The the raga could affect the particular nerve

The modern world of medicine is finally
catching on to this hundred years old theory that was first referenced in the
ancient writings of the scholars Plato and Aristotle who both noted the healing
qualities and influences music had on both humans and animals. The immense
potential of the power of Shabda (cosmic flow of sound) hidden in music was
well recognised by the ancient Indian sages and they had devised several
musical patterns emanating from the “Omkara” for chanting of the
Vedic hymns and for distinct spiritual effects. The Shastric schools of music
discovered musical octave (sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni, sa) indwelling in the
subtle sounds of Nature and invented the basic classical ragas for activating
specific streams of natural powers and effects; a wide variety of musical
compositions were generated consequently. Ever since then music has been an
integral part of human culture with varied applications and forms (Alex, 2014).

            According to an ancient Indian text,
Swara Sastra, the seventy-two melakarta ragas (parent ragas) control the 72
important nerves in the body. It is believed that if one sings with due
devotion, adhering to the raga lakshana (norms) and srutishuddhi, (pitch
purity) the raga could affect the particular nerve in the body in a favourable
manner (Alex, 2014).

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   According to the Vedic Philosophy, yoga and music both are part of
Nada Vidya. Yoga deals with realisation of anahata nada the sublime sound
(extrasensory vibrations) of the eternal force of cosmic consciousness. Music
pertains to the perception and expression of the infinite spectrum of the
rhythmic flow of the ahata nada (perceivable sonic currents) pervading in
Nature. Both have direct impact on the shat chakras hidden along the endocrine
column and hence affect our physical as well as subtle bodies (Alex, 2014).

   The seven basic swaras (musical notes) of the musical octave have
a one-to-one correspondence with these chakras (nuclei of subtle energy). The
lower most (in the kava equina region along the erect endocrine column), viz.,
the Muladhara Chakra is associated with the swara “sa”; that means,
the practice of chanting this particular musical note will have impact on
awakening or activation of this particular chakra. Similarly, the chakras
successively upwards in this direction namely, the Swadhisthana, Manipura,
Anahata, Vishuddha, Agya and the top-most Sahastrara Chakra have correspondence
respectively with the swaras “re”, “ga” “ma”,
“pa”, “dha” and “ni”. Significantly, the order of
the compositions of these swaras in the “aroha” (ascending) and
“avaroha” (descending) patterns of the Shastric musical tunes also
match with the top-down (from Sahastrara to Muladhara) and bottom-up (from
Muladhara to Sahastrara) directions of the flow of energy. Music has been used
throughout human history to express and affect human emotion (Alex, 2014).


            Music therapy has long history
dating back to ancient Orphic school in Greece. Pythagorus, Plato and
Aristotle, all were aware of the prophylactic and therapeutic powers of music.
Even the old testament mentions music therapy where King David is said to have
cured an illness by playing on the harp. Hippocrates, the father of modern
medicine, used music to cure human diseases. In ancient Egypt music was used to
lessen the pain of women during childbirth. Ibn Sina, a famous Arabic writer,
has written in detail on this subject. In India legend has it that Thyagaraja,
the famous musician of South India, brought a dead person back to life by
singing the composition Naa Jeevan Dhara in raga Bihari. In 1729 Richard
Browne, a physician wrote the famous text Medicina Musica which describes the
use of music as medicine. Dr. Burnell has mentioned a manuscript named Raga
Chikistsa in the collections of Saraswati Mahal Library in Tanjore which deals
with the various ragas that can be used for curing various ailments.

            “Music is a kind of
inarticulate, unfathomable speech which leads us to the edge of the infinite
and lets us for a moment gaze in that” observed Carlyle. Music is
basically a sound or nada generating particular vibrations which moves through
the medium of ether present in the atmosphere and effects the human body.
Sarangdev mentions in his Sangeet Ratnakar that ahata nada or music is always
produced by striking or aghata by a living being on an instrument of any kind
So music is a power or universal energy in the form of ragas.

            Matanga (9-10th centurey AD) was the
earliest writer to define raga. According to him “raga is that kind of
sound composition consisting of melodic movements which has the effect of
colouring the hearts of men.” “There are four sources of raga : folk
songs, poetry, devotional songs of mystics and compositions of classical
musicians. While harmony is the characteristic of Western music, Indian music
is pure melody. The general term for melody in India is raga or ragini.”
(Kangra Ragmala-M. S. Randhawa). Symphonies of raga have a definite soothing
effect on the mind as well as on the body. Repeated listening to the particular
raga being chosen for a particular disease produces a network of sound
vibration. The muscles, nerves and the chakras of the affected part are
contracted when one impulse is given and relaxed during the interval between
two impulses (


   Indian classical music is based on the raga system. Ragas form the
core of Indian music thus, therapy performed through Indian music is also
called Raga Therapy or  Raga Chikitsa. Ragais derived from the
Sanskrit root ranja, meaning to colour the mind with the sounds
emanating from  Aum. Raga Chikitsa refers to the application
of the ragas to combat diseases of the body (Sairam, 2003). “Raga” forms
an important feature in Hindustani Classical Music which is one form Indian
Classical music. Raga is the sequence of selected notes (swaras) that lend
appropriate ‘mood’ or emotion in a selective combination. Depending on their
nature, a raga could induce or intensify joy or sorrow, violence or peace and
it is this quality which forms the basis for musical application. Thus, a whole
range of emotions and their nuances could be captured and communicated within
certain rhythms and melodies. Various ragas have since been recognized to have
definite impact on certain ailments. (Sairam, 2004).

Patients are given some
specific ragas to listen regularly for days. Repetitive audition of
particular ragas is an effective treatment which leads to subside the mental
disorders. The muscles, nerves and the chakras of the affected part are
contracted when one impulse provides relaxation during the interval between
two impulses. The paragraph below gives some of the examples of Ragas
which are often used by therapists for healing the patients.

            Raga Kafi imparts humid, peaceful and soothing moods within patients and alleviate
anxiety and over-reactors.  Raga  Mishra Mand  has a very pleasing
refreshing light and sweet touch while  Bageshwari arouses a feeling of darkness, stability,
depth and calmness. Music is considered the best tranquilizer in modern days of
anxiety, tension and high blood pressure. Raga  Darbari is considered very effective in easing tension.
Raga Bhupali and Todi give
tremendous relief to patients of high blood pressure. According to Mittal
(2003) and Dr. Sairam (2006), Raga  Ahir-Bhairav
is supposed to give free relaxed feeling, mitigates dust allergies
and skin diseases and good for arthritis. Raga Malkauns and Raga Asawari
helps to cure low blood pressure. For heart ailments, Raga Chandrakauns is considered very helpful.
Raga Tilak-Kamod, Hansdhwani, Kalavati, Durga
evoke a very blissful effect on the nerves. For patients
suffering from insomnia and need a sonorous sleep, Raga Bihag and Bahaar is
effective and revitalizing. Raga Kedar
cures common cold and cough, asthma, headache.  Raga Hamsadhwani
is said to boost energy and improves vitality. The pentatonic notes
structure and the limited renditions within the boundaries of S R G P N S, when
heard longer activates the energy centres and results in rejuvenation.

   Studies on effects of Indian classical music reported that
listening to Indian classical instrumental music throughout gastroscopy reduced
systolic blood pressures, diastolic blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory
rate (Kotwal, 1998). Raga Darbari Kanada for 22 minutes reduced systolic
blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, pulse rate and respiratory rate in
asymptomatic individuals (Siritumga 2013). Instrumental music in
Hindustani Todi raga reduced pain in children undergoing venepuncture (Balan,
2009). Exposure to Raag Ahir Bhairavi significantly reduced blood pressure in
hypertensive adults (Sobana et. al., 2013). 


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