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
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 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.