This past weekend, devotees at ISKCON Toronto got a flavour of what it must be like to chant, dance and joyfully take part in the annual festivals which HH Indradyumna Swami is famous for! Like a spiritual tornado, Indradyumna Swami and HG Sri Prahlad das flew into Toronto and brought amazing kirtan, electric discourses and an atmosphere of jubilance!
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.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
3:29:00 PM By Kevala-Bhakti Dasa (Keshav) classes, festival, kirtan, pictures, program, sunday feast, swami, webcast, youth 6 comments
It all began on Friday, February 20th, when Maharaj and Sri Prahlad das arrived at the temple where devotees greeted them with kirtan and garlands. Maharaj was then brought upstairs to Srila Prabhupada's Quarters where he met his dear godbrother, HH Bhaktimarga Swami. After a nice foot-bathing ceremony, a traditional way to greet renunciate monks, Maharaj and Sri Prahlad das settled into their accomodations at the temple as they rested before a scheduled home program in the evening.
Visnu Hari das and his family welcomed Maharaj for a packed home program that evening where the assembled devotees got their first taste of the incredible kirtans of Maharaj and Sri Prahlad das! A mouth-watering Ekadasi feast awaited everyone at the end of the memorable evening.
The next day, morning Bhagavatam class was given by Sri Prahlad das and the day was off to a busy start! In the afternoon, about 40 youth of ISKCON Toronto met with both Indradyumna Swami and Bhaktimarga Swami. It was a very personal class that was given and the focus was placed on the importance of chanting and doing daily mantra meditation. The mood was very spritually intense at times and light-hearted at other moments!
As the evening approached, devotees trickled into the temple as a sudden mini-snowstorm slowed the city down. However, by the time things got rolling, the temple room was full and Maharaj led an absolutely incredible kirtan for over an hour that had everyone dancing. As everyone collectively caught their breath after dancing like crazy, Maharaj showed one of his DVD presentations about the annual Woodstock festival in Poland!
Sunday morning started with another inspiring Bhagavatam class and continued with a visit to ISKCON Brampton where devotees eagerly awaited Maharaj and Sri Prahlad das for their weekly afternoon Sunday Feast.
Then came the big show!
Sunday evening marked celebrations at ISKCON Toronto for Siva-Ratri and there was a certain noticeable buzz in the air! It all began before the Sunday Feast as two wonderful local devotees, Braja Vilasa das and Raga Manjari dasi received second initiation from Maharaj. After the fire sacrfice and ceremony, Maharaj unleashed a WILD kirtan! It started as a mellow kirtan as devotees circumambulated the yajna kunda but suddenly Maharaj kicked it up to a rocking tempo and led everyone in a "kirtan congo line" around the whole temple room. The kirtan concluded with a wild tempo that had everyone dancing, Maharaj included, in absolute ecstasy.
And the Sunday Feast hadn't even begun yet!
Maharaj led the 6:00pm arati as the temple room filled to capacity and he continued with the leading of Nrsimha-Pranama (prayers to Lord Nrsimhadeva). Setting the tone for the evening, devotees were then welcomed to ISKCON Toronto's Siva-Ratri celebrations and Maharaj settled in to give what ended up being an enthralling class! Speaking about the glories of Lord Siva, Maharaj had the assembled devotees hanging off his every word! This was followed by a small arati which was performed to a deity of Lord Siva.
A large group of Tamil devotees from our Toronto Hare Krishna community had sponsored the Siva-Ratri celebrations in memory of loved ones who were suffering in Sri Lanka due to the recent violence. On that note, as a special way to help pray for peace, HH Bhaktimarga Swami then led everyone in a collective mantra meditation session which led into the 8:00pm arati. The tone was both meditative and reflective as the meditation for peace filled the temple.
It was then HG Sri Prahlad das' turn to wield some magic on the evening! As devotees stood to take darshan of the Deities, who were exquisitely dressed, Sri Prahlad das led an unforgettable kirtan that had the whole temple room jumping! The kirtan continued well into the night as devotees got a chance to personally meet Indradyumna Swami.
It was a sad farewell on Monday morning as both Maharaj and Sri Prahlad das left for New York and New Jersey. But devotees across the city certainly had blissful memories of the kirtan, prasadam, and classes dancing in their minds as they got back to their normal routines!
As a special treat, almost all the sessions that Indradyumna Swami and Sri Prahlad das conducted were broadcasted live online on this blog! We are happy to announce that the live streaming was a grand success and devotees from all around the world logged on to watch the festivities! Of particular note, Sunday's Siva-Ratri celebrations were watched by almost 125 viewers online!
Devotees at New Remuna Dhama, Toronto's fledgling Hare Krishna community were taken on a spiritual ride this past weekend and eagerly await HH Indradyumna Swami's next visit to Toronto!
Picture Gallery from HH Indradyumna Swami's Visit