Healing through Nada Yoga

Indian classical music creating waves in the west is nothing new. Besides many western musicians are known to have got inspired from Indian classical music from maestros in India. Many westerners have come to learn the nuances of Indian classical music. On the one hand, the music tastes of younger Indians are shifting towards western music, while on the other the Indian diaspora as well as westerners are increasingly becoming interested in Indian classical music. It’s this shift that has given rise to a number of interesting trends. For instance Shivam Rath from Australia .  Shivam Rath is using Nada Yoga to heal people and spreading the message of peace and harmony through his music.

So what brought him to India? “My interest in yoga brought me to India. I went to yoga ashrams in Bihar. I also had another purpose of coming to India. My father told me to visit India as he had learned tabla for two years in banaras from Pt. Chhote Lal Misra, world renowned table maestro of Banaras gharana. My father was very serious about learning tabla and could speak Hindi and Sanskrit. That’s the reason I received the my name “ Shivam”. I met Pt Mishra and was very impressed by his character. I was eager to learn tabla and to my delight he agreed to teach me. It was a big gift for me! I was basically a guitar player and singer-songwriter. So I wanted to learn Indian stringed instrument as well. Pt Mishra recommended me to go to Pt. Shivnath Bhattacharya ,maestro of slide guitar. So, I was learning tabla and the slide guitar at the same time.   Once I was travelling from Kolkata and got stuck up in the airport due to some visa problems. I was not allowed to leave the country for three weeks. I wanted to utilize this time learning. I was recommended to Pt Debashish Bhattacharya renowned Indian slide guitar player from kolkata. So I started learning from him."

Nada Yoga means "union through sound," the ancient spiritual art and science of inner transformation through sound and tone. Meditation on sound is one universal path to Self Realization. Humans in ancient societies used music and sound as a means to attain spiritual healing. They used music and sound to also heal the body of certain mental and physical illnesses. As Shivam feels, “I believe music has the power to heal not just physically but heal our emotions. It can heal our spirits and uplift us on many levels, many layers like the koshana of the body. I believe that music, sound and vibration is some of the most powerful energy we can use to connect to each other and harmonize with each other.”

Indian Classical Music is revered for being both difficult to learn and practice. How much challenging was it for Shivam? Shivam says, “When I began learning the music, I never really thought how difficult it was.  I never thought how much time and energy and sacrifice it would take. Just I treated it like a saadhana like a meditation.  I just enjoyed every moment of the practice.”

When asked to share his experiences in learning as well as practicing this art, Shivam says, “In Indian classical music there is still a lot of ego involved. Just as the saying goes- the higher you climb, the easy you fall. It’s the same process.  Many people in the spiritual field develop very big ego without realizing it.  Same goes in the case of yoga. In the west, many people practice yoga for the body. Many great maestros are not necessarily a spiritual person.  It’s a very difficult balance to find the devotion in the practice. That’s the challenge that is perpetual. It’s a challenge that will always be.  You have to balance heart with the mind.”

Shivam is collaborating with Japanese vocalist Mico Sundari .Shivam elaborates “We are trying to harmonize our music together for the purpose of sharing and healing and to show people in the world how much music can open up our hearts. It’s a direct connection between heart to heart. We can use music to invoke that connection and also an offering towards the divine and spiritual connection.”
Shivam adds, “It’s a very simple and powerful tool of connecting emotion and opening hearts . The more we can open our selves and allow music to be a pure expression of  our hearts , inherent knowledge and truth , more humanity can come together and find peace and harmony with each other. I believe that music is such a deep refection of who we are. In some of our future projects we hope to share not only Indian classical music but music of all different cultures that blending and harmony of that purity of music between the different cultures. Its sharing of different music and ideas.”

His word of advice for aspiring musicians? “Treat the music with devotion. Treat it as a saadhana . Treat it as a privilege because it is a great form of knowledge." signs off Shivam.

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