Guru Har Rai (1630-1661)
Guru Har Rai was the seventh Sikh Guru from 1644 to 1661. He was an extremely sensitive child and became Guru at the age of 14. The story is told that when he brushed up against a rose bush and accidentally knocked some petals to the ground, he wept because he had hurt the bush. Although he never engaged in armed conflict with the Mughal Empire, he kept 2,200 mounted soldiers at all times and encouraged the military spirit of the Sikhs. He established a beautiful zoo, an Ayurvedic herbal medicine hospital and research center.
There is another story that demonstrates the consciousness of soldier saint that the Sikh Gurus embodied. Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of the heir apparent, Shah Jahan, to the Mughal throne had become ill, poisoned by Shah Jahan’s brother Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb aspired to the throne. They asked for Guru Har Rai’s help. Some Sikhs asked him why he was helping the son of the enemy who had quarreled with Guru Arjan and Guru Hargobind and was certainly his own enemy.
The Guru replied, “Behold with one hand man breaks flowers and with one hand offers them, but the flowers perfume both hands alike. The axe cuts the sandal tree, yet the sandal perfumes the axe. We ought, therefore to return good when we are treated badly.”
Aurangzeb became Emperor in 1658, was openly hostile towards non-Muslims and proved to be an especially cruel ruler. He summoned Guru Har Rai to his court and Guru Har Rai’s son, Ram Rai, volunteered to go. Guru Har Rai instructed him not to perform any miracles and not to change the Sikh scriptures. Ram Rai disobeyed him and did both. For this reason, Guru Har Rai chose to appoint his younger son, Guru Har Krishan age five, as the next Guru.
Imagine feeling all the gentleness of Guru Har Rai, with enmity towards none, and a willingness to offer healing to all those who need it, regardless of their conduct towards you.