Guru Arjan Dev Ji


Guru Arjan Dev Ji

Guru Arjan Dev

Guru Arjan Dev was the youngest son of Guru Ram Das and Mata Bhaniji, born at Goindwal Sahib on April 15, 1563. Bhai Budhaji first taught him Gurmukhi and Guruvani and then he received proper education in Hindi, Sanskrit and Persian. A brilliant pupil, Arjan Dev had a sweet, mellifluous voice and sang hymns well. A perfect blend of devotion, sacrifice and humility, he married Mata Gangaji and had a son Har Gobind Dev, who later succeeded him as Guru.

Guru Arjan Dev was 18 years old when his father Guru Ramdas installed him as the fifth Guru. Thereafter, he worked diligently to spread and consolidate Sikhism.

Guru Arjan Dev completed two sacred baolis (tanks): Santokhsar and Amritsar. He had the foundation stone of Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar, laid by a Muslim saint Hazrat Mian Mirjee of Lahore in December 1588. After the completion of Harmandir Sahib, he founded the town of Tarn Taran Sahib near Goindwal Sahib and had a large Gurudwara constructed there. A deep and big sarovar was also dug and completed there. He also built a house for lepers in the true spirit of compassion.

He laid the foundation stone of yet another town named Kartarpur near Jalandhar city and had a large baoli constructed there. Mughal ruler Shah Jahan later destroyed this to construct a mosque there. The baoli was re-excavated under the alert eyes of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. However, it was destroyed once again by the Muslims some time thereafter.

Guru Arjan established Hargobindpur, a big town on the banks of a river, and constructed a very big and deep well for irrigation at Chheharta near Amritsar.

The most memorable and monumental work of Guru Arjan Dev is the compilation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib that was penned by Bhai Gurdasji. He himself contributed around two thousand verses to it. He had the Adi Granth installed at the Harmandir Sahib in September 1604. After its installation, Mughal emperor Akbar declared the SGGS as "the greatest Granth of synthesis".

Guru Arjan Dev was addressed as Sachcha Patshab. But the moment Jahangir became the Mughal emperor, there was a sudden change in the political and religious milieu. Jahangir was quite jealous of the Guru's fame, the growing number of the Sikhs and the spread of Sikhism.

Many false allegations were levelled against the Guru, one of which was helping the rebellious Khusro. He was subsequently tortured to death. Guru Arjan was made to sit on hot iron planks and burning sand was poured over his naked body. When his body was blistered, he was chained and thrown into the river Ravi. Thus Guru Arjan embraced martyrdom on May 30, 1606, just two years after the installation of the Guru Grantb Sahib. Emperor Jahangir, in his autobiography, acknowledges that he personally ordered the execution of Guru Arjan.

It was a sad end for a great Guru, a positive thinker, a creative man and a peace-loving soul.

The life of Guru Arjan Dev will not be complete if some of his verses are not quoted. The following are two verses composed by the fifth Guru. One is an Ashtapadi and the other is Sloka Sehskriti:

1. Sadh koi sang no kabahum dhavai.

In the company of saints

The mind hankers not wildly,

In the company of saints

The soul attains happiness,

In the company of saints

Man gets a glimpse of the Invisible,

In the company of saints

Man endures the unbearable,

In the company of saints

Man reaches the height of spirit,

In the company of saints

Man stands in the Lord's presence,

In the company of saints

Man is aware only of the Lord,

In the company of saints

Man is granted His Name

Which is life's treasure,

Nanak is ever a sacrifice

Unto the living saints.

2. Saina sadh sarrub

The worry of saints is invincible

They are great warriors,

Humility is the metal plate over their breast,

Songs of the Lord's glory are their weapons,

Their buckles are the words of the Guru.

They ride the horses, chariots, and elephants of submission, love and compassion

And move through the divine path.

They advance towards the enemy fearlessly.

They sing the marching song of the Lord's praise

They conquer easily the five robber chiefs of sensuous pleasure

By conquering the senses


They feel and they actually conquer the whole world. 

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