Energy is a unique expression of Nature – it can neither be created nor destroyed, but it can be converted from one form to another. Amongst all forms of energy, the capacity of sound energy to evoke emotions has been investigated by scientists,1 and it was common knowledge in ancient cultures.2
In the USA, healing by use of sound was pioneered in the late 1950s.3 Since human emotions are defined in Latin as ‘energy in motion’, and music is sound energy, I’ve wondered for quite some time if sound energy, as music, can be used to bring about positive and lasting changes in our bothersome emotions.
When an opportunity arose to interview a leading clinician-scholar and musician, Dr Rajan Sankaran, I had several questions on this subject, and his answers (excerpts below) were quite illuminating.
VATSALA SPERLING (VS): Music is sound energy. Emotions have energy. Can music be used for healing our emotional state?
RAJAN SANKARAN (RS): Yes. Can a random selection of music help, or is there a possibility of matching a person’s emotional state with music and have them listen to specific music that might lead to a therapeutic experience? To answer this question, I looked into like cures like, a principle based on matching of frequencies. Ill-matched frequencies lead to disharmony. Well-matched frequencies express harmony. My research of over three decades is based on the paradigm that within us, a tune is playing that I have named as “the other song.” This tune, an energy pattern that we borrow from the natural world, is the loudest when we are unwell. When we find an energy pattern that is a match for the ‘other song’ playing within us, we experience healing, and in the current context, I am exploring Hindustani classical music ragas as a source of matching energy patterns.
VS: What are ragas? How to find an energy pattern from the ragas that matches our emotional state?
RS: A raga is an energetic expression of a certain musical note in a certain harmonic pattern. Differences in patterns differentiate one raga from the other. Based on my research,4 I am proposing that a specific type of person must have an affinity for a specific type of raga. When a raga is selected per the principle, like cures like, this specific raga is able to elicit a healing response. You can find matching ragas in the Raga App and hear them using your phone.
VS: How did you create a Raga App?
RS: During the pandemic lockdown, for 26 days, I gathered volunteers from around the world online and sang to them a raga each day. I sang solo at a particular speed or tempo with just one string instrument. The listeners wrote down their responses at the physical, emotional, imagery and sensation levels, and if they experienced speed, vibration, thermal sensitivity, perception of colours, etc. The common theme emerging from these responses was considered as the essence of the raga. The result of this research is distilled in my Raga App.
VS: Please describe your Raga App.
RS: The Raga App includes 26 of the most well-known ragas. Simple questions spread over a few frames allow you to identify your emotions and choose a raga that matches your emotional state. You listen to the raga singing for the next uninterrupted fifteen minutes or so, you get to rate it and click on the effect the raga has on you. You can also send detailed feedback to the email address provided with the App.
VS: What feedback has come in so far?
RS: Some people had brief relief, but many others experienced lasting improvement and deeper healing after listening to ragas that matched their emotional state.
VS: What is coming next?
RS: My research team is trying to find ragas specific for various disease states. Ragas, as pure music, do not have coherent words. They do not engage the mind in deciphering any meaning. Mind is free to experience the sound of the ragas as an energy signature. When chosen per like cures like, the energy signature of the raga can mirror the innate energy pattern of an individual and initiate healing.
If we see disease and healing as a dynamic process, then freedom from disease must come from deploying energy as a healing agent. Energy cannot have a better representation than music. Music cannot have a better representation than a raga, which is pure energy. Energy medicine is the future of medicine, and raga therapy is a step in that direction.
The Raga App is free for download. For Android phones and iOS, play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.unthinkable.raga&hl=en_IN&gl=US. For Apple phones: apps.apple.com/us/app/raga-therapy/id1553586373.
Dr Rajan Sankaran is a practitioner, research scientist, teacher and author of Homoeopathy System of Medicine. He lives and practices in Juhu area of Mumbai, India. Websites: www.theothersong.com & www.sankaransclinic.com. Email: email@example.com.
Dr Vatsala Sperling’s book The Ayurvedic Reset Diet was reviewed in New Dawn 188.
2. hampi.in/vittala-temple; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airavatesvara_Temple; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singing_Stones_of_Brittany; svaram.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/BRO-Stones-low.pdf; Clarke J, Unexplained!: 347 strange sightings, incredible occurrences and puzzling physical phenomena. Visible Ink, 1993.
3. Psychiatric music therapy in the community: The legacy of Florence Tyson. Barcelona Publishers, 2004.
4. Sankaran, R. The substance of Homeopathy. Homeopathic Medical Publishers, India, 2004.
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