Prakasarao V Velagapudi, PhD
(Delivered in Houston on June 27, 2019)
Jai Guru Datta, Jai Guru Hanuman
Prostrations at the Lotus Feet of our Sadguru Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji. On behalf of Houston devotees and the devotees across the globe, it is my privilege to welcome Sri Swamiji to Houston community. Let us welcome Sri Swamiji with a round of loud applause.
Today I want to introduce Sri Swamiji as a Master musician, a Celestial Instrumentalist, Vaggeyakara, and a Nada Brahma,
Sri Swamiji’s healing music started about 40 years ago with an experiment on a German devotee who was told that he had incurable cancer. Sri Swamiji started playing different ragas with different tunes directed at the root cause of cancer and got his disease cured. Equipped with this knowledge, Sri Swamiji’s musical extraordinary journey has taken him to more than 30 countries, conducted more than 160 musical concerts to render healing music for the wellbeing of the listeners across the world. Devotees and non-devotees alike benefitted from the music. People with blood pressure, back problems, joint pains, migraine headaches, stomach problems, Alzheimer's decease, concentration problems, nervous tensions, arthritis, eye problems, and autism have reaped the benefits by listening to Sri Swamiji’s divine music. It is difficult to explain how Sri Swamiji can show so much elegance, royalty, majesty and agility in playing the modern veena to reveal the complexity of speed, effortless and precision of intonation.
In general, Sri Swamiji talks about the interconnectedness between the planets, mathematics, astronomy, panchabutas, musical tones, ragas, colors, metals, days of the week, chakras, etc. that are basic to any healing and meditation music. Each concert is different. Each musical item will have a different impact on the individual due to the interconnectedness. You will hear the nature exploding, water gushing down from the mountains, raindrops, winds slashing the trees, birds chirping, volcanic sounds, clouds hissing, animals rejoicing, clouds thundering, and other sounds from panchabhutas. The man who is made up of panchabhutas is benefited by His music.
No two concerts are the same. Each one is unique. Ragas are different, instruments are different, sounds are different, and rhythm is different. It would be exhilarating, amazing, extraordinary, exceptional, enthralling, and fast. His fingers will be galloping, his hands crisscrossing, his eyes glistening, his looks emitting vibrations and hisform reavealingdivinity.
Vedas talk about Bindu, Brahmanda (cosmic egg), Hiranyagarbha (Golden womb), Bindu Visphot (Dot Or point explosion) and Nada. According to the Vedic concept of creation, it was sound and NOT light that appeared first. In Vedic texts, it is called Nada Brahma or 'The Sound Celestial'. Vedic sages stated that the evolution of the Brahmanda ('cosmic egg') was caused as a result of an explosion of anu(atomic) that produced infinite waves of sound, which were responsible for cosmic expansion. It can be described as Bing Bang theory. The sound that caused the explosion was a monosyllable calledAum. Since AUM is related to the beginning of the universe (and to the dissolution of the universe as well), Hindus consider it the most sacred syllable. Hence Vedic mantras commence and end with Aum. In fact, Sri Swamiji observed based on Puranas that“The music even stimulates the flowers to give scent and also animals to give milk, and through music, our diseases vanish. The melodious music, anyway all music is music, no problem, both the melodious tunes and soft melodies are especially effective; because each note corresponds to one nerve.” According to Shiva Samhita: "There is nothing as effective as nada to merge the mind."
Sri Swamiji considers music as divine that is directed at the attainment of salvation. It is considered the easiest way to mukti. Listening with faith and enjoyment or singing of music forgetting other things leads one closer to God. Listening or singing music with devotion brings peace of mind, happiness, joy, and delight. Many Puranas describe the creation of this prapancha (universe) and it’s a relation to the Nada (sound). George Gordon Byron expresses amply the connection between cosmos and music as follows:
“There's music in the sighing of a reed;
There's music in the gushing of a rill;
There's music in all things if men had ears;
The earth is but the music of the spheres.”
Sri Swamiji’s name is synonymous with music, both instrumental and vocal. The whole Ashram vibrates with music. Devotees are drenched in His music. Music Therapy is conducted daily. Yoga classes are organized all over the world. In fact, the Ashram contains the unique Saptaswara temple with seven columns representing seven notes of Music. Additionally, Sri Swamiji built one of the largest auditoriums known as Nada Mantapam signifying the importance Sri Swamiji gives to the music. Hundreds of musical stalwarts joined Sri Swamiji in conducting numerous healing and meditation concerts and namasankeetanas. The ashram is Nada Mayam. He composed 72 melakarta ragas to address 72 main nerve centers in the body. Very few musicians composed these many ragas.
Sri Swamiji recently concluded a historic recording session where he played 400 Indian music Ragas on Synthesizer. This is a historic first never accomplished before. Many of the 400 Ragas are very rarely or never used in concerts by musicians. So, for posterity, we have Sri Swamiji's recordings as a benchmark to access the progress of music. Through his music Sri Swamiji tries to connect the imperfect soul of the man to the perfect divine bliss to stimulate hidden chamber of heart to experience the happiness.
Brhaddesi of Matangarevealed the real nature of dhvani (sound) to Narada Muni:
"Now I shall expound the highest definition of nada:
Without nada, song cannot exist.
Without nada, the scale degrees cannot exist.
Without nada, the dance cannot come into being.
For this reason, the entire world becomes the embodiment of nada.
In the form of Nada, Brahma is said to exist; In the form of nada, Vishnu;
In the form of nada, Parvati; in the form of nada, Shiva.
That inner region which is said to be the abode of Brahma is called the brahmagranthi.
Vital air is situated in its center, from this mass of vital air fire arises.
From the combination of fire and air, nada is born."
Lady Anne Campbell Wilson author of After five years in India, or, Life and work in the Punjab district, says: "An eminently poetical people," as the ancient Hindus were, could not but have been eminently musical also. "The people of India are essentially a musical race.... To such an extent is music an accompaniment of existence in India, that every hour of the day and season of the year has its own melody."
Sri Swamiji talks about the relation between the cosmic world, the natural world,and human world. His music is synchronized to bring balance into these three worlds. Hence, we will hear his music sometimes soft and smooth, and sometimes harsh and loud. This music encircles you, surrounds you, engulfs you, absorbs you, drenches you and soaks you. It penetrates the pores of your body, permeates your body, elevates your mood, infuses your chakras, numbs your senses, inflames temperament, intensifies concentration, reduces your stress, creates an unknown ecstasy, generates numbness, and produces drowsiness. Every atom in our body is affected, Certain types of healing ragas in right combinations stimulate our body, organize neural activity, massage our senses, retune our emotions, and establish calmness and peace.
Kabirdas, Meerabai, Purandaradas,Dikshitar,Jaidev, Namdev, Narada, Annamayya, Thygaraja, Tansen and many others effectively used music as a powerful means of communicating the subtle and sensitive thoughts and ideas to the people. In addition to conducting bhajans, abhangs and Kirtans, like many stalwarts, to convey the divineness to the people, Sri Swamiji uses Nada, more specifically Nada Chikitsa to improve the health of the people, to cure incurable deceases, to bring harmony between humanity and nature, to balance the chakras in the human body, to bring unity among the body, mind and soul, and to purify the environment and elevate the spiritual realm. Different ragas are played to affect different parts of the body, different chakras, different nerve centers, different elements of panchabhutas, and different zodiac signs.
Sri Swamiji’s music is directed at reducing the stress, lessen the distress, minimize the strain, decrease the worries, lower the anxiety, remove the negative emotions, increaseconcentration, create positive vibrations, and finally calm the mind. Why would Sri Swamiji concentrate on calming the mind?
Sri Swamiji on How Sounds penetrate
"The mind, under the sway of the senses, is likened to a raging elephant confined within a garden. Nadam is likened to a goad because it draws and directs the mind toward internal absorption and union with its source. Just as music can calm and relax the mind, making one completely forget problems and worries, so absorption in the subtle nadambrings forgetfulness of the external world."(Hatha Yoga Pradipika 4:91-94)
Over the years, He developed or played several ragas that have different effect on the body and soul of the listeners. After much trials and experimentation, He discovered that several ragas like Sriranjani, Keeravani, Amruta Varshini, Chakravakam, Hamsanandi have curative effects and a specific raga can heal the ailments such as cancer, heart, skin, psychosomatic problems and many others modern days urban oriented tensions. Swamiji says, "Raga Nilambari cures sleeplessness, Sri Raga aids in indigestion. For mental equipoise Sama raga is suggested. Dwajavanti quells nervous debilities, Music influences the cells, tissues, and nerves of the body. Tissue breakdown, cancerous growths, skin ailments, mental problems are healed to a great extent by music.”
He utilizes all seven notes with extreme efficiency and agility to make each raga affect different parts of our body. As per Narada Samhita, "The note Sa is said to be the soul, Ri is called the head, Ga is the arms, Ma the chest, Pa the throat, Dha the hips, Ni the feet. Such are the seven limbs of the modal scale." (2, 53-54).
Mr. Percy Brown, formerly of the School of Art, Calcutta, defines a raga as "a work of art in which the tune, the song, the picture, the colors, the season, the hour and the virtues are so blended together as to produce a composite production to which the West can furnish no parallel."
Lakshmana Pillay has said: "Thus, each raga comes and goes with its store of smiles or tears, of passion or pathos, its noble and lofty impulses, and leaves its mark on the mind of the hearer."
Sri Swamiji conducts these Healing and Meditation concerts to increase the efficiency, elevate the mood, increase the memory, dispes the fear, create positive feelings, improve sleeping patterns, boost the immunity, and improve the mood.
Sri Swamiji’s music is no ordinary music; it is Para nada (transcendental, beyond or 'the other side' sound). His music is beyond the reach of perception, the panchaindriyas, mind, cognition, consciousness, nadis, and chakras. His music is directed at a super-consciousnesslevel where the sound is heard in different dimensions. A person sitting in the auditorium does not even know how the music is affecting his body, his mood, heart, chakras, nadis, and indriyas. Because Sri Swamiji takes to a higher frequency where the sound becomes inaudible and can only be perceived subjectively and silently. Once you are taken to Para or transcendental level, as many scriptures describe that Para sound has no vibration, no movements, no motion, no frequency, and no reaction. Because, at a certain level of frequency, Sri Swamiji’s music transforms one to experience silence, stillness, and quietness. At this frequency of music, we hear what we hear but not what we need to hear, because the ears do not have the full capacity to capture all levels of sounds. Similarly, we see what we see, but not what needs to be seen becauseeyes cannot capture the panoramic view of the scene. Thus we, therefore, are not aware of all the sounds that are present in the cosmos.
Sri Swamiji says, "The power of vibrations connects in some manner all things and all beings in the universe on all planes of existence. Nada vibrations work through the chord of sympathy existing between man and his surroundings. The human body has 72,000 astral nerves (nadis) which incessantly vibrate in a specific rhythmic pattern. Disturbance in their rhythmic vibration is the root cause of disease. The musical notes restore their normal rhythm, thereby bringing about good health. Listen with your heart and not your intellect."
He goes on to say, “Ragas like, Bhairavi, Kalyani, Vasant, Kosala, Hanumathadi, Hamsadhwani, Kirvani, etc., are the unspoiled sounds of eternal nature, the soul of man and Paramatman. All Ragas are energetic indeed, whetherMelakarta or Janya. Potential exists in all ragas to cure conditions or afflictions. The musical healer will have subtle psychological conceptions of ragas at an intuitive level. It is not mechanical performance of ritual with the intention for material reward. Music therefore is an experience of Truth in spite of intellectual interpretation."
In addition to knowing what ragas to play for a particular ailment, and which notes in that raga to emphasize for their healing effect, which chakra and elements to emphasize as well as theinfluence of the planets and their raga relationship, it is of paramount importance to know what musical sound or sounds to use and the effects on the body and mind. It is for this reason that Sri Swamiji uses a synthesizer for his healing and meditation music. The five elements each have particular sounds associated with them and this knowledge adds another layer to the healing methodology.
According to Sri Swamiji:
There is a definite relation between the seven notes of music and the seven colors of the VIBGYOR spectrum. Further these colors and musical notes also happen to be related to the metaphysical energy centers (chakras) of the human body as mentioned in the below.
That is the reason Sri Swamiji plays different ragas to affect different parts of the body, different chakras, different nerve centers, different elements of panchabhutas, and different zodiac signs
Umesh Sharma pointed out that, “Perhaps the best example of healing through music is Swami Ganapati Sachchidananda, the pontiff of Datta Peetham in Mysore, India, who gives musical concerts for meditation and healing. The philosophy of his healing technique is based on the concept of the Akasha Tattva (Akash) being all pervasive. Thus, its attribute, which is also nada (sound), is all pervasive. The Swami preaches that as food is required for the nourishment of the body, so is bhajan (devotional singing) for the mind.” (Stress Management Through Ancient Wisdom and Modern Science, p:241-2)
Sri Swamiji’s healing music was utilized in several Intensive Care Units at numerous hospitals. As such, preliminary experiments to study the influence of Sri Swamiji's music on Tamil Nadu State police personnel showed improved behavior with plaintiffs, reduced job-related stress, and an improvement in their overall sense of well-being. When Sri Swamiji’s music was played in prisons, an improvement in convicts’ behavior with co-habitants and better social consciousness was observed.
Sri Swamiji has started this unchartered voyage with a mission to spread the music in order to provide much needed relief to people with different ailments. Now the scientists have come to realize the need for scientific research following the footsteps of Sri Swamiji. They been conducting, compiling, documenting, proving and accumulating scientific evidence to the benefits of healing music on the brain and physical and mental health. Ashford University says, “One of the first things that happens when music enters our brains is the triggering of pleasure centers that release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy. This response is so quick, the brain can even anticipate the most pleasurable peaks in familiar music and prime itself with an early dopamine rush.”
David J. Levitin and Mona Lisa Chanda, using meta-analysis of 400 studies found that music improves the body’s immune system function and reduces stress; and also found music to be effective than prescription drugs in reducing anxiety.Lindsay Fleming and Daniel Levitin concluded that “When fed with music, the entire brain-sphere is aglow, showing that the power of music influences every part of the organ. Research confirms that the brain almost dances to the tune, be it to bust stress, improve immunity, or induce pleasure.
In addition, studies show that the rhythmic stimulation of music promotes the release of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, affecting brain chemistry and resulting in stress reduction and mood elevation. Special originally composed meditation music proved to align you instantly with the ‘happiness frequency’. Music appears to increase the serotonin levels in the brain thereby healing the individual to feel lighter, happier and calmer, eradicating all negativity.
A study in the USA
Experimental Session: Subject listened to Swamiji s composition for the same length of time
and then while engaging in an emotion processing task, her brain was scanned. Investigator(s):
Josh Cisler, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Brain Imaging Research Center Psychiatric Research
Institute, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Richard Smith, MD. Director,
Psychiatric Research Institute, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Conclusion : In the
experimental session, functional MRI study showed that the subject who took the music healing
session did not react abruptly to the emotional stimuli (fear vs neutral), which suggests that Sri
Swamiji's music has potential to shield from stressful situations in day-to-day life. Swamiji
appreciates such studies with His music on a larger population, especially with His Zodiac
Now science is catching up with Sri Swamiji’s experimentation and Divyadhristi (divine vision).
When you all go to the concert hall on Saturday, we request all of you to relax and listen with open minds. Try to forget the rest of the world for the length of this concert; sure, you will be taken to a different realm, different world.
Listening to Sri Swamiji’s music makes you larger than you were, more peaceful than you were, much calmer than you were, more confident than you were, more spiritual than you were, more blissful than were, experience more ecstasy than you were, more mellower than you were, and more in tune with nature than your before.
Let us join our hands and welcome our guru, Sadguru, and Nada Brahma to Houston.
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