Independent Senator Deoroop Teemal described Haripersad Harikissoon as the ‘nourisher of the roots that sustain dharma but remain unseen.” The Independent Senator was speaking at a special Birthday Satsangh and Book Launch held last Saturday August 06, 2022 at the Sri Ram Mandir, Endeavour to mark the 77th birth anniversary of Harikissoon.
Hariji was the founder of the Hindu Seva Sangh Sangh among other organizations through which he served the Hindu community between 1972 and 2015. The book Hariji & Hindu Revivalism in Trinidad and Tobago outlines the several project Hariji coordinated with the assistance of several other workers.
“Hariji had his fingers on the pulse of the community,” said Teemal and added that Hariji was self-taught on Hindu dharma and his knowledge of Vedanta did not negate him from serving the community but kept him connected.
“Hariji was inspired by Swami Vivekananda, and it was not surprising that he gravitated toward the ideology of the RSS and its leaders Keshav Baliram Hedgewar and Guruji Golwakar,” Senator Teemal underlined and described Hariji as a Dharma Seva and a Karya Seva.
Describing Hariji as a brilliant orator, the Independent Senator was quick to acknowledge the unique skill of Harikissoon to deliver inspiring messages on Hindu dharma to his audience. Hariji was known for his moving discourses in yagyas, satsanghs and youth camps that motivated scores of youths to commit themselves to serve Hindu society.
Teemal continued: “Hariji always had a vision of Ramraj, a glorious period where Sri Ram ruled the kingdom of Ayodhya and everyone followed the path of dharma.” Listening to the repeated use of this verse – parhit saris dharam nahi bhai -Teemal said that he has learnt it by heart.
Also speaking at the event was Swami Prakashananda who as a youth was active in the youth development programs of the Hindu Seva Sangh. Delivering the feature address, Swami Prakashananda saw Hariji as a social engineer seeking the welfare of others. However, he said that if one is engaged in the community without the welfare of the people in mind and a culture of inclusiveness the result may be a ‘Hitler or a Pol Pot or crack pot but not a Hariji.’
He said that the vision of a Hitler is not inclusive but exclusive and “sees a need to eliminate the others.” He said that “Ravana, Hitler, and Pol Pot have not gone away and said that there are people with the same bhav…they are not social engineers but social destroyers.” Swami Prakashananda said that Hariji ‘possesses a clear world view for all.” He continued: ‘this inclusive world view does not weaken the Hindu position…it is our strength…Sanatan Dharma cannot be exclusive.”
Swami Prakashananda shared a story of Hariji speaking at his secondary school and a Christian friend felt that ‘the Hindu man make the most sense’ among the three speakers. This ability to teach Hinduism so that all can understand was a trait of Hariji.
Also speaking at the event was Dool Hanomansingh, author of the text Hariji & Hindu Revivalism in Trinidad and Tobago; Wayne Lalchan, a former President of the Hindu Seva Sangh and a past member of the Hindu Society of the St Augustine Senior Secondary Comprehensive School, Kishore Ramnarine, a friend and villager; Pandit Vigyan Dharamdass and Phulwatty Beepath, President of the Tobago Hindu Society.
At the beginning of the program Vedic mantras were chanted by students of the Chinmaya Mission as Hariji made his way into the mandir and took his seat. A choir was also at hand to sing the favorite geets and Bhagavad Gita verses of Hariji. Pandit Rabindranath Maharaj also chanted verses from the Ramayan and shared with the audience how Hariji impacted his life as a young Hindu in the village of Endeavour.
The program was well received by a packed audience and refreshment were served to all.