iskcon-toronto

The Toronto temple was a small, run-down building, and Prabhupada was interested in helping the devotees relocate. All the real estate brokers they had approached had told them about a fabulous church for sale downtown. The temple president, Vishvakarma, had looked at the building, but the owners were asking almost half a million dollars, with a large down payment. When Prabhupada went to see the church, he decided that somehow they must get it. If necessary he could send the total BBT collections for two months as a loan to the Toronto temple. Prabhupada told them to offer $300,000 cash, but when Uttamashloka went, the church directors rejected the offer, saying they had already rejected an offer for much more.

Srila Prabhupada did not give up the idea of getting the church, however, and he mentioned it before a meeting of Indians. Near the end of the program, when the host begged Prabhupada to return again to bless them, Prabhupada took the opportunity to request all present to please help the devotees raise money to purchase the church. Once they had actually purchased it, he said, he would return to Toronto. Many of the gentlemen present promised to help.

Vishvakarma dasa, the Toronto president, sent a report detailing the successful purchase of a large church on a main street in the heart of Toronto. Last year Srila Prabhupada told them to try to purchase it, and despite great opposition from the clergy they completed the deal by having some enthusiastic Indian members conduct the negotiations. It cost $400,000 in total, and although the temple only provided $80,000 deposit, they were able to secure the rest as mortgages. Now they plan to reinstall Sri Sri Radha-Kshirachora Gopinatha in mid-January.

Srila Prabhupada was delighted, and considered the purchase of the church a great victory, "a topmost triumph." "Christianity is now declining," he wrote, "therefore they are having to sell all their churches to us. Because they have no clear idea of God, people are not satisfied with them. But we can explain what God is, so people are appreciating more and more our Movement. Now by Krishna's grace you have a beautiful temple, use it to preach very vigorously. If you all strictly follow the principles and chant sixteen rounds, your spiritual strength will be insured, and our Movement will become increasingly prominent."

On hearing that over 200,000 cars per day pass by the church, Prabhupada recommended that they immediately erect a neon sign with the flashing words of the full maha-mantra on it. He said it will be a great achievement if they can accomplish this.