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Harikatha Samartha Ramdas' Contribution to the Art of Spiritual Story-Telling

Harikatha Samartha Ramdas' Contribution to the Art of Spiritual Story-Telling
$23.20$29.00  [ 20% off ]
Item Code: IDK348
Author: I.P. Meera Grimes
Publisher: Indica Books, Varanasi
Edition: 2008
ISBN: 8186569766
Pages: 184 (21 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.5" X 5.5"

It gives me great pleasure to write this brief foreword to the book, Harikatha: Samartha Ramdas' Contribution to the Art of Spiritual Story Telling, by Kalaimamani Smt. Balameera Chandra (Meera Grimes), as she is known by the art-loving people of India.

It is indeed a very happy occasion to associate myself with this work in some way, cherishing the memories of a golden period of music, dance, and drama of the 60's and 70's when Smt. Balameera Chandra, a multi-faceted artist, performed widely and received accolades as a sincere torch-bearer of the glorious art of Harikatha. During those years, Smt. Balameera worked under renowned scholars like Thuraiyur Rajagopala Sharma, Sangita Kalanidhi Embar Vijayaraghavachariar, and my father, Dr. V. Raghavan, all of whom guided this dedicated aspirant in seeking farther horizons in her chosen field.

The present publication of Smt. Balameera Chandra offers a thorough analysis of the varied aspects of the multi-faceted art form of Harikatha and includes stories of saint-singers whose lives and teachings remain as the perennial source for this art of story-telling. Further, the book also throws light on the importance and benefits of the crucial factor – the Nirupana – which provides the basic format for Harikatha exposition and which has evolved around the intrinsic philosophy of the Soul, its search for Higher Knowledge and its ultimate surrender to the Supreme.

At a time when the art of Harikatha needs greater support and encouragement, the present publication arrives on the scene offering a scholarly, in-depth study of the source material, and thereby providing an invaluable asset to future generations of students and researchers in the field of Harikatha.

I wish to greet and congratulate Smt. Balameera Chandra Grimes for her untiring efforts all through her life towards the preservation and propagation of the art of Harikatha to which she has dedicated herself.

Back of the Book

Harikatha (lit. stories of the Lord) is the exposition of a religious theme, usually the life of a saint or a story from one of India's scriptural texts. Its purpose is to spread devotion to the Divine. Harikatha is a composite art containing story-telling, poetry, music, drama, dance, and philosophy. Any story about God, or scriptural incidents, or about saints, who are the living exemplars for the existence of God, is an appropriate subject matter for Harikatha.

The greatness of Harikatha lies in the fact that it provides one of the easiest, if not the easiest path to attaining lasting happiness and peace. Listening to stories about Divinity and divine individuals subtly makes the mind attached to, and permeated by Divinity. As one continues to listen to the stories of the Divine, one becomes pure in thought, word, and deed. As well, it cultivates one's power of concentration and drives away doubt from a wavering mind. Not only does a katha please its listeners, as other fine arts do, but it also comforts the mind and elevates the soul of the listener. Thus, as it entertains, it enlightens.

Meera Grimes (also known as Balameera Chandra) is well known in India for her Harikatha performances. She is one of the leading artists in this field, an artist of the Music Academy, Air India Radio, and Television. At the age of twelve Meera give her first public Harikatha performance on Saint Dhruva (Dhruvacaritra) and since then has been presenting kathas around the world, both in Tamil and in English. Meera is also a Bharata Natyam dancer and teacher.


List of illustrations9
Scheme of transliteration10
Art and spirituality22
Samartha – a unique saint26
Origin and growth of Harikatha31
The two branches of kirtana35
Lord Panduranga41
Significance of the name Harikatha43
The prelude48
A rare art form50
Haridasas are rare50
Advice to performers51
Teaching regarding two aspects of God53
Foster devotion54
Right frame of mind56
Chants and dance56
Focus on the chosen deity57
Types of audience57
Advice from Chapter Two61
Music and Harikatha69
The blessed performers74
To the listeners/devotees75
From various chapters – to the listeners75
Concluding verse80
Desirable qualities81
Undesirable qualities82
Musical forms in Harikatha91
Talas in Harikatha95
Traditional Harikatha group96
Harikatha is an excellent satsang102
Source books for Harikatha105
Is Harikatha a diminishing art?107
Jnanadev and Namdev113
Samartha Ramdas161
APPENDIX: Slokas on Nirupana177
Meera Grimes182

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