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Akali Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji Maharaj (1631 -1661)
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At the age of fourteen, Akali Guru Har Rai (Akali Guru Hargobind's eldest son) took over the leadership of the Sikh nation. His tenure was a period of peace between Sikhs and the Moghal state.


Akali Guru Har Rai
The seventh Sanatan Sikh Guru kept the tradition of 'Langar'
(free kitchen) alive even during the great drought of Punjab (1646-1649)

Shah Jahan who had succeeded his father Jahangir at the beginning, in order to establish his throne like his father, had pampered to the whims of religious bigots. Early in his career on the battlefield he clashed with Akali Guru Hargobind. Later, he and Akali Guru Hargobind developed cordial relations even included going on hunts together.

Although Akali Guru Har Rai was trained in all the military arts he was a gentle soul. Rather than hunt animals for sport, he would tend to injured animals he found in the jungles, and became an expert in 'Ayurveda', the traditional Indian medical system.

Along side spiritual instruction he gave away free medicine to the poor. When Shah Jahan died, a war of succession broke out between his sons. Guru Har Rai sided with the eldest son (and rightful heir) Dara Shikoh when he came to Punjab. Dara was like his much great-grandfather, Akbar, a man of great religious tolerance unlike his younger brother Aurangzeb.

Aurangzeb, a man of great intelligence and military genius, was sadly also a puritanical austere religious bigot of the worst type. On the defeat of Dara by Aurangzeb, the victorious new Moghal emperor of India summoned Guru Har Rai to Delhi.


Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb became ruler of all India after killing his
brothers in 1658. He persecuted poets, saints, musicians
and anyone who refused to convert to his brand of Sunni Islam

The Akali Guru did not go, but instead sent his eldest son Ram Rai. Ram Rai mistranslated verses of the Adi Guru Durbar and performed magic tricks to please Aurangzeb. Thus, he earned eternal displeasure of his father who never saw him again. Aurangzeb considered the seat of Sikh Guru would come to Ram Rai, as he was the eldest son of the current Sikh Guru. This resulted in Ram Rai being kept as a hostage in Delhi.

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