Hindu Science of Rhythm

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In Hindu Science, there are five rhythms generally derived from the study of nature.

  • Chatura means 4 it is a rhythm which contains 4beats – In Hindu Tradition, this 4 beat rhythm was created by the devas or divine men
  • Tisra– Is the rhythm of three beats – In Hindu Tradition, these 3 beat rhythms were created by the Saints
  • Khanda– 5 beat rhythm – created by the rakshasas (or demi-gods)
  • Misra – 7 Beat Rhythm – invented by the people
  • Sankrian– 9 beat rhythm- invented by the commercial class

In ancient times, healers used the drum to play an emphatic rhythm that would stimulate and arouse the patient. Once the patient was sufficiently aroused, he was compelled to purge his emotions and secrets, revealing the true nature of his complaint (illness). Similar to the Catholic concept of confession, the patient expelled the secret of his emotions, to tell the healer the secrets or blocked energy which he held onto. This allowed the healer to discover the emotional source of the physical malady and produce a rhythm to move this stagnant energy.

In India, rhythm is an important aspect of the culture. It is understood that rhythm has both a beginning and an end. For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction. Rhythm makes the world go round.

Indians are so tuned into the rhythms of life, they even have a superstition that involves yawning. When a person yawns, someone nearby will immediately clap the hands or click the fingers. This is because a yawn is considered a slowing down of the biological rhythms, so the clap or click or snap supposedly enables the biological rhythm goes back to its natural state.

Rhythm, as we have discovered is an integral part of life. Everything in life is vibration, therefore everything in life has rhythm. Next week, we begin exploring each rhythm in depth, as described by Gabrielle Roth’s concept of the 5 Rhythms. These 5 Sacred Rhythms are present in everything from our breathing to the expression of our emotions. Join me next week as we take a look.

Source:The mysticism of Sound and Music by Hazrat Inayat Khan

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