Though each of the Gurus was different in personality, appearance, and age, they all shared the necessary virtues of humility, obedience, and loyalty. Thus, despite his young age, Har Krishan was chosen to lead the Sikhs.
The Bhagavad Gita Test
Pundits (scholars) and other village intellectuals were not happy, to say the least, about having to bow to a little child as their Guru. To test his spiritual authority, they asked Har Krishan to give them a dissertation on the Bhagavad Gita.
Har Krishan refused and told them to send for Chhajjoo, a simple water carrier. Chhajjoo was considered to be the “village idiot.”
He never spoke and people thought he was deaf. Everyone pretty much ignored him. When Chhajjoo was brought before him, Guru Harkrishan touched him and immediately this deaf-mute began to speak, eloquently interpreting the meaning and importance of the famous Gita.
This story illustrates that God can work through anyone. Ego isn’t just thinking you’re better than other people; ego is also believing that you are not good enough, or unworthy. Sikhs believe that God and Guru can work through anybody, you just have to show up (and tune in!).
Guru Harkrishan in Delhi
Ram Rai was furious that his little brother had become the Guru, which he felt was his rightful due. He set himself up in Delhi as the Guru, and appointed corrupt Masands who collected donations for him using threats and blackmail.
When Ram Rai learned that Guru Har Rai had told Har Krishan never to see the Emperor Aurangzeb, he saw an opportunity for revenge, and convinced the Emperor to invite the young new Guru to visit him in Delhi.
If Guru Harkrishan refused the invitation, it would offend the Emperor, and if he did show up, that would offend the Guru’s devotees. Fortunately, Raja Jai Singh, who was devoted to the Sikh Gurus, figured that if Guru Harkrishan would at least come to Delhi, that would satisfy the Emperor, and so he urged him to come, with the assurance that he didn’t have to actually meet Aurangzeb.
A smallpox epidemic swept through Delhi, and many people sought Guru Harkrishan’s help, as he was known to be a natural healer. Many people were healed in his presence. He met a large number of devotees daily so it is not surprising that he contracted the deadly disease himself. With a raging fever, he asked to be moved from his residence in Delhi to a house on the banks of the river Jumana. Knowing he was dying, he consoled his grief-stricken mother and devotees, reminding them that everything was God’s will. He asked them not to mourn. Guru Har Krishan was barely eight years old when he left his body, having endeared himself to everyone with his gentle loving nature, combined with wisdom far beyond his years. The divine light of Guru Nanak shone brightly, if briefly, through this child.
Naming His Successor, “Baba Bakala”
Before he breathed his last, Guru Har Krishan said that the next Guru would be “Baba Bakala.” Everyone there understood that he meant the Guru would be found living in the town of Bakala.
~ This information was originally published in the book Heroes, Saints and Yogis (2012) by Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa and Guruka Singh Khalsa.