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Spirituality And Music Throughout history music has been believed to have lasting effects on not only our

physical/etheric bodies, but our emotional and mental vehicles and their corresponding centers and organs. There's no question that sound has a major impact on all of us. Soft ballads soothe us, Mantras sounds & Hymns heal us & spiritualize us, inspire us, cures stress & depression anthems stir us, serenity of nature sounds entrance us, and heavy metal sends some of us into frenzy. It's no wonder that doctors have adopted sound and music for a variety of therapeutic uses. Of all the sound therapies in use today, music is the most common. The sound of music can be very beneficial in promoting relaxation, relieving anxiety and stress, and treating depression. ORIGIN OF SOUND AND MUSIC In every culture, music arose from devotional chants and invocations. In India, schools such as yoga and tantra equate Nada Brahman, the primordial sound, with the Absolute. The origins of Indian music can be traced back to the chanting of the Sama Veda nearly 4,000 years ago. The primacy of the voice, and the association of musical sound with prayer, were thus established early in the history of Indian music. Perhaps the most important aspect of sound in the Indian context is the word 'Aum' considered the manifested sound of the Divine, and said to hold a powerful influence over the human mind. It is believed that vibrations created by the circular structure of the syllables define the entire cosmos. The primacy of music, and sound, was acknowledged even in the West. The Greeks revered Apollo, the god of music and art as well as healing. Even the Pythagorean school of philosophy had discovered mathematical laws of created what is called the 'music of the spheres', and had the developed music therapy to bring mankind in harmony with the celestial spheres. The similarity between this and the Indian belief in anahata nada (the unmanifest sound of the divine which exists within our own consciousness) is only too obvious. In Chinese silk-weaving exercises, the only sound that should be heard is that of the body inhaling and exhaling. Similarly, the polyphonic quality in many strains of western classical music originated from the Gregorian and other chants used in the 9th century for ritualized religious purposes. Chanting, even today, is an important part of many meditation and healing workshops, though now it has a more secular outlook. THE ACT OF HEARING Music therapy is based on the associative and cognitive powers of the mind. Sound creates certain vibrations which are picked up and amplified by the human ear. These waves are then picked up by the sensory nerve going into the middle of the brain and redistributed throughout the neuron network to other parts of the brain to distinguish the pitch, tone, and frequency of that sound. Research has shown that it is the right side of the brain which responds to the creative arts, including music. Different genres of music thus have different effects on the mind. Rock music, which has a series of repetitive notes, many high and low pitches and dense tone figures, requires an immediate adjustment from the mind to understand the different frequencies.

Orchestral music, on the other hand, has an opposite effect. Music critic, Raghava Menon, points out that the latter transports the listener to a different plane of thought or emotion, whether it is anger, fear or happiness. He cites orchestral music in western cinema as an example of this. He says: "The best music is so profound that you will not even realize that you are hearing it, it will affect you and arouse the emotions in you that it is supposed to, and yet its hallmark is that you may not remember the exact tones and notes that have been struck." This is because every sound that goes into the brain will be carried through a series of electrochemical impulses through different pathways of the brain. Each sound not only registers in the primary and secondary auditory sections, but is also stored up as a part of memory. Hypnotherapist Dr Vanit Nalwa says: "Every sound, every tone is associated with a previous memory. An experiment conducted on schizophrenics showed that their hearing imaginary sounds is a result of some impulses triggering off the memory of sound and words in the brain." Yoga believes that the heart and other organs of the body vibrate at particular sound frequencies. Each chakra has its corresponding syllable. Therapist Jon Monroe has recorded 12 musical tones whose vibratory levels stimulate certain organs of the body. Thus, certain vibrations and frequencies can soothe or disturb the mind and the body. This fact has been amply demonstrated by psychologist Dr. Sanjay Chugh, consultant at Delhi's Apollo Hospital who uses music as part of his therapy. HEALING WITH MUSIC "Music therapy," he says, "has helped me in treating many people with problems like dementia, dyslexia and trauma." He further points out that many children with learning disability and poor coordination have been able to learn respond to set pieces of music. Dr Chugh recommended a mini-synthesiser to play on for a five-year-old child who was withdrawn and unsociable with his peers because of a slight retardation. Soon, he noted a marked improvement in the child's social and interpersonal skills. That the human mind is affected by music is no longer a vague notion. Dance critic Ashish Khokar cites an experiment as proof: "Music is produced from sound, and sound affects our sense perception in many ways. Even fish in an aquarium were once made to listen to different kinds of music and it was found that their movements corresponded with the beat of the music. Mind you, fish do not hear, they only felt the vibrations of the sound through water. So you can imagine what a profound effect sound and music might have on the human mind." The neural synapses pick up the electrical impulses from the brain, and then send them to every part of the body. The brain reacts to the music by releasing certain endorphins, which are said to be the natural opiates and palliatives of the body. This is substantiated by Shruti, who uses music for her healing workshops at the Gnostic Center in Gurgaon near New Delhi, India. She reveals: "I have often found chanting or music to have a definitely positive effect on me when I have some pain or stress. It seems to soothe both the mind and the body." This is not surprising, because music often conveys mood and feeling that can be transmitted through receptors to parts of the brain that deal with the emotions.

Perhaps the best example of healing through music is Swami Ganapati Sahchidananada, the pontiff of Datta Peetham in Mysore, India, who gives musical concerts for meditation and healing. Founded on Raga Ragini Vidya (knowledge of Indian classical music) and Raga Chikitsa (therapy based on Indian classical music), his concerts transmit the spiritual energy from his music to the listeners. The philosophy of his healing technique is based on the Hindu concept of the Akasha Tattva (ether) being all pervading. Thus its attribute, which is also nada (sound), is all-pervasive. The Swami preaches that meditation on Lord's name is itself a medication and an antidote for all ills. Another belief is that as food is required for the nourishment of the body, so is bhajan (devotional singing) for the mind. Yogacharya Sri Anand, a former percussion artiste, founder of the Yoga Training Center in Mumbai, India, and the Yoga Kultur Center in Switzerland, has been conducting research on music and healing for several years. He says: "When you eliminate the beat and boom from a composition, you get pure music." He calls this music a kind of metaphysical tranquilizer. Yoga nidra, the ancient system of inner conscious relaxation, a typical example of the power of fusion music. He explains this further in medical terms: "Heart ailments, high or low blood pressure and respiratory problems are disorders brought about by physical disharmony. Music restores harmony and thus health." Music which resonates with the seven charkas of the body can thus energizes and retune the body. In fact, the Yogacharya's experiments with the Swissair crew in helping them regulate sleep patterns after long flights and jet-lag have shown that music therapy can help the body relax to quite an extent. WORKING ON THE MIND Music, like some other alternative therapies, must work through the mind. The chanting of certain mantras or choir chants create vibrations within the vocal cords, which move deeper through the whole body. These vibrations must be felt in totality for them to have any effect. Hence meditation techniques, whether they are eastern or western, always use chants or music. Shruti gives an interesting example to support this: The raga (in Indian classical music, ragas and raginis are different permutations and combinations of the seven basic musical notes and their variations) Miya Ki Malhar is for the monsoon season, when the grey clouds are just about to burst. It begins on a tense note, and ends in a crescendo of sounds. Thus, if played near a person who is emotionally charged up, it will help that person release pent-up energies and negative emotions." According to Swami Ganapati Sachchidananda: "The principle underlying music therapy is that physical health results from a healthy mind. The right type of music helps a person relax by soothing the nerves." Perhaps that is really the most effective way in which music helps us by generating positive endorphins and easing many stress induced symptoms caused by a depletion of the energy within a person. Shruti adds that it can work to cleanse the emotional and spiritual system. Anand Avinash, founder of the Neuro Linguistic Consciousness workshop who has researched music therapy, says:

"The mystics and saints from ancient to modern times have shown how music can kindle the higher centers of the mind and enhance quality of life." Mantras, or chants used in the West, repeated monotonously, help the mind to achieve a sense of balance. A combination of the sounds in Sanskrit mantras produces certain positive vibrations and elevate the mind to a higher lever of consciousness. According to Shruti: "We all know that meditation cleanses the system of its negative energies and vibrations. And music is a powerful aid to meditation. In my workshops, I use music to make people more aware of their moods and feelings. I ask people to lie down and empty their minds and then listen to the music which I keep changing so that they can fit through different emotions and states of consciousness. Initially, I play genres people can identify with such as rock, pop and film music. Then I work my way up to quieter music. By the time they are totally relaxed, I play what you could loosely term as New Age music or music for meditation, I am especially fond of Tibetan bowl music. I have noticed that after these sessions, many people feel very energized. The whole process helps them become aware of their own emotional state." NEW AGE MUSIC What Shruti has described is also known as Guided Imagery Meditation(GIM) which has been propagated by doctors and New Age gurus alike. It usually begins with baser notes to attune the mind to a certain emotional level, and then moves up to an involvement with the higher self through music that slows down, becoming repetitive, empty, and almost 'mantra-like' in its structure. In psychology this is called the Helen Bonny method of GIM. Dr Chugh notes that such meditations help people get rid of negative emotions and are especially beneficial for people who have suffered some kind of abuse and trauma in their past. GIM was also propagated by pioneering New Age musician, Steven Halpern, a jazz-rock player who switched to playing music in an altered state of consciousness. The resulting album Spectrum Suite sold more than 1,25,000 copies. Halpern believes that certain notes transcend personal states to reach an inner consciousness. According to him: "The nervous system wants to dance to a music that does not require intellectual analysis or emotional involvement." This music first affects the body by its beats and then becomes psychogenic, affecting the mind. This music always corresponds to certain emotional states, to which the mind must automatically respond." Guided meditation, or even music for meditation, is fast becoming something people can relate to, perhaps because music therapy is not confined by time or spatial constraints. It can be heard anywhere. Dr. Ravinder Tuli, who runs a holistic health clinic in South Delhi, India, uses devotional chants and New Age music to help his patients relax during a reiki or acupuncture session. He believes that music helps people get into certain mood. The Full Circle bookshop in New Delhi, which stocks many self-improvement books and tapes, has registered an increasing demand for music for relaxation and meditation. Music Today has brought out many volumes of music for relaxation, which mostly feature noted Indian classical musicians such as Vanraj Bhatia, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Zakir Husain and Shiv Kumar Sharma. Raghava Menon makes an interesting observation: "I believe that the nature of music therapy would depend not so much on the music, but on the

person playing or producing the music. "He avers that it is the nature of the sadhana (dedication) of the musician that would differentiate the quality of his music. Many people also believe that any music you respond to positively will work for you, regardless of its content. Thus, even pop music might work for you. Dr. Chugh often asks his patients to select the tape they wish to listen to during a counseling session. However, as Ashish Khokar points out: "More than anything else, it is the amount of concentration the music can elicit from you that matters. A concerto or a classical raga has a structure, it takes you to a point and brings you back. Pop tunes last not more than three minutes, how much can you relax in that time, You would probably be fleeting from one state of consciousness to another." Music therapy may not be an exact science. It may yet be in its infancy. But there is no disputing the fact that music has a value which affect one of our prime senses. That people respond to music is a foregone conclusion, what now matters is how the response can be tempered and turned to something more positive and more conclusive to enrich our life. Use any opportunity you can to relax with music. Choose music that is slow, but that has a regular pulse or beat. Researchers have discovered that music with the tempo of the healthy, resting heartbeat will guide your own breathing and heart-beat to it, thus slowing down our racing body rhythms. All sounds are a part of Him who wears a garment of Sound. --Vishnu Purana BOTH man and his universe are one, all parts are but the various players and their instruments. The law of harmony holds all united, each slightest tone having its related sub- and overtones, its essential modulations. The universe is a temple of eternal symphonic harmony, composed of seven Tones. This is the doctrine of the Music of the Spheres, from Lemuria to Pythagoras, showing that there are seven powers of terrestrial and sublunary nature, and seven great Forces. According to this doctrine the world was itself called forth out of Chaos by Sound or Harmony, and constructed according to the principles of musical proportion. Evolution, above and below, proceeds in seven ways; these seven ways or tones are also the seven notes of the musical scale, which are the principles of Sound. The Secret Doctrine avers that ancient peoples knew more of the secret side of music than has passed to posterity. Adept-kings and divine teachers, at periods too remote for the historian, were the first Instructors of the human family in the arts and sciences. Every ancient legend ascribes magic power to music, "the most divine and spiritual of the arts," asserting that music is a gift and science "coming straight from the gods." The Hindus, more especially, attribute to divine revelation all the arts and sciences. But with them music stands at the head of everything else. Their Mantra Shastra has for its subject matter the force or power of letters, speech, or music in all its manifestations. Sound (tonal modulations) may be produced of such a nature that the pyramid of

Cheops could be raised in the air ... or a dying man be revived and filled with new energy and vigor. "What," asks Scipio in his ancient vision, "is this mighty and sweet harmony which fills my ears?" The voice replies, "This melody of unequal intervals, yet proportionately harmonized, is produced by the impulse and motion of the spheres themselves, which by blending high and low tones produces uniformly divers symphonies. Mortals have become deaf to those sounds, by having their ears continually filled with them ... and so this sound, which is generated by the exceedingly rapid revolution of the whole Cosmos, is so stupendous that mortal ears cannot contain it." Two millenniums later, in our own time, the Vision of Scipio is restated in scientific terms: "Vibration which controls the forms into which matter shapes itself is considered as the common factor for the appearance of the Cosmos in all its details. The Cosmos may with exactness be considered an acoustical phenomenon, only an infinitesimal fraction of its full scope of vibration being within the range of our hearing or other senses. The material world is the pattern of a cosmical orchestral score in progress of being performed. Truly the 'night is filled with music' and the 'stars sing together'. They are all indeed held, revolved, and rotated by the vibrations of a great song." (New York Herald-Tribune, 1941.) With the elder Chinese, music was in close affinity with religion. They built their world upon the harmonious action of heaven and earth. They regarded the animation of all nature, the movement of the stars and the changes of seasons, as "grand world-music," in which everything keeps steadfastly to its appointed course. This, they felt, taught to mankind a wholesome lesson. "Would'st thou know if a people be well governed, if its manners be good or bad?" asks Confucius. "Examine the music it produces!" The Yao Chi states that "In the ancestral temples, rulers and ministers, high and low, listen together to music, and all is harmony and deference. Within the gates of the family, fathers and sons, brothers and cousins, listen together, and all is harmony and affection. In this way fathers and sons, rulers and subjects, were once united in harmony, and the people of the myriad states were associated in love. Such was the method of the ancient kings when they framed their music." Said the Egyptian Hermes: "As for true music, to know this is to have a knowledge of the order of all things. For the order of each separate thing when set together in one key for all, by means of skilful reason, will make the sweetest and truest music." In Plato's Academy, music was the first subject presented to his pupils, as he considered this art to be the one offering the best preparation for the study of philosophy. In the Republic (III) he says, "Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony enter into the inward places of the soul, on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, and making the soul of him who is rightly educated, graceful." Again, in the Shu-King, the Emperor commands his minister: "K'wei, I appoint you to be director of music, and to teach our sons, so that the straightforward shall be mild; the gentle, dignified; the strong, not tyrannical; the impetuous, not arrogant."

The music of nature has everywhere been the first step to the music of art. In the Indian system, their melodies allow no sounds that cannot be classified among the living voices of nature. Indian music is, in the highest sense, pantheistic; but at the same time it is highly scientific. They of the early Aryan races, first to attain to manhood, listened to the voice of nature, and concluded that melody, as well as harmony, are both contained in the great common mother. The Hindus, the Northern Buddhists, and all the Chinese, some thousands of years preceding the discoveries of modern Western science, found that all the sounds of nature make only one tone, which is the middle F, the fundamental tone of nature. This we can all hear, if we know how to listen, in the eternal rustle of the foliage of great forests, in the murmur of waters, in the roar of the storming ocean, and even in the distant roll of a great city. In the Hindu as in Chinese music, the middle F, called Kung or Emperor tone, is the keynote, the starting point, around which are grouped all the other sounds. It is stated that thousands of years ago the Chinese possessed a system of octaves a "circle of fifths." Beginning with Hwang-ti, who reigned in 2697 B.C., Chinese music assumes its characteristic form. Hwang-ti sent one of his ministers, Ling Lun, to a place west of the Kuen Lun mountains. There he found Indian musicians who knew the secret he was seeking. He took a bamboo rod, tuned to the kung, and found that the proportion 2:3 gave him the next tone (the perfect fifth). Taking two-thirds of each successive tone, he discovered that twelve tones could be made, the thirteenth leading him back to the original kung. (In their 2:3 proportions as "fifths" the seven notes appear as F, C, G, D, A, E, B.) According to Chinese ideas, music rests on two fundamental principles, the shin-li, or spiritual, immaterial principle, and the chi-i-shu, or substance. Unity is above, it is heaven; plurality is below, it is earth. Some inkling of the part played by music in the life of ancient China may be seen from the following statement found in the book called The Yellow Bell by Chao-mai-pa: "In 1100 B.C., under the Dynasty of Chou, the orchestra was the Festival Orchestra, called Yen-yo. History tells us that the musicians (more than ten thousand in number) were divided into nine groups, playing simultaneously upon 300 different kinds of instruments.)" Ancient Greece had its Orpheus, who was the son of Apollo, and from the latter received the lyre of seven strings. The seven-stringed lyre symbolizes the sevenfold mystery of initiation. In China the favorite instrument of Confucius was the seven-stringed ch'in. To all the demi-gods, heroes and teachers of the Past, Mythology ascribes wondrous powers in the use of sound. Orpheus played to such perfection that nothing could withstand the charm of his music. Not only his fellow mortals but wild beasts were softened by his strains, and gathering round him laid by their fierceness, entranced by his lay. The trees and rocks were sensible to his charm. Kui, a Chinese musician, says: "When I play my kyng the wild animals hasten to me, ranging themselves in rows, spellbound by my melody." The Bhagavata Purana speaks of Krishna as the "Eternal Boy, first Master of all the Arts." He began as a flute-player, fascinating the village maids and youths and the animals of the jungle. He ended by giving lessons to great Narada in the art of playing the vina. The Mahabharata describes his complete course of education,

saying that he learned the "64 fine arts" including music, in 64 days. "Krishna used often to play his flute in the woods. He made his appearance manifold and danced with the Gopis, he playing the flute and the Gopis their lutes. And as they played, all the gods came down from heaven to see the dancing, and wind and water stood still to listen." Orpheus came from India, and Orpheus also is the type of the Egyptian Thoth, inventor of the arts and sciences, including music, for Egypt. The Greeks thus owe their knowledge of music primarily to the Hindus. It is also pointed out that the Chinese have a system of music essentially the same as the Greeks, "a scale consisting of two conjunct tetrachords -- the keynote being the fourth of the scale. Other details seem to point to a time in the far-distant past when both races were in contact with one source. Then came a day of disruption -- one race eastward, the other westward, each pursuing their own way." However, as shown in Theosophical works, both nations had recourse to India; in addition to the other fact that "both the Greeks and the Chinese belonged to the seventh sub-race of the Atlanteans." It was the Egyptians who were considered to be the best music teachers in Greece. "There can be no doubt as to the character of Egyptian music. It must have been both solemn and majestic. This would correspond to all the philosophical notions entertained by the Egyptians." Plato tells us that amongst the melodies sacred to Isis were songs of immense antiquity, as he believed that good music had existed among the Egyptians for 10,000 years without suffering any change. "In their possession," says the Greek philosopher, "are songs having the power to exalt and ennoble mankind, and these could only emanate from gods and god-like men." The Egyptians themselves entertained similar thoughts concerning the origin of these melodies. In the temple of Dakkeh is a picture of Ptah playing on a harp. Osiris was also looked upon as a patron deity of song. In many representations Osiris is accompanied by the nine female singers whom the Greeks subsequently transformed into the "nine muses." The priests of ancient nations understood the secret power of music not only upon the human spirit, but as well upon the health of the body. They understood, perhaps, that "the vibrations constituting the notes of the musical scale are strictly analogous to the scale of chemical elements, and also to the scale of colour ..." Our modern temples of healing have, in this regard, much ground still to recover. The ancients quite evidently knew what to avoid and what could be safely used in these hidden realms of the new Physics; that "certain kinds of music throw us into frenzy; other kinds exalt the soul to religious aspirations. Some colors excite, others soothe and please." The Odyssey (Book XIX) tells us that after a hunting episode "the wounds of the noble Odysseus they bound up skillfully, and stayed the black blood with a song of healing." And now, as then: "When we think of music, how it reaches to the height of heaven and embraces the earth; how there is in it communication with the spirit-like processes of nature, we must pronounce its height the highest, its reach the furthest, its depth the most profound, its breadth the greatest. When one has mastered completely the

principles of music, the natural, gentle and honest heart is easily developed, and with this development comes joy. This joy merges in a feeling of repose. The man in this constant repose becomes heaven-like, his actions spirit-like. So it is when mastering music. One regulates his mind and heart." (Yao Chi.) Nor is it probable that our dynamic times would suffer from such occasional "repose."