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Ram Raiye is a sect whose followers follow Baba Ram Rai (1646-87), the elder son of Guru Har Rai. Guru Har Rai sent his son Ram Rai in answer to Aurangzeb's request. He warned his son against the intrigues of the Mughal's Darbar (Court), telling him to be careful to remain true to the Guru Granth Sahib. However Ram Rai, seeking to placate the Emperor, misinterpreted the Gurbani of Guru Nanak to Aurangzeb. His mis-interpretation lead to his ex-communication, as neither his father Guru Har Rai ji , nor his brother Guru Harkrishan never spoke with him again.
Excommunication of Ram Rai
Aurangzeb realized that he could not bring Guru Har Rai Ji to Delhi by force. He then asked one of his ministers, Shiv Dayal, who was a devotee of the Guru to convince the Guru to come and talk to Aurangzeb. When Shiv Dayal made his request, the Guru said that he would not go, but that he would send his eldest (11 years old) son, Baba Ram Rai to Delhi to meet Aurangzeb on his behalf.
Baba Ram Rai reaches Delhi
Since the days of Guru Arjan Dev there had been many men of power in the Mughal court, who for their own reasons had tried to stop growing numbers of both Hindus and Muslims from becoming Sikhs. It wasn't long before Aurangzeb set out to find out if there was any truth to the long whispered complains that the Holy Book of the Sikhs had lines against Islam.
Ram Rai was treated as an honoured guest in Auranzeb's Darbar, but soon the Mughal Emperor asked Ram Rai to explain why Guru Nanak had said, (in salok “Mitti Musalman Ki”?)
- ਮਃ ੧ ॥
- मः १ ॥
- Mėhlĝ 1.
- First Mehl:
- ਮਿਟੀ ਮਸਲਮਾਨ ਕੀ ਪੇੜੈ ਪਈ ਕਮਹਹਿਆਰ ॥
- मिटी मढ़सलमान की पेड़ै पई कढ़मढ़हिआर
- “Mittī Musalmĝn ki, peṛai pai ghumiar,
- ਘੜਿ ਭਾਂਡੇ ਇਟਾ ਕੀਆ ਜਲਦੀ ਕਰੇ ਪਕਾਰ ॥
- घड़ि भांडे इटा कीआ जलदी करे पढ़कार ॥
- Ghar bhande itan kian, jalḝī kare pukĝr.”
- The clay of the Muslim's grave becomes clay for the potter,
- Pots and bricks are made from it, and cries out as it burns."
Ram Rai thought for a time, then he altered the the words of Guru Nanak Dev, changing “Mitti Musalman ki…” to Mitti Beiman Ki… (changing the meaning from - The clay of the Muslim's grave - to the The clay of the faithless. Further he explained, “Some ignorant scribe has made a mistake and written Musalman in place of Beiman. This mischief has given a bad name not only to your religion but also to mine." The Emperor was very pleased at Ram Rai's answer and was fully satisfied with his explanation. He sent Ram Rai away very respectfully.
The Sikhs of Delhi reported the whole incident to the Guru and told him that Ram Rai had changed the text of the Granth and thought himself superior to Guru Nanak whose writings no-one had the right to change. When Guru Har Rai heard that his son Ram Rai had changed the Holy Text to satisfy Aurangzeb, he was extremely angry. Ram Rai had long been expected to take his father's place as the next Master of the Sikhs, now the Guru thought that Ram Rai was unable to withstand pressure and had shown a lack of character. Seeing that Ram Rai was no longer fit to be Guru, he sent a letter to Baba Ram Rai which said, “Do not ever show me your face again. You have abandoned the truth for the sake of false respect. From that day on, the Guru did not speak to his own son Ram Rai and ordered all Sikhs to stay away from him.
Aurangzeb, however chose to reward Ram Rai; he granted him a jagir of four villages in the Doon valley. He died there in sunmat 1788. In time, Doon came to be popularly known as Dehradun, because of Ram Rai's Dehra.
Later Aurangzeb lent his support to Ram Rai's claims that he was the true Guru, in an attempt to divide the Sikhs.
Ram Raias Dehras
There are two dehras of the Ram Raias; one under Punjab Kaur in Dehradoon (said Mahant Devinder Das, is listed as head of the shrine ( March 6, 2010) - the other Dera is under the guidance of Gurbaksh Ji at Garhwal.
- A large number of devotees converge at the Ram Rai Gurudwara, Dehradoon during the annual fair, called Jhanda Fair, held on the 5th day after Holi. It is celebrated to commemorate the arrival of Baba Ram Rai in the city in 1699.
- There is a literature with Ram Raiyas which also contains bani of 6th, 7th and 8th Gurus, as well.
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