Saturday, 16 June 2007

Dust of your sweet sweet charan

On June 16 every year, the Sikhs worldwide celebrate - yeah, Celebrate! - the great sacrifice of Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj.

Isn't it amazing how you change as you grow up? I told my little sister the history of how Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj (the 5th Nanak) sacrificed his life for Sikhi....she was happy to hear it but she couldn't understand the logic in it...When I think about it, why would she? She is 4 and a half....spongebob squarepants is her idea of logic (dont get me started). When I think about such unfathomable qurbani my heart feels heavy...would any of us moorakhs be able to undertake such a sacrifice? I doubt it....For those of you who don't know it, the event happened as follows :

After the death of Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1605, his son Jahagir became the leader of India. Unlike his father, Jahagir was a fundamentalist Muslim, obsessed into turning the country into an Islamic state. Both Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists concerned at the rapid increase in the popularity of Guru Arjan, moved the new head of state Emperor Jahangir against the Guru. Jahangir himself was also jealous about Guru's propagation of Sikhism. He promptly obliged the enemies of Guru Sahib. Many baseless allegations were levelled against Guru Sahib, one of those was helping the rebellious Khusrau, who was Jahangir's son and determined to rule Punjab.
This is what Emperor Jahangir wrote in his diary called the "Tuzuk-i-Jahagiri", which translates to "Memoirs of Jahangir"
"In Gobindwal, which is on the river Biyah (Beas), there was a Hindu named Arjun, in the garments of sainthood and sanctity, so much so that he had captured many of the simple-hearted of the Hindus, and even of the ignorant and foolish followers of Islam, by his ways and manners, and they had loudly sounded the drum of his holiness. They called him Guru, and from all sides stupid people crowded to worship and manifest complete faith in him. For three or four generations (of spiritual successors) they had kept this shop warm. Many times it occurred to me to put a stop to this vain affair or to bring him into the assembly of the people of Islam.
At last when Khusrau passed along this road this insignificant fellow proposed to wait upon him. Khusrau happened to halt at the place where he was, and he came out and did homage to him. He behaved to Khusrau in certain special ways, and made on his forehead a finger-mark in saffron, which the Indians (Hinduwan) call qashqa, (Tilak) and is considered propitious. When this came to my ears and I clearly understood his folly, I ordered them to produce him and handed over his houses, dwelling-places, and children to Murtaza Khan, and having confiscated his property commanded that he should be put to death."
Accordingly in Late May 1606, Guru Arjan Dev was arrested and brought to Lahore where He was subject to severe torture. He was made to sit on a burning hot plate while hot sand was poured over his head and body. It is said that Mian Mir (a Muslim Sufi Saint and friend of Guru Sahib) tried to intercede on behalf of Guru Sahib but Guru ji forbid him to interfere in the "Will of the Almighty".

'Tera keea meeta laagai, har naam padaarath Nanak maangai...'
'thine doings seem sweet unto me, Nanak craves for the wealth of Gods name'
Dhan Dhan Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj- these were his words as they tortured him...

Guru Ji body was blistered and burnt. For several days, the Guru was subjected to this unrelenting torture. Subsequently, Guru Arjan Dev was taken for a bath in the river, Ravi. As thousands watched He entered the river never to be seen again. Thus Guru Sahib embraced martyrdom on Jeth Sudi 4th (1st Harh) Samvat 1663, (May 16, 1606).

The following is a summary of the main highlights of Guru Ji life:
Made a huge contribution in the number of hymns & finalisation of the Guru Granth Sahib.
Guru Ji contributed a total of 2218 hymns to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
Author of Sukhmani Sahib Bani – Prayer for Peace
Compiled and installed for the first time the holy Sikh Book, which at this stage is called Adi Granth, a major achievement.
Built the Golden Temple
Developed Amritsar as a Centre of Excellence.
Enhanced the Structure of Sikh Society by introducing the Masund system
First Sikh Guru to be martyred. See Martyrdom of Guru Arjan

This extraordinary Man who gave Sikhi two of its greatest gifts ... the Guru Granth Sahib and the Harimandir Sahib ... was in the prime of his life, a mere 39 years old, when his spiritual activities were deemed a threat to institutionalized religion by the ruler of the land. Refusing to waver from his faith, he was tortured until his body succumbed.
Guru Arjan, on whose shoulders stands much of Sikhi as we know it today showed the world the ultimate way to tackle the terrorists head-on. And from his suffering were inspired many millions who understood his message and treaded the same spiritual path as him. Following in the Guru's sacrificial footsteps were many thousands of Sikhs who had learnt the lesson taught by the Guru and have walked in his path of self sacrifice for their commitment to truth and justice.

To them I could only say Parnaam....I am merely dust of your sweet sweet charan...