ISKCON youth around the world are still in shock as they mourn the passing of their dear friend Hari Kirtan Dasa, an alumni of ISKCON’s Mayapur gurukula school and disciple of his holiness Bhakti Tirtha Swami.
Hari Kirtan, known to his friends as Harish, was working at a store in Atlanta, USA on March 22 when at 8:01pm, the store was robbed and he was shot. Witnesses contacted the emergency medical unit, but it was too late – the shot had taken his life instantly. The police and investigating detectives are still looking for the men connected with the incident.
Harish leaves behind his elderly mother and younger brother. As the eldest son, he had taken a job to support his mother and pay for his brother’s education, and was the sole bread-winner in the family.
Harish was brought to Mayapur gurukula by his cousin brother in 1996, where he was accepted as a student and continued his studies until 2002. He continued to serve in Mayapur for the next three years, mentoring the youth there, who remember him fondly for his humility and his contagious smile.
When his spiritual teacher Bhakti Tirtha Swami passed away in April 2005, he travelled to the US and stayed on to render service in different temples there. He served in Alachua as a priest and a cook, then moved to California to continue with his studies, and finally moved to Atlanta, which became his home.
His friend and fellow Mayapur gurukula alumni Vedasara Dasa, now temple president at ISKCON Atlanta, says: “Harish never failed to keep Krishna in the center of his life. He always attended temple programs, and enjoyed being part of the kirtans and bhajans. He kept his friends close and always reminded them of their spiritual life.”
Vedasara adds: “All of his friends and the youth in Atlanta will really miss him, and we will all keep the laughter and spirit he showed in our hearts. Although he may be gone, he will always be with us, in spirit and in every memory we have of him.”
"We ask for your prayers for Harish," Vedasara concludes, "That he is gone to the Spiritual World, where the elements of this material world will not longer affect him."