Guru Arjan Dev

Ruben O. Collazo Delgado

Guru Arjan Dev

Guru Arjan was the youngest son of Guru Ram Das and Mata Bhani. He was born at Goindwal on April 15, 1563. In 1579 Guru Arjan was eventually married to Ganga Devi daughter of Krishan Chand in 1579. Arjan was invested with the Guruship by his father Guru Ram Das in 1581.

Guru Ram Das "Father"

Guru Arjan now left Goindwal for Ramdaspur to complete the work started there by his father and to get away from his jealous older brother Prithi Chand. The Guru laid the foundation of the Harmandir Sahib in the middle of the tank of Amritsar. All of the Sikhs desired that it should be the tallest building in the new town. Guru Arjan however felt otherwise. He reminded his followers that humility should be a great virtue. The temple was therefore built on as low an elevation as possible.

New Born

Soon thereafter Ganga Devi became pregnant... Guru Arjan along with his family left Amritsar and settled at Wadali a few miles away. It was here that on June 14, 1595 that the Guru was blessed with a son,

Meanwhile back in Amritsar Prithi Chand tried to convince the Sikhs that he was the real Guru and not Arjan Dev. He only met with disappointment though, as the Sikhs continued to flock to see Guru Arjan Dev. Prithi Chand therefore concocted a plan to assassinate the Guru's only child Hargobind. He sent a wet-nurse with poison, got a snake charmer to release a snake near Hargobind, and on another attempt sent a servant with poison milk. All of these attempts failed with the perpetrators all publicly confessing that Prithi Chand had sent them.

Guru's Death

On October 17, 1605 Akbar died and was succeeded by Jahangir as Emperor. When Guru Arjan received the summons to appear before Jahangir, he knew that it was not a good sign.

The Guru declared that his son Hargobind should be installed as the next Guru. Upon reaching Lahore, Jahangir demanded that Guru Arjan revise the Holy Granth, removing all references to Islam and Hinduism. This of course the Guru refused to do. Since Jahangir was on his way to Kashmir, he asked Murtaza Khan to deal with the Guru.

Murtaza Khan immediately jailed the Guru, and ordered the Guru Arjan to be tortured to death if he did not agree to remove the alleged derogatory references in the Holy Granth. The Guru was cruelly tortured. He was made to sit on a red hot iron sheet. They poured burning hot sand on his body. The Guru was dipped in boiling water. The bore all of these brutalities with calm serenity, for five long days he was tortured. When the torturers found the Guru unresponsive to their torture they did not know what to do. On May 30, 1606 the Guru asked for a bath in the river Ravi by the side of the Mughal fort. Thousands of followers watched the Guru who could barely walk make his way to the river with tears in their eyes. His bare body was covered with blisters, Guru Arjan repeated over and over; "Sweet is Your will, O God; the gift of your Name alone I seek." The Guru then calmly walked into the river bank, bidding his farewell to his followers and was gone forever, his body carried away by the currents. This act of brutality in ending such a saintly life with such cruelty was to forever change the course of Sikhism.

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