ISKCON Toronto’s 2018 Congregational Vyasa Puja Book
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The appearance day (birthday) of Srila Prabhupada is a very special occasion for all Hare Krishna devotees.  Srila Prabhupada appeared on Nandotsava – the day that Nanda Maharaja had a big festival to celebrate the birth of Lord Krsna (Sri Krsna Janmastami).   This year, Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasa Puja falls on Tuesday, September 4, 2018 and celebrations will be from 11am-3pm at the Toronto Hare Krishna Temple.

This day is known as Vyasa Puja because the spiritual master is a representative of Srila Vyasadeva who is the author of the Srimad Bhagavatam, one of our most important scriptures.  Traditionally, Vyasa Puja “offerings” are made by devotees who write and present personal messages to the spiritual master.   The Governing Body Commission (GBC) for ISKCON has stated that every devotee in ISKCON should write an offering to Srila Prabhupada on Vyasa Puja.

We would like to encourage all devotees in our community to write a personal letter, in the form of an offering to Srila Prabhupada for this year’s festival and, to further facilitate this process, we will be making a special ISKCON Toronto Vyasa Puja Book for 2018.   This book will be presented to Srila Prabhupada on the day of Vyasa Puja.   Following the program, the book will be on display for devotees to read all the offerings by devotees of our community.  Please note – due to time constraints during the festival, we will not be able to have everyone read out their offerings during the main festivities.  However, devotees are welcome to privately do so before or after the festival.

In order to facilitate this whole process, pre-printed pages have been prepared and we are asking devotees to hand write offerings onto these specially-designed pages.   The maximum length of the offering is one page per person. PLEASE NOTE WE ARE NOT ACCEPTING ONLINE OFFERINGS THIS YEAR.

The hand-written offerings can be submitted in person at the temple, in the designated drop box, up until 11:00am on September 4th.

We humbly encourage you to please take this opportunity to honour Srila Prabhupada with a personal offering!  Hare Krsna!

Your Servants,
The Toronto Hare Krishna Temple

Guidelines for Your Written Offering:

  • Write your offering in the mood of a personal letter to Srila Prabhupada.  Write in a style as if you are addressing Srila Prabhupada directly (e.g. “Srila Prabhupada, it is by your mercy that I have come to Krsna consciousness.”)
  • The Vyasa Puja offering is meant for glorifying the spiritual master.    So offerings need to be made in that mood and not be used as a platform for airing one’s grievances.  
  • You may wish to read the previous year’s Vyasa Puja offerings made to Srila Prabhupada by various senior devotees around ISKCON.    It may give you some ideas of how to express yourself.   These can be found here:
  • It is a courtesy to start your offering with Srila Prabhupada’s pranama mantras; we have already printed these onto the official pages.   A suggested opening is as follows: “Dear Srila Prabhupada, Please accept my humble obeisances.   All glories to you on this auspicious occasion of your Vyasa Puja.” 
  • The main content of the offering should glorify the role that Srila Prabhupada is playing in your life as well as express your indebtedness to him.   You may also include reports about your spiritual growth, how you are meeting challenges and how you are carrying out his orders.    
  • To end the offering it would be nice to show one’s appreciation and desire to please, by some nice phrase such as “Your Humble Servant” or something similar.
  • Please note, the temple reserves the right to not publish an offering if it is deemed inappropriate.

Submission Requirements and Deadlines
Hand-written offerings must be submitted no later than 11:00am  at ISKCON Toronto on Tuesday, September 4, 2018.

Participate in Lord Krishna’s Grand Birthday Celebrations!
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Lord Krishna’s Grand Birthday Celebrations will be taking place on Saturday, September 5th, 2015! Stay tuned for a more information on the festivities! There are many ways you can participate, see our sponsorship opportunities below:

Maha Abhishek: $451
A rare opportunity to personally bathe Sri Sri Radha Krishna with auspicious liquids (water from seven holy rivers as well as panchamrita – a mixture of ghee, yogurt, milk, honey and sugar). Sponsors will get to take home their decorative Kalasha (pot) and puja thali (worship plate).
Feast Sponsorship:
Gold $1500 Silver $1000 Bronze $750
Festival Flowers: Gold: $1500 Silver $1000
Festival Deity Garlands: $750
Deity Dress: $1500 each altar; all thee altars: $4500
Platinum Festival Sponsorship: $10008 (complete festival)
For more information please contact

Stay tuned for a more information on the grand festivities!

Gaura Purnima Deity Darshan
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Click below for full gallery of The Deities from Gaura Purnima celebrations on Thursday, March 5th, 2015. Gaura Purnima is one of the largest festivals at Toronto’s Hare Krishna Temple. This festival is the celebration of the appearance of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is none other than Lord Krishna Himself. Over 500 years ago, in a special appearance, Lord Krishna personally came as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and acted as His own devotee by propagating the chanting of the Holy names of the Lord in every town and village!

Damodar Month Home Programs
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Kartika-masa, also known as Damodar-masa, in accordance with Vaishnava calendars, is described in the scriptures as the best among months, for performing austerities for spiritual advancement. This year this auspicious month falls between October 8th and November 6th.

Lord Sri Krishna says, “Of all plants, the sacred Tulasi is most dear to Me, of all months, Kartika is most dear, of all places of pilgrimage, My beloved Dwarka is most dear, and of all days, Ekadasi is most dear.
(Padma Purana, Uttara Khanda 112.3)

During this auspicious month, people perform special activities to increase their spiritual practice. Some of these include – Chanting the Holy names of the Lord (Japa), Daily worship of Tulasi devi, Giving charity, Performing Austerities, Eating only Krishna Prasadam (sanctified food), practicing Brahmacharya (celibacy) and more. Worshipping Lord Damodara by offering ghee lamp as well as chanting of the Damodarastakam is also highly encouraged.

In the month of Kartika, one should worship Lord Damodara and recite the prayer known as Damodarashtakam, which has been spoken by the sage Satyavrata and which attracts Damodara. (Sri Hari Bhakti Vilasa 2.16.198)

Importance of Deep Dana:
Please hear the glories of offering a lamp/deepa during the month of Kartika, an offering that is very pleasing to Lord Krishna. O’ King of brahmanas, a person who offers a lamp in this way will not take birth again in this world.
(Text 100, Kartika-mahatmya, Hari-Bhakti-Vilasa)

Please join us in taking these glories out to all the souls drifting in the GTA region. Please help us in booking small Damodar programs in the homes of your friends & relatives. The format is very simple and it can be as short as one hour at each location. A group of devotees will visit homes (could be more than one/evening) perform Damodarashtakam, offer lamps and talk about the glories of this wonderful pass-time of the Lord. The host has to do nothing but just invite friends and family members and if desirous can just offer some fruit /juice to the invitees. If you are interested please fill out this form to book the programs, so please share this wonderful knowledge to all around you!!!

Radhastami Deity Darshan
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September 2nd was Srimati Radharani’s appearance day – Sri Radhastami. This day is extra special as it is also the 42nd installation anniversary of our presiding deities, Sri Sri Radha Ksira-Chora Gopinatha. As always one of the highlights of the festivities was the amazing Darshans of Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Ksira-Chora Gopinatha, Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai and Sri Sri Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subadhra. See below our full album including darshans from Mangal Arati (4:30am) the opulent day outfit as well as the evening flower outfit!

Janmastami Darshan 2014
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August 17th, the Hare Krishna Temple celebrated the biggest birthday party of the year, Lord Krishna’s appearance day – Sri Krishna Janmastami!!!! As always one of the highlights of the festivities was the amazing Darshans of Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Ksira-Chora Gopinatha, Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai and Sri Sri Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subadhra. See below our full album including darshans from Mangal Arati (4:30am) the opulent day outfit as well as the Midnight flower outfit!

Janamastami Sponsorship Opportunities
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ISKCON Toronto invites you, your family and friends to celebrate the weekend of our most significant summer festival of the year, Janmastami: the appearance of Lord Krishna. Festivities will take place over three days:

Saturday, August 16th, 2014: 4pm-10pm
Participate in the magical atmosphere of resounding kirtan with six hours of non-stop kirtan!

Sunday, August 17th, 4pm-midnight!
Sunday marks the actual day of Lord Krishna’s appearance. Come and enjoy the beautiful darshan of our deities Sri Sri Radha Ksira-Chora Gopinath in their splendid flower decorations and outfits (special darshan at midnight), swing baby Krishna in his opulent swing, enjoy an opulent feast and more! Free parking has been arranged on Pears Avenue (visit our website for more information).

Monday, August, 18th 11am-3pm
Vyasa puja or the celebration of the appearance of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

There are a number of sponsorship opportunities for this grand festival:

Janmashtami Feast: $1501
Maha-Abhishek with jeweled conch: $751(Sponsors get to bathe Sri Sri Radha Krishna and to take home the conch as well as a special souvenir gift)
Abhishek: $401 (Sponsors get to bathe Sri Sri Radha Krishna and to take home a special souvenir gift)
Flower Decorations: $1001
Garlands: $750
Festival decorations: $500
Sponsor Jhula: $2000
Arati during the day: $51
Sponsor Special Midnight Arati: $108
Butter For Lord Krishna: $501
Cake: $351, $251, $175

For more information about sponsorship please contact

Festival of India: Ratha-Yatra July 12-13th!
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Please visit for more information!

The past four decades have witnessed the Festival of India blossom into one of Toronto’s most dazzling, head-turning summer events. And in 2012 the chariots and festivities rolled into the city for the 40th time. This year again be sure to mark your calendars and come visit the 42nd Annual Festival of India (also known as Ratha-Yatra) from July 12th – 13th, 2014 for an unforgettable experience.
The event begins with a euphoric parade down world-famous Yonge Street (beginning at Bloor and continuing south to Queens Quay). The celebrations then shift to Centre Island for two days of festivities expected to draw close to 40,000 people.


Toronto’s 42nd Annual Festival of India will launch with a spectacular parade on July 12th at 11:00am that will cruise down Yonge Street, beginning at Yonge & Bloor, and make its way down to the lake. During the parade, three ornate, 40-foot tall floats will be hand-pulled by participants amidst ecstatic singing, drumming, and dancing creating a wondrous, carnival-like atmosphere.

Parade participants and spectators are encouraged to join in the excitement by singing and chanting along to the world-famous Hare Krishna mantra:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare;
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

For the past 41 years, this annual parade has brought the splendor and tradition of India’s spiritual roots to Yonge Street, generating a vibe like no other summer event in the Greater Toronto Area.

Parade Information:

Time: Saturday July 12th 2014 – 11:00 am to 2:00pm

Parade is only on the Saturday and begins at 11am at Yonge and Asquith, north of Yonge and Bloor near the Toronto Reference Library. The closest TTC subway station is Yonge/Bloor station. The parade goes down Yonge street and ends at Queens Quay and Freeland St.

Click here for the Parade route in Google Maps

Centre Island

After the parade on Yonge, Festival of India celebrations continue for the remainder of the weekend at Centre Island. Festival attendees will be treated to a sumptuous and FREE vegetarian feast along with a host of other family-friendly activities, including:

  • a massive, outdoor tented pavilion
  • acclaimed music, dance, & drama performances – Arts & Culture
  • a bustling South Asian Bazaar – Vendors
  • intriguing exhibits on ancient spiritual culture and heritage
  • traditional face-painting
  • a fun-filled and educational children’s area including yoga for children

The festival is open to and free for the all. With its diverse assortment of celebrations and activities, the 42nd Annual Festival of India at Centre Island is sure to offer something for everyone!

Ratha-Yatra Sponsorship and Donation Opportunities
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Ratha-Yatra: Festival of India is fast approaching on July 12th- 13th, 2014! Festivities begin with a colorful parade down Yonge Street with three 40-foot tall floats hand-pulled by thousands of participants amidst drumming, chanting and dancing. The main festival continues for the remainder of the weekend, on the beautiful Centre Island (please visit for more information on the festivities). We’re always committed to make our festivals better each year. Over 30,000 plates of free prasadam (sanctified vegetarian food) are distributed during this festival. In order to make this happen we need support from our community, every bit counts so please help us make this happen! Here are some of the ways you can help:
Sponsor the route:
The 3500m route from Yonge and Bloor down to the waterfront represent’s Lord Jagannatha’s (Krishna’s) symbolic journey from  Dwarka to Vrndavan. Help make this journey possible by sponsoring a portion of the route for $5/m. 
Sponsor prasadam distribution:
Over 30,000 plates of free prasadam (sanctified vegetarian food) are distributed during this festival. This requires an immense amount of bhoga (ingredients) as well as supplies like plates and cutlery. Please contact Satyabhama devi dasi at for more information about prasadam related sponsorship.
Other Sponsorship/General donations: 
You can also sponsor flowers, garlands, chariots and more! Some details can be found on flyer above, please contact Satyabhama devi dasi at for more information. Of course general donations of any amount towards the festival are always accepted!

Deity Darshan: Nityananda Trayodasi (Appearance of Sri Nityananda Prabhu)
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The appearance day of Lord Nityananda Prabhu was celebrated at ISKCON Toronto on February 12, 2014. Lord Nityananda Prabhu, whose name literally means, “eternally blissful”, appeared around 1474 AD in the village of Ekachakra, near Mayapur, West Bengal. He is the eternal companion of Lord Caitanya and both are worshiped together as are Krishna and Balaram. In the same way that Lord Balaram is considered the original spiritual master, so is Lord Nityananda.

Appearance of Varaha Avatara (Boar Incarnation)
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This year, February 11th marks the appearance anniversary of Varaha avatar (Lord Krishna’s boar incarnation). As described in the Srimad Bhagavatam, Lord Krishna assumed this form of a gigantic boar to lift the drowning planet Earth from the cosmic ocean with his tusks.
A demonic personality had thrown the planet Earth from her orbit into this ocean but the Lord came, as a boar, and saved the Earth. In honour of the appearance of Lord Varahadeva, fasting is observed until noon on Bhaimi Ekadashi (Monday, February 10th, 2014).
More information about the appearance of Varaha avatar can be found here; below is a summary of the pastime written by Urmila devi dasi:
“In Vedic cosmology, planets are conscious persons. The planet Earth once fell into the universal water when demonic persons disturbed her orbit by drilling for oil and upsetting her balance. Celestial beings, called devas, who control the universe in service to Krishna, wanted Earth to be rescued.

Responding to their desire, the Lord came to save her. He assumed the form of a splendid, gigantic boar (Varaha), dove to the bottom of the universal ocean, picked up Earth, and gently carried her on His tusks to the water’s surface. As He did so, a great demon challenged Him.

Lord Varaha then carefully placed fearful Earth on the water and gave her the ability to float. A fight between the Lord and the demon ensued within the great ocean. After defeating the demon, Lord Varaha returned to the spiritual sky.”

Parama Karuna…
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As we prepare to celebrate Nityananda Trayodasi, the advent (appearance) of Lord Nityananda this Wednesday, February 12th, starting at 6pm. Click HERE for more information about the celebrations. We found this nice video of Srila Prabhupada singing the famous Bengali bhajan “Parama Karuna Pahu Dui Jana” (Official Name: Sri Gaura Nityananda Daya). This bhajan (devotional song) written by Srila Locana Dasa Thakura really encompasses the merciful nature of Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda, see the translation of the lyrics below.

parama karuṇa, pahū dui jana
nitāi gauracandra
saba avatāra-sāra śiromaṇi
kevala ānanda-kanda

The two Lords, Nitai-Gauracandra, are very merciful. They are the essence of all incarnations. The specific significance of these incarnations is that They introduced a process of chanting and dancing that is simply joyful.

bhajo bhajo bhāi, caitanya nitāi
sudṛḍha biśwāsa kori
viṣaya chāḍiyā, se rase majiyā,
mukhe bolo hari hari

My dear brother, I request that you just worship Lord Caitanya and Nityananda with firm conviction and faith. If one wants to be Krsna conscious by this process, one has to give up his engagement in sense gratification. One simply has to chant, “Hare Krsna! Hari Hari!” without any motive.

dekho ore bhāi, tri-bhuvane nāi,
emona doyāla dātā
paśu pākhī jhure, pāṣāṇa vidare,
śuni’ jāńra guṇa-gāthā

My dear brother, just try and examine this. Within the three worlds there is no one like Lord Caitanya or Lord Nityananda. Their merciful qualities are so great that upon hearing Them even birds and beasts cry and stones melt.

saḿsāre majiyā, rohili poriyā,
se pade nahilo āśa
āpana karama, bhuñjāye śamana,
kahoye locana-dāsa

But Locana dasa regrets that I am entrapped by sense gratification. Since I have no attraction for the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda, then Yamaraja, the superintendent of death, is punishing me by not allowing me to be attracted by this movement.

Appearance Day of Advaitacharya
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Wednesday, February 5th marks the appearance anniversary of Advaitacharya, one of the foremost teachers of bhakti in the Hare Krishna tradition. On this day we fast till noon in his honour.
Advaitacharya appeared some sixty years before Lord Chaitanya’s own advent, over 500 years ago. It was Advaitacarya who asked Lord Chaitanya to descend. Before Lord Chaitanya’s advent, Advaitacharya had already begun chanting Krishna’s names in the streets with devotees and discussing scriptures on devotional service to Krishna. Advaitacharya’s name indicates that He is nondifferent (advaita) from Lord Hari (Krishna), and He is called acharya (spiritual master) because He taught bhakti.
To read more about Advaitacharya click HERE!

Ksira-Chora Gopinatha in Remuna, Orissa
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As many of you know, our beloved deities, Sri Sri Radha Ksira-Chora Gopinatha are named after the famous deity found in Orissa. When the deities arrived in Toronto, devotees wrote to Srila Prabhupada that Krishna was a bit chubby. Srila Prabhupada then named them Sri Sri Radha Krisa-Chora Gopinatha after the deity in the Orissan village of Remuna, our Temple also became known as “New Remuna Dhama.” “Ksira-Chora” means “one who stole sweet condensed milk” and there’s a special pastime (see below) about how He received this name. Recently we came across some rare photos of Ksira-Chora Gopinatha in Remuna, normally photography is not permitted so these amazing photos are a rare treat! (Photos courtesy of Arjun Bhattacharyya Photography).

More information about Remuna and Ksira Chora Gopinatha can be found inf the Back to Godhead Magazine Article “Remuna – The Place of Pleasure” by Bhakti Vikasa Swami. Below is an excerpt from the article on how Gopinatha got the Name Ksira-Chora:

The Name “Ksira-chora” means “one who stole condensed milk.” When Lord Caitanya visited the Gopinatha temple in Remuna, He told the devotees traveling with Him how the Deity had come to receive that name. Lord Caitanya had heard the story from His spiritual master, Isvara Puri, a disciple of Madhavendra Puri. As related in Caitanya-caritamrta, it is Madhavendra Puri for whom the condensed milk was stolen.

Madhavendra Puri was a highly advanced devotee of Lord Krsna. While living in Vrndavana absorbed in remembering the pastimes of the Lord, he saw Krsna appear in a dream and tell him He had been buried for a long time in a jungle nearby. Krsna wanted Madhavendra Puri to dig Him up. Following the Lord’s instruction, with the help of the local people Madhavendra Puri discovered a Deity of Krsna named Gopala.

Madhavendra Puri built a temple for Gopala and served Him for two years. Then again one night Gopala appeared to him in a dream and asked him to go to Orissa to get sandalwood to smear on His body.

On the way to Orissa, Madhavendra Puri stopped at the Gopinatha temple in Remuna. He asked the priest what kind of food was offered to Gopinatha, thinking he could offer the same preparations to his own Deity, Gopala. The priest mentioned the condensed milk (ksira) known as amrta-keli, which was famous because its taste was nectarean.

That evening, while the priest made an offering to the Lord, Madhavendra Puri thought that if the priest were to offer him some of the condensed milk he could taste it and then be able to prepare it for Gopala. He then at once became ashamed for thinking of tasting the Lord’s food during the offering. Feeling he had committed a great offense, he left the temple and went to a vacant marketplace to chant the names of the Lord.

Later that night, the Gopinatha Deity appeared in a dream to the priest and told him He had hidden a pot of condensed milk behind His cloth. Gopinatha told the priest to deliver the condensed milk to a saintly person named Madhavendra Puri. The priest did as told.

Madhavendra Puri felt ecstasy to learn that the Lord had stolen condensed milk for him. After drinking the milk, Madhavendra Puri kept the pot, and every day he would eat a little piece of it.

Happy Diwali from ISKCON Toronto!
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“To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.” 
Bhagavad-gita As It Is 10.11 

Wishing you and your family a 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 as the residents of Ayodhya lit many lamps to welcome Lord Ramachandra home (“dipa” means candles, and “vali” means numerous). Click HERE for a small video that tells the wonderful story of Diwali! This time of year, the month of Kartik/Damodara, provides a very special opportunity to celebrate various festivals and events at the Hare Krishna Temple!

Please join us for Diwali Celebrations tonight (November 3rd; 6-9pm) and Govardhan Puja tomorrow (November 4th; 6-9pm)!

The Auspicious Month of Damodara (Kartik)
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The lunar month known as Damodara/Kartik falls between October 19th and November 17th. This month is celebrated as an opportunity to dive deeper in our spirituality. This month is described as especially dear to Krishna and sincere spiritualists keep it sacred through acts of devotion and vows of austerity aimed at increasing their spiritual strength and allowing them to draw closer to Krishna.

It was during Kartik that Lord Krishna allowed Himself to be bound with ropes by His mother, Yashoda. Out of loving anger at her transcendentally naughty child, she tied him (dama) around the abdomen (udara) with ropes. Thus the month of Kartik is also known as the month of Damodara, “He who was bound around the abdomen”.

Several festivals also fall within this auspicious month including Diwali on November 3rd and Govardhan Puja on November 4th. Please stay tuned to for more information about Kartik celebrations at Toronto’s Hare Krishna Temple!

Additionally, Kartik is observed by offering lamps and chanting a special prayer to Lord Damodara known as the  Damodarastakam (Click HERE). The Padma Purana, an ancient text, assures:

“Even a person addicted to all sins and averse to all pious deeds who somehow offers a lamp during Kartik becomes purified. Of this there is no doubt.”
During the month of Kartik, every day at 7am and 8pm at ISKCON Toronto we will offer ghee lamps and chant the Damodarastakam prayers *no lamp offerings on Sunday evenings.

As a special initiative for this holy month of Damodara, devotees from ISKCON Toronto will host Damodara Programs in the homes of our congregation members to spread the glories of the Lord. Please contact Program Coordinator, Satyabhama devi dasi for more information or to book a program.

This special month also presents several sponsorship Opportunities:

Diwali – Sunday, November 3rd
Deity Garlands: $351
Govardhan Puja – Monday, November 4th
Deity Garlands: $351

Kartik Deepa Dana

“If somebody burns a lamp in the temple of Lord Shri Hari even for a short time (in the month of Kartik), then whatever sins, he has acquired for millions of  kalpas (one kalpa equals 1000 yugas) are all destroyed.”

Sponsor Daily Lamp Offerings to Lord Damodara $51
Diwali Deepa Dana $108

Please contact Satyabhama devi dasi for sponsorship enquiries.

Happy Kartik!