Nutrition for Hearing the Harmony of Life
By Patrick Bernard
Adapted from Patrick's new book, Music as Yoga - Discover the healing power of sound

From Living Nutrition Magazine, Vol. 17

Eating a diet of fruit, vegetables and sprouts elevates the body and mind and enables us to listen to the great universal vibrations which are all around us, but which we cannot hear when our ears are obstructed with fermentations resulting from the digestion of animal flesh. Carnivorous humanity becomes powerless to perceive the higher truths of the self and is prevented from gaining access to the influence of miraculous celestial vibrations. "Gastronomic" dishes, laden with pain, make the human being deaf to the subtle call of the soul's music.

By following a nutritional regimen that is in harmony with the laws of the universe and respectful of life, we open ourselves to the highest sensory perceptions and experiences. We penetrate the infinite world of virtue. Our eyes no longer see the same colors. Our ears detect nature’s most subtle sounds. The wind in the clouds, the breeze murmuring among the leaves, and the rhythm of the fountain become the most wonderful of symphonies. The doors of contemplation and meditation are opened to us and we discover the astonishing music of the inner self. Not only does our food intake affect our digestion and in turn our listening, but what we listen to while we eat can also influence our digestion.

In his book The Doctor Prescribes Music, physicist Edward Podolsky considers the value of listening to music during meals. In his opinion, beautiful music played during a meal. In his opinion, beautiful music played during a meal is of great help in facilitating the digestive process. In his work he describes a scientific discovery: the principal nerve of the eardrum (middle ear) ends at the center of the tongue; it is linked to the brain, and reacts to both taste and sound impulse.

Commenting on the scientific report, Hal A. Lingerman, in The Healing Energies of Music , states that it is no longer possible to ignore the close relationship between healthy food and appropriate music. It is not pure chance that in ancient cultures, expert musicians were invited to play soft and pleasant melodies during meals and feasts.

When unpleasant emotions are felt, the pylorus, a muscular structure situated at the base of the stomach, closes. The contents of the stomach can no longer reach the bowel. There follows a bloated sensation, a heaviness that occurs while digestive acids stop working. The result is drowsiness and irritability.

Professor Pldolsky notes, "Music is the best antidote for unpleasantness at the dinner table. When there is music to be heard, there is an outpouring of gastric juices. Food is properly digested and it passes from the stomach into the duodenum through a wide-open pylorus."

During meals, music should be simple and joyful, with neither great contrast nor intellectual or emotional complexities. Hal Lingerman particularly recommends the flute and the harp for this. Personally, I have observed that the music of the Versailles School , which includes the work of Lully, Couperin and Delalande (Symphonies for the King's Dinners), creates an atmosphere of peace, joy and majesty that is well-fitted to accompany the sacred act of nourishment.

The Vedic scriptures proclaim, "Spiritual awakening begins with the tongue." By transforming the otherwise banal act of eating into a conscious offering to the Divine, the more sordid impulses of the senses can be sublimated. Through the nature of our nutrition and the attitude with which we feed ourselves, we can either open or close the crystalline doors of the music of the soul.

Virtuous nutrition can facilitate the refinement of hearing and listening. The Bhagavad Gita stipulates that spiritual nutrition has the power to purify the sensory organs, to produce fine cerebral tissues and to clarify thoughts. Spiritual nutrition goes beyond simple vegetarianism and lays claims to the purifying power of love: "If, with love and devotion, I am offered a leaf, a flower, a fruit or some water, I will accept it."

Here, the ultimate devotional aspect of the God force, Krishna , the mystical poet of the Bhagavad Gita , reveals that the sanctification of food opens the doors to the inner sound. The main factor, the principal ingredient in the preparation of such a selfless gesture, is in our thirst for absolute Love.