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The Guru's Way
The Guru's Way

Sikh Missionary Society: Publications: The Guru's Way:



Guru Arjan was now known far and near. He had about a million followers and was known as "The man of the people." Many of the hill Rajahs, such as those of Mandi, Kulu, Suket and Chamba, liked the Guru's way of life and brought offerings to him. Chandu was a powerful Officer of the King of Delhi. He also liked the Guru's teachings and so did his wife and his daughter, Sada Kaur. On being hard pressed by his wife, Chandu had agreed to offer his daughter's hand in marriage to the Guru's son, Hargobind. But as he was proud, he called the Guru a beggar, and said, "My daughter belongs to a high caste and the Guru's son is therefore no match for her."

Chandu's words of pride reached the ears of some of the Sikhs in Delhi. They wrote all about it to the Guru, who thereupon refused Chandu's offer, saying, "Chandu believes in castes and considers some people lower than himself. This is against the Guru's teachings. I don't want to have any relative who does not follow the Great Guru Nanak's teachings." Instead he accepted the hand of the daughter of Bhai Narain Das of Dalla for his son. This made Chandu very, very angry.

Twenty-five years after Guru Arjan became the Guru, the king of Delhi, Akbar the Great, died and his son Jahangir, became king. Jahangir did not like the Guru and his religion. Chandu went to the king and poisoned his mind. He told him that the Guru was asking the people to rise up against the king and also that the Guru had written a book in which he had abused Mohammad, the prophet of the Muslims. The king was very furious and he ordered Guru Arjan to stop preaching his religion at once. He also asked him to pay a fine of 200,000 rupees, which was a very large sum of money in those days. He wanted the Guru to write hymns in praise of Mohammad and to include them in "The Granth." Guru Arjan wrote back to the king: - "I am a servant of God. I love everybody and ask the people to be good and to remember God. I write hymns in praise of God, and not in praise of any man. I do no harm to anybody. All my money is for the poor and the needy. You can share it if you are poor or needy, but if you ask for money by way of a fine, I shall refuse to pay even a single- penny. I am neither a thief nor a law-breaker, so I will not pay any fines. Let me also add that I hate neither the Hindus nor the Muslims. I believe in God who is greater than Rama, the god of the Hindus, and Mohammad, the prophet of the Muslims. I can, therefore, add to my book nothing that praises men instead of God."

When this letter reached the king, he was very, very angry. At once he ordered that the Guru be arrested and put to death. A few days later, the Guru was taken and put in prison at Lahore. He was kept hungry and thirsty for three days. It was the month of May, and it was terrible to remain thirsty, hungry and alone in prison in such hot weather. On the fourth day, he was made to sit in boiling water, but he did not complain or beg for mercy. Hot sand was poured on his head and body, but even then he did not beg for mercy.

Martyrdom of Guru ArjanDuring all this torture, the Guru kept remembering God and did not utter even a word of complaint. Finally, he was made to sit on a red-hot iron plate. His followers came from far and near to see him but they were not allowed to go near the scene. The Muslim saint Mian Mir was however allowed to see him. Mian Mir and Chandu's daughter-in-law were shocked to see the Guru suffering like this. Mian Mir asked if he could help the Guru by making the king see reason. But the Guru only raised his arm, as if thanking his friend, and sang, "Whatever you do, O Lord, is honey to me; I only crave for the gift of Thy Name." Mian Mir and Chandu's daughter-in-law left the place in tears.

The Guru's body was now badly burnt and there was the smell of burning flesh, but the Guru was unmoved. With closed eyes, he only prayed to God. The order came from the king that the Guru should now be bathed in cold water to make him feel pain all the more. The soldiers carried the Guru and marched to the river Ravi. A number of Sikhs, with tears in their eyes and hymns on their lips, followed them. On reaching the bank of the river Ravi, the Guru recited the Japuji (the Sikh morning prayer) and said to his Sikhs, "When they throw me into the river, don't try to take my body out. Let it go down to the bottom of the river. Don't weep. Go back singing the Lord's praises, and call Hargobind your Guru."

Then the soldiers pushed the Guru mercilessly into the river and a strong current of water washed him away. This happened on the 30th May, 1606. Thus passed away the fifth Guru of the Sikhs-the king of holy men, a great writer, singer and beloved friend of the people. He was the first martyr in Sikh history.

"The disease of pride has made man poor; The disease of lust subdues the elephant; Through disease of the eye, the moth is burned to ashes; Through disease of the ear, the deer is killed; Everyone we see has his own special disease. It is only my true Guru united with God, Who is free from disease. Through disease of the mouth, the fish is caught; Through disease of the nose, the bumble bee dies; The whole world is a prey to disease, Entangled in the disease of worldly love and sin."
(Guru Arjan)
"Join and unite together my brothers, Lay aside differences, love one another. Always remember God's Name, O holy men; Spread your mat and sit on it. In this way my friends throw your dice. O holy men, repeat God's name day and night And at the last hour you shall not suffer."
(Guru Arjan)
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