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, March 29, 2017

Cooking for Krishna - Brussels Sprouts & Cream

The Toronto Hare Krishna Temple is starting a new online cooking series called "Cooking for Krishna" wherein delectable dishes from famous Hare Krishna cookbooks will be lovingly prepared and shown in a step-by-step fashion.  This series is presented by one of our very nice devotees of our Toronto Hare Krishna community, Lyudmila Mataji.  We hope you enjoy!  Please leave your comments below!

Cooking for Krishna - Brussels Sprouts, Potatoes and Peas with Sour Cream
By: Lyudmila Tamahina
Preparation and Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: enough for 4-6 persons

Today's recipe is from the famous Hare Krishna Cookbook, "Cooking with Kurma" by Kurma Dasa.  You can pick up your copy of this amazing book at the temple!

Step One - Ingredients:
  • 2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1.25 cm (½ inch) cubes, 500 g, weighed after peeling
  • Ghee or oil for deep-frying
  • 1 cup (250 ml) green peas
  • 2 tablespoon of ghee or oil
  • 10-15 fresh curry leaves
  • ½ teaspoon (2 ml) yellow asafetida powder
  • 750g small, firm Brussels sprouts, ends cut off and cut in half lengthwise
  • ½ teaspoon (2 ml) ginger powder
  • ½ teaspoon ( 2 ml) turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ( 2 ml) cayenne powder
  • 1-1½ teaspoons ( 5-7 ml) salt
  • 1 cup (250 ml) sour cream at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon ( 20 ml) chopped fresh coriander leaves or parsley

Step Two:
Rinse the potatoes cubes in cold water. Drain and pat them dry. Place enough ghee/oil in a deep pan or wok that will well cover the quantity of potatoes. Heat the ghee/oil to 190°C/375°F. Deep fry the potato cubes for 8-10 minutes or until they are lightly golden brown.

Step Three:
Remove the potatoes and drain them on paper towels.

Step Four:
Place the peas in the small saucepan and cover them with water. Bring to the boil, and cook the peas for 5-8 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside, reserving the water.

Step Five:
  • Heat the 2 tablespoon of ghee or oil in a 3 litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat.
  • When fairly hot, drop in the curry leaves and saute them for a few moments.
  • Sprinkle in the yellow asafetida powder, stir momentarily and then drop in the Brussels sprouts halves. Saute them in the fragrant oil for 3-4 minutes.

Step Six:
  • Sprinkle in the black pepper, ginger powder, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and salt, stir to mix and add ½ cup (125 ml) water.
  • Stir briefly, place a lid on the saucepan and cook over moderate heat for 10 minutes.

Step Seven:
Add the peas, potatoes, and herbs and then fold in the sour cream.

Step Eight:
Serve Krishna first!

Step Nine:
Serve immediately.

Bhaktimarga Swami Visits Timmins, Ontario

A few weeks ago, Bhaktimarga Swami ventured 700km north of Toronto to visit Timmins, Ontario.  His visit was expertly organized by one of our active young members of our community Raseshvara Madhava Dasa and Maharaj conducted various programs in the city.

Maharaj's visit was also covered by the local CTV News!  Check out some pictures of Maharaj conducting a program at a local yoga studio below.

Seminar: Nurturing with Nutrition

Seminar: Nurturing with Nutrition
with Brajamanjari Devi Dasi

"In Kali-yuga, the duration of life is shortened not so much because of insufficient food but because of irregular habits. By keeping regular habits and eating simple food, any man can maintain his health."
Srimad Bhagavatam (1.1.10)

Did you know that nearly 40% of calories consumed by children ages two to 18 are empty calories, the unhealthiest kinds of calories? Half of these calories come from sugary fruit drinks, cake, cookies, donuts, ice cream, pizza and more. These foods can create problems with digestion, congestion and allergies! And the immunity depends on healthy and vibrant digestion during childhood and beyond.

With just few simple dietary tips, you can make a huge difference to your child’s development: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually!

Ayurveda, the ancient Vedic system of holistic healing, provides huge amounts of valuable insights into the diet and lifestyle of childcare. In this special seminar, Brajamanjari devi dasi will be sharing wisdom on the topics of:
  • Building natural immunity
  • Improving fire of digestion
  • Best food combinations
Date: Sunday, April 9, 2017
Time: 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Location: Green Room

About the Speaker:
Brajamanjari dd is a Shakha Vansiya Ayurveda (SVA) Health Educator and Ayurvedic Nutrition Consultant. She has completed the SVA Pulse and marma cause with Vaidya Mishra and has undergone Ayurvedic Nutrition and Culinary training at Bhagavat Life institute,NYC

Lord Rama's Appearance Day - Tue, April 4, 2017

On Tuesday, April 4, 2017, Toronto’s Hare Krishna Temple will celebrate the Appearance of Lord Ramachandra - Rama Navami.

Lord Ramachandra is Krishna's avatar who ruled the earth as the ideal king. He appeared more than two million years ago. Under the order of His father, Lord Ramachandra lived in the forest for fourteen years, along with His wife, Sita Devi, and His younger brother, Lakshmana.

After the powerful demon Ravana kidnapped His wife, Lord Ramachandra rescued her, with the help of His faithful servant Hanuman, and killed Ravana along with Ravana's armies. The history of Lord Ramachandra's pastimes is recounted by the sage Valmiki in his Ramayana.  Everyone is welcome to attend this special festival!

Festivities will take place on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at the Hare Krishna Temple!

Welcoming Niranjana Swami and Madhavananda Dasa

The Toronto Hare Krishna Temple is excited to welcome both Niranjana Swami and Madhavananda Dasa to our community from Tuesday, April 11, 2017 to Thursday, April 13, 2017.  They will be presenting a special three-day series program entitled, "Sadhu Sanga, Krishna Nama" which will feature a two-day seminar and a third day of kirtan.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has taught that offering respect to others is essential for spiritual advancement. From the material point of view, offering respect to others is the symptom of culture. Any society that lacks an understanding of why and how to offer regard and polite veneration to others is in a dying condition. Similarly any individual who lacks such understanding is in a dying condition spiritually.

  • Seminar - Day One with HG Madhavananda Dasa
    • Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - 6:30pm to 9:00pm
  • Seminar - Day Two with HG Madhavananda Dasa
    • Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - 6:30pm to 9:00pm
  • Kirtan Night with HH Niranjana Swami
    • Thursday, April 13, 2017 - 6:30pm to 9:00pm
Topics during the special two-day seminar will include:
  • how to offer respect to all, including non-devotees
  • the poison of faultfinding and Vaishnava aparadha
  • respecting secular and devotional authorities
  • respecting all types of devotees; 
  • respecting the Holy Name and guru
  • respect within marriage
  • respect to ladies and mothers
  • association with Vaishnavas of various levels
  • the basis of Vaishnava relationships: respect, service, and forgiveness
  • Krishna-kirtana and Krishna-katha as the basis of devotee relationships.
RSVP for this special three-day festival using the form at the bottom of this post.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Video: Gaura Purnima Festival

This past Sunday, March 12, 2017, the Toronto Hare Krishna Temple celebrated one of our largest festivals of the year, Gaura Purnima.  Celebrating the anniversary of the advent of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is none other than Lord Krishna, the festival featured many special events.  Highlights of the festival included a beautiful abhisheka (bathing ceremony of small Deities) and a special presentation by Bhaktimarga Swami, Gaura-Shakti and Syamesvari Devi Dasi.  Check out the video below! (Special thanks to Sathi Prabhu for the video)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Gaura Purnima Festival: Sun, March 12, 2017

One of the Toronto Hare Krishna Temple’s biggest festivals of the year, Gaura Purnima,  falls on Sunday, March 12, 2017.  Celebrations will start early in the morning and continue into the evening where expect a huge turnout of devotees!

Gaura Purnima marks the divine appearance of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is non-different than Lord Krishna.  He appeared in Navadwipa (modern day West Bengal) in 1486. Lord Chaitanya was born on full moon and blessed everyone with the moonlike rays of his teachings. He launched the movement of chanting the Holy Names of Krishna and taught how we can gain enlightenment in this age by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

It will be a special day of celebrations and for more details about this sweet festival, including a schedule of events, keep an eye on our website. There are also many sponsorship opportunities still available for the festival: garlands, flowers, aratis and the festival feast.

Official Festival Day Schedule
  • 5:30am to 10:30am - Special Morning Program (Mangala Arati)*
  • 1:45pm to 5:45pm - 4-Hour Kirtan
  • 6:00pm to 6:25pm - Kirtan (Arati)
  • 6:25pm to 6:30pm - Welcome &Announcements
  • 6:35pm to 7:15pm - Special Presentation
  • 7:15pm to 7:25pm - Festival Patron Appreciation
  • 7:25pm to 8:00pm - Abhiseka (bathing ceremony)
  • 8:00pm to 8:30pm - Kirtan (Arati)
  • 8:30pm - Vegetarian Feast (Prasadam)
* Please Note: Daylight Savings Time kicks in the middle of the night between Saturday and Sunday.  However, the Deity Department shifts our clocks after the morning program.  So, the Mangala Arati will take place at 5:30am (4:30am if the time change never happened).

For sponsorship opportunities, feel free to contact us.

4-Hour Kirtan - March 12, 2017 - 2pm to 6pm

Sunday March 12, 2017 marks the appearance of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the inspiration behind the congregational chanting of the Holy Name of Krsna.

Devotees will be having non-stop kirtan from 1:45pm to 5:45pm on that day at the Toronto Hare Krishna Temple. Join us for this ecstatic 4 hours of singing the mahamantra and dancing. Please bring along family and friends.

The kirtan will be followed by festival activities in commemoration of the appearance and pastimes of Lord Chaitanya.

"In the Age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the name of Kṛṣṇa. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Kṛṣṇa Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions."
Srīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.5.32)

Cooking for Krishna - Kheer Sevian

The Toronto Hare Krishna Temple is starting a new online cooking series called "Cooking for Krishna" wherein delectable dishes from famous Hare Krishna cookbooks will be lovingly prepared and shown in a step-by-step fashion.  This series is presented by one of our very nice devotees of our Toronto Hare Krishna community, Lyudmila Mataji.  We hope you enjoy!  Please leave your comments below!

Cooking for Krishna - Kheer Sevian: A Creamy Vermicelli Dessert 
By: Lyudmila Tamahina

Today's recipe is from the famous Hare Krishna Cookbook, "Cooking with Kurma" by Kurma Dasa.  The recipe is the Creamy Vermicelli Dessert (Kheer Sevian).  You can pick up your copy of this amazing book at the temple!

Step One - Ingredients:
3 table spoon of ghee or unsalted butter
⅓ cup (85 ml) slivered raw almonds
⅓ cup (85ml) sliced raw pistachio nuts
6 whole cardamon pods, bruised
¼ cup (60 ml) sultanas
5 cups (1250 ml)  milk
75g fine vermicelli, broken into 3.75 cm ( 1 ½ - inch) length
½ cup (125 ml) sugar
¼ (60 ml) double cream
1-2 tablespoon (20-40 ml) pure rosewater (not essence or concentrate)

Step Two:
Melt the ghee or unsalted butter.

Step Three:
When it's slightly hot, drop in the nuts and cardamom, and saute them for 3-5 minutes, or until the nuts are golden brown.

Step Four:
When the nuts are almost done, drop in sultanas and fry them until they swell up.

Step Five:
Pour in the milk, add the vermicelli, increase the heat and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce heat slightly and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes until the pudding is thickened and creamy.

Step Six:
Add sugar and cream, mix well, cook a little more and then remove from the heat. Stir in the rosewater.

Step Seven:
Make a nice offering plate for Lord Krishna!

Step Eight:
Serve hot or chilled!

How I Became a Hare Krishna: Subuddhi Devi Dasi

The Toronto Hare Krishna Temple will be featuring an ongoing series on our website about how active members of our community became practitioners of the Hare Krishna faith.  Written by Krishna Rajesh, a young high school student in our community, this series will share devotees' personal stories of how they became Hare Krishnas!  Please share your encouraging words and feedback with a comment!

A Devotee's Journey - Subuddhi Devi Dasi
By: Krishna Rajesh

How does one begin to realize that their life is lacking something? How do they realize that they are in fact searching for something? And most of all, how do they find it?

For many of us, day to day life seems dry, if not full on boring and miserable. Some of us have our families to support us through life, and others have other means of relieving themselves. But some search for something more; a better, if not a more permanent solution. Some sort of soul-searching. A journey to find that one thing that will make our lives seem meaningful.

For many in the ISKCON community, this journey is what led them here; to become a practitioner of the Hare Krishna faith, where they are surrounded by seemingly unending spiritual bliss at all times. Such was the story of Subuddhi Devi Dasi as well.

Subhuddi Devi Dasi (previously known as Subash Taneja and affectionately known as Mother Subuddhi) was born into an originally Krishna conscious family. She had learnt to follow the traditional ways of a Vaishnava life from her childhood. But just like the many people who come from similar backgrounds, she had not fully understood the meaning behind Krishna consciousness; let alone appreciate it for what it is. Things had begun to change for her when she came to Canada in 1971. She became aware of the emptiness that was within her, and realized that she was desperately looking for something to make her feel whole.

One day, at a store, while working as a cashier, when she noticed one devotee, wearing saffron colored clothes, holding a packet of milk in one hand and a Krishna story book in the other.

“As soon as my eyes went on Krishna’s book, I said ‘Oh my god! Krishna in Canada?!’”, said Mother Subuddhi, during an interview while reminiscing about it.

This fateful encounter with a devotee soon led to her discovery of the temple, which at that time was located at 187 Gerard Street, around the end of September, 1971. Mother Subuddhi, along with her husband, then drove up to the temple. At a first glance, they were surprised.

“When we went to the temple that evening, my husband said that it doesn’t look like a temple, because it looks like a small little house! Not like the temple one would expect; with big domes and everything.”

Her husband then decided to knock the door, and see for himself if this was truly a temple. To his pleasant surprise, he was greeted by a nice lady, dressed in a white saree and wearing tilaka; the symbol of a Vaishnava which adorns the forehead, along with a bindi and a nose stud. With a gentle smile, she greeted him saying “Hare Krishna!”.

“My husband came running to me. He said ‘this is the right place!’”

Mother Subuddhi then realized that what she was desperately looking for, to fill up the hole within her had been found. And that was ISKCON. Ever since then, she has been regularly coming to the temple.

“I am simply glued to it!”

She says that the temple is her life and breath. She comes to the temple two to three times a day, continuously doing different services and looking for other ways to contribute to the temple. She believes that she gets the opportunity to do so because of Srila A.C. Bhaktivendanta Swami Prabhupada’s mercy. He is the founding Acharya of ISKCON and is also Subuddhi Devi Dasi’s spiritual master. He is also the one who gave Subuddhi her spiritual name, after getting initiated (a rite of passage for practicing Hare Krishnas).

She likes to do service and she is very passionate about it. And she is happy to serve the Deities, the temple, and the devotees. She says it motivates and keeps her going. It is her connection to Krishna. And she is always inspired by how the Krishna conscious movement has changed so many lives from all over the world.

Subuddhi Devi Dasi’s story is one of the many life stories that have been changed and revolutionized by ISKCON and Krishna consciousness.