Music for Meditation & Healing
from Sri Swamiji: His Divine Personality & Human Service Mission
All Music springs from Sound (Nada) and all music carries vibrations emanating from the rhythm and tone of music. Whatever may be the form of music i.e. singing, dancing or playing, its key constituents are always rhythm and tone (Taalaand Swara) in which actually inhere the potent effect- producing substance of music - the vibrations.
Now look at the human organism. The pulse rate, the beating of heart and brain, the circulation of blood and the inward - outward movement of breath - they are all related to the system of rhythm and tone in the human body, producing the invisible life-giving and life-sustaining vibratory activity. When the health is out of order it means that the rhythm and tone within the body is out of order. The help of harmony is then very much necessary to bring us to the state of harmony. And what is the effect of music? The effect of music is to regulate the rhythm of another person and to tune a person to the music that is being performed.
The mysticism of music in the context of Meditation and Healing lies essentially in the quality of sound vibrations emanating from rhythm and tone of music, for it is through their fusion that different vibrations get created and a soul is tuned and raised above the depression and despair of every day life in this world. And if one knew what rhythm was needed for a particular individual in his trouble and despair; what tone was needed and to what pitch that person's level of consciousness should be raised, one would then be able to heal him with music.
Nada Vibrations – their significance
Humans are not only formed of vibrations, but in fact, they live, move and thrive in them; they surround them as a fish is surrounded by water. Their different moods, inclinations, actions and conditions of life depend upon a certain activity of vibrations whether these be thoughts, emotions, or feelings.
There are two aspects of vibrations, fine and gross, having varied degrees. Some are perceived by the soul, some by the mind, and some by the eyes. What the soul perceives are the vibrations of the feelings; what the mind conceives are the vibrations of thoughts; what the eyes sees are the vibrations appearing through the objects of the physical world.
Vibration is basically the activity of Consciousness and it is Consciousness, which is the cause of creation. Each vibration originated from its original source is the same; it differs only in is tone and rhythm due to greater or lesser force behind it. On the plane of Nada (sound), vibration causes diversity of tone. The vibrations become audible when they are massed together. Nada gives to the Consciousness (Atma) an evidence of its existence, although it is part of Consciousness itself, which has turned itself into Nada. It is as if the Knower becomes known to itself. In other words, the Consciousness bears witness to its own voice. That is why it is said that Music is the expression of Soul. Everything being derived from and formed of vibrations has Nada hidden within as fire is hidden in flint, as if each atom of the universe is confessing by its tone: ‘My sole origin is Nada’. If any solid or hollow object is struck, it will answer back ‘I am Nada.’
Vibrations- the property of Nada turn into atoms and atoms generate what we call life. It is for this reason that a man of spiritual wisdom always says ‘in each atom, there is the indweller divine, tell me where it is not. Such being the all-pervasive nature of Nada (sound), it is befittingly and worshipfully addressed to as ‘Nada Brahma’.
Nada and the Sages
The saints and sages spread their peace not only in the place where they sit, but also even in the neighborhood where they dwell, their town or the country in which they live. What accounts for their role in generating peace is the power of vibrations they send out from their Soul. The vibrations of thought and feeling create the necessary means for their manifestation on the surface. A certain degree of thought power (Sankalpa) is needed to bring about a certain result, as so much dynamite is required to blast a single rock, and an infinitely greater quantity is necessary to make a tunnel through a mountain.
The power of vibrations also connects in some manner or the other all things and all the beings in the universe on all the planes of existence. For an ordinary example, if a person coughs in an assembly, many others being to do the same, and so is the case with yawning, laughter, excitement and depression. This shows that vibrations convey the conditions of one being to another: therefore, a Seer would know of the past, present and the future (Trikaala Gnana Drishti), and perceive conditions on all planes of existence.
Nada vibrations work through the chord of sympathy existing between man and his surroundings and reveal past, present and future conditions. This explains why plants and animals can perceive the vibrations and know of coming events while man is ignorant of them. Man is ignorant because he blinded himself with egotism.
Sri Swamiji’s Music
For most of the people in the world, music is taken as a source of amusement, a pastime, and for many, music is an art and a musician an entertainer. However, the truth of all the truths about music is that it is sacred of all arts. What art of painting cannot clearly suggest, poetry explains in words: but that which even a poet finds difficult to express in poetry is expressed in music. It is not to say that music is superior to art and poetry, but in point of fact, music excels them all in so far as it touches the deepest part of man's being and helps him to concentrate or meditate independently of thought and form. Beauty of words and color can go so far and no further, but music touches our innermost being and in that way produces a new life, a life that gives exaltation to the whole being raising it to that perfection in which lies the fulfillment to man's life. No wonder Sri Swamiji often exclaims. "Music is my religion, Music is my language, Music is my soul and Music is my expression”. Hidden behind this exclamation is the spiritual significance of music known only to the Self Realized Mystic like Sri Swamiji.
The mysticism of His music is that it is aimed, not so much at the creation of harmony of musical notes, but a harmony of human mind, body and soul. And what goes into the creation of such harmony is not so much the authority of musicology or the mastership in performance, but the flow of Spiritual Energy springing from the depths of His Transcendental Consciousness.
Sri Swamiji’s music is known for its healing effects. How does Swamiji's music heal? The answer will not be far-fetched to a genuine enquirer. In the first place if we see what is at the back of all medicines, which are used for healing purposes, and if we ask what it is in them that heals, we shall find that it is the different elements, which constitute our physical being. The same elements are present in these medicines as well, and that which is lacking in us is taken from them, or they produce the effect, which should be produced in our body. The vibration which is necessary for our cure is brought about by bringing the circulation of the blood into a certain rhythm and speed.
Sri Swamiji's music is the language and expression of soul to soul. He perceives each soul as a musical note, and while playing his music; He creates a harmony, not of musical notes, but a harmony of human souls. His music is aimed at shifting the level of consciousness of the listeners helping them to experience inner peace, harmony and quietude of mind. At a wider level, His music fosters the bonds of friendship, goodwill and unity among mankind. The unique feature of Sri Swamiji's music lies in its spiritual base. Founded on Raga Ragini Vidyaand Raga Chikitsa- the great ancient knowledge of music, Sri Swamiji’s music carries the Spiritual energy-transmission effect.
There are four distinct aspects of music namely:
Popular....which induces motion of the body,
Technical... which satisfies the intellect,
Artistic.... which portrays beauty and grace,
Appealing ... which pierces the heart.
However there is a fifth aspect, which transcends them all. It is, Uplifting... where the soul hears the Music of the Spheres. Sri Swamiji’s music could be described to belong to this transcendental plane. One will be able to appreciate and grasp this truth only when one properly understands the significance of the principles of Nature in general and Nada (sound) in particular about which references have earlier been made.
To recall summarily, the entire universe (macrocosm) is the outcome of the conjunction of five elements of Nature i.e. Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether (Prithvi, Jala, Vaayu, Agniand Akasha). The human organism (microcosm) is also product of the interplay of these very five elements. Further, each element, relatively, is finer and subtler than the other in terms of its potential and effect. All human actions and reactions, feelings and emotions. in fact, are nothing but 'effect' produced on the frame of human mind and body caused by the presence and interaction of these five elements.
Among the five elements, it is the Ether element (Akasha tattva), which is all pervading, unlike the other elements, which relatively have more or less limited confines. Ether being all-pervasive, its attribute (guna) that is Nada (sound) is also therefore all pervasive and hence most subtle and most effective. It is in this context that, as per yoga terminology, ‘NadaAnusandhaan’(healing through sound) assumes its very appropriate and yet a mystic relevance to ‘Shaktipat'(a method through which a yogi transmits the spiritual energy).
Pujya Sri Swamiji, being a Siddha Nada Yogi, is imbued with such an extraordinary ability to produce musical sound vibrations that they would penetrate into the five elements which human organism is made up of, and according to the variation of these elements present in the human body, His music, traversing through the sensory perceptions of the listeners, would produce the therapeutic effects. Swamiji would know what rhythm is needed for a particular individual in his trouble and despair and what tone, what pitch and what notes are required for a person's soul to be raised. Since each individual represents an 'aura' and each musical note, a dimension of spiritual energy, Sri Swamiji would produce such a music which would incorporate and integrate such aspects of human nature, planetary positions and, correspondingly, choose the most suitable ragas capable of producing the desired musical vibrations for healing and meditation.
In the context of ordinary music by a musician, we often come across examples of comments such as “there was no beauty and life in his music". Such comments could indeed be valid comments. In fact, it is beauty and life, which makes music beautiful and life giving. Study and qualifications of a musician do not prove the standard of his music. In the case of Sri Swamiji's music, one would experience an altogether transcendental experience.
Why Swamiji's music is so unique and other worldly? It is because He injects in His music that life which comes from the expanded Consciousness, from the realization of the Divine Light which is the secret of a true art and which is the soul of mysticism.
One may ask, given all the knowledge of music and the technical performing skill, is it possible for any musician to produce healing effects through music? According to Pujya Sri Swamiji, the answer is: "yes", provided Ekagrata, Ashta Siddhis, Raga Ragini Vidya, and knowledge of Astronomy are all adequately attained. Sri Swamiji further says that, true spiritual purpose, a masterly touch, pure energy, a very high intuitive ability and Ashta Siddhis - all taken together, form the rock foundation of 'Music for Meditation and Healing'.
All the above requisites being there in ample measure with Pujya Sri Swamiji, it is no wonder that His music penetrates into the hearts of thousands and thousands of listeners everywhere causing jubilation, devotional ecstasy and spiritual awakening along with experience of inner relief and transcendence of physical and psychosomatic ailments. Yet, Pujya Sri Swamiji, in true modesty would say 'I do not claim I heal. The divine Heals! I am only its instrument ..... a small tool in the great hands of Nature. There is an eternal spring of healing power in the Mother Nature itself which produces the healing effect'.
It will be no exaggeration to say that Sri Swamiji's music is the expression of the Spirit Divine transmitting the message of Happiness, Harmony and Healing.
Any writing about Sri Swamiji's music will be incomplete without reference to His Bhajans. Besides His divine charisma, the other dimension of His personality, which has captivated the minds and hearts of thousands of people and inspired them to turn to the divine, are Pujya Sri Swamiji’s soul-stirring bhajans. As He often says ‘Just as bhojana(food) is for the body, Bhajans are for the Soul’.
His Bhajans are rooted in ‘Beejaksharas’ (subtle seed letters) and when sung, they produce such powerful vibrations that the listeners cannot escape getting lifted from worldly gross existence to the transcendental experience of the soul. Pujya Sri Swamiji must have composed thousands of devotional Bhajans in different languages right from His childhood, and they have become household medium of devotional singing and satsanga in whatever corner of the world His devotees may be.
According to Pujya Sri Swamiji. "The chanting and singing of divine names is the sheet anchor in all critical situations and crisis. In this present age, Divya Naama Sankeertana is the easiest and the most effective means to invoke the divine.”
In Sri Swamiji’s devotional rendering of Bhajans, what matters is not the language but the spiritually charged vibrations which get released as He sings. Listeners just get thrilled, ecstatic, jubilant and absorbed as they listen to the divine voice of Pujya Sri Swamiji.
There are countless examples, where simply listening to His Bhajans, has produced life-changing and everlasting effect on the lives of devotees, bringing in them miraculous personality transformation influences: and this has happened not to any one particular section of people but to the people all over the world – German, French, English, Dutch, Swiss, African etc. When Pujya Sri Swamiji sings, there does not remain any barrier of religion, caste or creed. The vibrations of His Bhajans cut across all such differential variations leading the listeners to reach the depths of their soul.
Whether He sings Bhajans or plays Music for Meditation and Healing on the synthesizer, the sound vibrations that He releases are charged with such a divine energy transmission effect (Nada-anusandhana) as to carry the listeners to that transcendental orbit of consciousness where they experience peace, harmony and bliss of the Self. No wonder, Pujya Sri Swamiji's music has been acclaimed as 'Music of the Spheres' Or 'The Cosmic Music'.