Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sensation of Tones

Have you ever wondered how it comes that the soldiers march on the rhythm of the the Army Band and forget the featigue as they harmonize their limbs with the music of the Band. Music diverts our attention to its beauty and hence we forget about all other things as we listen to the music of our choice. It is this capability of music which led the medical fraternity to think over using the power of music as an alternate therapy for different ailments. We are aware of the after-effects of the drugs and hence it is advisable to avoid them as much as possible. There are many institutes which are involved in the research and administration of this therapy. However, in Indian context, not much have been done. From time to time, newspapers and magazines publish articles without ascertaining the authenticity of the information. There is an urgent need to properly look into every aspect of it before proceeding further.

I am saying it because I recently read an article in "The Hindu" which I am pasting below for your reference. This article claims that certain Ragas of Hindustani music can cure certain illnesses. Please go through the article and let me know your views. Here goes the article:

The sound of healing

Different sounds have a corresponding effect on different parts of the body. Music therapy has been tried and tested in many forms. An important form is 'naad yoga'. 'Naad' means sound and 'yoga' means union. The union with inner Brahma (god) through shabda Brahma (divine sound) and awakening its might is the basic principle behind this. The concept has been in existence since Vedic times but has been forgotten ever since. Sitar player Biswajit Panda is now delving into how sound vibrations of different frequencies affect our body in various ways.

Biswajit explains, "Naad yoga is a source of inspiration that increases motivation and activates the Kundalini chakras. Nature has given naad in the bodies of all beings; some are aware while others are not. To awaken this, one can do naad yoga." Naad yoga is useful for modern society, specially students. Everything is polluted today, even sound. Naad yoga uses the purest form of divine sound to boost efficiency of mind, thus curing many problems.

"I have treated many children with an attention deficit through naad yoga. Playing a musical instrument deviates their negative energies to the positive energy of sound, well-tuned with self-realisation," says Biswajit.

The therapy

"Ragas like Sohini, Marva, Puriya and Shivranjani can cure feelings of frustration, distress and nostalgia. Raga Bairagi inculcates the emotion of 'enjoying with renouncement' or to take care of everything with an attitude of 'nothing is mine' into a person, which provides self-satisfaction and 'ananda'. Raga Darbari helps in enhancing bravery. Raga Bageshri and Ragesari help cure insomnia, Todi helps remove headaches and Jog enhances memory. The list of ragas and their respective uses is long," explains Biswajit.

He further adds, "All these ragas are more effective in case of people with a basic knowledge of music. The benefit of these ragas can be gained by listening to pre-recorded music, though it is more beneficial if one tries to play them on some instrument."

The sitarist recommends some ragas for a particular time of the day for utmost benefit:

Ragas for morning: Ahir Bhairav, Todi, Bhairav, Bhairavi and Vibhas

Ragas for afternoon: Ragas of Vilaval, Shuddha Sarang, Brindavani Sarang

Late afternoon: Bhim Palasi

Ragas for evening: Yaman, Shuddha Kalyan, Bhopali

Ragas for night: Ragesai, Bageshri, Nayaki Kanhada

Ragas for midnight: Jog, Malkos, Chandrakauns

Particularly, raga Jog has a unique effect of integrating the 'atman' (soul) with 'parmatman' (god), as it unifies the previous day to the coming day and a person can take in the divine cosmic power before morning to remain full of life throughout the day.

"Bhramari pranayam is an aspect of naad yoga that is very good for students and other intellectualists. The sound of a bhramar has good effect on the mind, nerves and throat, and inner self-consciousness increases. All the other forms of ashtaang yoga are incomplete without integration of naad in them. For example, in the surya namaskar, if asanas are done along with naad of particular mantras, their effects amplify manifold," explains Biswajit.

He concludes saying, "Music can make a person laugh or cry. It is said that Lord Shiva and goddess are the pioneers of naad, followed by Krishna, who made the universe dance to the tune of his flute. The naad of the damru, veena and flute really generate self-realisation. This is naad yoga."

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