Guru Har Krishan Sahib Ji was born in Kiratpur Sahib, Rupnagar, Punjab,India to Guru Har Rai and Kishan dei (Mata Sulakhni).
Before His death in October 1661, Guru Har Rai Ji designated his younger son Har Krishan as the next Guru. Har Rai chose Har Krishan, rather than his elder son Ram Rai, because Ram Rai was in collusion with the Mughal Empire. Har Krishan was only five years old when he succeeded his father as Guru.
It is said that when Guru Har Rai was asked which of his two sons Ram Rai and Har Krishan would be the next guru, he said that although both of them followed the same religion and recited the same bani, there was softness in the heart ofHar Krishan and Ram Rai was rough from the heart.
At Panjokhra, near Ambala, Haryana, there stands a magnificent gurudwara in memory of the miracle done by Guru Har Krishan. it is told that doubting the abilities of a small child to be a Guru, a local pandit (learned man) challenged him to translate and explain the Sanskrit verses of Bhagvad Gita.
At that time, Sanskrit was read & studied only by eminent people. He brought with him a completely illiterate man with limited mental ability named Gangu Jheevar. Guruji pointed a stick on Gangu’s head as a blessing and that disabled illiterate man started uttering the sermons of the sacred text to the perfection.
Guru Sahib 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
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 Dev ji , 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 Dev JI 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 theSri 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.
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib JI on eve of Gurupurab Guru Harkrishan Sahib JI ( 8th August ,2015 )
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 on Guru 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.”