Yogic Connection: Raga Ragini Vidya
From Yoga Siddhi Raga Sagara; Jones Hall for the Performing Arts; June 29, 2019
Indian music has its origin in the Vedas. Veda, in Sanskrit, means 'knowledge' and represents the totality of what is knowable about the Universe. A portion of this supreme knowledge was received in high states of consciousness by the Maharshis. This fraction of the knowledge constitutes the understanding of the way life functions as understood in the sampradayas of Sanatana Vaidika Dharma. The written portion of the Vedas were divided into 4 parts: Rik, Yajur, Sama, Atharvana Veda. Of these, the Sama Veda is notable for its emphasis on sound and music as being fundamental aspects of the creation.
In the Samkhya sampradaya, it is said that Nada ("divine sound") is not what one should desire to understand; One should know the hearer." - Kausitaki Upanishad
The Nada Brahma is said to be the origin of creation, taking the form of spandana, or vibration. Nada means the innermost sound, that is, the sound taking birth in the 'mental sphere' for lack of better words. Nada Brahma therefore represents the original supreme consciousness in whom the original nada manifested and became responsible for the physical creation. The goal of all yogic practice is to tune oneself to this Nada Brahma, also referred in various sampradayas within the Sanatana Vaidika Dharma framework as Paramatma, Ishwara, Brahman, and so on.
"We worship that Nada ("divine sound"), the life of consciousness in all beings and the supreme bliss (Sat-Chit-Ananda), unmanifested in the form of the Universe. By single-pointed dhyana and samyama of sound, the trimurti tattvas: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva are truly understood/ known, for they are the embodiment of Nada."- Sangitaratnakara
The origins of Raga Ragini Vidya is steeped in yogic lore, and constitutes an ancient technique and sub-speciality of yogic practice, which emphasizes dhyana and samyama upon the healing properties of music, specifically, the raagas of the Indian musical system which arise as part of many compositions, layered on top of the foundational 72 melakartha ragas. These raagas are said to be related to the functioning of the 72,000+ intersectional points where the channels containing prana (loosely, "life force") criss-cross one another, and radiate with prana shakti, which appear to yogis in high states of consciousness and realization, as the yoga chakras.
The chakras (primary intersections) are called respectively: Muladhara at the base of the spine, Swadishtana in the navel region, Manipura in the lower mid-section, Anahata in the heart space, Vishuddha in the throat space, Ajna between the eyebrows, and Sahasrara at the crown of the head near the fontenelle bone in the skull. The entire process of yoga is related to the successive movement of prana through these chakras and taking up residence in higher planes of understanding. Swamijis music enables the common man to make use of the properties of music to attain such higher states of yogic perfection, while simultaneously improving the physical, mental, and spiritual health of the practitioner.
These 72 melakartha ragas are the basis of all Indian spiritual compositions, and in-depth mastery of these ragas can take several lifetimes, as per tradition. Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji is one such rare Avatara and Guru who has attained such mastery, and who can make skillful and knowledgeable use of these ragas to effect wellness in the human being, through the simple act of prolonged engaged listening.
Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji's family hails from the same Dikshitar. His compositions range in the thousands of which we have captured a few hundred using the modern technologies of CD, 3 Mp3, and so on - readily available on Amazon, iTunes, etc. Swamiji 3 repeatedly says and emphasizes "music is my dharma" meaning that He has come specifically to revive the ancient traditions of Raga Ragini Vidya, and in making use of this extremely elevated form of music for accelerating the physical, mental, and spiritual development of human beings. By being in tune with His musical compositions, one can enter into profound states of consciousness, and is thus classified as a form of profound Yoga. Many of his devotees and followers have achieved such experiences and can testify to the efficacy of the methods, irrespective of our inability/ability to understand why or how they work based on present day scientific understanding.
A common byproduct of these musical compositions manifests itself as physical and mental well-being. Through repeated listening and 11 prolonged exposure, the Sri Swamiji's music sets the tune by which the physical, mental, and other so-called karana and karma shareeras (bodies) are set into a kind of harmonic functioning. While there is certainly scope for future research into a deeper under-standing of the relationship between music, sound, and the well-being of the individual, here the emphasis is on personal experiencing rather than more scientific knowledge. So, in the course of this concert experience, the right attitude is that of openness and non-analytic surrender to the mystical tunes, which as-, silt in creating the sense of well-being which carries over into one's life. in the yogic culture, knowledge was never pursued for its own sake, but rather, for the sake of human well-being.