Sri Guru Harrai Ji
Guru Har Gobind nominated Har Rai, younger son of Baba Gurditta, as his successor before he departed for the heavenly abode in 1644. Dhir Mal, elder brother of Guru Har Rai, turned out disloyal and disobedient. He had some influence in the court of Emperor Aurangzeb and was in communication with the Guru’s enemies. When Guru Har Gobind moved to Kiratpur, Dhir mal with his mother, remained at Kartarpur and took possession of the Guru’s property and also of the priceless original copy of the Adi Granth. He thought that as long as he had its possession, the Sikhs would look upon him as their religious leader. Dhir Mal refused to go to Kiratpur on his father’s death. Guru Har Rai was peace-loving and fond of celestial contemplation and the Guru’s residence was now permanently shifted from Amritsar to Kiratpur - an out of the way, inaccessible place. Emperor Shah Jahan had seen that it served no good purpose to make the Sikhs his enemies. On the illness of Dara Shikoh, his youngest and most beloved son, the Emperor sent a conciliatory letter to Har Rai and asked for his blessings. Guru Har Rai sent the necessary medicine which was administered to Dara Shikoh. The medicine effected a speedy and complete cure. The Emperor was naturally very pleased, forgot all enmity against the Guru, and vowed that he would never again cause any annoyance to him. But not many years had passed, when Shah Jahan fell a prisoner into the hands of his son, Aurangzeb, who also killed his brothers and usurped the throne of Delhi. Dara Shikoh fled in fear of him and sought refuge with the Master, being already imbued with the mystic lore of saints like Sarmad. The Guru received him kindly, and filled him with that solace which no fear of death can disturb. Dara Shikoh was eventually caught and beheaded at Delhi, and Sarmad shared his fate.
Aurangzeb then turned his attention to Har Rai; but instead of adopting violent measures for his capture, the Emperor sent him a polite invitation to visit to Delhi. Har Rai refused to go to Delhi, but sent his eldest son Ram Rai to represent him there. When the Emperor was informed that the Guru had not come himself but sent his son, the Emperor sent him poisoned robes which he wore but was not hurt. In an interview a sheet of cloth was spread over a deep well so that Ram Rai when asked to sit, would fall into the well. The sheet did not give way and Ram Rai was miraculously preserved. The Emperor was shown the sight of Mecca while sitting in Delhi. After seventy such miracles were shown, Aurangzeb was almost convinced of Ram Rai’s powers and became friendly to him. The came the last question. The Qazi’s asked Ram Rai, your Guru Nanak has written against the Muslim religion. In one place he has said,
‘Mitti Musalman ki peire paee Kumiar; Ghar bhandei itan kia, jaldi karei pukar.’(Ang 466)
‘The ashes of the Mohammadan fall into the potter’s clod; Vessels and bricks are fashioned from them; they cry out as they burn. (Translation of the above)
In order to please the Emperor, Ram Rai replied, “Your Majesty, Guru Nanak wrote, ‘Mitti beiman ki’, that is the ashes of the faithless, not of the Musalmans, fall into the potter’s clod. The text has been corrupted by ignorant persons and Your Majesty’s religion and mine defamed. The faces of the faithless and not of the Musalmans, shall be blackened in both worlds.” All the Mohammadan priests were pleased with this reply. This news of the moral weakness of Ram Rai reached the Guru, who ordered that his son should never come back to see him. “Let him go whither he pleases”, said the Master, “he is not my son, when he has compromised the gospel of Guru Nanak.” Har Rai had an exceptional reclusive mind; he loved quiet and did not mix very freely with people other than his disciples. He had military discipline for himself in everything that affected his conscience. He never plucked a flower or a leaf in his life; his room was the temple of peace.
One day during a ride, he halted at the door of the cottage of a poor farmer. It was not the hour of the morning at which he usually break-fasted; yet he called out at that door, “Good woman, bring me the bread you have prepared for me.” The woman, half wild with joy, brought out some coarse bread, which he ate while still in his saddle. The disciples were astonished at this departure from his iron discipline in such matters, and next day as they rode they brought the meal at the same hour. He laughed, and said, “My friends, it was no hunger that caused me to beg the bread, but the song of love and Dhyanam of which it was made, and which obliged me to go there to accept it. It is seldom I get such bread. I pine for my disciple more than they pine for me. I am pulled by the strings of love that my disciples sometimes snatch from the Hand of God. God is Love.
The Guru feeling his end approaching thought of his successor and called for a meeting of his Sikhs. The Guru decided that Ram Rai was not fit for Guruship. He seated his younger son, Har Krishan who was only five years old, on Guru Nanak’s throne. Guru Har Rai enjoined all his Sikhs to consider Har Krishan as his image, to put faith in him. And they would obtain salvation. Guru Har Rai closed his eyes and went to his heavenly abode in 1661.