Vedic City Project

The Vedic City Project will be hosting a Mantra Meditation Seminar in Parkwood, Johannesburg from 10am to 3pm on Saturday 17 July 2010. A healthy Vegetarian Lunch will be served during the break. Twenty spaces are available


Course Facilitator

Mukunda Charan Das has immersed himself in rigorous spiritual practice and study for the past 14 years. He now shares his knowledge with seekers of truth at temples, yoga workshops, retreat centres and universities all over the world. Many of his students testify that their lives have changed after his courses.

Key Elements Of The Seminar

* The Vedas, Mantras and Mantra Meditation
* Different kinds of Mantras
* How to live a more Spiritual Lifestyle
* How to incorporate Mantra Meditation into our daily lives
* Learning how to meditate with the assistance of Japa Mala or sacred chanting beads
* Yoga and Mantra Meditation
* How to overcome unwanted habits and desires through Mantra Meditation
* Spiritual Discipline
* Awakening Love through Mantra Meditation
* Developing a broader Spiritual Vision
* Making the most of the Human Form of Life
* Kirtan

Venue: 102 Hy Len (above “David Krut Art Books”), 140 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg

Time and Date: 10am to 3pm, Saturday 17 July 2010

The Seminar:

Session One (10am to 12pm): ‘An Introduction To Mantra Meditation’

Session Two (1pm to 3pm): ‘Chanting Hare Krishna On Beads’

A healthy vegetarian lunch will be served at 12pm

The Seminar is R250 (students R150)


While Bhakta Arne is saturating himself in bliss in Sri Vrindavan Dhama, MCD and G-Man (Gaura Sakti Das) are holding the fort here in Rosebank. We are still cooking up a storm with ‘Krishna’s Vedic Emporium’ foodstalls at the Killarney Mall Organic Market on Thursdays and The Wholefood Market at Blu Bird (Atholl Oaklands) on Sundays. Actually, we held a stall at Blu Bird today and Yelena, the wife of Branco, who sometimes fetches me from the airport, bought a Bhagavad-gita and took a whole lot of pamphlets on Krishna Consciousness. Another lady, Corinne, bought a Spiritual Warrior IV by Bhakti Tirtha Swami and another took a Higher Taste.

Prema Kishore prabhu led us on our third regular Harinam though the streets of Melville last Friday (see for details). I rounded off our very successful Cooking Course on Saturday with Pizza, Khichari, salad and salad dressing. We sponsored the chef, Joseph, from St James (a vegetarian school) and the headmaster wrote a letter praising Joseph’s new cooking skills. I realized that what we take for granted, in this case our training as chefs, is of great value to others. That evening we cut vegetables for Sunday’s market. On Sunday we sold Prashadam at Blu Bird again and held our weekly Sunday programme. It was very encouraging for me to have Gaura Das and some of his friends at the programme. Another friend, Marcelle, arrived just as the guests were leaving. Gaura Shakti showed her some basic mridanga beats, then she sat and chanted a round of the maha-mantra with us. Oh…and we also gave her some chickpea fudge (which she’d had before).

Monday. We teamed up with Nandarani – who was in the Temple with me in Cape Town – at the University of Johannesburg Bhakti Yoga Society (BYS) from 12-2:30pm. We taught the students how to chant on beads last time. This time we held a basic cooking demo: Simply Wonderfuls and Nimbu Pani. The demo went well. Prema Sarovara Mataji’s friend, Grace, bought a Bhagavad-gita. Seven students bought chanting beads at the previous session. That they took beads was a very positive sign from the point-of-view of chanting. They told me at this session that the chanting was really helping them find peace and happiness. I returned to the flat, took a brief nap, then Gaura Shakti and I went to Dwarakadish prabhu’s place for the Marlboro Namahatta. It was humbling to be with such hospitable and respectful devotees.

Tuesday. Market and shopping for the stalls in Fordsburg. We dropped in at “Cater Commercial” to pick up some kitchen utensils kindly sponsored by Bhakta Rakesh and his family. We got in at around 4pm. Gaura Das came in the evening for a Mantra Meditation Session. He brought some of his friends and people he’d met on book distribution – Lebohang, Matthew, Claudia and Mortaza. I delivered 30 pieces of Laddhu (Chickpea Fudge) to a juice-bar in Woodmead on Wednesday morning, rushed back to the flat, then gave a talk on ‘Jyotish And Its Relevance To Spirituality’ (Jyotish is Indian Astrology) at the Wits BYS at from 1-3pm. I bought some slop-chips at “Kara Nicha’s” before trundling back home, back to Pancha Tattva. That night Gaura Das invited us over to his mom’s place for supper (in honour of his wife Jamuna’s birthday). I still had to cut veg for Thursday’s stall when we got back to the flat. Thursday means Killarney Mall Organic Food Market. Self-explanatory. Mother Prema Shakti came to the stall and informed me that there was a GAD (Gauteng Administration and Development) Sub-Committee meeting about Education at her flat with Keshava Krishna prabhu and some other devotees. The meeting touched on various important areas of education – for children, youth and adults. Another late night. Friday, I went on Sankirtan at the airport and Eastgate. Saturday, Sankirtan at Menlyn. Sunday, Blu Bird and Sunday programme.

Tonight we read from Bhagavad-gita and then chanted Damodarastakam Prayers. This week has been quite a busy one, compounded by Arne’s absence. (All the guests left with Chickpea Fudge). We are offering lamps every night to Lord Damodara and chanting the Damodarastakam. Kartik is a month of mercy. May the Lord be kind upon us.

Your servants at the Vedic City Project.

Versatile South African astrologer, Richard Fidler, gave an enlivening talk at the Tuks Bhakti Yoga Society (BYS), in Pretoria, on 6 October 2008.

Richard explained that jyotish is considered ‘the eyes of the Vedas’. He explained that jyotish is connected to ayurveda (Vedic natural medicine). The sciences of the Vedas are interconnected whereas western understanding is compartmentalized.

How is jyotish related to Indian culture, destiny, spirituality (ie. Deities, spiritual paths, the guru and human relationships?

In Vaishnavism (God-conscious Indian spirituality), we see an ancient culture practiced in modern times. Richard went on to explain that astrological interpretation brings home ‘timeless truths of uniqueness of individuality’ to light. We are re-connected with rhythms of nature, the universe and Divinity. Astrologers see the karma (material destiny) of people and this gives them a sense of empathy for them.

Vedic concepts of dharma, artha, kama and moksha are revealed in a chart. Even if you are very spiritual, you need to eat food…you still need basic resources.

Another point that arose was that astrology can be an objective affirmation of a direction we are headed in. This is one use of astrology since so many scenarios arise. Reminds me of the point where the founder of the Hare Krishna movement, Swami Prabhupada, said of the usefulness of jyotish, ‘If you know it’s going to rain take an umbrella with you.’

Richard introduced me to a quote on astrology some time ago: ‘There are those who are born under the stars and those born born seeing stars. ‘ In other words, some are born ignorant of their destiny; while others ‘see’ theirs – through astrology.

After the talk, there was a question-and-answer session. Was astrology only applicable to individuals? Richard explained to the students that astrology was not confined to one individual. Astrology could be applied to ‘a state of energy’ and had political, religious and economic applications. There is an ‘astrology of world events’ or an ‘astrology of collective karma.’ Collective karma could pertain to families, communities and certain planets or universes (eg. the heavenly planets).

Another student asked about the different yugas (epochs described in the Vedas). Richard answered that the Yugas are, in a sense, part of astrology and time-cycles. He cited an example from the ancient Indian history the Mahabharata wherein mention of a solar eclipse is made.

Richard answered another question about the relevance of astrology in our lives. He spoke of the macrocosmic and microcosmic applications of astrology. The Moon is a jewel on lord Siva’s head. The cosmic machine is a little piece of the reality of the Devas (Demigods or higher beings that “run” the material manifestation on behalf of the Supreme Being, Vishnu). We find it difficult to understand the miracle of what it means to be a human being. With respect to astrology, Richard made the point that ‘God does not play dice’ and also mentioned that Jesus said that every hair on our head is numbered. The basic point being that astrology helps us understand the cosmic being we are part of. Cells serve the body; and we are meant to serve God. Astrology could be part of the spiritual path of the intellectuals and would help an organization like ISKCON in an individual and collective sense.

”Where does the observance of Krishna’s birthday come from?’ Astrology.

Someone asked a question about Vastu (Vedic architecture/feng-shui) and Richard gave some simple explanations about the Sun in the east being auspicious and Saturn in the west being inauspicious. He also spoke a little about Vastu grids (being based on jyotish).

Richard made some other points in the discussion after his talk about how astrologers generally accept that there is a higher intelligence governing the material universe. He also mentioned that most astrologers become more spiritual through the practice of the science. Western science teaches that consciousness is random and comes from matter. The spiritual world-view is different: consciousness creates matter. Consciousness reveals the relationship between the soul and the material form, since the gross manifests from the subtle.

Astrology helps us to re-define events. External, physical events are the result of consciousness and, therefore, have a relation to psychology.

Astrology is intimately connected to religion. Astrology assumes there is a God and that our worldly activities should be aligned with the will of God. Astrology is the language of God. It is not trying to be separate from God.

Hemant (one of the students) asked about having a ‘good day’ or ‘bad day’ in spiritual practise. Richard mentioned that there are various forces that influence us, such as the sun, earth and water. Astrology helps us to time things better – remember Prabhupada’s point about the umbrella? There is a reason that certain activities take place within a religious calendar. To create auspiciousness. In addition to this, your consciousness will have a lot to do with how you respond to certain ‘events.’ With respect to difficulties in the course of our spiritual lives, you may not be able to find an outlet for that energy. Richard made a cogent point, ‘Even relatively enlightened people have “off days”. It probably has something to do with the stars.’ He went on to explain that pujas (worship), bugles, astrological rings (ie. gemstones which correspond favourably to certain constellations or planets) etc. ‘deflect bad energy, like a lightning rod on a house.’

After the question-and-answer session the devotees, students and Richard all took some prasada (vegetarian snacks offered to Krishna).

Thank you Richard. Hare Krishna.