Through history of the cultures of the world, the therapeutic application of music has been really common and studied due to its spontaneous connection and effects on mind, emotions and physical body. In case of Indian culture, ancient texts like the Gandharva Veda (from the Vedic scriptures) and Raga Chikitsa give some explanations about the healing properties of the Indian music as well as their effect to raise consciousness and connect with the higher self.
Some important fundamentals of the Indian Music
There’s a natural analogy between sounds and how life is constituted. One of the similarities comes from the diatonic music scale structured by 7 notes just as our physical body has 7 main glands and 7 Chakras. Because of this each one of the notes of the scale are commonly associated to each one of the Chakras; for example, the C note corresponds to the Muladhara or First Chakra, the D to the second one and so on.
Difference between Indian and Western music is that the fundamental frequency or ‘note’ -called Sa (which means home) in indian notation instead of Do or C- is not static but variable in every person because every individual has a unique vibration as well as every musical composition transmits unique feelings and consequently, Sa is also adapted to the impression that the artist wants to transmit.
This principle is also applied in music therapy by specialists as the customized music composed for every patient can be adjusted to his main frequency and the illness he could be dealing with. Through this kind of professional application of music therapy as complementary resource, a lot of improvements can be achieved in the healing process of several health issues like: Alzheimer’s, dementia, clinical depression, autism, injuries and cancer.
Naad Yoga and Indian Mantras for Healing
The Naad or Nada Yoga is the field of Yoga related to the practice of Mantra chanting to achieve peace of mind, awareness and enlightenment, as Naad could be translated as primal sound of the creation, or the vibration that’s found in all of us and connects us as One with the Universe. The word ‘Mantra’ or ‘Mantar’ means projection (Tra or Tar) of the mind (Man). Thus, the essence of the Mantra is not the sound as we commonly understand it, but the resonance that it produces in our body, brain activity and electromagnetic field, and thereby its effect in consciousness. The meaning of a Mantra is usually hard to explain because it’s related to an aspect of the consciousness and a holistic effect, which is also partially variable in each person. For example, in the Mantra ‘AUM’, the A, the U and the M produce an effect individually and also a different -and more integrative- one by chanting them as a unity.
The repetition of a Mantra allows your mind to project an aspect of itself, get focus, attract different things to your life and to keep a healthier state of mind, and this is why it’s used as a therapeutic resource, but not just to cure illnesses and emotional problems, but also to improve your mind’s performance and achieve higher levels of consciousness, transcending regular perceptions of space and time.
Music Therapy using Ragas Music and Indian traditional medicine
Ragas is another concept, usually hard to define for the Western culture, but is usually understood as an Indian musical mode or style of improvisation and composition, based on the Indian musical notation that we have already explained, and also the peculiarity of including quarter notes, and not just half notes as Western music does.
The Ragas work by using specific notes combinations (chords) and progressions that the Indian musicians have learned through time, which evoke -or are meant to evoke- a specific mood. These emotions or feelings are called Rasas, and this way specific effects on the physical body can be systematically produced, as well as the alleviation of deep emotional problems.
The main categories of Rasas, as described in the ancient Sanskrit scripture called Natyasastra, are eight: Fun and humour, love and erotism, anger, disgust, heroism, sadness or depression, amazement and compassion. If you are a musician, playing Ragas will help you to find your predominant Rasa to know yourself better and will be a new way to change your mood and develop emotional intelligence by playing this music.
Ayurveda and Ragas
Ragas music has still another way to be even more effective, by unifying its knowledge with ayurvedic principles. Ayurveda is the name of the traditional Indian medicine, which classifies inner energy in 3 main types or Doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Every person has a predominant Dosha, which influences health and personality. Ayurveda is better known by improving health through changes in the nourishment and lifestyle of the patients, but when it gets combined with Indian music, there are specific Ragas that may be more effective for healing than others, depending on which kind of energy or Dosha predominates the person.
Because of these and still more reasons, Indian music is a wonderful world to explore that will also help you to feel better and understand the amazing power of music to heal and connect with new dimensions of consciousness.
Here is a beautiful rendition of Music for Healing & Positive Energy for Meditation: