There is always a light

There is always a light
Don't be afraid if you are alone or surrounded by darkness. In some part of the world, the day has just begun. There is a always a light waiting for you to find your way to touch its radiance.

Monday, April 26, 2010

When Music Heals...

By Ananya Mukherjee

Jab sangeet ilaaj nahin kar paayi, to dawa kya ilaaj karegi?” I had heard one of India’s leading maestros utter these words in a live concert in Kolkata, last winter. The immense potential of the power of the cosmic flow of sound hidden in Indian Classical music has been well recognised since time in memoriam.  Ancient sages are said to have devised several musical patterns emanating from the Omkara to chant Vedic hymns for distinct spiritual effects. According to mythology, it was the Gandharvas or divine musicians who brought the Ragas from the gods to the humans. Interestingly, Vedic Science actually emphasises on the special healing effect both for individuals and for society as a whole originating from Raga music which at places, forms part of the therapeutic approaches of Ayurveda.
“If music is therapy to the soul what better music than Indian classical can be therapeutic? It soothes the soul as there is a solid grounding of philosophy in Indian classical music. Any form of art that has its birth in deep rooted philosophy is the answer to millions of problems of daily life,” feels maestro Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya. He cites the Raga Kalyan as an example. The raga he says is inspired by the word Kalyan which means good or welfare in a holistic sense in Sanskrit. “As a matter of practice, it is sung or played in the evening after the day’s work is over. A sense of surrender of the self to the Almighty prevails in the notion of movements traditionally. Those who listen and those who play this particular raga find a sense of joy that does not spring from any material source. They feel relaxed, rejuvenated and the mind refreshes. That is a therapeutic effect,” Pt Bhattacharya explains.

Pt Bhattacharya, who is known to be a phenomenon in the history of World Music and Indian Classical Music for creating a trinity of slide guitars, christened as Chaturangi, Gandharvi and Anandi, speaks very passionately about the therapeutic impacts and influences of Raga Music. Ragas, he explains, are known to correspond to specific laws of nature that predominate during the time of performance. Therefore, a raga is not just invented but rather cognized in the state of unambiguous awareness as the structure of sound and melody of creation.  Thus, the time of day and year and the elements condensed in the ragas are equally important to accentuate the impact on human psyche. “Ragas have set time scales as it is born from nature and on the soil of the civilization that was spread across continents of today. It has also unified mankind. Persian music may sound different but the time scales are more or less same as ours. Basically it has a psychological effect.  And of course, traditionally this has been the practice. If it did not suit us, the entire music would be unacceptable and obliterated. Our music comes from nature and is very scientific yet abstract. That's where it tickles the mind,” he adds.
After having won the BBC Radio Awards for World Music in 2007 and being nominated for the Grammy Awards for 2009, Pt Bhattacharya has recently launched O Sakuntala which is a musical interpretation of Kalidas’ Abhigyan Shakuntalam. We wish him all the best for his musical journey ahead and hope through his improvisations and experiments on Indian ragas, he will continue to heal our hearts and souls and spread the message of humanity, peace and contentment across the globe.

Debashishda and his music are both very close to my soul. Signing off with my thoughts for him...His music touches the audience where it should—the soul. He elevates music to a level where it is no longer restricted to the senses; it becomes a spiritual communion with the Gods.

(For more information on Pandit Debashish Bhatacharya and his music, you may  login to


  1. Beautiful...thanks for sharing :-)

  2. lovely...enjoyed reading it.

  3. Mithu ChakrabortyApril 26, 2010 at 5:45 AM

    Fascinating!! Just loved to know his thoughts and his work thru your column

  4. Great.....!!! The art of healing comes from nature, not from physician. i think music in (splly in his way) itself is healing. it's an explosive expression of humanity. it's smthng we all touched; matter wht culture we'r from....thnx for sharing his work n thoughts."

  5. Well it keeps your off from lot of worries and negative thoughts which in turn helps to reduce stress level and lower BP...well I am sure Samaveda ( the ancient scriptures ) may explain this.At a personal level good music often elevates me to a different level.

  6. Music is an unique example, where dichotomy exists in complete harmony! It can be physical/sensual, and it can be ethereal/emotional. It can be ehilarating/uplifting, and it can be serene/soothing. It can be childishly simple, and it can be mischievously intriguing. Its a subject. you can keep expressing your thoughts and emotions on, and yet never feel tired or bored!
    Good piece, Ananya. Liked reading it!

  7. Interesting article..!Great to know about Pt. Bhattacharya! This reminds me of a south Indian carnatic music concert that I attended, where the singer mentioned that raaga 'Anandabairavi' apparently calms down your mind, cures heart problems and BP.
    I think its a boon and art that can do wonders!

  8. usual! Loved it!

  9. Sudeshna DasguptaApril 28, 2010 at 8:17 PM

    It was a nice read Ananya! There are no two opinions,i am sure,regarding the eternal fact that music actually has "therapeutic effects".May i quote sm lines from Wikipedia -

    Music therapy is both an allied health profession and a field of scientific research which studies correlations between the process of clinical therapy and biomusicology, musical acoustics, music theory, psychoacoustics and comparative musicology. It is an interpersonal process in which a trained music therapist uses music and all of its facets—physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual—to help clients to improve or maintain their health. Music therapists primarily help clients improve their observable level of functioning and self-reported quality of life in various domains (e.g., cognitive functioning, motor skills, emotional and affective development, behavior and social skills) by using music experiences (e.g., singing, songwriting, listening to and discussing music, moving to music) to achieve measurable treatment goals and objectives.

    On a personal level,i have known, practiced and experienced its benefits!!As Berthold Auerbach said~"Music washes away from soul,the dust of everyday life"...

    Was nice to learn about Pt.Debashish Bhatacharya,thanks.

    All the best to you,
    Cheers !