History of Harikatha
Karnataka’s Haridaasa’s cult arouses varied questions in one’s mind. The literary works of
great saint poets of Karnataka answer questions relating to spiritual experiences, Knowledge
of Tantra, Vedic wisdom, Societal Culture,
Music, Dance, Theater and the like. But, the prime purpose of Haridaasa literature is to
expand one’s life and spirit.
Hundreds of thousands such unanswered questions pertaining to creation, sustenance, and
destruction are answered using simple words of Haridaasas. And the popular medium which
was/is used to propagate the truth was/is “HARIKATHA.”
Harikatha, thus is a famous art of storytelling that requires tactful rendering of
stories accompanied with music and dance. Harikatha demands from the performer Knowledge of
Sanskrit, the epics and puranas, the Vedas, music,
dramatics, and dance, besides an overall interest and understanding of culture and
This composite art form, popularly known as “One Man Theater” narrates eye opening
truths of the universe using colourful stories imbibing all the 9 rasas or qualities. Thus,
a Harikatha exponent shoulders the responsibility
of transforming the society to a better place.
India, a country that personifies Vedic wisdom, on the other hand also propagates the
idea of devotion. This movement of Bhakti grew in the southern part of India, and Karnataka
is the state that contributed the most in the
movement with Haridaasa kruthis, Abhangs, vachanas, karnatic kruthis and many others.
The land also produced the father of Karnatic music, Saint Poet Purandara Dasaru, who
propagated Harikatha and created the rich lineage of Harisaasas. The tradition of Harikatha
thus grew and flowed through Vijaya Dasaru, Mohana
Dasaru and up to the realised soul Rama Dasaru – who further expanded the territory by
indoctrination the famous Harikatha duo Vankanna Das and Venugopal Das, who further extended
the lineage by giving deeksha to the brothers,
Gopinath Das and Jayasimha Das, who established the renowned art organisation, Prabhath
Kalavidaru with their brothers Aacharya Karigiri (Eldest) and Dwarkanath (Youngest).
Hailing from the same lineage of Saint Poet Purandara Dasaru, and the illustrious family
of Prabhat, Daasacharya Sharat R Prabhath, currently carries on the ancient tradition of
Harikatha under the guidance of his father, Aacharya
Raghavendra J Prabhat.