Do Christmas carols help in spiritual growth ?

1. Introduction – Christmas carols and spiritual growth

At Christmas time, it is hard to miss the warm and fuzzy feeling that the festive season brings with it and Christmas carols play a significant role in setting the joyous feeling. In homes all across the world, Christmas carols fill the air while families set up their Christmas trees and perform other activities in preparation for Christmas. It is a time where Christmas carollers go from street to street in every neighbourhood bringing it to life with their music. Choirs and congregations at churches sing carols in honour of Jesus Christ’s birth. Right on cue, come the month of December, malls and shopping centres ensure that the festive spirit is alive and well as piped music of Christmas carols is played in their premises hoping to gently persuade shoppers to spend more during the festive season.

Clearly, Christmas carols are synonymous with the Christmas season, and the season would seem much less festive without them. When people think of music they rarely think of its spiritual value or its spiritual connotation unless they are hymns or Christmas carols. However, for one of the most celebrated festivals around the world which remembers and honours the birth of the Christ, do Christmas carols add to the sanctity of the festival ? What spiritual value do Christmas carols provide to the billions of people that listen to them in the month of December ?

At the outset before we answer this question, we would like to take a moment to introduce the organisations involved in this research.

2. Background of spiritual research in music

Spiritual Research Centre and Ashram, Goa, IndiaThe Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalay (also known as the Maharshi University of Spirituality or MAV) and the Spiritual Science Research Foundation are non-profit organisations run by volunteers from all over the world who are dedicated to a common goal, which is spiritual progress and the pursuit of truth. One of the key goals of both organisations is to assess and evaluate how our decisions and daily routines affect us at a spiritual level. To this end, their research teams jointly carry out various experiments and research projects at the Spiritual Research Centre and Ashram in Goa, India. The spiritual research team at the Maharshi University of Spirituality has 37 years of spiritual research experience.

Spiritual research in music and dance

This research includes understanding the subtle effect of music and dance and it has been one of the key aspects of our research. We have a music department that conducts various experiments on a daily basis to understand and differentiate the subtle effects of music, the sound from various musical instruments and the impact it has on the environment. The research has been carried out using aura and subtle energy scanners along with the advanced sixth sense of seekers in the spiritual research team to assess and evaluate music from a spiritual perspective. The aim is to understand how musical compositions can be made in a way so as to emit spiritually positive vibrations regardless of culture and diversity.

The epitome of music (that emits spiritually purer vibrations) should be devotional songs which include hymns, Christmas carols, bhajans, shlokas, etc. However, in practice, this is not always true as there are a number of factors which influence the spiritual purity of a musical composition. To gain further insight into these factors, we have conducted numerous experiments in music. In relation to devotional music, particularly Christmas carols, two such experiments are provided below.

3. Experiment 1 – The subtle effect of Christmas carols performed live

Background

  • In late 2018, a seeker who used to sing professionally had come to the Spiritual Research Centre and Ashram in Goa, India for the 5-Day Spiritual Workshop. She mentioned to us that she was a trained singer and we asked her whether she would like to take part in some experiments with music. The research team is especially interested in the effect of a person singing/performing live. It is easy to play recorded music and study its effect on the listener, but here we had the chance to study the effect of various genres performed live on both the performer and the listener.
  • SSRF and MAV jointly studied the subtle effects of 6 genres of music sung by her and the effect they had on the audience at a spiritual level. The genres were jazz, pop, operatic pop, Christmas carols and reggae.
  • In this article, the experiment where she performed devotional Christmas carols to an audience comprised of seekers residing at the Spiritual Research Centre and Ashram is discussed.
  • Through sixth sense, we ascertained that the seeker performing (though she had a beautiful voice) suffered from spiritual distress. In this experiment, we wanted to see various dynamics at play with such a performer, the music genre and the audience.

Methodology

  • She performed 3 Christmas carols – ‘Silent night’, ‘Come all Ye Faithful’ and ‘Away in a manger’. She sang them continuously for 30 minutes in total. We specifically chose for her only to sing devotional Christmas carols as opposed to non-devotional ones such as Jingle Bells. This is because we hypothesised that the devotional version of Christmas carols would emit spiritually purer vibrations.
  • We requested her to perform in front of two separate audiences, i.e. seekers who (like the performer) suffered from spiritual distress, and those who did not, which means they were spiritually positive. Refer to the article on ‘What is spiritual distress ?’.
  • To analyse the effect on both the performer and the audience, the spiritual research team used advanced sixth sense along with an aura and energy scanner known as the Universal Thermo Scanner (UTS).

The Universal Thermo Scanner (UTS) (also known as the Universal Aura Scanner) was used to take readings of both the singer and selected audience members. The UTS is an instrument developed by Dr Mannem Murthy (a former nuclear scientist) and is used to measure the subtle-energy (positive and negative) and the aura around any object (living or non-living). UTS readings gave data about the negative aura, positive aura and the measured aura around the singer and audience members. Please refer to the article on – the Methodology of UTS readings to learn more about how UTS readings are taken and what they mean (Coming soon).

Key Findings

UTS readings : In all 6 genres, the aura of the performer became more positive after singing in front of seekers who were positive, while the aura of seekers who were positive became more negative after listening to her.

In contrast, when performing in front of seekers who had spiritual distress, the negative auras of both the performer and the audience increased in five of the genres. The only exception was the genre of Christmas carols where the performer’s aura became more positive, but the aura of the seekers with spiritual distress who were listening to her became more negative. Please refer to the diagram below for a summary of the results of the subtle effect on both the performer and the audience.

Sixth sense readings : Both sets of audiences, as they were seekers, had subtle ability and through their sixth sense, perceived negative vibrations being emitted from the performance. These sixth sense readings were corroborated by the UTS readings. One of the seekers in the spiritual research team perceived that the musical composition and the negative energy in the performer were actually emitting negative black energy through the performance, thus affecting the audience adversely.

Subtle analysis and further research

Interestingly, (unlike with other genres) the singer’s negative aura actually reduced after singing not only in front of positive seekers, but also in front of seekers with spiritual distress. It was found through an advanced level of sixth sense that the reason for this was that the singer’s spiritual emotion (bhāv) was awakened while singing due to her feeling God’s presence through the meaning of the lyrics, and this had a positive effect on her aura. So, having spiritual emotion helped the singer spiritually at a personal level.

On the other hand, the musical composition emitted negative vibrations, and this had a detrimental subtle effect on the audience. Along with this, the negative energy distress in the singer also played a part in the emission of negative vibrations. However, due to the awakening of the singer’s spiritual emotion, the negative energy in the singer could not be as active.

Key finding : This shows the importance of spiritual emotion in providing spiritual protection to any singer even though the devotional musical composition may emit negative vibrations.

These findings were quite shocking, especially in relation to the possibility of Christmas carols adversely affecting the audience at a spiritual level and this raised some questions, which have been listed below.

  1. Normally, one would assume that devotional music would have a positive effect on the audience. Were the negative vibrations perceived during the singer’s performance an isolated case or something that can be commonly repeated when listening to devotional music ?
  2. Do performers of Christmas carols in society also suffer from spiritual distress, and if so what proportion of them are affected, and are they affecting audiences at large ?
  3. Is there any difference between devotional Christmas carols as opposed to non-devotional Christmas carols in terms of subtle vibrations ?
  4. How often do the singers of Christmas carols in other settings experience spiritual emotion while singing that would eventually reduce any possible negative impact ?

With these questions in mind, the spiritual research team carried out another experiment in relation to the subtle effect of Christmas carols.

4. Experiment 2 – The subtle effect of watching Christmas carol videos

Background

The purpose of this experiment was to understand the subtle effect that choirs in churches and other performers singing Christmas carols had on audiences that :

  1. Did not have spiritual distress
  2. Audiences that had spiritual distress

The reason we chose two types of audiences is because it has been observed that where people suffer from spiritual distress it can significantly influence both the performer and the audience. Spiritual research has shown that up to 80% of the world’s population is affected by spiritual distress.

Methodology

  • The effects of two categories of Christmas carols, devotional and non-devotional, were studied on two sets of audiences, that is with and without spiritual distress.
  • Each type of Christmas carol category was played for 30 minutes.
  • Usually, people see Christmas carols sung live or see them sung in church, so SSRF and MAV wanted to study the effects of carols sung in such settings by different performers. To simulate realistic scenarios while listening to Christmas carols, the audiences were exposed to videos of Christmas carols. The devotional Christmas carols were mostly performed by church choirs and these had an operatic feel to them. A few of the videos were simple audio recordings with static visuals.
Playlist of devotional Christmas carols Playlist of non-devotional Christmas carols
1. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing 1. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
2. The First Noel 2. Jingle Bells
3. Away in a Manger 3. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
4. Joy to the World 4. Feliz Navidad
5. Silent Night 5. Winter Wonderland
6. O Holy Night 6. Frosty the Snowman
7. 12 Days of Christmas
8. Deck the Halls
9. Jingle Bell Rock
10. The Little Drummer Boy (Peace on Earth)
  • There were four experiments performed and they are depicted in the flowchart below.Experiment on the subtle effects of Christmas carols
  • Similar to the experiment above, the UTS was used to take readings of selected seekers’ auras before and after watching the Christmas carol videos.
  • Along with this, we asked seekers to experience what they felt at a subtle level based on their sixth sense ability. They provided their feedback in terms of a survey where they rated their experiences on scales of positivity or negativity of +/- 10.
  • There was a 1.5-hour break between the devotional and non-devotional parts of the experiment to allow the audience to return to their baseline readings.

4.1 Readings taken with the UTS

  1. Across the board, both the devotional and non-devotional Christmas carols had a negative effect on the seekers’ auras who were measured using the UTS 
  2. Effect on positive seekers :
    1. Readings of the positive seekers showed more consistency in terms of how they got affected negatively by the Christmas carols.
    2. The negative IR aura reading (which indicates a negative black energy covering), went up more with non-devotional (78%) as opposed to devotional Christmas carols (58%).
    3. However, the devotional Christmas carols had a more significant negative impact on their positive auras than the non-devotional ones. The devotional Christmas carols reduced the positive auras of these seekers by an average of 49%, while the non-devotional Christmas carols reduced their positive auras by 37%. The devotional Christmas carols drained their positive aura to a greater extent.
    4. A significant finding was that even the Saint present in the audience of positive seekers developed a negative IR aura after watching both categories of Christmas carols for 30 minutes each.
    5. Interestingly, the live performance of the singer from the first experiment did not drain the positive aura of the positive seekers as much as the video depicting church choirs and professionals singing Christmas carols. This was because of spiritual emotion being awakened in the performer as she was a seeker and was practising Spirituality.
  3. Effect on seekers with spiritual distress :
    1. Readings of the seekers with spiritual distress showed less consistency in terms of how they got affected negatively by the Christmas carols. Some were impacted more negatively by the devotional Christmas carols, while some were impacted more by the non-devotional ones.
    2. The seekers with spiritual distress were affected more adversely by the Christmas carols than the positive seekers. In addition, their negative UV auras (indicating severe spiritual distress) increased significantly after watching both the devotional and non-devotional videos.
    3. Overall, the non-devotional Christmas carols seemed to have negatively affected the audience’s auras to a much greater extent as opposed to the devotional ones. On average, the negative IR aura increase was 31% more in the case of devotional Christmas carols and 43% more in the case of non-devotional Christmas carols. This indicated the higher impact of non-devotional Christmas carols on seekers with spiritual distress.
    4. Seekers with spiritual distress who sang along with the Christmas carols were impacted more adversely by them.
    5. Since the seekers with spiritual distress did not have a positive aura to start with, the effect on their positive aura could not be ascertained.

4.2 Survey feedback from seekers after viewing the Christmas carol videos

When viewing the Christmas carols performed by church choirs and professional singers,

  • 100% of the 16 positive seekers taking part in the experiment experienced negative vibrations.
  • 100% of the 5 seekers from the spiritual research team experienced negative vibrations.
  • 86% of the 38 seekers who had spiritual distress experienced negative vibrations.
  • It was found through sixth sense that in the case of the seekers with spiritual distress who felt positive while viewing the Christmas carols, it was actually the response of the negative energies in those seekers that gave them the illusion of feeling positive.
  • Seekers who were familiar with the songs as they were Roman Catholics or Orthodox Christians were more likely to give them a less negative score than others who were not familiar with them.
  • The interesting fact is that for the seekers who did not give the Christmas carols as negative a score due to their cultural affinity with the songs, their UTS readings were as negative as the readings of the other seekers. This shows that the psychological perception of music is not necessarily related to its actual spiritual impact.

In addition to the above, the following are some comments made by the seekers in the audience when viewing the Christmas carol videos.

  1. I felt bored. 
  2. I felt the performances were spiritually fake and nothing to do with devotion to Jesus.
  3. I felt ego from the performers as they moved around the stage. The way some of the musicians were interacting with their instruments and the audience was egotistical.
  4. The non-devotional Christmas carols seemed just like entertainment with no association with the actual meaning of Christmas.
  5. The tunes kept on playing in my head, taking my thoughts away from spiritual practice.
  6. It felt that some of the performers had spiritual distress.
  7. I felt the performance was more at the psychological level as opposed to the spiritual level.
  8. I perceived negative vibrations from the musical performance.
  9. The negative energy in me was liking the music and gaining negative energy from it. (This was said by seekers who were suffering from spiritual distress.)
  10. The eyes of the seekers who had negative energy distress taking part in the experiment changed as the negative energies began to manifest while listening to the music.

In the above two experiments, we saw that Christmas carols had a significant negative impact on the audience. Why was this so ? After undertaking spiritual research, as to why the readings were so negative even though it is devotional music, we obtained the following Divine Knowledge.

5. Preliminary spiritual research into music related to devotional music

Sound (naad) and music are derived from the Absolute Ether Principle (Akashtattva), the most powerful and subtle of the five cosmic principles. Hence, they have the ability to create subtle vibrations that can have a significant impact on the musician, the audience, the musical instrument and the environment. SSRF and MAV are conducting in-depth spiritual research into music and some of the preliminary findings are given below which are relevant to devotional music too.

1. Spiritual level : The spiritual level of a musician or singer plays an important role in the type of spiritual vibrations emitted by the performance. If the performer has a high ego or a low spiritual level, then the performance will emit negative vibrations. Alternatively, if the performer has a high spiritual level, his performance will emit positive spiritual vibrations. The spiritual level of a person can only be enhanced by undertaking spiritual practice that conforms to basic universal spiritual principles.

In the videos of Christmas carols that were played, it was observed that some of the artists were actually looking for appreciation. When one sings a devotional song with this intention, then the vibrations will invariably be negative. 

Spiritual emotion for God is a key ingredient that helps to generate positive vibrations especially in any performance of devotional songs. However, it was observed that the singers in the video were more interested in performing and entertaining the audience as opposed to being in a state of spiritual emotion or communion with God or the Divine. Being able to hit the high notes and show off one’s musical skills do not equate to positive spiritual vibrations. In the case of the first experiment, we saw first-hand how a performer even though she was suffering from spiritual distress, positively benefitted due to her spiritual emotion. This is even though the music itself was emitting negative vibrations. This shows the importance of singing with spiritual emotion for God.

2. The spiritual state : The spiritual state of musicians (i.e. whether they are spiritually positive or suffering from spiritual distress) will affect the subtle vibrations emitted by their music. This means that even if two musicians are performing exactly the same musical piece with exactly the same background musical accompaniment, the subtle vibrations from the performance can differ based on their spiritual state. In both experiments, the spiritual research team perceived negative vibrations being emitted not only by the music but also by the negative energy affecting the performers. In the first experiment, the UTS instrument reading on the performer corroborated these findings.

The current state of the world is that most people are affected if not possessed by negative energies. In a choir, if people are affected or possessed by negative energies, then the effects are multiplied as opposed to the effects of a solo artist’s performance.

3. The lyrics : The lyrics of devotional Christmas carols have more positive spiritual vibrations as opposed to non-devotional ones.

4. The musical composition : The various elements of the accompanying music such as the rhythm, melody and harmony contribute to the overall subtle vibrations emitted by a musical composition. Our findings so far about learning how to make spiritually purer music is that Indian classical music is more likely to emit spiritually positive vibrations due to it being melody focused as opposed to being harmony focused. This is one of the reasons it has been observed that western musical compositions have less spiritually positive vibrations as it is more harmony focused.

Out of the two, lyrics versus the musical composition, the way the music is composed has a greater influence on the subtle vibrations emitted by the performance. Lyrics or words are at the level of the Absolute Fire Principle while the musical composition is at the level of the Absolute Ether Principle. The Absolute Ether Principle is subtler than the Absolute Fire Principle, and therefore more powerful. So, even if the words have been written in a spiritually pure manner, if the accompanying music is not spiritually pure, it will mostly emit negative vibrations.

5. Musical instruments : Amongst the three types of instruments, i.e. wind, string and percussion, it was found that the sound from wind instruments such as the Indian Bansuri (flute) made of bamboo emitted the most positive subtle vibrations. When the spiritual research team listened to some of the Christmas carols, it felt as if the accompanying music had an operatic and dramatic feel to it. This generated negative vibrations from the performance.

6. Use of props, clothing, etc. : Everything has the potential to add or subtract from the positivity that devotional songs are meant to deliver. This includes aspects such as the clothes of the performer, their hairstyle, the design of the stage and the sets, the premises where it is being sung, etc. For example, some of the carol singers were holding candles. Flames from candles made from paraffin wax or even beeswax emit negative vibrations. Having hundreds of such lit candles infect the environment with their negative vibrations. Another example is when performers wear black. Black is the most spiritually impure colour and it increases negative energy distress in the performers and attracts distressing vibrations towards them. Unless attention is paid to such details, they can end up compromising the spiritual positivity of the performance.

6. Concluding comments on Christmas carols and devotional music

We live in a world where materialism is rife, and everything is geared to appeal to our senses. This ethos has unfortunately permeated into even religion and Spirituality, which are meant to be pathways for people to transcend materialism and seek the Divine. As a result, spiritual practices such as the singing of devotional songs like Christmas carols are more often about entertainment then remembering the true spiritual purpose of the festival. The performers themselves do not undertake spiritual practice and hence invariably emit negative vibrations from their performances even though their singing enthrals the audience.

The findings in the above article may be hard to believe for some but this is the actual state of the world in relation to devotional music such as Christmas carols. Most people are unable to understand this due to a lack of an activated sixth sense, which is needed to perceive the subtle vibrations from a performance. Only when one’s sixth sense gets activated through spiritual practice, will one be able to truly understand and experience the research about devotional music presented in this article.

As per the science of Spirituality, music is meant to be used by a devotee as a medium to grow spiritually towards God. Yet in today’s world, this sacred and ideal concept about music is hardly known, let alone practised. Growing spiritually through music is only possible when the performer undertakes regular spiritual practice under the guidance of a spiritually evolved guide (Guru). With this, he is able to understand the spiritual aspects of music and how to truly perform with devotion so that both he and the audience benefit spiritually from his performance.

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