COSTA MESA, CA - Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamiji, head of the Avadhoota Datta Peetham Ashram in Mysore, on May 1 performed at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, putting his vast base of devotees in a meditative and calm mood.
Surrounded by four musicians on percussion and string, all dressed identically in blue and white, Swamiji
playing on his
uniquely made synthesizer/keyboard squeezed in melodies based on the Carnatic pantheon and emanated sounds that seemed to cover the gamut: a church organ, the South East Asian Zyther, Peruvian panpipes and the jal tarang.
It was harmony accompanied by short bursts of rhythm.
All around the hall for over an hour and a half, devotees slid down their seats and with closed eyes seemed to imbibe the sounds into their being, which is the essential aim of Swamiji's
music, which has drawn the interest of musicians worldwide, especially the famed ones in India, is based on ragas that relate to the panchabhootas - five elements - and the belief that vibrations in music create corresponding movement in the physical and subtle bodies leaving the individual with a sense of well-being.
That music can do more than that and actually heal has been a central thesis, and in attendance to hear Swamiji
were health care givers who are using and also plan to explore his
work and teachings.
How music can mend was briefly explained by organizers at the top of the concert billed as "Nada Bindu Sagara" where a raga, through vibrations can not only harmonize an element and chakra but goes beyond and reaches out to the Nada (the primordial sound) to stimulate and heal.
While devotees already know this, everyone else was urged not to "intellectualize" and "listen to the gaps in between.
Indeed, in the raga yogini which has been studied has having effects on the heart and lower back and is connected to the Muladhara chakra in the Sagittarius sign, waves of the same note was followed by momentary silence making it all the more evocative.
further pointed to the divinity of the music by saying "I not playing the instrument, it is Datta (Lord Dattatreya) playing.
During the 90 minute concert, he
made it clear that the music had to be listened to on an ongoing basis for it to make a difference and if ill, it was to be accompanied by a visit to the doctor, medicine and a focused sankalpa.
The "Universal Healing" concert seemed just that with its broad appeal across faiths with Sikh attendees, a mainstream audience and Islamic leaders.
The O.C. Performing Arts event was presented by YogaTunes.
Southern California visit gave a concert at the Chinmaya Mission in Tustin where he
also vocalized his
music and performed a puja the Sanatana Dharma Temple