Harikathaka lakṣaṇamu

Nārāyaṇa Dās clearly enumerated the qualities a Harikatha artiste should possess in his prologue to ‘Ambarīṣa caritramu’. They are the qualities of a ‘Vāggēyakāra’ of superior stature as Sāraṅga Dēva detailed in twelve *ślōkas* of *Prakīrṇakādhyāya* of his *Saṅgīta Ratnākara*. 1. *Śṛti smṛti vijñānam*: Harikatha artiste should have a knowledge of Vēdas (*vaidika Vijñānamu*) and smṛti that is behind the story he would narrate. 2. *Śabdānuśāsanajñatvam*: In Telugu literature the pioneer poet Nannayya was known as ‘Śabdānuśāsanuḍu’. He demonstrated how written language should be. Suitable ‘sabda’ has to be used in a harikatha. Knowledge of ‘sabda’ *saṅdhisamāsādighaṭana*, beautiful formation of sentences and *alaṅkara-s* (figures of speech) is *Śabdānuśāsanajñatvam*. Nārāyaṇa Dās’ experimentation with ‘drutam’ in his kīrtana-s, mañjari-s and prosaic forms are related to ‘tāḷa’ gati. The principle of *antyākṣaraprāsa* at the end of a line in mañjari-s (*Śṛti subhagatvam*) is similar to this. Similarly the prose parts of his

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