Toronto's Hare Krishna Temple

Toronto's Hare Krishna Centre (ISKCON Toronto), has always been the hub of a rich, vibrant and enthusiastic community. Whether it be grand festivals, programs at local universities and yoga studios, philosophical discussions, cooking sessions, or singing and dancing on the streets, there are events taking place for everyone's interest.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Radha Kunda's Appearance Day - Oct 22, 2016

This Saturday, October 22, 2016 marks a special festival, Radha-Kunda's Appearance Day.  Radha-Kunda is a pond near Govardhan Hill in Vrindavan, India, which was originally created by Krishna's cowherd girlfriends, the gopis, during Krishna's boyhood pastimes in Vrindavan.

In the sixteenth century, it was rediscovered by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and renovated by Mahaprabhu's disciples, the Six Goswamis. Many sacred texts, including the Puranas, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Upadeshamrita, and Chaitanya-charitamrita say that Radha-kunda is one of the most significant places of pilgrimage on earth.

Celebrations will be taking place at the Hare Krishna Temple on Saturday, October 22, 2016 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.  The festival will be a small and intimate gathering and everyone is welcome to join!

Below is a modern retelling of Krishna's pastime which resulted in the creation of one of the holiest places on earth by Amala Bhakta das:

On a field near Govardhana Hill, in the twilight, the demon Arishtasura had assumed the form of a bull and, at King Kamsa’s order, had tried to kill Lord Krishna. Instead, the Lord had slain him. Just prior to his attack, Krishna had been chatting with His girlfriends, the gopis of Vrindavana, who had become quite frightened by the demon’s angry bellowing.

Krishna strolled over to them, expecting to engage in their usual rasa dance. In this, the girls would form a circle, Krishna would miraculously reproduce His body between each two girls, and the party would ecstatically dance round and round. But the gopis, now relieved of their fear of Arishtasura, were in a playful, joking mood.

As Krishna tried to place His arm around the shoulder of one of them, she flinched and stepped back, saying, “I don’t think You should touch any of us now.”

Krishna smiled.

“Oh? And why not?”

“Well, You’ve just killed a bull. And the scriptures consider a bull to be as sacred as a cow.”

“True, but that bull was really a demon.”

“Doesn’t matter,” a second girl said. “He still had a bull’s body. So by killing him, You’ve committed a terrible sin.”

“I have?” Krishna beamed, playing along with their joke.

“Absolutely. You’re very contaminated now.”

“How terrible!” Krishna said with mock seriousness. “Then what should I do?”

“You should atone for Your sin,” a third gopi said.

“Atone?” He asked, eyebrows raised.

They all nodded firmly, wanting to laugh but restraining themselves.

“But how?”

The first gopi said, “I think You should bathe in every holy river in the world.”

The other gopis nodded.

“All the rivers?” Krishna asked.

“Yes,” the girls giggled. “All.”

“But that’ll take too long. I have a better idea.”

“Oh?” they inquired.

“Instead, I’ll bring the rivers here.”

“How can You do that?” asked the second gopi skeptically.

“Just watch.”

Krishna turned away from them and kicked His heel into the ground, making a hole.

Then He ordered, “O holy rivers, please come here at once!”

In a few seconds, the personified forms of every sacred river appeared there, standing with their palms folded and heads bowed. The men were bare-chested but decked in rich dhotis, whereas the women were wearing luxurious saris.

Krishna turned to the gopis.

“See? They’re all here.”

Although the girls were astonished, they scoffed, “We don’t see anybody.”

Krishna said to the rivers, “Would you please announce yourselves?”

Each river spoke his or her name, such as Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Sarayu, Sona, and Sindhu.

The gopis looked at each other doubtfully. Were those persons really those rivers?

Then the hole that Krishna had made with His heel suddenly expanded into a vast hollow, and all the personified rivers gladly entered it, each manifesting his or her own water form. It was now a beautiful, inviting, holy pond.

Krishna descended and splashed into it up to His neck, dunked His head several times, and climbed out, drying His dark glistening body with His hands.

“Well, now I’m completely pure.” He smiled. “You don’t have to worry anymore.”

The girls tittered, knowing they never had to anyway.

“But look at you,” Krishna said with mock condescension, pointing at them.

“What about us?” a few asked.

“You’re all impure.”

“Us?” several answered, incredulously.

“Yes, you!”

“No, we didn’t touch the bull,” the second girl said. “You did.”

“True, but you’ve never performed any religious activities for Lord Brahma’s pleasure. That makes you impure.”

Then Krishna’s favorite, Srimati Radharani, turned to Her girlfriends and said, “All right, if we’re impure, then we’ll become pure.”

“How?” the third gopi asked.

“I’ll make an even better pond than Krishna’s, and we’ll all bathe in it.”

“But where?” asked the second gopi.

“Just follow Me.”

With Krishna in tow, Radharani confidently led Her friends a short distance away. They noticed that Arishtasura’s hooves had dug a shallow ditch just west of Krishna’s pond, and Radharani decided to make Her pond there.

“Let’s start digging,” She said to Her friends.

They bent over, began clutching clumps of soft clay, and discarded them. After only an hour, they created a large hollow.

Krishna was astonished by how rapidly they had dug it.

When the gopis came out, the Lord munificently said to them, “You can fill it up with the holy water from My pond.”

“Your pond?” Radharani asked, patronizingly.

“Yes, why not?”

“Because Your pond is contaminated. When You bathed in it, You left Your bull-killing sin there. I don’t want that in My pond!”

Krishna laughed loudly.

“Then where will You get the holy water?”

“From the nearby Manasi Ganga lake. We’ll bring many pots of it here.”

Krishna recalled that some time ago He had meditated on the holy Ganges River, which was a considerable distance from Vrindavana, and had miraculously made it appear here as a lake. It was thus named Manasi Ganga (“the Ganges created by Krishna’s mind”). But now Krishna wanted to spare Radharani and Her friends the heavy labor of lugging thousands of jugs of water from there to here. So He gestured to His pond, and suddenly a male representative of all the holy rivers emerged from it. With tears in his eyes, he folded his palms, bowed his head to the ground before Radharani, and devotedly prayed to Her.

Radharani’s mood changed from playful to serious. She could see that he was approaching Her for some sacred purpose.

Rising to his knees, the representative said, “O Goddess, even those who know the scriptures well, such as Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, cannot understand Your glories. Only Krishna, the highest goal of all human effort, can. Therefore, He wishes to make sure that, when You’re fatigued, You can wash away Your perspiration. That would make Him very happy.”

Radharani gratefully glanced at Krishna, and then returned Her attention to the rivers’ representative.

“As soon as Krishna ordered us, we came here to live in His excellent pond. But we all have a desire, and only if You are pleased with us can it be fulfilled.”

Radharani pleasantly asked, “Oh? And what is it?”

“We desire to come to Your pond, for only then will our lives be successful.”

With a gentle smile, Radharani replied, “All right. Please do.”

Her friends nodded in agreement, feeling immensely happy.

At that moment, all the holy rivers in Krishna’s pond broke through its blackish clay boundary and quickly flowed into and filled Radharani’s pond. This movement sounded like a surging river during a heavy rainstorm.

As Radharani was enjoying this sight, Krishna seriously said, “My dear Radharani, may Your pond become even more famous than Mine. I will always come here to bathe in it and to enjoy water sports. Indeed, this pond is as dear to Me as You.”

Radharani was touched deeply and replied, “And I, with My girlfriends, will also bathe in Your pond, even if You kill hundreds of Arishtasuras here. And anyone who, with intense devotion, bathes in My pond or resides on its bank will surely become very dear to Me.”

“And dear to Me also,” Krishna added. “I will certainly bless such persons well!”

As the darkness enfolded them, Krishna and the gopis formed a circle and began their rasa dance. He resembled a rain cloud, and Radharani a flash of lightning. As They danced, They generated a torrential downpour of brilliant, transcendental joy. From that night on, Radharani’s pond (kunda) would be called Radha Kunda, and Krishna’s, Shyama Kunda. And anyone who would bathe even once in Her pond, or perform devotional service on its banks, would, by Her mercy, develop pure love for Krishna. Such love would of course culminate in continuous divine ecstasy. Thus, Radha Kunda would become known as the most exalted pilgrimage spot in the world.

For this reason, countless pilgrims travel many miles just to bathe in its spiritually exalting waters.

Diwali Celebrations - Sunday, October 30, 2016

The special festival of Diwali will be celebrated at the Toronto Hare Krishna temple on Sunday, October 30, 2016. Diwali is commonly known as festival of lights. Diwali is often celebrated with the lighting of candles or oil lamps in homes, temples and public spaces and food preparations are offered to Lord Rama, Lord Krishna’s incarnation.

Diwali is celebrated for the joyful return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. Lord Rama’s younger step-brother Bharata in the meanwhile took charge of the kingdom until his brother’s arrival. Visit our website for more for more information for temple’s festivities schedule.

We will be having some special guests for our Diwali celebrations, so be sure to keep an eye on this page as we will post more information soon!

Govardhana Puja - October 31, 2016

The Toronto Hare Krishna temple will be celebrating Govardhana Puja on Monday, October 31, 2016. Celebrated the day after Diwali (which will be also celebrated at the temple on Sunday, October 30, 2016), Govardhana Puja is an especially "sweet" festival!

During the time of Lord Krishna, the villagers of Vrindavan used to honour King Indra, the demigod responsible for providing rain for harvest. One day, young Krishna convinced the villagers to celebrate Govardhana Hill instead of Lord Indra because it was the soil of the hill that provided grass for the cows and bulls to graze and then they provided milk. Thus, the hill should be worshiped. King Indra got infuriated and sent massive thunderstorms as punishment. Lord Krishna calmly lifted Govardhana Hill with his little finger to provide shelter for Vrindavan’s residents. After seven days of continuous thunderstorms and rain, King Indra surrendered and asked for forgiveness from Lord Krishna. He realized his true position as a servant of Lord Krishna.

On Monday October 31, 2016, the temple will build a Govardhana Hill replica, made of prasadam, to worship Lord Krishna as the lifter of Govardhana HIll and worship the cows and bulls who are so dear to the Lord.

Stay tuned as more information will be posted soon!

Seminar - Krishna Conscious Parenting - Nov 5-6, 2016

The Toronto Hare Krishna Temple is excited to announce a special seminar being presented by Aruddha Devi Dasi along with her son, Radhika Ramana Dasa.  Information is as follows:

The Art of Krishna Conscious Parenting
A Seminar by Aruddha Devi Dasi and son, Radhika Ramana Dasa

Saturday, November 5, 2016
10:00am to 1:00pm
2:00pm to 4.30pm

Sunday, November 6, 2016
3:00pm to 5:00pm

Tips and Techniques for Successful Parenting

  • Creating a Krishna Conscious Home Environment
  • Studying Srimad Bhagavatam with Children
  • Pathways to Academic Success
  • Developing Social Skills
  • Sharing Krishna with Others
  • Discipline
  • Festivals with the Family
  • Are Restrictions Good for Our Children?
About Aruddha Devi Dasi
Aruddha Devi Dasi and her husband Anantarupa Dasa began practicing Krishna consciousness in Chicago in the early 1980’s, and started the ISKCON Temple in Boise, USA, in 1986 as a small weekly program in their home. Now thirty years later there is a beautiful Vedic temple for Sri Sri Radha Bankebihari. Aruddha and Anantarupa home‐schooled their two sons using a curriculum based on Srila Prabhupada’s books and ran the Govinda’s restaurant in Boise for six years.  Aruddha has been traveling around the world doing seminars on Krishna conscious parenting as well as workshops on how to teach Srimad Bhagavatam to children.  She is the author of Homeschooling Krishna’s Children, published by the BBT, and compiler of a children’s study guide for Srimad Bhagavatam, published by Torchlight.  

About Radhika Ramana Dasa
Radhika Ramana dasa and his brother Gopal Hari dasa, completed their bachelor’s degrees at an early age at Boise State University, and then received their PhDs from Oxford University in England. Radhika Ramana is now Charles Redd Chair of Religious Studies at Utah State University and the author/editor of four books. Gopal Hari is a professor of Religious Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University.

**To register, email or call 416‐844‐2937**
** Suggested donation $50 per person**

Invite and Honour Lord Damodara in Your Home

During this most auspicious month of Kartik (Oct 16 to Nov 16), you can invite Lord Krishna in the form of Bala Gopala (Damodara) to your home, offer beautiful lamps and hear about wonderful stories of baby Krishna.

You can book your 1-hour slot by contacting (647) 867-4724 or to reserve your spot during Kartik weekday evenings or weekends.  Please note, limited spots are available.  Please feel free to take this unique opportunity for your family.

Govardhana Farms Featured in "Ontario Farmer"

Earlier this month, the newspaper, "Ontario Farmer" featured both Govardhana Farms and Bhaktimarga Swami.  Ontario Farmer is a newspaper which is delivered weekly to subscribing farmers in Ontario.

Their October 6th issue had a very nice article that featured the Govardhan Farms project, Bhaktimarga Swami and the Hare Krishna philosophy.  Check it out below:

Honouring Srila Prabhupada - November 3, 2016

The Hare Krishna Temple warmly invites one and all to join us for a reflective evening as we observe Srila Prabhupada's Disappearance Day on Thursday, November 3, 2016 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. On this day, we reflect on the remarkable life of Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) on the anniversary of his passing (known as the Disappearance Day).

ISKCON is now a worldwide movement and is comprised of more than 450 centres, 60 rural communities, 50 schools and 60 restaurants around the globe. This day will provide a great chance to meditate on what Srila Prabhupada means to us.

Please join us for the festivities that will start at 6:00pm with arati and will continue until approximately 9:00pm. Please join us as we glorify Srila Prabhupada on this very important day.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

ISKCON50 Congratulations from PM Justin Trudeau!

The year 2016 is a special year for Hare Krishna communities around the world as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of ISKCON, which was incorporated by our beloved founder Srila Prabhupada in 1966.  Celebrations have been taking place in 600 cities across 75 countries since August 2015 and until December 2016. Here in Canada, the Right Honourable Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has shared a congratulatory message for our Canadian Hare Krishna communities!

Special thanks to one of our dynamic young devotees of our community, Preya Maulkhan for helping to coordinate the official congratulatory message from the Prime Minister's Office!  Check out the message below or view the PDF here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Chaitanya Charan Dasa: Oct 6-13, 2016

The Toronto Hare Krishna Temple will be welcoming Chaitanya Charan Dasa from October 6-13, 2016.  Chaitanya Charan is a monk and spiritual author. He has done his Electronics & Telecommunications Engineering from the Government College of Engineering, Pune. He subsequently served as a software engineer in a prominent multinational software corporation.

Seeing the prevalent problems of stress, depression, addiction and overall misdirection – all caused by a lack of spirituality – he felt inspired to dedicate his life to the cause of sharing the spiritual wisdom of the Bhagavad-gita under the aegis of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna consciousness). He is a member of ISKCON’s leading intellectual body, the Shastric Advisory Council, and is the associate-editor of ISKCON’s global magazine, Back to Godhead. He is the author of the world’s only Gita-daily feature, wherein he writes daily a 300-word inspirational reflection on a verse from the Bhagavad- Gita. He has written over seventeen hundred Gita meditations that are posted on and are read through daily feeds by thousands from all over the world.

He also answers questions by seekers on his site, where his over three thousand five hundred audio answers and several hundred articles are available.

He travels all over the world from Australia to America, giving talks on spiritual subjects in temples, universities and companies. His articles have been published in many national newspapers including Indian Express, Economic Times and Times of India in the Speaking Tree column. His writings in English have been translated into several foreign languages including German, Chinese and Romanian and several Indian languages including Kannada, Telgu, Bengali, Hindi and Marathi. He is the author of sixteen books.

Video: Vyasa Puja 2016 Celebrations

On Friday, August 26th, 2016 the Toronto Hare Krishna Temple hosted celebrations for Vyasa Puja.  Vyasa Puja is when we celebrate the appearance (birthday) of the founder of our movement, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.  Check out the video below!