In the state of freedom, the Guru lives in the river like a fish.
Seeing the Divine, the light merged with the Light like a moth.
Consciousness connected with Infinite-Wisdom,
nothing entered awareness during torture like a deer.
In the Lotus-feet Sanctuary, the night was spent in joy-wealth like a bee.
The Guru never ceased to instruct, kept reciting the wisdom like a Babiha.
Perfection-oriented [Guru Arjan] recognized the natural inspired-company
as joy-fruit and love-flavor.
I am devoted to Guru Arjan.
–Bhai Gurdas, Var 24, Pauri 23
Martyrdom is a consequence of the struggle between the forces of evil and the invincible warrior for good, who remains unconquered to the end, because, he or she, has already conquered self (is already a mar-jeevra - the reborn). The would-be martyr does not bow to the will of evil but abides by the Will of the Creator Being (Bhana) while remaining true to conscience to the end. The ultimate victory is that of death-defying truthful conduct, justice and the righteous principle being upheld.
Sikhism which had been founded to transcend the division between Hindus and Muslims by preaching the gospel of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man, was exceedingly galling to the bigoted mind of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir who had firmly reasserted and declared the 'Islamic Shariyat' as the foundation of his Government when he ascended the throne.
The heroic martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev demonstrated once again the stark fact that religious persecution is sinful, because no one has the right to stand between a person and God, that violence in this field at least is futile, for religion cannot be inculcated by force. That there is no such thing as a belief that is not held voluntarily through a genuine spontaneous inner conviction. He laid down his life for a principle and his example generated a new impulse for calm suffering and sacrifice.
A saintly soul (a pavittar atma) revered by all, led the cause and confronted the evil of bigotry to uphold the principle of religious freedom - the ultimate martyrdom.
For only the martyrdom of such a person would awaken the spirit of righteous conduct and freedom in the ordinary people. Death was not pre-meditated, but was the inevitable consequence of the struggle (sangharsh) between good and evil.
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