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Raga Therapy for Healing Mind and Body

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Ragas That Heal

Hindu philosophy gives us an insight into the “feeling” nature of music and how deeply the human spirit affects and is affected by the outcome of a performance. Shyamali Sharma, a performing sitar artist and music therapist of many years says, “I can certainly attest to the fact that your personal feelings are projected on the audience tremendously, so much so that if you are upset, you should not play because everyone listening to your performance will be affected by your emotion. If you are overwhelmed with happiness, so will they be.”

There are 72 raagas, which are known as the Melakarta ragas (Parant raagas) from which other ragas known as the Janya ragas are obtained. Neural research proves that the 72 raagas can control 72 nerves in the human body. Singing or performing a Raga, when bound to its specifications (lakshanas) and with purity in pitch (swara shuddi) gives the performer complete control on the corresponding nerve. Ragas Ahirbhairav and Todi are prescribed for patients suffering from hypertension. Carnatic ragas like Punnagavarali and Sahana are useful to calm the mind and control anger.

Ragas used in Music Therapy
Raga Treatment
Todi, Bhupali, Ahir Bhairav Provides relief from cold andheadache, high blood pressure
Shivaranjani Treats memory problems
Bhairavi Provides relief from Sinus, cold, phlegm, toothache
Chandrakauns Treatment of heart ailments anddiabetes
Darbari Kanara Eases tension and provides relaxation
Bihag and Bahar For sound, sonorous sleep
Darbari Relief from tension
Malkauns, Asavari Cures low blood pressure
Tilak-kamod, Hansdhwani, Kalavati, Durga Easing tension
Table 1: Source: International Journal of Innovation, Management and Technology, Vol. 2, No. 1, February, 2011 ISSN: 2010-024856

Hindustani and Carnatic classical musical considers a Raga as depicting a specific mood. An appropriate mood has to be evoked in the listener’s mind before initiating musical treatment. For example, Kafi Raga evokes a humid, cool, soothing and deep mood while Raga Pooriya Dhanasri evokes sweet, deep, heavy, cloudy and stable state of mind. Raga Mishra Mand has a very pleasing, refreshing, light and sweet touch while Bageshwari arouses a feeling of stability, depth and calmness.

Ragas do heal when rendered properly, at the right pitch (saptak), with the true vaadis (a note that is most frequently used in a raga, such as ‘ga’ in raga Yaman) and samvaadis (a note that supports the vaadi, viz. ‘ni’ in raga Yaman) brought forth, and at the correct prahar (time). Even a single swar/note has immense strength. Stuti, a sitar player in the US is suffering from a heart condition. She says, “I mainly use my sitar for meditation as I find the sound of the instrument bringing healing to me. I take the sitar to parks and beaches out in hot or cold weather as I need the serenity of its sound because of my heart condition.”

Another musician of the Jaipur gharana who recently bought a rudra veena writes, “I myself have noticed great cardiac as well as psychological benefits from playing my recently purchased Indian classical instrument. I'm impressed by an often overlooked aspect (healing aspect) of Indian classical music. True intelligence resides in the heart.”

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High time Indians recognized their own achievements. Thanks for the well-written article! There isn't much information available on the Net regarding Raga Therapy.
Ari2011 Saturday, May 28, 2011
Nada Centre for Music Therapy has recently published a number of books by Dr T.V. Sairam: What is Music? Medicinal Music, Raga Therapy, Self-Music Therapy and Music Therapy. Please visit www.nada.in for these details. One can also learn this through Distance Learning conducted by the Centre for the music therapy enthusiasts who need certification.
SDSingh Wednesday, January 11, 2012
This is the first time that I have read about raga music. For me, any kind of music [except the rock variety] is a great stimulator of the brain and can greatly help patients.
ennairam_23 Friday, May 27, 2011
Nada Centre for Music Therapy has recently published a number of books by Dr T.V. Sairam: What is Music? Medicinal Music, Raga Therapy, Self-Music Therapy and Music Therapy. Please visit www.nada.in for these details. One can also learn this through Distance Learning conducted by the Centre for the music therapy enthusiasts who need certification.


coordinator Wednesday, January 11, 2012

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