The ISKCON Toronto Blog - News & Events!

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Welcome to the Toronto Hare Krishna Temple's website where you can find the latest exciting news and events at Toronto's Hare Krishna Centre!Kevala-Bhakti das (Keshav)
Updated: 1 day 4 hours ago

Welcoming Gopal Krishna Goswami Back to Toronto!

Fri, 2016-07-22 00:18
From July 22-27, 2016, the Toronto Hare Krishna Temple will have the great opportunity to have the association of Gopal Krsna Goswami! As part of his annual visit to Canada, he will be enlivening all of us through the discourse this upcoming Sunday Feast and will also be conducting programs across the Greater Toronto Area.

Gopal Krishna Goswami, a senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada, is presently GBC of many countries throughout the world including parts of Russia, America, Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, and India and has many disciples world wide.

Gopal Krishna Goswami was living in Toronto when he first met with Srila Prabhupada in June 1968 and soon after, took formal initiation from him. He is actively spearheading and involved with many of ISKCON projects globally and we are very excited to be welcoming him for his annual visit to Toronto.

12 Hour Kirtan - Friday, July 15, 2016 - 10am to 10pm

Mon, 2016-07-11 09:30
Sing & Dance All Day Long  - 12 Hour Kirtan Coming on Friday, July 15, 2016!

It’s that exciting time of the year again and now is the time for you to book a day off work or take leave from school!  But do you know why?  It is because the 12 Hour Kirtan is back and will be happening on Friday, July 15, 2016 from 10:00am to 10:00pm!
We are proud to announce that Toronto Hare Krishna Temple will be welcoming a whole slew of amazing kirtan artists!  Headlining the 12-Hour Kirtan will be B.B. Govinda Swami and joining him will be Agnideva das, Amala Kirtan das, Akinchina Krsna das as well as many other kirtaneers from all around the world! 
There is no other better way to prepare for the 44th Annual Festival of India (Ratha-Yatra) than singing and dancing the famous Hare Krsna mantra for 12 straight hours along with other devotees. Don’t forget to invite your friends and family to join the 12-Hour Kirtan with us!  We are very delighted and anxiously looking forward to seeing you there.
Please stays tuned for the kirtan schedule and join your favourite kirtaneer singing the Hare Krsna Maha Mantra!

He's Coming! Ratha-Yatra: Festival of India - July 15-17, 2016

Mon, 2016-07-11 09:00
Click Here to Visit the Official Festival Website!
Srila Prabhupada’s mercy continues to bless and nourish our international movement in a myriad of ways, and the global Ratha-Yatras are indeed a prime example of but one such benediction.  Srila Prabhupada’s grace has transformed the once-rare opportunity to pull the ropes of the beautiful chariots of Lord Jagannatha, Lord Baladeva, and Lady Subhadra into an international phenomenon for devotees the world over.

We in Toronto’s Hare Krishna community are exceedingly fortunate to have had the opportunity to present this Ratha-Yatra festival for the past four decades where thousands enjoy the festival amidst the association of great Vaisnavas and ecstatic kirtans.

We would like to humbly invite everyone to join us this year, on July 16th-17th, 2016 for our 44th Annual Ratha-Yatra here in Toronto.

Festivities will kick off on Friday, July 15th as we celebrate a 12-Hour Kirtan, featuring B.B. Govinda Swami, Agnideva das, Amala Kirtan das and more!  We will be blowing the roof off New Remuna Dhama (ISKCON Toronto) with this 12-hour kirtan marathon. Once again, the special event is planned for Friday, July 15th from 10:00am to 10:00pm. This kirtan event is not to be missed!

Of course, this precedes the big weekend!  Toronto’s Ratha-Yatra has the unique distinction of being accredited by Madhuha das, the organizer of the traveling Festival of India tour, as being the largest Ratha-Yatra in North America with close to 40,000 people in attendance and a veritable plethora of Srila Prabhupada’s books sold each year!

Some of the unique features of Toronto’s Ratha-Yatra include:
  • A Parade Right Through Downtown Toronto
  • A “Bhajan Kutir” with Non-Stop Kirtan
  • “Yoga Meltdown” – A Mini Yoga Festival
  • Live Cooking Demonstrations
  • Internationally-Acclaimed Arts & Entertainment and much more!
Most significantly, Toronto’s Ratha-Yatra presents a unique and wonderful outreach opportunity. Thousands of Torontonians observe the parade as it proceeds down Yonge Street and dance with us when the kirtan reaches its climax in the famous “Toronto Tunnel”.

Immediately following the parade, festival-goers enjoy a kirtan-filled ferry ride over to Centre Island, where celebrations continue for the rest of the weekend. While on Centre Island devotees will be able to enjoy the association of a number of distinguished personalities (see below)! The Centre Island festival-pavilion will also host a children’s area featuring fun and wholesome, Vedic-themed activities and events.  All in all, Toronto's Ratha-Yatra will offer everyone a chance to experience a unique festival promoting simple-living and high-thinking, with kirtan on the streets, underground, and on the water!

We hope to see you at the big event!  Hare Krishna!!!

Special Guests for Sunday Feast - July 10, 2016

Sat, 2016-07-09 09:30
On Sunday, July 10, 2016, the Toronto Hare Krishna Temple will be welcoming three very special devotees to our weekly Sunday Feast program: Dravida das, Subhag Swami, and Vaisesika das!  This Sunday will mark the final Sunday Feast before our biggest festival of the year, Ratha-Yatra (Festival of India)!

To help set the right mood, we will be having an extended program (the vegetarian feast served after 8:30pm) on that Sunday.  It promises to be a special evening and everyone is welcome!

Video: RY Launch Party @ Yonge-Dundas Square

Sat, 2016-07-09 07:30
On Sunday, June 26th, the Toronto Hare Krishna Temple hosted a "Launch Party" for our annual Ratha-Yatra (Festival of India) in the heart of the city at downtown Toronto at Yonge-Dundas Square.  Check out the video highlights below:

Special "Ratha-Yatra" Mridanga Course - July 9-10, 2016

Thu, 2016-07-07 06:00
Due to an outstanding response from our previous mridanga course, the Toronto Hare Krishna temple is proud to announce another training course which will happen on July 9th and 10th.

This course will teach karatalas (hand cymbals) to beginner students of mridanga, and mridanga to intermediate and advanced students of mridanga.

As an exciting idea, students who attend this course will be able to play their respective instrument(s) during the Ratha-Yatra parade which will happen on the next weekend!

We are offering this training at a very minimal cost of $31. Don't miss out on this amazing opportunity!  Details in the poster image below.


Festival Report: Snana-Yatra Festivities

Mon, 2016-07-04 10:19
Swimming in Snana-Yatra Bliss!
Festival Report by: Smruthi Venkateshan
Festival Photos by: Monisha Pillai

On Sunday, July 3, 2016, the Toronto Hare Krishna Temple continued it's countdown to the annual Ratha-Yatra (Festival of India) by celebrating Jagannatha Snana-Yatra almost 14 days before the grand festival.

This celebration is an integral part of the Ratha-Yatra festival when their Lordships Sri Jagannatha, Sri Baladeva and and Srimati Subhadra are bathed.

After bathing in special waters filled with love and devotion, Lord Jagannatha enacts a pasttime by becoming "sick". His sickness confines him and he receives special care for the next two weeks until he comes out at the Ratha-Yatra.

At the Hare Krishna Temple, devotees congregated and started out the festivities by preforming an aarti ceremony amidst wonderful kirtan. Following the aarti ceremony, the bathing ceremony for their Lordships took place with an extravagant kirtan lead by Hari Bhakti Das Prabhu. The Deities were bathed in a rainbow of colors, with varieties of fruit juice, milk, honey, yogurt, and holy water. At the same time, the devotees were immersed in the kirtan and the mercy of the Lord.

The evening continued with tantalizing tunes from the kirtan and a wonderful aarti and kirtan. Everyone who attend left beaming as bright as the full moon after enjoying a delightful vegetarian feast. 
Photo Gallery by

Snana-Yatra Festival this Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sat, 2016-07-02 10:44
A sure sign that the annual Festival of India (Ratha-Yatra) is just around the corner (July 16-17, 2016) is the annual Jagannatha Snana-Yatra festival! Snana-Yatra is a wonderful festival, wherein Deities of Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balarama and Lady Subhadra will be bathed amidst amazing kirtan and chanting!

After the bathing ceremony (Snana-Yatra), Lord Jagannātha becomes "sick". He is therefore removed to His private quarters, where no one can see Him. 

During the Ratha-Yatra Festival on July 16th, Lord Jagannātha will once again come before the public. Thus for thirteen days after the bathing ceremony, Lord Jagannātha is not visible to any visitors! Don't miss out this last opportunity to see Lord Jagannatha before his grand Ratha-Yatra festival!

Help Needed! - Hospitality for Ratha Yatra

Wed, 2016-06-29 22:10
Are you getting excited for our community to host the 44th annual Ratha-Yatra (Festival of India)? As the largest of it's kind in North America, our festival draws people from around the world. To that end, we need some help! Specifically:
  • Airport drop offs / pick ups during the week of the festival
  • Donations to the temple of bedding, fans, and air fresheners
  • Hosts for visiting devotees 
If you're able to help, please email Remember, this is your festival - let's show the world how hospitable Torontonians are!  Hare Krishna!

Canada Day Harinama - July 1st - 4pm

Tue, 2016-06-28 10:51
What can be a better way for devotees to celebrate Canada Day than going out on the annual Canada Day Harinama (outdoor chanting and dancing)?  It has been our Hare Krishna tradition to celebrate Canada Day by hitting the streets with chanting and dancing!

The main goal of this event is to invite as many people as possible to the upcoming RATHA-YATRA (FESTIVAL OF INDIA) by distributing cards! It will be an opportunity for us to create a buzz for the upcoming festival!

Let's all head out to the streets of downtown and share the sweet sounds of kirtan with everyone as a perfect gift for Canada Day

Everyone is asked to meet at the temple at 4:00pm, especially for those who would like to get dressed up, have gopi-dots painted, tilak, etc. and then head out at 4:30pm.

We will be doing a sit-down style harinama at Old City Hall, located on the northeast corner of Bay & Queen Streets!

What to Bring:
- TTC subway fare
- bottle of water
- your SMILE :)
- hat or sunglasses (if you like)

Please dress in the best vaishnava (devotional) attire so we can present Krishna Consciousness in the most beautiful way. Prasadam will be provided for all of devotees after we come back.

How You Can Help:
- give out Ratha-Yatra cards
- distribute books
- take pictures and videos
- or just wave and smile at people!

Ratha-Yatra Volunteer Opportunities!

Wed, 2016-06-15 06:11
With summer in full swing, the excitement surrounding the 44th Annual Festival of India (Ratha-Yatra) is growing as each day passes!

The Festival of India has always relied on the power of volunteer efforts to make it the amazing success that it is today. Volunteering also means meeting incredible, new people while helping to make one of Toronto’s most astonishing summer events a reality. 

Whether doing truck loading/unloading or helping on the days of the festival itself, the heart and soul of the Festival of India are the volunteers who make it happen! 

Join our enthusiastic and energetic team and be part of the Festival of India family!

To sign up and register to be a volunteer, please click here and you will be directed to our online form. Once you have signed up, one of our friendly Volunteer Coordinators will be in touch. 

For all general questions and/or concerns, please feel free to contact: 
Volunteer Coordination Team
Festival of India (Toronto)

Stay tuned for more exciting information about the festivities leading up to Festival of India!

RY (Festival of India) Launch Party - Sun, June 26th

Fri, 2016-06-10 01:02
Festival of India (Ratha-Yatra) Launch Party!
Date: Sunday, June 26th, 2016
Time: 12:00pm to 10:00pm
Location: Yonge-Dundas Square (southeast corner of Yonge and Dundas)
TTC Subway: Dundas Station

To kick off the official countdown to the 44th Annual Festival of India, a special day-long launch party will be held at Yonge-Dundas Square. The festival will include a cavalcade of activities, attractions and performances, including live art, vegetarian cooking demonstrations, free yoga classes, a South Asian bazaar, delicious food from Govinda’s, henna tattoos, face-painting, dress-in-a-saree booths, and more.

Also, be sure to stay until the evening to participate in an incredible, interactive mantra concert (kirtan) in which ancient sounds from the east will reverberate and grace Toronto’s busiest corner!

Click Here to Visit the Official Festival of India Website

Video: Victoria Day Outdoor Chanting (Harinama)

Mon, 2016-06-06 17:54
On Monday, May 23rd, most of Toronto was celebrating a day off, marking Victoria Day.  Meanwhile, enthusiastic members of the Toronto Hare Krishna community hit the streets with instruments, smiles and books to share an uplifting, spiritual message through harinama sankirtan (outdoor chanting and dancing)!  Led by Vaisesika Prabhu and Nirakula Mataji, the devotees setup at Bay & Queen and brought smiles to people's faces for several hours!  Check out the last 15 minutes of the harinama, which were captured by our dear Sathi Prabhu.

Holy Name Retreat with Devaki devi dasi

Mon, 2016-06-06 16:00
From June 10-14, 2016 the Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa Hare Krishna communities will be jointly hosting a "Holy Name Retreat" at a Buddhist Retreat Centre, located two hours away from Montreal.  This very special retreat will be facilitated by Devaki devi dasi, a senior devotee in our international Hare Krishna movement.

Some features of the Holy Name Retreat:

  • Deepen your relationship with the Holy Name.
  • Spend these days in seclusion, away from all usual distractions.
  • Hear about the glories of the Holy Name in the association of like-minded devotees and practically apply what you have heard in kirtan and japa.
  • Experience a different reality - associate with Krishna in person, through His Holy Name.
  • Open your heart and allow the Holy Name to do His mysterious work on it.
  • Qualification: This seminar is for seriously practicing devotees, since it is aimed to bring us to deeper levels of chanting. Therefore the participating devotees should be chanting some rounds regularly for at least one year.
  • Accommodation: In the Guest House of the Buddhist Retreat. These facilities will be offered on donation basis.
Click Here to Learn More & Register
About Devaki devi dasi:
This will be Mother Devaki's first time visiting Canada.  She was born in Germany in 1958 and, after a long search and journey, joined ISKCON in Sydney, Australia in 1985.

She is a disciple of HH Niranjana Swami.  During her ten years as a grhastha (1989-1999) she preached in Riga, Latvia and spent adventurous years in helping to pioneer the first more organised temple in the former Soviet Union. In 1999, she became a renounced traveling preacher.

For the last sixteen years she has been regularly visiting Ukraine, Moldova, Sweden, Germany, Nepal, India and Bangladesh.  She is now very actively involved in the IYF Student Preaching in Bangladesh, conducting seminars and IYF festivals under the expert guidance of HH Bhakti Purusottama Swami. She cultivates the mood of a "Bengali mother" and in so doing tries to create an atmosphere conducive for devotees to be happy in their services by encouraging them to develop their bhakti to their hearts content and by encouraging the men to become good leaders.

During her years of service in Bangladesh she developed deep insights into Vaisnava culture that have enriched her spiritual practice and inspired her preaching. She is sharing this wisdom in the course "Exploring the Roots of Spiritual Culture".

In Ukraine she has served under the expert guidance of HH Niranjana Swami, spreading the culture of care for the past fifteen years: on a personal level by serving as a spiritual guide and mentor to many devotees, by assisting devotees to become a spiritual guide themselves, and by lecturing and conducting seminars.

She helped establish Bhakti Sangam Festivals in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sweden and is regularly conducting Holy Name Retreats in Ukraine, Moldova, Sweden, Germany, Bangladesh and Ekachakra.  She was serving for several years as a member of the GBC Committee for Devotee Care and promotes spiritual care of every ISKCON devotee to the highest level of priority in our movement. In March 2014 she established the Institute for Spiritual Culture.

Video from Holy Name Retreat in Moldova (2014):

Seminar: Giving & Accepting Shelter - Devaki devi dasi

Wed, 2016-06-01 14:30
In spiritual culture giving and accepting shelter is the very basis to any meaningful relationship: we are always giving shelter to inferiors and accepting shelter from superiors. If this is not there, our relationships will be superficial.

The Toronto Hare Krishna Temple is very excited to announce a special educational course with Devaki devi dasi, who will be making her first visit to Canada.

In this course students will discover the necessary qualities to be eager for shelter, and the qualities we have to develop in order to give shelter, and what blocks us the most from giving and accepting shelter. We will also receive insights how this principle of shelter forms the foundation to "Devotee Care".

Please mark your calendars for the upcoming Seminar with Devaki Mataji.  Please Pre-Register by clicking here.

We are also happy to announce that Devaki Mataji is also conducting a Holy Name Retreat in Ottawa. You can find more information -

Giving and Accepting Shelter
Friday June 3rd to Monday June 6th
ISKCON Toronto

About H.G. Devaki Devi Dasi 
Devaki Devi Dasi was born in Germany in 1958 and, after a long search and journey, joined ISKCON in Sydney, Australia in 1985.  For the last sixteen years she has been regularly visiting Ukraine, Moldova, Sweden, Germany, Nepal, India and Bangladesh. She helped establish Bhakti Sangam Festivals in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sweden and is regularly conducting Holy Name Retreats in Ukraine, Moldova, Sweden, Germany, Bangladesh and Ekachakra. She was serving for several years as a member of the GBC Committee for Devotee Care and promotes spiritual care of every ISKCON devotee to the highest level of priority in our movement. In March 2014 she established the Institute for Spiritual Culture.

View Our Monthly Newsletter - June 2016

Wed, 2016-06-01 13:20
We are happy to share our June edition of our monthly newsletter!  Click the image below (or click here) to open the June 2016 newsletter.

Remember, you can receive our monthly newsletter right in your inbox by clicking here to sign up, or by using the sign up form on the right hand side of this page!  Hare Krsna!

Blast from the Past! Recognize the Devotees?

Wed, 2016-06-01 12:20
Our dear senior member of our Toronto Hare Krishna community, Praharana devi dasi, sent us this "blast from the past" picture of an initiation ceremony from the early days of Toronto's Hare Krishna community!  Can you recognize some of the devotees in the picture?  If so, leave a comment with your guesses!

How Not to Do Japa (Mantra Meditation)!

Tue, 2016-05-31 18:17
We came upon this pretty entertaining video online, courtesy of ISKCON Desire Tree.  Here is their description of the video:

“Nish, nish, ram, ram, nish, nish, ram, ram.” Prabhupada once imitated how we sometimes chant (the Hare Krishna mantra) without focus, without concentration, without proper pronunciation – how we chant when we don’t feel like chanting. You know the mood behind this chanting: “I have to chant but I’d rather be doing something else.” And in our minds we are thinking, “I can’t wait to get these rounds out of the way.” We all do this. And it can get pretty bad.

Devotees who chant rounds while watching football games on TV. Prabhupada explained that this type of chanting is more or less useless because it will not produce the desired result, love of Krsna. To even call this chanting is a stretch. It is closer to a ritual. But Prabhupada acknowledged the value in the ritual by saying that although this kind of chanting is not very productive, at least those who are chanting this way are keeping their vow to chant.

This kind of japa is called, “courtesy japa.” “Courtesy japa” means that since you have taken a vow – either to your spiritual master or yourself – to chant a certain number of rounds daily, you keep that vow while chanting the kind of japa which is shown in the video.

Can you Guess the Story Depicted?

Mon, 2016-05-30 13:57
One of our young, talented artists in our community, Amandeep, has been contributing his artistic abilities for the temple!  Below is a beautiful sketch that he has made, depicting a very special story that was recently highlighted at a recent festival!  Can you guess what is happening in this drawing?  If so, leave a comment and let us know!  Hare Krishna!

Doors Open Toronto This Weekend - May 28-29, 2016

Fri, 2016-05-27 14:23
This weekend, May 28th to 29th, the Hare Krishna Centre is participating in Doors Open Toronto. Annually, over 150 buildings of architectural, historic, cultural and social significance open their doors to the public for a city-wide celebration. While Toronto's Hare Krishna Temple is open, free of charge, to the public year-round, Doors Open presents an opportunity for the public to learn about the architectural and historical story of our amazing building!

Guided Tours will take place from 10am-5pm on Saturday May 24th and Sunday May 25th. Guided tours of the building highlight the architectural, historical and spiritual history of the building. There are also visual displays of media news clippings and interesting publications related to the building.

For more information, please visit the official Doors Open website by clicking here.  We hope to see you this weekend!  If you wish to volunteer, please contact us.