A demoness originating from what is now called Pakistan, Hariti was originally an ogress who slew human children in her desperation to feed her hundreds of children. After the arrival of Buddhism, which came to Pakistan as a missionary religion, the legend of Hariti was given a new twist by Buddhist missionaries; being that, in order to put a stop to this way of feeding on the blood of children, Gautama Buddha hid away one of Hariti's sons under a rice bowl, then pointed out to her that the suffering she was experiencing from losing one out of her hundreds of children could not be compared to that of the human mothers whose few children became her victims. Remorseful for her deeds, Hariti pledged to become the protector of childbirth and children and converted to Buddhism. From then on, she and her brood fed on pomegranates as a substitute for human flesh. This new image of her is what was incorporated into Buddhist lore, which because it came to comprise local Bactrian mythology, took on a new flavor before it spread from northern and western Pakistan to China and the other far reaches of Asia such as Japan.
"Origin: India. A she-demon of Indian lore. Known as Kishimojin in Japanese. She was originally a yaksini who kidnapped infants to feed them to her 500 children. When Buddha hid the yaksini's youngest child, she grew enraged. But through Buddha's chastisement, she converted and became Hariti."
Hariti the quest giver for the EX Mission, The unforgettable taste, at Bootes. She will first mention when talking to the protagonist that she used to devour humans in the past. To begin the mission talk to her during a Full Moon, where she'll suffer from withdrawal since she hasn't eaten humans in ages. In order to control it, she asks that the protagonist find her friend Persephone, as she has the human flavored pomegranate Hariti needs to quench her hunger. After finding her and retrieving it, Persephone will ask the protagonist to tell Hariti to join her at the new mall. Hariti will thank the protagonist and give him the Rasetsu Vest as his reward before going off to join Persephone in Carina.
Hariti resides in the Kishimojin temple and is the client in the Challenge Quest, Sunset for a Demonnapper. She requests Flynn to find her missing son Priyankara. Wu Kong appears to her and tells her he is in Ikebukuro, causing her to want to rush to his aid, but is convinced to let Flynn help her. She sprinkles him with a perfume so that her son Priyankara will know he was sent by her and leaves to look for him around Ikebukuro. She arrives after her son is saved, and the two are happily reunited, thanking Flynn before leaving.
Hariti is found by the party at the topmost room of the Haunted Mansion. Despite her appearance, Hariti has the same voice as Setsuko Sonomura and keeps calling out to Maki Sonomura. The party then suspects that Hariti might in fact be Setsuko and is given the choice of whether or not fight her. Should the party fight Hariti, she'll revert back to Setsuko after being defeated and this will reduce the number of ultimate Personas available at the end of the game. If Hariti isn't fought, she'll revert immediately to Setsuko and the number of ultimate Personas available at the end of the game will increase.
Hariti is the sole member of the Lady Order in Megami Ibunroku Persona, but her Order was changed to Reaper in both the Japanese and English versions of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona.
Hariti appears in the 31st and 32nd chapters of the manga. Reiji Kido injures her with Loki's Baeiha spell, but is stopped from dealing the final blow by Naoya, who recognizes Hariti's voice as Setsuko's. The confrontation leaves Maki confused, as she doesn't have a mother yet feels nostalgic by the sound of Hariti's voice. Deciding to follow the voice of her heart, Maki attempts healing Hariti from the injury she received from Reiji and the demon reverts back to Setsuko.
"Also known as Kishimojin, she once ate children, but stopped after Buddha changed her ways. She now eats pomegranates and is a goddess of parenting."
—Persona 5 background
Hariti is the fourth Persona of the Empress Arcana and can only be obtained through fusion in the Velvet Room. She is one of three Personas available to the protagonist to learn the Energy Shower, and four to learn the Mabaisudi and Nocturnal Flash skills. She is also one of two Personas to learn the Dizzy Boost skill. When itemized using Electric Chair execution, Hariti will yield the Spirit Drain skill card.
"A Buddhist goddess also known as Kishimojin. She is revered as the goddess who protects the growth of children. Hariti once was an evil demon that ate the children of others, but Buddha hid her youngest and most favorite child out of her 500 offspring and she fell into despair. Buddha preached to her the sadness of a parent losing their child and admonished her. She eats pomegranates now, and is a goddess of parenting."
Setsuko Sonomura's story parallels aspects of Hariti's, as referenced by her transformation into the demon: both had bad relationships with children at the start (Setsuko didn't visit her daughter at the hospital because of her job, Hariti killed human children) but changed their ways and came to be seen as good parents (the game's epilogue makes a point of mentioning that Setsuko now spends a lot of time with her daughter, Hariti became a goddess of parenting).