#7-The Concept of Remedial Music

There is the subject of preventive medicine and curative medicine.  Like wise there is also remedial music.  It comprises of music and musical compositions that can be listened to for a short time everyday. This ensures sound health. Every night before retiring to bed, one can listen to soft music played on a string instrument or he/she can herself  play the instrument if he/she/knows to play.  Songs in ragas like Kannadagaula, Kedaragaula, Dwijavanthi, Anandabhairavi, Sriraga and Madhyamavathi will have a soothing effect on the nerves. This listener will not only have a sound sleep, but will also improve the power of immunity against attacks of diseases.  Music therapy is a good tranquilizer in these days of anxiety, stress, tension and high pressure living. It can be given along with the other systems of medication/treatment. Empty stomach is not conducive to music therapy and should be avoided.  The best times for music therapy treatment are morning, evening and night. Short sessions of 20 minutes duration with an interval of 15 minutes may be resorted to in music therapy.  Two or three sessions are advisable at a stretch.

Relaxing or soothing music can be played during labour pains. In South India, there is a tradition , that pregnant women who listen to the sweet music of Veena are assured of safe delivery. It is said that the first sense that develops in a child in the womb is the “hearing sense” and the harmonic music emanating from the strings of  Veena – the divine instrument  penetrates the womb and makes the child feel the divine soothing effect. Music from strings has the capacity to  penetrate the skin. Music on Veena is said to be very effective since the structure of Veena is very much identical to the structure of a human body.

There are many resemblances between the human body (Daiva Veena) and man made Veena. These secrets are revealed in a book by name, “SANDHYA VANDANEEYA TATVARTHA” and “VEDA PRAKASIKE” written and published by Sri. YEDA TOREY SUBRAMANYA SARMA in Kannada language in the year 1936. Just mentioning a few similarities here to prove the point that music from Veena is nothing but truly divine.

Veena has 24 frets, 4 strings on the frets and 3 on the side (they are the tala strings). The four strings represent the Chatur Veda- Rig, Yajur, Sama and Adharva. The 24 frets represents 12  swarasthanas in two octaves (24). Just like the 24 frets of the Veena, human back bone has 24 divisions. According to the anatomy, the back bone has 7 cervicles, 12 thorasic and 5 lumbar vertibraes.

In Veena the distance between each fret is broad in the lower octaves and becomes less while proceeding towards the higher octaves.Similarly the back bone is thick at the Mooladhara (seat point of human back bone) and the distance between each ring becomes less while proceeding towards the back of the neck. The nadis Ida and Pingla in the human body represents the strings. All swaras have the variations except S and P.  Sa  referred as Adhara Shadjam is constant, stable and this note Shadjam represents the Shanmukha – Lord Subramania the eternal divine power and source of wisdom and knowledge which is the base of all music in the world.  The human body which resembles a Veena emanates Nada through the Nabhi, Hridayam, Khandam, Tongue and Nose(represented by  Sirassu -Head).

Every human being has music in them. Some are able to sing while some others are not.  It  doesn’t mean that those who are not able to sing, doesn’t have music in them. The  inherent talent of music has to be cultivated just like we dig the earth for water.  As we keep on digging slowly the flow of water deep inside can be seen. Further efforts brings out the water like a spring of river.  It is the same case with music. (The relation between Veena and Human Body is itself a very exhaustive topic and shall be dealt with in a separate post.)

Coming back to the topic under discussion, quiet listening of music under relaxed conditions are absolutely essential. The patient can lie  down on an easy chair or a cot completely relaxed.

Ragas to cure Sleeping Disorders

Certain Ragas like Neelambari, Anandabhairavi, Yadukulakamboji , Kalyani etc has been found very effective  for  sleep disorders. Sleep disorders may result in fatigue, tiredness, depression and problems in daytime functioning. Music results in  decreased  anxiety, blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate and may have positive effects on sleep via muscle relaxation and distraction from thoughts. It is an amazing fact that all lullabies are composed in raga Neelambari in South Indian Music. Saint Tyagaraja himself rocks the lord in the Andolika Upachara( swinging the lord) with the song  “Uyyala Loka” in Raga Neelambari.  The saint again sings Lord to sleep with his song ” Sri Rama Rama Rama” in the same Raga ! . A musical genius like Tyagaraja himself has identified this raga for sleep and uses it in his shodasa upachara krithis and sings Lord to sleep. Want anymore evidence to prove the merit of this Raga ?

If yes, then Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology – 1998 mentions about an  experiment conducted whether Neelambari  has sleep promoting effects or whether it alters the sleep  architecture of individuals. None of the subjects received any formal training in music nor  they were able to recognize ragas. The sleep efficiency was 78.84 % for Neelambari and 82.19% for Kalyani.  In the morning after the study all subjects admitted feeling refreshed.

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18 thoughts on “#7-The Concept of Remedial Music

  1. An excellent write up. It is fascinating to read about the relationship between Veena and human body… quite a revelation actually…. await your separate post on this! Thank you for the enlightening article.

  2. I want the music or some kind of songs to treat insomnia or u
    Said some ragas like ragabihag bahar kafi khamaj like this.if u have such type of music then send me that.

  3. Dear Anuradha,
    Excellent and helpful work.
    I have a small query, please let me know how effective therapy would be – listening to Taranas (related to particular raga, e.g bhairavi) which may be around 8-10 minutes to that of full blown 40-60 minutes of same Raga. Thanks and Regards

  4. Tarana a Hindustani musical form is identical with Tanam of Carnatic Music. Listening to Tanam brings the listener/singer to a state of supreme bliss as it is well known that Tanam denotes Anandam – extreme joy.

    Regarding the query about the duration of listening to Tanam, it may be noted that a musician or a person who is deeply interested in music may go on listening to the music uninterrupted for hours together. But the same cannot be expected in a lay man who is not much familiar to music. Music therapy largely depends on individual needs and taste, his mental condition etc. So a generalised solution is not possible here and the therapy, as I have understood, varies from person to person, his interest in music and above all a whole hearted support and encouragement from the family as a whole.

  5. Thank you very much for the reply. I completely agree about Tarana= extreme joy/bliss/. I do understand that a generalised solution is not possible, .

    May be once there is sufficient data available , collated and analysed we may know

  6. Highly informative article! Feeling proud of our ancestors who discovered and preserved these knowledge for us. Thanks a ton for directing me to this link.

  7. CAN KIRTAN HELP IN MUSIC THERAPY? ARE MANTRA AND SHLOKA SUNG IN DIFFERENT RAGAS MORE POWERFUL THAN SIMPLY SINGING PARTICULAR RAGA?

    • Definitely mantras have great powers. The curative powers of ragas together with mantras is more good . When there is abolute surrender to the GOD and 100% belief in the treatment undergone, the result will be miraculous.

  8. I like your mail and its very interesting and useful thanks for your service to the music world/lovers,and of course who is in search of peace in life.

  9. wonderful article .thanks for detailing the descriptive veena and its form similar to human body and how various ragas are soothing nd induce sleep .true it is all there.

  10. i repeatedly go through your book of the 100 raga fro therapy! I found some interesting stories on this site which share same experiences with music therapy musictherapy.org/events/media/

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