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Text & photo source - copyrights: Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust -  -  Prasanthi Diary -  | Web layout - Photo graphic design :  "SBOI" | - We gratefully acknowledge the publishers Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust &  Sri Sathya Sai Media Foundation



Alumni of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, ably guided by their Guru Sri M. Krishna Bhaskar, who have frequently performed the Burra Katha in Bhagawan’s Divine presence, presented an encore of the ‘Shiva Parvathi Kalyanam’ today to commence the Sivaratri Festivities in Prasanthi Nilayam. Click here for the link to the previous occasion on which the trio performed the same theme in the Divine Presence.

Burra in Telugu means skull or head. In this context it refers to a musical instrument similar to a Thambura, with strings and hollow round base similar to the head. ‘Katha’ means story. So Burra Katha is an entertaining musical narrative which consists of small songs, poems and dialogue. But what makes it as popular as it is, is the humorous manner in which the theme is rendered.

The troupe consists of one main performer and two co-performers.The main performer, the Kathakudu, renders the entire theme, in song, all the while, playing on the Tambura and dancing to music. He also plays a small rhythm instrument called andelu. The performer on the left side of the kathakudu is called hasyaka - he is the humorist. On the right side of the kathakudu is the rajakiya.  He is the knowledgeable narrater who brings out the entire theme as a conversation with the hasyaka. The co-performers play an instrument called gummeta (also referred to as dakki), an earthen drum with two heads. All three wear anklets or gejjelu.

This art form was instrumental in arousing nationalist feelings during the Indian independence movement and is a very effective communication tool. However, it was a dying art form as patronage was in acute scarcity in this technological era. That was when Swami stepped in and resurrected it! Today it flourishes in Prasanthi Nilayam due to Bhagawan’s deep involvement and appreciation.

Shiva Parvathi Kalyanam is the story leading to the cosmic wedding of Lord Shiva and His equal half Parvathi. The trio started the programme with songs in praise of Lord Ganesha and Bhagawan Baba. They start the story with the past life of Parvathi when born as Sati, she marries Shiva against the will of her father Daksha. Daksha conducts an Yajna without inviting his son in law. Sati attends the Yajna without being invited and is insulted by her father. Sati immolates herself in shame and Shiva takes revenge by destroying the Yajna through Veerabhadra.

Sati is reborn as Parvathi to Himavanta, the lord of the mountains and a great and kind hearted king. Sage Narada approaches Himavanta and suggests that Parvathi should be married to Shiva for the sake of the welfare of the world or Loka Kalyanam.

Parvathi prays to Shiva and with a basket of flowers walks to where Shiva is meditating. Urged by Indra deva, Kama (Cupid) disturbs Shiva’s meditation and is destroyed by His third eye. Seeing the sight, Parvathi faints and Shiva walks back to Kailasa.

Shiva comes back in disguise as a story teller (Yerukala Saani) to the capital of Himavanta’s kingdom. Summoned by Parvathi he sings a song praising her bridegroom. He comes back as a old brahmin and tells her that they have to get married as the stars deem so. Parvathi says she will marry only Shiva and none else. Her mother describes the various undesirable aspects of Shiva’s appearance and lifestyle and says that she should permit them to look for a better match but Parvathi is adamant. Pleased Shiva appears in their presence and consents for the wedding.

Sapta Rishis chose the Muhurtam, Viswakarma builds the halls and sculpts the mangala sutra, Lord Vishnu performs the Kanya Daanam with Lord Brahma being the Yajna Kartha. Thus concluded the auspicious story of Shiva Parvathi Kalyanam in the Divine Sannidhi of the Shiva-Shakthi Swaroopa, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. A Bhajan “Anandame Sai Bhajana“, much enjoyed by Bhagawan brought the curtains down on the programme.

The trio Sri Prabakar, Sri Aravind Sai and Sri Raghu Ram were ably supported by Sri Sai Dutt on the Mridangam, Sri Neelakantan on the Flute, Sri Sai Prakash on the Sitar, Sri Yaman on the Violin, Sri Nishit Shah on the Harmonium, Sri Shailesh Srivatsava and Sri Sai Krishna on the Keyboard and Sri Harish Kovil on the Conch and the Kanjira.



Burra Katha

Thursday, Oct 15, 2010


Thursday, Oct 15, 2010

Burrakatha sessions in Prasanthi hold a special significance, as, on most occasions, it is Bhagawan who 'demands' the same, selecting the theme and title by Himself. Ever since it’s grand entry into the precincts of Prasanthi Nilayam, this popular folk art of Andhra Pradesh has earned the status of ‘Divine Folklore’, earning the attention and grace of Bhagawan. 7th October evening was no exception  as a couple of days ago  Bhagawan had indicated the boys to get ready with a burrakatha presentation.

The trio, students from Sri Sathya Sai University, Sai Prabhakar, Aravind Sai and Sai Raghuram (currently pursuing his medical degree in Bangalore), blessed to be the ‘originators’ by being the first batch of burrakatha students,  have been parading their skills in the distinctive art with constant blessings, guidance and encouragements from Bhagawan. Prasanthi has witnessed number of such burrakatha sessions over the past couple of years, enacting epical incidents in the Divine presence.  Last year, they were privileged to stage continuous shows for some days in Sai Shruti, Kodaikanal during Bhagawan’s visit in April. The trio has been trained thoroughly by Mr. Krishna Bhaskar from BHEL who had the rare blessing of conducting burrakatha sessions for Bhagawan during early years.

In the eventful evening, Prasanthi turned lively when the gracious Lord went around granting extra rounds of close Divine Darshan! On the penultimate evening before the commencement of the 'twin events', Dasara and Grama Seva, Sai Kulwant Hall was all abuzz with activities galore. Upon completing His round, Bhagawan blessed boys wit who were sitting with festive paraphernalisas seeking blessings. Subsequently, Grama Seva Kits blessed by Bhagawan were sent for distribution among students.

The special heart shaped kits for men students contained two t-shirts, mini turkey-towels, a cap and a pair of socks. Primary School had special yellow kits while Anantapur students received sarees.

With the session continuing with bhajans on, giving a fillip to the already charged atmosphere, Bhagawan blessed the trio of burrakatha artistes to commence the story of “Shiva Parvathi Kalyanam.

Singing 'Gowri Kalyana Vaibhavam', hailing The Lord of Parthi who is verily 'Shiva-Shakthi Swarupa', the one-hour programme came to a close at 1950 hrs. The trio received rounds of applause, and topping all was the Divine gesture from Bhagawan, who went clapping immediately after the programme.


The trio along with their master and musical accompanists moved onstage for a close session with Bhagawan. Though a new trio was introduced a couple of months ago, this evening's programme was done by the original trio, Sai Prabhakar, Aravind Sai and Sai Raghuram, at Bhagawan's special instance.

Even after the onstage session was over and the artistes went dispersed, the session continued as willed by Bhagawan. A string of 3 devotional songs, one by the trio followed by 'a couple' by the music troupe before the Arathi offering at 2020 hrs.

Blessing the assembly with twin abhayahastha, ladies and gents separately, Bhagawan left the Mandir retiring for the day.


Text & photo source - copyrights: Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust -  -  Prasanthi Diary -  | Web layout - Photo graphic design :  "SBOI" | - We gratefully acknowledge the publishers Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust &  Sri Sathya Sai Media Foundation