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, March 16, 2017

Video: Gaura Purnima Festival

This past Sunday, March 12, 2017, the Toronto Hare Krishna Temple celebrated one of our largest festivals of the year, Gaura Purnima.  Celebrating the anniversary of the advent of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is none other than Lord Krishna, the festival featured many special events.  Highlights of the festival included a beautiful abhisheka (bathing ceremony of small Deities) and a special presentation by Bhaktimarga Swami, Gaura-Shakti and Syamesvari Devi Dasi.  Check out the video below! (Special thanks to Sathi Prabhu for the video)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Gaura Purnima Festival: Sun, March 12, 2017

One of the Toronto Hare Krishna Temple’s biggest festivals of the year, Gaura Purnima,  falls on Sunday, March 12, 2017.  Celebrations will start early in the morning and continue into the evening where expect a huge turnout of devotees!

Gaura Purnima marks the divine appearance of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is non-different than Lord Krishna.  He appeared in Navadwipa (modern day West Bengal) in 1486. Lord Chaitanya was born on full moon and blessed everyone with the moonlike rays of his teachings. He launched the movement of chanting the Holy Names of Krishna and taught how we can gain enlightenment in this age by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

It will be a special day of celebrations and for more details about this sweet festival, including a schedule of events, keep an eye on our website. There are also many sponsorship opportunities still available for the festival: garlands, flowers, aratis and the festival feast.

Official Festival Day Schedule
  • 5:30am to 10:30am - Special Morning Program (Mangala Arati)*
  • 1:45pm to 5:45pm - 4-Hour Kirtan
  • 6:00pm to 6:25pm - Kirtan (Arati)
  • 6:25pm to 6:30pm - Welcome &Announcements
  • 6:35pm to 7:15pm - Special Presentation
  • 7:15pm to 7:25pm - Festival Patron Appreciation
  • 7:25pm to 8:00pm - Abhiseka (bathing ceremony)
  • 8:00pm to 8:30pm - Kirtan (Arati)
  • 8:30pm - Vegetarian Feast (Prasadam)
* Please Note: Daylight Savings Time kicks in the middle of the night between Saturday and Sunday.  However, the Deity Department shifts our clocks after the morning program.  So, the Mangala Arati will take place at 5:30am (4:30am if the time change never happened).

For sponsorship opportunities, feel free to contact us.

4-Hour Kirtan - March 12, 2017 - 2pm to 6pm

Sunday March 12, 2017 marks the appearance of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the inspiration behind the congregational chanting of the Holy Name of Krsna.

Devotees will be having non-stop kirtan from 1:45pm to 5:45pm on that day at the Toronto Hare Krishna Temple. Join us for this ecstatic 4 hours of singing the mahamantra and dancing. Please bring along family and friends.

The kirtan will be followed by festival activities in commemoration of the appearance and pastimes of Lord Chaitanya.

"In the Age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the name of Kṛṣṇa. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Kṛṣṇa Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions."
Srīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.5.32)



Cooking for Krishna - Kheer Sevian

The Toronto Hare Krishna Temple is starting a new online cooking series called "Cooking for Krishna" wherein delectable dishes from famous Hare Krishna cookbooks will be lovingly prepared and shown in a step-by-step fashion.  This series is presented by one of our very nice devotees of our Toronto Hare Krishna community, Lyudmila Mataji.  We hope you enjoy!  Please leave your comments below!

Cooking for Krishna - Kheer Sevian: A Creamy Vermicelli Dessert 
By: Lyudmila Tamahina

Introduction
Today's recipe is from the famous Hare Krishna Cookbook, "Cooking with Kurma" by Kurma Dasa.  The recipe is the Creamy Vermicelli Dessert (Kheer Sevian).  You can pick up your copy of this amazing book at the temple!



Step One - Ingredients:
3 table spoon of ghee or unsalted butter
⅓ cup (85 ml) slivered raw almonds
⅓ cup (85ml) sliced raw pistachio nuts
6 whole cardamon pods, bruised
¼ cup (60 ml) sultanas
5 cups (1250 ml)  milk
75g fine vermicelli, broken into 3.75 cm ( 1 ½ - inch) length
½ cup (125 ml) sugar
¼ (60 ml) double cream
1-2 tablespoon (20-40 ml) pure rosewater (not essence or concentrate)



Step Two:
Melt the ghee or unsalted butter.



Step Three:
When it's slightly hot, drop in the nuts and cardamom, and saute them for 3-5 minutes, or until the nuts are golden brown.



Step Four:
When the nuts are almost done, drop in sultanas and fry them until they swell up.



Step Five:
Pour in the milk, add the vermicelli, increase the heat and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce heat slightly and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes until the pudding is thickened and creamy.



Step Six:
Add sugar and cream, mix well, cook a little more and then remove from the heat. Stir in the rosewater.



Step Seven:
Make a nice offering plate for Lord Krishna!



Step Eight:
Serve hot or chilled!



How I Became a Hare Krishna: Subuddhi Devi Dasi

The Toronto Hare Krishna Temple will be featuring an ongoing series on our website about how active members of our community became practitioners of the Hare Krishna faith.  Written by Krishna Rajesh, a young high school student in our community, this series will share devotees' personal stories of how they became Hare Krishnas!  Please share your encouraging words and feedback with a comment!

A Devotee's Journey - Subuddhi Devi Dasi
By: Krishna Rajesh

How does one begin to realize that their life is lacking something? How do they realize that they are in fact searching for something? And most of all, how do they find it?

For many of us, day to day life seems dry, if not full on boring and miserable. Some of us have our families to support us through life, and others have other means of relieving themselves. But some search for something more; a better, if not a more permanent solution. Some sort of soul-searching. A journey to find that one thing that will make our lives seem meaningful.

For many in the ISKCON community, this journey is what led them here; to become a practitioner of the Hare Krishna faith, where they are surrounded by seemingly unending spiritual bliss at all times. Such was the story of Subuddhi Devi Dasi as well.

Subhuddi Devi Dasi (previously known as Subash Taneja and affectionately known as Mother Subuddhi) was born into an originally Krishna conscious family. She had learnt to follow the traditional ways of a Vaishnava life from her childhood. But just like the many people who come from similar backgrounds, she had not fully understood the meaning behind Krishna consciousness; let alone appreciate it for what it is. Things had begun to change for her when she came to Canada in 1971. She became aware of the emptiness that was within her, and realized that she was desperately looking for something to make her feel whole.

One day, at a store, while working as a cashier, when she noticed one devotee, wearing saffron colored clothes, holding a packet of milk in one hand and a Krishna story book in the other.

“As soon as my eyes went on Krishna’s book, I said ‘Oh my god! Krishna in Canada?!’”, said Mother Subuddhi, during an interview while reminiscing about it.

This fateful encounter with a devotee soon led to her discovery of the temple, which at that time was located at 187 Gerard Street, around the end of September, 1971. Mother Subuddhi, along with her husband, then drove up to the temple. At a first glance, they were surprised.

“When we went to the temple that evening, my husband said that it doesn’t look like a temple, because it looks like a small little house! Not like the temple one would expect; with big domes and everything.”

Her husband then decided to knock the door, and see for himself if this was truly a temple. To his pleasant surprise, he was greeted by a nice lady, dressed in a white saree and wearing tilaka; the symbol of a Vaishnava which adorns the forehead, along with a bindi and a nose stud. With a gentle smile, she greeted him saying “Hare Krishna!”.

“My husband came running to me. He said ‘this is the right place!’”

Mother Subuddhi then realized that what she was desperately looking for, to fill up the hole within her had been found. And that was ISKCON. Ever since then, she has been regularly coming to the temple.

“I am simply glued to it!”

She says that the temple is her life and breath. She comes to the temple two to three times a day, continuously doing different services and looking for other ways to contribute to the temple. She believes that she gets the opportunity to do so because of Srila A.C. Bhaktivendanta Swami Prabhupada’s mercy. He is the founding Acharya of ISKCON and is also Subuddhi Devi Dasi’s spiritual master. He is also the one who gave Subuddhi her spiritual name, after getting initiated (a rite of passage for practicing Hare Krishnas).

She likes to do service and she is very passionate about it. And she is happy to serve the Deities, the temple, and the devotees. She says it motivates and keeps her going. It is her connection to Krishna. And she is always inspired by how the Krishna conscious movement has changed so many lives from all over the world.

Subuddhi Devi Dasi’s story is one of the many life stories that have been changed and revolutionized by ISKCON and Krishna consciousness.

Krishna Funskool Kids Camp - March 13 to 17, 2017

Join us for five full days of fun-filled days of interactive spiritual learning; complete with daily themes, art and crafts, mantra meditation, yoga, music, fun cooking classes and much more – in a safe environment providing ample space and security.

Sumptuous breakfast, lunch and snack prasadam will be provided.  The camp will run for five days Monday, March 13th to 17th from 9:00 am to 5:00pm. You can register your child for one, more or all five days.

Please pre-register your child by filling up the form (click here).  Registration Fee:  $25 per day or $100 for all five days

You can complete the payment for registration in the following ways:

  1. In Person - On Sundays at ISKCON Toronto between 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. at the Front Desk. Please indicate the name of your child, age and March Break Kids Camp while making the donation.
  2. Online using PayPal/interac/EMT via donate@torontokrishna.com - Please add the name of your child, age and March Break Kids Camp in the description line.
  3. By Cheque payable to ISKCON Toronto

For more information please contact kids@torontokrishna.com

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Siva Ratri Celebrations - February 26, 2017

The Toronto Hare Krishna Temple will be celebrating Siva Ratri on Sunday, February 26, 2017.

Siva Ratri literally translates as, "the night of Lord Siva". Devotees of Lord Krishna view Lord Shiva as the greatest Vaishnava (devotee of Vishnu), based on Srimad-Bhagavatam, 12.13.16 says this (among other things) about Lord Shiva: vaishnavanam yatha shambhu, “Amongst all Vaishnavas, Lord Shiva is the best."

On this special Sunday, we will learn more about the great qualities and pastimes of Lord Siva. We extend a special invitation to you and your family to join us for this special festival!

Two-Month Mridanga Course for Beginners

The Toronto Hare Krishna Temple is very pleased to announce that we will be starting a two-month Mridanga Course for beginners, but everybody across all age groups and levels are welcome for this course. The start date for the course and other particulars are mentioned below.

This course will be taught by our resident devotee – Gopal Prabhu, a young, enthusiastic and energetic devotee who studied mridanga among other subjects in Gurukula from Vrindavana, India.

This course is primarily aimed for beginners to build the foundation for learning the art of mridanga. This course will still be very valuable for mridanga players of others levels to perfect their technique and playing.

Tentative Course Details: 

  • Dates: Starting on Saturday March 11th
  • Venue: ISKCON Hare Krishna Temple on 243 Avenue Road, Toronto
  • Timings: Wednesdays (6pm -7pm), Saturdays (10 am – 11 am)
  • Fee: $150 for the 2 months course (non-refundable)
  • Registration: Registration is mandatory and payments must be made before Saturday March, 4th 2017 (Payment instructions will follow)
  • Other Notes: It is highly recommended that you have your own mridanga because you will need it for practicing, if you don’t have one and are interested to buy, please let us know we will try to make some arrangement.  
Contact: Hitesh Patel or Santosh

If you're interested in taking the course, please click here and fill up the form and we will get back to you soon.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Video: Reliving the Sankirtan Spirit of 2016

Earlier this year, our Toronto Sankirtan Team unveiled a beautifully-made video which highlighted some of the accomplishments during the year 2016.  This year promises to be filled with more sankirtan - sharing our spiritual knowledge and culture with everyone in Toronto!  Check out the inspiring video below!

Video: A Vlogger's Take On Our Temple!

We recently ran into a simple little video, made by a Vloggers "Ki & Kesh".  They put together a nice little video about our temple on New Year's Day. It offers a nice perspective on the grand celebrations that took place on that day.  Check out their video below.