Healing Power of Indian classical Music-Ragas
Music has healing power
These days human beings have become machines. We have no life. Like machines we begin our day and by the end of the day we are totally drained out. You maybe a working professional or a mother at home each one of us is stressed out. I mentioned a mother at home to emphasize that they too are overworked but often their effort goes neglected. Anyway, what I was trying to suggest was, we need a break from this monotonous life. There is so much tension, worries in our lives that we need to slow down a little. We are constantly running trying to keep pace with our peers, sometimes with no goal. Where are we heading? When was the last time you enjoyed some good music forgetting all your worries(your job, your assignments, your target, your bills, your mails, deadlines, budget). Saw, the list won't stop here and you must have already got worked up while reading it. Listen to some soothing music, It will immediately relax you.How did that happen?We are emotional beings and not machines.
However today you may find the similarity between us and machines. They need fuel like us, they maybe more efficient but need a break like us. Differences are many, but the foremost is emotions. They lack emotions. We are full of it and Music helps in recharging us. We as individuals are overstressed in our respective fields. In the office your boss may be breathing down your neck pressurizing you with deadlines, sales target and marketing people to get more business. Bosses are usually insatiable. Well, they too are answerable to their superiors so you can’t complain. We are not at peace anywhere.
Sometimes we long for someone comforting but soothing words of our loved ones also don’t work the magic. More than the problem, it is the seething and overworked mind that cannot figure a way out. There are instances when you patiently and silently pondered over a problem but could not resolve it. All of us need to De-stress. This is not how we want our lives to go on.
Music becomes our companion in distress. Music heals the heart. Music can change your mood and can rejuvenate you. Music is an integral part of out lives. It begins right from our birth. The heart beats in a rhythm. Even our breathing pattern follows a rhythm. Nature is full of music. Birds have music in their chirping. In the age of synthesizers age old musical instruments are slowly losing their place and have been replaced by keyboards and latest intervention in music. A Keyboard can never be a substitute for Piano. Among musical instruments strings instruments are the most melodious. A flute just transports you to another world. A violin can express your pain brilliantly and you may realize that it may just have helped you in releasing your pain and you will feel lighter.
How music heals?
Music is a universal language. It can influence people from every walk of life in a positive manner. One does not need to be a musical maestro to enjoy any form of music. It is the language of the soul and therefore connects to God instantly. Music can heal your sorrow. God has created such magnificent creatures and the best gift he could bestow on us was music. One can't possibly imagine a world without music.
Wiliam Wordsworth was a romantic poet and has written some brilliant poems on nature and its beauty - "Daffodils" is like a song which makes you happy. In"Solitary Reaper" we are told about how music can touch our lives even if it is a sad one and years after you have heard it. We associate many songs with some memories too. There are some songs very close to our heart. You may find it difficult to explain, why you like a particular song, why it moves you to tears. When you are in love every word your loved one says is music to your ears, then you enjoy all romantic songs. In a way one can say that music brings out the love in us effortlessly. Those who are left with a broken heart tend to release their pain by listening to sad songs. Music is an expression of our feelings and has a major influence.
There is a quote very well said about music by Billy Joel-“I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music.”
Even plants have shown positive effects when exposed to music. A nightingale or a cuckoo are examples of music in nature. No lyrics are required. For hours you can listen to them
Music is pleasant and has healing experience. An agitated mind can calm down easily by soulful music. It is being used as a therapy because of its healing powers. In India music therapy was prevalent from time immemorial. The ‘Samveda’ speaks of music. Music therapy is known as Raga Chikitsa in India. Music has cured many.
how does music work?
Music heals the brain. It stimulates the pituitary gland, which secretes hormones that affect the nervous system and the flow of blood. You must have observed when you listen to hard rock the rate of your heart beat increases manifold, which makes you alert and conscious, while slow and soft music calms your nerves and takes you to meditative state.
The ancient system of Nada Yoga, acknowledges the impact of music on body and mind. Vibrations are produced from sounds to uplift one’s level of consciousness. Ragas have curative power, the vibrations in their resonance can synchronize with one’s moods and health thereby stimulating our moods and controlling the brain wave patterns. Ragas help fight aging and pain.
Choosing the right kind of music is also helpful in promoting health. Negative traits like anger, worries also can be overcome through listening to good music. Depression can be cured by music therapy. When you are feeling low, soft and soothing music is recommended. If you play hard rock it is only going to worsen your case. It can cure headache, tension and abdominal pain. Also controls blood pressure and restores liver functions. Music is like a sedative and can therefore help insomnia patients.
Music improves happiness, brings peace. Students have benefited through music by improving their concentration. It also enhances their memory. However it is important to know the method and duration for which Music Therapy is to be administered. Diagnosis is most important to select precise raga that will be helpful.
Words don't express music. Music expresses itself. There is a famous quote by Aldous Huxley "After Silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is Music." Sidney Lanier defines Music beautifully." Music is love in search of a word".
Music has healing power. There are some ragas which are known to have curative power.
What is Raga?
Raga, is the sequence of selected notes that lend appropriate ‘mood’ or emotion in a selective combination. A raga can induce or intensify joy or sorrow, violence or peace. It is this quality which forms the basis for musical application. Thus, a whole range of emotions and their nuances could be captured and communicated within certain rhythms and melodies. Playing, performing and even listening to appropriate ragas can work as a medicine.
The ancient Hindus had relied on music for its curative role. The chants in Veda mantras in praise of God have been used as a cure for several disharmonies in individuals as well as his environment. Several sects of ‘bhakti’ such as Chaitanya sampradaya, Vallabha sampradaya have all accorded priority to music. Haridas Swami who was the guru of the famous musician in Akbar’s time, Tan Sen has composed beautiful bhajans. His disciple is famous to affect the weather and make it rain by reciting Raga Megh Malhar. Legendary classical music maestro Thyagaraja brought a dead person alive through his. Bilahari composition Naa Jiva Dhaara.
The library at Thanjavur is reported to contain such a treasure on ragas, that spells out the application and use of various ragas in fighting common ailments.
"Music melts all the separate parts of our bodies together" by Anais Nin.
Some Therapeutic Ragas of ancient India
Healing power of music has been used in treating many ailments. Some ragas like Darbari Kanhada, Kamaj and Pooriya are ragas that help in defusing mental tension, especially cases of hysteria. For those who suffer from hypertension, ragas such as Ahirbhairav, Pooriya and Todi are prescribed. To control anger and bring down the violence within, Carnatic ragas like Punnagavarali, Sahana are very effective
Simple musical rhythms with low pitched notes, as in bhajans and kirtans are the time-tested sedatives, which can even substitute the synthetic analgesics, without any side-effect. These are some forms of healing music. They help to relax and you feel heavenly.
Following are some of the music forms that can relax you.
- Valley Recalls - In search of Peace, Love and Harmony by Hari Prasad Chaurasiya is one of the performance you can find useful for this purpose.
- Legend Nasir Faiyazuddin Dagar , Nasir Zahiruddin Dagar are associated with Dhrupad .
- Dhrupad,Dhamar and Khyal by Ravi Shankar are remarkable
- Golden milestone by PT. D. V. Paluskar
One can go on and on when speaking on music.William Shakespeare very well said about music: "If music be the food of love, play on."