Shwetha Kalyanasundaram talks of the beauty of musical chords and how history and the present have been proof of the way music impacts our inner world
All our ancient treatises on music propound that it is a gift mankind has been bestowed with from Divinity above; and that its bliss is made available to everyone as freely as air, water and the sunrays. These great texts on music also enjoin it upon man to imbibe this great power of music and to enrich his spiritual power and to purge his body, mind and soul of all impurities that might be polluting them.
Music helps man to enhance his spiritual powers and enables him to experience very subtle and elevated emotional awareness deep within. As a result, his inner world undergoes a magical transformation. The salutary effect of music on the psyche (brain) and the body of man as well as other animals, including the plant world has been acknowledged by even the western scientists and scholars of music.
Musical vibrations are found to impact the non-living things as effectively as the living beings. Man has been able to articulate his hidden feelings of subconscious, varying states of mind, desires, urges and passions through the medium of musical notes (Nada) and unleashing an array of invigorating waves of energy.
There are several stories surrounding the enchanting and hypnotic powers of music. The God is nowhere as strongly evident as in the Indian tradition. Our history is replete with strange and incredible stories such as generating fire bringing down showers of rain, curing the most incurable of diseases, bringing the cruellest of animals under control, converting solid objects into liquids etc with the powerful influence of music.
Music restores peace and tranquillity to the heart that is afflicted with pain. Music enhances man’s creative faculties and cheers up his soul. In their endeavours to explore the intangible, yet powerful influence of music the yogis of India stumbled on discovering such powers and such domains of the spiritual world that to elucidate it all, they had to create a different Veda.
In ‘Samaveda’ the secrets of the musical powers of God have been expounded and elucidated in such a way that by emulating them, man can bring his powers to merge with that of God himself. Now, even the opinions of western scholars are found to lend sustenance to the vision of Indian musicologists in this regard.
It is in music that we find a perfect quintessence of all the elements of philosophy that strengthen the body, the mind and the soul. It was Pythagoras’s considered opinion that: “Music is the most ideal means of spiritual upliftment which is why one should always sing along with a musical instrument”.
But Dr. Mike Peden pointed out that vocal music is a more effective genre than instrumental music. From the point of view of psychological fulfilment what Pythagoras has said seems to be more apt.
On listening to Tansen’s ‘Todi’ raag, a whole swarm of deer came galloping there drawn by the cascades of his swar patterns. The singer, under the thrall of his emotional upsurge took out one of the chains that adorned his neck and put it on the neck of one of his enraptured audience! In the process the flow of the musical stream came to a sudden halt and then, the hitherto entranced deer ran back into the jungle!
Through his singing of the ‘Todi’ raag, Tansen demonstrated as to how music can influence the inner world. Inspired by this episode, Baiju Bavara sang the alaap of ‘MrigaranjaniTodi’ when that particular deer that had made of with Tansen’s chain on its neck came running back to the court of the king where the singing was in progress.
Through this experiment, Baiju established a curious fact that the subtle vibrations of the musical waves carry such enchanting powers that they can transmute message to any animal that may be located at any distance, and in any direction.