Bhakti Tritha Swami
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Bhakti Tirtha Swami (February 25, 1950-June 27, 2005) was an influential guru within the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (commonly known as the Hare Krishnas or ISKCON). He was also the founder and director of the Institute for Applied Spiritual Technology, and director of the International Committee for Urban Spiritual Development.

Born in America as John E. Favors in Cleveland, Ohio in 1950, in his youth he was a leader in Martin Luther King's civil rights movement. Later on he studied at Princeton University, becoming president of the student council, while obtaining a degree in psychology. He also served as chairman of the Third World Coalition.
On February 16th, 1973 Bhakti Tirtha Swami was initiated into the Vaishnava tradition by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, whereupon he was given the name Ghanashyam Dasa (meaning servant of Krishna). On March 13, 1979 (Gaura Purnima) at New Vrindaban, he was initiated into the Vaishnava sannyasa order of renunciation by Kirtanananda Swami and given the name Bhakti Tirtha Swami. He later went on to become a senior leader and preacher within the movement and a member of its management body known as the Governing Body Commission.

 



In 1990 Bhakti Tirtha Swami was given the honorary role of a high chief in Warri, Nigeria in recognition of his outstanding work in Africa and the world. In his later years, he met President Nelson Mandela of South Africa several times to share visions and strategies for world peace. Bhakti Tirtha Swami died of cancer aged fifty-five years at Gita Nagari, a Krishna Conscious community in Pennsylvania.
In 2007, his official biography was released by Hari-Nama Press. Entitled Black Lotus: The Spiritual Journey of an Urban Mystic, the 410-page book is complete with full-color pictures, interviews with loved ones, and comprehensive Index. The author, Steven J. Rosen (Satyaraja Dasa), was a close friend of the Swami and counts the book as being among his most important accomplishments.

 



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