Hansadutta Das, a Srila Prabhupada disciple, pioneer and ISKCON leader in the society’s early days, passed away due to pancreatic cancer on April 25th. He was on his farm in Northern California, surrounded by his three children, with Srila Prabhupada’s kirtan playing in the background.
Born in 1941, Hansadutta grew up in New York City and joined ISKCON in 1967, becoming initiated by Srila Prabhupada in May of that year. Under Prabhupada’s direction, he helped to spread the Hare Krishna movement by preaching and opening many centers in Canada, USA, Europe, and Asia.
In 1970, he became one of the first Governing Body Commission (GBC) members. He also served as Srila Prabhupada’s personal secretary, and oversaw the publication and distribution of Prabhupada’s books in many languages. He was well known for his kirtan, and was directed by Prabhupada to organize sankirtan parties, or preaching initiatives, worldwide.
After Srila Prabhupada left this world in 1977, Hansadutta became one of the first eleven ISKCON devotees to serve as initiating gurus, during what later became known as the now defunct Zonal Acharya system. He also served as the GBC representative for North America, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the Philippines. In 1983, he was expelled from ISKCON for multiple violations of ISKCON’s spiritual and ethical codes of conduct.
A controversial and divisive figure for the ISKCON movement, after his passing Hansadutta Das was nonetheless appreciated for his service by many devotees around the world.
He leaves behind his sister, former wife and three children.[ hansadutta ]