Guru Har Rai Biography

(Sikh Guru)

Birthday: January 16, 1630 (Capricorn)

Born In: Kiratpur, Punjab, India

Guru Har Rai was the seventh of the ten Sikh Gurus. Even though he died at the young age of 31, he made many significant contributions to the religion of Sikhism within his short life. Known to be a very compassionate and kind person, he was concerned not only about the welfare of human beings, but also that of the animals. In fact he was so soft hearted that he even helped to heal the son of Shah Jahan from an almost fatal illness despite the hostility the Mughals had shown to the guru’s predecessors. Har Rai was born as the grandson of the sixth Sikh guru, Hargobind. Wise and compassionate from a young age, he was Guru Hargobind’s favorite grandchild. Guru Hargobind nominated him as his successor at the time of his death. Upon assuming the Guru Gaddi, Guru Har Rai continued with the military tradition of maintaining a strong army even though he never indulged in any direct political or armed war with the Mughal Empire. He also established an Ayurvedic hospital and a research center at Kiratpur Sahib. Even though the relations between the Mughals and the Sikhs had been strained during the times of his predecessors, Guru Har Rai agreed immediately to help heal one of the sons of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan when Shah Jahan made a desperate plea for help.
Quick Facts

Indian Celebrities Born In January

Died At Age: 31


father: Baba Gurditta

mother: Mata Nihal Kaur

children: Guru Har Krishan

Indian Men Indian Spiritual & Religious Leaders

Died on: October 6, 1661

place of death: Punjab, India

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Childhood & Early Life
Guru Har Rai was born on January 16, 1630, in Kiratpur Sahib, Rupnagar, Punjab, India, as the son of Baba Gurdita and Mata Nihal Kaur (also known as Mata Ananti). Baba Gurdita was son of the sixth Guru Hargobind.
Har Rai was the favorite grandson of Guru Hargobind; in fact it was his grandfather who named him.
He grew up to be a very soft-hearted boy. Once his robe was caught in a rose bush as a result of which a few roses were broken from their stems. He became so distressed at the sight of the flowers separated from the plants that he started crying.
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Later Years
Guru Hargobind was much impressed by his grandson’s gentle nature and compassion for all. So he named him his successor before leaving for his heavenly abode on March 3, 1644.
Guru Har Rai was a young boy of 14 when he became the leader of the Sikhs. But he was very wise and sensitive for his age, and sincerely took forward his grandfather’s legacy. In keeping up with the military tradition Guru Hargobind had started, he continued to maintain a strong Sikh army though he chose never to indulge in direct warfare with the Mughals.
The guru used the cavalry only for self-defense. Once when he was returning from a tour of the Malwa and Doaba regions, Mohammad Yarbeg Khan (whose father had been killed by Guru Hargobind in an armed conflict), attacked the guru’s entourage. The Sikhs fought back bravely and caused great losses to Khan’s forces.
The guru established an Ayurvedic hospital and a research center at Kiratpur Sahib. Several people suffering from a variety of maladies flocked to the hospital hoping for a cure. Once the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s eldest son Dara Shikoh fell seriously ill. Many reputed hakims and physicians tried to cure him but to no avail.
In desperation, Shah Jahan sought the help of the guru and requested him to send some suitable medicine. Guru Har Rai sent some rare herbs which were available only in his research center back with the emperor’s messenger. The prince was soon cured of the mysterious illness and Shah Jahan offered the guru a jagir as a token of thanks. The guru declined to accept it.
Dara Shikoh was the heir apparent to the Mughal throne, but was threatened by his younger brother Aurangzeb who planned to kill him and take his place. Thus Dara Shikoh came to the guru seeking help and requested to be saved from his brother. With the use of tactics, the guru help Shikoh escape safely from the hands of Aurangzeb's armed forces. In keeping up with his pacifist principles, the guru ensured that no weapons were fired.
Guru Har Rai also travelled a lot in order to spread the message of Sikhism to the masses. Lahore, Sialkot, Pathankot, Samba, and Ramgarh are some of the places he visited. He further developed the Manji system founded by the third Sikh Guru Amar Das and established 360 Manji seats. He also worked to improve the Masand system formed by his predecessors which had become corrupt by now.
Guru Har Rai was very compassionate towards animals. He often went on hunting but never killed any animal. In fact, he used to capture sick and injured animals and place them in a zoo that he had founded. There the animals would be given due care and released in the wild after they had recovered. The only animals he killed were the ones which were seriously ill or in terrible pain with no scope for recovery. In such cases he would kill them and relieve them from their misery.
Major Works
Guru Har Rai was a very compassionate person who was truly dedicated to the tenets of Sikhism. He served the people wholeheartedly and established an Ayurvedic hospital and a research center for the treatment of the sick and the poor. His contribution towards the development of the Manji system is also noteworthy.
Personal Life & Legacy
Guru Har Rai was married to Mata Kishan Kaur (also referred to as Sulakhni) the daughter of Daya Ram. The couple had two sons—Ram Rai and Harkrishan.
The guru died on October 6, 1661, at the age of 31. Before his death he named his young son Harkrishan as his successor.

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