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Music and Spirituality

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Music enthralls the body, calms the mind and heightens our sense of pleasure, often carrying us on an ever rising tide of melody to levels of ecstasy, marked by a number of blissful emotions. Scientists have studied several neural structures that receive and spread the stimuli of sound through our minds and body.

So powerful has been the influence of music and so natural its affinity to human life that it has over years become an integral part not just of traditions but of cultures, religions and celebrations across societies. Whether it is a devotional or a purely celebratory activity, no event is the same unless accompanied by music.

Music is often used to enhance moods and recharge the spirit of a variety of occasions and therefore has evolved into a major source of entertainment. Music also has the formidable ability to touch the soul directly. It's often experienced and hard to understand physically. Even the Gods are known to respond and be pleased by the sonorous notes of music.

Many legendary musicians were born particularly for this purpose and left their legacy for all times. Many attained Moksha or self-realisation and performed unbelievable miracles purely through music. The ability of music to influence natural phenomena like the tides of the sea is a testimony to its supernatural powers. Through a universal command it can modulate the state of mind and the level of true "consciousness.”

Recent electrophysiology studies have demonstrated several positive and negative effects of music on both voluntary and involuntary (autonomic) nervous system. Music with specific Swaras have a direct effect on Kundalini and various chakras of the body. Sadhana or the rigorous practice of music activates different chakras of the body singularly or in combination guiding them through special humane and spiritual boundaries and eventually leading to higher level of consciousness. It could be as powerful as yoga or meditation.

There are many notable examples of musical exponents achieving "attainment" through music alone like Thyagaraja, Meera, Kabir, Annamacharya, Bhakta Rama Dasa, Sri Purandhara Dasa and Kanaka Dasa. Even today several contemporary living legends of music can leave us spell bound and push us into a different world altogether through their concerts. Time and again several such prodigies have contributed to a wonderfully rich musical legacy. This blog is a personal tribute to all of Them.

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Guest Tuesday, 26 September 2017