda strayed from the primary group, allegedly luring in different corrupt souls into his mission to realize management of the Hare Krishnas.
Good Intentions, Bad People
Episodes two and three of the docuseries delve into Kirtanananda’s management points and lack of integrity, noting that he went to “war” with founder Swami Prabhupada, who didn’t initially sanction his former devotee’s West Virginia compound however later got here to just accept it. These episodes additionally do an ideal job of fastidiously plotting their solution to different massive reveals, significantly an attention-grabbing take a look at the general corruption, greed, and infighting inside New Vrindaban.
The most compelling components, and absolutely one thing that true-crime followers will relish, is the best way this docuseries presents the multipronged little bit of messiness that revolved round Thomas Drescher/Thirta das, Daniel Reid/Daruka, Charles St. Denis/Chakradara das, and Kirtanananda himself. We be taught extra about Kirtanananda’s fractured ego and his management points. We’re instructed Drescher was a Vietnam vet and was searching for solace inside New Vrindaban, but his presence there turned all of the extra threatening, particularly in gentle of homicide costs.
Some of those massive reveals are finest to expertise by yourself, however after every episode, chances are you’ll surprise why anyone like Ryan Murphy hasn’t tried to discover this topic in, oh, say, American Crime Story. There’s one other nice function ready for Evan Peters someplace in right here. That stated, by episode three, there’s a way of funding in watching how all this performs out. Insights and revelations from former devotees like Christina Autry/Pradhanagopika will hit your coronary heart. Observations about Dennis Gorrick, who dealt with the group’s funds, are revealing. Aged former devotees flutter out and in for commentary. Things get deep. You get an increase.
Overall, Krishnas: Gurus. Karma. Murder successfully blends its mixture of “confessions,” massive reveals, and archival components to ship a compelling story about corruption inside one of many world’s extra provocative actions.
Krishnas: Gurus. Karma. Murder is streaming on Peacock. Check out the trailer under: