Book Marathon 2015 – Join the Effort!
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At the Hare Krishna Centre, the month of December is a busy one, as we celebrate our annual Srila Prabhupada Marathon – a collective effort by Hare Krishna temples around the world to share the knowledge of ‘Bhagavad-Gita’ and other spiritual books with public in a grand way. To-date, over five hundred million pieces (500 Million / 50 Crores) of Vedic literature have been distributed around the world by ISKCON.  There are many ways for you to get involved!

The Gift of Knowledge – “Sastra Dana”
In the Bhagavad-Gita, Sri Krishna states, “For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me. There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.” (BG 18.68 & 69)

Taking this instruction to heart, your Toronto Hare Krishna Centre has been distributing tens of thousands of these spiritual books, including a whopping 50,000 last year, and hopes for another 50,000 in 2015. In the last 7 years, we have distributed almost 200,000 books in and around the GTA. Many of these books are placed in hospitals, hotels, community centres, immigration centres, waiting rooms and other publicly accessible spaces through the generous donations of our community. Books (outside of shastra daan) are also distributed for donations on the street, at festivals, door-to-door, etc.

Thus, we are asking for your help with “Sastra Dana” or sharing of knowledge, by sponsoring Bhagavad-Gitas or even other Vedic texts. For example, sponsoring 108 hard-bound Bhagavad-Gitas is $1,080, 108 soft-bound Gitas is only $540, and 108 other smaller Vedic books is $216. You can give as much as your heart desires. There is no minimum, and no maximum, the whole world is in dire need of this literature.

Srimad Bhagavatam and Caitanya Caritamrta Full Sets on Sale!
December is typically a time to give and receive gifts and there is no better time to give your family a set of Srimad Bhagavatam or what is called the ripened fruit of all Vedic literature. The complete Srimad Bhagavatam set contains 12 cantos in a beautiful 18 volume hardbound set.

We brought in a large shipment, and in order to share this gift, it is being offered at a discounted price of $329! This is the last few weeks that it will be offered at $329 (or $30 per month on a payment plan!), before the price likely increases to better reflect the actual cost and shipping. Please reserve your copy now before we are sold out! The Srimad Bhagavatam sets are also available in Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Gujarati, and many other languages. If you already have the Srimad Bhagavatam, we don’t want to leave you out! We are making the entire 9 volume Caitanya Caritamrta available for $108, or just around $14 per book! Or request the First Time limited offer on Srimad Bhagavatam and Caitanya Caritamrita Set Combo for $399 (or $35/month).

Please reserve your set and make Srila Prabhupada’s desire come through that every respectable person should have a full set at home.

Please contact  to reserve your set from the limited inventory.

Bhakti Mela Event – December 28, 2015
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This holiday season, ISKCON Brampton invites you to a spiritual gathering that promises to invoke euphoric vibrations of your soul through Drama, Music and Dance.

Please join us for an intimate holiday event, consisting of a spellbinding theatrical production by His Holiness Bhaktimarga Swami, enchanting kirtan with internationally renowned kirtaneers Gauravani and Ananta Govinda prabhus & mesmerizing bharatanatyam by Komala Kumari; A wonderful way to spend the holidays. No need to leave your children behind…separate children’s activities to keep the younger attendees entertained too. A full vegetarian dinner and beverages will also be served.

Parking is free and public transit is right at the door step of the historic Lester B. Pearson Memorial Theatre in Brampton.

Dress in your best and walk the red carpet upon your arrival as you are greeted by our VIP’s and photographed for memorabilia. Interact with the theatrical performers during intermission while your taste buds are stimulated by the elegant vegetarian preparations from Govinda’s Restaurant in Toronto.

Celebrate throughout the night with International talent who will not only entertain you but give you their association.

Canada’s own Walking Monk will pull you along in his trails of theatrics as he conveys the many pastimes of Krishna.

All of this while the Children will have the opportunity to engage in some of the cultural elements of the holidays; while being entertained by the finest wizards of magic and illusion.

Don’t miss this opportunity to end your holidays on a spiritual high and journey that will kick start your resolutions into the New Year.

Limited premium and VIP seating available.

20 Tips for Married Couples – Bhakti Rasamrita Swami
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We came across a wonderful list of guidelines for married couples, families and anyone trying to build a strong Krsna conscious lifestyle.  This list was written by Bhakti Rasamrita Swami, a senior sannyasi (monk) in our Hare Krishna movement.

Bhakti Rasamrita Swami completed his B.E. from M.S University Baroda, MBA from Bombay University & worked for some time in a multinational Bank. Inspired by the teachings of Srila Prabhupada, he decided to dedicate his life for propagating the message of Bhagavad Gita and joined International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). He was initiated by the spiritual name His Grace Devamrita Dasa. Since then he has served in many important projects and has preached the message of Bhagavad gita very widely, especially to the student community. He served as temple president in Mumbai, Belgaum and Vrindavan- which is the spiritual hub of world wide ISKCON temples. He has been preaching in many prestigious educational institutions all over India. In the month of March, 2010, honoring his dedication and devotion, He was awarded the order of Sannyasa (renunciate monk) in ISKCON, with the title Bhakti Rasamrita Swami. In his more than 30 years of dedicated devotional life in ISKCON, he has rendered several important services, preached in many countries of America, Europe and USSR, and continues to do so.

The following are his “20 Guidelines for Married Devotees”:

  1. Remember that your house, money, family, etc. are all Krishna’s property & that all these have to be engaged in His service.  He has very kindly given you all these out of His mercy, and He may take them away as He pleases. So be grateful for what you have & engage all these gifts in His service with devotion & detachment.
  2. Keep the Holy name, Krishna katha & the Temple/home deities in the centre of your life. Attend devotional programmes in the Temple & at other devotee gatherings on a regular basis.  Especially, hearing discourses/classes live & participating in sankirtana is important.
  3. Keep your sadhana strong. Please remember that the best chanting you can do is early in the morning. So avoid unnecessary late nights. It is best to retire early at night, so you can rise early in the morning & be fresh for your sadhana. Your japa is the most important activity of the day. Try to chant clearly & hear attentively. Be in a prayerful mood.
  4. Read Srila Prabhupada’s books regularly & seriously. This will strengthen faith, conviction & understanding, & help in keeping proper spiritual focus in your day to day life. Remember: guru, sadhu & shastra will show us our proper direction in life.
  5. All the members of the family, young & old, should gather together at home at least once every day, to have arati, kirtana & some discussion/reading from the scriptures. Srila Prabhupada mentions this in his purports.
  6. Engage yourself in some seva regularly. It is good to take some responsibility, small or big, according to one’s situation. Serve with humility, enthusiasm, sincerity & eagerness, without seeking any gross or subtle reward from the service. Do not seek, or be attached to, position or prestige that may be associated with any service.
  7. Associate with devotees as much as possible. Live together in the society of devotees with a feeling of friendship towards other devotees, & in a mood of service to them. Ensure that this friendship is not spoilt by ego, envy, self-interest, insensitivity or negligence. Keep Krishna in the centre of these relationships.
  8. Avoid the association of non- devotees as much as possible. Where such association is not avoidable (at work, for example), perform your duty well & be socially pleasant. But be careful to not let their non-devotional consciousness rub off on you. Do not join them & take pleasure in the things that they take pleasure in mundane gossip, movies, sports… & violation of the four regulative principles. Set a good example as a devotee, & speak & act in a way that will make them feel positive about Krishna consciousness.
  9. Similarly, whilst staying strong in your devotional principles personally, deal with family, in-laws, neighbours, friends, etc in a way that will increase their appreciation for Krishna consciousness.
  10. Avoid distracting mundane entertainment offered through cinema, TV, internet & other means. Be careful that you are not overwhelmed by electronic gadgetry, communication devices & social media. Use them judiciously as tools, if you must; do not become helpless tools in their hands.
  11. Take decisions (small or big) in life according to how your Krishna consciousness will be affected, directly or indirectly. Consider the short term & long term implications of your decision. Accept whatever is favourable for your Krishna consciousness & reject that which is unfavourable. This should be the ultimate criterion in decision making.
  12. Purity (or impurity) of the source of your livelihood will also affect your life & consciousness. Hence choose professions that have minimum possible material contamination & spiritual risk. Avoid professions in which there is a clear violation of the four regulative principles e.g. working for a company that produces or sells liquor. Do not involve yourself in overly risky money earning ventures, being lured by the prospect of very quick & large profits. Avoid illegal business activities of any sort.
  13. Spend wisely. Do not unnecessarily spend on things that may not be really required. Live reasonably simply. Follow the principle of “Simple Living, High Thinking”. Do not be tempted or attracted by, or become envious of, the wealth or position of others. Do not become a victim of the modern day consumerist culture with its emphasis on excessive consumption & flashy lifestyles.
  14. Save money wisely for the future. Yet, take care to avoid a hoarding mentality.
  15. Give something in charity in Krishna consciousness according to your means. Charity is recommended in the shastras as one of the dharmas of a grhastha.
  16. Know that your life is meant as a service to others in Krishna consciousness & not only for yourself or your family. Keep this spirit of sacrifice in your heart & keep away any feelings of selfishness.
  17. Preach the message of Krishna consciousness whenever you get the opportunity. Follow the advice that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave the Kurma brahmana: “Jaare dekho taare kaho Krishna upadesha….” – speak the message of Lord Krishna to whoever you meet. In this way cultivate the missionary spirit. Preaching is not the exclusive preserve of brahmacharis & sannyasis.  Grhasthas must also actively participate in it, according to their situation.
  18. Do not be unduly absorbed in household & material matters.  Yet, do not be neglectful of your household & bonafide material duties. These must be performed with care, sensitivity & responsibility.
  19. Bring up your children in Krishna consciousness, never considering it to be a burden. This is one of the most important services for a grhastha. Adjust other services according to the requirements of this service. For example, during pregnancy or when the child is very young, you may not be able to do many other services. But do not mind that. This service is also very pleasing to Krishna. When the time & opportunity are right, however, you may do those other services. Of course, the basic services of hearing & chanting must not be neglected at any time. And it is important to come to the Temple for your own spiritual nourishment as well as for that of the child.
  20. Practice, preserve & teach the principles of traditional & devotional family life -faithfulness & life-long commitment in marriage, a culture of respect for all (including elders), sharing, caring, serving, cooking at home, & so on. In this regard, understand well the pitfalls of accepting modern day social norms & practices like unrestricted mingling of men & women, eating out in ‘karmi’ restaurants,’ living together’ before marriage,& so on.

An Inspirational Marathon Video from ISKCON London
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Every December the worldwide Hare Krishna community (500+ temples) focus all of their attention on the distribution of transcendental literature, something we all know was so close to Srila Prabhupada’s heart.

He was incredibly eager to hear the figures of how many books were being distributed. Indeed, he said it gave him life. When a new book was printed, Prabhupada felt as though he had conquered an empire. He told one disciple – “the best of me is in my books.”

Check out this amazingly inspirational video made by the dynamic devotees of ISKCON London:

Happy Diwali From the Hare Krishna Temple!
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Toronto’s Hare Krishna Temple would like to wish you and your entire family a very Happy Diwali!

The story of Diwali stems back to ancient times when inhabitants of Ayodhya celebrated the return of Lord Ramachandra. Lord Rama was in exile, away from His kingdom, for many years. The joyful day on which He finally returned is observed as Diwali, or Dipavali (“dipa” means candles, and “vali” means numerous.).

There will be small celebrations this evening (Nov 11, 2015) at the temple from 6pm to 8:30pm.  Everyone is welcome!

Govardhana Puja Festival – November 12, 2015
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On Thursday, November 12, 2015 Toronto’s Hare Krishna Temple will be celebrating Govardhan Puja!

Also referred to as Annakuta, Govardhana Puja is a special festival which marks the time when the inhabitants of Vrindavan (Lord Krishna’s abode on Earth) held a harvest festival in honour of King Indra, the demigod who provided the rains essential for the harvest. One day, however, Lord Krishna wanted to teach Indra a lesson. He convinced the inhabitants of Vrindavan to honour Govardhana Hill instead, whose fertile soil provided the grass upon which the cows and bulls grazed, and to honour the cows and bulls who provided milk and ploughed the lands.

Outraged, Indra retaliated with terrifying thunderstorms. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, calmly lifted Govardhana Hill with the little finger of his left hand. For seven days and seven nights the Lord held up Govardhana Hill, providing a giant umbrella to shelter the inhabitants of Vrindavan from the torrential rain.

Govardhan Puja celebrations at the Hare Krishna temple have always been popular and this year’s festival will once again feature a grand “Govardhana Hill” made entirely of sweets in the middle of the temple room! Please join us for festivities from 6:00pm to 9:00pm on Thursday, November 12, 2015 to celebrate this wonderful festival!

We hope to see you and your family at the Hare Krishna temple for this spectacular festival!

Update on Mukunda Goswami’s Health
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Update on Mukunda Goswami’s Recovery
(from ISKCON News)

November 4, 2015 – Mukunda Goswami is making a slow but steady recovery from the surgeries.

While in ICU he was looked after 24/7 by a team of doctors and nurses to make sure that his vital functions were properly restored. Their particular concern was Maharaja’s lungs (risk of a pneumonia) from extended confinement to bed due to the hip fracture as well as possible clotting. Therefore the day after the hip surgery physiotherapists started gently but forcefully encouraging Maharaja to sit up and then to put weight on his legs and walk with the support of a frame. This was (and still is) very painful and difficult for Maharaja, but is paramount for his recovery.

On November 2 Mukunda Maharaja was shifted from ICU to back to a single room in the (Acute) Coronary Care Unit (CCU), where his operating cardio surgeon, orthopaedic surgeon and medical team daily check on him. Mukunda Maharaja’s medical condition is improving, although he still is in a lot of pain, aggravated by the need to sit up in a chair for his lungs rather than lie down in bed. He sticks to his regimen of regular deep breathing, arm, chest and leg exercises. Today’s examination revealed less crepitation in his lungs as compared to Monday. As a doctor joked, “you have to dance for us before we can let you go”, and Mukunda Goswami, assisted by his servants, is determined to dance.

Maharaja has increased his food and liquid intake, much to the relief of the doctors and devotees, as another concern with Maharaja’s post-operative condition was his undernourishment, low Hb, low protein and anaemia. Krsna-kirtana Das, his wife Malini Dasi (who both have a lot of hospital experience) and a few other devotees prepare prasadam according to Maharaja’s dietary needs & taste, which Krsna-kirtana personally serves (or sometimes lovingly administers) to Maharaja every morning and noon. This includes hot milk, fruit, high-protein whey drinks, homemade nut & wholegrain bread, as well as mung-dhal soup for lunch. On several occasions Mukunda Maharaja remarked to the nurses that “Hare Krishna food is much better than the hospital food”, to which they cannot help but agree.

Whenever he can, Mukunda Maharaja is chanting japa on his clicker and listens to Srimad Bhagavatam read out to him by attending devotees and we also read The New Govardhana ‘Conch Newsletter’ cover to cover for him. He also showed keen interest in Shyamasundara Prabhu’s newly published book “Chasing Rhinos with the Swami”, remarking in jest that this might not be the most politically correct title for the environment-conscious Australians.

If he maintains the same recovery pace, in a few days or so Mukunda Maharaja will be shifted to a rehabilitation facility at Murwillumbah Hospital near New Govardhan farm and, if his rehabilitation is successful, he will discharged and home in a couple of weeks after that.

In the meantime, devotees are preparing his rooms at the farm for his special needs. Yesterday the tiled floor in his bedroom, bathroom and study, on which the fateful slip almost two weeks ago occurred, was treated by floor grip specialists to make it safer to walk on. Plans are to construct a ramp to the bedroom for Maharaja’s easier access, arrange for a medical bed and chair, hand rails, replace all his socks with non-slip ones with rubberized soles, and install an alarm system which would allow Maharaja to call for assistance around the clock. Mukunda Goswami’s disciples express their deepest gratitude to the devotees around the world who offered their financial assistance for making these necessary arrangements for Maharaja’s residence.

Radha Kunda’s Appearance Day – Nov 3, 2015
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Tuesday, November 3, 2015 marks a special festival, Radha-Kunda’s Appearance Day.  Radha-Kunda is a pond near Govardhan Hill in Vrindavan, India, which was originally created by Krishna’s cowherd girlfriends, the gopis, during Krishna’s boyhood pastimes in Vrindavan.

In the sixteenth century, it was rediscovered by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and renovated by Mahaprabhu’s disciples, the Six Goswamis. Many sacred texts, including the Puranas, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Upadeshamrita, and Chaitanya-charitamrita say that Radha-kunda is one of the most significant places of pilgrimage on earth.

Celebrations will be taking place at the Hare Krishna Temple on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.  The festival will be a small and intimate gathering and everyone is welcome to join!

Below is a modern retelling of Krishna’s pastime which resulted in the creation of one of the holiest places on earth by Amala Bhakta das:

On a field near Govardhana Hill, in the twilight, the demon Arishtasura had assumed the form of a bull and, at King Kamsa’s order, had tried to kill Lord Krishna. Instead, the Lord had slain him. Just prior to his attack, Krishna had been chatting with His girlfriends, the gopis of Vrindavana, who had become quite frightened by the demon’s angry bellowing.

Krishna strolled over to them, expecting to engage in their usual rasa dance. In this, the girls would form a circle, Krishna would miraculously reproduce His body between each two girls, and the party would ecstatically dance round and round. But the gopis, now relieved of their fear of Arishtasura, were in a playful, joking mood.

As Krishna tried to place His arm around the shoulder of one of them, she flinched and stepped back, saying, “I don’t think You should touch any of us now.”

Krishna smiled.

“Oh? And why not?”

“Well, You’ve just killed a bull. And the scriptures consider a bull to be as sacred as a cow.”

“True, but that bull was really a demon.”

“Doesn’t matter,” a second girl said. “He still had a bull’s body. So by killing him, You’ve committed a terrible sin.”

“I have?” Krishna beamed, playing along with their joke.

“Absolutely. You’re very contaminated now.”

“How terrible!” Krishna said with mock seriousness. “Then what should I do?”

“You should atone for Your sin,” a third gopi said.

“Atone?” He asked, eyebrows raised.

They all nodded firmly, wanting to laugh but restraining themselves.

“But how?”

The first gopi said, “I think You should bathe in every holy river in the world.”

The other gopis nodded.

“All the rivers?” Krishna asked.

“Yes,” the girls giggled. “All.”

“But that’ll take too long. I have a better idea.”

“Oh?” they inquired.

“Instead, I’ll bring the rivers here.”

“How can You do that?” asked the second gopi skeptically.

“Just watch.”

Krishna turned away from them and kicked His heel into the ground, making a hole.

Then He ordered, “O holy rivers, please come here at once!”

In a few seconds, the personified forms of every sacred river appeared there, standing with their palms folded and heads bowed. The men were bare-chested but decked in rich dhotis, whereas the women were wearing luxurious saris.

Krishna turned to the gopis.

“See? They’re all here.”

Although the girls were astonished, they scoffed, “We don’t see anybody.”

Krishna said to the rivers, “Would you please announce yourselves?”

Each river spoke his or her name, such as Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Sarayu, Sona, and Sindhu.

The gopis looked at each other doubtfully. Were those persons really those rivers?

Then the hole that Krishna had made with His heel suddenly expanded into a vast hollow, and all the personified rivers gladly entered it, each manifesting his or her own water form. It was now a beautiful, inviting, holy pond.

Krishna descended and splashed into it up to His neck, dunked His head several times, and climbed out, drying His dark glistening body with His hands.

“Well, now I’m completely pure.” He smiled. “You don’t have to worry anymore.”

The girls tittered, knowing they never had to anyway.

“But look at you,” Krishna said with mock condescension, pointing at them.

“What about us?” a few asked.

“You’re all impure.”

“Us?” several answered, incredulously.

“Yes, you!”

“No, we didn’t touch the bull,” the second girl said. “You did.”

“True, but you’ve never performed any religious activities for Lord Brahma’s pleasure. That makes you impure.”

Then Krishna’s favorite, Srimati Radharani, turned to Her girlfriends and said, “All right, if we’re impure, then we’ll become pure.”

“How?” the third gopi asked.

“I’ll make an even better pond than Krishna’s, and we’ll all bathe in it.”

“But where?” asked the second gopi.

“Just follow Me.”

With Krishna in tow, Radharani confidently led Her friends a short distance away. They noticed that Arishtasura’s hooves had dug a shallow ditch just west of Krishna’s pond, and Radharani decided to make Her pond there.

“Let’s start digging,” She said to Her friends.

They bent over, began clutching clumps of soft clay, and discarded them. After only an hour, they created a large hollow.

Krishna was astonished by how rapidly they had dug it.

When the gopis came out, the Lord munificently said to them, “You can fill it up with the holy water from My pond.”

“Your pond?” Radharani asked, patronizingly.

“Yes, why not?”

“Because Your pond is contaminated. When You bathed in it, You left Your bull-killing sin there. I don’t want that in My pond!”

Krishna laughed loudly.

“Then where will You get the holy water?”

“From the nearby Manasi Ganga lake. We’ll bring many pots of it here.”

Krishna recalled that some time ago He had meditated on the holy Ganges River, which was a considerable distance from Vrindavana, and had miraculously made it appear here as a lake. It was thus named Manasi Ganga (“the Ganges created by Krishna’s mind”). But now Krishna wanted to spare Radharani and Her friends the heavy labor of lugging thousands of jugs of water from there to here. So He gestured to His pond, and suddenly a male representative of all the holy rivers emerged from it. With tears in his eyes, he folded his palms, bowed his head to the ground before Radharani, and devotedly prayed to Her.

Radharani’s mood changed from playful to serious. She could see that he was approaching Her for some sacred purpose.

Rising to his knees, the representative said, “O Goddess, even those who know the scriptures well, such as Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, cannot understand Your glories. Only Krishna, the highest goal of all human effort, can. Therefore, He wishes to make sure that, when You’re fatigued, You can wash away Your perspiration. That would make Him very happy.”

Radharani gratefully glanced at Krishna, and then returned Her attention to the rivers’ representative.

“As soon as Krishna ordered us, we came here to live in His excellent pond. But we all have a desire, and only if You are pleased with us can it be fulfilled.”

Radharani pleasantly asked, “Oh? And what is it?”

“We desire to come to Your pond, for only then will our lives be successful.”

With a gentle smile, Radharani replied, “All right. Please do.”

Her friends nodded in agreement, feeling immensely happy.

At that moment, all the holy rivers in Krishna’s pond broke through its blackish clay boundary and quickly flowed into and filled Radharani’s pond. This movement sounded like a surging river during a heavy rainstorm.

As Radharani was enjoying this sight, Krishna seriously said, “My dear Radharani, may Your pond become even more famous than Mine. I will always come here to bathe in it and to enjoy water sports. Indeed, this pond is as dear to Me as You.”

Radharani was touched deeply and replied, “And I, with My girlfriends, will also bathe in Your pond, even if You kill hundreds of Arishtasuras here. And anyone who, with intense devotion, bathes in My pond or resides on its bank will surely become very dear to Me.”

“And dear to Me also,” Krishna added. “I will certainly bless such persons well!”

As the darkness enfolded them, Krishna and the gopis formed a circle and began their rasa dance. He resembled a rain cloud, and Radharani a flash of lightning. As They danced, They generated a torrential downpour of brilliant, transcendental joy. From that night on, Radharani’s pond (kunda) would be called Radha Kunda, and Krishna’s, Shyama Kunda. And anyone who would bathe even once in Her pond, or perform devotional service on its banks, would, by Her mercy, develop pure love for Krishna. Such love would of course culminate in continuous divine ecstasy. Thus, Radha Kunda would become known as the most exalted pilgrimage spot in the world.

For this reason, countless pilgrims travel many miles just to bathe in its spiritually exalting waters.

A Call for Prayers for Mukunda Goswami
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The following article has been posted on ISKCON News.  We ask all devotees and well-wishers of our Toronto Hare Krishna community to offer their prayers for the health and recovery of Mukunda Goswami.

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Devotees Worldwide Pray for Mukunda Goswami After Triple-Bypass Surgery
By: Madhava Smullen for ISKCON News on Oct. 28, 2015

His Holiness Mukunda Goswami, an ISKCON pioneer, guru, and one of Srila Prabhupada’s very first disciples, has undergone a successful triple-bypass surgery after suffering a heart-attack.

However devotees worldwide are still praying intensely as he prepares to undergo another high risk surgery on his hip tomorrow (Thursday October 29th).

On the night of October 22nd, Mukunda Goswami – respectfully known as Maharaja — slipped at his residence on the ISKCON New Govardhana Farm in Australia and broke his hip.

As they assessed him for surgery on the hip, doctors at the Tweed Hospital on Australia’s Gold Coast detected an underlying heart condition, and canceled the hip surgery due to the risk of further heart complications.

During the night of October 24th, Maharaja suffered a heart attack, and was transferred to a larger regional hospital. There, he was scheduled for a triple-bypass heart surgery.

Despite his condition he was in good spirits as he awaited surgery. “He was chanting Hare Krishna, listening to recordings of Srila Prabhupada chanting the Holy Names, and his disciples were also reading Srimad-Bhagavatam to him,” reported Nitai Chandra Das.

Nitai Chandra’s father, Krsna Kirtan Das, is caring for Mukunda Goswami and liasing with hospital staff along with Vishnujan Das and Madan Mohan Das.

 “We read some messages to Maharaja from Godbrothers and sisters, disciples and wellwishers, and he was pleased to hear them,” added Malini Durr.

The six-hour triple bypass surgery was a success. Afterwards, his heart was beating on its own, which doctors called “the best case scenario” given his pre-surgery condition.

But prayers are needed now more than ever. Maharaja is currently in the Intensive Care Unit, and his orthopedic surgeon plans to operate on his hip tomorrow.

According to the surgeon, as well as the general risks of the operation associated with old age, Mukunda Goswami is especially high-risk due to having just undergone a major surgery on top of his already weak heart.

However, delaying the operation also carries a high mortality risk, as Maharaja’s lungs have begun to rattle because of his long period of immobility in hospital, which increases the chances of pneumonia. So, doctors say, getting him up and moving is extremely important.

More news on the outcome of the operation will come very soon. Of course, visiting will not be allowed until after a substantial recovery time.

“[In the meantime] We now beg all of you to please pray to Srila Prabhupada, Gauranga Mahaprabhu and Lord Nrsimhadeva,” says Krsna Kirtan.

About Mukunda Goswami
Mukunda Goswami was born as Michael Grant in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from Reed College he became a professional jazz musician and moved to New York to pursue his music career. In 1965 Michael met the Hare Krishna founder A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The next year he was in the first group of initiated disciples, receiving the Sanskrit name Mukunda Dasa.

Mukunda was a pioneer in the early days of the Hare Krishna movement.  In 1966 in New York City he helped Bhaktivedanta Swami rent a storefront for the first Hare Krishna temple.  In 1967 he founded the first Hare Krishna temple in San Francisco and organized a major music event, the Mantra-Rock Dance.

Mukunda Goswami has been a spiritual leader (guru) for many decades within the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

Bhaktimarga Swami’s Walk Featured on ISKCON News
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Bhaktimarga Swami has been on a walk through the United States of America, as part of our international movement’s honouring Srila Prabhupada’s arriving in America 50 years ago!  Check out the article below!

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The Walking Monk Retraces Prabhupada’s Journey
By: Madhava Smullen ISKCON News on Oct. 7, 2015

Bhaktimarga Swami has become famous as “The Walking Monk” from his treks on foot four times across his native Canada, as well as across Ireland, Israel, Fiji, Mauritius, Guyana and Trinidad. On each walk, he shares his message of reconnecting to a simple, natural, and God-conscious life with the media and locals along the way.

The Swami’s current walk, however, may mean the most to him on a personal level. Dubbed “Walking for our Teachers,” its theme is to honor all teachers in a broad sense—but in a more specific sense, Bhaktimarga’s own guru.

“Personally, we’re walking to honor ISKCON’s Founder-Acarya Srila Prabhupada, who was at the cutting edge of animal rights, vegetarianism, going back to the land, and of course spiritual enlightment,” he says. “People know the Hare Krishnas, but they don’t know about the person behind it all. So I feel it’s our mandate now to let people know who Prabhupada was.”

Bhaktimarga Swami’s walk began on September 20th at Boston’s Commonwealth Pier, where Srila Prabhupada first reached the U.S. on the steamship Jaladuta in 1965.  [Read More]

Report from the ISKCON Canadian Leaders Meetings!
→ The Toronto Hare Krishna Temple!

Members of the ISKCON Toronto Temple Council were in beautiful Edmonton, Alberta attending the annual ISKCON Canadian Leaders Meeting.  These meetings provide a chance for leaders of our Hare Krishna communities around the country to annually come together and discuss success stories, challenges and opportunities.

Some of the topics that were presented included:

  • Reports on Canadian Book Distribution
  • Initiations Committee and Mentorship
  • Setting Up Child Protection Offices in All Our Temples
  • Developing Better Promotions & Marketing for Our Temples
  • Dealing with Problematic Devotees
  • Outreach: How Not to Blow it with Nice, New People!
  • A Panel Discussion on Effective Western Outreach Projects
  • TOVP Updates
  • Fundraising Brainstorming
  • Canadian Devotee Care
  • Brainstorming Session on ISKCON Canada’s Future

Throughout the weekend of enlivening meetings, live updates were posted via the Temple Council’s Twitter account.  We’ve pasted the “tweets” below so you can get a “play-by-play” report of the weekend!

Leave your comments below to share feedback (especially if you like this idea of “live tweeting” events)!  Also, you can get automatic text message updates from the Toronto Temple Council by sending a text message saying “Follow @templecouncil” (without the quotation marks) to 21212.

Canadian Leaders Meetings this weekend in Edmonton! Trying to see if there will be cell/data reception so that we can live tweet updates!

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 9, 2015

Taking blessings from Sri Sri Radha Ksira-Chora Gopinatha as we head out to the Canadian Leaders meeting in Edmonton

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 9, 2015

On the way to YYZ via @UPexpress – we have two Temple Council members heading to Edm this weekend. #yyz #harekrishna

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 9, 2015

Canadian Leaders Meeting kicks off with a nice morning program led by Bhaktimarga Swami! #harekrishna #sanga

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 10, 2015

Meetings have kicked off with introductions! Lots of devotees! #harekrishna #iskcon

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 10, 2015

First presentation of the weekend is a report on Canadian book distribution progress!

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 10, 2015

Next presentation via speakerphone! Rupanuga Pr presenting from Toronto on the Initiations Committee and Mentorship!

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 10, 2015

Presentations on compliance, then lunch and we’re now about to get back to it! Amazing views from here! #harekrishna

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 10, 2015

Bhaktimarga Swami kicking off the second half of the day with a report from the Canadian Nat’l Council.

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 10, 2015

Presentation on Financial Obligations by Vrinda dd from ISKCON Winnipeg and now Strategic Planning by Aindra Prabhu from ISKCON Brampton!

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 10, 2015

Presentation on doing better promotions! Analyzing good and bad posters. #harekrishna

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 10, 2015

And now the day ends off with a Toronto-Vancouver collaboration “An ‘Enchant’ed ‘Evening of Bhakti'”.

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 11, 2015

And day two kicks off! Breakfast time after a rousing morning program! #harekrishna #canada

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 11, 2015

Book Distribution – Part Two!

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 11, 2015

“How Not to Blow It with Nice New People”

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 11, 2015

Canadian Leaders!

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 11, 2015

Canadian Leaders! (cont’d)

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 11, 2015

Presentations on Western outreach, TOVP, Fundraising Ideas, and now Devotee Care!

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 11, 2015

Brainstorming ISKCON Canada’s future!

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 12, 2015

And finally, one big group shot from earlier in the weekend! #iskcon #harekrishna

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 12, 2015

Homeward bound after a wonderful weekend of inspiring meetings! #edmonton #YEG #harekrishna

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 12, 2015

Hello Toronto! Back from the ISKCON Canadian Leaders Meetings! #harekrishna #homesweethome #torontokrishna

— ISKCON Toronto Mgmt (@TempleCouncil) October 12, 2015

Canada Rugby Team Visits ISKCON Leicester (UK)
→ The Toronto Hare Krishna Temple!

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.

Happy Birthday (Vyasa Puja) to Bhaktimarga Swami!
→ The Toronto Hare Krishna Temple!

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.