Reiki Grandmaster AMAR KUMAR traces how music affects our moods and corresponds to our seven energy centres or chakras
If there is one common language that binds all of mankind – it is music. The love for music is elemental. It existed when we danced unclothed around a fire thousands of years ago, up to the modern day, when we walk around with fancy headphones plugged into our ears. We cannot deny the power of music and its place in our lives.
A song can uplift our mood. There is something about music that can excite us and elevate us to another level. It influences our emotions and jogs our memories. Throughout history, music has been used in many ways — to boost the morale of soldiers, to soothe a child to sleep, to help the boatman row his boat, or lift a heavy load, and to reach out and sing praises of God in prayer. Instinctively, we have always been drawn to song, but now science is trying to understand the deeper impact that music might have on us.
It has been pretty well established that learning a musical instrument sharpens the brain. But now scientists are going a step further to understand how listening or learning music can help us improve our health, and heal our bodies and our minds.
Music is simply a combination of various beautiful and harmonious sounds that are nothing but vibrations. Ancient knowledge tells us that the physical body is surrounded by an electro-magnetic field, called AURA having seven chakras or energy centres, which are the source of life energy which sustains life. It is not a mere coincidence that for both eastern and western classical music, there are seven notes — sa – re – ga – ma – pa – dha – ni or C – D – E – F – G – A – B respectively.
Each note supposedly has an impact on its corresponding chakra.
|Chakras||Indian Notes||Western Notes|
Sa – re- ga – ma – pa – dha – ni notes correspond to the root, hara, solar-plexus, heart, throat, third-eye and crown chakra in sequence. Any imbalance in energy causes physical and psychological disturbances leading to disease and other afflictions. Our body needs to be in tune, just like a musical instrument.
Numerous studies have shown the linkage between music and healing. There have been cases that demonstrate how it improves our immune system and reduces stress. It can improve the quality of our lives, and help in recovery. Music reduces anxiety and discomfort during medical procedures like chemotherapy. It helps pre-term babies thrive, and shows improvement in persons recovering from strokes. It has been proven to ease depression, lower back pain, reactivate speech and improve memory for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. Music has the potential to heal us in many ways.
I have my own story about music. My harmonium and I go back a long way, from learning classical music as a boy to performing on stage as a young man, to looking forward to my evening sessions at home. I personally felt the power of music, when I was to be operated upon way back in 1998. Music was my companion and support along with self-Reiki healing during my three weeks of hospitalisation. It kept my spirits up and helped me heal so quickly that even my doctors were amazed. In the operation theatre, I was informed that there was no need for surgery. Music has been a big support for me during the lockdown too. I continued with my practice every morning, and sharing some of my music videos and songs, made me feel connected to the world outside. I’m sure each one of you have your own story too.
Everyone also knows that the type of music we listen to affects us profusely. Heavy metallic sounds on full volume can increase our heart rate, while a soft ghazal or thumri can help us relax. Heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen consumption change when the right music is played. It stimulates the reward centre of the brain and releases hormones that make us less happy. We react both psychologically and physiologically to auditory stimulus. Music lights up various areas of our brain, some that we don’t even understand fully. But the effects are becoming visible. It can improve our physical and emotional well-being. Music is not just a cultural phenomenon. It is inextricably linked to our bodies with cognitive and memory dimensions. According to our Indian tradition, music goes far beyond entertainment or expression. It has a language of its own. Ragas (melody) and talas (rhythm) are used to influence our inner consciousness.
Music somehow manages to reach deep into our hearts and touch our soul. Now science is trying to prove its linkage to the human brain and bodies too. A deeper understanding of how this affects our biology can help us to be whole again. It is time perhaps to use the knowledge of the arts just as we use science to cure our diseases, and perhaps even prevent them.
Amar Kumar is a Reiki Grand Master based in Kolkata. For more details, visit www.reikikendra.com.