August 11, 2021 | By Prof. Puran Singh
After the passing of Har Gobind a calm ensued, for the Sikhs were, by nature, peace-loving and fond of celestial contemplation, and the Guru’s residence was now permanently shifted from Amritsar to Kiratpur-an out of the way, inaccessible ~lace. Besides, Emperor Shah Jehan had seen, during the lifetime of Har Gobind, that it served no good purpose to make the Sikhs his enemies. On the illness of Dara Shikoh, his youngest and most beloved son, the Emperor sent a conciliatory letter to Har Rai, and asked for his blessings. But not many years had passed, when Shah Jehan fell a prisoner into the hands of his son, Aurangzeb, who also killed his brothers and usurped the throne of Delhi. Dara Shikoh fled in fear of him, and sought refuge with the Master, being already imbued with the mystic lore of saints like Sarmad. The Guru received him kindly, and filled him with that solace which no fear of death can disturb. Dara Shikoh was eventually caught and beheaded at Delhi, and Sarmad shared his fate.
Aurangzeb then turned his attention to Har Rai; but instead of adopting violent measures for his capture, the Emperor sent him a polite invitation to visit Delhi. Har Rai refused to go to Delhi, but sent his eldest son Ram Rai to represent him there. Ram Rai effected a comprotni&.e with the Emperor, and yielded on many points to the advice of Aurangzeb; with the result that the latter tendered his political patronage, which was accepted by Ram Rai. This news of the moral weakness of Ram Rai reached the Guru, who ordered that his son should never come back to see him. “Let him go whither he pleases”, said the Master, “he is not my son, when he has compromised the gospel of Guru Nanak.”
Har Rai had an exceptional seclusive mind; he loved quiet and did not mix very freely with people other than his disciples. He had military discipline for himself in everything that affected his conscience. As said elsewhere, he never plucked a flower or a leaf in his life; his room was the temple of peace.
One day during a ride, he halted at the door of the cottage of a poor farmer. It was not the hour of the morning at which he usually break-fasted; yet he called out at that door, “Good woman, bring me the bread you have prepared for me.” The woman, half wild with joy, brought outsome coarse bread, which he ate while still in his saddle. The disciples were astonished at this departure from his iron discipline in such matters, and next day as they rode they brought the meal at the same hour. He laughed, and said, “My friends, it was no hunger that caused me to beg the bread, but the song of love and Dhyanam of which it was made, and which obliged me to go there to accept it. It is seldom I get such bread. I pine for my disciple more than they pine for me. I am pulled by the strings of love that my disciples sometimes snatch from the Hand of God. God is Love.”
Har Rai sat love-fettered in one posture from evening till almost daybreak, breaking the usual engagements ofthe evening. When he found his attendant Sikhs eager to know the cause of this having sat in one posture as if there were fetters on his feet, he said to them, “Brother Sikhs ! Brother Gonda of Kabul in a trance fell at the feet of the Master, and love fettered them by his child-like clasp. How could the Guru rise till the disciple rose out of his trance of Dhyanee love ?”
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