Jeevan Vigyan - 8: Lesson-3 : Sound—A Scientfic View

Published: 21.09.2018

Sound is an integral part of our life. Speech, which is one of the forms of sound, is the basis of all important human relationships. If we speak sweetly, we make friends. If we speak rudely, we make foes. Here is a story that tells you how important it is to weigh your words before you speak.

Once a king went on a hunting expedition. On his way he came across a man who was addressing a small group of people. He had an authoritative tone and in order to impress the people he started talking in a pompous manner. "I am a great scholar. Even the king is powerless before me". His assertions enraged the king. He ordered his courtiers to arrest the arrogant man and present him in the court the next day. When the man was presented before the king, he sentenced him to death.

The appointed hour came and the man was once again brought to the court. The king spoke to him thus: "Oh wretched man! I grant you one last wish before you are hanged. Speak up. I will fulfil your wish." He was a clever man. By now he had come to know the reason of his punishment. Hence he said, "The Merciful One! I have seen the power of your anger. Kindly now, let me have a glimpse of your merciful self."

The prisoner's presence of mind and humility pleased the king. He ordered his release and rewarded him with several gifts.

The story is an example of the power of speech. The unwise and boastful words of the man condemned him to death. Where as, modesty, humility and ready-wit won him princely pomp and grandeur.

MUSIC is another form of sound. Musical compositions influence the listeners in various ways. The story of Ustad Tansen and Baiju Bawara is well known. It is said that once Tansen sang Deepak raag miraculously lit up all the lamps in the royal palace. Moreover, it is believed that the recital of this raag generates so much heat that some one else has to sing raag Megh Malhar to counter its effect, particularly on the singer's body. Hence, Baiju Bawara sang raag Megh Malhar and brought torrential rains and thus cooled the atmosphere all around.

Indian literature is full of several stories that talk about the spell cast by music on deer and other animals. It is said that deer gets spell bound with the sound of music and thus falls a prey to the arrows of a hunter. The great poet, Rahim has also expressed same sentiments in a couplet Rahim says, "A deer happily gives away his life and a rich man all his riches to a mere tune. Those who do not succumb to the influence of music are worse than animals."

Indian Music comprises of several melodies called raags. Through long experience, over the centuries, the master musicians have come to the conclusion that different raags have different kind of effect on the listener. They have also evolved different raags for different hours of the day and different seasons of the year. For instance, the hour of dawn is considered to be the hour devoted to the worship of god. Hence, raag Bhairavi is sung or played early morning for it inspires devotional feelings in the listener.

Armed forces use code words in their operations. Different code words are assigned to different units. Orders are passed to the units through those code word so that the enemy cannot understand the meaning of the messages.

Ancient Indian sages and thinkers too composed different mantras to invoke different gods and goddesses. Each deity was assigned a particular set of mantras. So, whenever a devotee wanted a particular deity to preside over a special function, he chanted the relevant mantras to invoke that deity. These sages invoked gods and goddesses to procure boons and blessings from them. These boons entailed great powers. In turn the sages used these boons for the well being of the society. Moreover, they too blessed their devotees with some such boons.

It is clear that whether it is general conversation, rendering of a musical composition, chanting of mantras or uttering of code words, the sound produced thus influences gods and men in general in some form or the other.

When we speak or sing the sound waves travel up and down. When a musical composition is played or sung, then sound of the instrument or the voice of the singer modulates from low to high pitch and vice-versa. The beat also changes according to the modulation in the sound. Similarly, there is a method in the chanting of mantras and prayers also. Ancient Indian scholars have done lot of research to find the principle underlying this rise and fall in the sound waves. They have also specified in details as to which particular sound originates from which particular point of our vocal chords. By applying the same principle they have been able to explain why different sound waves produce different effects on human mind.

You have already learnt in the previous class that there are three levels of sound waves. They are:

  1. Ultrasonic waves,
  2. Supersonic waves,
  3. Sonic waves.

Sound can be further classified into 3 categories on the basis of its origin and form.

  1. Sound produced by animate objects (living beings). Sound created by human, animal, bird and insect voices fall into this category.
  2. Sound produced by inanimate objects; e.g., noise created by a running train or a speeding aeroplane, explosion of crackers and fire-alarms etc.
  3. Sound created by mixed sources: e.g., the roaring of clouds, stormy-winds passing through the trees etc.

We have discussed this also in the previous class.


Scientists have done lot of research on various aspects of sound. About half a century ago gramophone was used to play the records of eminent composers and singers. Then came the radio. We could listen to music, news, entertainment programmes and discussions on various topics sitting at home. Transistor was an improvement on radio for it could be carried wherever we went.

Today is the age of television, which gives us the picture along with sound. The invention of telephone and wireless is another major breakthrough in the field of sound. It has enabled us to talk to our dear ones from long distances. It has brought the world much closer.

Now-a-days different sounds are used on different occasions. Soft tunes are played on formal occasions. Whereas on marriages and other festivals we sing joyous songs for they fill our heart with happiness.

At times people who live in noisy cities lose their mental calm. They suffer from hypertension. On the other hand soft and melodious sounds sooth our mind and we acquire a pleasant disposition.


We have revised this exercise in the previous classes. It activates our brain cells and sharpens our memory. It also restrains our thought process.

THE ASANA (Specified Sedentary Position)

For making optimum use of Mahaprana dhvani, one must assume the sedentary position (asana) of Vajrasana or Padmasana or Sukhasana. While in this position, the spinal cord, neck and head must be kept straight and erect. The entire body must become totally motionless. Lips should be closed together. Breathing is to be done through the nose slowly.


One must concentrate the mind fully on the particular point in the human throat from where the voice originates. A deep inhalation may be retained for a while. After a few

moments, breath is to be exhaled or released gently through the nose, creating the humming sound of drones and bees. While releasing the breath, the droning noise should slow down gradually to the level of total silence. Take a fresh breath now. Create the Mahaprana dhvani again. Repeat it nine times.

It is essential to carry out Mahaprana dhvani prior to Preksha dhyan. However, in case it is desired only for the sake of practice. Mahaprana dhvani can be repeated twenty one times.


    1. What condemned the prisoner to death and what obtained him pardon? Explain.
    2. How does music effect people and atmosphere? Explain with example.
    3. Why did ancient sages created so many different mantras?
    4. Describe the process followed to carry out the Mahaprana dhvani.
Title: Jeevan Vigyan - 8

Muni Kishan lal

Dr. Shiv Kumar Sharma

Shubh Karan Surana

Editor: Muni Dhamendra Kumar
Publisher: Jeevan Vigyan Academy
Digital Publishing:
Amit Kumar Jain

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anger
  2. Asana
  3. Body
  4. Brain
  5. Dhvani
  6. Dhyan
  7. Mahaprana
  8. Mahaprana Dhvani
  9. Padmasana
  10. Preksha
  11. Preksha Dhyan
  12. Raag
  13. Vajrasana
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