Music medicine

It soothes the soul, all right...but did you know music also cures physical and emotional ailments?

The birth of a baby, its naming ceremony, birthdays, weddings, other auspicious occasions and even death—there is not a single occasion in life where music does not play a part.

People use music to entertain, educate [saints and seers], reminisce and celebrate. Little do we know that music has a use much beyond these.

Music heals the mind and the body. It has the ability to cure all corporeal illnesses. It is particularly effective in today’s day and age where most illnesses are because of stress; the incidence of psycho-somatic illnesses is on the rise.

Hypertension, believed to be an illness of those in their 40s, is catching up with young adults [sometimes even teenagers]. Premature greying of hair, menstrual problems, depression and sleeplessness are common. Illnesses which were hitherto unknown have sprung up from nowhere.

Childhood stresses and children becoming victims to exam pressures were unheard of earlier. These stresses are not going to decrease; rather they will increase with time.

So in order to remain healthy, we need to reform our body and make it immune to all these stresses. And music can help modify the response to these stresses—it is an effective stress buster.

Music, practised in the sessions, is not about treating bodily illnesses like cancer and ulcers. It’s a process of natural healing with the mind, a process of making oneself strong from within.

It is about gaining confidence, will power, being creative, spreading love, being enthusiastic, being truthful, enriching one self, visualising future and connecting with the divine.

The underlying principle

There are seven adhyatmic [spiritual] chakras in the body, and these chakras harmonise various body parts and emotions.

These chakras are referred to as energy centres in different cultures. In the workshops, we aim at harmonising the energy flow by stimulating the seven chakras with the seven swaras [notes].

Mooladhara chakra

This chakra is situated at the base of the spine. It is the happiness and contentment chakra.

Disturbance here leads to sadness, misery and depression. Those who suffer from related disorders are taught to sing raga Kedara to stimulate this chakra. Everyone sings together.

Those who have skin problems also benefit from singing songs in raga Kedara as skin problems mostly occur in people who are unhappy and who think a lot. Balancing this chakra helps quieten the mind and bring peace.

Swadhisthana chakra

This is the creativity chakra. It balances sexual energy, and the urinary and reproductive organs. Its disturbance leads to problems related to these organs, lack of energy and mental fatigue.

Stimulation of this chakra leads to renewed energy and enthusiasm. Singing raga Darbari and Desh help balance this chakra, alleviating related problems.

Manipura chakra

This is the will power chakra. It is located near the navel and hence is also related to digestive health. Singing raga Yaman helps balance this chakra, which results in improved digestion and enhanced will power.

Anahata chakra

This is the love chakra and is located in the heart region. Imbalance here causes heart problems, sleep-related problems, high blood pressure, and difficulty in breathing.

Emotionally, you might feel paranoid, indecisive, afraid and hurt. Singing raga Malkauns helps balance this chakra, which also helps cure related physical and emotional issues. In addition to the song, balancing this chakra also involves loving people and forgiving those who have hurt you.

Vishuddha chakra

The chakra is located in the throat area and is related to all organs located here. Balancing this chakra is done with the help of raga Puriya dhanashri, which treats all voice- and thyroid-related problems.

The chakra is also related to our inner self. Do we have a good character? Are we truthful? Activating this chakra also involves cleansing your inner self. During the workshop, as an exercise, we all swear to be truthful. We meditate on a blue rose visualised in our throat.

Agya chakra

Also known as the ajna or third-eye chakra, this chakra is located between the eyes. It is related to self-awareness. Imbalance of this often manifests as headaches/migraines, nightmares, poor eyesight, and poor concentration. To activate this, sing raga Hameer.

Sahastra chakra

This is the seat of spiritual evolution—pure consciousness. It isn’t related to any ailment or physical area. In most people, this chakra is not activated. Activation of this chakra signifies a leap in consciousness. To activate it, sing raga Bhairavi.

Attending music workshops has transformed the life of thousands—not just physically, but also emotionally. It has transformed them as people and helped them overcome inner limitations.

It has led them on the path of introspection, which initially leads to turmoil, then to a solution to multiple problems of life. There have been astounding changes in people. A man called his estranged brother after a gap of 20 years after attending the music workshop.

A lady called her ex-husband and apologised for her bad behaviour, 15 years after the divorce. People start questioning and reasoning things, apparently considered as correct or incorrect.

Music therapy based on swaras is taught in one-day workshops and even three-day courses. Moreover, you don’t need to have prior training for benefiting from music.

Currently, a team of doctors lead by Padmabhushan Dr R D Lele, nuclear medicine physician of international acclaim, is researching the effects of classical music on the human body with the help of SPECT [Single photon emission computed tomography]scans.

A raga is sung to a patient and then his brain is scanned for changes. The study is ongoing and before long, we will have science acquiescing to the healing power of music.

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