the-south-asian.com AUGUST 2002
August 2002 Contents
Page 1 of 2
- HEALING WITH MUSIC
Isidore Domnick Mendis
T.V.Sairam, Mumbaiís Commissioner of Central Excise, has not just a deep knowledge of basic financial procedures but also of alleviating ailments through music. Practitioners of Carnatic and Hindustani music have been aware of the power and influence of the ragas as a balm for the mind. " Some ragas such as Darbari-Kanhara, Khamaj and Pooriya were strongly recommended by ancient vaids for defusing tension of the mind, particularly during episodes of hysteria" says Sairam. T.V.Sairamís book on herbs by Penguin was a runaway success. His biography has been selected in Cambridge Universityís Outstanding Intellectuals of the 20th Century.
When a senior member of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) whose job is to examine financial statements and look for tax evasions, becomes a music healer it is once more news hour.
T.V.Sairam Mumbaiís Commissioner of Central Excise, has not just a deep knowledge of basic financial procedures but of alleviating mind ailments through music.
" Music is extremely therapeutic. It has a direct positive relationship with the mind. Any ailment connected with the mind like, dementia, depression, insomnia, mania, negative emotions, neurosis, pain, restlessness, stress and neurosis can be managed with music. It is the perfect therapy for the sick mind," says T.V.Sairam.
New research now endorses Sairamís view. French physician Dr Alfred Tomatis study stretching over 50 years covering over 100,000 patients has concluded that people with defective speech or those unable to communicate with clarity improved their expression power when they were made to listen to Mozartís music for an hour every day for a period of 6-7 months.
Sairam is aware of Dr. Tomatisís Mozart music therapy. In fact he narrates an anecdote. During his struggling days the French superstar, Gerard Depardieu had a speech problem. He was unable to deliver a dialogue properly. Dr. Tomatisís music therapy helped him overcome his speech handicap and he went on to become the French equivalent of Indiaís Amitabh Bachchan.
Practitioners of Carnatic and Hindustani music were fully aware of the power and influence of the ragas as a balm for the mind. " Some ragas such as Darbari-Kanhara, Khamaj and Pooriya were strongly recommended by ancient vaids for defusing tension of the mind, particularly during episodes of hysteria" says Sairam.
Hypertension is another health ailment that responds positively to music. Ragas such as Ahirbhairav and Todi have been recommended for patients with high blood pressure. On the other hand, low blood pressure is healed with the feminine Raga Malkauns, believed to have supernatural energy.
Control over anger and inner violence, according to Sairam, can be attained with the use of Carnatic ragas such Punnagavarali and Sahana. Even stomach-related disorders can be settled through ragas from the Hindustani system---Raga Deepak for acidity, Gunakali and Jaunpuri for constipation, Mian ki Malhar and Darbari Kanada for Chronic asthma, Bhairavi for Sinusitis, Todi and Poorvi for Headache and anxiety, and Kafi and Khamaj for Sleep disorders are tested Raga therapies.
High fevers, says Sairam, such as malaria have been arrested through Hindol and Marva ragas. Headaches can be banished by any of the three ragas--Darbari-Kanhara, Jayjaywanti or Sohan. Insomniacs will be lulled to sleep by Bageshri and Darbari ragas.
Bonya Basu, writing on the therapeutic benefits of classical music, recalls the following incident:: "The late sitar maestro Nikhil Bandhopadhyay during his stay with Acharya Baba Alauddin Khan, awoke one night to the sound of the Acharya's riyaaz and was astounded to find the courtyard filled with venomous serpents calmly enjoying the vibrations of the music. Along came deer and other animals drawn to the hypnotic serenity of the music, and Bandhopadhyay later thought: ``If Hindustani classical music can tame the wildest of animals, it can definitely tame our minds.'' Leading musicians are all of the same opinion. In an age when Reiki, yoga, meditation and other alternative therapies are coming into their own, the scope for music therapy is ample in our daily lives. But, warns Pandit A. Kanan, a leading vocalist of the Kirana Gharana: ``The music must be rich and taken to a very high standard to relieve tension and depression.'' In an experiment in Japan, vegetables, herbs and fruit trees grew faster when exposed to a daily dose of music."
" Music stimulates the pituitary gland, the master gland in the endocrine system," says Sairam. His claims are borne out by numerous studies done at the Raga Research Centre at Chennai and Swami Ganapati Satchindananda of Mysore.
According to Dr. B. Chowdhary, senior consultant in the psychiatric department, in Delhi's Apollo Hospital, " Music works wonderfully on patients who have psychosomatic problems. It can accelerate metabolism, increase or decrease muscular energy and regulate respiration besides producing marked effects on pulse and blood pressure. Psychiatric patients who are given group music therapy show remarkable change in behaviour".
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