GURU HAR RAE JI
Born in 1630, Guru Har Rae ji became the seventh Sikh Guru when he was only 14 years old. He was the grandson of the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind ji. Guru Hargobind ji had five sons. His two sons who had survived him were Suraj Mal, and Teg Bahadur ji (who later became the ninth Guru). The elder, Suraj Mal, was fond of worldly pleasures and not considered fit for Guruship. The younger, Teg Bahadur was totally engrossed in meditation and detached himself from worldly affairs. Guru Hargobind ji’s deceased eldest son, Gurdita ji, had two sons, Dhir Mal and Har Rae. Dhir Mal was older and very aggressive. He wanted to become the next Guru and considered his right to the Guruship. Guru Hargobind ji did not consider him a suitable candidate and nominated the younger grandson, Har Rae ji, to be the seventh Guru.
Guru Har Rae ji was a man of great wisdom and compassion. Once the Sikhs asked him whether there was any benefit of reading the Guru’s Bani without understanding it. Guruji replied “yes, as grease sticks to the pot even when it is empty, so does Guru’s word stick to the heart. Whether you understand it or not, Guru’s Bani bears the seeds of salvation. Perfume persists in the broken pieces even after the vase that contained it has been shattered”.
One of Guru Har Rae ji’s Sikhs, a Punjabi trader in Bihar named Bhagat Bhagwan, after getting inspiration from Guruji, established numerous centers of Sikh religion all over the state of Bihar. According to historians, there were 360 maths (centers of worship) in Bihar during the time of Guru Har Rae ji. Guruji also looked after the health and well being of his Sikhs. He established dispensaries in several Gurudwaras and encouraged Sikhs to open clinics and dispensaries in their respective regions. When Emperor Shah Jahan’s son, Dara Shikoh, fell sick, the Emperor’s physicians suggested the use of a special herb which was not available in Lahore. That herb was available at the hospital operated by Guru Har Rai ji in Kirtarpur. Although, the Emperor was not on good terms with the Sikhs, Guru ji gave the medicine, when the Emperor sent his messenger. The Emperor’s son became well and he thanked Guru ji for saving his son’s life.
After Shah Jehan, there was a war of succession among his sons. Aurangzeb, who was the most violent and powerful of his sons, imprisoned his father and secured the throne by force. His brother, Dara Shikoh, fled Lahore and came to Guru Har Rai ji in Kirtarpur for help. In keeping with the Sikh tradition of helping the needy, Guruji gave him shelter and treated him like any other person in need was treated – with respect and dignity. Dara Shikoh was later captured and executed on Aurangzeb’s orders. This incident and other circumstances later resulted in the execution of the ninth Guru, Guru Teg Bahadur ji, by Aurangzeb.
Some of the people in Emperor Aurangzeb’s court misinterpreted a verse in the Granth Saheb and told him that Muslims were degraded in that verse. They referred to the verse “mitti musalman kee pere paee kumiaar” (Muslims bury the dead body, while Hindus cremate it. In this verse Guru Nanak Dev ji said that whether you burry or cremate, it makes no difference). Aurangzeb summoned Guru Har Rae ji to his court to explain. Guru ji sent his eldest son, Ram Rae, (14 years old) to Delhi to answer Emperor’s questions. Ram Rae got intimidated by the Emperor and his courtiers and said that the actual word was “beimaan” (means faithless), not “musalmaan”. The Emperor was satisfied but Sikhs of Delhi were greatly offended by Ram Rae’s behavior. Guru Har Rae ji was deeply distressed when he was told about this by the Sikhs. He immediately declared Ram Rae unfit for Guruship and said that he will never see Ram Rae’s face again. Shortly after this incident, Guru Har Rae ji passed away on October 6, 1661 at the young age of 32. He nominated his younger son, Har Krishan ji to be the eighth Guru.
This is a good opportunity to memorize Gurbani, one Pauri at a time. You can concentrate better and enjoy more if you recite bani without looking at the gutka.
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DID YOU KNOW
According to the current Rehat Maryada published by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), every Sikh is expected to recite the following banis everyday:
Japji Saheb, Jaap Saheb, Ten Swayyas. Ardas is performed after reciting these banis.
Evening: Rehras Saheb and Ardas.
Night: Kirtan Sohela
- Written by Guru Nanak Dev Ji
- This is the first bani in Guru Granth Saheb, also called Adi Granth.
- This bani is not assigned to any Raga (most of the bani in Guru Granth Saheb is in various Ragas)
- Consists of mool mantra, 38 paurees, and a slok.
- This bani is recited in the morning before starting the daily routine.
- Written by Guru Gobind Singh ji
- This bani is not in the Adi Granth (Guru Granth Saheb ji). It is in Dasam Granth, which is a separate Granth (holy book) containing writings of Guru Gobind Singh ji only.
- This bani has 199 verses, which are written on the first ten pages of Dasam Granth.
- This bani is recited in the morning, before starting the daily routine, after Japji Saheb.
- Written by Guru Gobind Singh ji
- This bani is not in the Adi Granth (Guru Granth Saheb ji). It is in Dasam Granth.
- This bani has 10 verses, four lines each.
- This bani is recited in the morning, before starting the daily routine, after Jaap Saheb.
- A collection of nine hymns, four of which are written by Guru Nanak Dev ji, three by Guru Ram Das ji, and two by Guru Arjan Dev ji. These hymns follow Japji Saheb in the Adi Granth.
- Also includes Chopyee Saheb, one swayya, and one dohera by Guru Gobind Singh ji, six paurees of Anand Saheb (first five + the last) written by Guru Amar Das ji, and two hymns by Guru Arjan Dev ji.
- This bani is recited in the evening at sunset
- A collection of five hymns, first three by Guru Nanak Dev ji, fourth by Guru Ram Das ji, and the last hymn is written by Guru Arjan Dev ji.
- All five hymns are from Adi Granth – Guru Granth Saheb ji.
- This bani is recited immediately before going to bed at night and also at funerals
JO JEE HOE SO UGVAE MOH KA KEHAA VAO, BEEJE BIKH MANGAE AMRIT VEKHO EHO NIAO (SGGS-Asa Di Waar)
[Your thoughts become your words, (your words become your deeds). Doing evil and expecting goodness in return – what kind of a justice is that (you reap what you sow). ]