Guru Har Rai and Dara Shikoh : Guru Har Rai Ji

Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan had four sons.

They were Dara Shikoh, Shujah, Aurangzeb and Murad. Dara Shikoh was the eldest. Shah Jahan was very fond of him. He loved him dearly. Once .he fell seriously ill. Shah Jahan was very upset.

He summoned the royal physician. He was asked to cure the prince of his illness. He practised various medicines one after another, but there was no improvement. His condition worsened after every new treatment.

The Emperor called his nobles to suggest the means to get the prince cured of his disease. At their suggestion, many able doctors were called from all over the Empire. They examined the prince and prescribed their treatment; but they all failed to arrest the ailment The royal physician said that he could cure the prince if a certain medicine in a certain quantity was administered to him. He was sorry that the rare medicine was not in the royal store house.

The Emperor was grief stricken. He was at a loss to know, where he could get the medicine.

The condition of the prince was growing from bad to worse.

Seeing the Emperor in a dejected mood, the Prime Minister said “I hope we can get the proper medicine from trie store house of Guru Har Rai. I request you to send a special ambassador to his Darb&r to get the medicine.”

Emperor Shah Jahan first hasitated to contact the Guru. He knew that his father Jahangir had tortured Guru Arjan Dev, the great grand father of Guru Har Rai. He had hte strained relations with Guru Har Gobind. He had sent a number of expeditions against him. He had filled up the sacred B.aoli Sahib of the Sikhs at Lahore. He had also built a mosque at the site of the Sikh free kitchen at Lahore. So, he told the Prime Minister that he felt the Guru would not help him in his hour of distress.

At this the Prime Minister said that he had gathered the information about the saintly conduct of the Guru.TheGuru was ever ready tQ help those who were in distress. His love and service were alike for all, friends or foes. He would surely do good to them. To nurse the sick and to provide a healing touch to every heart was his object. He says, “If one yearns to meet God, one should never injure a heart.”

So, the Emperor sent a special ambassador to bring the particular medicine from the Guru.

The Guru was ever pleased to nurse the sick.

He gave the medicine to the ambassador and told him how to administer it to the patient. Cheerful at heart, the ambassador hastened to the Royal court.

It was the wonder drug. The very first dose showed its effect. The prince was fully cured within a few days. Naturally he was very thankful to Guru Har Rai.

Prince Dara was a cultured man. He was liberal minded. He had regards for Sufi saints. He had the knowledge of the books of the Hindu religion.

He was attracted towards the teachings of the Sikh Gurus. He had a special liking for Guru Har Rar, because the medicine sent by him had cured him of his disease. Thus, he cultivated friendship with Guru Har Rai. In fact, he had an apparent leaning towards Sikhism.

In 1656, Shah.Jahan fell ill. The news of his illness aroused the ambition in his sons to capture the throne of India. Every one of the four sons, wanted to become the Emperor. So,the war of succession started among the princes. Aurangzeb was the cleverest of all. He defeated Dara Skikoh in the battle of Samugarh. He imprisoned his father, Shah Jahan. He deceitfully despatched his brother Murad to death. Shujah left the country to save his skin and died in wilderness. Aurangzeb eliminated all those, who could have claim for the throne.

After his defeat Dara ran towards Punjab. He was hotly pursued by Aurangzeb’s forces. His life was in danger. He had with him only a few faithhrt soldiers. He was in great distress. He reached Goindwal. He told the Guru that Aurangzeb’s forces had been chasing him. They would not allow him to cross the rjver and reach Lahore. He requested the Guru to halt the advancing army of Aurangzeb for sometime. It would enable him to cross the river Beas for Lahore. At Lahore, he was expecting to get some military help.

Dara had approached the Guru. He was in distress. Moreover,, he had always been friendly towards the Guru. The house of Guru was a place of refuge for the innocents. Notwithstanding the impending danger, the Guru decided to manage a safe passage for Dara Shikoh to cross the river, Beas.

Guru Har Rai was peace loving. He had never used his army against any one. Din of war and bloodshed were against his disposition. But he had inherited the saint-soldier spirit of his grandfather. How could he avoid risking his life when situation demanded it? As a peculiar situation had developed, so he had to send his army. But the task assigned to the army was mild in nature and limited in scope. The Guru’s soldiers were just to . delay the advancement of Aurangzeb’s forces.

They should avoid armed clashes as for as possible.

When the torces of Aurangzeb saw that there was the assemlage of the Sikh soldiers on the bank of the river, they halted their march. They needed some time for making plans for the ensuing battle. In the meantime, Dara Shikoh and his men were able to cross the river safely. After providing safe passage to Dara Shikoh, the Guru’s army left the scene.

A detachment of Sikh soldiers had kept the Aurangzeb’s forces away only for two days. There was no clash of arms because the Mughal forces did not venture to march towards the river Beas without proper strategy.

Their passage was clear, they marched off towards Lahore. Dara Shikoh failed to muster troops in his support at Lahore. He then fled towards Sind as a fugitive. There he was arrested and after bearing many insults and tortures, he was killed on the orders of Aurangzeb.