[Note Dec 2016: This is an old post. If you would like the hear the current expression of this, see the music section to download meditation albums and look at Ragas on saxophone for meditation, enlightenment and Self Realization / liberation.
See Prasant’s YouTube Channel with several raga meditations and contemplations for establishing yourself in the Source. Also see the Satsang page.]
I have received several e-mails and questions in general about this, so I thought I would just explain for everyone.
Earlier this year, I decided to try something a bit different from my usual concert format as an experiment.
I had studied a few different types of healing techniques under Guruji Sri Yogacharya Arun Kumarji in India some years back and had been practicing it ever since, though I must admit, not as regularly as I should have. It was quite by chance that I came into this study, but that is a story for another time. During my last visit, Guruji expressed that I should do more with combining this healing with music. At that time, I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it, or whether I should. After all, Guruji had cured patients of all kinds of major chronic illnesses, but for me to claim anything myself would be a bit much. My mother is also an expert in these methods and has helped many.
That changed later, when I reminded myself that trying to do a little extra good in the world when you can — even just a little, is better than not doing it at all. Music can be healing in nature even without imposing any specific healing techniques upon it. With the additional intent and technique of healing added, the music would act more as a conduit or path for the listener to engage further. It took me some time to put worries aside about what others may think and just do it. I feel music is a special source of joy and strength for myself, but it is equally important to share that with others. The meditative and healing aspect of music is one facet that draws people who seek nourishment from music. By developing a combination of energy healing with music that is already innately meditative, something potentially stronger or at least more helpful, could be formed.
The method of healing used cleanses all the major and minor chakras in the body. This is combined with rendering of various ragas to coincide with the healing process. In order to be able to focus on this process, while allowing for a relaxing and uninterrupted experience for listeners, I decided that the format should be simply solo with no accompaniment and no specific tala (time meter). I resolved to record and release a series of albums (the first of which will be released soon) to share this music with the world.
A little time passed and the thought dawned on me to also do this in person, live. I told my friend and creator of the Sangati Center, Gautam, about my idea over dinner one day. He readily agreed out of his openness to new ideas, though I’m sure he wondered what I would finally do.
I planned for a live session to last approximately one hour. We had done minimal publicity for the event and I had no idea what to expect. There was a small group of people at the start, which was encouraging. I gave a brief introduction of what I was about to do and explained that it wasn’t a regular Carnatic concert, but more of a session. It’s best for people to relax and just be themselves, if one doesn’t want to meditate or close their eyes, it’s ok.
I closed my eyes and began. Some ragas were planned, and others chosen on the fly as the session continued. Various patterns emerged including some thanam-like phrases and some like swara improvisations in addition to general raga elaborations. When I opened my eyes it had been about 1 hour and 15 minutes and to my surprise, the audience had multiplied. Most still had their eyes closed, while a good number of people were staring right at me, wondering what I would do next. After instructing people that it the session was over and everyone slowly stood up, I got a chance to talk to some people. I found out that many didn’t know it would be a “session” and were expecting a regular concert, but still stayed. That was a good sign.
It was overall a good experience and Gautam, the director of the Sangati Center, and I have agreed to do schedule this monthly in addition to my regular Carnatic concerts. I would encourage you to check out this other type of music I am doing. If you have heard any of the raga elaborations in my Carnatic concerts and CD’s, it wont be a big departure for you. Here is an example similar to what you will hear on the CD.
Bhairavi Ragam mp3
I hope that answers your questions, and if you have any others, just send me an e-mail or leave a comment. prasant at prasantmusic dot com.
Those of you who are listeners of VidyA and my Carnatic concerts, not to worry. This is in addition and my main vocation will still be behind those endeavors.
Who knows, at the very least, it is a great way to help your baby (or you) enjoy a relaxing moment — maybe a little afternoon nap?
Please keep an eye on this blog and my calendar for future dates and information on the CD releases.
P.S. VidyA at San Jose Jazz, Yoshi’s and SFJazz this summer!