KATHAKAR KI KATHA

Posted: November 18, 2011 in Icons, The NamoLeague Times
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A SHORT ACCOUNT ON THE LIFE OF MORARI BAPU – THE MOST SOUGHT AFTER ‘KATHAKAR’ AND ONE OF THE BEST ORATORS OF GUJARAT

Gujarat has been adorned from time to time by various leaders, saints and preachers. One such blessing is the preacher without a cult – Morari Bapu. An orator par excellence, Bapu has a multitude of followers, not only from India but also from all over the world.

What makes Morari Bapu different from other preachers is that he consciously avoids any cult culture. He is neither a conventional Hindu leader nor does he believe he has followers. Quite unlike the other religious leaders who are out to create empires of Godmen, Bapu remains a welcomed exception. This is evident from the fact that his secretary is Dilavar Khan, a Muslim. Also, his Ram Kathas have a notable number of Muslims in the audience. And his preaching has a fair share of qawwalis and Urdu couplets as well.

THE FORMATIVE YEARS

Morari Bapu (Moraridas Hariyani) was born on 25th September, 1946 in Talgajarda, a small village near the port of Mahuva, Gujarat, to Prabhudas Bapu and Savitri Ma. Born on the auspicious day of Shivratri, Bapu showed signs of excellence since childhood. He spent most of his time with his grand-parents. His paternal grandmother, Amrit Ma, often narrated folk tales of traditional India to Bapu.

Tribhovandas Bapu, affectionately called Dadaji, was Bapu’s grandfather and his only Guru. Dadaji was a learned scholar of the Ram Charit Manas. He would teach Bapu five couplets (chaupais) with its meaning each day. While walking to and from school, Bapu would recite and memorize these couplets and often sing them to the plants and trees on the path! Even today, Bapu cites this journey in many of his Kathas.

The study of the Ram Charit Manas would take place on the site that is today known as Chitrakut Dham. It has become a place of pilgrimage for thousands of people. Bapu’s grandparents were the guiding force behind his upbringing and the most influential persons of his life in his formative years.

THE JOURNEY WITH THE RAM CHARIT MANAS

Morari Bapu has high regards for cultural and religious values that he received from his family. At the age of 12, Bapu began to recite the Ram Charit Manas by heart. The first recital was for a few herdsmen who had come to quench their thirst in the evening. Bapu had made a small platform out of mud and placed a portrait of Lord Ram. That shrine, today, is home to a temple of Hanumanji named Ram Vaadi.

With the passage of time, more and more people were stunned by the bountiful knowledge that Morari Bapu possessed. They used to gather to listen to young Bapu’s Kathas.

THE TRAINING COURSE

On completing secondary school, Bapu started a teachers’ training course at Shahpur College in Junagadh. Upon completion, he returned to Mahuva where he became a teacher at the J. Parekh High School and taught various subjects including English.

Today, in his Kathas, Bapu mentions how he would sit with his mala (rosary) for hours at a stretch and his roommate being concerned would complete the work on his behalf. He spent his free time to attend discourses by well-known speakers and reading scriptures or singing chaupais of the Ram Charit Manas with music.

During his ten years as a teacher in Mahuva, Bapu often took time off to listen to prominent speakers and meeting some of India’s most respected spiritual leaders, among them were Vinobha Bhave, Dongreji Maharaj, Punit Maharaj and Krishna Murti. At the same time, Bapu’s interest in Indian Literature and Poetry grew fonder and he regularly attended sessions on various literary subjects by high ranking orators.

The teachers’ training course actually became his period of training as a preacher!

THE PREACHING

Morari Bapu’s thirst for knowledge of the Ram Charit Manas kept on increasing. And so did the number of his followers. His first Ram Katha was held at the Ram Mandir in Talgajarda in 1960. The first Navaan Parayan (nine day discourse) was held in Gaandilaa in Gujarat in the presence of Pujya Ramfardasji Maharaj (a respected and revered saint from Gujarat) in May 1966. Bapu’s name, command on the Ram Charit Manas and his heart rending narrations brought people from all over India in thousands to listen to his Ram Katha, often overwhelming listeners and organizers alike.

Today, Bapu has preached people in India, US, UK, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda. His first Ram Katha outside India was held in Nairobi, Kenya in 1976 when he was merely 30 years old. Also, he has held a Katha on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea, and on an airplane travelling the world. Be they the pilgrims at the heights of Kedarnath, Badrinath and Gangotri in the Himalayas or the prisoners and prison authorities of Bhavnagar, Morari Bapu resides in the hearts of all.

Overall, Bapu is credited to have conducted more than 600 Kathas. On Full Moon in July every year comes ‘Guru Purnima’, the most important day for all shishyas (disciples) to pay homage to their respective Guru (teacher). And, every year on this day, thousands gather to listen to and pay their respects to Morari Bapu in Talgajarda.

A CONGLOMERATE OF IDEALS

Bapu has some strong beliefs that bring the people from different strata of the society to a ground of undivided understanding. He shows a way of uniting not just one nation, but the whole of human race, while, at the same time preserving their individual fragrances. He expressly calls out to the humanity to love and respect each other, because that is the only way to save the whole world from disaster and complete ruin.

His is not just a Katha, but actual, applicable and livable solutions. Love and unity is his medium of teaching and preaching. Even without indulging in a conversation with him, one can feel peace and calmness of an inner joy.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=Kathakar%20Ki%20Katha_570

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