Thirty years ago my dear friend Iqbal gave me a cassette tape of this ‘mysterious’ but haunting music. I often played it during long nights of magazine and book editing. It was many years before I tracked it down. It turns out it’s one of the evening prayers from the Sikh religion, all the more remarkable that it’s sung with such grace and angelic enagement by the incomparable Singh Kaur (aka Laura Drew, or Lorellei, 1955–1998). See if you can follow along with this hypnotic and transporting track (lyrics below). Our kirtan band, ‘Satsang’, will soon be coming together to practise ‘Rakhe Rakhanahar’ for forthcoming satsangs.
(Sadhana Mantra to awaken consciousness)
This is a shabd of protection against all negative forces which move against one’s walk on the path of destiny, both inner and outer. It cuts like a sword through every opposing vibration, though, word and action. It is part of the evening prayer of the Sikhs (Rehiras). Rakhe Rakhan Har was composed by Guru Arjan, the Fifth Guru.
Thou who savest, save us all and take us across,
Uplifting and giving the excellence
You gave us the touch of the lotus feet of the Guru, and all our jobs are done.
You have become merciful, kind and compassionate: and
So our mind does not forget Thee.
In the company of the holy beings you take us from
Misfortunes and calamities, scandals and disrepute,
Godless, slanderous enemies – you finish them in timelessness.
That, Great Lord, is my anchor.
Nanak, keep firm in your mind, by meditating and repeating His Name
All happiness comes and all sorrows and pain go away.