T.S. Balakrishna Sastri
The news of the passing away of T.S. Balakrishna Sastri on 11 June in Chennai came as a great shock to thousands of his rasika-s and a sense of depression crept in at the thought that they would not be able to listen to his performances any more. Such was the spell that this doyen used to cast upon his audiences.
Harikatha is a difficult art and hence the dwindling number of performers with the death of each stalwart. It demands extraordinary memory power, prowess in singing, erudition in puranic lore, the art of story-telling and much. more. Harikatha cannot be learnt in a school or a college. The TTD started a college to train Harikatha artists but there were no students. The only institution that is functioning successfully is the Sarvaraya Harikatha Pathasala at Kapileswarapuram near Rajahmundry which trains Harikatha artists in Sanskrit and Telugu.