Har Rāi, Guru
By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Har Rai, Guru, Har RAi, Guru, Har Raai, Guru
Har Rāi, Guru (A. D. 1630-1661)
Har Rāi was the seventh Guru of the Sikhs. He was the son of Bābā Gurudittā and grandson of Guru Hargobind. Sulakhaṇī was his noble and worthy wife.
Once he saw Guru Hargobind (A. D. 1595-1644) from a distance. In a rush to meet him, he broke some branches of a flower plant. This pained him so much that he started weeping. Observing this, the Guru advised him with a few words that became the beacon of his life.
Guru Hargobind nominated him as his successor in 1644 before his death. Guru Har Rāi kept up the military traditions introduced by his guru Hargobind for the defense of dharma. It is said that he had 2,200 armed followers. There were no armed conflicts during his time with the ruling powers.
He established five important teaching missions. They were by:
- Bhagvān Gir or Bhagat Bhagvān - He worked in eastern India.
- Saṅgatīā or Bhāī Pheru - He worked in western India.
- Bhāī Gondā - He worked in Kabul.
- Bhāī Natthā - He preached in Dhākā.
- Bhāī Jodh - He preached in Multān.
He normally lived at Kirātpur and kept the daily practices of his predecessors. Dārā Shukoh, elder brother of Aurangzeb, had sought the blessings of Guru Har Rāi. This enraged Aurangzeb who asked the Guru to come and meet him. But the Guru cleverly avoided it and instead send his first son Rām Rāi. Rām Rāi practically betrayed his own father. Hence the Guru was obliged to bequeath his seat before passing away to his younger son Harkiṣan, though he was hardly five years old, in 1661.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore