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, November 28, 2009

A Full Day of Appreciating the Bhagavad-Gita!

11:15:00 PM By Kevala-Bhakti Dasa (Keshav) , , , , , , No comments

Whether sitting in a class and hearing a reference to a verse from the Gita, or perhaps finally grabbing the sacred book off of our bookshelves at home to finger through some spiritual pearls of wisdom, any time spent with the Bhagavad-gita can illuminate the mind and stimulate the soul.

On Saturday, November 28th, devotees gathered at Toronto's Hare Krishna temple to honour the Bhagavad-gita's birthday! Yes, that's right, it's birthday! Known as "Gita Jayanti" this day marks the occasion when, over 5,000 years ago, Lord Krishna spoke this imperishable science to Arjuna, giving all of life's lessons in one supremely sublime conversation.

Over 5,000 years later, the Gita continues to resonate strongly in people's lives and it is with this in mind that the day began with bundled-up devotees hitting the streets for the Monthly Sankirtan Festival. The monthly festival involves groups of spiritualists sharing books of spiritual knowledge with the public. Amazingly, over 10 teams covered the whole city of Toronto, Bhagavad-gitas in hand, and helped share our beautiful spiritual culture with the whole city!

After spending the afternoon chanting, dancing and sharing books, it was back to the temple for the annual reading of the Gita. This year, as a special treat (and for our many new spiritualists), we had both the Sanksrit and English reading of the Gita taking place at the same time. The Sanksrit reading took place in the main temple room while, tucked in Srila Prabhupada's Quarters upstairs, devotees read the English translations!

After a great 6pm arati, Subhavilasa das gave a wonderful class about the importance of sharing these special books, especially focusing on the Bhagavad Gita. The program then took a lighter note with a comedic drama presentation, "The Telemarketer". Laughs were abound and the little skit was received warmly.

As a new initiative, the next part of the program featured an audience-interactive Gita Q&A session. With a panel of four esteemed devotees from our community: Dvija Gauranga das, Rupanuga das, Praharana devi dasi and Vrndavana das, the audience was given a chance to ask questions about the Gita either by speaking into a microphone or by writing their questions on paper which were then read aloud. The Q&A session zipped by as thoughtful questions and brilliant answers flew through the air. The evening ended with a beautiful kirtan at 8:00pm and a simple vegetarian feast.

The next few weeks will be very special at the Hare Krishna temple in Toronto. There will be a theme of books, books, books! Being such an auspicious time of year, Hare Krishna temples around the whole world place a special focus on sharing these spiritual gems. If you would like to obtain a Gita or sponsor a case of Gitas, please feel free to contact us and we'd love to provide you with more information.

Gita Jayanti festivities present a pretty unconventional approach as far as birthday celebrations go, but the warm faces and joyous hearts that could be found beaming throughout the day proved that while there was no candles and cake, the mood was certainly very sweet!

Please enjoy the festival slideshow below or click here for the picture gallery (photos courtesy of Rishi Kumar):