Rakhay Rakhanahaar for Protection



My daughter recently asked that I teach her the mantra Rakhay Rakhanahaar. She likes the tune I have for it, and also mentioned that she was interested in learning something for protection, which this mantra is known to bring. Given all of the challenges of this world, you bet I’m gonna take her up on that! I feel blessed to have a multi-generational connection with this mantra, as I have learned so much about it from my mother Prabhu Nam Kaur. I realize that as I chant it, it not only brings protection to me, but also to my daughter, my mother, our family and our entire community, which I am including you in! This mantra is a poem by Guru Arjan the fifth Guru of the Sikhs who lived and taught in the late 16th Century in northern India.


rakhay rakhanahaar aap ubaari-an,

gur kee pairee paa-i kaaj savaari-an,

ho-aa aap da-i-aal manah(u) na visaari-an,

saadh janaa kai sang bhavajal taari-an,

saakat nindak dusht khin maa-he bidaari-an,

tis saahib kee tayk naanak manai maa-he,

jis simarat sukh ho-i sagalay dookh jaa-he


The Great Protector, the One who protects, that One who exists within us of Himself or Herself lifts us up. That One gave us the Lotus Feet of the Guru on our foreheads and so all of our affairs

and work are taken care of. God is merciful, kind, and compassionate so that we do not forget God in our mind. In the company of the Holy, we are carried across the challenges, calamities, and scandals of the world. Attachment to the world and slanderous enemies are destroyed. That great Lord is my anchor. Nanak, keep firm in your mind and cultivate the vibration of peace by meditating and repeating God’s Name, and all happiness comes while sorrows and pain go away.


••rakhay rakhanahaar aap ubaari-an: the Great Protector,

the One who protects, that One who exists within us of

Himself or Herself lifts us up (rakh: to protect, look after;

rakhanahaar: the agent who protects; aap: Himself, Itself,

Yourself, Myself, of the Self; ubaari-an: to deliver across)


••gur kee pairee paa-i kaaj savaari-an: that One gave us the Lotus

Feet of the Guru on our foreheads and so all of our affairs

and work are taken care of (gur: the Guruship, source of

wisdom, and source of inspiration; kee: of; pairee: foot; paa-i:

obtain; kaaj: work, task, wedding; savaari-an: set in order,

arrange, set right, adjust, adorn)


••ho-aa aap da-i-aal manah(u) na visaari-an: God is merciful,

kind, and compassionate as we do not forget God in our

minds (ho-aa: is; aap: Himself, Itself, Yourself, Myself, of the

Self; da-i-aal: kindness, mercy, compassion; manah(u): from

the mind; na: not; visaari-an: forget)


••saadh janaa kai sang bhavajal taari-an: in the company of the

Holy we are carried across the challenges, calamities, and

scandals of the world (saadh janaa: saintly people; kai sang: with;

bhavajal: world ocean; taari-an: to swim across, maneuver)


••saakat nindak dusht khin maa-he bidaari-an: attachment to the

world, slander, and evil are destroyed in an instant; (saakat:

devotion to the world, worldly person nindak: slandering;

dusht: as adjective it means “wicked, evil, bad”; as noun it

means “evil person, enemy, wretch”; khin: instant; maa-he:

in; bidaari-an: tear to pieces, destroy.)


••tis saahib keetayk naanak manai maa-he: that great Lord is my

anchor in Nanak’s mind (tis saahib: such a Lord; kee tayk: the

master’s support, reliance, trust; naanak manai: in Nanak’s

mind; maa-he: in)


••jis simarat sukh ho-i sagalay dookh jaa-he: In remembering

all happiness comes while sorrows and pain go away (jis:

who; simarat: remembrance, meditation; sukh ho-i: peace

comes into being; sagalay: all; dookh: troubles; jaa-he: depart)

Nanak’s mind is full of the support and trust of God, whose vibration is peace, so all troubles simply depart — there’s no room for trouble anymore!


When accompanying this Mantra, musicians often choose beautiful, lyrical tunes because of the sweet energy that this Mantra evokes. However, the effect of the Mantra is more like a sword wielded by the fiercest warrior you could imagine. This combination of both sweet and fierce protects our innocence. Guru Arjan compiled the writings of the Sikh Gurus and other saints to make the Adi Granth, and completed the construction of the Golden Temple, one of the most sacred Gurdwaras (place of worship) for Sikhs today. He accomplished these monumental tasks with tremendous humility and love, all while enduring negativity from many sources including his jealous brother and, eventually, the Emperor of India, Jahangir.


After receiving whispers of lies from Guru Arjan’s jealous brother, the Emperor imprisoned Guru Arjan, making many demands including that he change certain sections of the Adi Granth, all of which Guru Arjan refused. The Emperor ordered that he be made to sit on a hot steel plate over a fire while hot sand was poured on to him. Guru Arjan remained serene and meditative through five days of torture. This incredible example reminds us to stand strong, remain peaceful, and keep in union with the One no matter what. The truth is that there is no outer enemy or entity that we are trying to protect ourselves from. All of our most challenging energies arise within us; our enemy, our greatest foe, is either strengthened or neutralized within us by how we deal with the energy of it. With these beautiful words of Guru Arjan, we are protecting our heart space, our inner love space. Through his equipoise and inner peace, Guru Arjan neutralized the negative energy and although he left his body after enduring such unspeakable torture, his heart space was victorious. All present — including the Emperor — realized they were witnessing a saint.




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© 2020 by Snatam Kaur