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, October 7, 2015

A Thank You to Sathi Prabhu

This past Sunday Feast, we took a little time out of our regular Sunday Feast announcements to thank one special devotee in our community, Sathi prabhu!  You may recognize Sathi prabhu from his tripod and camera which he carries around during every major event and festival at ISKCON Toronto, Scarborough and Brampton.

In a combined effort with Ananda Gauranga prabhu (Temple President of ISKCON Scarborough), Sathi prabhu has diligently captured so many of our major festivals.  The results are clear and YouTube is now home to many hours-long videos of all sorts of Hare Krishna festivities around the GTA!

Below are just a few examples of some his amazing videos that he has captured.  Once again, we also thank Ananda Gauranga Prabhu for so nicely taking the time to upload all these videos as well!

Canada Rugby Team Visits ISKCON Leicester (UK)

We were sent this neat story from ISKCON News about Canada's Rugby World Cup Team visiting the ISKCON temple in Leicester.  Leicester is a city and in the East Midlands of England.  Check out the story below or at the link here:

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Canada Rugby World Cup Team Visit ISKCON Leicester
By: Nimai Suchak ISKCON News on Oct. 3, 2015

The Canada Rugby World Cup Team attended the ISKCON Leicester Kirtan Fest this Sunday 27th September. 

The Canadian Team, who are in the UK for the World Cup tournament, were walking through Leicester’s City Centre, when they heard the sound of kirtan coming from the magnificent temple. Ananda Monet was leading a beautiful kirtan, and they were warmly welcomed by Leicester’s Bhakta Ash. 

Still in their red training tops, the rugby stars enquired about the festival, the significance of the Hare Krishna mahamantra, and about the ISKCON Centre in Leicester. In his usual, friendly way, Ash asked them to read and chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra, which they did so happily.

The Canadian Team then met some devotees, and spoke to young 8-year old devotee who also plays rugby in Leicester.

The devotees wished them the best of luck for their upcoming games in the Rugby World Cup.

Govinda's Review from a YouTube Vlogger

We came across a video from a YouTube "vlogger" (video blogger) about her experience coming to our temple restaurant, Govinda's!  She documents her visit to the restaurant in detail and shares her enjoyable experience from start to finish!

Of course, our Govinda's restaurant is always a great option for our devotee community when they are in the mood for a nice dining experience, or when they are hosting some family or friends!

Check out the neat video below:

Monday, October 5, 2015

Happy Birthday (Vyasa Puja) to Bhaktimarga Swami!

Today, October 5th, marks the birthday (what we often say as "Appearance Day") of our very own HH Bhaktimarga Swami!  As many of our regular temple-goers know, Bhaktimarga Swami serves as Co-GBC (Governing Body Commissioner) for our Canadian Hare Krishna temples.  This means that he helps guide the spiritual course for our Canadian temples and their respective communities.

Known for his amiable personality, humble disposition and incredibly artistic nature, Maharaj is at the very heart of so many giant projects across our country.  Our Toronto temple's vibrant community, innovative outreach and fledgling congregation are certainly attributable to our dearest Maharaj.

The disciples of Bhaktimarga Swami will be organizing a Vyasa Puja celebration on Monday, October 12th (the long weekend Monday) at 12:00pm at the temple.  In our tradition, it is customary for disciples to honour their guru (spiritual master) on the occasion of his appearance day.  Everyone is welcome to join these celebrations on Monday, October 12th. You don't need to be a disciple to attend, even well-wishers are welcome!

We encourage devotees to share your "birthday / appearance day" wishes to Bhaktimarga Swami by commenting below.  We will share your wishes with Maharaj!  Hare Krsna!

About Bhaktimarga Swami (from his website):
Born in 1952 in Chatham, Ontario, Canada, Bhaktimarga Swami (formerly John Peter Vis) adopted the monastic lifestyle of the Hare Krishna order in 1973.  Globally known for his “Canwalk” marathons, he achieved the remarkable feat of walking across the entire length of Canada from the west to east coast in 1996 which was detailed in the National Film Board of Canada’s documentary, “The Longest Road”.  Bhaktimarga Swami repeated the feat again in 2003 (this time from east to west), and yet again a third time (west to east) in 2007.

Believe it or not, The Walking Monk recently finished his FOURTH trek across Canada in the summer of 2014 (Canwalk 4) which began in the spring of 2012.  With this "friend-raiser", he is once again promoted pilgrimage and a more car-free, care-free lifestyle.  In addition to Canada he has also walked across the countries of Ireland, Israel, Fiji Islands, Mauritius, Trinidad and Guyana. 

Bhaktimarga Swami is a member of ISKCON (The International Society for Krishna Consciousness) founded by his teacher, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and is the GBC (Governing Body Commissioner) for ISKCON Canada.

In addition to marathon walking and administrative duties, Bhaktimarga Swami is an instructor of Bhakti Yoga (devotion to the Divine) and mantra meditation.  He is also a playwright, producer and director of live avant garde “morality theatre”, whose captivating works based on tales from ancient India are performed regularly across the globe. In his productions, The Walking Monk regularly engages youth from the global communities he visits in this “enter-lightenment” designed to uplift the spirit. 

Our Dear Head Pujaris at Krsna-Balarama Mandir

Our dear and beloved head pujaris (priests who perform worship services on the altar), Brahma das and Sathvathanu devi dasi are currently traveling in India.  Their travels mark the first time they have left the country in many years; their full focus on the daily care of our beautiful Deities has meant that traveling has been out of the question.  

So it was with great excitement that we heard (and then came across pictures) of Brahma prabhu performing an arati ceremony in the world-famous Krsna-Balarama Mandir in Vrndavana!  Check out the pictures below and be sure to leave a comment at the bottom of this post expressing your appreciation for our two wonderful head pujaris as they spend time in the holy and sacred land of Vrndavana!  We will try to forward your messages to them.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday Feast Pictures - Rohini Priya Prabhu Visit

A few snapshots from our recent Sunday Feast, wherein we welcomed His Grace Rohini Priya das!  We also commemorated the 50th anniversary of Srila Prabhupada's arrival in the West, aboard the ship named "Jaladuta".

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Name the Temple Cow Contest - Vote Here!

Govardhana Farms, ISKCON Govinda’s Herd, and ISKCON Toronto are Proud to Present:
"Name the Temple Cow Contest"

One of the key elements of our philosophy as Hare Krishnas is the care, protection and worship of the cow.  Last year, during Janmastami celebrations, small wooden cows were sponsored by devotees and the temple indicated that part of the proceeds from the donations for those small cows were going to be put towards cow protection.

Now, a year later, we are excited to announce that the temple will be saving a cow which will be rescued from slaughter. This cow will then be brought to Govardhana Farms where she will be cared for until the end of her natural life, never to be slaughtered. Under the protection of the soon-to-be-charitable organization, ISKCON Govinda’s Herd (part of Govardhana Farms), this cow will have sufficient grazing grounds, shelter, food, medical care and lots of love.

However, there is one thing that she is missing and that is a name! We are therefore proud to launch the “Name the Temple Cow Contest”.

Up until November 8th, 2015, devotees will all have the opportunity to participate in the process of giving the temple cow her very special name.  The name of the cow will be revealed during the Sunday Feast on November 8, 2015.

How to Participate?
A ballot box will be placed at the ISKCON Toronto reception desk. Printed cards with five different name options will be provided. All you have to do is fill out the ballet by choosing one of the names as your favorite and placing it in the box.   You can also vote online by using the form at the bottom of this post!

When and Where will the Temple Cow’s Name be Revealed?
The grand festival will occur at the ISKCON Toronto temple during the November 8th Sunday feast from 6pm to 8:30pm.

Who can Participate?
Everyone!  Please note, the online votes below will be added to the votes submitted in person at the Temple Reception Desk.

Name the Temple Cow!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Maha-Mantra Week - September 24 to October 4

50 years ago, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada stepped off the ship Jaladutta and arrived in Boston. He bore just one desire in his heart: to share the impeccable glories of the Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra all over the world.

Today, he is celebrated in over 500 ISKCON centres for sharing the imports of the pristine Vedic knowledge! Within a span of just over a decade, he established hundreds of temples and inspired thousands.

This year from Sep 24th - Oct 4th, 2015, ISKCON centres all over the world will commemorate the arrival of Srila Prabhupada to the West.  Here in Toronto, we have 10 days of various activities lined up for you. Also known as the 'World Holy Name Week', the intention of this festival is to appreciate and share what Prabhupada has given us and spread the (Holy) word! We encourage you to make the most of this by participating in multitude of ways; please read on for details.

Srimad Bhagavatam Themed Discourses 
Interactive sessions ranging from Srila Prabhupada's: an inspiration for all and how to improve chanting to how to lead a balanced life and significance of chanting and more.

The 50 Distribution Challenge
So how did he achieve all this? Was it a cakewalk or a river upstream? A special Srila Prabhupada corner celebrating his glory will be set up where you can find books related to his life story, as well as personal instructions- Lilamrita, biography, vyaspuja, sikshamrita. Also available in foreign and Indian languages. Get a complete set of books that give description on the man who was featured in an article by CNN (Famous Folks Launched Careers After 50)

Special Events During the Week

  • Thursday, Sep 24: Inaugural Movie Night on Srila Prabhupada
    Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
    An inspirational Thursday with viewing from "Following Srila Prabhupada" with butter popcorn and juice!
  • Friday, Sep 25: Downtown Street Harinama 
    Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
    Sway to Kirtan with pomp down the streets of Yorkville.
  • Saturday, Sep 26: Monthly Sankirtan Festival
    Time: 11am - 2pm
    Join us for the monthly sankirtan festival, this month in honour of Srila Prabhupada's magnanimous gift. We will celebrate it as the festival of gratitude, and share kirtan, prasad and the holy name with the residents of Toronto.
  • Saturday, Sep 26: 3 Hour Kirtan / Musical Chanting
    Time:: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
    After the monthly sakirtan festival, come join us for a 3 hour kirtan in the evening.  Immerse yourself into the sublime depths of the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra in the association of others!
  • Sunday, Sep 27: 32 Rounds Day
    Time: 4:30 am onwards
    A chance to connect deeper with the holy name by chanting 32+ rounds in association of other devotees!
  • Tuesday, Sep 29: League of Devotees - Coming Together to Serve Srila Prabhupada
    Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
    Special edition of the Tuesday Sanga in honour of Srila Prabhupada
  • Friday, Oct 2: Prabhupada Memories
    Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
    An intimate evening of association with disciples of Srila Prabhupada and an opportunity to hear about their experiences.
  • Saturday, Oct 3: Nuit Blanche Harinama- Welcoming Srila Prabhupada
    Time: 9:00 pm onwards
    The grand finale of the Maha-mantra week, harinama through the city's biggest art festival
10 days of fun celebrations! See you there! For further information, please feel free to contact-
Hladini Gopika Devi dasi: 647-989-1806 or email: