by SS GuruJivan Kaur Khalsa, Victoria, Australia
Guru Har Rai is the seventh Master in Sikh Dharma. He was the grandson of Guru Hargobind. He is known as the “tender-hearted” Guru. He was born in Kiratpur, India. His father was Guruditta Ji (son of Guru Hargobind Ji) and his mother was Mata Nihal Kaur ji. His wife was Mata Kishan Kaur Ji, also known as Mata Sulakhni Ji.
After the battles and wars of Guru Hargobind’s time, the 7th Sikh Guru ushered in a time of healing and peace. Guru Hargobind instructed the boy that he should never fight in battle. When Guru Hargobind passed the mantle of the Guruship to Guru Har Rai, he told him to never fight, but to take a security guard of 2,500 people with him wherever he travelled so that he would always be protected.
Guru Har Rai was an amazing herbalist and healer. He was famous for his use of natural medicine, and kept a beautiful herbal garden from which he made his remedies. He was also quite good at hunting, but never killed any animals. Instead, he would capture the animals, then bring them back to the town and place them in a zoo for the community to enjoy. (From SikhDharma.org)
Understanding through compassion is a big task for many in these transitional times. In our very stressed world it is often hard to live for each other, not just with or at our fellow travellers. Guru Har Rai gave a constant and beautiful example of how to do this with grace throughout his life. To the world he is an ever-present reminder of how to live in service and share with an attitude of gratitude for all that is given.
In the early years as a teacher and a Sikh I must admit that I did not know much about Guru Har Rai. He remained a mystery to me until I delved more deeply into a study of all the Gurus, and discovered a sensitive and thoughtful young man. He nurtured and took care of the community through his gardens with all their medicinal herbs. During a time when the Mogul emperor was not particularly kind to Sikhs, Guru Har Rai, in his compassion, helped save the life of the emperor’s son with his rare remedies. His humility and compassion resonate on a deep level.
Sacred Sound Current
Guru Har Rai had a deep love for the Guru’s Bani and would spend morning and evening listening to this sacred sound current. One day the Sikhs asked him whether those who read the Gurus’ hymns without understanding them derived any spiritual advantage from it. The Guru gave no reply at the time.
The next morning he went hunting, and came across a broken pot that had held butter. The rays of the sun were melting the butter on the broken pot fragments. The Guru took one of these fragments in his hand and said, “Look, my Sikhs—broken pot shards; when they are heated, the butter that adhered to them readily melts. As the oil adheres to the pot shards, so too do the Gurus’ hymns adhere to the hearts of his Sikhs. Whether understood or not, the Guru’s Bani has within it the seed of salvation. Perfume still clings to a broken vase.”
As part of my daily sadhana, I read from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib daily in both English and Gurmukhi. Knowing that I am gaining the blessing of the Guru gives a wonderful warmth and guidance to the day. Even if I do not fully understand the literal meaning of the words, by using the same combination of sounds and movement of the tongue that the Gurus used, the sacred sound current penetrates deep within and uplifts my soul.
As the Guru said, “the perfume clings” to our mind, body and soul, giving us the strength and ability to live and understand through compassion to uplift each person we come into contact with in daily life. This is a great gift and one that has helped me to keep up and immerse myself more and more into the love of the Guru’s Bani.
About the Author
SS GuruJivan Kaur Khalsa is an ordained Sikh Dharma Minister. GuruJivan is Lead Kundalini Yoga Teacher Trainer in Australia and New Zealand and the most senior teacher in this part of the world, using a wealth of experience gained over many years to help others experience their own true Self within and around them. GuruJivan respects each person’s individuality and encourages students to pursue their own goals during practice, while maintaining the highest level in teaching and the practice of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan, the Master of Kundalini Yoga.