Guru Shri Har Krishan Sahib 23 July 1656


Guru Har Krishan Sahib was born on Sawan Vadi 10, (8 Sawan),  Bikrami Samvat 1713 (23 July 1656 – 30 March 1664) at Kiratpur Sahib was the eighth of the ten Sikh Gurus. He became Guru on 7 October 1661, succeeding his father, Guru Har Rai. After his death, his granduncle Guru Tegh Bahadur became the next Guru of the Sikhs.

 It turns out that this was his grand-uncle Guru Tegh Bahadur. The following is a summary of the main highlights of Guru ji’s short life:

  • Guru Har Krishan was of a small age when he attained the leadership of the Sikh people. There are very few devotees of God in human history who have achieved a high level of spirituality in such small age. Prahlad, Dhruv was one of them and Guru Hari Krishan can also be included in the same list. All other Sikh Guru’s sat on the “Gaddi”, the “throne of Guruship” when they were over the age of 12, but only Guru Hari Krishen sat on the Gaddi when he was just 5 of age.
  • When Guruji stayed in Delhi there was a smallpox epidemic which resulted in many deaths. By Guru ji’s blessing, the lake at Bangla Sahib provided a cure for thousands. Exposing himself to his many devotees he too died succumbed to smallpox. Thus he unselfishly, without the thought of danger to himself, served many people. This is true Sewa to care for the sick even at the risk of one’s own life.
  • Gurdwara Bangla Sahib was constructed in Guru ji’s memory. This is where he stayed during his visit to Delhi. This was originally the palace of Raja Jai Singh, who was a strong and powerful Sikh and a devotee of the Guru.
  • Guru Sahib caused the illiterate water-carrier Chhaju Ram to expound the philosophy of the holy Gita on challenge from Pandit Lal Chand. On hearing this narration of the holy Gita, Pandit Lal Chand was deeply humiliated. He was so impressed with this feat performed by the Guru that he became a Sikh and later escorted the Guru Sahib to Kurukshetra.

When Guru Sahib reached Delhi, he was greeted with great fervor and full honors by Raja Jai Singh and the Sikhs of Delhi. Guru Sahib was lodged in the palace of Raja Jai Singh. The people from all walks of life flocked the palace to have a glimpse (Darshan) of Guru Harkrishan Sahib. Some chronicles mention that prince Muzzam also paid a visit.

In order to test the Guru’s intelligence, of which everyone spoke very highly, Raja Jai Singh requested the Guru Sahib to identify the real queen out of the equally and well dressed ladies surrounding Guru Sahib. The Guru at once went to a lady dressed as a maidservant and sat in her lap. This lady was the real queen. There are also many different stories we find in some other Sikh accounts relating to Guru Sahib’s mental ability.

Within a short span of time Guru Harkrishan Sahib through his fraternization with the common masses gained more and more adherents in the capital. At the time, a swear epidemic of cholera and smallpox broke out in Delhi. The young Guru began to attend the sufferers irrespective of cast and creed. Particularly, the local Muslim population was much impressed with the purely humanitarian deeds of the Guru Sahib and nicknamed him Bala Pir (child prophet). Even Aurangzeb did not tried to disturb Guru Harkrishan Sahib sensing the tone of the situation but on the other hand never dismissed the claim of Ram Rai also.

While serving the suffering people from the epidemic day and night, Guru Sahib himself was seized with high fever. The swear attack of smallpox confined him to bed for several days. When his condition became serious, he called his mother and told her that his end was drawing near. When asked to name his successor, he merely exclaimed ‘Baba Bakala’. These words were only meant for the future (Guru) Teg Bahadur Sahib, who was residing at village Bakala near river Beas in Punjab province.

In the last moment Guru Harkrishan Sahib wished that nobody should mourn him after his death and instructed to sing the hyms of Gurbani. Thus the ‘Bala Pir’ passed away on Chet Sudi 14,(3rd Vaisakh), Bikrami Samvat 1721, (30th March, 1664) slowly reciting the word “Waheguru” till the end. Tenth Nanak, Guru Gobind Singh Sahib paying tribute to Guru Harkrishan Sahib stated in “Var Sri Bhagoti Ji Ki”… “Let us think of the holy Harkrishan, Whose sight dispels all sorrows…”

Guru Ji Life Story

Guru Ji To Delhi

Guru Ji and Mughal interference

Emperor Aurangzeb was not pleased to hear about the growing popularity of Guru Har Krishan. He asked the young Guru to visit his Darbar (Court) at Delhi as he done with his father, Guru Har Rai. His father, rather than going to Delhi himself at the beck and call of Aurangzeb, had sent his elder son, Ram Rai, to the emperor’ s court.

Before his death Guru Har Rai, aware that Aurangzeb preferred Ram Rai as the next Guru of the Sikhs, cautioned his son to never meet with Aurangzeb. When a servant of Raja Jai Singh of Amber arrived with the emperor’ s request, Guru Har Krishan took counsel with his leading Sikhs. With clasped hands, they replied “We are thy servants, Lord. With thy knowledge of ‘the three worlds’, thou knowest best.” Guru Har Krishan, having made his decision, called for the messenger and told him that he would accompany him to Delhi. Travelling to Delhi, Guru Har Krishan traveled through Ropar, Banur and Ambala, often stopping to meet with crowds of his disciples who availed themselves of the chance to meet with their new Guru.

An Illiterate Recites Saloks

When Guru was near Panjokhara, a Sikh spoke with humility, “Sangats are coming from Peshawar, Kabul and Kashmir. Stay here a day so that they may have the chance of seeing you, Master.” The Guru agreed. In that village lived a pandit, Lal Chand by name, who was proud of his caste as well as of his learning. He came to see the Guru and spoke with derision: “It is said that you sit on the gaddi of Guru Nanak. But what do you know of the old religious books’?” Chhajju Ram, an illiterate, village water-carrier of a low caste that was forbidden access to the Vedas, happened to pass by at that moment. Guru Har Krishan asked Dargah Mall to call him.

As Chhajju Ram came, the Guru enquired if he would explain to the pandit the gist of the Bhagavad gita. The illiterate villager astonished everyone by his cogent commentary on the sacred book. Lal Chand’s pride was overcome. Humbly he fell at the Guru’s feet. Both men became the Guru’s disciples and travelled with him up to Kurukshetra. Lal Chand, taking Pahul became Lal Singh and was one of the Sikhs who fought with Guru Gobind Singh in the battle of Chamkaur on December 7, 1705, where he fell as a Martyr.

Guru Ji in Delhi

When Guru Sahib reached Delhi, he was greeted with great fervor and full honors by Mirza Raja Jai Singh and the Sikhs of Delhi. Guru Sahib was lodged in the palace of Raja Jai Singh. The people from all walks of life flocked the palace to have a glimpse (Darshan) of Guru Harkrishan Sahib. Some chronicles mention that prince Muzzam also paid a visit.

In Delhi, Guru Har Krishan put up in Raja Jai Singh’s bungalow which is now the site of Gurdwara Bangla Sahib. The house was a spacious one “designed to suit all the seasons of the year.” The Sikhs of Delhi started coming in groups to see the Guru. They came chanting the holy songs and brought offerings with them. According to the Guru kian Sakhian, Guru Har Krishan visited the emperor’s court on Chet Sudi Naumi, 1721 Bk/March 25, 1664.

As says the Mahima Prakash, the emperor had planned a trial. He had two large trays laid out for the Guru. One of these displayed ornaments, clothes and toys. The other had in it a holy man’s cloak and cowl. Both were presented to Guru Har Krishan. He rejected the tray containing ornaments and clothes, and accepted the one containing the cloak. The emperor was convinced of his holiness. He thought he would invite him again and see him perform a miracle. Guru Har Krishan guessed what the emperor had in his mind. He told himself that he would not see his face again. He believed that no one should attempt a mirage and try to disturb the law of God. Guru Har Krishan knew how his father had punished Ram Rai, his elder brother, for showing feats in Aurangzeb’s court.

Guru Ji and Rani

In order to test the Guru’s intelligence, of which everyone spoke very highly, Raja Jai Singh requested the Guru Sahib to identify the real queen out of the equally and well dressed ladies surrounding Guru Sahib. The Guru at once went to a lady dressed as a maidservant and sat in her lap. This lady was the real queen. There are also many different stories we find in some other Sikh accounts relating to Guru Sahib’s mental ability.

The Rani had devised her own test. she asked her husband, Jai Singh, to bring the Guru to the ladies’ dwelling-house. The Guru accepted the invitation. At the entrance to the inner apartments of the palace, he was received by the Raja’s servants with due honour. As he stepped inside, the ladies, in their costly jewels and clothes, bowed in reverencers He walked past them acknowledging their greetings. As he came near one dressed modestly in a maid’s coarse homespun, he stopped and said, You are the Rani. Why should you have dressed yourself in a maid’s suit?” The Rani bent her head in homage. Within a short span of time Guru Harkrishan Sahib through his fraternization with the common masses gained more and more adherents in the capital.

Guru Ji and Small Pox

At the time, a severe epidemic of cholera and smallpox was ravaging Delhi. The young Guru began to tend to the sufferers irrespective of their cast and creed. Particularly, the local Muslim population was so impressed with the purely humanitarian deeds of the Guru Sahib that they gave him the nickname of Bala Pir (child prophet). Even Aurangzeb did not try to disturb Guru Harkrishan Sahib sensing the tone of the situation but on the other hand he never dismissed the claim of Ram Rai.

While serving the suffering people from the epidemic day and night, Guru Sahib himself was seized with high fever. Suddenly one day Guru Har Krishan was taken ill with a fever. The fever turned out to be the beginning of an attack of smallpox, which confined him to bed for several days. The Guru’s tender body was ravaged by the disease. Saddened by this turn of events, the Guru’s mother, Mata Sulakkhani said:

“Son, you occupy the gaddi of Guru Nanak, you are the dispeller of the world’ s sorrows and sufferings, your very sight removes the ailments of others so why do you lie sick now?”
Guru Har Krishan replied, “He who has taken this mortal frame must go through sickness and disease. Both happiness and suffering are part of life. What is ordained must happen. This is what Guru Nanak taught. Whatever He does is His order. One must walk in the light of His command.”

Guru Har Krishan had himself taken out of Mirza Raja Jai Singh’s house to a camp put up on the bank of the Jamuna. The Sikhs wondered why the Guru suffered thus. Why was this darkness surrounding the sun itself? They were in despair and wondered who would take the gaddi after him. Guru Har Krishan, as says the Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth, instructed them in this manner:

“The Gurgaddi, Guru Nanak’s throne, is eternal. It is everlasting and will command increasing honour. The Granth is the Lord of all. He who wants to see me, let him with faith and love see the Granth. So will he shed all his sins. He who would wish to speak with the Guru, let him read the Granth with devotion. He who practises its teachings will obtain all the four padarathas, (4 most cherished objects) of human life. He who has faith gains all. He who is without faith acquires but little. None in this world liveth forever. The body is mortal. In the Granth abides the Guru’ s spirit. Daily bow your head to it. So will you conquer your passions and attain liberation.”

Tears filled the Sikhs’ eyes as they listened to what sounded like the last words of the Guru. Then mother Sulakkhani came forward. With tears in her eyes, she spoke, “How shall I live without thee, son? I was blessed when I came into this family married to the late Guru. I was blessed when you were born. Now I am cast into a bottomless ocean of sorrow. Who would be my rescuer? How does a fish live separated from water?” “The body is perishable,” said Guru Har Krishan. “As you learn to have faith in God’s Will, you will attain to realms sorrowless. Eternal peace will be yours.”

Today Delhi’s Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, was constructed by Sardar Baghel Singh, the Sikh General who took control of Delhi, around the Princely Haveli of Raja Jai Singh, where Guru Harkrishan ji had stayed during his time in Delhi.

Baba Bakala

 

 

Shortly before his death, realizing the gravity of the situation, Guru Har Krishan called his mother and told her that his end was drawing near. When asked to name his successor, he merely exclaimed ‘Baba Bakala’. Learning of his pronouncement many would style themselves as the next Sikh Guru at the village of Bakala. However, at the time the future (Guru) Teg Bahadur Sahib, was residing at village Bakala near river Beas in Punjab province.

In the last moment Guru Harkrishan Sahib wished that nobody should mourn him after his death and instructed to sing the hyms of Gurbani. Thus the ‘Bala Pir’ passed away on Chet Sudi 14,(3rd Vaisakh), Bikrami Samvat 1721, (Saturday, 16 April 1664) slowly reciting the word “Waheguru” till the end. Tenth Nanak, Guru Gobind Singh Sahib paying tribute to Guru Harkrishan Sahib stated in “Var Sri Bhagoti Ji Ki”… “Let us think of the holy Harkrishan, Whose sight dispels all sorrows…”

Mother Sulakkhani’s heart was awakened to the truth and she felt herself released from her worldly chains. Guru Har Krishan was in a critical state. Yet he did not fail to carry out his important responsibility before he left the mortal world. In his last moments, he was able to nominate his successor. He asked for the ceremonial marks of succession to be fetched. But all he could say was “Baba Bakale.” He meant that the next Guru would be found in the town of Bakala. The reference was unmistakably to Tegh Bahadur.

The Guru’s physical departure

Guru Har Krishan physical body passed away from this planet on Saturday, 16 April 1664. He was cremated at the present site of this Gurdwara, Bala Sahib Gurdwara. This was the place where he had camped to look after the sick and suffering poverty stricken people of Delhi. He was long remembered by the Muslims as “Bala Pir” and by the Hindus as “Balmukand”. In their Invocation prayer (ardas) written by Guru Gobind Singh, the Sikhs repeat everyday these words,”Contemplate onGuru Harkrishan, the vision of whose divine personality dispels all sorrow and suffering.”

According to the Guru kian Sakhian, Mata Bassi, the grandmother, asked Bhai Gurdas, of the family of Bhai Bahilo, to start a reading of the holy Granth in his memory. Dargah Mall and Munshi Kalyan Das were sent to Punjab with the mournful news. They first went to Kiratpur to inform Guru Har Krishan’s sister, Bibi Rup Kaur. The next day, they set out for Bakala to inform Tegh Bahadur (the future Guru Tegh Bahadur) of his brother’s death. While in Delhi, he had met with Guru Har Krishan and now he received the news of his passing away.

Diwan Dargah Mall and Munshi Kalyan Das stayed at Bakala for three days before returning to Delhi. According to an entry in the Bhatt Vahi Talauda Parganah Jind, the ashes were taken from Delhi to Kiratpur where they were mixed with the waters of the Sutlej. The original entry is translated below:

“Sangat, son of Binna Uppal, of Amb Mari, parganah Miyen ka Maur, Nanu Ram, son of Bagha, calico-printer, of Mohalla Dilwali, Delhi, Jaggu, son of Padma, of Duburji, parganah Sodhara, and Dariya, son of Mula, of Alipur Shamali, parganah Multan, carried the ashes of Guru Har Krishan from Delhi and arrived at Kiratpur, parganah Kahlur, on the 11 th of the dark half of the month of Bhadon of 1721 Bk/ Saturday, 16 April 1664. The ashes were immersed in the River Sutlej. Karahprasad was distributed.”

 

 

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