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1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
March 14 marks the Gurgaddi when Guru Har Rai Sahib became Guru of the Sikhs, Nanak VIII, as per the Nanakashai Calendar.

Please enjoy the slide show - a photographic essay -- from the Sikh Foundation.

Guru Har Rai (1630 – 1631 A.D.) – A Photo Essay

To see the photo essay:

Scroll down to the bottom of this window. Place your cursor on the black area to the right of the main image or portrait of Guru Har Rai Sahib ji below, and then click. Each time you click, the image will change. You will be able to see the entire slide show.

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Guru Har Rai (1630 – 1631 A.D.) – A Photo Essay :: www.SikhFoundation.org

Guru Hargobind’s fourteen year old grandson Har Rai, born on 30th January, 1630 A.D. at Kiratpur, succeeded his grandfather Guru Hargobind to the Gurugaddi after he passed away in 1644. Neither of his two sons, Surajmal and Tegh Bahadur, was willing to take up the responsibility of leading and guiding the community of Sikhs. Tegh Bahadur, though a recluse when his father Guru Hargobind died, later was nominated the Sikhs’Ninth Guru.

Guru Har Rai continued the practice of Miri and Piri and maintained a splendid court and a company of 200 mounted soldiers as his personal guard, yet he felt the proportion of Miri in Sikhism was gradually mounting with a result that in the life of an average Sikh the ‘spiritual’ was seen usually sub serving the ‘material’. He did not, hence, have much preference for warfare and chose rather the solitude of hills where, while meditating within, he was able to explore and collect his energies for applying them to consolidate the spiritual part of Sikhism. He believed that in the Sikh tradition warfare was an eventuality and spiritualism its essence.

He sought to revive Guru Nanak’s way though his canvas was not that wide. He believed like the first Guru that personal touch and contact was the most effective instrument for inspiring the Sikhs. He, hence, undertook tours, though only of shorter durations and distances, which, perhaps, the later sovereign form of Sikh Guruship conditioned. He stayed at Nahan, now in Himachal Pradesh, for some twelve years and wielded great spiritual influence around. He once blessed there a Jat boy, poor and hungry, who later came to found the known Phulkian family after his own name Phul. This family later ruled the states of Patiala, Nabha, and Jind. A bairagi monk Bhagat Gir met here Guru Har Rai and was so impressed that he took to Sikhism. Renamed as Bhagat Bhagwan he was commissioned to carry to the eastern part Guru Nanak’s Message. Wherever Guru Har Rai went hundreds of people heard him and got converted to Sikhism. At Kiratpur, Bhai Sangaita, a man of great caliber came in his touch. He not only joined Sikhism but also undertook the mission of spreading the message of Guru Nanak in Bari Doab. His other associate Bhai Gonda carried the mission to Lahore and converted their people to Nanak’s path.

Sainthood with no place for vengeance and ill-will was the legacy of Guru Har Rai too. He had in his possession a life saving medicine, which the Mughal emperor Shahjahan need for saving the life of his eldest and the most beloved son Dara Shikoh who was struggling in between life and death. Shahjahan’s messenger, sent to Guru Har Rai, went back not with the medicine alone but also with the holy blessings to the emperors ailing son. Dara Shikoh speedily recovered but whether by Guru’s medicine or his blessing was not known. Guru Har Rai only strengthened the tradition of Sikh Gurus which believed in returning good for evil.

Despite his aversion for warfare and violence, he would not hesitate to confront with any power or pay whatever cost for his adherence to truth and his Panth. Misled to believe that Guru Har Rai was a rebel, and that Sikh scriptures propagated things against Islam, the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, after he had succeeded his father, summoned Guru Har Rai to his court, though the letter he sent to him was very polite, something such as a dagger wrapped in velvet. Guru Har Rai nominated his eldest son Ram Rai to visit the Mughal emperor. He was instructed not to appease the Mughal emperor by his words, or to interpret Adi-granth, or any of its parts, to mean different from what it actually meant. Charmed by Mughal power and the glamour of the Mughal court Ram Rai acted differently. He appeased the emperor and disobeyed his father. He interpreted Adi-granth to emperor’s liking. After Guru Har Rai had heard all about it he reacted that “Guruship was tigress’ milk and could not be contained in a pot other than that of gold”. He announced that Ram Rai would never appear before him and nominated his second son Har Kishan, though just five, as his successor.

Guru Har Rai often recited a couplet of Baba Farid, which suggested that the great Sikh Guru considered compassion as the highest virtue of all things divine in man.

“Hearts are jewels,
Distress them not,
Those who distress no heart
Seek the beloved God,”

Whether real or imagined, an incident of his life has been widely covered in Sikh literature and in medieval Sikh paintings. While strolling in a garden he dragged with his loose cloak a few stem-containing flowers. No sooner he saw the flowers falling to ground his eyes welled up with tears. It pained him that he instrumented them injury, an act that was never in his nature.

In Guru Har Rai Sikhism seemed to seek the apex of emotionality and the softer aspects of human life.

Excerpt from “The Sikh Heritage” by Dr. Daljit


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1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Guru Har Rai Sahib

Guru Hargobind Sahib, before his departure for heavenly abode, nominated his grand son, Har Rai Ji at the tender age of 14, as his successor (Seventh Nanak), on 3rd March, 1644. Guru Har Rai Sahib was the son of Baba Gurdita Ji and Mata Nihal Kaur Ji(also known as Mata Ananti Ji). Guru Har Rai Sahib married to Mata Kishan Kaur Ji(Sulakhni Ji) daughter of Sri Daya Ram Ji of Anoopshahr (Bulandshahr) in Utter Pradesh on Har Sudi 3, Samvat 1697. Guru Har Rai Sahib had two sons: Sri Ram Rai Ji and Sri Har Krishan Sahib Ji (Guru).

Guru Har Rai Sahib was a man of peace but he never disbanded or discharged the armed Sikh Warriors (Saint Soldiers), who earlier were maintained by his grandfather (Guru Hargobind Sahib). He otherwise further boosted the military spirit of the Sikhs. But he never himself indulged in any direct political and armed controversy with the contemporary Mughal Empire. Once on the request of Dara Shikoh (the eldest son of emperor Shahjahan). Guru Sahib helped him to escape safely from the bloody hands of Aurangzebs armed forces during the war of succession.

Once Guru Sahib was coming back from the tour of Malwa and Doaba regions, Mohamad Yarbeg Khan, (son of Mukhlis Khan, who was killed by Guru Hargobind Sahib in a battle) attacked the kafla of Guru Sahib with the force of one thousand armed men. The unwarranted attack was repulsed by a few hundred Saint Soliders of Guru Sahib with great courge and bravery. The enemy suffered a heavy loss of life and fled the scene. This self-defense measure, (a befitting reply to the unwarranted armed attack of the privileged muslims), was an example for those who professed the theory of so called non-violence or "Ahimsa Parmo Dharma". Guru Sahib often awarded various Sikh warriors with gallantry awards.

Guru Sahib also established an Aurvedic herbal medicine hospital and a research centre at Kiratpur Sahib. There, he maintained a zoo also. Once Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Shah Jahan fell seriously ill by some unknown disease. The best physicians available in the country and abroad were consulted, but there was no improvement. At last the emperor made a humble request to Guru Sahib for the treatment of his son. Guru Sahib accepting the request, handed over some rare and suitable medicines to the messenger of the emperor. The life of Dara Shikoh was saved from the cruel jaws of death. The emperor, whole heartily thanked and wanted to grant some "Jagir", but Guru Sahib never accepted.

Guru Har Rai Sahib also visited Lahore, Sialkot, Pathankot, Samba, Ramgarh and many places of Jammu and Kashmir region. He established 360 Sikh missionary seats (ManJis). He also tried to improve the old corrupt Masand system and appointed pious and committed personalities like Suthre Shah, Sahiba, Sangtia, Mian Sahib, Bhagat Bhagwan, Bahagat Mal and Jeet Mal Bhagat (also known as Bairagi), as the heads of ManJis.

Guru Har Rai Sahib faced some serious difficulties during the period of his guruship. The corrupt massands, Dhir Mals and Minas always tried to preclude the advancement of Sikh religion. After the death of Shah Jahan, the attitude of the state headed by Aurangzeb towards the non-muslims, turned hostile.

The emperor Aurangzeb made an excuse for the help rendered to prince Dara Shakoh by Guru Sahib during the war of succession and framed false charges against Guru Sahib and was summoned to Delhi. Ram Rai Ji appeard on behalf of Guru Sahib in the court. He tried to clarify some mis-understandings regarding Guru Ghar and Sikh faith, created by Dhirmals and Minas. Yet another trap, which he could not escape, was to clarify the meaning of the verse "The Ashes of the Mohammadan fall into the potter's clot, It is molded into pots and bricks, and they cry out as they burn".

Ram Rai, in order to please the emperor and gain more sympathy replied that the text had been needlessly corrupted by some ignorant person and inserted the word Musleman instead of word Beiman (dishonest).(The actual meaning of the verse is that the human soul is not bound to the physical structure or the body of a person. The physical material of the bodies of both Hindus and Muselmans face the same fate and it is a universal truth. The soul leaves the body immediately after the death and it does not remain in the grave waiting for doom\'s day. And the earth consumes the body-material in due course of time) It is a rational and scientific view of Sikhism.

When Guru Har Rai Sahib was informed about this incident, he immediately excommunicated Ram Rai Ji from the Sikh Panth and never met him, through the later pleaded repeatedly for forgiveness. Thus Guru Sahib established a strict property for the Sikhs against any alteration of original

http://punjabi.punjabinfoline.com/2010/07/guru-har-rai-sahib-ji.htmlverse in Guru Granth Sahib and the basic conventions set up by Guru Nanak Sahib.

Knowing that the end was near, Guru Har Rai Sahib installed his younger son Har Krishan as the Eighth Nanak and passed away on Kartik Vadi 9 (5 Kartik), Bikrami Samvat 1718, (6th October, 1661) at Kiratpur Sahib.



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1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
mnmaria20 ji

This is only a partial answer. Big chunks of Sikh history have been obliterated over the centuries making it impossible to document many many things. Each time through destruction through conquest and war. After the death of Guru Gobind Singh, Moghuls made it a point to systematically destroy remnants of Sikh identity. Documents lost and in the chaos no one able to preserve things. During the raj documents changed or shipped away. During the partition more destruction. During Bluestar the destruction of Akal Takht and much of its library shipped to no one knows where by the Indian Army. It is remarkable that anything is left. That is only part of the problem of reconstructing the why's and wherefore's of how various schools of thought developed. Some of it was political. Some of it reflects times when different personalities broke away from the center created by our gurus. In our Sanatan Sikhism section we are beginning a collection of information on diverse traditions within Sikhism. Take a look there. But that does not even scratch the surface of the answer.


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
The next set of pictures are from Max Arthur Macauliffe's The Sikh Religion: Its Gurus, Sacred Writings, and Authors. Volume 4, looking at the early years of Guru Har Rai.


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1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Life Sketch of Guru Har Rai (early years)


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1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
From Joseph Cunningham, A history of the Sikhs, from the origin of the nation to the battles of the Sutlej (1853)

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Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
Jul 4, 2004
TODAY is Guru Har rai jis Parkahs Ushtav Gurpurab....But on this ocassion the Sant Samaaj has decided to forego insisting on the ORIGINAL MAGHI VADEE 14 which they INSISTED was VITAL ENOUGH to cause DIVISION in Sikhs when it concerend SUDEE 7 of PH 23 in the case of Guru Gobind Singh Ji Parkash ushtav Gurpurab recently !! IF the SUDEE 7 was DISREGARDED..then ALL SIKHS can celebrate the GGS Gurpurab as ONE NATION on January 5th !!

Anyone who can RATIONALLY conclude WHY one SUDEE 7 is so important and another Vadee 14 is NOT IMPORTANT ??..Please tell us..Because the Sant chief Raolla Rappa Chief (Goebells copy cat) Sant hari Singh Randhawa shut his phone down to avoid embarrasing himself !! ( This same Mahapurash ji challenges anyone to DEBATE the 2003 Nanakshai calendar with HIM !!) NONE of the New calendar supporters CANNOT provide the answer !!! japposatnamwaheguru: japposatnamwaheguru: japposatnamwaheguru: japposatnamwaheguru: japposatnamwaheguru:


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Episodes from the lives of the Gurus, Institute for Sikh studies, Chandigarh

God Looks After Everybody


Once a householder Sikh came to see Guru Har Rai ji, and narrated his problem thus: “O True King, I had a son who grew into a promising young man. He is dead now. I had hoped that he would take over the responsibilities of the household, and that I will come and stay in your service to earn salvation at your door. But my hopes have been shattered. What should 1 do in such a plight? This is troubling me constantly.”
“Tell me how many members are there in your family, and what do you do to make a living?” asked the Guru. “O True King, there are two younger sons and a daughter, besides their mother. I am the fifth. With regard to livelihood, whatever I earn, is used to feed us all,” replied the Sikh.
“If you are really keen to serve the Guru, start right away. Leave their care to God. He will look after them. You can make your life fruitful,” said the Guru.

“O True King, my thinking is immature. I believe that without me they will perish. You are the Guru. Everything is at your command. Pray, show me something to put faith into me.”

“Do an errand for me. We shall talk about faith, when you return. Deliver a message to my Sikh in 'so and so' village.” “Pray, give me the letter,” requested the Sikh. The Guru wrote a message, instructing that the messenger should be imprisoned for six months, after which he should be released, and that he should be looked after well. The Sikh carried the letter and delivered it. He was detained as per the Guru’s instruction. The Sikh pleaded, “O brother, 1 have four persons to support. They can eat only if I earn. Without me they will starve. Pray, let me go.” The Sikh replied, “Listen brother, it is you who have brought this letter. The Guru at whose command everything happens, has instructed that the man who brings this message, should be imprisoned. You want to be released. Now you advise whether we should obey you or the Guru who is omnipotent. Consider what is proper for you and what is proper for me, and then speak.” “Who am I? You should obey the all-powerful Guru.” “You have understood the situation correctly. Now be patient. Relax for six months, concentrate on the Guru in mind, after which I shall let you go. It is in your interest to obey the Guru. Carrying out the Guru's instructions is in my interest also.” The Sikh acquiesced.

At the other end, the Guru arranged for the sustenance of the Sikh's family in this way. They went without one meal. Their neighbours asked them why they had not cooked their meal. The Sikh's wife replied, “Who earned has abandoned us. God knows what was his consideration. Now our sustenance is in the hands of God. If He gives, we shall cook and eat. Otherwise, we shall bear it quietly.” The neighbours thought it was not proper that the family should stay hungry in their midst, and that some arrangements must be made for them. To start with, each one of them brought one tray of flour for the family. There were fifty houses in the neighbourhood. Thus, fifty trays of flour were collected. Then the inhabitants of the locality gave them employment. The two sons started working as attendants, and earning. A lady took pity and gave the little girl and her mother lessons in embroidery. Thus, their sustenance was no longer a problem. On expiry of six months, the Sikh was released from detention. He immediately went to his family. He had been greatly worried. He was afraid that they would be no more. But when he found them hale and hearty, he was very happy. In fact, he saw that they were better off as compared to earlier times. When his wife told him the truth about the family, it made him all the more happy. He realised that the Guru had arranged all this to put faith into him. He went to see the Guru again, and out of gratefulness, said happily, “O True King, you have taken me out of hell, and brought the reality before my eyes. Otherwise, my entire life would have been wasted worrying about food for the family. Now I have seen that in fact I was a hindrance in their sustenance. When I was away, there was abundance of everything. Now I shall devote my life in the service of the Guru. Because of your mercy I have found bliss.”

“Listen, O Sikh, there were ten doors to the sustenance of your family. When were they without sustenance? God provides it even where there is no door. There is life within rocks. Their sustenance reaches there. There are beings deep inside the earth. God feeds them there. Similarly, there are beings in the sky. Their sustenance is arranged there. Listen to this story of how He looks after His creation. There is a mountain of ferrous rocks in the sea where no fanning is possible. People live there also and need food. They are surrounded by a huge ocean, which man-made boats cannot cross. For them, every year God creates ships and inspires such traders, shows routes to them, so that the ships can reach those mountains, barter iron ore day and night in exchange for food they bring from outside. The exchange does not stop. The people feel that they are drawing their sustenance from the iron ore. So, they love their occupation of mining. Because they are ignorant of the Almighty. They give all credit to their occupation. As God has to provide sustenance to living beings, He creates the illusion that it is their effort which sustains them. Those who know that it is really God who provides sustenance, are attached to Him.”


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Protecting Mother Earth: Sikhism's Ecological Roots
by Bandana Kaur


Earlier this winter, seventy new medicinal plants were sown in the garden of Naulakha Bagh in Kiratpur Sahib, Punjab, along the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. As aged fingers reached down through the dirt to create space for young saplings, this group of Sikh elders revived a centuries old tradition of planting culturally important plants at historic Sikh sites.

In fact, it was on this ground that five centuries earlier, the seventh Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Har Rai Ji, established a wildlife sanctuary and planted flowers, medicinal herbs, and fruit-bearing trees. According to Sikh tradition these efforts created a salubrious environment, attracting birds and animals to the town and turning it into an idyllic place to live. Naulakha Bagh became famous for wide varieties of rare medicinal herbs, and as memories recount, event the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan sought medicine from Guru Har Rai Ji for curing his son, Dara Shikoh.

To honor the Sikh tradition of preserving 'Mata Dharat' (Mother Earth), Sikhs will host a week of celebrations for 'Sikh Vatavaran Diwas' (Environment Day) the third week of March, which also corresponds to the New Year in the Sikh Nanakshahi calendar. The environmental celebrations this year consist of a total of 1,500 grassroots projects by Sikhs across six continents to protect our planet: from tree plantings to sapling distributions, water conservation projects to solar energy installations, organic farming workshops to nature marches through streets and villages. All these celebrations are inspired by Sikh teachings that recognize the Divine force as Nature.

Sacred Earth in the Sikh Tradition

The Sikh tradition affirms the sanctity of the earth.

The teachings of the Sikhs are contained in the Guru Granth Sahib, a compilation of the writings of the Sikh Gurus (1469-1708) describing the universal presence of the Divine. Sikhs honor Guru Granth Sahib as their timeless Guru and teacher.

As described in the Guru Granth Sahib, the ecological basis of Sikh tradition rests in the understanding that the Creator ('Qadir') and the Creation ('Qudrat') are One. The Divine permeates all life, and is inherent in the manifest creation around us, from the wind that blows across land and skies, to the water that flows through rivers and seas, to the forests and fields that humans rely on for food and shelter, as well as all the creatures of land and sea that depend on the earth for sustenance. The Sikh Gurus teach that there is no duality between that which makes a flower grow and the petals we are able to touch and sense with our fingers.

The Sikh Gurus also refer to the earth as 'Dharamsaal,' a religious sanctuary where union with the Divine is attained. Guru Nanak describes this in the morning recitation for Sikhs known as Jap Ji, that amid the rhythms of Creation, the changing seasons, air, water, and fire, the Creator established the earth as the home for humans to realize their Divinity in this world.

The Sikh Gurus' writings are also a rich compendium on the biodiversity of South Asia. Throughout Guru Granth Sahib, birds and trees especially are used to describe the metaphoric relationship between a disciple and the Divine. Traditional birds like the pea{censored}, flamingo, hawk, cuckoo, nightingale, crane, swan, owl, and the koyal, and trees like the banyan, pipal, and sandalwood of Punjab are used in the Gurus' metaphors, along with many, many other species. This diversity of life affirm's the Divine's creative current through land, water, and sky.

This understanding of the universe is all embedded within the Khalsa ideal for Sikhs, a word that also signifies the 'sovereign' body of Sikhs who make a commitment to protecting the most marginalized among us, a strong call to environmental justice.

The Path Before Us

The challenge that rests before us is tremendous, and weighs a heavy burden on human wellbeing and the survival of our planet. With reports surfacing daily of the severity of the ecological crisis before us, can a spiritual tradition that is centuries old really stand the test of our planetary systems today?

Take the ecological crisis currently facing the region of Punjab as an example, where 25 million of the world's Sikhs reside. Punjab was the testing ground of the Green Revolution, which sought to increase food production for the subcontinent in the 1960s, but not without the serious erosion of the region's ecological base. This once thriving alluvial plain home to croplands interspersed with grasslands, forests, wetlands, and rivers, now has fallen extremely low in national environmental rankings. Due to unchecked demand on resources, the region claims some of the highest damage to soil and water systems, severe biodiversity losses, and pollution from industrial units that spew named carcinogens into waterways.

The EcoSikh movement was born of the vision that the Sikh Gurus' message is indeed relevant for our time, and that a harmonious relationship with our planet a human life. This collective Sikh effort for the environment not only represents the spiritual foundation to protect our environment, but also the power of 25 million working together.

It is the power of Sikhs from all over the world affirming their connection with the planet.

It is the power of Sikhs to work with scientists, policy makers, and business owners and remind us all of the inherent value of Nature.

It is the power of Sikh elders sharing knowledge that sustained earth's systems for generations, and young people in choosing to honor it.

It is the power of the Sikh Gurus that remind us that living a spiritually exalted life means caring deeply about Creation.

In other words, the mainstream environmental dialogue is strengthened by voices of spiritual traditions that not only represent sizable populations but also inspire us to a deeper environmental sensibility and action. This is why 'Sikh Vatavaran Diwas,' our environment day, is not just about what happens today, but it is about our future, and living powerfully in the present so that others may do so one day as well.

It is on this day, the 545th Sikh New Year, that EcoSikh wishes all a happy Sikh Vatavaran Diwas - Environment Day. May all remain spiritually exalted, and always in service of the Universal, Creative force that sustains this earth.


Mar 13, 2013
Guru Har Rai Mahraaj Ji

Moorat Of Love,Tolerance And Patience
lot to learn from him
one such teaching is as depicted in the picture



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