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.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Look Out Caribana, Here We Come!!!

3:05:00 AM By Kevala-Bhakti Dasa (Keshav)

Toronto's Hare Krishna Centre is excited to announce that we have been given an opportunity to officially be part of this year's Caribana parade!  Known officially as the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto, this year's festival is expected to draw over one million people!

The highlight of the entire festival is a giant parade and, this year, Toronto's Hare Krishna community has been given the opportunity to be part of the parade and we will be bringing our drums, karatalas and a massive sound system!

The plan is for us to bring as many devotees as possible, in a colourfully-coordinated fashion to the parade and bring the sweet sounds of kirtan to Caribana!!!  We will likely be even bringing one of the chariots that we used for the recent Ratha-Yatra (Festival of India) as the main focal point for our part of the parade!  We are actively looking for as many devotees as possible to take part in this amazing opportunity.

The parade will take place on Saturday, August 4th from 8am until 6pm.  If you are interested to learn more about being part of this amazing kirtan experience (and are available on August 4th), please click here to fill out this form.


Anonymous said...

hare krishna!
Wow! When I first saw the email about hare krishna coming to caribana I was extatic! Another rathayatra from July 14th...I just couldn't get enough! I also wanted to express my thoughts and feelings about this, and I am not 100% sure if you are aware.
Me from a guyanese decent I have been to caribana twice. With it being celebrated in Toronto, it seems to have lost its main focus which was the Caribbean celebrating and dancing for their freedom. In Toronto, the only best part of caribana is to see the beautifully decorated costumes participants walk in! I am in awe as you see the effort that put into a costume. The other part is of caribana is just down right degrading, and I am ashamed to even say I am Caribbean when I witness what goes on every year.
The festival is highly indecent, the music that is played have explicit lyrics with sexual content ans swearing. As you walk around all over you will smell smoke, drugs, and people drinking alcohol and are highly intoxicated. People are dressed very provocative, which is such a disgrace. You will also be passing by stalls that will be selling meat and see smoke from the bbq that will potentially go on the chariot. Also, both years that I have gone was 2011 and 1997 there were shootings, and innocent victims were injured. It was scary enough that I was there and had to run for my life for safety. I ask that you re-think taking holy chanting to such an indecent festival. This year was my 22nd year consecutively at rathayatha, and I stand proud by krishnas chariot, but I can't help but think it would be soooo impure to take krishna there and to chant his holy name in such a place where the minds of people are in the wrong place. I don't know if they would look down on iskon being there.
I just wanted to get my thoughts out there to you. I don't know if this will mean anything, but I wanted to express my opinion for krishnas sake.

Keshav said...

Thank you for sharing your concerns about our upcoming involvement in the Caribana festival. We actually share many of your concerns and have been in touch with our contacts at the festival about this. The one thing that you may find reassuring is that we will be part of the official parade and not all the "extra curricular" things that happen around the parade. Security will be tight during the parade and we plan on sticking together as a group of Hare Krishna devotees. We are trying our best to ensure that things go smoothly and safely. If you would like to share more of your thoughts, please feel free to email us at Thank you for you care and concern. Hare Krsna!

Anonymous said...

Hare Krishna,

As a loyal member of the Toronto temple for many years, I feel drawn to express my concern over the proposed participation by the devotees in what can only be described as a lewed and intoxicant driven 'orgy'.
The Toronto Caribbean Festival, or 'Carabana' as shown on many TV channels, has been plagued not only by public displays of the lowest kind of indecency, against women, but more alarmingly gun play, and murder.
I ask myself several questions, is this the environment that Srila Prabhupada would want us to expose our 'mothers and children' too? Are we so 'hungry' for exposure that we don't mind been catergorised with the 'jump up' party? Is this event authorized and blessed by Bhakti Marga Maharaj our GBC?
I understand the thinking behind giving the 'Holy Name' to society at large, but is there no other opportunity available, where we can preach to those who might be a little more receptive?
My biggest fear is that this becomes a 'slippery slope'. What about other festivals in Toronto where the news coverage is big, the Gay/Lesbian parade for instance. Would that also be a considered for the news coverage it would give the temple?
A line has to be drawn, it's not all publicity that's good, and in the aftermath we have no control over how the media will 'spin' the news story of the 'Hare Krishna's worshiping at 'Sodom and Gomorrah'.
No offense intended, just some thoughts from the congregation.

Anonymous said...


I have to agree with the mentioned concerns. As a devotee who is also a mother of little kids I have to say that associating the Rath Yatra with Caribana would be open opportunity to bring the Iskcon community's reputation to shams. We as a family participate in the rath yatra every year and feel that we would never attend Caribana even if there was a Rath Yatra included with it. There are far too many negative things the kids would be exposed to and feel that this decision to include a religious and sacred event to a materialistic event like Caribana is a poor decision. I hope you will withdraw your decision to go forward with this event.

Anonymous said...

Hare Krishna,
PAMHO. AGT Srila Prabhupada.
Thank you Prabhus for the comments.

We will be having a meeting about this tomorrow and indeed these comments will be printed and discussed since they are valid concerns you are expressing for devotees, welfare and image.

First let me offer some clarifications. The participation with our float is NOT open. Devotees will be selected from registered devotees that want to participate. There are NO kids allowed and NO one under 18.

We will NOT get to see the parade since we will be stuck behind the exhaust pipe of another float ahead and within the 18 float section of our parade we can be requested to be placed behind a more decent float, let's say a steel band.

We are not mixing with the crowds but rather marching within the baricades with an official float with controlled number and quality of devotees. It is NOT a Ratha Yatra nor a free for all.

Yes there are concerns as to the display of kali-yuga and the decency. Thus the restriction on kids, youth, bramacharis and devotees that are not "paka" (solid).

Yes, HH Bhaktimarga Swami was consulted when he was here for the AGM and there is a group of festival organizers, sankirtan devotees and administrators working together to make this happen.

The only motivation to go to this event is to expose the revellers to the Holy Name. We will stand in stark contrast to the rest of the parade! And everyone deserves Mahaprabhu's mercy.

So we are going to mull over the points. But some food for thought for you...
The example of Jagai and Madhai comes to mind when the most merciful Lord Nityananda gave these drunkards the love of Hari which transformed their lives.

Also our beloved Srila Prabhupada at such an advanced age came to degraded areas including the Bowery district as well as Haight Ashbury. There were druggies and misfits but Srila Prabhupada freely gave this gift of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's sankirtan movement.

We all know about Srila Prabhupada doing kirtan at the famous Mantra Rock Dance with the Grateful Dead, LSD, pot filling the air. It is not only part of ISKCON history but the fact is that Srila Prabhupada made history.

So the flip side of the coin is that we are trying to spread Mahaprabhu's love and although we are just specs of dust compared to Srila Prabhupada's magnanimosity we are doing this as service to him.

This is NO party for us but involves exhausting last minute preparation, funds, training and then hours in the gruelling sun...all as service to the sankirtan movement.

So I just wanted to present the flip side so devotees can get an idea of the thinking process.

I hope this meets you in blissful service to Srila Prabhupada!

your dasanudas

namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-saktis
tatrarpita niyamitah smarane na kalah
etadrsi tava krpa bhagavan mamapi
durdaivam idrsam ihajani nanuragah

O my Lord, Your holy name alone can render all benediction to living beings, and thus You have hundreds and millions of names, like Krsna and Govinda. In these transcendental names You have invested all Your transcendental energies. There are not even hard and fast rules for chanting these names. O my Lord, out of kindness You enable us to easily approach You by Your holy names, but I am so unfortunate that I have no attraction for them.

Mahabhagavat Das SDA said...

Hare Krishna!

Thank you very much for your comments!

We really appreciate these comments. Only persons who care would comment on these things. Thank you for caring for us and Srila Prabhupada's Krishna consciousness movement.

We are not going for name or fame or money. We are going to distribute the Holy Names and Srila Prabhupada's books. Last year, a stalwart team of devotees went and distributed more than 100 books in a short time to the Caribana crowd. This year, if you all help us, we can change the face of Toronto, with thousands of books by Srila Prabhupada!

As one devotee wrote, we are a mercy mission. We are meant especially go to those who are most in need of Lord Chaitanya's mercy. And when we extend ourselves in this way, Lord Chaitanya's mercy is showered upon us.

1. We are not taking any of our sacred deities
2. We are taking anyone under 18 years of age.
3. We are recommending that everyone chant their minimum rounds before coming to the Sankirtan outing.
4. We are part of the official parade. We will see the exaust pipe of the float ahead of us, and our big chariot behind us.
5. We will hear only the Holy Names, and give an opportunity for others to hear the Holy Names.
6. We will all take only Krishna Prasadam

We beg you to please please come, and if you cannot come, then your prayers for our well-being would be gratefully appreciated by us.

Please spread the word and get as many as possible devotees in this wonderful exercise.

We have this golden chance given by Krishna to present Harinam Sankirtan to more than 2 million people.

Please help us!