Vidwan T.N. Seshagopalan (TNS) presented a five day harikatha on Valmiki Ramayanam at Hamsadhwani last month. I must say that it was a wonderful experience watching the genius at work! The speciality of the harikatha was that it was scholarly and not bookish like some discourses tend to be. Instead of just presenting the shlokas and their meanings, TNS shared his scholarly interpretations laced with humor in the desired proportion, quoting at will from a variety of sources including but not limited to the Kamba Ramayanam, compositions of Sri Thyagaraja, Sri Arunachala Kavi and Sri Uthukadu Venkata Kavi, Vishnu Sahasranamam, Vedanta Desikar’s “pAdukA sahasram”, Divyaprabandham and abhangs. The amount of hard work he must have put in is unfathomable. I simply envy his memory power. To be able to quote appropriate passages from just about anywhere without physically refering to any of the texts and to be able to keep most rasikas engaged every single minute standing on stage every day for 3 hours or more (without even consuming a drop of water on most days) is not a joke. As a fellow rasika pointed out, what is even more surprising is that TNS gave his first harikatha performance just about 3-4 years back and already seems to be a master of the trade!
Kudos to Hamsadhwani for having organized this harikatha.