Music Therapy

by April 25, 2013 0 comments

Present Music Therapy, Basically Its Raga Chikitsa as mentioned in our sacred texts and in Yoga.

Music and Stress Relief

It is with great dedication and devotion I have composed this music for stress relief  .  This was done by me when a famous Ayurvedic group approached me and asked for a soothing music that could bring down the stress level.   This particular music is played during their Panchakarma Chikitsa session which is done during the morning hours.

 When the Sun fades and all extroversion, entertainment, and distraction is denied to Man, the mind retreats into a state of meditative introversion we call sleep. Thoughts that are unfinished in the mind, during the day, continue throughout the night in the forms of dreams, striving towards their resolution, as part of the brain’s intrinsic mechanism to find order. In a sense then, sleep is Nature’s way of reuniting Man with him or herself, enabling that which lies dormant in the hidden recesses of the mind, to reveal and express itself in secure isolation from the world.

 The dawn of a morning then, has tremendous significance. It is the first witness of the conscious mind to the revelations of the night. To many, the waking hours may express the calm satisfaction of a release, the relief of a burden, and a feeling of pious quietude. To others, however, the meditation of sleep may have brought to the surface of the mind, the most secret burdens of one’s life, and leave one in emotional turmoil. Therefore, if one were to provide a general description of the mood of a morning, perhaps it would be one of serenity and depth, holy, while simultaneously tinged with emotions ranging from great disturbance to supreme calmness.

  A musical note has its own distinct psychological effect or emotion, and is also related specifically to a colour, mood, chakra, and time of day. Raga Bowli is chosen to promote relaxation and prevents the effects of chronic stress , promoting emotional well being and  maintaining positive mental health to begin the day. The slower tempo of Raga Bowli in the composition  promotes a calm and meditative state. Breathing and heart rate is altered by listening to the music – here it is Bhagavad Gita the Supreme Manthra and Chapter 9 Raja Vidya deeply penetrates in to the human system through the Ajna Chakra.

 (Ajna Chakra – the third eye point-  this is the intellectual center where your intuition and imagination blossom. It encourages self-reflection and is related to mental clarity. )

 Close your eyes and concentrate on the Ajna Chakra and imagine the Sarvaathmaswaroopa  Lord Sri Krishna   while listening to the music.

 Wishing you All a Stress Free Life with Spiritual Enlightment.
  Download Bhagavad Gita-Chapter 9 Here


 Raga Chikitsa -Its Effects and Timings

One of the unique characteristics of Indian music is the assignment of definite times of the day and night for performing or listening Raga melodies. It is believed that only in this period the Raga appears to be at the height of its melodic beauty and majestic splendor. There are some Ragas which are very attractive in the early hours of the mornings; others which appeal in the evenings, yet others which spread their fragrance only near the midnight  hour.

This connection of time of the day or night, with the Raga or Raginis is based on daily cycle of changes that occur in our own body and mind which are constantly undergoing subtle changes. Different moments of the day arouse and stimulate different moods and emotions.

Each Raga or Ragini is associated with a definite mood or sentiment that nature arouses in human beings. The ancient musicologists were particularly interested in the effects of musical notes, how it effected and enhanced human behavior. Music had the power to cure, to make you feel happy, excited,keep you calm, balance your mind and so on. Extensive research was carried out to find out these effects. This formed the basis of time theory as we know it today.

Emotions, feelings and thoughts have been reported to be greatly influenced by music listening or participation. Emotional experience derived from music has a powerful effect on the formation of one’s moral and intellectual outlook. Music activities enhance imagination & creative thinking.

 Here is a humble attempt from my part to list the ragas with their therapeutical effects and  the appropriate time at which these ragas should be listened. This list will be updated as and when I come across any new raga with their effects and timings.  Most of the raga timings given here are taken from variuos sources. The sources include Sangeetha Sampradaya Pradarshini written by Sri Subbarama Deekshithar,References from the The Raga Guide -A Survey of 74 Hindustani Ragas, times given as per the seminar papers presented by various experts in the field of Music Therapy.

It is in the form an excel worksheet. Readers can download or view it online. :)

The 24 hour period is divided into 8 beats each three hours long, as follows: 
The 24 hour period is divided into 8 beats each three hours long, as follows:

1. 7 a.m. – 10 a.m. first beat of the day. Daybreak; Early Morning; Morning;
2. 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. 2nd beat of the day. Late Morning; Noon; Early Afternoon;
3. 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. 3rd beat of the day. Afternoon; Late Afternoon;
4. 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. 4th beat of the day. Evening Twilight; Dusk (sunset);Early Evening;
5. 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. first beat of the night. Evening; Late Evening;
6. 10 p.m. – 1 a.m. 2nd beat of the night. Night; Midnight;
7. 1 a.m. – 4 a.m. 3rd beat of the night. Late Night
8. 4 a.m. – 7 a.m. 4th beat of the night. Early Dawn; Dawn (before sunrise); Morning Twilight

 Raga and Timings


Raga Chikitsa

 Simply defined, Raga Chikitsa means “healing through the use of raga.” Raga Chikitsa is defined as “the knowledge of how to use raga for the purposes of healing. Fundamental features of Raga Chikitsa is the classification of the ragas based on their elemental composition (ether, air, fire, water, earth) and the proper use of the elements to balance the nature of the imbalance.

Ragas are closely related to different parts of the day acording to changes in nature and development of a particular emotion, mood or sentiment in the human mind. Music is considered the best tranqulliser in modern days of anxiety, tension and high blood pressure.

It is believed that the human body is dominated by the three Doshas – Kaph, Pitta and Vata. These elements work in a cyclic order of rise and fall during the 24 hour period. Also, the reaction of these three elements differ with the seasons. Hence it is said that performing or listening to a raga at the proper allotted time can affect the health of human beings.

Raga and its Effects

  1. Kafi Raga  – Evokes a humid, cool, soothing and deep mood
  2. Raga Pooriya Dhansari (Hamsanandi-Kamavardini ) –  evokes sweet, deep, heavy, cloudy and stable state of mind and prevents acidity..
  3.  Raga Mishra Mand – has a very pleasing refreshing light and sweet touch
  4.  Raga Bageshri  – arouses a feeling of darkness, stability, depths and calmness. This raga is also used in treatment of diabetes and hypertension
  5. Raga Darbari (Darbari Kanada) –  is considered very effective in easing tension. It is a late night raga composed by Tansen for Akbar to relieve his tension after hectic schedule of the daily court life.
  6. Raga Bhupali and Todi –  give treamendous relief to patients of high blood pressure.
  7. Raga Ahir-Bhairav (Chakravakam) –  is supposed to sustain chords which automatically brings down blood pressure.
  8. Raga Malkauns and Raga Asawari (natabhairavi) –  helps to cure low blood pressure.
  9.   Raga Tilak-Kamod (Nalinakanti), Hansdhwani, Kalavati, Durga(Suddha Saveri) -evoke a very pleasing effect on the nerves.
  10. Raga Bihag, Bahar (Kanada), Kafi & Khamaj - For patients suffering from insomnia and need a peaceful sonorous sleep. Useful in the treatment of sleep disorders.
  11. Raga Bhairavi -  Provides relief  T.B, Cancer, Severe Cold, Phlegm,  Sinus, toothache .
  12. Raga Malhar – Useful in the treatment of asthma and sunstroke.
  13. Raga Todi, Poorvi & Jayjaywanti  – Provides relief from cold and headache.
  14. Raga Hindol & Marava  - These ragas are useful in blood purification.
  15. Raga Shivaranjani –  Useful for memory problems.
  16. Raga Kharahara Priya - strengthens the mind and relieves tension. Curative for heart disease and nervous irritablility, neurosis, worry and distress.
  17. Raga Hindolam and Vasantha  - gives relief from Vatha Roga, B.P, Gastritis and purifies blood.
  18. Raga Saranga  – cures Pitha Roga.
  19. Raga Natabhairavi – cures headache and psychological disorders.
  20. Raga Punnagavarali , Sahana  – Controls Anger and brings  down violence
  21. Raga Dwijavanthi – Quells paralysis and sicorders of the mind
  22. Raga Ganamurte – Helpful in diabetes
  23. Raga Kapi – Sick patients get ove their depression, anxiety. Reduces absent mindedness
  24. Raga Ranjani – helps to cure  kidney disorders
  25. Raga Rathipathipriya – Adds strengh and vigor to  a happy wedded life. This 5-swara raga has the power to eliminate poverty. The prayoga of the swaras can wipe off the vibrations of bitter feelings emitted by ill will.
  26. Raga Shanmukhapriya -  Instills courage in one’s mind and replenishes the energy in the body. ( Available for download in Carnatic Raga Appreciation Page). Suitable for singing and listening at all times as per Sangitha Sampradaya Pradarshini written by Subbarama Deekshithar
  27. Raga Sindhubhairavi – For a Healthy Mind and Body, Love & Happiness, Gentleness, Peace & Tranquillity ,Serenity ( Available for download in Carnatic Raga Appreciation Page)Suitable for singing and listening at late night (1 am – 4 am)
  28.  Raga Hameerkalyani – This particular Hindusthani coloured raaga, one with great therapeutic value relaxes tension with its calming effect and brings down BP to normal 120/80. ( Available for download in Carnatic Raga Appreciation Page)
  29. Raga Brindavana Saranga – For Wisdom, Success, Knowledge , Joyfulness  and Greater Energy ( Available for download in Carnatic Raga Appreciation Page)
  30. Raga Mohana –  Useful for the treatment of migraine headache. ( Available for download in Carnatic Raga Appreciation Page) Suitable for singing and listening at evening (7 pm- 10 pm)
  31. Ragas Charukesi, Kalyani (all time raga),Sankarabharanam(evening raga) and Chandrakauns  is considered very helpful for heart aliments .(Raga Charukesi - Available for download in Carnatic Raga Appreciation Page . Suitable for singing and listening at all times as per Sangitha Sampradaya Pradarshini written by Subbarama Deekshithar
  32.  Raga Ananda Bhairavi- Supresses stomach pain in both men and women. Reduces kidney type problems. Controls blood pressure ( Available for download in Carnatic Raga Appreciation Page)
  33. Raga Amrutavarshini – Ushana vyathi nasini ( alleviates diseases related to heat) ( Available for download in Carnatic Raga Appreciation Page)
  34. Raga Reethigowla- A raga that bestows direction when one seeks it.( Available for download in Carnatic Raga Appreciation Page)
  35. Raga Madhyamavati – Clears paralysis, giddiness, pain in legs/hands, etc. and nervous complaints.

The power of  musical vibrations connects in some manner all things and all beings and all beings in the universe on all plants of existence.  The human body has 72,000 astral nerves (Nadis) which incessantly vibrate in a specific rhythmic pattern. Disturbance in their rhythmic vibration is the root cause of disease. The musical notes restore their normal rhythm, there by bringing about good health.

Listen with your heart and not your intellect. :)


 Therapeutic Evaluation of the Classical Ragas

Singing or engrossed listening of Raga Bhairavi has been found to uproot the diseases of kapha dosha e.g. asthma, chronic cold, cough, tuberculosis, some of the sinus and chest related problems etc. Raga Asavari is effective in eliminating the impurities of blood and related diseases. Raga Malhar pacifies anger, excessive mental excitements and mental instability. Raga Saurat and raga Jaijaivanti have also been found effective in curing mental disorders and calming the mind. Raga Hindola helps sharpening the memory and focussing mental concentration. It has been proved effective in curing liver ailments.

Apart from the classical ragas played on musical instruments, the rhythmic sounds of temple bells and shankha (conch shell or bugle) produced during devotional practices have also been found to have therapeutic applications.

A research study in Berlin University showed that the vibrations of the bugle sound could destroy bacteria and germs in the surroundings. More specifically, it was found that if the shankha is played by infusing (through the mouth) twenty-seven cubic feet of air per second, within a few minutes it will kill the bacteria in the surrounding area of twenty-two hundred square feet and inactivate those in about four-hundred square feet area further beyond.

Dr. D. Brine of Chicago had treated hundreds of cases of hearing impairments/ deficiencies by making the patients play or listen to the sounds of shankha played rhythmically at appropriate (as per the case) pitch and intensity.

MUSIC THERAPY – ” For – Brain, Body & Soul “

The entire concept of Music Therapy is experimental.  For me it is a kind of YOGA,which acts upon the human organism and awakens and develops their proper functions to extent of self-realisation.

Music therapy is a scientific method of effective cures of disease through the power of music. It restores, maintains and improves emotional, physiological and psychological well being. The articulation, pitch, tone and specific arrangement of swaras (notes) in a particular raga stimulates, alleviates and cures various ailments inducing electro magnetic change in the body.

 Music is basically a sound or nada generating particular vibrations which moves through the medium of ether present in the atmosphere and affects the human body. Music beats have a very close relationship with heart beats. Music having 70-75 beats per minute equivalent to the normal heart beat of 72 has a very soothing effect. Likewise rhythms which are slower than 72 beats per minute create a positive suspense on the mind and body. Rhythms which are faster than the heart rate excite and rejuvenate the body.

History Says:

The history of Carnatic music says that the system of Mayamalava Gowlai was introduced by the blessed musician, Purandaradasar. This raga has the potency to neutralise the toxins in our body. Practising this raga in the early hours of the morning, in the midst of nature, will enhance the strength of the vocal chords.

In India, saint musician Thyagaraja is said to have brought a dead person back to life with Bilahari raaga, and Muthuswamy Dikshitar cured stomach aches with his Navagraha Kritis. In our own times Pt Omkarnath Thakur is said to have cured Mussolini of his insomnia with a song.

Kollegal.R.Subramaniam , a great musician wrote , “According to the Sangita Sastra, the 72 Melakarta Ragas control the 72 important nerves. If one sings with devotion adhering to lakshana and sruti sudhi, the Raga Devatas shower blessings, injecting the particular nerve in the human body which shall give needed relief in due course”. By singing the 72 Melakarta ragas, stomach operation can be avoided and ailment cured.


Research  has shown us that music does have  healing effects .They stimulate the brain, ease tension and remove fatigue. The effect of Music Therapy may be immediate or slow, depending upon number of factors like the subject, his mental condition , environment and the type of Music, selected for having the desired effect. Music Therapy largely depends on individual needs and taste.  Before using music as Therapy it must be ascertained which type of music is to be used. The concept of Music Therapy is dependent on correct intonation and right use of the basic elements of music. Such as notes [swara] rhytym, volume ,beats, and piece of melody. There are countless ‘Ragas’ of course with countless characteristic peculiarities of their own. . That is why we can not establish a particular Rag for a particular disease . Different types of Ragas are applied in each different case .

What is the effect of music on Brain waves?

Music with a strong beat can stimulate brainwaves to resonate in sync with the beat, with faster beats bringing sharper concentration and more alert thinking, and a slower tempo promoting a calm and meditative state.The changes in the brain waves brings about changes in other bodily functions as well. Breathing and heart rate can be altered by music. That may be one of the reasons why listening to music promotes relaxation and prevents the effects of chronic stress.

The photo shown below was taken on 25th Aug.2005. The  quartet of one- and two-day-old babies listen to classical music as part of an experimental program. Doctors at Kosice-Saca Hospital, the first private hospital in Slovakia, believe that music therapy helps newborns reduce stress and stay healthy. Shortly after birth, infants receive five 20-minute music sessions each day. Doctors found that while the tikes are tuned in, most of them fall asleep or lie quietly.

Effect of Music Therapy on Cancer Patients

It is  my deep ambition to develop music for use in  the Pain and Palliative Wards  to get  relief from PAIN . Experts say ” music reduces pain”, and  this is  a proven statement as Music  cause the body to release endorphins (hormones that counteract pain).

A Music Therapy program has the potential to improve a cancer patient’s physical and emotional well-being by providing a distraction during treatment, thus decreasing stress, pain, and anxiety levels. Eighty percent (80%) of cancer patients will sense their stress, pain, and anxiety levels decreased because they participated in Music Therapy.

Effect of Saptaswaras and Chakra Meditation

Sapthaswara in the Human System
The physical body is ensheathed by auric field in which seven major chakras (invisible to the naked eye) are present. The seven chakras are Sahasrara, Ajna, Vishudhi, Anahatha, Manipura, Swadhistana and Mooladhara. Each chakra is associated with an endocrine gland and controls specific organs.  Each swara resonates with one major chakra. When each note is sung concentrating on the shruthi, vibration of the corresponding chakra can be experienced. According to an ancient Indian text, Swara Sastra, the seventy-two melakarta ragas (parent ragas) control the 72 important nerves in the body. It is believed that if one sings with due devotion, adhering to the raga lakshana (norms) and sruti shuddhi, (pitch purity) the raga could affect the particular nerve in the body in a favourable manner.  The vibration of the notes activate a chakra and through the nadis emanating from the chakras, the organ at the side of the disease begins the healing process.

Learning Music at a young age

Music is basically a sound or nada generating particular vibrations which moves through the medium of ether present in the atmosphere and affects the human system. So music is a power or universal energy in the form of ragas. Enhanced vibration of seven major chakras keeps the mind and body in good health. It increases concentration, memory, makes the mind disciplined and spiritual. Music can be a cure if the singer/listener choses the raga based on which chakras he wants to concentrate on. Hence while singing/listening, based on the dominant swaras in that raga, the corresponding chakras vibrate more. The singer/listener should concentrate on the chakra while singing/listening. Teaching music at the tender age has several advantages. The child is born with all the chakras. But it is the Mooladhara chakra, which starts functioning even at birth. As the child grows, the other 6 chakras start functioning one by one from Mooladhara to Sahasrara chakra and by 21 years, the development process is complete. So teaching music at a young age purifies the body, mind and soul and lays the foundation for a healthy future. Academic brilliance and morality are automatically inculcated in such children. To make our children lead a healthy life, teach them music at a tender age and make it part of curriculum. Music is also one form of meditation, which enhances the power of chakras by raising Kundalini shakthi.

Symphonies of raga have a definite soothing effect on the mind as well as on the body. Repeated listening to the particular raga being chosen for a particular disease produces a network of sound vibration. Energy from URF (universal energy field) to HEF(human energy field) transmitted by the strokes of the different tones of raga affects the CNS (Central nervous system) because the roots of the auditory nerves are more widely distributed and have more connections than any other nerves in the body.

Sapthaswaras and Saptha Chakras

The ascending and descending order in which the swaras is sung is called arohanam and avarohanam. “Sa” shadjam is the basic note of all ragas. It is not only the inter relationship between the notes that define a raga  but also the relationship of these notes to the basic note (aadhara shadjam).  A noteworthy feature is, even though the raga is built on the basis of a sequence of swaras, the drone of the tambura will be spelling out the aadhara shadja all the time, loud and clear so that the reliance is constantly maintained. So there cannot be a raga without the aadhara shadja. So this shadjam increases the vibration of the mooladhara chakra which is for survival. Kundalini shakthi – shakhti in coiled form exists at the tip of the backbone. Increased vibrations of Mooladhara chakra by repeating Shadjam raises kundalini shakthi. Once Kundalini shakthi is awakened, the energy starts moving through shushumna nadi (spinal cord) towards the sahasrara chakra where Lord Shiva resides.  For smooth passage of the shakthi, each note is sung in ascending order (as in arohanam). Then ‘Sa’ raises kundalini shakthi at mooladara chakra , Ri – back swadhishtana chakra , Ga – back manipura chakra, Ma- back anahatha chakra, Pa – back vishudhi chakra, Dha – back ajna chakra,  Ni – sahasrara chakra, Sa – cosmos.  Now Avarohanam, notes sung in descending order connects cosmos and reinforces lord shiva’s shakthi at the sahasrara chakra and the combined shiva shakti circulates through front chakras increases the divine power in corresponding chakras ie..Sa- Cosmos, Ni – sahasrara chakra, Dha- Ajna chakra, Pa – Vishudhi chakra, Ma-Anahatha chakra, Ga- manipura chakra, Ri –swadhishtana chakra, Sa – Mooladhara chakra and Ni- Mother earth. This swara garland by singing makes the body receive the energy from mother earth (ni lower octave) and Cosmos,( sa at upper octave). While sitting on the ground, energy from the mother earth reaches the mooladhara chakra increasing its vibration, which is solely for the survival.

Within the set of swaras, some play a major role and some less. There are some swaras which dominate and stay persistently -nyasa swaras. There are some ragas which have a special impact if they are initiated at a certain specific swaras. For instanse, a raga like Atana generally commences at the higher octave with the combination of the swaras – sa ri sa ni sa dha dha; or raga like anandhabhairaviin the middle octave with the swaras pa dha pa ma dha pa ma pa ma ga ri ga. or ritigowla with ni dha ma ga ri ga. Jiva swaras which lends life should be highlighted. They are the dhivata in Atana, antara gandhara in kalyani, madhyama and gandhara in hindola.

How Music Helps ?

Research has shown that music has a profound effect on body and mind

Brain waves: Music with a strong beat can stimulate brainwaves to resonate in sync with the beat, with faster beats bringing sharper concentration and more alert thinking, and a slower tempo promoting a calm and meditative state.

Breathing and heart rate: The changes in the brain waves brings about changes in other bodily functions as well. Breathing and heart rate can be altered by music. That may be one of the reasons why listening to music promotes relaxation and prevents the effects of chronic stress.

State of mind: Music is very much useful in warding off depression and anxiety. Thus, music promotes emotional well being and in maintaining positive mental health.

Is there any particular raga which has brought down the illness of a particular patient to a remarkable level? The answer is YES.

Yes. Anandabhairavi raga is said to be proved to bring down the BP level.

The real life demonstration was done by the Late Great Violin Mastreo Sri. Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan. He was once preparing to show the remedial power of Ananda Bhairavi. The great poet Kannadasan had challenged in public to test his blood pressure after hearing Ananda Bhairavi from the great musician’s violin. But Kannadasan who promised to preside over a function became ill with hypertension. Cajoled by the organisers he reluctantly came  to the function and  requested Sri. Kunnakudi Vaidynathan to render any raga, which could soothe him. The great musician played Ananda Bhairavi elaborately. At the close of the concert, Kannadasan came up to the dais and announced that he was feeling much better. Ananda Bhairavi has such soothing effect.

Mental Illness

 The power of Sankarabaranam is incredible. It cures mental illness, soothes the turbulent mind and restores peace and harmony. Sankarabaranam, if rendered with total devotion for a stipulated period, can cure mental disorders said to be beyond the scope of medical treatment. Similarly DarbariKanada and Mohanam also helps to soothe turbulent mind and migraine headaches.


 Activation Of The Manipooraka Chakra To Stimulate Secretion Of Insulin Raga Bageshree, Chandrakauns.

There is a growing awareness that ragas could be a safe alternative for many medical interventions. Music improves the immunity of the body. It has been observed that medical treatment with Music Therapy has reduced the intake of antibiotics and pain killers over a period of time.  Simple iterative musical rhythms with low pitched swaras, as in bhajans and kirtans are the time-tested sedatives.

Music will help improving human SOUL for collaborative learning for total life. SOUL will be grown by See, Observe, Understand, and Learn from human nature including sound with sense. It is necessary that a group of exponents in Indian ragas join experts in medical field to help evolving a scientific system of raga therapy for the most common illness of the modern times: Stress and Stress-Related Disorders and Cancer.

Please Refer to Bill Osmer's Report on Raga Chikitsa for more knowledge.

_____________ By Dr. Viney Pushkarna, PRANA Health


Writers:- Rajan Pushkarna, Viney Pushkarna, Pooja Pushkarna, Vibudhah Office

Vibudhah Tabloid is maintained and designed by Founder and Co-Founder of Vibudhah Organization to provide the real facts and truth of life. Our Aim is to provide you best knowledge with authentic reference.

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