We want to let you know that one of Gurudeva’s Yogoda Satsanga Society of India’s senior sannyasi disciples, our revered Swami Hiteshananda Giri, passed away peacefully on May 11, 2021. At the first sign of COVID symptoms he was taken to a local Ranchi hospital where he tested positive for the virus. Although he underwent several days of treatment with the best medical care available, Swami Hiteshananda’s condition gradually deteriorated, leading to his eventual passing.
Born Goverdhan Prasad, Swami Hiteshananda hailed originally from Chhapra District in the state of Bihar. As a young adult he relocated in New Delhi to seek employment and higher education. Through hard work and perseverance—serving at various jobs during the day and attending classes at night—Goverdhan Prasad worked his way through a college programme that culminated in a Master’s Degree in English Literature. He next accepted a government job with the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the financial security from which allowed him to bring his two brothers to Delhi, helping also provide for their ongoing educations.
His spirit of tireless work and unflinching commitment, coupled with his sterling quality of wanting always to help others in need, made him an outstanding example that touched the hearts of everyone he met in life.
As an employee of the DDA, Goverdhan Prasad was already committed to the spiritual sadhana of Paramahansa Yogananda’s YSS teachings. Through his adherence to those principles he earned a reputation of being hard working, honest to the core, and incorruptible. His shining character and high principles made a lasting impression on many of his colleagues—some of whom followed in his footsteps, eventually becoming ardent and devoted disciples themselves.
Swami Hiteshananda Giri joined the Yogoda Satsanga Monastic Order as a Pravesharthi in 1986. He received his Brahmacharya Diksha in 1995 at the Ranchi Ashram, and his Sannyas Diksha in 2004 at the SRF International Headquarters in Los Angeles.
Over the decades of service as a YSS Sannyasi disciple, Swami Hiteshananda served in various capacities in Guruji’s Ranchi, Dakshineswar, Dwarahat, and Noida ashrams. Especially noteworthy are his assistance in the construction of the beautiful Smriti Mandir and Dhyana Mandir buildings at Ranchi. During the latter part of his life, Swamiji served in our Correspondence Department, where his deep understanding of Gurudeva’s teachings was of great benefit to countless devotees seeking spiritual counsel. As telephone counselling replaced written responses to the requests and needs of devotees, Swami Hiteshananda was available to receive calls at any time. His counsel, imbued with practicality, was always aligned and in tune with the teachings of his Guru.
We will continue to be inspired by Swami Hiteshananda’s lifetime of dedicated and devoted service to God and Guru. While all YSS sannyasis, sevaks, and devotees will miss his physical presence, we find solace in knowing that Swami Hiteshananda’s soul is now free from all bodily limitations and is basking in the light and love of Divine Mother and our Great Gurus.
During our meditations, let us open our hearts and send our love and prayers to Swami Hiteshananda as he continues his spiritual journey toward his omnipresent Home.