A unique hari katha in English was performed by 13-year-old Muktha Nair, devotee of HH Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji, on Oct 1 evening at Houston’s Sri Meenakshi Temple as part of their Navaratri celebrations. Muktha Nair is part of Sri Swamiji’s Houston Namadwaar satsang and is the daughter of Sri Jeevan and Smt. Lekshmi Nair.
In line with the theme of Navaratri, which is a celebration of the Divine Mother Goddess, the hari katha was a tribute to the intense prema bhakti (divine love) of the great women saints, Meera Bai and Andal, who were none other than incarnations of the Divine Mother, Radha Devi. The glory of the Divine Name of the Lord was also a subject of the hari katha.
Starting off with the popular Purandara dasa krithi, Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma, Muktha first spoke about the glory of Navaratri and the Divine Consort of the Lord, moving on to say that it is only to show the path of bhakti and love for the Lord that the Divine Mother incarnates on earth. She then spoke about the avatar of Radha Devi herself, of how she was born to Vrishabhanu and Kirti Devi after they had incessantly chanted the Mahamantra—Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.
Interspersed with kirtans composed by HH Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji such as Thalar Nadai Nadakkindraal Sri Radhai and Kannan Engal Mannavan, Muktha’s telling of the stories of Radha Devi and the Gopis of Vrindavan as they prepared for their Kathyayani vrata (fasting with prayers to Goddess Kathyayani) in order to marry the Lord, was interesting and humorous too. She literally played the different characters as she narrated the dialogues.
Muktha then moved on to the story of Sant Meera Bai, as a more contemporary example of someone who lived the life of highest love for the Lord. The moving story of Meera’s unflinching love for Krishna despite the terrible hardships that life threw at her was rendered along with many popular Meera bhajans including Hari Gun Gaavat Nachungi, Mere To Giridhar Gopal, Paayoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Paayo, and Radhe Krishna Bol Toti Maina.
The final part of the hari katha was devoted to Andal, the great devotee, who lived like the Gopis and performed the same vrata that they did, except that her yearning had to be stronger, given that Krishna was not really with her in person, as He was with the Gopis. Despite that, her love for the Lord was steadfast and strong, and in the end she did attain oneness with the Lord, just as the Gopis did. Muktha included a couple ofpasurams from Tiruppavai while reminiscing Andal’s story.
Muktha concluded her performance by pointing out that not only did both Meera and Andal speak constantly of the greatness of the Lord’s Name through their compositions, but it was the Lord’s Name that protected them during their own lifetimes, bestowed on them the highest bhakti, and made them attain the Lord Himself.