Music as Therapy?
Who can benefit from Music Therapy?
What is sound? Science defines it as vibration. So wherever there is a vibration there must be sound. Only a particular range of vibration is audible to the human ear and there are various ranges, which are beyond human hearing. If sound is understood as vibration with a corresponding energy, then it becomes apparent that the cause of the entire creation is energy, which is the postulate of science. In religion, this is metaphorically described as the breath of the Brahman. The sounds which manifested themselves at the time of creation are the Vedic mantras, which were heard by the Øsis, the mystic seers, in their moments of intuition.
Sound is thus, the power of the infinite, which has manifested itself as this finite creation. The primordial sound resounds unceasingly within every particle of creation. It is heard in the innermost recesses of the soul generally as a result of spontaneous spiritual exercises or sometimes when the mind is in deep concentration and is in an awe-inspiring and blissful state. This is referred to as Náda, Voice of God, the Divine sound and the Music of the spheres, and leaves a lasting sense of peace in the person who hears it and the experience is more vivid and real than any sensory experience.
There are four distinct steps in the manifestation of the original Náda in the process of its evolution into human sound. Says the Øg Veda, “Vák” is measured in four steps. Three are established in secrecy and are not manifested. Mankind speak only the fourth step of the speech. The four stages are “Pará, Pasyanti, Madhyama and Vaikhari,” from the subtlest to the human level. The primordial sound when it gets manifested on the material plane becomes grosser at each successive stage at the human level it becomes materially audible. Therefore, it is possible to trace each human sound or word back to its source by retracing step by step till the pristine source – the body of Brahman, called Sabda Brahman – is reached. The technique of Náda Yoga forms the basis of Náma Sañkirtana and Náma Japa as sádhanas to the realization of God. The subtlest level when all vibrations cease is the absolute, ineffable state none other than the Brahman in Japa. The power of sound is utilized to bridge the gulf between matter and spirit This phenomenal sound energy evidently brings music as one of the effective treatments and some of the rágas have amazing effect for distinctive ailments
(to be continued)
By B S S Rao, Secretary Sri Lalithakala Acadmy Foundation, Mysore