The ISKCON Toronto Blog - News & Events!
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.
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!
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!
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!!!
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!
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 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 QuickGallery.com
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!
- 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
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!
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!
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
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.
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):
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 - http://www.theholynameretreat.net/
Giving and Accepting Shelter
Friday June 3rd to Monday June 6th
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.
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!
“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.
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.