An Indian theory of music and its impact on human mind

L.S. Minhas, H.K. Rangi & R.F. Tarani
Dept. of Psychology
Punjab University, Chandigarh

Music is the finest expression of what is perhaps the most sublime and eternal in man. Its power and mystery is too well known. Indian mind has delved deep in to the essential nature and meaning of music and made contributions which are incomparable in ingenuity and depth. Names of Pt. Vishnu Digamber Ji, Pt. Onkar Nath Thakur, Bhim Sen Joshi, Pt. Ravi Shanker are too well known in this area. According to the Indian perspective music is a spiritual communion with God. It is a "search for silence"...... an eternal silence where one can hear the sound of the soundless ie. the primordial, mystical and divine "OM". And it is only when the human mind acquires the capacity to listen to the music of silence that he reaches the highest level of consciousness we call mystical.... and can partake of the vision of the final reality. Indian theory of music is inextricably intertwined with the theory of mind where mind is conceived to be essentially a "Noise" and a distraction in the pursuit of final goal of supreme mental health or self realisation. Achieving a state of mindlessness therefore is a necessary condition for the realisation of Brahama. Music helps us not only in frist removing the internal noise (anxiety, despair, anger) by creating harmony and health but also pushes us towards the final goal of eternal silence where mind ceases to exist. The educational and therapeutic implications of this perspective are far reaching and deep.


This paper was presented at the
National Conference on
Yoga and Indian Approaches to Psychology

Pondicherry, India, September 29 - October 1, 2002