Guru Har Rai ji wrote this quote “Man breaks flowers with one hand and offers them with the other but the flowers perfume both hands alike” in a letter.


 “Man breaks flowers with one hand and offers them with the other,

but the flowers perfume both hands alike.

The axe cuts the sandal tree,

yet the sandal perfumes the axe.

Guru Har Rai Ji

Story: (from Sikh Sakhia)

The Emperor Shah Jahan had four sons: Dara Shikoh, Shuja Muhammad, Aurangzeb, and Murad Baksh. Dara Shikoh was the heir-apparent, and was very dear to his father.

Aurangzeb was very cunning, clever and ambitious, and was fixated on succeeding to the throne. He administered tiger’s whiskers in a dish to his eldest brother and he became dangerously ill as a result. Astrologers were sent for, pirs and fakirs were called, all known charms, spells and incantations were tried but to no avail.

Wise men were assembled together and they came to the decision that until the tiger’s whiskers could be removed, there was no hope of a recovery. They were of the opinion that if two ounces of chebulic myrobalan (scientific name: termininalia chebula; known in Ayurvedic medicine as Aralu, credited with having laxative and stomachic properties) and a clove weighing one masha were administered, his health could be restored.

The Emperor searched everywhere for the ingredients but they could not be found – it was only until his Prime Minister, who had heard of Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji’s fame, was informed that there were available from Guru Sahib’s storehouse, that hope was restored.

Although the Emperor was hostile to Guru Har Rai Ji, yet as Guru Sahib’s house was a mine of sympathy and compassion for all, there was no doubt that he would grant the articles required.

The Emperor humbled himself before the Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji and sent a letter. Guru Sahib was pleased that the Emperor had such confidence in him as to write such a friendly letter, and consented to give the required medicines.

“Behold,” said Guru Ji , “with one hand man breaks flowers and with one hand offers them, but the flowers perfume both hands alike. The axe cuts the sandal tree, yet the sandal perfumes the axe. The Guru ought, therefore, to return good for evil.”

The ingredients were weighed and it was explained that these medicines would cause the hardest substance taken to be digested. To these ingredients, Guru Ji added a pearl which was to be ground and used as a subsidiary remedy.

The Emperor was very pleased and forgot all his enmity with Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji, and vowed that he would never again cause him annoyance. His medicine was administered and effected a speedy and complete cure.


Guru Har Rai Ji (ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਰਾਇ) (31 January 1630  20 October 1661) was the seventh of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism and became Guru on, 19 March, 1644 following the footsteps of his grandfather, Guru Har Gobind Ji.

Main highlights of Guru Har Rai Ji’s life:

  1. Continued the military traditions started by his grandfather, Guru Har Gobind Ji
  2. Kept 2200 mounted soldiers at all times.
  3. Was disturbed as a child by the suffering caused to the plants when they were accidentally destroyed by his robe.
  4. Made several tours to the Malwa and Doaba regions of the Punjab.
  5. Guru Ji’s son, Ram Rai, distorts Bani in front of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, after which the Guru is supposed to have said, “Ram Rai, you have disobeyed my order and sinned. I will never see you again on account of your infidelity.”

The Guru nominated his youngest son, the five year old, Har Krishan Ji as the Eighth Sikh Guru, on Sunday, 20 October, 1661.

Guru Gobind Singh Ji

Read our collection of Powerful Inspiring Quotes by Guru Ji
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