WHAT IS NADA CHIKITSA? (CURING AILMENTS THROUGH MUSIC)
Music is a force that inspires humanity the world over. Music has for centuries been known to have a pleasing appeal to both humans and animals. Music can be a harmonizing factor in today's world which is full of conflicts and tensions. Musical ragas (a melodic framework of notes) assist in the holistic treatment of patients.
Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji of Mysore, India, a great composer and musician, has been conducting concerts for meditation and healing (Nada Chikitsa) throughout the world over the past 35 years. Listening to His healing and meditation music in person, or to his many recordings, is the melodious medicine prescribed by Sri Swamiji as an adjunct to conventional treatment for all diseases and disorders. Sri Swamiji sees healing with music as a yogic practice. Yoga teaches that the astral body has 72000 nervelets and 14 major nadis or nerves. Each nadi vibrates at its own frequency. Music soothes the nadis and helps them to vibrate at the proper rate. Music becomes a therapy, He says, when the healer, musicians and listeners all deeply concentrate on the sound. Sri Swamiji claims that “ragas are the unspoiled sounds of eternal nature, the soul of man and Paramatman. In the hands of the perfect technician, they are great forces." Sri Swamiji uses a synthesizer because this instrument can reproduce singly or in combination the sounds of more than 1,100 instruments. This allows Sri Swamiji a greater range for healing through music. The resounding synthesizer establishes the main structure of the raga, and accompanied by violin, tabla, mridangam, and keyboard, a melodious fusion of celestial sound reverberates in the ear of the listener.” Not all ailments can be cured by Sri Swamiji’s music however, especially those who have already reached a terminal state.
Sri Swamiji’s explanations about the healing aspect of music:
“The music therapy is combined with Ayurveda, psychology, Gemnotherapy and Astrology" says Sri Swamiji. He further adds " I only effect a rapport between human beings and God, the supreme reality, with help coming from human beings themselves in good measure. I attune human beings to God through belief and music. Once that results, body-consciousness vanishes gradually, and with that, affliction ceases to be experienced and ceases to exist. That is healing through Music and Meditation.” " There is no complication about it, once you are in tune with the 'modus operandi'. " Listen with your heart and not with your intellect”, Sri Swamiji prescribes. Sri Swamiji's therapy emphasizes Ekagratha (one pointed concentration) on the part of the Healer-Musician and listener." “Listening," He says "is a special technique requiring Indriya nigraha or sense control. "The spontaneous outpouring of pleasant and discordant sounds mixed in the raga activates the nervous system and creates a healing effect on the listener.”
" My way of rendering music and the treatment of ragas in general is not outside the frame of the orthodox classical Hindustani and Carnatic traditions. Music is considered as the fourth "Upaveda”, namely Gandharva Veda, in addition to Dhanurveda, Ayurveda and Artha Shastra. I use devotional music as a means of spiritual energy transmission. Some Higher Force takes care of my process once I decide to heal through music. "Swara Shudhdhi" (pure notes) is held in great veneration and is considered as a standard of musical truth. Melody is the result of Swara Shuddhi (purifying sound). There is clarity and pure energy is such a melody.”
The principle underlying the concept of musical therapy is: "Physical health results from a healthy MIND." Oftentimes, an illness that starts from within is graver than what is contracted externally. A happy and tranquil mind promotes health and healing, and the ability to withstand the fear and pain associated with disease. Music of the right type helps in achieving relaxation by soothing the nerves and through that instilling peace and stillness of mind. Homeopathy, Naturopathy and Siddha medical systems combine treatment of the mind of the patient even in treatment of physical ailments for the body-mind is one."
" At the present time, everybody likes music. One can meditate through music. We know so many stories about music. The Puranas say music even stimulates the flowers to give scent and animals to give milk, and through music our diseases vanish. Both the melodious tunes and soft melodies are especially effective because each note corresponds to one nerve. Nowadays, so many people talk about healing music. Of course, automatically the sounds heal, but one must know how to operate, how to heal, which notes, which 'ragas' to choose and at what time to play them. So many people do not know. Some 'ragas', some tunes will hurt our heart and our mental state. Why? Because the tunes correspond to our nerves.”
“The knowledge about healing music is called 'Raga Ragini Vidya' or 'Siddhi Vidya'. I think you heard about the 'siddhis' of Indian saints. Many people only know about miracles. But miracles are only a part of the 'siddhis'. They are a kind of 'siddhi'. Christ also performed miracles. Shankaracharya also performed miracles. Many others also performed miracles. They are one part of 'siddhi'. There are eight kind of 'siddhis'. One who has achieved the eight 'siddhis' is called a 'siddha purusha'. These 'siddhis' are required to heal through music. The music tunes our nervous system. The child is crying. If you keep on giving them sounds, the child automatically goes to sleep. There are particular tunes, particular 'ragas', and also particular instruments. You know about flute, about violin, about table. There are so many instruments like guitar, saxophone, etc. Each instrument has some qualities. When you join the instruments which nowadays is called an orchestra, again you get a particular quality. You can compare each instrument with a doctor. Some doctors are specialized for the nervous system, some for the stomach, some for the heart. Like this, each instrument is specialized for different parts of the nervous system.”
“People will ask how Swamiji heals through music. One has to know about these qualities of music, Ayurveda, gems, yoga and astrology. One has to observe certain rules and regulations. All the instruments are combined in one synthesizer. This instrument is only a medium for Swamiji to reach another sphere. When Swamiji plays music people will be sitting calmly and concentrate on the sound. Then Swamiji gets easy access to their mind, you understand? Easily Swamiji's mental vibrations can reach people's mind and he can examine people's mind. I cannot explain how I do it, I can only explain the notes (plays some notes), but I cannot explain that 'siddhi' by which Swamiji gets access to your mind. Who will give that 'shakti'? I don't know. How can he use it for people? I don't know, simply I am using. If I cannot use it I am in pain, so I must use it, I must give it to some people. So, through people's concentration Swamiji finds the way to heal. Many people think that the music heals. Of course music helps, but it does not heal. The music supports Swamiji's 'siddhi'. The music helps Swamiji to enter your mind and tune it. If your sit for ten minutes your thoughts go astray. If Swamiji plays beautiful tunes, you will listen to them, you get mentally stable and strengthened. Then you are also looking to Swamiji, your sense organs are concentrated on one thing. At that time Swamiji gets access to your mind, your nervous system. He will examine: Oh, that person has some illness, this nervous system is disturbed. Oh, this person wants some spiritual experience, this person wants some money. Oh, yes, this person wants a job, this person wants health, this person wants a child, and this person wants to get married. Like this Swamiji is examining. Of course, without music Swamiji is also examining, but the music helps Swamiji. Then Swamiji decides: ok, this person gets healing, or this person is unfit. Sometimes he is only witnessing, because he has no orders from Lord Datta, Lord Christ, Lord Buddha. They do not permit. Mother Goddess does not permit. Swamiji is only witnessing like a good friend, but he cannot help everyone, because of your 'karma', because you must face your 'karma'."