A mellifluous voice and an easy narrative skill make this Madisar-clad artiste a communicator par excellence. It’s no surprise that Harikatha exponent Srimathi Vishaka Hari has a huge fan following. If proof was needed, it was available aplenty as Srimathi Vishaka Hari kept the packed audience spell bound at Hainault Forest High School, Ilford on May 12, 2012 with the harikatha of `Parvathi Kalyanam’.
Srimathi Vishaka kept the diverse audience in bliss for over three hours. She started the harikatha with the Thyagaraja krithi “E Vasude Nivanti Deivam" meaning Lord shiva is the only God. The krithi is a part of kovur pancharathnam. This is in praise of Lord Shiva, who bestows everything on a devotee who worships him even for a second and yet feels he has not bestowed enough. That is the Karunai of Lord Shiva.
This is followed by a composition by Sri Gopalakrishna Bharathi - "Sabapadhiku veru dheivam"... According to Srimathi Vishaka Hari, Shiva and Shakthi is one `tattva’. She portrays Lord Shiva as the Nadam and Parvathi Devi as 'Raga' and she sings the Thiyagaraja krithi 'nadha thanumanisam'.
Srimathi Visakha points out that all the raagas of Carnatic music are named after Godess Parvathi Devi.To buttress her point, she renders a composition tuned by her guru Lalgudi. In this, Ambal takes different raga names such as Anandhabharivai, Sarasangi, Bhairavi, Lalitha, Hemavathy, Shyamalangi, Kamalmanohari, Kalyani, Gowrimanohari, Durga, Shankarabharanam and Bhavani.The transition between Raagas was simply amazing.Though I did not have the nyaana to identify the ragaas transitioned, I could guess that there was a Raaga aalap....
To an attentive audience, SriVishaka Hari explains lucidly the significance of Daksha yagna, as mentioned in the Bagavatha Purana fourth canto.
All of us are aware of the anger of Sati Devi who gives her life in yogagni which angers Shiva and what happened later.
“Nambi Kettavar Evarayya” , a composition of Sri Papanasam Sivan, underscores the divinity of the Lord.
Parvathi takes a rebirth as the daughter of Himavan, the King of Himalayas and an ardent devotee of Shiva. She then goes on to elucidate how Parvathi the daughter of Himavan meets Shiva at Kailash and how she accompanies her father daily to do service to Shiva and how she garlands HIM with flowers. At this moment, Kama (cupid) throws an arrow at Shiva, but fails miserably. Shiva burns him to ashes with his Trinetra (third eye). At this point, Parvathi realizes that the only way to reach Lord Shiva is penance. She informs this to her mother, who promptly cautions her saying ``hu ma’’ (means no). Thus, `hu ma’ becomes Uma, one of Parvathi’s names.
Srimathi Vishaka goes on to explain that `sharira’ or the body has to be controlled by following the yoga practice. First Yama, Niyama, dharana and then the mind has to concentrate on meditation. Srimathi Vishaka emphasizes the holiness of Shiva in “Shiva Shiva Shiva Enarada” as she sings this kriti with great devotion. She does a neraval at “Agamamula Nutiyinchi”, interspersing it with some delectable swara phrases.
At the end of the Tapas, Lord Shiva appears as an old man and tests Parvathi and finally accepts her. Srimathi Vishaka sings “Parath Para”. Shiva appears as Kalyana Sundereshwara , decked in silk garments and jewels and and marries Parvathi. Dikshitar brings the beauty of Parvathi in a kriti as “Kanchadalyadakshi” where Srimathi Vishaka hari takes the 'Kuncharagamane' stance to describe the beauty of the Godess.
The Heavenly marriage happens in the presence of Lord Vishnu and the discourse ends with sri thiyagaraja’s ‘pavamaana’.
Like pebbles in the water, Sri Vishaka hari gave small includes as in why should one have 'vinayam' as we go higher in life and what is the importance of sathsangam and bhakthi and why should one go to sathsangam as and when possible than postpone it for retirement phase. I got to remember the Periaazhvaar's paasuram 'Thuppidiyaarai adaivathellam soovidathhu thunaiyavathenre opplenanagil, yanaiku ne adi seithemaiyanal...where he says in my athimbai kalam I would not be able to think of you my lord due to my udal ubhadiyay and my disabilities..so apodhaiku epodhe solli vaithen arangathavanai palli yane.....
The only miss I felt with my least knowledge, was her mention about her adjectives to the sequence, when something happens. Her 'thaga thaga thaga' and her 'jaleernu kudhikaradhu' in her other discourses were not present here.