The Re Man (or Ray Man) shabad (words below) has a number of amazing feathers in its cap… a big one being that it amplifies the wattage of your radiant body – handy for a kundalini yoga instructor who generally teaches by candlelight. When chanting it, your tongue taps out a morse code on your upper palate that penetrates directly into the subconscious mind to bring significant clarity. It’s a beautiful mantra, with a beautiful meaning (scroll down)… and I love it. Sort of.
A lot of stuff came up for me when I committed to a 40-day practice of reciting the Re Man shabad for 31 minutes daily. I started this meditation for guidance – along with radiance, Re Man helps with clarity on life purpose too. But around half way through the six weeks, rather than confidently striding forth into my soul’s path, I started questioning EVERYTHING on a profound level. A lot of doubt and overwhelm came up as things I’d previously taken for granted as part of the woodwork of my life were brought into question. And I went through a few weeks of absolute wobbliness, accompanied by a generous side serving of anxiety. Nice.
As with all 40 day practices, there’s no definitive end to the ripple of effects and, having completed it, I still haven’t quite found my feet on solid ground. But I’ve moved onto the safer (hopefully?!) shores of Sodarshan Chakra Kriya to help me develop a sense of neutrality in the face of all these Re Man earthquakes.
My case may not be the most encouraging advertisement to practice Re Man, but please don’t let it put you off. A dear friend and mentor recites it 11 times a day, every day, and says it really does boost their visibility factor – just the job for those with wallflower/’people always bump into me’/ ‘no one listens to me’ complexes! I’ve also heard it’s THE accompaniment to 31 minutes of bound lotus for the pretzels among us. And while I’ve been going through a tough time with Re Man, I know that it’s set something in motion that will ultimately guide (perhaps ‘shove’ is a more appropriate word!) me to a more fulfilling, authentic path – such is the power of kundalini yoga.
So here’s the Re Man Shabad:
Ray man eh bidh jog kamao
Singhee saach akapat kanthala
Dhiaan bibhoot charhaao
Taatee gaho aatam bas kar kee
Bichaa naam adhaarang
Baaje param taar tat har ko
Upajay raag rasaarang
Ughatay taan tarang rang atay giaan geet bandhaanang
Chak chak rahay dayv daanav mun
Chhak chaak biyom bivaanang
Aatam upadays bhays sanjam ko
Jaap so ajapa jaapay
Sada rahay kanchan si kaya
Kaal na kabahoo byaapay
Meaning (courtesy of Snatam Kaur):
Oh my mind, practice Yoga in this way: Let Truth be your horn, sincerity your necklace, and meditation the ashes you apply on your body.
Catch your burning self and stop the flames. Let the self be the alms bowl in which you collect the sweet Naam and this will be the only support you will ever need.
The Universe plays its divine music. The sound of reality is shrill, but this is where God/Creator/Truth is. When you listen to the reality from this place of awareness the sweet essence of Raag arises.
Waves of melodies, emotions, and passions arise and flow through you. Bind yourself with the song of God/Creator/Truth.
The Universe spins like a potter’s wheel and from it fly demons and angels. The sage listens to this and instead of getting caught in either one, the sage drinks in the nectar of the heavens and is carried to the heavens in a divine chariot.
Instruct and clothe yourself with self control. Meditate unto infinity until you are meditating without meditating. In this way, your body shall remain forever golden, and death shall never approach you.
I love Snatam Kaur’s recitation of it (here) – very useful to help you learn the shabad. And of course this musical version is a firm favourite.
Ultimately, no one says it better than Yogi B: “Perfection of this shabad can make you like a Golden Buddha. You will have wisdom, you will have purity of a yogi, and you will have an essence. I request everyone who believes in higher values to remember this shabad in perfect sound. It is very perfect combination. As a shabad you can sing 11 times a day, you will feel the miraculous effect of it on your body, mind, and soul.”
Sat nam and good luck!
ps. Here’s a good explanation from Satkirin Kaur Khalsa.