The 1949 mystery novel The Moving Target (originally titled The Snatch) by Ross MacDonald features a bogus cult leader named Claude, described on Page 62 of Robert L. Gales' A Ross MacDonald Companion as "a fraudulent cult leader, tall, bearded, and disreputable, to whom Ralph Sampson gave the mountain where Claude runs 'The Temple in the Clouds.' The location is a transfer point for illegal aliens."
In 1949, Krishna Venta was getting a lot of coverage in the headlines owing to his highly publicized lecture tours of both Europe and the U.S., the crash of the Standard Airlines flight, and his arrests for failure to pay child support.
Given all the attention he was commanding, could Claude’s physical appearance have been inspired by Krishna Venta? Could the name "The Temple in the Clouds" have been just a fictional variation on "The Fountain of the World"? And could MacDonald have placed the novel's Temple atop a mountain as a variation on the Fountain being located in a canyon? Interesting...
Strother Martin plays Claude and in the 1966 film version of the book released under the title "Harper." Paul Newman plays the title character in the film. He reprised the role in the 1975 film "The Drowning Pool."