In the weeks leading up to the visit of HG Vaisesika das to Toronto's vibrant Hare Krishna temple, excitement began to build about finally bursting beyond the doors of our comfortable home at 243 Avenue Road and hitting the streets to share Krishna Consciousness, our spiritual culture, through sankirtan.
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, June 2, 2009
5:34:00 AM By Kevala-Bhakti Dasa (Keshav) classes, kirtan, multimedia, outreach, pictures, program, recordings, seminars, sunday feast 3 comments
Sankirtan, known as "book distribution", is one of the original cornerstones of the modern Hare Krishna tradition. Many people associate the early days of the Hare Krishna movement with the presence of bright-eyed monks on the streets of major urban centres in the 1960's and 70's as they shared the ancient wisdom of our tradition with anyone and everyone through our spiritual books! The streets of Toronto were no different back then but, oh my, how times change.
With a huge community, grand festivals and outreach programs in mainstream venues, one could have argued that Toronto's Hare Krishnas had perhaps forgotten the art of sharing our books right on the streets, with anyone willing to listen!
Then along came HG Vaisesika das, a personified "spiritual sonic boom", who won the hearts of local devotees with his enthralling words, ecstatic kirtans and uncanny ability to instill confidence in the most timid of devotees. Presenting a "Sankirtan Orientation Seminar", Vaisesika das opened up the weekend by giving a theoretical presentation on the art of sankirtan. Almost 50 devotees turned up on the seasonable Friday night and they hung off Vaisesika das' every word.
As a special feature, the seminar was broadcasted live and devotees from as far away as Halifax, Montreal and Winnipeg tuned in to watch (seminar broadcast recording available here).
A good night's sleep on Friday night prepared a charged-up group of devotees for a full Saturday! Vaisesika das opened the day with an inspiring class on Srimad Bhagavatam and then, after a delightful breakfast, took theory and turned it to practice as he guided over 30 devotees in practice sessions about how to share books with the people of Toronto.
The electric enthusiasm in the air had the temple bursting at the seams and the devotees hit the streets with Vaisesika das leading the way. A few hours later and almost 130 books had been sold to people walking about the streets of the bustling downtown core.
Of course, it wouldn't be a "booked" weekend if there wasn't a grand Sunday Feast! Giving a class on the glories of the Bhagavad Gita, Vaisesika das had a packed temple room riveted with his every word. Less than an hour later, he had the same temple room going absolutely crazy in a wild and rocking kirtan that spilled well into the night! The evening didn't seem to want to end and devotees just didn't want to go home.
Yes, it was simply that kind of weekend!
The books that Srila Prabhupada gave us are the bedrock on which our Hare Krishna movements sits atop. In a packed and exciting weekend, HG Vaisesika das reminded us of the importance of enthusiastically sharing this knowledge with the world and thus helping to introduce Krishna Consciousness to so many people.
Like an amazing book that you wish will never end, this past weekend at ISKCON Toronto was filled with knowledge, laughter and excitement. Alas, the weekend came to a close and we wished Vaisesika das a fond farewell. However, we've simply placed a bookmark on this page and eagerly await Vaisesika das' next visit so that we can pick up right where we left off - with "booked", inspiring weekends!