GURU ARJAN DEV JI (1563 - 1606)

(1563 - 1606)

Guru Arjan Dev ji was the youngest son of Guru Ram Das ji, the Fourth Guru. Guru ji's mother name was Mata Bhani ji. He was born on April 15, 1563 and designated as the Fifth Guru in the year 1581 at the age of 18. He led the Sikhs for 25 years and was martyred in 1606, when he was only 43 years old. Guru Arjan Sahib completed the work on the Tank (sarover) at Amritsar and built a beautiful Harminder Sahib (Temple of God) in the midst of it. He got the foundation stone of Harminder Sahib laid by a Muslim saint Mian Mir. Harminder Sahib is also known as The Golden Temple because of its gold plated domes and the outer walls. Harminder Sahib has four doors signifying that it is open to all without any consideration of caste, creed or status.
Golden Temple soon became a very important place of worship for people of all faiths. Guru Sahib helped in the establishment and growth of new trades and professions in the city of Amritsar. Some of these trades were banking, embroidery, carpentary and horse trading. Sikh traders were sent to Afghanistan and Central Asia for buying good horses. The trade in horses helped the Sikhs in developing a great interest in horseback riding and horsemanship.
Guru Sahib opened another center of worship at Taran Taaran, where also a big temple and a tank (sarover) were built for the comfort of the devotees. The foundation stone of this temple at Taran Taaran was laid by Guru Arjan Sahib himself. A house for the lepers was also built near the Temple.
Guru Sahib compiled the Adi-Granth (the sacred Sikh scriptures) by putting together the hymns of the first four Gurus, some of the Hindu and Muslim Bhagats and added his own to them. The first version of the Adi Granth was completed in 1604 with Bhai Gurdas ji’s assistance. Guru Sahib was a great poet. Sukhmani Sahib is also one of his great compositions.
People of all faiths adored Guru Sahib. Guru Sahib’s popularity and influence grew over the people with every passing day. They came to take his blessings in large numbers from all over the country. This worried the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. In his own words, he wanted to put an end to this traffic.
Jahangir soon learnt that his own son Khusro, who had revolted against him, had also gone to Guru Arjan Sahib for his blessings. This gave him the desired excuse to accuse Guru Sahib of helping his enemy with money and moral support.
Deewan Chandu, a Hindu official in Jahangir’s court bore a grudge against Guru Sahib for rejecting his daughter’s hand in marriage for Guru Sahib’s son. He took the responsibility to torture Guru Sahib to death.

Guruji was arrested, taken to Lahore and tortured to death. He was made to sit on a red hot iron sheet and hot sand was poured over his body. Saint Mian Mir offered to intervene and convince the Emperor that nothing wrong had been committed by Guru Sahib, but Guru Sahib politely refused the offer saying “Tera Bhana Meetha Laagey” meaning “Sweet is thy will, O Beloved Lord”. After four days of brutal torturing, Guru Sahib’s half baked and blistered body was thrown into the river Ravi to be washed away.
Today a beautiful Gurdwara called Dera Sahib stands at this place and thousands visit there every year to pay their homage to their beloved Guru Sahib - an apostle of peace!
Guru Sahib’s martyrdom resulted in initiating the militarization of the Sikhs and turning them into one of the world’s greatest marshal races known as Saint-soldiers!

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