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Meet Hari Bhakta Das of Mantra House in Culver City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hari Bhakta Das.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Mantra House started May of 2016, in my apartment. I was studying philosophy in college and studying and practicing mantra meditation through the teachings of Bhakti yoga, an ancient spiritual practice coming from India.

Me and one of my friends who was studying at UCLA at the time, wanted to open up a space where like-minded individuals could come and connect, meditate and share a vegan meal together. At first, it started as a small operation, but gradually as we progressively hosted the event every Thursday on a weekly basis, more and more people started coming.

The event schedule is as follows, we start off at 7pm with a musical mantra meditation session or most popularly knows as kirtan. From 7:30pm to 8pm we have a guest speaker, in which creatively expresses ancient yoga philosophy through creative means, in order to show the practicality and relevance of such ancient teachings in connection to modern day affairs. After the guest speaker from 8pm to 8:30pm we have a another mantra meditation session, and then we end the night with a gourmet in house prepared vegan meal. At this point, everyone is connecting vibing out and just resonating with the peaceful yet electrifying feel of the mantra house.

The person leading mantra musical meditation the session, melodiously chants ancient Sanskrit mantras, and the crowd would follow, the singer and the crowd chant melodiously back and forth following the tune and rhythm of the lead singer. In accordance to the meditation aspect of it, it’s not a type of musical performance, rather it is a deep, tangible sonic therapy type of experience. An experience where the person leading the kirtan, becomes absorbed not in the external expression of beautifully chanting the mantra, but rather intently focusing on the mantra itself, like an offering of love in connection to the meaning of the mantra.

The mantra that we often chant at the mantra house is the famous, Hare Krishna mantra, which goes as follows: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. The core meaning of the mantra is “Hare” is the divine female energy, “Krishna”, is the divine male energy, “Rama” means the ultimate pleasure. When the mantra is chanted, it is meant for us to focus our energies and connect with the self. This is called yoga, the literal meaning of yoga is connection, to the higher self, the Super-self.

Going back to how it all started, after some time, specially when more people started coming, our neighbors weren’t having it, so we eventually had to move from two different locations due to noise complaints. We are finally temporarily situated in our current family, in which we’ve been hosting our events fro the last two years, and it’s now growing more and more.

Mantra House consists of a whole community individuals with the same interests in incorporating a conscious lifestyle, revolving around an ancient yoga practice. For the time being the mantra house consists of a majority of college students. We collaborate with several universities throughout Southern California, such as USC, UCLA, LMU & CSULB. By bringing weekly meditation sessions, connecting with students, and building community.

You can check out their instagrams here: @uscmeditation / @uclameditation / @lmumeditation / @csulbmeditation.

Here is our Instagram: @mantrahousela

Has it been a smooth road?
Some of the obstacles that have come about throughout our journey the last four years have been to move locations on two different occasions due to noise complaints from neighbors.

Although we are currently situated in a house right now, in Culver City. We are still progressively moving forward trying to secure a full-scale mantra house operation with several events on a weekly basis.

That’s been another obstacle, we’ve been searching for another property around West LA, but have yet to find the one that fits our vision and our budget.

And of course, the most universal obstacle affecting the whole of the world, Covid-19. We are currently operating our events through virtual means for the time being. You can check us out on Instagram live every Thursday at 6pm.

These obstacles allow us to learn and grow and have made us stronger along the way.

Please tell us about Mantra House.
Mantra House specializes in creating a soothing yet electrifying atmosphere for people to connect, rejuvenate and learn to incorporate ancient wisdom for modern times into their day to day lives.

We are known for consciously bringing people from all walks of life together, and we are most prominently known for our exquisite vegan feasts.

Mantra House is the hidden gem of Los Angeles, for those genuinely interested in connecting with consciously like-minded individuals, its the place to be.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The industry of meditation is growing more and more as years go by. The mantra house atmosphere speaks for itself, even now that for the time being, we cannot run our full-scale operation, we are still connected with everyone through virtual means, and the people want wisdom, they want meditation, they want community.

As a business, creatively speaking, there is a tremendous opportunity for growth, innovation and breakthroughs. The mantra house project has only been up and running for four years, the team is young and full of energy, and the enthusiasm to share wisdom with others exponentially limitless, philosophically speaking.

Pricing:

  • Entrance fee $7 for students
  • $10 for non-students

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photos by Julio Vargas

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