Like many valuable stuffs, our Indian heritage comprises of a treasurous element called ‘Shastriya’ or ‘Ragadari sangeet’. Our ragas, primarily ancient ragas, had been derived considering a rational aspect relating to mind and health issues.
There are 72 melakarta ragas (parent) from which other numerous ragas have been created. An ancient text, Swara Shastra states that 72 melakarta ragas (parent ragas) control the 72,000 important nadis or nerves in the body. “Neural research proves that the 72 ragas 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 shuddhi) gives the performer complete control on the corresponding nerve.”
Indian ragas are modal or tonic : Indian musical system stands at one tonic note which is called swarit throughout a particular raga performance. All the subsequent notes gravitize on the swarit. This longevity at one chord for hours instills stability and peaceful mind hence more active brain. Also, this shadaj gravity imbibes groundedness and humility.
Exhibits specific note structure and nature: Ragas are the specific set of notes formed by the combinations and permutations of twelve notes in 22 shrutis. Listening to specific set of notes framework for a longer period plays a vital role in healing.
“The sonic patterns of musical currents are recorded with the help of oscilloscopes and the pitch, amplitude and wavelengths of the constituent sound waves are analysed in the laboratories of Brahm Varchas, which helps in studying the effect of music in stress management.”
Ragas That Heal
Sonic effects of the different combinations of swaras are the key factors in music therapy. Therapists and researchers are still analyzing the logic behind which ragas can really become instant healer for a particular disease. However, common day to day problem has indeed found solution in raga healing.
Ragas do heal when rendered properly with correct pitch, balanced use of vadi-samvadi, addressing the proper feel and emotions. To name a few, Bihag and Bahar are used for sonorous sleep, Hindolam raga improves digestive power, Shivaranjani treats memory power. According to Mittal (2003) and Dr. Sairam (2006), Ahir Bhairava cures arthritis and hypertension, Darbari Kanhada cures headache; Yaman and Bhoopali increases concentration.
“Dr. Herbert Spencer experimented with the people suffering from high and low blood pressure and found that fast melodies having sharp notes are effective in normalizing the blood pressure while slow melodies having soft or komal swaras are helpful in lowering the BP.” Thus, Ragas like Asawari and Malkauns works as a heeler for BP patients.”
I would conclude my paper by a logical statement by Sairam Sir,
“It has now been recognized that ragas are not just mere commodities of entertainment; the vibrations in their resonance can synchronize with one’s moods and health. By stimulating the moods and controlling the brainwave patterns, ragas could work as a complementary medicine.”