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Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev

Unfortunately, Akbar died soon after and the struggle for the Delhi throne began between his son, Jahangir, and grandson, Khusro. Jahangir’s son, Khusro, had a lot of respect for the Guru. When he was defeated in the battle, he left for Punjab and sought refuge with the Guru in Amritsar. The Guru told Khusro clearly that his house gave shelter to people of all faiths and castes, but since his case involved a royal battle he could not shelter him as it was against his norms. Khusro understood the Guru’s statement clearly and respectfully took his leave. However, his forces had not even crossed Jhelum when the royal Mughal forces surrounded them. Khusro was taken prisoner to Lahore, where he was put to death. The royal forces then began looking for those people who had lent a helping hand to Khusro.

Chandu Shah, who was still bitter about his experience with the Guru, saw this as a golden opportunity and began to incite Emperor Jahangir against him. He told the emperor that Guru Arjan had tried to help Khusro and that he had proof of it. Jahangir, meanwhile, had developed a strong hatred for the Guru since he attracted a large number of followers from all sections of the society. Sometimes the entire village bowed to him and this aroused Jahangir’s jealousy due to which he became vindictive. And so, even though he knew that the Guru had tried to explain to Khusro his policy of non-interference, he saw this as a good pretext for putting an end to the Guru’s activities. Thus he immediately ordered the Guru to be arrested, and brought before him.

When the Guru received the emperor’s summons he knew what he had in mind. He called Hargobind and had him installed as the sixth Guru in the presence of permanent Sikhs. Entrusting the seat of the Guru to him, Bhai Budha applied the tilak on his forehead. Guru Arjan told Guru Hargobind that it was time for him to sacrifice his life for their religion. He was not in the least perturbed or frightened. There was a sense of pride glowing in his eyes, since he was glad that he was required to do what he had always preached and strongly believed in. He asked Guru Hargobind to do his best to continue the tradition of the Sikh Gurus. He explained to his son that the emperor was panicky because of the new awakening among the Sikhs, and that he had to sacrifice his life for the cause of his son was to arm himself fully and prepare for the struggle ahead, which was to be a long-drawn-out war against tyranny. The Guru then took leave of his Sikhs, and bidding farewell to his beloved city of Amritsar left for Lahore.

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