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HEALING RAGAS Pandit Shashank Katti giving a sitar recital at the workshop.
HEALING RAGAS Pandit Shashank Katti giving a sitar recital at the workshop.

Every raga has its own melodic atmosphere, which affects our well being.

Every raga has its own melodic atmosphere, which affects our mood and the sense of well being. Pandit Shashank Katti

The concept of music therapy is not new to India. There are stories about Tansen lighting lamps by singing raga Deepak or bringing rains by singing raga Megh, that prove music used to control even the Panch Mahabhoot or the five elements of nature. Maybe music therapy was possible in those days by knowing the exact way of rendering a raga to cure certain diseases. But in recent times music therapy has become a new interdisciplinary field of study, application and practice being developed in a scientific way.The Bhatkhande Music Institute , Lucknow organised a fortnight long workshop of music therapy under the guidance of Pandit Shashank Katti. A practicing musician, Shashank Katti from Mumbai got attracted to this study and has been doing research and its application on the patients with the help of experienced doctors for more than seven years in Mumbai. Although he takes his therapy as a supplementary treatment he has been remarkably successful in the areas of arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, migraine, insomnia and depression.After studying different properties of the Indian classical music and different principles of Ayurveda, Katti developed his music therapy, which he calls `Sur- Sanjeevan'.

Four aspects

He says it is built on four major aspects - modern medical inventions as described in the experiment about neuro-hormonal secretions, traditions and application of Indian classical music, mood elevation theory and fundamental principles of Ayurveda. Ragas have strict rules and regulations about their swaras, ascending and descending order (aaroha-avaroh), time theory, etc. Hence every raga, he says, "Has its own melodic atmosphere, which affects our mood and the sense of well being."The workshop was conducted for patients of arthritis, hypertention, diabetes, asthma, migraine and depression. Katti would do the naadi-pariksha (feeling the pulse rate of the patient) to diagnose firstly the imbalance in the three basic doshas categorised as vata, pitta and kaph (air, bile and phlegm) in Ayurveda.Matching the time of these, a particular raga was selected and applied as music therapy. Patient was asked to listen to the music in a relaxed mood sitting comfortably or lying down. The treatment normally goes on for 30 days for duration of 20-25 minutes a day. Results are observed after 4-5 weeks. It is observed that modification like stressing a particular note in a raga is required to get the required result.To conclude the function, Katti was requested to play the sitar and he obliged with a meditative alap in raga Yaman. As a prologue to his reposeful alap-jod and jhala he said that the time of raga Yaman covers also the time of all the three doshas vata, pitta and kaph hence this raga is like a general tonic.MANJARI SINHA


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