It was an overcast, wet and soggy evening that threatened to "dampen" Rama Navami celebrations at Toronto's Hare Krishna temple. As the rain drizzled across the city, one could just imagine devotees deciding to stay home, perhaps crawling under blankets and maybe throwing in DVDs of the "Ramayana" as their way of celebrating Rama Navami. At least that way, they would stay dry!
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.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
2:28:00 AM By Kevala-Bhakti Dasa (Keshav) deities, festival, kirtan, pictures, program, swami 5 comments
Alas, there is something about a festival at New Remuna Dhama that will always bring a crowd, no matter what! Devotees in Toronto are used to tolerating the many challenges sent forth by Mother Nature and so, while they might straggle in a bit late, one can be assured that once a festival gets rolling, the warm, smiling faces of devotees will fill the temple and beat out any bad-weather-blues!
So, while yucky weather certainly brought scowls to the faces of many across Toronto, it simply provided a wonderful contrast for the colourful celebrations at the temple which took place in honour of the appearance of Lord Ramacandra!
Millions of years ago, in the age called Treta-yuga, the Supreme Personality of Godhead descended as a king, Lord Rama, or Ramacandra, to establish the principles of religion, morality and righteousness. In an epic victory of good over evil, Lord Rama, the pious King of the world, defeated the wicked Ravana in the great battle of Lanka.
Before the evening festival on Friday, a 24-hour reading of the Ramayana had taken place, starting the day before. The reading wrapped up just as the Friday evening celebrations began.
Festivities kicked off with an energetic arati led by HH Bhaktimarga Swami. Maharaj then gave a class where he eloquently spoke of the qualities and nature of Lord Rama. As devotees allowed their minds to swim in the ocean of Lord Rama's unlimited attributes, the program continued with a guided kirtan meditation (nama-yajna).
Gathering around a beautifully decorated altar in the middle of the temple room, the assembled devotees first entered the guided meditation by collectively chanting the maha-mantra along with an audio track of Srila Prabhupada. Once the mood was set, the nama-yajna began and the kirtan took over. After a goosebump-inducing kirtan, an arati to Lord Rama was performed, leading into the 8:00pm arati as the altar doors swung open. A vegetarian feast awaited devotees at the end of the program and smiles were abound while rain puddles swelled outside.
Chanting, dancing and feasting. These are the three elements that are staples of a Hare Krishna festival. Like the basic required ingredients of even the most complex of recipes, these three things can always be found when devotees assemble to celebrate. Friday evening's "spiritual-recipe" featured one extra tantalizingly delightful ingredient: the sweet taste of the glorification of Lord Rama!
View our Festival Photo Gallery Below: