The idea of healing through music really belongs to the initial
stage of developing through the art of music. The end of this
is attaining through music, or as it is called in the Vedanta,
In the first place, if we saw what was at the back of all
the medicines which are used for healing purposes, if we ask
what it is in them that heals, we shall find that it is the
different elements which constitute our physical being. The
same elements are present in those medicines, and that which
is lacking in us is taken from them, or the effect which should
be produced in our body is produced by them. The vibration which
is necessary for our health is created in the body by their
power. The rhythm which is necessary for our cure is brought
about by bringing the circulation of the blood into a certain
rhythm and speed.
By this we learn that health is a condition of perfect rhythm
and tone. And what is music? music is rhythm and tone. When
the health is out of order, it means the music is out of order.
Therefore, when the music is not right in us the help of harmony
and rhythm is very necessary to bring us into a state of harmony
and rhythm. This way of healing can be studied and understood
by studying the music of one's own life, by studying the rhythm
of the pulse, the rhythm of the beating of the heart and of
the head. Physicians who are sensitive to the rhythm determine
the condition of the patient by examining the rhythm of the
pulse, the beating of the heart, the rhythm of the circulation
of the blood. And to find the real complaint a physician, with
all his material knowledge, must depend upon his intuition and
upon the use of his musical qualities.
In ancient times, and even now in the East, we find two principal
schools of medicine. One which came from the ancient Greek school
through Persia, the other which came from the Vedanta and is
founded on mysticism. And what is mysticism? It is the law of
Good health is induced by understanding the nature of a complaint
through the rhythm and tone that can be perceived in the human
body, and by regulating the body through rhythms and tones according
to one's understanding of their proportions.
Besides this there is another way of looking at it. Every
illness apparently has its special reason, but in reality all
illnesses come from one reason, from one cause, from one condition.
That is the absence of life, the lack of life. Life is health.
Its absence is illness, which culminates in what we call death.
Life in its physical form, as perceived in the physical spheres,
is called Prana in Sanskrit. This life is given by food or medicine,
or the body is prepared by a certain food or medicine to be
able to breathe in this life itself, in order that it may be
in better health or may experience perfect health. But this
Prana, which also means breath, the central breath, attracts
from space all the different elements which are there, as the
herbs and plants and flowers and fruits all attract from space
the same element which they represent. All these elements are
attracted by the breath. Therefore, the mystics, whether from
Greece, Persia, or India, have always taken as their basis of
spiritual evolution the culture of breath, the science of breath.
Even now you will see in the East healers who magnetize water
or food or the atmosphere. What is the secret of their magnetism?
It is their breath. It is the influence of their breath upon
water or food.
The religious people of India have a ceremony where something
like a sacrament is given by a holy person to someone who is
suffering, and it is very helpful. Their power of breath is
so balanced, so purified and developed, that it attracts all
elements all that one can get from an herb, a flower, or fruit
and even more. Therefore, their breath can achieve a thousand
times more than what medicine can do. There are healers in the
East who whisper some spiritual words, but what is whispering?
It is breath again: breath with words directed through it.
There was a physician in Delhi who mostly used this kind
of healing power with his patients, and one day a skeptical
friend came to consult with him. The physician whispered a few
sacred words before the patient and said, 'Now you may go.'
This skeptical man said he could not understand how such a method
could have any effect on his health. The physician then did
something unusual for him: he offended the man, by speaking
very harshly to him. The man became very angry and said to him,
'How can you, a physician, say such words to me?' The physician
said, 'I hardly ever do such a thing, and I only did it to prove
something to you. If my words can make you angry and ill, they
can also cure you. If words can make one ill and upset, they
also have the power to harmonize a patient and to put him into
a good condition.'
What is music? According to the ancient Indian thinkers,
there are three aspects of music: singing, playing and dancing.
All three represent rhythm, and all three represent tone in
some form or other. And what is the effect of music? The effect
of music is to regulate the rhythm of another person, and to
tune a person to the music that is being performed.
What secret is there in music which attracts all those who
listen to it? It is the rhythm which is being created. It is
the tone of that music which tunes a soul and raises it above
depression and despair of everyday life in this world. And if
one knew what rhythm was needed for a particular individual
in his trouble and despair, what tone was needed, and to what
pitch that person's soul should be raised, one would then be
able to heal him with music.
One might ask why it is, if music is rhythm, that so often
musicians are temperamental and easily disturbed. But is it
not beautiful to have a little temperament? Life is unmusical
when there is no temperament. A person who does not get angry
once in a while does not live. It is human to have all kinds
of minor faults, the joy is in overcoming these faults. Music
is not all sadness. There are higher octaves and lower octaves.
Music is all, music takes in all. That is why music is even
greater than heaven.
There was a time in India when music was much used for healing.
It was used as healing for the mind, for the character and for
the soul, because it is health of the soul that brings health
to the physical body. But healing of the physical body does
not always help the soul. That is why the material medical science,
though it can do good for some time, does not entirely suffice
the need of the patient. I do not mean by this that outward
treatment is useless. There is nothing in this world which is
useless, if we only knew how to make use of it. All things in
this world are needed, all things have their benefit and use,
if we only know how to use them properly. But if a cure is brought
about outwardly, while inwardly the illness remains, sooner
or later the illness which is buried in the body will come out
and show itself.
Once I met a lady who said she had been to many physicians
for the complaint of neuritis. She was temporarily cured but
it always came back, and she asked me for something that would
help her. I said to her, 'Is there anyone in the world whom
you dislike, whom you hate, or whose action is troubling your
mind?' She said, 'Yes, there are many people whom I dislike,
and especially there is one person whom I cannot forgive.' 'Well,'
I said, 'that is the root of the disease. Outwardly it is a
pain of the body. Inwardly it is rooted in the heart.
Often the cause of illness is within. Although, no doubt,
many things are caused outwardly. No single rule will cover
everything. Undoubtedly, as things have changed in the world
and materialism has spread throughout the world, this has influenced
things, not only in the West but in the East also. The use of
music for spiritual attainment and healing of the soul, which
was prevalent in ancient times, is not found to the same extent
now. Music has been made a pastime, the means of forgetting
God instead of realizing God. And it is the use one makes of
things which constitutes their fault or virtue.
Still, the remembrance of the ancient use of music remains
among the poor in India. There are healers there, who have a
particular instrument of healing on which they play. And there
are people who go to them for healing. And by playing that instrument
they arouse some special feeling which had become cold and that
deep feeling which was buried begins to come out. It is really
the old way of psychoanalysis. Music helps that patient to express
in full the hidden influence which was there. In this way many
people are helped without going to a physician. But it is no
doubt a crude way of healing.
Once the Maharaja of Baroda, on hearing that healing could
be accomplished through music, introduced concerts in certain
hospitals, and the amusing result was that all those who were
suffering began to cry out, 'For God's sake, keep quiet! Go
away!' that was not the music to soothe them. It only made them
suffer more. It was like giving a stone for bread.
In order to give healing through music one must study what
is needed, what is wanted. In the first place one must study
what the complaint is. What elements are lacking, what is its
symbolical meaning, what mental attitude is behind the illness.
Then after a close study, one can do a great deal of good to
the patient with the help of music.
Even if music were not used as a prescription, particularly
intended for a certain illness, the power of that illness, which
has its abode in the heart of man, can still be reduced by lifting
up his heart, by changing his thought. What brings illness is
the thought of illness rather than the illness itself. The existence
of illness in the body may be called a shadow of the true illness
which is held by man in his mind. By the power of music the
mind may become exalted so that it rises above the thought of
illness. Then the illness is forgotten., and you will ask, 'What
kind of music can heal man? Is it singing or playing, or music
for dancing?' Singing is the most powerful, for singing is living,
it is Prana. The voice is life itself. No doubt it is also life
which is working through an instrument by the touch. But in
singing it is the direct life, the breath touching the heart
of the listener. However, behind this voice there must be a
heart charged like a battery with what is needed. And with what
is it charged? With what we call love and sympathy, the greatest
power there is.
A person who is material, who is struggling for himself from
morning till evening, who is seeking his own benefit, who is
in trouble, or bitter, who is in the midst of conflict, cannot
heal. The healer must be free: free to sympathize, free to love
his fellow man even more than himself.
What teaches this love? Where can one learn it? Where can
one get it? The key to this love element is God. And when we
look at life today with all its progress, what is lacking? It
is God. God is the key to that unlimited store of love which
is in the heart of man.
Once a very godly and good natured housemaid was not able
to answer a knock at the door as quickly as it should have been
answered and the lady visitor who was waiting at the door became
very impatient and spoke crossly to her. When asked what had
happened, the maid was not upset at all. She smiled and said,
'Yes, that lady was very cross with me.' And when she was asked
if she knew what was the matter with the lady and what made
her cross, the maid with perfect innocence replied, 'The reason?
There was no God!' A beautiful answer. Where God is lacking
there is no love. Wherever there is love, there is God. If we
interpret rightly, what causes pain and suffering is the lack
of life. What is life? It is love. And what is love? It is God.
What every individual needs, what the world needs, is God. All
we need to attain, all we need to gain, to bless our lives by
music, by harmony, by love, by the science of right tuning,
by a life of good, is God. This is the central theme of all