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.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

An Inspirational Marathon Video from ISKCON London

Every December the worldwide Hare Krishna community (500+ temples) focus all of their attention on the distribution of transcendental literature, something we all know was so close to Srila Prabhupada’s heart.

He was incredibly eager to hear the figures of how many books were being distributed. Indeed, he said it gave him life. When a new book was printed, Prabhupada felt as though he had conquered an empire. He told one disciple – “the best of me is in my books.”

Check out this amazingly inspirational video made by the dynamic devotees of ISKCON London:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Mayor John Tory's Diwali Celebrations at City Hall!

On the evening of Wednesday, November 18, 2015, a special event took place at City Hall in the heart of downtown Toronto.  Mayor John Tory, the political head of our vibrant City of Toronto, hosted his first ever Diwali celebrations at City Hall and representatives from the Hare Krishna Temple were invited to this special evening.

As many of our devotees may recall, Mayor Tory took part in our Ratha-Yatra (Festival of India) celebrations this past July and he spent several hours at our festival, visiting the booths, taking darshan (audience) of the Deities and addressing the crowd at the main stage!  A nice connection was made and so we got a personal invitation to attend his Diwali celebrations.

Bhaktimarga Swami and members of the ISKCON Toronto Temple Council attended the event and they absolutely enjoyed meeting many esteemed members of the South Asian community.  The evening began with mingling and refreshments, continued with musical performances and then concluded with a very inspiring speech by the Mayor himself. 

Upon meeting the Mayor during the post-event mingling session, he immediately said, "What an amazing time we had on the Toronto Islands!  Thank you for inviting me to that special festival!"  It was nice to see that the Ratha-Yatra (Festival of India), our biggest festival of the year, made such a positive impression on the Mayor and that it was so memorable for him.

Check out the pictures of the event below!  Also, we've captured a "screenshot" of Mayor Tory's Twitter account as he "retweeted" the Temple Council's tweet about the event to his 82,000 Twitter followers!  Hare Krsna!

Pictures from Diwali Celebrations @ City Hall

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A Video from a York University Student Project

Back in September, the temple was contacted by an enthusiastic student from York University named Gurpreet for the purpose of a school project.  Gurpreet is a fourth year at York University and was working on a project about Hare Krishna culture and influence on modern day society. Gurpreet asked if an interview could be arranged with someone from our temple.

We contacted one of our stalwart leaders of our community, Rupanuga prabhu, and he happily obliged.  A few Sundays ago, Gurpreet came to the temple and met with Rupanuga prabhu.  We are happy to report that Gurpreet received very positive remarks for the finished project.  Check out the resulting video below (the sound is a little poor for the first few minutes, but improves after the 7:20 mark).  Great job, Gurpreet!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Festival Report - Srila Prabhupada Disappearance Day & Marathon Launch

The month of Kartik presents a special time of year when there is ample opportunity for spiritual reflection, growth and inspiration.  During this month, there are a multitude of festivals which help us to focus our lives in a very Krsna conscious fashion.

While most festivals involve grand celebrations, one special festival allows us an opportunity to reflect on the incredible life of Srila Prabhupada.  On Sunday, November 15, 2015, the Toronto Hare Krishna Temple marked Srila Prabhupada's Disappearance Day (the anniversary of his passing).

Festivities actually began at 11:30am with kirtan, a reading and the offering of flowers (puspanjali) to Srila Prabhupada.

Later on, during the evening Sunday Feast, the festival continued with a class by both Bhaktimarga Swami and Krsnadas Kaviraj das wherein they expanded on the incredible contributions that Srila Prabhupada made to our movement and world.  There was a very nice interactive element where the audience had a chance to share their realizations about Srila Prabhupada's contributions to the world.

The special Sunday Feast also featured the launch of the annual Srila Prabhupada Book Marathon!  During this time of year, known as the season of giving, Hare Krishna temples around the world make a focused effort to share and distribute as many of Srila Prabhupada's books as possible!

To help pump our community with enthusiasm, devotees welcomed our famous "Walking Bhagavad Gita" who helped explain all the exciting things that will be happening during the marathon.  One feature worth noting is the creative and unique "thermometer" which will help us see how we are doing on our goals for the marathon.  Each week, a cutout of Srila Prabhupada will be raised up a ladder towards the Jaladuta (the boat which he traveled on to America in 1965).  So, in essence, as we work towards our goal we will watch each week as Srila Prabhupada "climbs" the ladder and gets closer to the Jaladuta!

All in all, it was a special Sunday Feast where we had a chance to honour Srila Prabhupada and also get enthused about one his most dearest desires - sharing his books with the world!

Festival Pictures
(courtesy Sahil Srivastava)

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Festival Report - Govardhana Puja Celebrations

On Thursday, November 12th, the Toronto Hare Krishna temple celebrated Govardhana Puja.  The festival marks the occasion when we celebrate the story of Lord Krishna protecting the citizens of Vrndavana from a torrential downpour of rain.

The festival began with kirtan and continued with a class by Bhaktimarga Swami.  Maharaj had just arrived back from a 45-day walk in the United States, commemorating Srila Prabhupada's arrival 50 years ago, in 1965.  Bhaktimarga Swami's walk took him from Boston to Butler, Pennsylvania to New York City.  After spending some time talking about the significance of the festival of Govardhana Puja, Maharaj then shared some stories and pictures from his walk.

After the class, everyone then oriented themselves around the incredible hill which had lovingly been made by the temple's Pujari (Priest) Department.  As everyone took darshan (audience) of the magnificent hill, made entirely of sweets, kirtan captured everyone's hearts.  Everyone then had a chance to circumambulate the hill as the kirtan continued and led into the 8:00pm arati (kirtan).

A huge feast awaited the massive crowd as everyone had a chance to partake in delicious prasadam and also enjoy the many sweets that decorated the hill!  All in all, the festival was a smash success and devotees thoroughly enjoyed the experience!

Festival Pictures
(courtesy Sahil Srivastava)

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Govardhana Puja Festival

Here are some pictures of the wonderful Govardhana Puja celebrations taking place right now!

Govardhana Puja Festival - November 12, 2015

On Thursday, November 12, 2015 Toronto's Hare Krishna Temple will be celebrating Govardhan Puja!

Also referred to as Annakuta, Govardhana Puja is a special festival which marks the time when the inhabitants of Vrindavan (Lord Krishna’s abode on Earth) held a harvest festival in honour of King Indra, the demigod who provided the rains essential for the harvest. One day, however, Lord Krishna wanted to teach Indra a lesson. He convinced the inhabitants of Vrindavan to honour Govardhana Hill instead, whose fertile soil provided the grass upon which the cows and bulls grazed, and to honour the cows and bulls who provided milk and ploughed the lands.

Outraged, Indra retaliated with terrifying thunderstorms. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, calmly lifted Govardhana Hill with the little finger of his left hand. For seven days and seven nights the Lord held up Govardhana Hill, providing a giant umbrella to shelter the inhabitants of Vrindavan from the torrential rain.

Govardhan Puja celebrations at the Hare Krishna temple have always been popular and this year's festival will once again feature a grand "Govardhana Hill" made entirely of sweets in the middle of the temple room! Please join us for festivities from 6:00pm to 9:00pm on Thursday, November 12, 2015 to celebrate this wonderful festival!

We hope to see you and your family at the Hare Krishna temple for this spectacular festival!

Bring Your Offerings for Govardhana Puja!

On Thursday, November 12, 2015 Toronto's Hare Krishna Temple will be celebrating Govardhan Puja! Also referred to as Annakuta, Govardhana Puja is a special festival where following the example of Lord Krishna devotees make offerings to Govardhana Hill. Click HERE for more information about this festival. 

Everyone is invited to bring an offering to Govardhana Hill. Offerings must be brought before 7:00pm on Thursday, November 12th.  Offerings may be sweets, fruits, savory or baked items. Items must be 100% vegetarian and not contain onions, garlic, or mushrooms. Additionally there should be no tasting or sampling as Krishna (in the form of Govardhana Hill) must be the first to taste your offering. Offerings should be brought in a new disposable container; the offering does not need to be a large quantity (a six inch foil tray is suggested - see photo).  Please feel free to bring as many offerings as you would like!