Martyrdom Of Guru Arjun Saheb Ji - Part 1


Martyrdom of Guru Arjun Saheb Ji - Part 1

One of the great things about our Guru is that they did not just preach religion, they also showed us by example. Many people speak about religion and spirituality, but when they would come to hard times they don’t practice what they preach. However, our Guru practiced everything he preached.

Guru Nanak said:

jwxhu joiq n pUChu jwqI AwgY jwiq n hy ]1] rhwau ]


Recognize the Lord's Light within all, and do not consider social class or status; there are no classes or castes in the world hereafter.

The Guru said that there is no use of castes. He did not just say this, he showed it by refusing to eat at Malik Bhago’s house and choosing to sit and eat with Bhai Lalo, a low-caste carpenter.

Where Guru Nanak said that there is no difference between Hindu and Muslim. He showed it practically by keeping Bhai Mardana (Muslim) and Bhai Bala (Hindu) with him at all times.

Where the Guru has taught about humbleness, He also gave us examples. Guru Angad Saheb Ji quietly left his village of Khadoor when Pandit Shiv Nath convinced the village people to kick him out. When Baba Dattu Ji came to Goindwal and kicked Guru Amar Das Ji in the ribs, the Guru did not get upset. Instead the Guru quietly left Goindwal. When Baba Sri Chand Ji came to Amritsar, Guru Ram Das Ji took his long beard and used it to dust off Baba Ji’s feet.

Where Gurbani has taught the Sikhs to even give their life to help others, the ninth master showed it practically by giving his head to save the Hindu religion. Guru Gobind Singh Ji did not just tell the Khalsa to be ready to die, he sacrificed his entire family and everything else he had.

In the same way, Guru Arjun Saheb Ji showed the Sikhs how to die for their faith by becoming the first martyr in the Sikh religion. He also showed us how to take hardships with a smile on your face. Gurbani preaches to us that we should always accept the will of God, but Guru Arjun Saheb Ji showed us how to do it practically. Today let us look back to that time and remember the martyrdom of our great Guru.

To fully understand the martyrdom of Guru Arjun Saheb Ji, we must look even further back at the events that led up to it.

Guru Ram Das Ji had 3 sons – Baba Prithi Chand Ji, Baba Maha Dev Ji, (Guru) Arjun Saheb Ji.

Being the eldest son, Baba Prithi Chand Ji thought that he would get to be the next Guru. However, he also knew that his father favored his younger brother, (Guru) Arjun Saheb Ji.

On August 28, 1581 Guru Arjun Saheb Ji became the fifth Guru. Baba Prithi Chand was not very happy when he heard this news. He came up to Baba Budha Ji and started to yell at him.

Baba Budha Ji explained to him:

krYN bKIlI hwQ n AwvY[ghih inMmrqw bWCq pwvYN[


You are trying to become the Guru just to have power. You cannot become the Guru by using clever tricks. Only that person who shows true humbleness can receive this gift.

Then he came to Guru Ram Das Ji and started to argue with him. At this moment, Guru Ram Das Ji said:

ijsu Gir ivrqI soeI jwxY jgq gur nwnk pUiC krhu bIcwrw ]

chu pIVI Awid jugwid bKIlI iknY n pwieE hir syvk Bwie insqwrw ]


Four generations of Gurus have come and from the beginning of time, the people who used clever tricks found nothing. Only they who served with love were rewarded.

Then the Guru explained that the same way that Baba Mohan Ji (Guru Amar Das Ji’s son) accepted that he was not going to be chosen for becoming the Guru, you should also accept this:

mohn mohrI hY mMn ilAw quswnMU BI cwhIey iqau hI kIAw[ (bMswvlI-nwmw)

Guru Ram Das Ji stayed in this world another 3 days and then on September 1 he left his body. Baba Prithi Chand tried to use the joti-jot of the fourth Guru as an excuse. He told the people that Guru Arjun Saheb Ji must have poisoned the fourth Guru:

gurqw iqlk Blo ien pwXo[duie idn ibqy n ibs ko KvwXo]11]


He wanted to be the Guru so bad that he couldn’t wait a few days. He made the Guru drink poison.

pujvwvn ko lwlc kir kY[mwrXo ipqw kpt ko Dir kY[


He was filled with greed for money and fame that he killed his own father.

These attempts to discredit Guru Arjun Saheb Ji failed because the sangat knew that Baba Prithi Chand wanted to become the Guru himself.

Ussually during the crowning ceremony of the Gurus a new turban would be tied on the head of the Guru. Guru Nanak’s son, Baba Sri Chand Ji would bring the turban. However, Baba Prithi Chand Ji was still very jealous. He said that he should get the turban because he is the older son. Finally, it was decided that there would be two turbans, one for the Guru and an extra one to make Baba Prithi Chand Ji happy.

Baba Sri Chand Ji sent two turbans:

sRI cMd jy doie pg iBjvweI[iek ipRQIey nMU iek guru Arjn nMU AweI[

mrny kI p`g ipRQIey b`DI[guirAweI p`g Arjn l`DI[


Baba Prithi Chand received the turban of death ceremony (eldest son) and (Guru) Arjun received the turban for being the Guru.

Baba Prithi Chand continued his rivalry with his younger brother. While in Amritsar, Baba Prithi Chand Ji was put in charge of the treasury. He started to steal money from the sangat’s account. The situation got so bad that there was not even enough food for the Langar because Baba Prithi Chand was not giving the supplies. If someone would donate rations he would just keep them for himself. He thought that if the langar runs out then the Sikhs will stop coming to the Guru. It is said that slowly the langar went down to just once a day. There was a Sikh named Ganga Ram who sold his own personal belongings so that he could buy rations to keep the langar going.

Orders were sent out to the Sikhs that do not give your donations to Baba Prithi Chand because he is abusing his powers. Take you donations directly to the Guru:

gur kI kwr nw dyvih koeI[gurqw qy Kwrj hY deI[

jo siqgur ky is`K khwvY[sRI Arjn ky inkt pujwvY[

Baba Prithi Chand Ji is the one who made Sutta and Balvand (musicians in the Guru’s court) leave. He told them, “You two don’t get enough respect from the Guru. All of the sangat (congregation) comes to listen to your beautiful kirtan. If you were not here then the sangat would not come.”

These remarks convinced Sutta and Balvand to stop doing kirtan in the congregation.

Then after sometime, Baba Prithi Chand started to think that because Guru Arjun Saheb Ji has no child, my son Maherban will become the next Guru. He told his wife Karmo:

ikauN icq mn mY krY sBI bsqu hY qoru[

iqh gRih suq pRgtXo nhIN suq pRgty gRih mor[ (gur iblws pwqSwhI CyvIN)


Why are you worried? Everything is going to come to you. Guru Arjun does not have any child, but we have a son.

However, when Guru Arjun Saheb Ji had a son (Guru Hargobind Saheb Ji), Baba Prithi Chand was very upset. He did not even come to see the new child. He saw the child as a threat. He started to make plans for eliminating this child.

First he paid a lady named Futo (P`qo) 200 rupees to poison Guru Hargobind Saheb Ji. She came to the village of Vadalee and got a job as a nanny in the Guru’s house. Futoh took poison and rubbed it onto her breasts. She then tried to feed breast milk to the child. The child refused to drink and started to cry, slowly many people came to see what was happening. After some time, the poison went into Futo’s blood and she died.

Then Baba Prithi Chand Ji convinced a man to let a snake loose on Guru Hargobind Saheb Ji. The man came and let the snake loose on the child, but the Guru grabbed the snake before it could attack:

sIs dbwiekY Pys idXo bhu dIrG so aultXo bl Kwey[


The Guru grabbed and squished the snake and then flung it into the air.

Next, Baba Prithi Chand Ji paid a servant in the Guru’s house to mix poison in the child’s yogurt (dhIN). He mixed the poison and tried to feed it to the child who refused to eat. When the servant tried to force Guru Hargobind Saheb Ji to eat, the child let out a loud scream:

hir goibMd muK bl Kry icMGwr pukwrI[

Hearing the scream everyone came to see what was wrong. While they were talking to the child a dog came and started to eat the yogurt. After eating the yogurt the dog slowly fell to the ground and died. Everyone realized that the yogurt was poisoned.

Baba Prithi Chand then decided to trick the Guru into eating poison. The Guru use to play with a boy named Nand Ram everyday. Baba Prithi Chand bribed the boy’s uncle (cwcw) to poison the Guru. The boy’s uncle had some sweets made. He made two sets of sweets – one was okay while the other set had poison mixed into it.

He explained to his nephew, Nand Ram that you should eat the sweets in the right pocket and give the ones in your left pocket to Guru Hargobind Saheb Ji. When he met the Guru, Nand Ram ate the sweets that were poisoned and the Guru ate the ones that were not poisoned:

jwie Kyfy nwly miTAweI Kwey[iek muT hir goibMd muK pwey[

cMgI dyvY swihb nMU mMdI Kwey Awpu[

Nand Ram fell to his death, but Guru Hargobind Saheb Ji stayed alive. After this incident, the village people were onto Baba Prithi Chand's plans. They forced him to leave the village and move to the village of Haheri.

Article from Gurmat Studies Newsletter