It was an intimate gathering of spiritualists that came together on the evening of Thursday, January 28, 2009. Their common interest was to celebrate the advent of Lord Nityananda, over 500 years ago.
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.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Lord Nityananda appeared as Lord Caitanya’s principal associate for spreading the congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord. He especially spread the holy name of the Lord throughout Bengal. He is considered an incarnation of Lord Balarama, Krishna's older brother.
Festivities began with the 6:00pm arati and led into a riveting class by Rupanuga das. Beginning with collective japa, the class dove deep into the glories and pastimes of Lord Nityananda. The class finished with another collective chanting session.
Taking advantage of the small crowd, everyone in attendance then got a chance to take part in a special "pilgrimage". This "pilgrimage" involved everyone standing together and visiting different areas of the temple which became little "bhajan kutirs" (kirtan corners).
Just like the travelling kirtan parties from 500 years ago, the devotees gathered and, led once again by Rupanuga das, made their way from the temple room to the grand Dining Hall, chanting all the way. On the way, Rupanuga prabhu, our "pilgrimage leader" stopped to tell a story of Lord Nityananda. As devotees walked into the Dining Hall, the sweet sounds of harmonium, mrdanga and karatalas bathed over them. Collectively sitting together, the assembled spiritualists chanted with their hearts!
It was then off to the second location... the balcony! On the way, our "pilgrimage leader", Rupanuga das, stopped to tell another wonderful story. Another sweet bhajan (song) and another chance to go deeper in meditation of Lord Nityananda. Once finished, the "pilgrimage" then made it's way back down to the temple room.
This led right into the 8:00pm arati and hearts were sent skywards! Another neat feature of the evening was that, throughout the evening, devotees were encouraged, whenever they were inspired, to write small offerings to Lord Nityananda, which were then placed on the altar during the 8:00pm arati.
A fabulous feast awaited everyone at the end of the evening and smiles were abound as the atmosphere became soaked with bhakti! All in all, it was a meditative and sublime spiritual birthday bash!
You can view the festival webcast recording by clicking here!
Also, be sure to check out the festival slideshow below, or click here for simple gallery: