It has been in the news that Oscar winning actor, William Hurt, passed away Sunday, March 13th from cancer. What was not reported is that he spent one week in the guest house of our ISKCON Atlanta temple in 2010.
Mr Hurt was acting in a film being made in Atlanta. During the filming, he got burnt out, walked out of his hotel and headed down one of the main streets of Atlanta, Ponce de Leon Ave, without any aim. He was upset about his events that occurred in his personal life. He walked about an hour and came to the intersection where our temple’s street, South Ponce de Leon Ave, begins. It is a five street intersection. He decided to continue his walk down that street instead of Ponce de Leon Ave because it is a quiet street that borders a beautiful park. As he proceeded down the street, he arrived at our temple with its signage on the street that announces; “Hare Krishna Temple”.
He decided to pay a visit. He needed answers to the problems in his life. Swetasvarupa das, a disciple of HH Jayapataka Swami, and the membership coordinator, heard a knock on his office door, which is in the temple room area, opened the door and welcomed the guest. He had no idea who this person was because he grew up in Mayapur gurukula, then came to Atlanta to help with the deity worship and other services. He didn’t grow up watching Hollywood movies.
After speaking with this unknown guest, he called Govardhan lila dd, the temple Vice President at the time, and informed her that a Western guest would like to stay in our guest house for a week. So, she came over to see the guest and make arrangements. She was taken aback when she saw who the guest was. She asked “Are you Williman Hurt the actor?”. He replied “Yes!”
Long story short, he stayed at our temple for one week while the film he was acting in was completed. Anandini dd, who is in Radhadesh temple currently, spent a lot of time with him discussing Krsna consciousness and the problems in his personal life. Also, it just so happened that the time he was staying in Atlanta was when Lord Jagannath had his snana yatra pastime. He gets sick and has to convelise in a private room off the altar.
We kept Lord Jagannath in the lower room of the guest house that year. As a result, Govardhan lila dd arranged for Mr Hurt to have darshan of Lord Jagannath often. William Hurt also attended aratis and ate Krsna prasada daily. When he left our temple, he said he was a “changed man”.
Two years later, a personal assistant visited our temple and inquired if the guest house was available for Mr Hurt. He also wanted to know if Anandini dd was still in the temple. By that time, she had returned to Radhadesh to continue her preaching work. Mr Hurt didn’t stay at our guest house that year, and we never saw or heard from again. But, he did get a good week of mercy in 2010.
The supersoul guided him to Lord Jagannath and the ISKCON Atlanta temple. I’m sure he benefited from this special mercy at the time of his passing.
Sikhi Mahiti das acbsp
republished with permission from Dandavats.com
Aug 06, 2022
Brahmatirtha das Director, Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies