One of the first shabads that I fell in love with is the Narayan Shabad. I heard Prabhu Nam Kaur sitting alone in her bedroom singing it to herself, and my tears flowed. There was something so intimate, so personal, and so utterly sweet about this shabad that I longed to understand it more. Mantras and shabads in the Kundalini yoga tradition are very rich. There are layers upon layers of meaning, and both a simple translation and an utterly complex translation. An entire shabad, or prayer, can be said to mean one thing, and an entire syllable within the shabad can have even more meaning that that. They are living energies, and how it will work or what it will make you feel depends so much upon the energy within you and the magical alchemy that results from the mix of energies between the Shabad Guru, or Energy within the Mantra, and YOU.
When you sing, your energy mixes with the energy of the mantra and it takes on a living, dynamic quality. It won’t ever be the same singer to singer, or even day to day. There are colors and textures and a million emotions that can result. Often you’ll find a mantra or a singer for whom the vibration seems to match yours, and it will consistently deliver “results”, that is to say, the experience of the Divine.
The Narayan Shabad was composed by the 5th Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan, who wrote many of the beautiful mantras we use in Kundalini yoga.
“Narayan” is one of the many different names for the Divine. It relates to the quality of water. As a plant needs water for its flowers to blossom, in the same way chanting Narayan nurtures the Divine Identity within you so that your soul can bloom into its full beauty and grace.
Narayan is the quality that allows life to be restored and become fresh, lush and green again. You can take your heart, bruised and battered by the storms of life, and sing it the Narayan Shabad. If your happiness has been through a period of draught, this soothing combination of words can bring the rain.
It is also written in the holy scriptures that the Narayan Shabad can protect against death.
Restore what has been lost! Defend what must be preserved! Chant along with the Narayan Shabad and see how its energy flows with yours like two streams traveling towards the sea of the Divine.
Here is the complete mantra:
naam niranjan neer naraa-in.
rasnaa simrat paap bilaa-in. ||1||
naaraa-in sabh maahi nivaas.
naaraa-in ghat ghat pargaas.
naaraa-in kahtay narak na jaahi.
naaraa-in sayv sagal fal paahi. ||1||
naaraa-in man maahi aDhaar.
naaraa-in bohith sansaar.
naaraa-in kahat jam bhaag palaa-in.
naaraa-in dant bhaanay daa-in. ||2||
naaraa-in sad sad bakhsind.
naaraa-in keenay sookh anand.
naaraa-in pargat keeno partaap.
naaraa-in sant ko maa-ee baap. ||3||
naaraa-in saaDhsang naraa-in.
baaraN baar naraa-in gaa-in.
basat agochar gur mil lahee.
naaraa-in ot naanak daas gahee.
And the translation:
The Name of the Immaculate Lord is the Ambrosial Water.
Chanting it with the tongue, sins are washed away.
||1||Pause|| The Lord abides in everyone.
The Lord illumines each and every heart.
Chanting the Lord’s Name, one does not fall into hell.
Serving the Lord, all fruitful rewards are obtained. ||1||
Within my mind is the Support of the Lord.
The Lord is the boat to cross over the world-ocean.
Chant the Lord’s Name, and the Messenger of Death will run away.
The Lord breaks the teeth of Maya, the witch. ||2||
The Lord is forever and ever the Forgiver.
The Lord blesses us with peace and bliss.
The Lord has revealed His glory.
The Lord is the mother and father of His Saint. ||3||
The Lord, the Lord, is in the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy.
Time and time again, I sing the Lord’s Praises.
Meeting with the Guru, I have attained the
incomprehensible object Slave Nanak has grasped
Don’t miss these beautiful versions of this mantra by Sat Kartar Kaur, Satkirin Kaur, Guru Raj Kaur, and Dev Suroop Kaur!