Musical profile of Dr. Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji and Bird's Eye View to the Technical Aspect of His Songs
Dr. Padma Murthy M.A. PhD (Music) D.Litt (Musicology) D.Ed.
From NADA Music of the Divine; September 22, 2012; Royal Albert Hall
Music is my language; Music is my expression; Music is my religion - Swamiji
Pujya Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji's contribution to the field of music is immense. He is a music composer, music healer and a great music artist himself. His research in the field of therapeutic aspects of music is well acknowledged world over. His compositions are like precious gems that he has taken out from the deep ocean of eternal Indian music. There is no aspect of music that he has not touched. No other composer of Carnatic music has composed such a vast variety of compositions, in so many ragas. He has invented new ragas and in varied number of Talas using different time measures.
Swamiji's compositions contain the essence of the ancient Indian Wisdom in all its branches. In his compositions, there is a very intelligent admixture of the various aspects of ancient Indian thought. Lyrics and music blend in perfect harmony. To fathom the subtlety and greatness of Sri Swamiji's music is both a fascinating and a challenging task even to those who are well versed with music.
It is interesting to note that Sri Swamiji has both paternal as well as maternal background of forefathers who were great musicians and musicologists of immense fame. It is noteworthy that Sri Swamiji belongs to the lineage of the great Venkatamakhi, architect of present day Carnatic music -72 Melakartas system (referred to as 'Panini' of Carnatic Music). Even as a child, Swamiji displayed rare music sense.
Govinda Dikshitar, a great scholarly saint, expert in Vedas, and music, Jyotisha, Yantra, Mantra and Tantra shastras wrote a valuable treatise on music Sangeeta Sudha on lines of Vidyaranya. It is said that Goddess Gayatri/ Saraswati used to appear before Him and talk to Him. His son Venkatamakhi made revolution by inventing the Melakarta system of Carnatic music.
Pujya Sri Swamiji's Mother and Guru Mata Jayalakshmi's ancestral great grandfather Yogi Subbayya's brindavana situated in Sogala near Mekedatu, the birth place of Sri Swamiji, bears testimony to the fact that she was of this lineage. It was natural that the Nadopasana (worship through music) descended to him as a family trait and He is continuing to do so.
There are two types of Nada (sound): Aahata and Anaahata. Anaahata nada pervades the universe and is heard by Yogis. Aahata is the sound that is heard, created the entire music of the world, through the medium of notes. Nada and Bhaktiyoga are most important aspects of Swamiji's music. His mantra is Nadopasana, Namasankeertana (chanting the glory of the Lord) and worship of music. Sri Swamiji says that in this Kaliyuga, Nadopasana through Namasankeertana is the best method of praying to God. He further elaborates that the body has a number of energy centres and 72,000 metaphysical energy channels called Nadis. Each of these has its own elemental basis (panchabhutas) such as earth, water, fire, air and sky. Each raga produces sound vibrations appropriate to a specific chakra and a set of related body organs. Swamiji is an ardent votary of Namasankeertana. He has himself composed thousands of bhajans that are replete with curative powers for, as he says — "the lyrics of my bhajans incorporate several seed letters (bijaksharas) in them."
In his Chutuku Aaptashati (700 sayings of Swamiji), he has given the entire theory of Nada, its and other information about musicology in couplets. Swamiji writes;
Music of Nada is an ocean, wide
As wide could be;
In the Universe, Brahma is Nada
The Divine itself is music incarnate – Sachchidananda
Nada, Music is my life - Breath
My life - breath is rooted in Nada
The sound of breath is the Sound of Life;
Nada Omkara, the word primal - Sachchidananda
The oft quoted verse "A child, beast and snakes all are receptive to music".
Music does not only enter the body through the ear.
Snakes have no ears, yet they respond to the snake charmer's music.
We react by the unseen pressure of sound.
The liberated soul like a Swan, within its heart, only waves of harmonious sound.
All round, and everywhere, Sound and Music, a World of Bliss, Ananda Sachchidananda
The life breath of child and beast is Swara - Sound
Beast is incapable of thought. A child is innocent
Word & meaning together bring
A World of Music - Sachchidananda
The sound of Om while asleep, the primal word;
Subtle music during the dreams;
Music is heard while awake; In all the three states, there is nada - Sachchidananda.
Knowledge of Nada, of music, is celestial knowledge.
Angels live a life of music
He who creates music is the blessed one
Protected by the Lord, O, God of Gods - Sachchidananda.
Why do musical notes cause an effect on our body?
This is because the tunes correspond to our nerves. This knowledge is called ‘Ragaragini Vidya or Siddha Vidya'. When one hears the right kind of music, its effects on our body is therapeutic. The nerves can be touched with the help of Music. In fact, so soothing is the outcome, it looks as if the nerves are being given a massage.
Parama Pujya Swamiji, apart from being a gifted singer with a golden voice, plays on instruments such as synthesizer, piano, flute, traditional Saraswatl Veena etc. He is a prolific composer, musicologist and music therapist.
He has composed and sung thousands of Kritis and keertanaas in several languages like Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and Malayalam.
Swamiji's compositions include
Kritis (compositions) on Ganapati in Ghanaragapanchaka of Carnatic Music — Nata, Gaula, Aarabhi, Varali, Sriraga
Tripura Navavarna kritis - Nine navavarna kritis with all the details of names of Devi, name of the chakra, one Ganapati Kriti, one Dhyana kriti, Dola and Mangalam - totally 13 in all. Excepting Muthuswamy Dikshitar, who has composed kamalamba and abhayamba Navavarna kritis, no other composer has composed in this style.
Dvadasha Jyotirlinga Kritis - on 12 Jyotirlingas. Muthuswamy Dikshitar has composed these types of kritis with all the details
Kritis in 72 Melakartas of Carnatic Music. Other composers are Maha Vaidyanaatha lyer, Sri Balamurali Krishna, Koteshwara lyer and C. Rangaiah
Panchatatva Ragamalika - is a very special melody composed by Sri Pujya Swamiji and it is the first ever composition conceptualized by a composer of Indian Music. It is the greatest contribution to the world of music therapy. This is a rare and original composition and it has been hailed reverentially and acknowledged by great Maestros and Musicologists alike. Life is a combination of body (shareera), perceptory organs (indriya), mind (satva) and soul (atma). All matter is composed of five elements — akasha, vayu, tejas, jala and pruthavi which are all called panchamahabhutas. Carnatic Music has 72 Melakartas or Parent Scales, out of which Swamiji has identified 5 Ragas, which correlate to the 5 natural elements. The first Raga Kharaharapriya further developed by model shift of tonic principle, which would yield 6 more Ragas bringing the total number of Ragas in the composition to 11. Rhythmic solo turns adds another dimension to this unique composition.
Shatchakra Ragamalika is another unique concept of Sri Swamiji based on the six chakras
Kritis in rare Ragas like Vitapi, Veenadhari, Rushyaketupriya, Savitri, Charavarali, Varam, Indudhavali, Kshanaprabha, Kalindaja etc. No other composer has composed in these Ragas.
New Ragas - Ingeniously finding out new Ragas, which are not found in our music texts — e.g. anagha, ambapriya, krishnakunj, aahladini, dwipadi, sachchidanandini etc
Divyanama Kritis Sankeertanas or bhajans composed in Kannada Sanskrit, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, English, Marathi, Gujarati, Malayalam etc
Solkattu Kritis - Songs with Solkattu swaras having Mridanga jatis
Samashticharana Kritis- Small kritis having only pallavi and charana. Muthuswamy Dikshitar has composed many kritis of this type
Manipravala Kritis - The sahitya or the words are woven in two or more different languages.
Bijakshara Kritis - Containing subtle seed letters on various deities E.g. Mantrapramanam in Raga Kalindaja when sung, produces such powerful vibrations that the listeners cannot escape getting lifted from worldly gross existence to transcendental experience of the soul.
Raga names have been ingeniously woven in the sahitya. E.g. Punnagavarali, Gouri, Bowli, Shivaranjani, Bhavapriya, Kalyani, Sumanisaranjani etc.
Lalita Trishati Naamavali Kritis — another set of complex compositions.
Tatvapada (philosophical theme kritis). E.g. Mumukshu intirabekanna
Kolata Songs E.g. Ramanamma raamanu; Kolu kolanna kolu
Patriotic Songs —E.g. Jaya jaya jaya jaya jayi bhava
Yoga sadhana Kritis — E.g. Pranayamadi yoagada tatvavu in Saraswati Raga
Utsava sampradaya kritis like Nityotsava, Varotsava, Pakshotsava, Masotsava kritis, Datta Kagada arati kritis (containing the details of the yogasutras and bijaksharas are sung every day - all the seven days of a week).
Saptaswara bijakshara malika .
Saparshi Ramayana- a musical ballet
Ragamalika e.g. Madhura madhura Meenakshi, Gitasaramu (essence of the eighteen chapters of Bhagavadgita in eighteen stanzas and a refrain)
Extensive research in Raga, Tana, Pallavi highest epitome of Carnatic Music, which depicts the skill and creativity of the performer
Swarakshara kritis - Most difficult compositions which need high technical knowledge Sangita Kalanidhi Sremman Gudi Shrinivasa lyengar, K.V. Narayana Swamy, B. Raajam Iyer, Laalgudi Jayaraman have tuned and sung these. In these kritis, swara (musical note) and sahitya (lyric) are the same
Kritis in Vivadi Mela - Swamiji is expert in playing ragalapana in vivadi mela kritis and has composed many kritis e.g. Palaya govinda in Ganamurti
Niroshtaka Kritis — In these kritis the lips do not touch or come together while singing the swaras or sahitya. e.g. Jagadisha Gurudatta
Compositions in Hindustani Ragas e.g. Desh, Sindhubhairavi, Behag, Darbari Kaanada, Bageshri, Brindavani etc.
Compositions in various Talas in different Nadais or Gatis (Rhythms) e.g. Trishra, -Ida, Mishra etc
Navadurga Charitam - Dance Ballet on the nine forms of Shakti
Dattavataram - Musical play which comprises of various mudras (Hand poses) of Bharatanatyam
Songs on Deities - Ganapati, Rama, Krishna, Subrahmanya, Ayyappa, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Parvati, Durga, Parashakti, Hanuman, Brahma, Vishnu, Surya, Agni, Vayu, Shiva, Kubera, Shani, Gouri, Amba, Dattatreya. and Veera Raaghava. We don't come across any other kriti on Veera Raaghava except that of Swamiji's.
Songs to suit Various Festivals - like Navaraatri, Shivaraatri, Yugaadi, Datta Jayanti, Harvest songs, Folk Melodies, Community Songs, Lullabies, Play songs for Children giving moral education, songs on social problems, patriotic songs etc.
Swamiji has written the script, composed music and given the discourses on many subjects like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavata, Gurugeeta, Dattatreya, Subramanya, Shivapuranam, Krishnaleela etc.
Chutuku saptashati 700 short sayings in Kannada, Telugu English languages resembling Sarvajna Padas of Karnataka which are like Uga Bhogas composed by Haridasas of Karnataka. They contain details of musicology also.
Music for Meditation and Healing - Revolutionary creativity coupled with humanitarian goals in the form of spiritual therapy (Nada Chikitsa). It is unique.
Other works of Sri Swamiji related to Music
Nada Mantapa: Unique design and construction of the unique auditorium - only one of its kind in the globe, which has world's first and only Saptaswara Devata Mantapa (seven notes temple) built with musical stone pillars which gives out musical notes when struck
Holistic Hospital - Combination of Nada, Dhyana and Yoga exercises in Kriya Yoga Dhyana Centre
Music Therapy Centre - At the Holistic Hospital where music therapy has got a special wing headed by experts in music, musicology and doctors are working under the direct guidance and supervision of Pujya Swamiji.
Ragaragini Research Centre is now renamed as SGS Nadayoga Ragasagara Research Centre —dedicated unit for research in music, musicology and therapeutics.
Ragaragini Sangeeta Vidyalaya - imparts music and Bhajans training to the interested youngsters free of cost and they are encouraged to give public concerts.
Bhajan Competitions - are held regularly every year at various Gnana Bodha Sabhas at various centres of the Ashrama - Mysore, Bangalore, Chennai, Calicut, Vijayawada, Hyderabad, Delhi - to name a few, to encourage youngsters, housewives & school children to learn more about our heritage & music.
The services of Scholars in various fields of Specialization like Veda, Nada, Shastra, Yoga etc. are recognized at the International level and Titles awarded. Further research encouraged.
Research for Doctorate: Several research projects are going on with scholars working on Doctoral Thesis on the mission of Swamiji's Music.
Publications pertaining to music and other subjects are regularly brought out at the press
Audio, Video CDs and DVDs on Swamiji's music, concerts and discourses are regularly brought out at the specially built Nada Nidhi Studio constructed in the Ashram.
Vidyarthi Gnana Bodha Sabha Meet: Students belonging to various grades from 8th standard to College level - both girls and boys are selected on International basis and annual camp are conducted at any one centre selected by Swamiji for 4 days. The children are given free accommodation, food etc. Classes and Lectures will be conducted by experts on educational, cultural and traditional subjects imparting value systems to give an idea of Indian heritage to the student. Swamiji himself takes part in counselling every day. Music Therapy and Bhajan learning is compulsory. It is taught by experts in the field and on the final day, the children are given an opportunity to exhibit their talent in singing.
There are also other performances by renowned artists who came forward eagerly to perform in Sri Swamiji's presence. Renowned artists have brought CDs and Cassettes singing Swamiji's songs.
Swamiji has given permission to some Senior Vidwans to set their own tunes for his compositions. Vidwan K.V.Narayana Swamy, Maharajapuram Santhaanam, T.M. Thyagarajan have set some of the Kirtans of Swamiji to classical Carnatic Ragas.
Many popular and great Vidwans have accompanied Swamiji — On Flute (Ramani), On Violin (M.S. Gopalakrishna, Lalgudi Jayaraman & L. Subramanyam), On Mridangam (Umayalapuram Shivaraman, Velluru Ramabhadran, Karaikudi Mani, Bhaktavatsalam) and others to name a few.
The list of Sri Swamiji's musical works is exhaustive and goes on ........
Nada - Music of the Divine RAGA — RAGINI NADA YOGA –
A Historical perspective
From NADA Music of the Divine; September 22, 2012; Royal Albert Hall
Naaham Vasaami Vaikunthe
Na Yogi Hrudaye Ravou
Madbhakta Yatra Gaayanti
Tatra Thishtaami Naarada
Lord, Almighty says “I dwell neither in Vaikuntha (heaven) nor in the hearts of Yogis but in the place where my devotees sing” proclaims Srimad Bhagavatham.
Sages say that listening to good music results in the cleansing and purification of the human heart.
Saint singers like Santa Tukaram, Gyanadeva, Meerabai, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Purandaradasa, Kabirdas, Surdas and others have propagated Naama Sankirtana advocated by Sri Swamiji.
Music is a treasure, which belongs to the people in what form and matter it is to presented to them is their business, not that of the Pandits and Critics. It is the duty of musicians who are responsible for presenting it in the desired manner and form.
The magic of the compositions is the magic of the senses and the magic of the body. In the Bhajan lies the magic of the soul. The world of the Bhajans is a strange world. It has revelations and pleasures unequalled. Out of the strong rhythms of the Mridangam and the Brass Symbols and Drums, divine ecstasy is evoked, in which people lose themselves. It is sung by large groups of people. This has brought people in close touch with the music and made them music minded.
The Bhajan has transcended all artificial barriers in music and with its simple and direct appeal, reached out to the hearts of the common people. Listeners past and present have reported with remarkable consistency, that music does arouse feelings and emotions in them. Composers and performers have all agreed about this fact.
But, since music flows through time, listeners and critics have generally been unable to pinpoint particular musical process which evoked affective response which is described by them. It is of course difficult to measure the mental effects which the music can bring about.
Music has been used in magic and medicine by the individual and the community throughout history. Every historical period, every ethnic group and every culture has some contact with music.
People have turned to music and sought the living power of music within them. They have created music around themselves. Throughout the world, philosophers and physicians have expressed belief on the influence of music on mental, emotional and physical health.
CONFUCIUS believed that rituals and music are the clues to a harmonious life. Greeks recognized the link between music and medicine more than 2,000 years ago.
Singing and dancing were closely related among the primitive people, because they generated something which was more than the original movements themselves. All the rites relating to birth, circumcision, marriage, hunting, war, weather, medicine and death were permeated with musical elements.
Music is an extension of the primitive desire to communicate and consequently its whole artistic function is related to the communication of human emotions and passions.
Even to this day, the Navaho tribe of Native Americans sing certain tunes to cure ailments.
Then followed the Bhakti Sangita (Devotional Music).
Aadimaanava was afraid of thunder, lightning and other nature's sounds. So he started making small mantras and reciting them, built small temples and sang them during leisure hours. Singing became a routine practice to lessen the burden of work. Folk music came in.
In India, music which was used only for entertainment later became devotional. It was turned into therapeutic use initially by Santas (Saints). They sang Sankirtana and used it to cure the ailments of the people.
Even now, sick people go to Upaasakaas to get the remedy. The saint gives them suitable Mantras. There is difference in the pronunciation of each Mantra which contains Beejaksharaas. There is difference in frequency and in the number of vibrations between different Mantras. Hence, the effect is different each time it is pronounced. The saints give prominence to Naama Sankirtana because they know the greatness of Anaahata Nada with their Yogashakti, of Tantra, Mantra and Upaasana.
Indian music literature is beaming with instances of miraculous effects brought by music. It is said that Haridasa Goswami, Guru of Tansen cured the ailment of his disciples through music. One of the trinity of Carnatic music, Tyagaraja brought back a person named Sheshaiah of Puttur to life by singing the Kriti, Naajeevaadhara in Bilahari Raga.
Muttuswamy Dikshitar brought rain by singing Amruthavarshini Raga. He composed and sang a Kriti on the planet Jupiter, Bruhaspathe Thaaraapathe in Athaana Raga and cured the stomach ache of his disciple.
Vidvaan Veera Raghava lyer, a court musician of Tanjore sang the Raga Malaya Marutha during hot summer afternoon and got cool breeze. Tansen sang Raga Deepaka and lit the lamps. He sang Raga Megha Malhaar and got rains. There was a great musician Gopala Naayaka who could create oneness with his music.
All these are recorded facts of history. Why go to history? Recently about fifteen years back on a usual Sunday afternoon discourse at the universal prayer hall at Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Ashram, Mysore, Pujya Swamiji brought heavy rains by singing Datta Megham Varshinchindi. There was actually no sign of any clouds till then. When he started playing the Raga Bhairavi, clouds started gathering and the afternoon became dark and suddenly started pouring.
Like me, many Datta devotees were present on that afternoon. They are all witness to this event.
We have legends like that about Lord Krishna and his attracting the Gopis and cows by playing his flute. Lord Anjaneya is said to have melted a rock by singing Raga Gundakriya.
These days in Allopathy medicine also, we hear instances about Hippocrates, father of Allopathy medicine used music for treatment purposes.
In India also several researches have been conducted. Prof. Singh of Annamalai University successfully conducted experiments using Raga Charukeshi played on violin for the plants to grow taller.
In the dairy farm of Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam, Tirupathi, music was played daily for fifteen minutes in the morning. The cows gave more milk after listening to music.
Many hospitals play soft music during night times so that the patients can sleep better. We also we know that in airports, during flight, soft music is played to reduce the anxiety and tensions of the travelers.
When the mother sings Lullaby, the child automatically goes to sleep. The frequency of singing corresponds with the breathing of the baby. The Laya or the Rhythm coincides.
We have also seen the workers singing during the harvest season and hard work.
When music has been used to stir the elements of nature, why should it not be used to cure the diseases?
All of us possess Physio-Motor need, which is an urge to make sounds and react involuntarily when music is heard. This response depends on the qualities of sound and the nature and condition of the listener.
The main principle behind all these is that music has immense effect on the nervous system and the entire body and minds of people. Even if they are not cured, music helps them to relax.
Hearing is healing. Listening to music is therapy. But we should not forget that listening to music alone will not cure. Music certainly reduces pain, anxiety, stress and depression, which make the treatment much easier.
Patients have to take the medicines also. Music Therapist cannot treat the patients by himself. He or She will assist the concerned doctors in their treatment procedures.
Musical Therapeutics was a well known science in the medieval period. A musical Grantha or treatise called Ragachikitsa dealt with it. (Some decades ago it was kept in the Saraswati Mahal Library, Tanjore. But it appears to be lost now. )
The application of music to treat patients is not a novel conception. Indeed ever since primitive men first endeavoured to cope with mental disorders, music has been used therapeutically in various ways with fluctuating enthusiasm with varying degrees of success.
Music, because of its important instinctive, emotional, intellectual cultural and spiritual factors has played a great role in religion, ethics, sociology, medicine, politics and in civilization itself.
In the western world, Greeks and Romans have made great contribution in this field and so is China. Early Greeks & Romans believed that there is a firm alliance between Music & Medicine. Religion & Music were closely related and Philosophies choose to interpret life as an art, which could trace its connection to music. In the past, as far back as the medicine of ancient China, the basis of the application of music to psychiatric patients was the proposition that certain kinds of music were capable of changing the moods of the patients. Other forms of applications were directed towards motivation of patients, education of patients or simply the relief of institutional boredom. Saul's epileptic outbursts having been soothed and placated by David's harp. King George II of England and King Philip of Spain being aroused from their melancholy by music.
Treating of the sick by the use of music was done by the American Indians in the form of Dreams or Visions and perhaps by herbs. Medicine songs, prayer songs and rattling were the means of treating the sick.
Modern research is now verifying many of the claims and findings, about the influence of music on the organism.
P.M. Schuhi has made extensive research on the role of music in ancient Greece. He opines that in China, music had attained a high degree of development. Music played an important role in charms and incantations. The ecstatic exaltation of collective frenzy, mystical and ascetic movements such as the Pythagoreans, who believe in the transmigration of souls. They used this type, to help in reminiscences of previous lives, before sleep, to exercise the irrational and passionate elements of the soul.
It is in this sense Pythagorean spoke of Catharsis i.e. purification.
Thus, Music Therapy came into being through understanding the Psycho-Somatic effects of music.
A Chinese book speaks of good music. "Under the effect of music the 5 social duties are without admixture."
1. Eyes & ears are clear
2. Blood & Vital spirits are balanced
3. Habits are reformed
4. Customs are improved
5. The empire is in complete peace.
All fine arts act directly on human emotions and music especially has profound influence on our inner nature, feelings and thoughts. This has been recognized at all times.
Shishurvetthi Pashurvetthi, Vetthi Gaanarasam Phani
To subdue an angry cobra, to calm a crying child, to relax a troubled mind, music is an effective weapon. The vibrations caused by music do not stop with the ear alone. The music induces vibrations in our subtle nature. The entire human nature is affected by these vibrations.
Composers & performers of all cultures, theorists of diverse schools and styles, aesthetic persons and critics of many different persuasions have all agreed that music has the potential to affect. But what constitutes this affective nature of music and through what processes it is used and measured is a debated subject.
Music theorists have concerned themselves with the grammar and syntax of music rather than with its affective experiences. Very little is known about the details of the stimulus and the response like ‘What type of music is used in therapy? Where? When? By whom? What are its parameters?’
These days it is very common to read in the daily newspapers, how music is being used for the benefit of humanity in various ways – particularly in Japan & America. In Japan, high frequency sound waves are used for growing the cactus tree very tall. A lady called OMKALTUI from the Arab Emirates snag in TV with her enchanting voice having a range of 5 Octaves, which had an immense effect on the minds of people. The frequency of the sound coming from her voice broke a glass cup. In Japan some plants were grown taller by playing music to them.
In Madrid, they have found the relation between music and the DNA Code. Hence, we read a lot about scientific research being carried out with music.
The legends say that Lord Shankara, while he was dancing His celestial dance, the Saptaswaras of music were born from his five faces. Shiva is Nada, Omkaara or Pranava.
Music is nothing but Nada or sound waves. Indians believe that Nada is the most sacred Mantra. Nadaanusandhaana is the most secret Pooja "a or worship. The entire universe is filled with vibrati which is called as Nada or Sound.
Nadabrahma is beyond language, beyond countries. That is why music is called the language of heart and has universal appeal. The entire universe is Nadaadhina. The root of all this is Omkaara or Pranava.
Chaitanyam Sarvabhuthaanam Vivrutham Jagadatmana
Nada Brahma Tadananda Madviteeya Mupasmahe
Nadopasanaya Deva Brahma Vishnu Maheshwaraha
Bhavantyupasita Nunam Yasmadete Tadatmakaha
The Vedas and the Mantras which have come down to us over 5000 years ago are very powerful vibrations, since the contain the names of Gods.
Sri Krishna proclaimed, "Vedanaam Saamavedosmi" (B.Gita).
Of the Vedas, I am Saamaveda. Sangita has been derived from Saamaveda.
When the Mantras of Rik were sung in Udaatha, Anudaattha, svaritha swaraas, Saamaveda was born. They are called Vedaswaras.
From these were born the musical notes Sa – Ri - Ga – Ma – Pa – Da – Ni. This Nada is Anantha.
From this universal sound, people have taken sounds according to their own likings and formed their own music systems in different countries. Oriental music is melodic and horizontal. Occidental music is vertical & harmonic.
Extensive Raga system and intricate Taala patterns are the unique features of Indian Music.
Shruthirmaatha Layah pithaa
Shruthi is like Mother & Laya is like Father. Both are very important for music. All music is evolved out of Om, the mystic syllable which symbolizes the absolute. The great Tyagaraja calls Lord Shankara, Nadathanum in his Krithi in Raga Chittaranajani:
Nadathanumanisham Shankaram Namaami Me Manasaa Shirasaa
Modakara Nigamotthama Saamavedasaaram Vaaram Vaaram
I bow to Lord Shankara, the embodiment of Nada, the essence of Saamaveda with my Mind & Body. Pujya Swamiji has expressed the same in his Chutuku Sapthashathi (700 sayings of Sachchidananda)
Nadadallidu Prithi (LOVE Nada - Music)
Nadadallide Shakti (Nada is the Strength)
Nadathanuve Shivanu (Shiva himself is Nada)
Shargnyadeva, a great musicologist of 13-14th century AD writes in his treatise Sangitha Ratnakara:
Na Naadena Vinaagitham Na Naadena Vinaa Swarah
Na Naadena Vinaa Ragah Tasmat Nadaatmakam Jagat
There is no Gita without Nada. There is no Swara without Nada. There is no Raga without Nada. Shruti, Swara, Raga all are born out of Nada which encompass the entire universe.
Nada is the basis for all music in the world. Na stands for Praana. Da stands for Agni. Nada is thus produced by the combination of Praana & Agni.
Nada produces Shrutis
Shruyantha iti Shrutayaha
Those sounds which are just heard are Shrutis.
Shrutis produce Swaraas
Swatho Ranjayati Shrotruchittam
Those sounds which please the ears are Swaraas.
Swaraas produce Ragas.
Yosou Dhwani Visheshastu Swaravarna Vibhushitha
Ranjako Katitho Janachitthaanaam Cha Sa Ragah Budhaihi
Those sounds which pleases the minds of the people are Ragas.
Ragas produce Gitas.
Our entire music system is based on Ragas which in turn Produce Gitas. Indian Music has an elaborate Raga System.
There are two types of Nada (Sound) Aahata the Yogis. Anaahata. Aahata Nada is the sound that is created and heard by the entire humanity of the world, through the medium of Swat Ninna Naas Ragas. Anaahata Nada pervades the universe and heard only by the Yogis.
Ninna Nannolu Nada, Ellelliyoo Nada
Jagavella Thunthihudu, Anaahata Nada
Nadakke Nada Nee, Sachchidananda
Swamiji says "within you, within me, within everyone the sound of subtle music is there. The world overflows with sound.”
The most important aspect of Swamiji's mission, His Mantra is Naadopaasana (Worship of Music).
Gamaka is the soul - Praana of Ragas, without which a scale does not become a Raga. They are the oscillations of sound wave at various points called Swaraas. How much to oscillate to bring out the required pleasing effect of the Raga, according to the prescribed rules and conditions, is left to the individual artist and their creativity. It is this element which brings about the feelings in Ragas. Western music recognizes two types of these, i.e. Vibrato & Portamento. Indian Music uses ten varieties called as Dashavidha Gamakaas. There are certain Gamakaas which have been prescribed only for musical instruments like Veena & Violin.
Rhythm & Tempo are not only the essential parts of music, but are also vital to our life. They create a complete balance and symmetry in the vibrations or movements of tones & tunes of music and thus produce a resonance of them in our emotional being, & bestow upon us celestial peace and tranquility.
All mental life works eternally in the rhythmical process and even subjective material things of the universe observe the rhythmical law consciously or unconsciously, propelled by some unknown power or energy.
Musical rhythm influences the emotional state of a person. It has been scientifically proved beyond doubt that the music rhythm has the capacity to either activate or depress the rhythm of the body and its metabolic systems.
A large number of our body processes are rhythmic like music. They repeat at regular intervals. The beating of heart, the menstrual cycle in women etc., repeats at specific intervals. They constitute the Biological Clock of the body. Even a slight disturbance to this body rhythm will create disturbance in a person.
It has been found out that music can greatly influence our biological clock. It can bring about physical changes in our body system, such as the increase or decrease of the rate of metabolism, blood pressure etc. according to the tempo and mood of the music.
Music therapy is the use of music in the treatment of illness. It is a controlled use of music in treatment and rehabilitation of people suffering from physical, mental and emotional disorders.
It is the manipulation of music related activities to induce changes in a client's behaviour. It is a special method of psychotherapy which attempts to obtain therapeutic effects in patients through various kinds of music by hearing as well as by practicing it. There is ample evidence that music may evoke specific mood and affective reactions in the listener, but minimal published evidence.
The therapeutic contribution of music therapy lies in the modification of emotional problems, attitudes and the energy of psychic dynamics. It is an effort made in the direction of changing human pathology of both body and mind.
Music therapy acts as a superb technique in opening up of the channels of communication of disturbed persons, there by acting as an effective aid to other therapeutic techniques.
When we see a rose flower, we derive pleasure and enjoyment seeing it from various different angles. The inherent beauty of the rose attracts our attention immediately. But the same rose flower in the hands of botanist becomes an item for experimentation. The botanist would be keen to dissect and find out the parts.
Music has immense potential both as an art and as science. As an art, it is enjoyed as whole. While as science, music is taken in parts according to the situation and brevity of the disease.
And so, as an art, we all cherish music and enjoy. We get pleasure from it. We use it in various categories like Classical Music, Light Music, Devotional Music, Film Music, Folk Music, Background Music, Recreation Music, Martial Music and for physical exercises and so on. The same music can also be used scientifically for the benefit of the mankind in the form of therapy (Cure or Chikitsa) to alleviate pain and bring solace and relieve stress.
It is not easy to pass from mere love and practice of music to an intelligent conception of it. It is a wonderful thing that science makes it possible to discover, measure and explain the power of music.
Music therapy is an adjuvant of psychotherapy and comes under the heading of Psychology of music. Psychology (Manah Shaastra), as we all know is a science which studies the behaviour of individuals. In case of music, whatever is applicable in general psychology applies to music such as Psychology of composer, psychology of performer, psychology of listener etc.
Hence the subject involves physics, physiology, anatomy, psychology and anthropology, as well as the theory and practice of music.
In USA, there are several universities giving degrees and diploma in music therapy. It is a 4 -year course, where all these subjects are taught. After successful completion, certificates are given. The trained music therapists either work in hospitals or have clinics of their own and conduct research work also.
Mesmer was one of the first of the medical profession to use psychotherapy in the form of suggestion and hypnosis. He later added the use of music in his therapy.
Pioneer work in the field of psychology of music was started by Vienna surgeon and music lover Dr. Theodore Biliroth (1845) and musically trained physiologist Johaunsven Kries (1926).
First systematic study in this field was done by Carl. E. Seashore and Revez. Seashore stated that “Sensory capacities show a high correlation with musical capacities"
After a series of experiments in the laboratory - studio at Iowa University, USA, Carl E. Seashore has presented specimens of scientific findings dealing with various phases of psychology of music as early as 1937-1938.
The first efforts to apply some semblance of modern scientific approach to western music centred around the 19th century. Psychoacoustical and physiological experiments conducted in Berlin (Germany) by such luminaries as Helm Holtz, Horn Bostel and Sachs. In Russia, Pavlov was conducting his animal experiments involving sound and physiological reflex, using stimulus substitution (i.e. the sound of a bell was paired with, then substituted for the reinforcer namely food); salivation then followed the sound of the bell alone.
Although these experiments were reported in America and some experiments were conducted there, the great growth of interest in the therapeutic applications of music did not come until the 20th Century, specifically during and after the world wars.
Hospitals were filled with war-ravaged veterans, who were disabled in mind and spirit as severely as they were physically impaired. In many cases, music proved to be a useful tool in supporting the work of the psychiatrists, physicians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and others.
Since music, unlike other treatments, is itself pleasant and rewarding, it succeeded remarkably in some cases which had been unmoved by other approaches.
Certain psychological responses, such as modulation of heart beat and respiration rates, galvanic skin response (i.e. perspiration) change in brain activity "amount, location and organisation" and involuntary muscle activity, may be scientifically measured. These responses were common to all cultures.
Music therapy treatments can be in a passive mode (i.e. listening to a recording or to the therapist performing) or the active mode (i.e. the client himself performs the music).
The treatment may be conducted in a large group (even hundreds singing or listening together), a small group or individual sessions. Each combination of mode and grouping has its own value in therapy and must be selected carefully. While the proper combination may cause a sudden remarkable improvement in the client, an inappropriate choice may compound the existing problems.
My Work on Music Therapy
At Nimhans, Bangalore (1975), a music therapy session was conducted for the disturbed persons, certified by the psychiatrists. 7 individuals having various types of mental disturbance listened to Raga Hindustani Yaman and Kalyani of Carnatic Music. Results were encouraging though communication is always a problem with such individuals. Dr B C Deva and Veeramani of Cenral Sangith Naatak Academy, New Delhi were coordinators for this.
Ashaniketan, Bangalore (1982-83), mental retardation, music therapy, with Bhajans, given to 30 inmates of this facility, and inmates were receptive.
Handicapped Children (40), Bangalore - belonging to slum area, Cantonment, Bangalore. Music therapy sessions with Bhajan's were taught. Later they gave public performances of 30 mins duration. All of them enjoyed music. This gave them self confidence and helped in building self-esteem in them.
Rehabilitation Centre: Malleswaram, Bangalore (1984): Children having problems with speech and other debilities, spastic children; 25 of them were taught Bhajan's (Every Thursday afternoon session of nearly 1 hour for 6 months given) - great improvements were seen
I did a pilot study in the standardization of Ragas, so that it could later be used in the therapeutic situation.
Taking six Ragas having a history of 2000 years, since Bharatha's time, i.e. Shankarabharanam, Thodi, Kamavardhini, Kambhoji, Bhairavi, Mayamalavagoula, keeping Kalyani as a dummy Raga.
This was conducted at Maharani's Women's Arts College, Bangalore in 1978. Keeping all the variables constant other than music and the test called "Semantic Differential Technique Used In Behavioural Sciences" - and statistically the results were computed. Using 52 pair of adjectives and judged in a 7 point scale. A questionnaire was also given to the respondents. The music specially composed and played on Veena for this purpose by no other than a Maestro, Veteran Musician Padmabhushana, Sangita Kalanidhi Mysore V. Doreswamy lyengar.
Same study was repeated at Milano, Italy (1985). I got a request from the medical doctors, who were participants in the "34th International Music Therapy Conference" to conduct the study with same music. There were 40 delegates who had come from Egypt, analysis of the data. Emirates Russia, Japan and America. Results were projected on the screen, after statistical computation. It was a great surprise because results in Bangalore and Italy were almost similar with a slight difference, 98% and 92% respectively. I was helped by my husband in the analysis of the data.
We conducted few studies at Mysore S.G.S Ashram and the Hospital Vidyarthi Jyanabodha Sabha. Members listened to Tanpura Shruti and Omkaara (230 youngsters).
Physiological parameters like B.P etc. were checked before and after listening to music sessions, also tried with the musical beds. However, much we take precautions to keep the variables constant, it is difficult to pinpoint the particular change, music has brought on patients, because of the fact that, they have been taking medicines also. But music definitely helps in soothing and relaxation.
I offer my humble Pranaams (prostrations) at the lotus feet of our Gurudeva and Pujya Sri Datta Vijayananda Tirtha Swamiji. I have had 3 Music Therapy experiences with Swamiji’s Music. The first, in 2001 April, when I was threatened with deadly cancer growth, which turned out to be a cyst; the second time, in November 2001 with heart attack; next in November 2006, during bypass surgery. Swamiji sent some music cassettes and had asked me to listen to them continuously; with his blessings, l am alive today.
My life partner has been a source of inspiration throughout my research work and even to this day; I am grateful for his continuous support.