Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the 5th Sikh Guru – June 16

Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the 5th Sikh Guru – June 16

Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the 5th Sikh Guru – June 16

Guru Arjan Dev ji, the 5th Sikh Guru, was convicted, tortured and sentenced to death by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir on June 16, 1606 after Guru Arjan Dev had refused to stop preaching his message of God started by Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

Guru Arjan Dev ji was made to sit on a burning hot sheet while boiling hot sand was poured over his body. After enduring five days of unrelenting torture, Guru Arjan Dev Ji was taken for a bath in the river. As thousands watched he entered the river, never to be seen again.
Thereafter, every year the Sikhs remembered June 16 as the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the 5th Guru and the first Sikh martyr. Before the arrest, torture and martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev, Sikhs had no weapons or violence, because all Sikh Gurus had compassion, love, dedication, hard work, worship of one God and peace for all the people of the world and there was a commitment to harmony.



Guru Arjan Dev Ji was born in Goindval. He was the son of Guru Ram Das, and Mata Bhani. His birthplace site is now remembered as the Gurdwara Chaubara Sahib. Guru Arjan Dev ji spent the first 11 years of his life in Goindwal and the next seven years of his life with his father in Ramdaspur. He was the first Guru in Sikhism to be born into a Sikh family. He was appointed as the 5th Sikh Guru in 1581 after the death of his father. Although Guru Arjan had two elder brothers, naming Prithi Chand and Mahadev, but his father Guru Ram Das chooses him to succeed him as the 5th Sikh Guru. Guru Arjan was the first of the two Gurus martyred in the Sikh faith and the 5th of the ten total Sikh Gurus. He compiled the first official edition: Adi Granth, which later turn into the Guru Granth Sahib.

One of the Sikh community disputes following Guru Ram Das was the emergence of new hymns claiming to have been composed by Nanak. According to faction led by Guru Arjan, these hymns were distorted and fake, with some blaming Prithi Chand and his Sikh faction for having composed and circulated them.[23][68] The concern and the possibility of wrong propaganda, immoral teachings and inauthentic Gurbani led Guru Arjan to initiate a major effort to collect, study, approve and compile a written official scripture, and this he called Adi Granth, the first edition of the Sikh scripture by 1604.[26][29]

The Mina texts of Sikhism preserved the composition of both Prithi Chand and his followers, while Guru Granth Sahib was adopted by the mainstream and larger Sikh tradition that ultimately emerged from the initiative of Guru Arjan.
Guru Arjan compiled the Adi Granth and collected the hymns of past Gurus from many places and rejected hymns. Adi Granth included hymns from the first four Gurus of Sikhism as well as 17 Hindu bards and 2 Muslim bards. According to the Sikh tradition, the compilation was completed on August 30, 1604, and installed in the Harmandir Sahib temple on September 1, 1604.
Emperor Akbar was informed of the development with the allegation that it contained teachings hostile to Islam after Guru Arjan completed and installed the Adi Granth in the Harimandir Sahib.

He completed the construction of Darbar Sahib at Amritsar. Guru Arjan Dev ji reorganized the Masands system. He suggested that one-tenth of their income, goods or service should be donated to the Sikh organization. Guru Arjan was arrested as per the orders of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir and asked to convert to Islam.He refused, was tortured and executed in 1606 CE. There is not historical record that whether Guru Arjan was executed by drowning or died during torture.His martyrdom remembered as Shaheedi Divas of Guru Arjan.Arjan, at age 18, became the 5th Guru in 1581 inheriting the title from his father. After his execution by the Muslim officials of the Mughal Empire, his son Hargobind became the sixth Guru in 1606 CE. Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan Dev founded the temple – which is known as Darbar Sahib. The temple started to be built in 1581 with the first version of the temple taking eight years. The temple was was rebuilt in marble and copper overlaid with gold foil. The structure thus came to known as the Golden Temple.


“Ramdaspur”, a town around a large man-made water pool called “Ramdas Sarovar” was founded by Guru Arjan’s father Guru Ram Das.Arjan continued the infrastructure building effort of his father. Ramdas Sarovar expanded during the time of Guru Arjan Dev. Donations were given for the construction of town. The pool area grew into a temple complex with the gurdwara Harmandir Sahib near the pool. The scripture of Sikhism was installed by Guru Arjan inside the new temple in 1604.Amritsar, a city is the holiest pilgrimage site in Sikhism.
Guru Arjan established Amritsar as a primary Sikh pilgrimage destination. He wrote various Sikh scriptures. Sukhmani Sahib was one of the sikh scripture written by him. Guru Arjan had completed many infrastructure projects, such as water reservoirs called Santokhsar (lake of peace) and Gongsar (lake of Gongaga) and the towns of Tarn Taran, Kartarpur and Hargobindpur,

The stories in the Sikh tradition about the dispute around Guru Arjan are inconsistent.Prithi Chand is remembered as vehemently opposing Guru Arjan. The Sikhs who followed Guru Arjan Dev called the Prithi Chand faction as Minas, who have attempted to assassinate young Hargobind. Hargobind’s life was presented as devoted to his younger brother Guru Arjan.Manohar Das; the eldest son of Prithi is mentioned in both traditions as growing under the loving care of Prithi Chand and Guru Arjan.



In Mughal custody, guru Arjan’s martyrdom has been defined as one of the controversial issues in Sikh history. Guru Arjan’s execution was considered as a political event. Sikh Gurus became actively involved in the Punjabi political conflicts. Mughal dynasty dispute was an ongoing dispute between Jahangir and his son Khusrau wherein Guru Arjan blessed Khusrau. Jahangir ordered the Guru’s execution as he was jealous and outraged. The Guru’s execution was a part of the ongoing persecution of the Sikhs by Islamic authorities in the Mughal Empire. According to Jahangir’s autobiography, so many people were persuaded by Guru Arjan’s teachings that the Sikh Panth had to be extinguishedif Guru Arjan did not become a Muslim. The Guru was imprisoned in Lahore Fort in 1606 CE where he was tortured and executed. The Mughal emperor Jahangir demanded a fine of 200,000 rupees. Jahangir also demanded that Guru Arjan erase some of the hymns in the text that he found offensive. Guru Arjan was dictatorial.

He lived in splendour with “costly attire”, who had left aside the rosary and the clothes of a saint. Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi cheered the punishment and execution of Guru Arjun. He called the Sikh Guru an infide. Mian Mir lobbied when Jahangir ordered the execution and the confiscation of Guru Arjan’s property. However. It is not clear that his death was due to execution, torture or forced drowning in the Ravi river.Sikh contain contradictory reports of Guru Arjan’s death. Bhai Gurdas, a noted 17th-century Sikh chronicler was a contemporary of Guru Arjan. Sikhs tried to get Jahangir to substitute the torture and death sentence to a heavy fine however, this attempt failed. Jahangir tortured Guru Arjan but the Guru refused and was executed. According to Jerome Xavier, Guru Arjan suffered and was tormented. Guru Arjun strengthened the conviction among Sikhs that, “personal piety must have a core of moral strength.Chandu Shah, a Hindu minister of Jahangirtakes revenge on Guru Arjan for not marrying his son Hargobind to Chandu Shah’s daughter. He protects Guru Arjan from torture by Muslims by paying 200,000 rupees to Jahangir, but later torments him to death in his house.

Martyrdom Day of Sri Guru Arjun Dev Ji is a regional Gazetted holiday in the Indian state of Punjab on the 24th day of Jeth, the third month in the Sikh calendar. It takes place in May or June in the western calendar. This holiday commemorates the first Sikh martyr, killed in 1606. This holiday is usually celebrated with a full reading of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
On this day sweets are offered to the general public outside gurdwaras.Every year on June 16, the Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev is commemorated. This day has been marked to honor him and has been commemorated since 1606. Traditionally, prayers are made to Guru Arjan Dev. Also, his message of peace is meditated on by followers. The observance typically includes “kirtan” (recitation of hymns from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Scripture) and “katha” (Sikhism-based lectures).Devotees paid obeisance at the Golden Temple and Gurdwara Ramsar. They took a holy dip in the Amrit Sarovar of the Golden temple and listened to Gurbani.
Bhogs and akhand paths of Sri Guru Granth Sahib were performed at the Gurdwara Ramsar. At the Gurdwara Ramsar, the 5th Sikh Guru had edited Guru Granth Sahib and wrote Sukhmani Sahib. Chabeels that served cold sweet water were put up on almost all roads of the city.Rendition of religious hymns by students of various schools created an aura of mysticism and spirituality.



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January 14, 2022

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