Guru Arjan Dev Birth And Childhood Stories
Guru Amardas was extremely fond of his grandson, Arjan, and loved to play with him. The child Arjan was also very fond of his grandfather and was always hovering around him. One day, when Guru Amardas was having his afternoon nap, the child Arjan trotted into the room and woke him up. When the attendant saw this he was really scared, since it was strictly understood that no one was to disturb the Guru during his afternoon nap. The Guru always woke up very early in the morning for his daily prayers and meditation. When the nervous attendant picked up the child from the Guru’s chamber, the Guru stopped him and said that this grandson of his would one day cruise people across the ocean of life.
On yet another occasion, it so happened that when Guru Amardas was eating, Arjan Dev crawled into the room and tried to share his meal. The Sikh attending the Guru carried the baby away, but the reappeared after a little while. He was again forbidden by the Sikh and removed from the Guru’s chamber. When the baby persisted in entering the room the third time, the Guru handed him the tray and said that he had to inherit this tray someday, so the child might as well do it then. The Sikhs attending the Guru heard this and picked up the child in reverence. They realized through Guru Amardas’s words that baby Arjan would grow up to become their Guru one day.
Arjan Dev grew up to be a very kind, generous and warm person. Everyone loved him. He was of a very altruistic and religious nature. He studied the religious scriptures devotedly and said his prayers daily. He was also very compassionate by nature. He was moved at the plight of the weak and the oppressed. He could not tolerate injustice or oppression of any sort. He did all that was in his power to help the poor and the needy, without any selfish motive. He never thought of being rewarded for his actions. When Guru Ram Das saw his noble nature, his religious bent of mind and the infinite compassion he had for his fellow human beings, he was convinced that Arjan Dev was the rightful successor to the holy seat of the Guru.
However, Prithi Chand, Arjan Dev’s elder brother, was another strong claimant to the Guru’s seat. Though in his heart Guru Ram Das was convinced of Arjan Dev being worthy of the holy seat, he still decided to test him before openly declaring him the Guru.
Before long, he found the opportunity to do so. It so happened that one Gudu Ram Das’s cousins, Sahari Mal, came to invite the Guru to Lahore on the marriage of his son. The Guru was much too pre-occupied with the construction of the holy tank. It was an assignment given to him by Guru Amardas and he wished to complete it in his lifetime. He, therefore, called his eldest son, Prithi Chand, and asked him to go to Lahore with Sahari Mal, on his behalf. Prithi Chand however, feared that his father was trying to get him out of the way so that he could install his youngest brother, Arjan, as Guru. He knew what a favorite Arjan was with his father and so he refused to go. The Guru then called his second son, Mahadev. He too refused to go, on some pretext.
And so, when Arjan Dev was just twelve years old, Guru Ram Das ordered him to go and attend the wedding of his uncle’s son on his behalf. He also told Arjan Dav specifically to wait there will he received further instructions from the Guru. Arjan Dev attended the wedding as ordered, and waited to hear from his father. But he received no further instructions from his Guru to come back to Goindwal.
As time passed, Arjan Dev became more and more restless to meet his Guru. He was unhappy on being separated from him and being deprived of the opportunity to serve him. But he could do nothing about it since the Guru’s orders meant more to him than his own life. And so he continued to stay and wait as instructed. He utilized the time for spreading the golden words of the Sikh Gurus. Everyday, he used to recite the Gurubani amidst the assembly of people gathered there, and give them the Guru’s sermons. For him, the only silver lining in this dark cloud of separation was that he was discharging his duty there as best as he could. Two long year passed thus and Arjan Dev kept waiting.
At last, Arjan Dev decided to send word to his father himself asking his permission to return. He composed a poem for the purpose, and sent it to the Guru through a servant. When the messenger reached his destination, the Guru happened to be resting. Prithi Chand, however, recognized the servant from Lahore and inquired what had brought him there. When the messenger told him that he was to deliver a letter to the Guru, Prithi Chand took it and assured him that he would pass it on to him. Having done his work the servant returned. Prithi Chand knew that the moment his father saw the letter, he would send for Arjan Dev. So he decided to withhold it. He then sent word to Arjan on behalf of his father that he should continue to stay at Lahore a little longer.
Several months passed and still there was no news. Arjan Dev was now desperate. He could not wait to be near his father and his Guru. So he composed another poem and sent it once more to his father. Prithi Chand knew that Arjan would be sending another message soon, so he was on the lookout for any messenger from Lahore, and that the Guru would himself come to Lahore shortly, and get him back.
Arjan Dev, therefore, waited faithfully for several more months for the Guru’s promised visit to Lahore (Pakistan), but there was no news about it. He then composed yet another poem with a desperate tone, and this time he made sure that it was delivered to his father personally. He had also marked the letter so that the Guru would know that it was his third letter. Accordingly, when Guru Ram Das read it, he asked the messenger about the other two letters, who replied that he had given it to Prithi Chand. When he was summoned by an angry Guru, Prithi Chand denied having any knowledge of the letters. At this Guru Ram Das asked an attendant to search his room for the letters which were duly found in his garment. Prithi Chand was then humiliated for his treachery and he began to despise Arjan Dev even more. The Guru then sent Bhai Budha and asked him to bring Arjan back home with all honors. Meanwhile, Arjan Dev had almost lost hope of ever being able to serve his beloved father and Guru again.
Then one day, Bhai Budha arrived from Goindwal and came to Arjan Dev with the Guru’s instructions. Arjan Dev was ecstatic at the glad tidings from his Guru. When Bhai Buddha told him that Guruji wanted to see him and so he had come to take him back, the words were like music to his ears. He thanked God for making his Guru remember him finally. He told an amused Bhai Budha, how painful his wait had been and how he wanted to fly away to have his Guru’s darshan. But he had not, since he was bound by the Guru’s orders. Bhai Budha then escorted Arjan Dev back to his Guru in Goindwal.
When he reached there, he fell at his father’s feet and wept bitterly for a very long time. When the Guru saw Arjan Dev full of affection for him despite the torturous wait, the Guru also thawed with emotion. Guru Ram Das then declared the seat to him in the year 1581, left for his eternal home.