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Musicians playing Indian classical music in a river boat. Wikimedia

December 10, 2016: Do you remember the story of the competition between Tanasena and Baiju Bawara? A small flock of deer came to Tanasena while he was performing and he put a garland round a deer fascinated by music. In response to this Baiju sang in the Mrgaranjani mode to bring back the same deer that had a garland around his neck.

These stories are hard to believe but Science has proven that different sounds have different effects on the system. So, the tale of Tanasena lighting up the lamp with his music is just another science experiment.


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Indian music is one of the oldest musical traditions of the world. The first available Sanskrit text, completely about dance, music and theater is the Natya Shastra, also known as the Fifth Veda. Wrote by sage Bharata Muni between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D, it has 36 chapters with around 6,000 sutras incorporated. It is believed that it is inspired by Lord Brahma.

During the Vedic times, Rishis would study different sound vibrations and the effects of it on the human body. They would practice tonal patterns and its connection with human mind, body and soul. In temple, priests would chant Vedic shlokas.

For the modern science, music is all about vibration. Where there is sound, there is bound to be vibration. For a person who cannot recognize the completeness of the sound, music is just a noise as he is just hearing bits and pieces of vibrations. For a person who listens and understands the wholeness of the sound, everything is music. The chirping of birds is music, the sound of the flowing water is music and the sound of a baby laughing is music. There is no sound in the world that is not music.

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Indian classical music can be quite complicated. Unlike western music, Indian music has a loose structure. It is a creation of the moment. But even with all the ragas and complicated rhythmic cycles, one does not need to know the science behind it to appreciate the beauty of this art form. It’s all about the feelings and effects on the listeners from the experience. The music is more about the creation of the performer who creates an experience of meditation for the listener. The Indian classical music is more than just entertainment. It is a spiritual experience.

It is expressed in the one dimension of yoga, that human body is Shiva’s damaru, which is a symbol for the rhythm of the life. The sound that you hear when you are excited or scared is the rhythm of the body. It is not just the voice you hear when your heart is beating fast. Every pranic nadi in the body has its tune. Every chakra in our body has a sound. Sound and our body are related to each other.

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Every sound is different and it has a different impact. When you hear a certain kind of music, you love it. It makes you joyful. Some other sound makes you upset. Sounds have a deep impact on human emotions. You cannot remember the number of times when you have listened to a kind of music and got to reminiscing. Sounds also change the chemistry of our system. The kind of music you listen to reflect your personality.

India has a great number of stories about the legends in the field of music. The most famous among these is Tanasena, who could light lamps with his music. Two brahmin girls, Tana and Riri, sang and that caused the rain to pour down and relieved Tanasena of the pain from the heat of the en-kindled lamps. Some musicians could fill a dry garden with greenery and fruits and flowers. .This might be true or just an exaggeration. Whether it is true or not we might never know, but science believes that sound can do some unexpected things. In the program, Samyama, chanting Shiva would take people to an entirely different dimension of experience.

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There is tale of Baiju Bavara where he melted the heart of Humayu. After conquering the city of Campanera, Humayu ordered slaughtering in the city. The army would just indiscriminately kill everyone. Baiju Bawara sang and it made the emotion of mercy flow in Humayu’s heart. Humayu was filled with pity and mercy and he stopped the slaughtering and released the prisoners.

The Malakaumsa mode has such an incredible potential that it can melt a stone into a liquid. If the vibrations of this mode can melt a stone, what effect will it have on the human heart? The Malakaumsa mode delivers such emotions that it is capable of changing the hearts of the greatest men. This is the reason why Tirthankara Paramatmas use only Malakaumsa mode to deliver their discourse.

Muni Sri Nandisena of Jain Svetambara sect compiled Si Ajitsanti Stotra. In this, he has mentioned the importance of chanting stotras in the morning and evening. The person chanting or listening to these stotras develop a strong immune system against various diseases.

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Music has been an integral part of every culture on the planet. It is not just a tuneful arrangement of sounds; it is a stepping stone in the spiritual process. One can see the importance of music in every culture, every religion in the world. Especially with Indian culture, music is not just a form of entertainment; it is a way to connect with God. With Indian classical music, it is possible to walk through the creation of the music.In Indian culture, if you get deeply involved in the ragas, the tunes, it will help you in meditating.

Music opens up many doors. It does not matter if you prefer cinema music, classical music or any other form of music; it will give you a whole other experience of life. If you have an interest in music and you have got ears to hear, the whole existence of the humans and the world is just music.

by Diksha Arya of NewsGram. Twitter: @diksha_arya53


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