Guru Har Rai Ji: Seeing the Divine In Nature

Guru Har Rai Ji observing Sikhs, planting trees


January 31, 2012: Today the Sikhs celebrated the 382nd birth anniversary of Sri Guru Har Rai ji , who is remembered for his sensitivity towards the nature and his passion for preserving it.
In the 17th century, Guru Har Rai ji was instrumental in developing Kiratpur Sahib on the banks of tributary of the river Sutlej in Punjab as a town of parks and gardens: he planted flowers and fruit-bearing trees all over the area, as well as medicinal herbs and wildlife sanctuaries for the benefit of the masses making him perhaps the earliest environmentalist in the Indian subcontinent. According to Sikh history this created a salubrious environment, attracting birds and animals to the town and turning it into an idyllic place to live.
The story of love with nature began when Guru Har Rai as a young  boy accidentally battered a flower in his garden with his gown. He was deeply hurt at this incident and never plucked any flower or leaf in his whole life instead he became an intense lover and preserver of nature. He began a medicinal herb garden known as called Naulakha Baagh.
History tells of how when Dara Shiko (the son of Shajahan the Emperor of India) was poisoned with tiger’s whiskers by his own brother Aurangzeb, the royal family begged for medicinal herbs from the Guru Har Rai’s medicinal garden. The medicines included cloves and 100 grams of Harar (termininalia chebula; known in Ayurvedic medicine as Aralu and credited with having laxative and stomachic properties). To these ingredients, Guru ji added a pearl called Jagmoti which was to be ground and used as a subsidiary remedy. When his son was healed, the Emperor was naturally very pleased and forgot all his enmity with the Guru, and vowed that he would never again cause him annoyance.
Drawing inspiration from their great Guru’s life; Sikh devotees today have begun celebrating his Gurugaddi diwas as Sikh Environment day. EcoSikh takes pride in initiating this global movement. Sikhs throughout the world celebrate this day on March14 by pledging to plant and protect trees, presenting plants and saplings to their local Gurdwara or to their family and friends, conducting seminars and speeches on a range of subjects including kitchen gardening, cleanliness, organic food, water preservation, recycling and re-use etc.
In a way the Sikhs are stepping forward to protect vulnerable Mother Nature to meet the challenge of the present day, as a tribute to their seventh Guru, Sri Guru Har Rai Ji.
Links
Click here to register your school, family, gurdwara or business for Sikh Environment Day.
Click here to read a list of things you can do for Sikh Environment Day.
Click here to sign up for the EcoSikh Newsletter.
Click here to read the special press story about Guru Har Rai Ji from Ajit News.