Nepali Singing bowls | Himalayan Bowls
Can you stand a minute listening to the cacophony of a crowd or a pianist playing just a single note? If you are unsure, why don’t you give a try? But, I bet you’ll be ready to pay hundreds of dollars to attend the popular orchestra or to buy Beethoven quartet or Mozart’s record. Why do music and sound affect us so much?
At the microscopic level, the physiological aspect of the human body performs a different feat that outsmarts layman’s intuition. According to neuroscientists, the human brain composed of trillions of neurons acts as a natural oscillator with distinct frequencies.
And when it encounters the external sound, the harmonics and the overtones comparable to frequencies of our brain waves form a mutual phase locking which brings about significant change in our emotions.
Though we are known to this reality in the 21st century, it seems that our forefathers; as Westerners see, the great mystics and Buddhists Lama of Himalaya knew this fact and even created a sound healing mechanism using singing bowls based on this fact.
Singing bowls, also known by the name Tibetan singing bowl are sometimes referred to as seven metals bowl are one of the oriental pieces of metalcraft, the application of which range from meditation, sound healing to the musical instrument.
Also read: Metal Crafts: How are they made
History And Origin Of Singing Bowls
Less is known about the actual origin of the singing bowl but ideas and facts gathered from the anecdotes, it can be assessed that its origin has roots during Buddhist civilization since Buddhism regards our existence as a vibration in this cosmic universe, the idea of sound remained so ingrained in their philosophy.
It is even assumed that Buddha himself brought the singing bowl from heaven and the rests are a copy of it. Legend has it that the use of these bowls date back to Bon religion in Himalaya, way before Buddhism was founded.
Composition of Singing Bowls
It is believed that they were traditionally made using seven precious metals like gold, silver, and such though, in modern times, these are mostly mass-produced from the alloy of copper and tin (bronze)but still, the handmade singing bowl can be found which are said to be made up of copper, tin, gold, silver as chief metals.
Since the composition of the singing bowl is bronze, it’s still debatable whether it was originated in Tibet or in Nepal? Without any written proof, it can be said, judging the skilled artisans of Nepal that its origin took place in this land of the Himalayas which later flourished in Tibet, northern India, and East Asian countries. This proposition can be further proved by the use of it in different ceremonies by Shamans, Lamas, and religious priests in ancient Himalaya.
Healing Mechanism of Singing Bowls
Today, the singing bowl isn’t just given religious importance but is popularly used in sound healing mechanisms, meditation, and even as a musical instrument. The quality handmade singing bowl is supposed to create a vibration that lasts longer and synchronization with brain waves decreases the heartbeat and other vitals providing a person a soothing feeling resulted from the healing of tissues and smooth functioning of the glands.
Even though allopathy and technological feat has changed the fate of global medicine practice, oriental methods of healing haven’t lost its charm. It is assumed that our body consists of seven chakras, which regulate the body, so whenever one of the chakras is blocked, a person gets ailment.
This is when the vibrational energy of the singing bowl resonates with the frequency of that chakra, safely regulating it. Though taken as pseudoscience by skeptics, recent research on the effects of sound on health has revealed many facts in support of sound healing.
Singing Bowls for Meditation
People, nowadays, use the singing bowl for meditation purposes because of the prolonged soothing vibration produced in it. The harmonics and overtones produced by rubbing the mallet around the edges of the bowl bring about resonance in the brain wave thus providing an ideal situation for meditation.
Where to Buy Singing Bowls in Nepal
If you happen to travel to Nepal, don’t forget to visit antique shops in Thamel where you’ll encounter the shops that trade singing bowls, Khukuri, and other handmade crafts and hopefully also the workshops. Since the western world came to a realization of sound healing after the ’90s, the sales of the singing bowl have increased in Nepal so that many of them are machine refined for faster production, which despite their alluring appearance does not always serve the required purpose.
So How To Choose The Best Singing Bowl?
It is said the best ones are the handmade ones which are created by repeated hammering and heating for about 4 to 5 hours. But there’s no easy way to identify the quality which is why it is advised to choose them based on their sound quality and its prolongation.
Singing bowls, since are found in different sizes, choose the one which you can easily hold in your hand and produces a soothing sound when the mallet is moved around its rims. Or else you can ask someone else to play it for you and judge the one of your preference.
How to Play Singing Bowls?
The best way to play it, according to most of the practitioners is to hold a singing bowl in a left hand, holding a mallet in the right hand. Then, the vibration can be produced by tapping the bowl and moving the mallet in a clockwise direction, applying equal pressure.
Useful and Advantages Of Singing Bowls
This way, ideal overtones are generated and are helpful for half an hour of meditation. Also, it is used to cure a headache by covering the head with the bowl and tapping it in a clockwise direction. There are so many cases of ailments where the singing bowls come up as the best healing tool.
It is said, traditionally singing bowls were created by authentic bronze, and meteorite iron along with silver and gold, the sole purpose of which is to create the overtones which are beneficial to the human brain and chakras. So one must pay close attention while playing it.
So, lost and forgotten are many of the Eastern secrets, which, when are discovered can revolutionize the prevailed pattern of livelihood just like singing bowl has done, albeit to less extent.