What effect does your music and sound have on you??? … more on mantra
It is a good question.
The Greeks realized the potential power of music. Known for creating democracy and the republic, Greek intellectuals also understood how music could help move a society to rebel against their government. “Any musical innovation is full of danger to the whole state, and ought to be prohibited,” Plato warned. “When modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the state always change with them.”
The depth of effect and purpose behind music eludes most people and many scientists, anthropologists and musical aficionados. Some claim music’s allure is rooted in our biological evolution; the human brain learned to relate certain sounds together for survival purposes while living in the wild. Some people link music’s primacy to its relation to courtship. The sex appeal in music we’re familiar with harkens back to a time when it was an important way of selecting a fit mate. By way of more recent example, Elvis’ gyrating hips acted much like the colorful tail of a peacock. Elvis was truly the foundational change of music in the Western world. There have been others since that have also had large effect on what music is today, but none as big.
Another Western idea suggests music’s origins lie in the social. For early humans it was a tool – much like language – to bind a group together and help them thrive over those who remained alone. This group aspect of music survived well past the days of cavemen into the present, and a modern example is when live music becomes politically charged. Music with a message thrives in a live setting, for obvious reasons, and many politically conscious musicians aim to channel the heightened emotions of a concert into something productive. This states volumes for the force of music on the psyche and culture. It is clear that music is a powerful force in human society. Listening to certain music has been shown to improve mood, increase productivity, and even encourage intellectual growth, while music education can have an even greater effect. On the negative side, there are also correlations between promiscuous or violent music and destructive behavior; though some of these correlations can be attributed to a previously troubled youth, others are not so easy to dismiss. However wonderful or terrible it may be, music is a cornerstone of culture; it is a learning tool, a method of communication, and, for some, a way of life.
The Western world of science states that the different brainwave rates have been equated to different state of consciousness. There are four basic categories of brain waves:
1. Beta waves, from 14 to 20 Hz, which are found in our normal waking state of mind.
2. Alpha waves, from 8 to 13 Hz, which occur when we daydream or meditate.
3. Theta waves, from 4 to 7 Hz, which are found in states of deep meditation and sleep. Frequencies under seven hertz create a general feeling of relaxation and well being.
4. Delta waves, from 0,5 to 3 Hz, which occur in deep sleep and have been found in very profound states of meditation and healing.
This states to the obvious, that the busy, busy, busy, go, go, go, – achieve-, do, do, do, reved up mind and lifestyle of the West as well as its popular music does not propagate a healthy mind and state.
But maybe there is even more to it all…….. much more.
Those Beta-Delta range of sound frequencies are sub-stratas of what Vedic literature describes as human/ physical (vaikheri) sound. Anything beyond that cannot be heard by us, but creates frequencies anyway. “Vaikheri” is about 25% of “madhyama” range of frequencies, attributed to our astral bodies, which is about 25% of “pashyanti” range, attributed to causal bodies, which then is about 25% of “para” range of the transcended state.
When one recites mantras aloud they use its small potential power. Mantras are typically recited aloud and as we internally align with their frequencies, the recital becomes softer in amplitude, but intense in realization by subtle bodies. Unless we practice this we will only associate the power of mantra by physical vibrations.
Interestingly, any language is a range of phonetic vibrations. It has specific meaning only for someone who knows how to decode the spoken words. Mantras are not just a string of words/vibrations. They are inspired in someone’s deep state of samadhi and hence, more than the words, deeper insight and meaning is embedded in them.
Lets take it back in time and back to nature. The most beneficial frequency on earth is said to be the 6.8 hertz frequency. The Pyramid at Giza has a constant frequency of 6.8 hertz running through it and although researchers have studied it, they don’t know where it comes from or why in such an ancient structure.
The Nadha Brahmam “Ohm” or “ॐ” or in Modern terminology Schumman resonance has a close significance Aum corresponds to the strongest of the schuman resonance among all other bio magnetic fields. We can relate the seven different chakras in body to these sounds and also with Schumann Resonances of earth, ie, 7.83, 14, 20, 26, 33, 39 and 45 Hertz of earth and 7.83 hz is the strongest.
Did you know that bija mantras are frequencies?
ॐ – 7.83Hz
Gam – 14hz
Hleem – 20Hz
Hreem – 26Hz
Kleem – 33Hz
Krom – 39Hz
Sreem – 45Hz
Infact, all the vedic mantras have frequencies as it is what they are based in. Now, I am not talking about that “so spiritual” remake of mantras you find on youtube put to a Western beat of “spiritual” music with that “spiritual” incorrect pronunciation of mantra that destroys any science that mantras work upon. This is what Veda sounds like when chanted by Vedic Priests…… http://www.astrojyoti.com/vedamp3.htm. One also needs to be able to concentrate on those spiritual sounds appropriately. This means to rid oneself of the clutter in one’s mind. Only by purely focusing on the sound of the holy names can one truly feel its power, and open its potential. It does not happen instantly and one’s capacity and state or situation and surrounding environment has much to do with it.
The Sanskrit word for sound is shabda. However, the concept of shabda is far more subtle than any modern comprehension or definition of sound. The modern definition of sound is a vibration of the gross matter that is meant to be ” heard ” by the ears. We put too much emphasis on the external senses, which can only perceive the gross matter of this universe. This focus with the external senses stops one from being able to perceive the subtle. The gross matter is really just a small part of the universe and there is something subtle behind everything gross and it cannot be perceived by the external senses. This is explained in Vedic literature.
Shabda manifests at 4 different levels – para, pashyanti, madhyama and vaikhari. Of these, para is the subtlest level and vaikhari is the grossest level. The vaikhari level of a shabda manifests grossly (through vibration of gross matter) and one can hear it with normal sense organs (ears). The subtler levels of a shabda manifest as vibration of subtler levels of matter and they cannot be heard by ears.
One can chant in one of the three styles.
There are various levels of vibrations caused when one chants. Vibrations can be caused in the matter belonging to the sthula sharira (gross body), sukshma sharira (subtle body), karana sharira (causal body) or mahakarana sharira (the akasa tattva body of the entire universe). When someone chants loud, there is vaikhari (vibration in the matter belonging to the gross level of existence), but it does not mean there is no madhyama (vibrations in the matter belonging to the subtle level of existence, i.e. matter of sukshma sharira).
The four levels of body capture different levels of maya. At the subtlest level of maya, there only is one mahakarana sharira that stores all the memories, experiences and karmas of the entire universe. At a lower level of maya, there are kaarana shariras (causal bodies) of all the beings. At an even lower level of maya, there are sukshma shariras (subtle bodies) of all beings. At the lowest/grossest level of maya, there are sthula shariras (gross bodies) of all beings.
The vaikhari level of shabda is audible only for small distances. The para level of a shabda I make when I say a mantra can be perceived by a yogi who may be thousands of miles away! Thus, grosser levels are easier to hear but have space and time limitations, whereas subtler levels are more difficult to hear but have no space and time limitations.
If you chant a mantra, the result of the mantra is through the shabda brahma or sound/vibration energy. But don’t be under the false impression that we are talking about vibration of gross matter near you. This is far less significant to have any considerable impact. But at the subtlest level, the entire universe is within and you can cause vibrations on the super-subtle matter of the mahakarana sharira and THAT can have tremendous impact on the entire universe.
Veda mention the three types of mantras in the three modes: sattvika, rajasika and tamasika.
Sattvic ones gives us light, wisdom, bhakti, compassion etc for they destroy all karma, brings inner peace and helps to ensure perfection after death.
Rajasic mantras are chanted for progeny and materialistic prosperity which forces us to take rebirth to reap the fruits of our karma.
Tamasic mantras are in the modes of ignorance and generally used to propitiate tamasic/asuric and demonic energies or it can be used to harm another person or when one is performing a vicious deed.
Consonants and vowels are all endowed with very specific powers and when in particular combinations, they assume more power in relation to a particular deity. These mantras are given and heard by that particular Rishi in a particular chanda (metre). The special combinations of these vowels and/consonants form a particular bija which normally associates with the deity in full form. The power that manifests from these mantras are greater than the constituent sounds. By repetition of the mantra, the sadhaka invokes the mercy of that deity and the sadhakha overcomes maya and regains his spiritual position. This is because the mantra acts to cleanse the mind and heart of the Bhakta and thus makes him fit for serving the Lord.
Dhyana Mantras are used for meditation and helps to mentally invoke the Lords, transcendental form, His abode and His lila.
Bija Mantras are for meditation and purification of articles used in a puja
Mula Mantras are the root mantras which are the very essence of the Deity and these are normally recited along with each item of worship as a means of addressing the Lord.
Pranam Mantras are for offering obeisances to the Lord after the end of a worship.
Gayatri Mantras whether Vedic of Pancaratrika mantras, are used to worship the Lord. These invoke the Three Principles of Sambandha, Abhidheya and Prayojana.
These (Gayatri) mantras indicate a specific poetic meter (chanda) as sung in Vedic hymns. The Vedic mantra such as Brahma-Gayatri is called the ShabdaBrahma which is known to be eternal and aprakrita (spiritual) vibrations representing the Supreme Being in the form of sound. Repetitions of mantras evoke internal and external energies.
In the beginning of vedic chanting of a mantra, you will hear the Rushihi, Chandaha, Devata, Beejam, and Shakthihi being stated.
The four aspects of bona fide Vedic and Pancaratrika mantras has a Rishi as the medium as a means of communication between the Supreme and Man through whom the mantra was given to mankind, for it was first heard by that particular rishi in his mediation and his subsequent spread of the same. Chant the name of the Rishi while touching the Head and thereby, offering obeisance to that Rishi in gratitude for Him having enriched the world with this particularly inspiring mantra. As a rule, one should identify with the Rishi who preserved the mantra, the chanda etc.
This is the poetic meter of a particular mantra which are initially the three: Gayatri, Anushtup and Jagati. The Vedic meters are: Gayatri, Ushnik, Anushtup, Brihati, Pankti, Tristup, Jagati, Aticchanda, Atyasti, Atijagati and Ativirat.
The Gayatri meter has 24 syllables, Anushtup has 32, Usnik has 28 etc with each having four more syllables than the previous one. The Vedic sound of Brihati is the most expansive and therefore, it is not possible for the ordinary man to totally understand the entire technical details in this matter (SB 11.21.41)
Various Vedic meter designate the seven horses that carry the Sun-God’s chariot and these are Gayatri, Brihati, Ushnik, Jagati, Trishtup, Ansuhtup and Pankti. (SB 5.21.16).
Touch one’s mouth while mentioning that particular chanda (of the mantra).
Is the presiding Deity of a mantra or is the Deity worshipped by that mantra. There are 33,000,000 (33 million) devatas (demi-gods) and each have their own abode in the universe and each of them has a name or a mantra for which he is the presiding deity. Chanting the personal mantra invokes that Devata who responds according to the intensity of one’s meditation (I liken this to wearing a superfine Gemstone when that particular deity takes its abode in that Gemstone with such beauty and intensity of colour, like the Vajra that is present in that gemstone.)
When one chants with sincerity, that particular Deity will appear either physically or in one’s meditation to fulfil the devotees desires.
Chant the name of the Deity while touching the Heart to indicate the seat of the Devata and pray to him and implore him to accept the prayer.
Is the use, function or purpose for chanting the mantra, such as performing homa, samkara to the repetitive japa. Keep the purpose of chanting a particular mantra with fixity of mind so that there is a clear direction in what the sadhaka wants to achieve.
Psychophysiological Effects of Justly-intoned Music by Dasanudas Adhikari
Justly-intoned music uses intervals or scale-tones derived from the harmonic series. The harmonic series is found in nature in every kind of vibration, from earthquakes to X-rays, and in the sound of the human voice and musical instruments. Every vibration (except for certain special kinds of “noise”) is composed of one or more fundamental frequencies, each accompanied by a series of harmonic frequencies, or harmonics for short. These harmonics alter the sonic perception of a tone and therefore carry information about the source of the tone. For example, the harmonics give a musical tone its timbre, allowing us to tell the difference between a bassoon and a trumpet playing the same note. Similarly, differences in the relative amplitude of the harmonics distinguish the various vowel sounds of human speech.
The frequencies of the harmonics fall exactly at integral multiples of the fundamental. Thus, if one plays a note at 100 Hz (about low B flat beneath the bass clef), the harmonics will appear at precisely 200 Hz, 300 Hz and so forth.
A musical scale made up solely of intervals appearing in the harmonic series of its fundamental tone, with a preference for intervals using lower-numbered ratios, is called justly-intoned. Just intonation or just temperament was the style of tuning of all ancient music, both eastern and western. Western music adopted equal temperament, a mathematical compromise designed to facilitate modulation on keyboard instruments, around the time of Bach.
The ancients ascribed sacred significance to justly-intoned musical intervals because of their cosmic universality. The Vedic civilization, for example, was quite aware of the inner harmonic structure of timbre, and felt that the various harmonic intervals symbolized the sacred emotions of love for Godhead. Thus justly-intoned music was a central element in Vedic colleges of sacred lore. The ancient Greeks expressed similar ideas as found in the writings of Pythagoras and others.
Interestingly, over the past few years a movement back towards just temperament has begun, mostly on the basis of the more pleasurable sound of justly-intoned music. However, this music has more profound benefits that are not readily apparent to the direct observation of the senses. My own research work, performed in 1968-71, observed definite improvements in the state and performance of various living beings by exposure to justly-intoned music.
First Series of Experiments
My experimental work began by exposing simple plants to various kinds of sound vibrations and measuring the results. I worked with sprouts because they grew fast and were easy to design experiments for. I exposed various kinds of seeds to a wide variety of music available on commercial recordings and measured the germination rate, sprouting time, growth rate, rate of weight gain, chlorophyll content and time to second-stage growth (appearance of leaves). To briefly summarize, after a large number of trials I was able to determine several statistically significant trends in the data:
1. Plants exposed to early styles of music did better than those exposed to modern music or controls exposed to no music at all.
2. Plants exposed to Vedic and other justly-intoned music did better than other categories.
3. Plants exposed to Vedic devotional chanting and Gregorian chants did best of all.
I repeated the same series of trials with animals (goats and cows) and got roughly analogous results. Things got really interesting when I extended the experiments to people. My principal measurement tools were the short form of the Stanford-Benet IQ test, and the common Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory test (MMPI), both of which I had extensive experience using in advertising research focus groups. I also utilized simple task-oriented psychological tests, such as pegboard insertion and pattern-matching trials, for baseline establishment and to give the subjects something to do while listening to the music. I got very similar results to the previous trials. People who listened to modern styles of music, regardless of their musical preferences, did uniformly worse on the psychological tests than people who listened to ancient styles or Vedic justly-intoned music.
Upon reviewing the results of my experiments I was faced with a conundrum. Several of them, in fact:
1. First of all, how do plants respond to music when they have got no ears or other sense organs to recognize sound vibrations? Standard biological theory thus provided no means to explain the results of my experiments. Can music influence living beings by some means other than the directly produced sound vibrations?
2. Next, according to standard psychological theories of aesthetics, a person should derive the maximum amount of benefit from music that they subjectively like. However, I found that an individual’s subjective preferences had little or nothing to do with their responses to the music. Hence, the results I experienced could not be predicted or explained by modern psychology. I searched throughout the literature and could not find any suitable answers in conventional theories of aesthetics or the philosophy of creativity, art and music. What theory could explain the observed species-independent objective effects of justly-intoned music?
3. Finally, if modern music was proven to be less beneficial than other styles, and even less beneficial than silence, this means that modern music contains some actually harmful qualities or poisonous properties. Conversely, if ancient styles of music are proven to be more beneficial, they contain some life-nourishing ingredient. What is that ingredient and how has it become changed or polluted in modern music? Why does modern society produce and propagate such harmful music, and what can be done to rectify the situation?
Second Series of Experiments My next series of experimental trials addressed question #3 mentioned above. I began by studying the fundamentals of Vedic music with an expert teacher, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. After thoroughly understanding the fundamentals of Vedic music, I then broke the music into its structural components, isolating the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic aspects of Vedic music from each other. I made recordings of these components using various instruments. Finally, I made a new set of experimental trials on plants and people. The results of these trials showed that, while all the elements of Vedic music showed some beneficial results, the least of these were from the influence of the rhythm. A greater proportion of benefit was obtained from the melody alone, but the greatest by far was derived from the harmonic aspect of Vedic music.
I then concluded that the element of Vedic music most responsible for the beneficial effects I had observed was its harmonic structure. Someone may object that Vedic classical music has no harmonic chord structure, only a single-line melody over a sustained drone. This is true, however the harmony I refer to here is precisely the relationship between the melody note and the drone. In order to check this conclusion I made two identical series of recordings of early Western classical piano pieces, one using conventional Western equal-temperament intonation, and the other using the integral harmonic values of Vedic classical music. When used in experimental trials, the piano that was tuned to Vedic scale intervals produced almost the same beneficial result as pure Vedic classical music during the first set of trials. My theory and interpretation of the previous experimental results were thus confirmed. The main difference between the Vedic classical tuning and Western equal temperament is in the ratios used to calculate the harmonic intervals between notes. In Western music, this is a mathematical compromise developed around the time of J.S. Bach, wherein each octave is divided into 12 equal half-steps (hence the name “equal temperament”).
However, the Vedic scale follows the ancient traditional practice of deriving the scale tones from the harmonic series of the tonic or bass tone. Since the harmonic series is fundamental to the structure of every vibration in the universe (no pun intended), it is a far more universal and cosmically significant basis for calculating the intonation of musical artistic sound vibration, especially if the music is intended for use in worship or other sacred applications.
I therefore concluded that because the Vedic classical intonation is derived from a fundamental characteristic of the universe, namely the harmonic series, it automatically produces better results upon living beings than a system born in the limited mind of a human being, no matter how intelligent.
The subject of the derivation, use and significance of the scale-tones of Vedic music is extraordinarily profound, complex and meaningful. As such, it is beyond the scope of this short summary paper and is treated at some length in my papers “Sabda Brahma” and “Sapta Svara”.