Guru Har Krishan

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Guru Harkrishan
ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿਕ੍ਰਿਸ਼ਨ ਜੀ
A fresco of Guru Har Krishan ca. 1745
A fresco of Guru Har Krishan ca. 1745
Religion Sikhism
Other names The Eighth Master,
Born Krishan Rai
July 7, 1656 (1656-07-07)[1]
Kiratpur, Sivalik Hills, Mughal Empire (Present day India)
Died March 30, 1664 (1664-03-31) (aged 7)[1]
Delhi, Mughal Empire (Present day India)
Spouse 0
Children 0
Parents Guru Har Rai and Mata Krishen
Religious career
Predecessor Guru Har Rai
Successor Guru Tegh Bahadur

Guru Har Krishan ([ɡʊru həɾ kɾɪʃən]; 7 July 1656 – 30 March 1664[1]) was the eighth of the ten Sikh Gurus. At the age of 5, he became the youngest Guru in Sikhism on 7 October 1661,[1] succeeding his father, Guru Har Rai.[2] He contracted smallpox and died of the disease in 1664 before reaching his 8th birthday.[3]

He is also known as Bal Guru (Child Guru),[2] and sometimes spelled in Sikh literature as Hari Krishan.[3][4] He is remembered in the Sikh tradition for saying "Baba Bakale" before he died, which Sikhs interpreted to identify his granduncle Guru Tegh Bahadur as the next successor.[2][3] Guru Har Krishan had the shortest tenure as Guru, lasting only 2 years, 5 months and 24 days.


Guru Har Krishan ji was born in Kiratpur (Sivalik Hills) in northwest Indian subcontinent to Krishen Devi (Mata Sulakhni) and Guru Har Rai ji.

His father, Guru Har Rai ji supported the moderate Sufi influenced Dara Shikoh instead of conservative Sunni influenced Aurangzeb as the two brothers entered into a war of succession to the Mughal Empire throne.[5] After Aurangzeb won the succession war in 1658, he summoned Guru Har Rai in 1660 to explain his support for the executed Dara Shikoh. Guru Har Rai sent his elder son Ram Rai to represent him. Aurangzeb kept the 13 year old Ram Rai as hostage, questioned Ram Rai about a verse in the Adi Granth – the holy text of Sikhs. Aurangzeb claimed that it disparaged the Muslims.[6][7] Ram Rai changed the verse to appease Aurangzeb instead of standing by the Sikh scripture, an act for which Guru Har Rai excommunicated his elder son, and nominated the younger Har Krishan to succeed as the next Guru of Sikhism.[6][8]

Aurangzeb meanwhile rewarded Ram Rai, patronizing him with land grants in Dehra Dun region of the Himalayas. A few years after Guru Har Krishan assumed the role of Sikh leader, Aurangzeb summoned the young Guru to his court, with an apparent plan to replace him with his elder brother Ram Rai as the Sikh Guru. However, Guru Harkrishan Rai contracted smallpox when he arrived in Delhi and his meeting with Aurangzeb was cancelled. On his deathbed, Guru Har Krishan said, "Baba Bakale", and died in 1664. The devout Sikhs interpreted those words to mean that the next Guru is to be found in Bakala village, which they identified as Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru of Sikhism.[5][3]

Authentic literature with more details about Guru Har Krishan's life and times are scarce and not well recorded.[9] Some of biographies about Guru Har Krishan, particularly about who his mother was, were written in the 18th century such as by Kesar Singh Chhibber, as well as in the 19th century, and these are highly inconsistent.[10]


When they reached Delhi, Guru Har Krishan and his party were the guests of Raja Jai Singh II.[3] Every day, large numbers of Sikh devotees flocked to see the Guru. One of the historic gurdwaras in India, the Bangla Sahib in Delhi, was built on the site where Guru Har Krishan helped the sick. Guru Har Krishan died at Gurudwara Bala Sahib, Delhi.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d Mohindar Pal Kohli (1992). Guru Tegh Bahadur: Testimony of Conscience. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 12–13. ISBN 978-81-7201-234-2. 
  2. ^ a b c HS Singha (2009), The Encyclopedia of Sikhism, Hemkunt Press, ISBN 978-8170103011, pages 96-97
  3. ^ a b c d e Louis E. Fenech; W. H. McLeod (2014). Historical Dictionary of Sikhism. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 148. ISBN 978-1-4422-3601-1. 
  4. ^ Pashaura Singh; Louis E. Fenech (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies. Oxford University Press. p. 951. ISBN 978-0-19-100412-4. 
  5. ^ a b Arvind-Pal Singh Mandair (2013). Sikhism: the Guide for the Perplexed. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 50–51. ISBN 978-1-4411-0231-7. 
  6. ^ a b Har Rai: Sikh Guru, Encyclopedia Britannica (2015)
  7. ^ J. S. Grewal (1998). The Sikhs of the Punjab. Cambridge University Press. pp. 67–69. ISBN 978-0-521-63764-0. 
  8. ^ William Owen Cole; Piara Singh Sambhi (1995). The Sikhs: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices. Sussex Academic Press. pp. 33–34. ISBN 978-1-898723-13-4. 
  9. ^ Pashaura Singh; Louis E. Fenech (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies. Oxford University Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-19-969930-8. 
  10. ^ Surjit Singh Gandhi (2007). History of Sikh Gurus Retold: 1606-1708 C.E. Atlantic Publishers. pp. 590–591 with note 2. ISBN 978-81-269-0858-5. 

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Preceded by
Guru Har Rai
Sikh Guru
6 October 1661 - 30 March 1664
Succeeded by
Guru Teg Bahadur