Music that heals

Music that heals

As an ardent lover of Indian music, particularly the violin, my joy knew no bounds when I read that violinist N Rajam’s rendition of Raga Darbari Kanada, spelt magic to help a young girl come out of coma in Kolkata.

Indian music is Nadopasana — an offering to God, and the traditional form is full of bhava-laden ragas. It is said, “Western music moves your body whereas Indian music moves your soul.”

The earliest instance of the effect of music known to us, the present generation, is that of Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar, one among the trinity in Carnatic music. When he sang Raga Amrithavarshini, incessant rains poured in Ettayapuram, a town in Thoothukudi district of erstwhile Tamil Nadu.

In another instance, his disciple was suffering from a severe stomach ailment which wouldn’t cure despite the best treatment. Dikshitar studied his horoscope and inferred that the planet Jupiter was in an unfavourable position and the ailment could be cured only by propitiating the planet god Brihaspati and thus he composed the krithi Brihaspathe in Raga Atana. As ordained, the disciple’s ailment was cured. This incident provided impetus for Dikshitar to compose krithis on all the nine planets.

Sri Thyagaraja, another of the Trinity, is also attributed to have brought life to a dead person by rendering “Naa Jeevadhara” in Raga Bilahari.

Noted violinist Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan’s father Ramaswamy Sastry was in coma for quite long and even specialist doctors were helpless. As a last resort, Vaidyanathan played his father’s favorite raga Bhairavi and to everyone’s shock and surprise, his father regained conscious. This motivated Vaidyanathan to establish “Raga Research Centre” in Chennai.

In yet another instance, Tiruchi Alwar Chettiar, a big fan of Bidaram Krishnappa’s music, suffered huge losses in business and was under tremendous pressure, which made him lose his senses. The family having known his admiration for Krishnappa’s music made special arrangements for Krishnappa to stay in their house and sing for Chettiar every day, two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening. Within ten days, Chettiar recovered and was back to his business.

Mysore T Chowdaiah, an ace violinist who introduced the seven stringed violin, proved that music has effect on plants, too. When he played Raga Charukeshi in his paddy field, it grew better and gave much returns than expected.

Once, flautist T R Mahalingam was travelling in a car with his disciple. The car stopped at a railway crossing. The disciple saw Chowdaiah on the other side and told Mali how Chowdaiah had proved that paddy grows when Raga Charukeshi is played. Chowdaiah, upon seeing Flute Mali, came running and exchanged pleasantries. Mali told Chowdaiah, “I just heard that you can help plants grow better when you play in front of them. I urge upon you to play in front of Veena Balachander, and hopefully, it may help us to see an ear of corn on his head.” Balachander had a clean pate.

Jagadish Chandra Bose has also proved that music has a stunning effect in the growth of plants. Carnatic ragas Shankarabharana, Kanada, Dwijavanti, Mohana, Kalyani, and scores of other ragas have left long lasting effects on the listeners.

Music, Maths and Meditation are the 3Ms of life which need constant practice. As I am closing this article, the radio is beaming a soothing, soulful music by legendary violinist Lalgudi G Jayaraman.

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