This is the english translation of the article “Die 7 Chakras und der Gong – Das Ende der Legende“. Michael Bettine took the chance to post a few more reasons, why this is (in our opinion) a legend in his blog. That lead into a wild discussion on Facebook . So, let´s go:
The legend of the 7 chakras and the gong keeps catching me up again and again. The story is persistent and constantly finds its followers. I want to put an end to this. Explained simply, easy to understand and straightforward. In the end you will understand why the 7 chakras and the gong will never work.
7 Chakras and the gong – a legend
The 7 chakras are metaphors of individual qualities, energies and characteristics inside us human beings. They are located along the spine, starting from the base of the spine to the top of the head. For example, the 3rd chakra Maniupra is a source of personal power, the 5th chakra Vishudda represents the voice of the body and stands for communication. Both play a significant role for yoga, alternative medicine and esoterism. With a little research you can find a great variety of information and sources in the internet about this topic. You will realize that the references differ from each other. More on this later.
At this point the gong comes into play. It is a musical instrument which starts to resonate when being played and hereby creates various tones at the same time. Additionally, you can feel its sound waves when holding your hand close to the gong. When playing the gong at the lower part, the sound is deeper than when playing it at the upper part, close to the suspension.
I find frequently that gong players interpret the chakras into the gong. They divide the gong physically from the bottom to the top into 7 parts and assign each part of the gong to one chakra. For example: Someone is seeking the advice of a sound healer. It is concluded that there is a lack of earthing. Hence the gong, which is being played at the lower part, resonates the customer. For this situation, the root chakra Muladhara (1) is relevant. The next patient would like to be a more open-minded person and learn to approach people easily. For this type of stimulation, the heart chakra Anahata (4) is relevant. In this case the gong would be played slightly above the center, which stimulates the heart chakra. In above picture I would play the 3rd chakra Manipura (navel chakra for some, Solar Plexus chakra for others).
If the healing works via projection and self-healing, I´m ok with it. However, it would definitely not work because of the gong. Neither would it work because of the deep tones or the high tones (crown chakra). It is not because of the gong playing technique, the mallet or the art of playing either. Nope. A legend. Who once tried to understand the structure of a gong knows how a gong is built. Let´s have a closer look at that:
Information 1: Structure of the gong
Who owns a gong and plays the chakras from the bottom to the top, should have a look at the backside of the instrument. Using different types of mallets and applying various techniques, the gong maker hammers the metal of the backside from blank to the finished gong. During each step of this process, the gong maker has to ensure to hammer each part of the gong with exactly the same force. Indifferent from the size of the gong, indifferent from how it will be tuned later on.
I described this process in detail in my article about the manufacturing of a gong. The following picture shows the backside of a Paiste gong.
Click on the picture for enlargement. You can see a rough description of the work steps of a gong maker. If you want more detailed information, it´s best to visit a gong manufacture.
1 = Stroke on the arched edge
2 = Stroke to level the vaulting
3 = Precise strokes to smooth uneven surfaces
4 = Strokes to pressure the metal, so that later percussion point is elevated. This is the most sensible part of the gong.
5 = Tuning rounds, which are used to tune the gong.
Information 2: That´s why the Chakra play will never work
During the manufacturing of the gong, there is no difference between hammering the lower or the upper, the left or the right part of the gong. If the gong maker would hammer the lower edge of the gong slightly stronger than the upper edge, this elevated percussion point won´t be even. In addition, the gong maker strikes the tuning rounds at the center absolutely equally, there is no difference between the navel and the heart chakra.
If the gong maker would manufacture a gong which is consequently unequally hammered for the chakras, this instrument would be unsellable. Nobody would be interested in such an unbalanced, billowed, swinging and cheeping gong. However, this would be the result of such a processing.
Hence the gong is built perfectly equal, at both the upper and lower part. One could drill the holes and fix the cords at any place of the gong, there is no difference. The suspension of the gong is aligned with the rolling direction of the raw material, not with the crown chakra at the top!
Chakra Gong Play: That´s how it´s possible
No reason for the chakra gong player to be sad. There is, of course, a possibility to play in conformity with the chakra system. But not through striking the gong from the bottom to the top or striking it only at one specific point. As mentioned at the beginning, the chakras correspond to individual characteristics, energies and qualities. There is in addition one color, one frequency, one planet, one tone, one zodiac sign, one gemstone, etc. assigned to each center of energy. The information differs depending on which tradition one conforms to. If you do a little research on this topic, you will find various frequencies, tones and color nuances. The respective planets and planet sounds do also vary.
So if you want to play in conformity with the chakras, do the following:
- Define one system, which corresponds with your ideas and which is consistent for you
- Search for the tones and frequencies
- Define if you continue according to the planet system (planet sounds by Cousto) or according to the sound frequencies (i.e. Tuned Gongs). Unfortunately, there is no standardized system.
For example: Let´s continue with the navel / Solar Plexus chakra: The sun is assigned to it. Hence the sound would be the sound of the sun. Therefore, you should choose the planet gong sun. Another example is Mercure, which is assigned to the throat chakra. Therefore, you can choose the planet gong Mercure to play this chakra for someone.
Others select the sounds and search for the instruments in harmony with it; or select colors and search for frequencies in harmony with them.
Gong Playing technique in conformity with the chakras
Once you found a gong for a chakra, strike the center of the gong! Right, the center! Gongs are being tuned in conformity with the frequency they create when the gong maker strikes its center. Strike the gong only so strong that the tuning notes are created, not the overtones. If you want to create the tone of Mercure, strike one single time the center of the Mercure gong.
Playing the 7 chakras on one gong is irrational and incomprehensible. Directly spoken: It´s nonsense. If the gong player strikes the gong several times, the complete gong resonates and sounds. Therefore, you need for each chakra one assigned frequency or tone. You could use a tuning fork, singing bowl or even a large gong. But you need one instrument for every tone. Playing the chakra from the bottom to the top has no evidence and is only based on faith and projection.