seventh Guru of the Sikh faith, was the son of Baba
Gurditta and grandson of Guru Hargobind, Nanak VI. He was born on 16 January 1630
at Kiratpur, in present-day Ropar district of the Punjab. In 1640, he was married to
Sulakkhani, daughter of Daya Ram of Anupshahr, in Bulandshahr district of Uttar
Pradesh. He was gentle by nature and had a devout temperament. He was Guru
Hargobind's favourite grandchild, and he had been given the name of Har Rai by the
Guru himself. Once, record old texts, Har Rai was returning home after his riding
exercise. From a distance he saw Guru Hargobind sitting in the garden. He at once
got off his horse to go and do him homage. In this hurry, his robe was caught
in a bush and a few of the flowers were broken from their stems. This pained
Har Rai's heart. He sat down on the spot and wept bitterly. Guru Hargobind came
and consoled him. He also advised him: "Wear your robe by all means,
but be careful as you walk. It beholds God's servants to be tender to all
things." There was a deeper meaning in the Guru's words. One must live in
this world, and yet be master of oneself.
Guru Hargobind knew Har Rai to be the fittest to inherit the "light" from him. He
nominated him as his successor and consecrated him Guru before departing this
life on 3 March 1644. Guru Har Rai kept the stately style Guru
Hargobind had introduced. He was attended by 2,200 armed followers, but no
further conflict with the ruling power occurred. He established three
important preaching missions called bakhshishes for the spread of
Guru Nanak's teaching. First was that of Bhagvan Gir, renamed Bhagat
Bhagvan, who established missionary centres in eastern
India. The second was that of Sangatla, renamed Bhai Pheru, who preached in
Rajasthan and southern Punjab. Guru Har Rai also sent Bhat Gonda to Kabul, Bhai
Nattha to Dhaka and Bhai Jodh to Multan to preach. The ancestors of
present-day families of Bagarlan and Kaithal preached in the Malva region.
Guru Har Rai himself travelled extensively in this area and a large
number of people accepted his teaching. He confirmed the blessing earlier
bestowed by Guru Hargobind on a poor boy, Phul, who became the founder
of the families of Patiala, Nabha and Jind. These families ruled in
their territories in the Punjab until recent years.
Kiratpur was Guru Har Rai's permanent seat. Here disciples
and visitors came to seek blessings and instruction. The Guru
kept the daily practice of his predecessors. The institution of
hangar, community eating, continued to flourish. Guru Har Rai
chose himself the simplest fare which was earned by the labour
of his own hands. In the morning, he sat in the sangat and
explained the Sikh doctrine. He did not compose any hymns of
his own, but quoted those of his predecessors in his discourses.
He often repeated to his followers the following verses of Bhal
Gurdas,Varan (XXVIII. 15):
A true Sikh rises before the night ends,
And turns his thoughts to God's Name,
To charity and to holy bathing.
He speaks humbly and humbly he walks,
He wishes everyone well and he is Joyced to
give away gifts from his hand.
He sleeps but little,
And little does he eat and talk.
Thus he receives the Guru's true instruction .
He lives by the labour of his hands and he does good deeds.
However eminent he might become,
He demonstrates not himself.
He sings God's praises in the company f holy men.
Such company he seeks night and day.
Upon Word is his mind fixed,
And he delights in the Guru's will.
Un-enticed he lives in this world of enticement
Har Rai was at Goindval when Dara Shukoh, heir apparent to
the Mughal throne, entered the Punjab fleeing in front of the army of
his brother, Aurangztb, after his defeat in the battle of Samugarh on
29 May 1658 At Goindval, where he arrived in the last week of June 1658,
he called on Sri Har Rai, and sought the consolation of his blessing
The prince was of a liberal religious disposition, and had a natural
inclination for the company of saintly persons He was especially an
admirer of the famous Muslim Sufi, Mian Mir, who was known to the
Sikh Gurus Sikh tradition also recalls how Dara Shikoh had once been
cured of a serious malady with herbs sent to hint by Guru Har Rai in
his affliction now he readily took the opportunity of having an audience
with the Guru According to Sarup Das Bhalla, Mahima Prakash, Guru Har
Rai deployed his own troops at tile ferly to delay Aurangzlb's army
which was pursuing Dara close at his heels
Rai left Goindval on a tour of the districts where
the Sikh faith had taken root in the time of his predecessors. He
travelled further on to Kashmir The Baisakhi of 1660 was celebrated
at Sialkot in the home of Nand Lal Puri, grandfather of Haqiqat
Rai, the martyr The journey was resumed in the company of Sikhs such
as Makkhan Shah, the Lubana trader, and Aru Ram, father of Kirpa Ram
Datt who later led to the presence of Guru Tegh Bahadur group of
Kashmiri pandits driven to dire distress by State persecution Guru
Har Rai arrived at Srinagar, via Martand, on 19 May 1660, and visited
Mota Tanda, the village to which his disciple, Makkhan Shah belonged. On
his way back, he stopped at Akhnur and Jammu. At the latter place,
the local masarnd, Bhat Kahna, waited on him with the sangat.
Shukoh's meeting with Guru Har Rai was misrepresented to
Emperor Aurangzeb Highly coloured stories were carried to him. His
officials and courtiers reported to him that Guru Har Rai was a rebel
and that he had helped the fugitive prince, Dara. Further, that the
Sikh Scripture contained verses derogatory to Islam. The Empror
asked Raja Jai Singh of Amber to have Guru Har Rai brought to
Delhi. The Raja's envoy, Hari Chand, who reached Kiratpur on the
Baisakhi day of 1661, presented the royal summons. Guru Har Rai
wondered why he had been called to Delhi and, to quote Bhat Santokh
Singh," Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth, he said, "I rule over
no territory, I owe the king no tax, nor do I want anything
from him. There is no connection of teacher and disciple between us,
either Of what avail will this meeting be?" He sent instead his
elder son, Ram Rai, his minister Diwan Dargah Mall, escorting him
According to the Guru kian Sakhian, Gura Har Rai blessed his
young son as he seated him in the carriage and exhorted him
"Answer squarely and Without fear any questions the Emperor may
ask. Exhibit no hesitation. Read the Granth attentively as you make
halts on the way The Guru will protect you wherever you
might be." Gurdas, of the family of Bhai Bahilo, was asked to
accompany Ram Rai with a copy of the (Guru) Granth Sahib in
order to please the Emperor, Ram Rai deliberately misread one
of the lines from the (Guru) Granth Sahib. This was reported
by the Sikhs accompanying him to Guru Har Rai, who anathematised him for altering Guru Nanak's utterance .
Debarred from presence before the Guru, Ram Rai retired to
Dehra Dun. Guru Har Rai chose his younger Son, Har Krishan, to
be his successor and had him anointed as Guru.