ARTS FOR PEACE
PURNIMA A. DESAI
A great Indian saint and poet Tulsidas once wrote:
“Saat deep nav khand loun teen lok jag maahin
“Tulasi” shaanti samaan such, apar dusaro naahin.”
The arts play a very important role in our lives. It helps us handle any situation with calmness and clarity of thoughts, gives us the power of understanding, and strengthens our connection to nature and humanity. The arts bring out the creativity in us, help us think positively and be flexible in our attitude towards life, and above all, it helps maintain peace within ourselves and by extension, spreads peace to others.
Any form of art can help us to express our emotions with a certain passion. The human being interacts with other human beings every day and with various attitudes, ideas and interests. As a result a person comes into a state of agreement or disagreement and his emotions are affected. Happiness and sadness are emotions we feel every day and can be caused by family members, friends, coworkers, and even strangers. Staying stable, cool and calm is never easy for a person, but people who have some kind of art form present in their lives will adjust more easily to these changing emotions and challenges in life. Those who embrace the arts and make it a part of their lives eventually turn out to be happier individuals compared to those who have not tasted the nectar of fine arts.
To me, PEACE means:
To me, ART means
Like many others, the arts have inspired me to overcome the odds and handle stress and everyday challenges calmly. Here are some of my favorite quotes that continue to inspire me and may inspire many others to embrace the arts:
“Art’s purpose is to sober and quiet the mind so that it is in accord with what happens.” (John Cage)
“Art-making is a way of experiencing peace… painting can be a path of sanity; a way NOT to run from reality.” (Melanie Circle)
“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What one can be, one must be.” (Abraham Maslow)
“Peace of mind produces right values, right values produce right thoughts. Right thoughts produce right actions and right actions produce work which will be a material reflection for others to see of the serenity at the centre of it all.” (Robert M. Pirsig)
“The task of art is enormous… Art should cause violence to be set aside. And it is only art that can accomplish this.” (Leo Tolstoy)
These types of important and inspiring quotations can help an individual if he or she is willing to follow his or her heart and the advice of those who have made the arts a part of their lives.
There are various forms of art: vocal, instrumental, dance, and painting, among many others that inspire people on a day-to-day basis. Our cultural history, religions and philosophies play important part in art production and patronage in social and cultural contexts. One form of art that has had a positive influence on people for centuries and that has played a critical role in our history and culture is music. Music is the supreme yoga according to Swami Shivanand. Music is the greatest source of peace and tranquility for those who practice and experience it. Music Therapy has becomes a common practice in recent times. Music has proven to be a useful therapeutic tool for the physical and mental well being of a human being. Music is a key source of relaxation, meditation and positive energy in the mind. It is not just pleasant to the ears, it can move our souls and touch our hearts. Music surrounds us in our lives: we hear it on the radio, on television, from our cars and home stereos and in a classical concert or at temples, listening to devotional songs or bhajans expressing the joy of life and celebrating God. Music has infused a spark of the Divine in human beings. Stating the esoteric nature of music, Sufi saint and musician said: “The true harmony of music comes from the harmony of the soul. That music alone can be called real which comes from the harmony of the soul, its true source, and when it comes from there, it must appeal to all souls.” Inevitably, then, music has a very powerful therapeutic effect on the human psyche. It has always been part of our association with specific emotions, and those emotions themselves have given rise to great music.
The origins of Indian music can be traced back to the chanting of the Sama Veda nearly 4,000 years ago. The primacy of the voice, and the association of musical sound with prayer, were thus established early in the history of Indian music. Perhaps the most important aspect of sound in the Indian context is the word ‘Aum’—considered the manifested sound of the Divine, and said to hold a powerful influence over the human mind. It is believed that vibrations created by the circular structure of the syllables define the entire cosmos. The primacy of music, and sound, was acknowledged even in the West. To bring mankind in harmony with the celestial spheres music plays an important role. The similarity between this and the Indian belief in anahata nada (the unmanifest sound of the divine which exists within our own consciousness) therapy is based on the associative and cognitive powers of the mind. Sound creates certain vibrations, which are picked up and amplified by the human ear. These waves are then picked up by the sensory nerve going into the middle of the brain and redistributed throughout the neuron network to other parts of the brain to distinguish the pitch, tone, and frequency of that sound. Research has shown that it is the right side of the brain, which responds to the creative arts, including music.
Therapy based on Indian classical music transmits the spiritual energy of the music to the listeners. The philosophy of this healing technique is based on the Hindu concept of the Akasha Tattva (ether) being all pervading. Yoga nidra the ancient system of inner conscious relaxation is a typical example of the power of fusion music. Music critic, Raghava Menon explains this further in medical terms: “Heart ailments, high or low blood pressure and respiratory problems are disorders brought about by physical disharmony. Music restores harmony and thus health.”
Art brings divine happiness and divine knowledge into our lives. Whether it is music, painting, dance or another form, art can transcend the human being to a higher level and elevates us to a higher state of consciousness. Art plays a very important role in bringing harmony to families, communities, countries, and the world. With art in our lives, we not only experience beauty, we experience the ever desired peace and tranquility that helps keep us grounded and brings us closer to God.
Kala se devi shaktiyan aur shanti prapt hoti hai.