The presiding Deities of the Toronto Hare Krishna Temple are Sri Sri Radha Ksira-Chora Gopinatha (Radha Krishna), Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai and Sri Sri Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra. Everything we do in our temple is just a humble offering to the Lord and our Deities are the heart of our temple! Below, you can find the latest pictures of our beautiful Deities, information about darshan times and even the stories about how our Deities arrived in Toronto!
The story of our Deities
The Arrival of Sri Sri Radha Ksira-Chora Gopinatha
The wonderful story about Sri Sri Radha Ksira-Chora Gopinath coming to our Temple
by Laxmimoni Devi Dasi
In 1972 I wrote to Srila Prabhupada to ask if ISKCON Toronto could install marble Radha Krishna Deities. I envisioned smaller, marble Deities for our temple. We wanted to be able to make an outfit from one sari being cognizant of the tight financial situation of the temple. Also, the altar area up until that time had been very small in size.
Srila Prabhupada wrote to me and instructed me to write to Kausalya Dasi who was serving in Jaipur. She was working on getting some deities donated for Dallas and Detroit. Srila Prabhupada said that Kaushalya could do the same for Toronto.
Then everyone waited. Several months went by and there was no word. Feeling concerned, I finally phoned Maitahili Dasi in Bombay. She said over the phone “Aren’t They gorgeous… you must have received them by now!"
This was very puzzling as there was no sign of any of the three sets of Deities. Finally, after some endeavor, I discovered that the seven crates; three sets of Deities and one box of paraphernalia had been sitting in the New York warehouse of Air India for about three months! I put down the phone and ran up the street to tell Jagadisha and the devotees who were on Harinam on Yonge St. “The Deities are here!!”
Everyone was very excited and the rescue operation was put into gear. Jagadisha and I drove immediately to New York where we claimed all seven crates. We phoned Detroit and Dallas and arranged for them to meet us in Buffalo where the devotees could pick up their respective Deities.
In Buffalo, with all the crates safely retrieved, we pulled aside the two smallest crates and opened the first. The Deities were very tightly packed in straw and cloth. There were many nails in the crates as well. It was very difficult to find the Deity inside. After some endeavor, we found Shrimati Radharani who looked up from the crate with such incredible beauty that it took our breath away. We did not open Krishna’s crate deciding to leave that for Toronto.
After we uncrated Lord Krishna, I wrote to Srila Prabhupada and mentioned that the Lord was a bit pudgy in the stomach. When we heard back from Srila Prabhupada by telephone, he said that our Krishna should be named “Ksira-Chora Gopinath” because He loved ksira (sweet rice ). Srila Prabhupada instructed us to offer ksira daily. At that point, he also named our center New Remuna after Lord Ksira-Chora Gopinath’s home in India.
After receiving our Deities in Toronto, we had to work very hard to prepare for the installation of Sri Sri Radha Ksira-Chora Gopinath. In order to finish the installation outfit on time, Pashupati, Varuni, and Praharana did not go to New Vrindavan to be initiated by Srila Prabhupada. Koumadaki Dasi, who was to receive 2nd initiation also stayed behind. Drupada went however and was initiated with several hundred devotees in a fire yagna before His Divine Grace.
In Toronto Gopanganopati polished the Deities, They were beautifully painted and the women sewed for many hours a day. Finally on Radhashtami, September, 1972 our Lordships Radha Ksira-Chora Gopinatha appeared on the Toronto altar and Toronto ISKCON became officially New Remuna Dhama. Pashupati, Varuni, Praharana and Koumadaki were also initiated on that auspicious day before the newly installed Radha Gopinath.
Over the next seven weeks, seven outfits were made. Their Lordships outfits were changed once a week until this was done. When there were enough outfits for seven days, then we started to change the outfits every day. These outfits were very elaborate and beautifully made. All the devotees helped including the men and samkirtana devotees who beaded and pressed stones in class. It was truly a community effort to welcome and serve Radha Ksiracora Gopinatha who had come to bless them in New Remuna Dhama.
The Arrival of Sri Sri Gaura Nitai!
Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda Arrive in New Remuna Dhama
by Laxmimoni Devi Dasi
At the time in Toronto, about 1973, we were worshipping a small brass pair of Gaura Nitai and had a large picture of Panch Tattva on the altar. We were really hoping that Neem wood Gaura Nitai Deities could be installed in Toronto and were making plans with Uttamasloka Prabhu in Montreal to purchase two sets. At this time, Sudama Swami came to visit Toronto. He was traveling and preaching from a van. In the van was a beautiful set of Neem wood Gaura Nitai Deities!
The Toronto devotees were alarmed however with this situation, because the van was small and the Deities could easily have become damaged. We asked Srila Prabhupada what should be done. He said that the Neem wood Deities should be installed in Toronto and the Sudama Swami should take the small brass Gaura Nitai to worship on sankirtana. Everyone was happy with this situation.
Our beautiful Gaura Nitai Neem wood Deities came to Toronto completely unsolicited, by Their causeless mercy, in order to fulfill the desire of the devotees. As chance would have it, Montreal temple received an identical set. It was rumored that they were carved from the same Neem tree. Given the close association of Montreal and Toronto temples at the time, and the strong emphasis on book distribution, this seemed like a wonderful and auspicious situation. The small brass Deities who were originally being worshipped in Toronto, are now in Hawaii as far as I know and are being worshipped there.
The Arrival of Sri Sri Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra
There are two sets of deities at the temple. The smaller, installed deities remain in the temple, while the larger deities go out to bless the residents of Toronto by giving them Their darshan during Rath-Yatra.
Lord Jagannath is none other than Krishna during one of His Dvarka pastimes. Lord Baladeva or Balaram is Lord Krishna’s brother and mother Subhadra (Yoga Maya or internal potency of Lord Krishna, personified) is His sister. Their wide eyed expressions indicate the infinite ecstasy they are feeling upon hearing the pastimes of Lord Krishna in Vrindavan.