Guru Har Krishan Ji (Gurmukhi: ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਕ੍ਰਿਸ਼ਨ) (Wednesday, 23 July 1656 – Saturday, 16 April 1664) was the eighth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism. He became Guru on Sunday, 20 October 1661 following in the footsteps of his father, Guru Har Rai Ji. Before Guru Ji died, he nominated Baba Bakala ji, as the next Guru of the Sikhs. It turns out that this was his grand-uncle Guru Tegh Bahadur.
The following is a summary of the main highlights of Guru ji’s short life:
Guru Har Krishan was of a small age when he attained the leadership of the Sikh people. There are very few devotees of God in human history who have achieved a high level of spirituality in such small age. Prahlad, Dhruv was one of them and Guru Hari Krishan can also be included in the same list. All other Sikh Guru’s sat on the “Gaddi”, the “throne of Guruship” when they were over the age of 12, but only Guru Hari Krishen sat on the Gaddi when he was just 5 of age.
When Guruji stayed in Delhi there was a smallpox epidemic which resulted in many deaths. By Guru ji’s blessing, the lake at Bangla Sahib provided a cure for thousands. Exposing himself to his many devotees he too died succumbed to smallpox. Thus he unselfishly, without the thought of danger to himself, served many people. This is true Sewa to care for the sick even at the risk of one’s own life.
Gurdwara Bangla Sahib was constructed in Guru ji’s memory. This is where he stayed during his visit to Delhi. This was originally the palace of Raja Jai Singh, who was a strong and powerful Sikh and a devotee of the Guru.
Guru Sahib caused the illiterate water-carrier Chhaju Ram to expound the philosophy of the holy Gita on challenge from Pandit Lal Chand. On hearing this narration of the holy Gita, Pandit Lal Chand was deeply humiliated. He was so impressed with this feat performed by the Guru that he became a Sikh and later escorted the Guru Sahib to Kurukshetra.
Guru Har krishan Sahib was born on Sawan Vadi 10, (8 Sawan), Bikrami Samvat 1713, (Wednesday, 23 July 1656) at Kiratpur Sahib. He was the second son of Guru Har Rai Sahib and Mata Krishan Kaur Ji (Sulakhni Ji). Ram Rai, the elder brother of Guru Harkrishan Sahib was ex-communicated and disinherited due to his anti-Guru Ghar activities, as stated earlier and Sri Harkrishan Sahib Ji at the age of about five years, was declared as Eighth Nanak Guru by his father Guru Har Rai Sahib before his death in 1661.
This act inflamed Ram Rai Ji with jealousy and he complained to Emperor Aurangzeb against his father’s decision. The Emperor replied in favour issuing orders through Raja Jai Singh to the young Guru to appear before him. Raja Jai Singh sent his emissary to Kiratpur Sahib to bring the Guru to Delhi. At first the Guru was not willing to travel to Delhi, but after repeated requests of his followers and Raja Jai Singh, he agreed to the trip.
Guru Har Rai passed away on 20 October 1661. Guru Har Krishan consoled the disciples. He asked them not to give way to despair but abide by the Will of the Almighty. All should sing God’s praises and not weep or lament. As days went by, the disciples began pouring in from far and near. They were delighted to have a sight of the Guru. He sat on the throne, a small figure, young in years, but mature in wisdom.
Says Bhai Santokh Singh, “The early morning sun looks small in size, but its light is everywhere. So was Guru Har Krishan’ s fame, without limit.” Those who came to see him were instructed in true knowledge. They had their heart’s desires fulfilled and their sins erased. The Sikhs recognized him as the picture of Guru Nanak. They saw on Guru Har Krishan’s handsome face the same light as must have been on Guru Nanak’s.
Guru Har Krishan had a rare ability in explaining passages from the Holy Granth. He delighted the hearts of his disciples by his commentaries. He reminded them to cherish the One God alone, and asked them to discard passions and learn the virtues of patience, charity and love. Thus Guru Har Krishan carried on the teaching of the Gurus and preserved intact the legacy he had inherited from them.
The Baisakhi day (March 29) of 1662 brought to Kiratpur vast numbers of followers. The festival lasted three days. The sangats were looked after by the Guru’ s grandmother, Mata Bassi, and mother, Mata Sulakkhni. In the sangat of Sialkot district was Pair Mall of Pasrur, along with his family. His son, Khem Karan, was a promising youth. Mata Bassi betrothed her granddaughter, Bibi Rup Kaur, to him. Nuptials were held on December 3, 1662. According to the Guru kian Sakhian, the presents offered by Mata Bassi included a pothi of stories from Guru Har Rai’ s mouth and a dagger belonging to Guru Hargobind.
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.”
~ Source: Sikhiwiki.org