Suman Bhattacharya

Sitarist from Imdadkhani Gharana


Music - A Spiritual Journey - Part II

Posted by suman-bhattacharya on April 29, 2011 at 10:55 AM

"Raga” in Indian Classical Music is derived from the Sanskrit root “ranja”, meaning to colour the mind with the sounds emanating from the cosmic vibratory Nada called "AUM" transmitting pranic energy. The immense potential of the power of Shabda (cosmic flow of sound) hidden in music was well recognised by the ancient Indian sages and they had devised several musical patterns emanating from the "Omkara" for chanting of the Vedic hymns and for distinct spiritual effects. The Shastric schools of music discovered musical octave (sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni, sa) indwelling in the subtle sounds of Nature and invented the basic classical ragas for activating specific streams of natural powers and effects.

According to the Vedic Philosophy, yoga and music both are part of Nada Vidya. Yoga deals with realisation of anahata nada the sublime sound (extrasensory vibrations) of the eternal force of cosmic consciousness. Music pertains to the perception and expression of the infinite spectrum of the rhythmic flow of the ahata nada (perceivable sonic currents) pervading in Nature. Both have direct impact on the shat chakras hidden along the endocrine column and hence affect our physical as well as subtle bodies. The seven basic swaras (musical notes) of the musical octave have a one-to-one correspondence with these chakras (nuclei of subtle energy). The lower most (in the kava equina region along the erect endocrine column), viz., the Muladhara Chakra is associated with the swara "sa"; that means, the practice of chanting this particular musical note will have impact on awakening or activation of this particular chakra. Similarly, the chakras successively upwards in this direction namely, the Swadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddha, Agya and the top-most Sahastrara Chakra… have correspondence respectively with the swaras "re", "ga" "ma", "pa", "dha" and "ni".

Significantly, the order of the compositions of these swaras in the "aroha" (ascending) and "avaroha" (descending) patterns of the Shastric musical tunes also match with the top-down (from Sahastrara to Muladhara) and bottom-up (from Muladhara to Sahastrara) directions of the flow of energy or prana. Ragas are designed to help activate specific chakras, which allows the Kundalini energy to rise easily and energize and nourish the chakra. The raga also influences the chakra to maintain its optimum spin and balance, ensuring a balanced energy supply to different organs that are connected to the specific chakra.

The raga Shyam Kalyan helps activate the Muladhara chakra. Chastity, innocence and wisdom are established in the process.

The raga Gurjari Todi has a capacity to cool down the Liver. This raga and the raga Yaman help activate the Swadishthan chakra that governs our attention. Both ragas help focus wandering or wavering attention, which is crucial for effective meditation.

The raga Abhogi helps activate the Manipura chakra and stimulate the digestion process. When the Kundalini enters this Chakra, the Chakra is cleansed, bringing about a change of attitudes and inner transformation. This raga is also known to help one give up vices and impulsive or compulsive habits.

The ragas Bhairav and Durga have a power of Divine bliss and protection. Both help activate the Anahat chakra. When the Kundalini touches the heart chakra, Raga Bhairav activates spirituality in the person.

The Raga Jayjaywanti helps activate the Vishuddhi chakra, the controller of the sensory organs. This raga also develops the expression of voice, and helps make one's personality loving and sweet.

The Raga Bhupali helps purify and open the Agnya chakra. It helps relieve tensions, anger and mental fatigue. The mood created by this Raga helps the Kundalini pass through the Agnya chakra and enter the Sahasrara in the limbic area of the brain. This causes the person to reach a state of thoughtless awareness and has a tremendous impact on our ability to forgive.

Ragas Darbari and Bhairavi are helpful in prolonging the state of meditation and thoughtless awareness. The Kundalini energy then soothes and nourishes the Sahasrara chakra and the brain. The result is that one feels, joyous, energetic, peaceful and relieved of tension and depression. The person also enjoys the sensation of a cool breeze on the finger tips and achieves the state of Self-Realization or enlightenment.


Categories: Music, Spirituality

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