Guru Har Rai was the seventh Teacher in the line of apostles, and one of his contributions to the faith was a great sense of empathy and sympathy for others’ pain.
As a young child, he was fond of horse riding. Once he returned after a race, and saw the sixth Teacher Guru Har Gobind Rai meditating in the garden. Har Rai jumped off his horse, and ran toward Guru Har Gobind. He was wearing the long robe of a young warrior, and as he ran, the robe flowed in the wind, and was caught in the thorns of some rose bushes. The robe tore off a little, but Har Rai was running so fast that the rose bushes shook hard. As a result, many rose flowers trembled, and their petals fell to the ground.
When Har Rai saw the rose petals flutter to the ground, his gentle soul was saddened, and he burst into tears. Guru Har Gobind came over to comfort him, but Har Rai was inconsolable at how he had hurt the rose bush.
“Let this be a lesson to you, and to all. If you want to be warrior, and wear the robes and weapons of warriors, then first learn to control yourself,” said the Guru. A true warrior first masters himself, as he walks through life, and ensures that he brings only succor to all others. “Har Rai, you can continue to wear the warrior’s robe,” the Guru continued, “just make sure it is under your control at all times.”
From then on, Guru Har Rai wore a warrior’s dress through his life, gathering the long end carefully and carrying it on his arm. One look at him, and the devotee was reminded of his message – live the life of an empathetic warrior, always concerned for the wellbeing of creation. The Guru Granth Sahib says:
Being kind to all others—
More meritorious than bathing and charity at sixty eight places of pilgrimage.