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 week 4 hours ago

Video: Piano Hare Krishna Melody by Bada Hari das

Thu, 2016-02-04 15:49
We came across this incredibly sweet and mellow video by Bada Hari das, capturing a moment as he chants an amazing Hare Krishna melody while playing the piano!  Here is the description he posted for the video on his YouTube channel:

While visiting my family's home in Monterey, [California] a couple of years ago, I got a chance to have some alone time with their old grand piano and some bhajans. I don't often get this chance and it's a nice meditation for me. This Mahamantra tune is a favorite I learned from Madhava Prabhu. The piano accompaniment is simple and spontaneous. My better half captured this, so here it is.

A Spontaneous Trip Down Memory Lane

Thu, 2016-02-04 11:13
With the unusually warm (but awesome) weather that we had in Toronto yesterday, Bhaktimarga Swami decided to head out for a spontaneous walk in the afternoon with his two visiting godbrothers: Drupada das and Garuda Vahan das - devotees who were two of the many early pioneers of our Toronto Hare Krishna community.

The walk was a "trip down memory lane" of sorts as the chosen route was through the trendy Yorkville neighbourhood.  While Yorkville is now known for being a swanky, upscale neighbourhood with expensive boutiques, restaurants and shops, it was a very different mood in the 1960s.

As explained by the three senior devotees on their walk, "Yorkville was the hippy enclave of Toronto and probably even the hippy capital of Canada in the 1960s!".  As each street was explored, Bhaktimarga Swami, Drupada das and Garuda Vahan das, would often pause at various buildings and talk about the incredible history of the neighbourhood and how devotees would often do sankirtan there!

The trip ended with a visit to one of the buildings just south of the temple, on Avenue Road, which used to house the Govinda's restaurant!  Drupada prabhu remarked, "You could get a full vegetarian thali for $2 or $3!".

Back at the temple, everyone was most appreciative of the short but certainly memorable walk down memory lane!  Check out pictures below (downloadable pictures available here):
Photo Gallery by

View Our Monthly Newsletter - February 2016

Wed, 2016-02-03 13:50
We are happy to share our February edition of our monthly newsletter!  Special thanks to Thulasi Sathianathan , one of our active young devotees, for taking the lead on the monthly newsletter project.  Click the image below (or click here) to open the February 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!

Nityananda's Appearance Day - Sat, Feb 20th

Tue, 2016-02-02 23:23
One of the sweetest festivals of the year Nityananda Trayodasi will fall on Saturday, February 20, 2016! A warm invitation goes out to you and your family to join us as we celebrate the advent (appearance) of Lord Nityananda.

Lord Nityananda (also known as Nityananda Prabhu, Nitai, Nityananda Balarama) appeared in the village of Ekachakra, in West Bengal, India, around 1474. In the Caitanya Caritamrita and other scriptures He is declared to be the avatar of Lord Balarama, the direct expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. He is honoured as Lord Chaitanya’s principal associate for spreading the congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord.

It will be a special day of celebrations and for more details about this sweet festival and 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 festival feast.  To sponsor, please contact us!

Next Official Mridanga-Drum Course: Feb 26 to Mar 6

Tue, 2016-02-02 12:40
The Toronto Hare Krishna Temple is, once again, offering a workshop for students to become well-versed with the mridanga-drum, which is one of the most revered, enjoyed and vintage sounds of Hare Krishna culture.

The course will be offered between Feb 26th and March 6th. The beginner/intermediate session will happen on the weekend of the 26th, 27th and 28th of Febuary, while the expert sessions will happen on the 5th, 6th and 7th of March.

Personalized sessions (1-on-1) will also be available to students during the weekdays between February 29th and March 3rd for registered students of the course.

You can officially register for the seminar through the form below or by clicking here.

The official course poster also contains more information:


Video: 2015 Sankirtan Highlights

Thu, 2016-01-28 14:39
Last Saturday, the temple hosted it's annual Sankirtan Warriors Appreciation Night (SWAN).  Billed as an evening dedicated to thanking all the amazing "warriors" in the community that helped to share so many spiritual books with the public as ambassadors of goodwill, the evening featured kirtan, talks and more.

One of the highlights of the evening was a video presented by the Toronto Sankirtan Team, showcasing highlights from the year!  Check it out below:

Video: "B-Boying" Hare Krishnas in Moscow!

Thu, 2016-01-28 00:05
We recently received a "Google News Alert" about an article on - a website targeted to the "modern Indian man".  The article, which can be seen by clicking here, highlights a unique video of devotees dancing at what we believe is the ISKCON Moscow temple (devotees are welcome to clarify by commenting) in kirtan and goes on to say:

While dancing during praying to god is pretty popular in India, especially during jagrans and in temples, what is not is b-boying! One such religious gathering at a Radha Krishna temple turned rather entertaining when some ISKCON monks took to b-boying during a bhajan recitation.  

If you have ever been to a Hare Rama Hare Krishna Temple, you’d know the atmosphere there brims with infectious energy and tempo, and people are encouraged to shed their inhibitions and surrender themselves to god. Dancing and swaying is quite common here but b-boying just takes it to another level. Well, dance has no religion. 

Watch them perform their killing breakdance moves to the music of bells and chants of Hare Rama Hare Krishna in this video! The B-Boying boys!

Video: Special Sunday Feast Fire Yajna

Wed, 2016-01-27 12:16
This past Sunday, we had a special "fire yajna" held during our Sunday Feast celebrations.  A fire yajna is a ceremonial ritual wherein ghee (clarified butter), grains and other items are offered into fire amidst the chanting of mantras.  It is a beautiful ritual that brings a level of auspiciousness and peacefulness to the atmosphere.

The program was led by Brahma Muhurta das who was visiting from New York City and was in town to teach some of our local devotees about the art of conducting fire yajnas.

The special Sunday Feast was video recorded.  Check it out below.

Special Fire Yajna this Sunday, January 24, 2016

Fri, 2016-01-22 11:50
As Hare Krishnas, ceremonies are a big part of our spiritual practice.  Almost all major times of life are marked by some time of ceremony.  From the time a child takes it's first grains, to the time of initiation, and even when someone is about to pass from this world, auspicious ceremonies can often be performed and mantras are regularly chanted.

This upcoming weekend, the Toronto Hare Krishna temple is welcoming Brahma Muhurta das from New York, USA.  Brahma Muhurta das is specially trained in teaching qualified devotees how to perform fire yajnas (pronounced "YUG-yuh").

A fire yajna is a ceremonial ritual wherein ghee (clarified butter), grains and other items are offered into fire amidst the chanting of mantras.  It is a beautiful ritual that brings a level of auspiciousness and peacefulness to the atmosphere.

This Sunday, January 24, 2016, we will be hosting a special Sunday Feast at the Toronto Hare Krishna temple.  Brahma Muhurta das will be leading a special fire yajna which will be performed during the normal class time (6:45pm to 7:30pm) and everyone in attendance will get a chance to observe.  The purpose of this yajna will be to seek blessings from Lord Krishna for the temple and the community of devotees as we embark on the year 2016.

A warm invitation goes out to you and your family to come to the temple this upcoming Sunday evening!

Welcoming Brahma Muhurta das to Toronto this Weekend

Fri, 2016-01-22 11:49
Toronto's Hare Krishna Temple will be welcoming Brahma Muhurta das to our community this weekend!  He will be conducting a "Yajna Training Seminar" (by invitation only) to help train local devotees in performing yajnas.  "Yajnas" are fire sacrifices wherein grains and other items are offered into fire amidst the chanting of mantras.

At the age of 14 Brahma Muhurta das first read the Sanskrit philosophical text Bhagavad-gita. Inspired by its teachings, he devoted himself to more fully understanding classical Indian philosophical and religious culture. At 17 he received initiation from Bhakti Tirtha Swami and a few months later received second initiation. While a brahmachari (celibate monk), he served as the Head Pujari (Priest) in the Gita-Nagari temple and the personal servant of his guru. He later received his BFA from Tufts University and and MFA from the University of Florida, as well as a Fulbright Fellowship to India to support his work on art and India Ritual.

Brahma Muhurta das’ endeavor to study classical  Indian rituals has lead him to seek the tutelage of various teachers. He began his Sanskrit studies under Professor Michael Witzel of Harvard University. He developed curriculum on rituals at the Sri Rupanuga Vidyapitham, Mayapur, West Bengal and studied under Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami. He later continued to study temple rituals and the pancaratrika agamas under Gaura Keshava Prabhu of Sri Rangam and Maui, and did research under the guidance of Sri Ramana Bhattar of Sri Rangam.

In Bhakti Tirtha Swami’s final days, he requested Brahma Muhurta das to return to his home in the US and perform his last rites where Brahma Muhurta was given the instruction and blessing to dedicate his life to studying and teaching ritual. In addition to his art and academic career where he has taught at RISD and Boston College, and in accordance with this, Brahma Muhurta das has been officiating weddings and myriad other Hindu rituals, including the opening of temples, for nearly 20 years, in the Americas, Europe, and India.

Video: Seminar by Hayagriva das

Wed, 2016-01-20 18:57
Hayagriva das is one of our dynamic Canadian brahmacaris (celibate monks) and is based out of ISKCON Montreal.  As some of our devotees may recall, he conducted a very nice seminar here at ISKCON Toronto last year in October on the chanting of holy names!

Recently, he conducted a two-day seminarat ISKCON Calgary and it was captured on video!  The first day was focused on the Holy Name. The second day was focused on how to see Krsna everywhere.  Feel free to settle down in a comfortable chair with a notepad and pen and watch this very nice presentation!  Hare Krishna!

Video: Who Are These Hare Krishnas Anyways?

Fri, 2016-01-15 19:46
There's a fantastic little video that has been published on YouTube and it captures the reaction of some members of the public when asked what they think of the Hare Krishnas.  It seems that the video has been made in the UK and it is certainly very inspirational for anyone who practices Krsna consciousness!  This is a project called "Fortunate People".  You can learn more by clicking here.  Check it out below!

4th Anniversary of Tuesday Sanga - Jan 19th

Fri, 2016-01-15 16:23
On Tuesday, January 19th we will be celebrating the 4th anniversary of Tuesday Sanga and HG Subhavilasa Prabhu along with Dhira Grahi and Yura prabhus will also be joining us for this special gathering.

On January 17, 2012 the first sanga was held at ISKCON Toronto under the inspiration of HG Vaisesika Prabhu who encouraged team building as well as a comfortable nurturing environment for collective association and learning. So we have been hosting "sangas" for the last 4 years, which consist of an evening gathering which includes reading, chanting, interactive discussions as well as a feast. Sanga is nice weekday retreat that offers more intimacy and interactivity than the hustle & bustle of our weekly Sunday Feast and a great we to reinvigorate your week.

Please join us this Tuesday for our special 4th Anniversary celebrations and, of course, you are encourage to join us every Tuesday between 6:30 and 8pm!  We hope to see you soon!

Seminar with Sankarshan das Adhikari - Jan 9, 2016

Wed, 2016-01-06 17:42
One Saturday, January 9, 2016, the Toronto Hare Krishna Temple will be welcoming Sankarshan das Adhikari for a special seminar entitled, "Pure Devotional Service is for Everyone".  Does that sound like a lofty unrealistic thing to you?  Do you have obligations such as work and family? Do you have responsibilities?  Are you struggling to maintain a regular practice of hearing, chanting, reading, and serving?

If yes, come and find out how you can get on the boat to pure devotional service.  The seminar will begin at 6:30pm and dinner will be served at 8:30pm.

You can register for the seminar by clicking here!

About Sankarshan das Adhikari
Sankarshan Das Adhikari appeared in this world in St. Louis, Missouri, USA on 7 November 1947. He first met his spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in 1971 and was initiated by him on 12 August of the same year. Srila Prabhupada personally told this new young disciple that he was pleased with his sincerity and enthusiasm for spreading the Krishna consciousness movement. Sankarshan Das fully dedicated his life for serving the order of his spiritual master to become a guru and deliver the world. For the last 43 years he has uninterruptedly served his spiritual master’s movement, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), in various capacities.

In the year 2000, in recognition for his full dedication to Srila Prabhupada’s mission, ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission (GBC) gave him their blessings to initiate disciples. Since that time he has been regularly travelling and lecturing extensively all over the world for reviving the dormant Krishna consciousness in the hearts of all living beings. Well known for his Internet based training program, the Ultimate Self Realization Course, he has attracted over 17,000 subscribers from over 100 different countries who receive a daily inspirational message and personal answers to their questions regarding how to become perfect in Krishna consciousness. Those who are interested can join his course at:

View Our Monthly Newsletter - January 2016

Wed, 2016-01-06 17:41
The Toronto Hare Krishna Temple has been sending e-newsletters out for a few years now.  One of our goal's for 2016 is to become a little more regular and send out a newsletter at the beginning of each month, updating readers about upcoming and ongoing programs at the temple.

With that, we are happy to share our January edition of our monthly newsletter!  Special thanks to Thulasi Sathianathan , one of our active young devotees, for taking the lead on the monthly newsletter project.  Click the image below (or click here) to open the January 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!

A Quick Little Video from Jan 1st Celebrations

Tue, 2016-01-05 22:00
YouTube user Manuj Kumar captured a couple of minutes from the 8pm arati from the first evening of 2016.  With a rousing kirtan led by Bhaktimarga Swami, this video offers a small glimpse into what is in store for the next 52 Sundays in 2016, not to mention the countless festivals which will fall in between!  We hope to see you for all of them!

Prayers for Gunagrahi Goswami's Health

Sun, 2016-01-03 00:55
It is with heavy hearts that we inform our Toronto Hare Krishna community that Gunagrahi Goswami, a very senior member of our international Hare Krishna movement, has been diagnosed with cancer. Based out of South America (Argentina), Gunagrahi Goswami has visited Toronto a few times in recent years, capturing the hearts of our local devotee community with his inspiring classes, exotic musical instruments, kirtans and more.

Unfortunately, a recent PET scan revealed that the cancer has spread to his lungs and inside the lymph nodes of the pelvis, which means this is stage-4 cancer. Urgent funds are needed to treat this extremely serious, life-threatening condition and GoFundMe page has been setup to collect donations from devotees around the world.  Donations are quickly pouring in from around the globe.

Of course, we are asking our devotee community to pray for Maharaj's health.  Gunagrahi Goswami made several visits to Toronto and below are some video highlights of his visits from a few years ago.  Please kindly keep him in your prayers.

Trailer for "Acharya: The Life & Legacy of Prabhupada"

Sat, 2016-01-02 04:30
During our annual Prabhupada Festival held on the evening of January 1, 2016, a very special movie trailer was shown to the assembled devotees.  A preview for the upcoming movie, "ACHARYA, The Life and Legacy of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada" can be seen below.  We promise you will get goosebumps watching it!  Hare Krsna!

Festival Report - Srila Prabhupada Festival!

Sat, 2016-01-02 03:20
Honouring Srila Prabhupada to Kick Off 2016
Festival Report by: Smruthi Venkateshan
Pictures by: Sahil Srivastava

Though many of us may have been a bit tired after ringing in the New Year, the Toronto Hare Krishna community gathered up all their energy and enthusiastically celebrated the annual Srila Prabhupada Festival on the evening of January 1st, 2016!

The festival is celebrated annually to give tribute and thanks to Srila Prabhupada for starting the Hare Krishna movement in the West thereby delivering the message of Sri Krishna worldwide. When he was 70 years old, Srila Prabhupada traveled by a cargo ship to the West, following the instructions of his spiritual master to spread the message of Krishna Consciousness to the Western world.

On the evening of January 1, 2016 the devotees at the temple started the Srila Prabhupada Festival by collectively offering flowers to the feet of Srila Prabhupada. During this ceremony the Deity of Srila Prabhupada beamed with delight and was surrounded by a sea of beautiful flowers.

Shortly thereafter, Bhaktimarga Swami showed a video honoring Srila Prabhupada’s contributions to ISCKON and lectured on what devotees can do in their lives to further Srila Prabhupada’s vision.

With renewed spirits and new oaths the devotees all joined together in an ecstatic kirtan and closing kirtan (arati). Later, a vegetarian feast was served to all the devotees and it maintained a simple cooking style while having a high taste.

As the festival concluded all the devotees left with more energy than ever before and seemed ready to embrace the New Year and its new beginnings!

Festival Pictures (downloadable pics here):
Photo Gallery by

Pictures from the Incredible New Years Eve Harinama!

Sat, 2016-01-02 03:00
As is our annual tradition, devotees from Toronto's Hare Krishna community braved the cold and joined tens of thousands of revelers who were ushering in 2016 on New Year's Eve.  While the main (massive) festivities were happening at City Hall, the devotees, led by Bhaktimarga Swami, stationed themselves across the street at Old City Hall with drums, cymbals, voices and more!

Over 100 devotees took part in the outdoor chanting (harinama) and the unanimous feedback was that this year's chanting attracted the biggest crowd ever!  Thousands of people heard the chanting and a countless number of people came to exuberantly dance with the devotees!  Check out the pics below!

Pictures from the New Years Eve Harinama (downloadable pics here):
(provided by Sahil Srivastava)

Photo Gallery by