So let's begin the journey to how it all started….
The beginning of the Toronto Centre: Year 1985
Param Pujya Dada put his holy feet in Canada in 1982 during his first North America visit. Shri Vasantbhai, who was instrumental in bringing Dada to USA drove Dada to Toronto and then to Montreal. Niruma and Khetshibhai were also with Pujya Dada. During his first visit, Pujya Dada stayed only for one night and Satsang was organized in a Church. Shri Sureshbhai, a pioneer Mahatma from Toronto, was with Dada during his first visit.
Dada also visited in 1983 and 1984, and stayed at Shri Sureshbhai’s apartment. Mahatmas enthusiastically transported Dada in a chair to the third floor, as the building had no elevator, and Dada comfortably adjusted in a one bedroom apartment. This was a moment remembered vividly by all who experienced it.
After Dada’s second visit, the number people seeking Dada’s satsang had increased. The food had to be served in the hallway of the apartment. And, during this time another one of Toronto’s pioneer, mahatma Shri Dinesh Patel (Dinesh Uncle), met Dada.
Dada conducted first Gyan vidhi in Toronto in 1985 in the basement of Matraben and Pankajbhai Amin’s home in Thornhill Toronto. Approximately 20-25 seekers took Gyan. Dada stayed in Toronto for three days, and in that time, the foundation for an official centre had been laid.
Early Days of Toronto Satsang - 1980s and 1990s
During Dada’s visit in 1985, the pioneering mahatmas felt the need to hold regular satsang. Shri Dineshbhai Patel, Sureshbhai Patel, Surendrabhai Patel, Martaben & Pankajbhai Amin, and Dahyakaka (deceased) approached Dada and sought his blessings for this endeavor. Since then, satsang rotated between the homes of these pioneering Mahatmas every Saturday.
After Dada left his mortal body, Niruma took major initiative in inspiring Mahatmas in North America. Toronto was a very special place for Niruma. In 1992 Niruma conducted the first 3-day shibir. In 1994, Niruma conducted the first gnan vidhi at Dinesh Uncle’s house. Year after year, shibirs and satsangs continued to take place in Toronto with Niruma.
Gradually, the number of mahatmas and individuals interested in satsang increased. Niruma played a very important role in shaping the future of Toronto centre. She put a lot of emphasis on satsang and shibir. Toronto steadily witnessed growth in Mahatmas under the guidance of Pujyashri and Niruma, and by the end of 2000, a larger place to organize satsang was needed. From 2002-2004, satsang was hosted in a community hall in Scarborough.
In 2000s - The current Centre
Shri Pramodbhai Patel was involved in Dada’s satsang for quite some time. For many years he had been goffering his large commercial basement to various spiritual groups for use at no cost.
Now deeply dedicated to Dada and Akram vigyan, in the year 2004, Pramod uncle dedicated this location to Toronto Dadabhagwan satsang centre. In 2005, Pujya Niruma conducted Gyan Vidhi at this location.
Today this is the centre of all activities related to Akram Vigyan in Toronto. It has a temple of Shri Simandhar swami and a replica of Trimandir. This location is equipped with a large hall, kitchen, kid’s area, ample storage space, and, a projector and sound system to facilitate audio-video for satsangs and shibirs. Weekly satsangs, monthly shibirs, centre meetings, overnight satsangs - they all happen at this place!
Toronto satsang centre serves as an example of Abhedta (oneness) among the Mahatmas. It is a large family where Mahatmas from all walks of life have come together to achieve the ultimate goals of self-realization and Jagat Kalyan.
Toronto Satsang Centre - Today
The Dadabhagwan Toronto satsang centre is a major hub for Dada’s activity in North America (NA). Toronto is one of the five centres in NA where the grand celebration of Gurupurnima, and Pujyashri’s annual shibir, take place. Toronto has a very large and diverse group of active Mahatmas. In 2017, there were over 700 individuals who attended the shibir, of which 180 individuals participated in the gnan vidhi. And, this number is increasing year after year.
On Fridays, MMHT and WMHT weekly satsangs are organized at four locations throughout Toronto. On Saturdays, the weekly satsang and monthly shibhir take place at the main centre. Fun meets gnan every year at the annual picnic organized for mahatmas and their families, and at festive celebrations through Diwali, Holi, Navratri, Gnanis’ birthdays and Punya-tithis. The centre also participates in the India day Parade to showcase Akram Vigyan. No matter what the event is, the objective is Jagat Kalyan, and oneness in selfless service.
Another centre activity includes exemplary work in Prachaar. Distributing spiritual books during international yoga day, international book day, Navratri and other events in Toronto have proved to be an inspiration to many other centres throughout North America.
The Toronto centre is fortunate to have several senior mahatmas who had spent a lot of time with Dada, and pioneered the satsang activity in Toronto. They act as a constant guide and motivation to the younger and enthusiastic generations that are joining our growing Dada Family.