The Six Mystical Ragas of Indian Music

In addition to affecting the mood of its listeners, the vibrations of Ragas used to have their impact on material nature as well. In this context, the six primary Vedic Ragas used to be associated with mystical powers.

As I heard from music gurus of Jaipur, Raga Bhairav could create the energy to rotate a grinder called kolhu, a village machine typically driven by bulls to extract oil from seeds. Raga Hindol could induce movement in a swing, usually hung from the branch of a tree, probably by its effect on the atmosphere. Whereas Raga Deepak could ignite the wick of a lamp, Raga Malkauns could melt a stone. While Raga Megh could ‘invite’ clouds and condense water from them to bring a monsoon rain, Raga Shri could rejuvenate a dead tree to produce tiny green leaves again.

History of Indian Music tells us that two of Swami Haridas’s disciples in the 16th century, Tansen and Baiju, had developed the perfection, in terms of swara-lagaav (perfect application of notes), for such magical effects. Even to the present day, with a lot of knowledge lost, the tradition continues. We may not observe the promised magical response on the environment, but living beings still find it difficult to escape the influence of a Raga in a recital.

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