THE GROWTH OF RESPONSIBILITY IN SIKHISM
HAR RAI 1630-1661
the abuse of greatness is when it disjoins
remorse from power. The Sikhs had learned
to fight for justice; but, when the struggle
was long continued, there was a danger
of their becoming harsh in character.
The sternness of Justice must be tempered
with mercy. ' He who the sword of heaven
will bear, should be as holy as severe.'
Guru Har Rai's motto was be tender to
all things even flowers. One day, in his
childhood, while passing through a garden,
his loose-flowing robe broken away some
flowers and scattered their petals on
the ground. The sight was too much for
him and brought tears to his eyes. Thenceforward
he always walked with his skirts tucked
up and resolved for the future not to
harm anything in the world.
he grew up he carried the same heart with
him. He was a hunter and yet he was too
kind-hearted to kill the animals he had
captured. He would bring them home and
feed and protect them in zoo. He was very
fond of quoting Farid's lines:
men's hearts jewels; it is wicked to distress
them if you desire to see the beloved,
grieve no man's hurt."
He said, "The temple and the mosque may
be repaired or renewed, but not the broken
He would always question his visitors
whether they kept free kitchens and shared
their food with others; and nothing would
please him better than to confer benefits
it was from him that the ancestors of
the rulers of Patiala, Nabbha and Jind
received the blessing of royalty. They
had come as beggars, slapping their bellies
for hunger, and went away with the promise
Guru Har Rai was the most magnanimous
of men; and yet we must not forget that
he was a soldier, a strong, self-respecting
man. By way of protesting against the
tyrannies of Aurangzeb, he vowed never
to see his face, and even when summoned,
he totally refused to appear before him.
The quality of mercy is most genuine,
when it is practiced by a man who feels
his strength, and yet suppresses himself
and is tender, "Nanak, life is most fruitful,
when we meet with those who practice humility
and gentleness, even when they are strong."
(Sri Rag 1).
was well ordained that the teaching of
Mercy should come after the teaching of
Courage. For a coward is often the cruelest