Maharishi Mahesh Yogi called 1987 the "Year of World Peace" and "the Thirteenth Year of the Age of Enlightenment." To acknowledge its importance with an appropriate finale, he initiated the "Festival of Music for World Peace" in November and December, featuring the melodies of the Gandharva Veda (a subordinate section of the Atharva Veda). Six groups of seven accomplished musicians each toured and performed in 108 cities across the U.S. and Canada while similar concerts were occurring simultaneously on other continents.

This unique music was intended to not only create beauty in sound but also establish "peace on earth" by harmonizing dissonant planetary and human forces.

"Gandharvas" are "celestial musicians." The Vedas depict them variously as tall and handsome, small and elfish or even beast-like. According to Benjamin Walker, author of Hindu World, these gandharvas are the guardians of the knowledge of the "mysteries of medicine, healing and the heavenly bodies."

Maharishi claims that the gandharvas' special healing knowledge was part and parcel of their music. Hence, his interest in reviving the ancient, almost-lost art form of "gandharva music." In a Transcendental Meditation (TM) press release, Taansen Sumeru describes Maharishi's interpretation of the Gandharva Veda and its music as "a branch of Ayurveda."

"It is deeply nourishing to the whole physiology," Sumeru further asserts. "It promotes health and youthfulness. At the same rime, it benefits society by neutralizing stress and tension in the atmosphere."

Maharishi's thinking here is that since all of creation is simply a combination of vibration and sound frequency, sound itself can be used as a tool to effect positive change – even establish world peace. First, according to Maharishi, the music would create a sense of harmony in the individual listener, then in the collective consciousness of many listeners and finally – because all of creation is unified in oneness – in the earth's atmosphere itself.

As for other concerns like physical health, this magic music is said to be able to handle these as well. Prof. Debu Chaudhary of Delhi University asserts that Raga Bhairavi can cure a high fever; Gaura Saranga, Durga and Bihaga Ragas can help a heart patient and Raga Durgawati is good for high blood pressure.

Article copyright Himalayan Academy.