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Gurus Lessons From Sri Guru Har Rai Ji's Life

Aug 13, 2004

Prakash Divas of Sri Guru Har Rai Ji

January 31st was the Prakash Divas of Sri Guru Har Rai Ji, the Seventh Guru of the Sikhs (1630-1661). He was the son of Baba Gurditta ji and Mata Raj Kaur and grandson of the Sixth Guru Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji. He grew up under the guidance of his grandfather listening to the songs of bravery and learning languages, martial arts and riding. He was a pious, polite and softhearted person interested in service of mankind and remembrance of God’s Name. He was greatly influenced by Guru Hargobind Sahib’s firmness of faith, love towards his Sikhs, discipline and self-control. At the young age of 14 he was consecrated as the seventh Guru.

Some important lessons to be learnt from his life are:

1. Discipline and Self Control:
Once as a child while he was walking through the garden, a delicate branch with flowers got entangled to his overflowing dress and flowers got trampled.
This pained Har Rai’s heart. Guru Hargobind Sahib called his grandson and instructed, “Daaman Sankoch chalo”, - gather your clothes properly while going around. These words had a deeper meaning. One must live in this world and yet be master of oneself.

2. Humanitarian Service:
For treating physical ailments, he had started a dispensary, and employed two physicians there.
Medicines were given free. This fact became famous far and near. The herbs brought from mountains and medicines and powders were duly processed with care and devotion. Moghal emperor Shah Jahan had asked for and received some herbs like ‘Harde’ and ‘cloves’ from guru ji’s dispensary with which his son Dara Shikoh was cured..

3. Self-dependence with faith in God:
Dara Shikoh after his recovery went to Keeratpur to have Satguru’s darshan. He was warmly welcomed with ‘Ji Aaiya nu’. He had darshan and prasaad in the langar, then listened to Gurbani and thought that his life had become fruitful. As the governor of Lahore, he offered some land (jagir) for langar, but Har Rai Sahib politely declined the offer, saying, “God will give enough for langar”

4. Living as per Gurmat, Remembrance of Naam and Sat sang:
A religious preacher from Rome traveled from Himalayas to Kanya Kumari. After analyzing the religious and social conditions of those places, he reached Punjab, where he came to know about Guru Har Rai Sahib’s glory. He was very impressed just by seeing Har Rai Sahib. He heard the life stories of all gurus starting from Guru Nanak up to Guru Hargobind Sahib and was suddenly changed. His thoughts altered, he tried to understand the meaning of ‘Bani’. He asked a question to Har Rai Sahib, “There were so many avtars
(incarnations) like Shri Krishna, Jesus Christ, Hazrat Mohammad Sahib, Pagumbar Moosa, Nanak Ji; but who will help one to go to heaven?”

Har Rai Sahib replied, “These avtars show the light of knowledge to a human being. One must improve their lives with their help. To recognize and experience God, one must do deeds which God likes. One must remember ‘Naam’ in the company of Sadh Sangat. The soul will thus become pure. One must live life as Gurmat describes it. Thus one can cross the sea of life”.

5. Who is a good ruler?
Deepchand and few other kings of hilly states came to visit Har Rai Sahib. They had wicked intentions. To teach them a lesson Har Rai Sahib said to him, “You have got good wrestlers. Let them wrestle with the Sikhs and watch.” Har Rai Sahib patted a couple of Sikhs and told them to wrestle with the strong wrestlers of the mountain kings. The hefty wrestlers of the kings were defeated. The kings were ashamed.
Har Rai Sahib preached to the kings,
-“Do not show off just because you are kings. Do not ruin everything in lust.
-It is not good to trouble the people. People are the Roots of a kingdom. Do not axe the Roots. The kings, who harass their people, hurt their roots only.
-The revenue income should be used for the welfare of the public. Dig wells and ponds, open schools and construct choultries. One should work for the religion.”

6. Sikhs neither fear nor threaten others:
In a town called Noor Mehal Guru Ji camped in the garden of a Brahmin named Bhavangir. Thinking that Guru Har Rai like his grandfather might be considered a rebel got afraid and refused to come to see Guru ji.
At night the Brahmin died of snakebite. Next day the villagers came to ask for forgiveness. Guru Ji told them that this house belongs to people who are fearless, revenge-less and wish well-being of all. God will indeed do good!

7. Always remember God’s Naam:
“Hari ka nam hride nit dhiai . Sangi sathi sagala tarai .Guru mere sangi sada hai nale .
Simari simari tis sada samale. Tera kiya mitha lagei IHari nam padarath Nanak magai.” sggs-394

Guru ji had given instructions to be followed when he was traveling with the Sangat:
- Kirtan would continue while traveling. Jokes and laughter were not allowed on the road.
- A person would not go for the pilgrimage with his needs and desires.
- One must maintain politeness.
- No one is allowed to cook separately. Everyone would eat with others whatever prasaad is served in the
langar with love.
- During halts the travelers should spend as much time as possible in listening to Gurbani.
-. All should help the workers as much as possible. No one should wish for comforts.

8. No changes can be made in Gurbani
On a complaint that Guru Ji had helped Dara Shikoh to escape to Lahore Aurangzeb called him to Delhi. Guru Ji sent his elder son Ram Rai with these instructions:

- Sri Guru Nanak Ji ‘s divine powers are with you. Use them carefully. Do not do anything to defame your ancestors.
-Remember Amardasji,s Shabad “Trishnã chhode bhay vasai, Nanak karni sãr.” SGGS -1089 It means do not covet. Be God fearing. It is the best policy.

A discussion about greatness of Islam was held in the royal darbar. One maulvi asked, “Your ancestors have composed some verses about Muslims also. One shabad says –
mittee musalamaan kee paerrai pee kumihaaar || gharr bhaa(n)ddae eittaa keeaa jaladhee karae pukaar ||SGGS-466

Ram Rai replied, “Yes, Sri Guru Nanak Ji has said so in Asa di Var”. When they asked it’s meaning, he got a bit frightened, thought for a while and said, “It is not what you think. Sri Guru Nanak Ji had said ‘Miti beimãn ki”. But a follower heard it and felt sad. He went to Keeratpur and told Maharaj that Ram Rai made a change in Sadguru’s Bani. Hari Rai Sahib was furious. “I do not wish to see his blemished face. He is so obnoxious! Go and tell him that I will never see his face.” Ram Rai got the message.

Actually there was no reason to change ‘Miti Musalmãn’ from that line. Ram Rai could have explained the true meaning of that line. Sri Guru Nanak Ji wanted to explain his thoughts that the soul of a person does not stay buried in a tomb with his body. Muslims believe that all souls stay in the tombs with their bodies and after thousands of years, at the time of ‘hashra’ present the accounts of their lives. So Sri Guru Nanak Ji said, “After a few years, when a potter uses mud to make pots, bricks etc. and bakes them in a kiln, the souls should shriek from the kiln. But it does not happen, so the souls are not in those tombs.”
Hari Rai Sahib could have ignored the miracle showing pomp of his son, but changing the words of Guru Nanak? No way! “Ram Rai has poor intelligence,” Har Rai Sahib said, “He is of no use for this gadi (seat). Sri Guru Nanak Ji is True Badshah. Ram Rai has gone under other’s influence. I order him to go to that direction, where his face has turned to. He should not show his face to me. Let him earn Moghal money and enjoy luxuries of life. This boy has no place in guru darbar.”

9. From whose side does the danger exist to the Panth and how to ward it off?
Once while sitting with his followers Guru Ji spoke to the sat sangis; ‘The ship of Gurmat teaching has been prepared by Guru Maharaj with great labor. Winning over of devoted and ‘powerful’ people like Ram Rai by the royal splendor shows that it can face danger in future. People’s minds can waver. To save the ship of this ‘panth’ from such risks, some solid plans should be made’. When asked what kind of danger Har Rai Sahib explained,

-“First danger is from those who will want to impose their own traditions and rules.
-Second danger is by the ‘mukhiya’ (leader) who will succumb to greed for money.
-Third dangerous thing is hypocrisy. Worship of hypocrisy creates holes in solidity. Those people cannot reach any destination.”

“What can one do about it?” was the question from the sat sangis.

- “One must have unbreakable faith and confidence in one’s guru.
-All the people of the ‘Panth’ should have same type of living and firm devotion. Then only the rifts in the ship will be repaired.
-The traitors do not raise their heads if they are duly punished. Tenth Guru will punish the hypocrites and join the separated parts of the ‘Panth’.”

This did happen during the period of the Tenth Guru.

10. Need to upheld discipline above everything

Guru Ji being a strict disciplinarian, upheld discipline above everything. He said “Do not cut your hair; do not consume tobacco and do not were a cap.
Follow other such rules of Sikhi. Only then you will be called ‘dharmi’ (religious person). If by God’s Grace you get some power, do not show off.

For a Sikh’s daily routine he often repeated the following verses of Bhai Gurdas (xxviii. 15)
pishhal raathee(n) jaaganaa naam dhaan eisanaan dhirraaeae||
A true Sikh arises before the night ends and turns his thoughts to God’s Name, to charity and holy bathing. mit(h)aa bolan niv chalan hathhahu dhae kai bhalaa manaaeae||
He speaks humbly and humbly he walks. He wishes everyone well and he is happy to give away gifts from his hand.
thhorraa savanaa khaavanaa thhorraa bolan guramath paaeae||
Thus he receives the Guru’s true instruction. He sleeps but little and little does he eat and talk.
ghaal khaae sukrith karai vaddaa hoe n aap ganaaeae||
He lives by the labor of his hands and he does good deeds. However eminent he may become he demonstrates not himself.
saadhhasa(n)gath mil gaa(n)vadhae raath dhihai(n) nith chal chal jaaeae||
He sings God’s praises in the company of holy men. Such company he seeks night and day.
sabadh surath parachaa karai sathigur parachai man parachaaeae||
Upon Word is his mind fixed and he delights in the Guru’s Will. Un-enticed he lives in this world of enticement.
aasaa vich niraas valaaeae ||

11. Respect for Gurbani Once some satsangis reached Keeratpur, singing bhajans. It was night by the time they reached. Hari Rai Sahib was resting. He was awakened by the ‘shabad’ and got up from his cot. In that process and hurry, a leg of the cot hurt his knee badly, but he just went downstairs and met the satsangis. One satsangi noticed Maharaj’s unease and asked Maharaj, “Bani is yours, words are yours, Granth Sahib is also yours… then why did you hurry?”

Maharaj replied, “ Guru’s ‘Anubhav’ (experience) has taken form of the Bani. This is a ‘tiger’, which can kill the deer, which is greed. This is a ship to cross the sea of fire that is life. There is no devotion without faith, and no knowledge without devotion. There is no liberation without knowledge and no bliss without liberation. There is no nectar - God without bliss. So one has to respect Bani as much as one can.
Bani spreads the light of the knowledge in the reader’s and listener’s minds.
A person who understands that Bani is God’s Word reaches Him.”

Let us all imbibe the lessons from Guru Har Rai’s life

Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
Jul 4, 2004
A really beautiful post BhenJi Prabhjyot Kaur jio. Somehow in our "short of time" rat race..Sikhs have almost forgotten the other Gurus except the "main" ones like Guru nanak Ji, Guru Arjun ji, Guru teg bahadur Ji and Guru gobind Singh ji. We forget that the other six Guru Sahibaans are equally great and need to be "remembered" in gurpurabs and smagams. ALL ten Gurus are part of the same Guru nanak jyot.

Hence your post is a step in the right direction.... I look forward to soem m ore such inspiring posts..on the other Guru sahibs..

Thank you.

Jarnail Singh Gyani