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::  Sikh Gurus  ::

Guru Arjan Dev Ji

5. Guru Arjan Dev Ji
(1563 - 1606 & Guruship: 1581 - 1606)

Guru Arjan Dev Ji - Birth with Guru Amardas Ji
Guru Arjan Dev, the youngest son of Guru Ram Das and Mata Bhani, was born at Goindwal in 1563. In 1579 Guru Arjan was eventually married to Ganga Devi daughter of Krishan Chand and had one son named, Hargobind.
In 1581 he succeeded in father and became the fifth Guru of the Sikh religion. He started reforms in Sikh religion and selected Amritsar as the centre of the Sikh community. Guru Arjan left Goindwal for Ramdaspur (Amritsar) to complete the work started there by his father.
He completed the two tanks of Santoksar and Amritsar and undertook the expansion of Ramdaspur. The Guru started the construction of the the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) in the middle of the tank of Amritsar and its foundation stone was laid by the reputed Muslim Sufi Saint, Mian Mir.
Guru Arjan Dev Ji - Foundation stone of Harmandir Sahib
He built another tank and temple at Taran Taran. These temples had doors on all sides, indicating that these were open to all castes and communities.
Guru Arjan Dev collected all the hymns of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and the other Gurus before him and also of several other saints and compiled them into the holy book with the help of Bhai Gurdas, a scholar and poet. Guru Arjan pitched a tent by the side of Ramsar tank and started the arduous task of compiling the first edition of the Holy Guru Granth Sahib. Bhai Gurdas was entrusted as the Guru's scribe for the master copy.
Guru Arjan Dev Ji - Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple)
Unlike any other religious book in history, Guru Arjan Dev decided to also include the compositions of Hindu and Muslim saints which he considered consistent
Guru Arjan Dev Ji - Compiled the Guru Granth Sahib
with the teachings of Sikhism and the Guru's. Guru Arjan Dev included the works of such Hindu Bhaktas as Kabir, Jaidev, Namdev, Dahnna, Ravidas, Pipa and Ramanand. This first edition of the Guru Granth Sahib known at that time as Pothi Sahib was installed on a high pedestal within the Harmandir Sahib in August 1604. Guru Arjan Dev seated himself at a lower level and instructed all Sikhs to bow before it, not as an idol, but as the book of divine inspiration which instructed living men in the ways of God and dedicated secular life. The revered Baba Buddha was appointed the first Granthi (custodian) of the book. Guru Arjan Dev dictated that unlike the Hindu scriptures, the Pothi Sahib could be open to reading by anyone of any caste, creed or sex. The Holy Granth is now worshipped by the Sikhs around the world as the 'living embodiment of God'.
Guru Arjan Dev Ji - Guru Granth Sahib
Guru Arjan Dev organized his devotees into a well-knit community. Morning recitations of the sacred shabads (dewan), langar and sewa were integral parts of the daily life of a devout Sikh.
The personality of Guru Arjan was a source of spiritual inspiration to his devotees, among whom were several Muslims too.
In 1598, the Guru interceded on behalf of the local peasantry with Emperor Akbar to get the excessive levy of land revenue reduced. These activities of the Guru gave him a new status.
Guru Arjan Dev Ji - Helped farmers
It was at this time that the Guru came to be called by the Sikhs as Sacha Patshah (True Emperor). The Guru had come to guide, govern and influence the lives of the Sikhs both in the temporal and the spiritual fields.
As Guru's fame was increasing, there were still some people who were jealous and wanted to get rid of him. It is said that Guruji's brothers had told a false poisoned Emperor Jehangir's ear, saying that the Guru was involved in the inciting Khusru's (the emperor's son) revolt against the emperor. Jehangir, who was already looking for an opportunity to put an end to the ever-widening influence of Guru Arjan Dev, ordered that he be captured.
Knowing that this was not a good sign, Guruji, declared that his son Hargobind should be installed as the next Guru. Prominent Sikhs gathered and revered Baba Buddha applied the saffron mark on Hargobind's forehead anointing him as Guru Hargobind, the sixth guru of the Sikh religion.
Guru Arjan Dev Ji - Was cruelly tortured
Upon capture Guru Arjan Dev was immediately jailed and 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 Guru bore all of these brutalities with calm serenity, for five long days. When the torturers found the Guru unresponsive to their torture they did not know what to do; so 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 Dev 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.
Guru Arjan Dev Ji - Divine God
This act of brutality in ending such a saintly life with such cruelty was to forever change the course of Sikhism. Sikhs transformed into an organized and well-knit community, ready to take up arms for fighting against the Moghul rule whose system was so cruel and oppressive.
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