Research at SAFIC

The Healing Power Of Chandas

Aim of the Study

To understand the neuroscientific basis as well as healing benefits of Sanskrit meters (Chandas) with a focus on their effect on children with learning disabilities.

Objectives

  1. To understand the effect of recitation of various Chandas (meters) in Sanskrit poetry on the brain by analyzing them neuroscientifically through electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques.
  2. To select specific Chandas repertoires from the ones that have been analyzed neuroscientifically and to match the specific challenges of children having learning disabilities such as difficulties in attention, memory, gross and fine motor skills, visuo-motor skills, auditory and visual processing.
  3. To evaluate the effects of the Chandas used as an intervention technique for children having learning disabilities.

Research Hypothesis

Using neuroimaging techniques in our project we can hope to find out areas of activation in the brain arising as a result of the recitation of some popular Chandas used in Sanskrit poetry, and select a Chandas repertoire whose recitation has an effect on the specific area of the brain associated with learning disabilities.

Based on current day research conducted in parallel streams such as that of music therapy, Vedic chanting and pranayama neurophysiology we can hypothesize that the Sanskrit meters i.e. Chandas will have beneficial effects on the target audience of this project since they have embedded in them the power of rhythms and pranayama (breathing patterns).

Significance of the Study

It attempts to rediscover the scientific nature and healing benefits of the use of Chandas, thus enabling a renewal of interest in the various unique elements of the Sanskrit language.

If we are able to obtain significant results through the project then we have an effective tool (i.e. the intervention using Chandas) in our hand that is not only easily accessible and free of cost but also has the ability to be incorporated into the lives of people as an alternative to the conventional modes of therapy or intervention methods.

Scope of the Study

This project has the scope of expanding from across a target group of children having Learning Disabilities to a larger audience, be it individuals having special needs or people facing sleep disorders. The healing power of several Chandas, and the power of maintaining and restoring harmony through the Chandas can be employed eventually as a technique for the psychological as well as for the environmental well-being.

 Methodology

 Phase 1: Pilot Study

  • To understand the effect of Chandas on the behaviour, a pilot study was organized wherein an electroencephalogram test (EEG) and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) test was conducted of a student between the age of 12-16 years while he/she is chanting it.
  • 20 different types of Chandas, based on the number of syllables were chanted by the subject. These test results provided information on the effect of Chandas on the brain activity.
  • The role of the effected brain activity on the behavior is yet to studied from the scientific literature and documented. This will be done to gain a better understanding and help us formulate a hypothesis on where the effect of the Chandascan be observed and measured in the chosen sample group.
  • Once a better understanding is achieved about the plausible effect of the Chandas on the behavior, appropriate psychological tests will be chosen to measure the chosen attribute.

Pilot study results have been closely examined and reviewed. Work is ongoing to revise the design of the pilot study in light of the recent review of the findings.

Phase 2: Experimental Study

(This needs to be reviewed in light of a recent critical review of pilot study findings.)

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