The Eighth Master Guru Harkrishan (1656 - 1664)
Harkrishan was born on July 7, 1656 to Guru Har Rai and Krishan Kaur.
Before his death in October 1661 Guru Har Rai had appointed his younger
son Harkrishan as the next Guru as opposed to his elder son Ram Rai
who was in collusion with the mughals. Guru Harkrishan was only five
years old when he received the guruship.
The Gurus older
brother Ram Rai complained to emperor Aurengzeb in Delhi that he had
been discriminated against because of his loyalty to the emperor and
had not received his due share of the property of his father Guru Har
Rai. Ram Rai knew that before his death Guru Har Rai had instructed
Guru Harkrishan to never meet Aurengzeb. Ram Rai hoped if Guru Harkrishan
met the emperor he would be going against his fathers wishes and the
Sikhs would be displeased with their Guru. On the other hand if Guru
Harkrishan refused to come to Delhi, then he would be attacked by the
emperors forces. Since Aurengzeb was very friendly with Ram Rai he summoned
Guru Harkrishan to appear before him in Delhi. The Sikhs were very apprehensive
about allowing young Guru Harkrishan to go to Delhi. Aurengzeb sent
Raja Jai Singh a high court official known for his devotion to the Gurus
to escort the Guru to Delhi.
Raja Jai Singh
assured the Guru that he would not have to meet the emperor personally
while in Delhi, and that there were a large number of devotees in Delhi
who were anxious to see and hear their Guru. Guru Harkrishan convinced
the Sikhs at Kiratpur that he should go to Delhi. As a result Guru Harkrishan
along with his mother and a group of devotees set out for the long journey
to Delhi. On their journey the Guru was met by large crowds of devotees.
At Panjolhara an jealous Brahmin taunted the Guru, "Your Guru is called
Hari Krishna, a mere child of eight years! Krishna, the incarnation
of Vishnu, uttered the Gita which is the repository of all the eternal
truths, If your Guru also calls himself Krishna, let him expound the
truths of Gita to us". Hearing this a poor watercarrier called Chhajju
stood up and proclaimed that anyone could expound on the Gita if he
were so blessed by the Guru. Guru Harkrishan touched Chhajju with his
walking stick and Chhajju immediately began explaining the philosophy
of the Gita. The Brahmin was so humbled by the spectacle that he fell
to the Gurus feet and asked forgiveness for his arrogance.
Upon reaching Delhi
the Guru and his party were the guests of Raja Jai Singh who had promised
to uphold the safety of the Guru. Every day large numbers of devotees
started flocking to see the Guru. At this time a smallpox epidemic was
raging in Delhi. The Guru helped to heal many sick people, naturally
coming in contact with so many people every day, the Guru was also infected
and taken seriously ill. On March 30, 1664 Guru Harkrishan decided to
announce his successor, the Guru called for five coins and a coconut.
He took them and being too weak to move, waved his hand three times
in the air and said "Baba Bakala". Guru Harkrishan then suddenly passed
away at the tender age of eight years old.