“The Sikh Gurus ”
Guru Arjan Dev
This grandson of mine
Will cruise people
Across the ocean of life.
-Guru Amar Das‘
Guru Arjan was born at Goindwal in 1S63. He was the youngest son of Bhai Jetha (later Guru Ram Das) and Bibi Bhani. It is said that there was unusual rejoicing at his birth. It surprised not a few since the newborn was only the third son of the Guru’s daughter, whereas his two sons Mohan and Mohri had also been married and not much notice had ever been taken when they had their children. Guru Amar Das was extremely fond of Arjan, who as a child was always hovering around him. It is said that once when the Guru was having his siesta in the afternoon, young Arjan quietly slipped into his room and woke him up. Nobody ever disturbed the Guru during his afternoon nap, since he got up very early in the morning for his meditation and prayers. The attendant was nervous and ran to pick up the child from the Guru’s chamber. The Guru forbade him and observed, Eh mera dohta duni da bohta hovega—This grandson of mine will cruise people across the ocean of life.
As predicted, when the time came for Guru Ram Das to retire, Arjan was ordained the next Guru.
However, Prithi Chand, Guru Arjan’s eldest brother, did not accept him as his father’s successor. On the passing away of Guru Ram Das, according to a custom prevalent among the Khatris of the time, when Mohri invested Guru Arjan with the turban, Prithi Chand objected to it vehemently. As the eldest son of Guru Ram Das, he maintained it was he who ought to have been offered the turban.
When Guru Arjan came to know of it, he lost no time in presenting the turban to him. Not only this, he also left Goindwal for his new township to avoid any further irritation.
But Prithi Chand was not reconciled. He started intriguing and conspiring against the Guru. Guru Arjan didn’t take much notice of him; he was busy completing the holy tanks of Santokhsar and Amritsar and other jobs left unfinished by Guru Ram Das. It is said that while the excavation at Santokhsar was in progress, the diggers chanced upon a tiny hut in which they found a yogi squatting in deep contemplation. He was brought out immediately and given a massage. After a little while, he regained consciousness and was delighted to meet Guru Arjan. He said that ages ago he had pleased his guru, who had blessed him and said, You will meet Guru Arja~i in the Kaliyug and attain deliverance at his hands. He had been in meditation ever since then.
Santokhsar was completed in 1588. Guru Arjan then devoted his attention to the completion of Amritsar, the tank of nectar. He had the foundation stone of Harimandir-later known as the Golden Temple-also laid. The Sikhs desired that it should be the tallest building in the town. The Guru, however, thought otherwise. He reminded his followers that there was no virtue like humility. The temple was, therefore, built on as low an elevation as possible. He also decided to have the new temple open on all four sides. Anyone could enter it from any side. No one might be discriminated’ against. To lay the foundation stone of the temple, the Guru invited Mian Mir, a Muslim divine from Lahore. With the resources and dedication of the Sikhs, the construction of the holy tank and the temple made rapid progress. The Guru sang in joy:
God Himself came to participate
And gave His hand in Godmen’s task.
He poured nectar in the blessed tank built in the blessed land.
He poured nectar and completed the job,
A dream has come true.
The whole world is hailing.
All fears are set at rest.
He is all-powerful with ever-living presence;
The Vedas and the Puranas sing His praises.
God has blessed His devotee Nanak
Who meditated on His Name.
When the holy tank was completed, with his characteristic humility, Guru Arjan gave the entire credit for it to Guru Ram Das:
A dip in the tank of Ram Das- All my sins are washed away.
A dip and I am clean all over
I’ve been blessed by God Himself.
Prithi Chand continued to pester the Guru. He therefore decided to leave Amritsar and go out on an extensive tour and meet his disciples in various towns of the Punjab. He visited Khadur, Goindwal, Sarhali, Bhaini, Khanpur, Taran Taran, Lahote, Dera Baba Nanak, and several other places. During his tour, he laid the foundation stone of Kartarpur, a new township near Jalandhar. He had also a well, called Ganga Sagar, dug in the town. It is said that a man called Baisakhi came to see the Guru while on his way to Hardwar, which he visited every year on pilgrimage. The Guru told him that taking a bath with the water of the well recently dug in the town could also clean him if he cared. Water anywhere conies from the same source.
Baisakhi would not listen to it. He had been going to Hardwar annually for several years and he didn’t want to miss the pilgrimage that year. The Guru kept quiet. However, after some months when the pilgrim returned, he complained that the day he was leaving Hardwar his pilgrim’s vessel was lost in the Ganga so that he couldn’t bring the holy water for the Guru. At this, it is said, the Guru walked up to the new well and pulled out Baisakhi’s vessel which had slipped from his hands and had been lost in the Ganga. Baisakhi was astonished to see the vessel, his name etched on it. He realized the true meaning of pilgrimage.
Guru Arjan returned to Amritsar after several months. Prithi Chand was ‘still bitter and the Guru was at a loss to know how to
appease him. Arjan had no son. Prithi Chand hoped that his own son Mehrban would have a chance to succeed as guru. But disappointment was in store for him here also. Finding his wife keen to have a child, Guru Arjan asked her to go to Bhai Budha for his blessing. Bhai Budha was revered by the Sikhs and the Guru alike.
It was a rare expression of humility on the part of the Guru to send his wife to ask the blessing of a Sikh but she did as she was advised. Accompanied by her attendants, she went in a procession to Bhai Budha, who lived in a jungle outside the town. It is said that Bhai Budha didn’t approve of all the fanfare. Far from blessing the Guru’s wife, he didn’t even touch the delicacies she had brought as an offering to him. She was utterly disappointed. When’ the Guru came to know of it, he told her to go again with simple food cooked with her own hands and with the humility of a devotee. The next day she did accordingly.
Bhai Budha was delighted to partake of her simple fare and, while crushing the onion with his fist, said, The son that you will have will crush the enemies the way I have crushed the onion. He will be a great sportsman, fond of hunting; he will ride royal horses and wear two swords. He will possess both spiritual and temporal powers.
Prithi Chand in the meanwhile cultivated Sulhi Khan, a revenue officer of the Mughal court, and instigated him to raid Amritsar on the pretext of collecting tax dues. Guru Arjan’s wife was expecting a baby now. He therefore retired to a village close by, leaving Amritsar to Prithi Chand to settle accounts with Sulhi Khan. During his stay at Wadali, Guru Arjan found that due to scarcity of water the people of the village were put to a great deal of inconvenience He had a huge well dug with the voluntary help of the Sikhs. It was large enough to accommodate six Persian wheels. The place has since come to be known as Chhehrata-the town of six Persian wheels. It was at Wadali that a son was born to Guru Arjan in 1595. There was great rejoicing in Amritsar at .the happy event. To commemorate Bhai Budha’s blessings, a fair is held every year in the forest where he used to live. Childless women who come to participate in the congregation held on the occasion of the fair are believed to be blessed with children. The more the Sikhs rejoiced on the birth of Hargobind- that was the name of the child-the more unhappy Prithi Chand
became. Even his wife Karmo lost her peace of mind. The only hope left to them was to have the newborn killed somehow. Accordingly, they took an old family nurse into confidence and, promising her a rich reward, sent her to Wadali. She had her nipples smeared with poison. Obviously she was lookin~ for an opportunity to suckle the newborn and poison him to death.
However, the moment this woman took the child in her lap, she fainted. The poison applied on her nipples seemed to have affected her. The Guru had her immediately attended to and her life was saved. When she came to her senses, she confessed her guilt.
Prithi Chand was still undeterred. After some time, he got a snake charmer to release a poisonous serpent in Guru: Arjan’s courtyard where the child normally played. The toddler, it is said, picked up the snake and started playing with it.
Devotees came from distant places to Amritsar to pay their homage to the Guru and, not finding him there, were greatly disappointed. The Sikhs of the town, therefore, came to the Guru in a delegation and persuaded him to return to the holy city, ignoring what Prithi Chand continued to do.
After a while Hargobind was stricken with a severe attack of smallpox and Prithi Chand’s hopes were revived. Prithi Chand was sure that the child would not survive. But Hargobind recovered from the malady, once again disappointing his uncle.
The only hope for Karmo’s son to succeed Guru Arjan was the elimination of Hargobind, and Prithi Chand was persistent in his design. He now bribed a domestic servant in the Guru’s household to poison the milk the child took. Once again Prithi Chand failed. The child refused to take the milk the servant offered. When the servant insisted, Hargobind took the bowl of milk and threw it away. It is said that a dog who tried to lap it up died instantly. The domestic servant was questioned and he confessed the intrigue. Guru Arjan was greatly distressed by his brother’s misdeeds.
Hargobind was fairly grown up now and his father sent him to Bhai Budha so that he could be trained for the responsibilities he was destined to shoulder.
Before long, another situation developed in Guru Arjan’s life. Reports came that Prithi Chand was composing his own hymns, and
was passing them to the Sikhs visiting Amritsar as the compositions of Nanak and other Sikh Gurus. If this was allowed to continue, Guru Arjan feared, it would be the undoing of the Sikh faith. He therefore decided to take immediate steps to stop this confusion.
He sent his trusted Sikhs like Bhai Piara and others all over the country and went personally to Goindwal, Khadur, and Kartarpur to collect the authentic texts of the Bani of the four Gurus preceding him. Mohan, Datu, and Sri Chand were the three who helped him most in this pursuit. He then had a special camp set up by the side of Ramsar tank and started compiling what subsequently came to be known as the Holy Granth. Consistent with the tradition of the Sikh faith, Guru Arjan had some of the spiritual verse of other Indian saints, both Hindus and Muslims, also collected and included in the compilation. The hymns were arranged under the specific musical measure, or raga; in which they were originally written by Guru after Guru-in chronological order. The compositions of saints outside Sikhism figured after these. It is said that several poets or their admirers approached the Guru to have their verses included in the Holy Grant!, under compilation. A few among these were Chhajju, Shah Husain, and Pilu. But it seems their writings did not qualify for inclusion in the Holy Granth.
Bhai Gurdas undertook to prepare the master copy of the compilation. He was also invited by the Guru to contribute his own verses for inclusion in the Holy Granth, but his modesty of a disciple would not permit it. The compilation of the Holy Granth was completed in 1604. After the monumental work had been completed to his entire satisfaction, Guru Arjan’added a hymn by way of epilogue, in utter humility:
I can’t measure Your grace.
You’ve made me worthy of You.
I am full of blemishes;
I have no virtue.
You have been compassionate.
Compassionate You have been and kind.
Thus I met the True Guru.
Nanak, I live on the Name alone.
It pleases my heart and soul.
A large number of miracles are associated with Guru Arjan.
It is said that a Sikh called Triloka, who was employed in the army at Kabul, once killed a female deer. The deer happened to be pregnant. It pained Triloka to see the two unborn young ones of the deer also die before his eyes. He pledged not to indulge in hunting any more. Not only this, but rather than carry a proper sword, Triloka started donning a sword with a wooden blade. This was unheard of in the fighting forces of the day. Someone complained about it to his commandant, who came for a surprise check of Triloka’s arms. Triloka remembered the Guru and prayed for his help in his hour of distress. To his delight, when he pulled out the blade from the scabbard, it was shining like steel. Those who had complained against him were put to shame.
Similarly, Katara, another Sikh from Kabul, happened to be in trouble. Someone wanting to do him harm had replaced his weights and complained to the authorities that he was using short weights. His premises were raided by the police for inspection. The innocent Sikh invoked the Guru’s help in his hour of peril. It is said that at the same moment, Guru Arjan was made an offering of some coins at Amritsar. He held the weight of the coins for a while on the right hand palm and then on the left hand palm. He shifted the coins from one palm to the other again and again. When asked by the devotees why he did this, he told them. about Katara, who was in trouble in faraway Kabul involved in a false case, accusing him of using short weights, and that was how he vindicated his integrity. The next time the Sikhs visited Amritsar he corroborated every word that the Guru had told them.
Chandu Shah, a Hindu banker of Delhi, who wielded a lot of influence at the Mughal court, was looking for a suitable groom for his daughter. He was originally from the Punjab and was keen that it should be a Punjabi youth. His emissaries went all over the Punjab without finding an eligible match. Eventually, on their way back, they happened to visit Amritsar and saw Hargobind, the young son of Guru Arjan. Besides being handsome and healthy, he was to succeed his father. The agents hurried back to Delhi to inform Chandu Shah. He, however, had the ego of a spoiled rich man. He couldn’t imagine giving his daughter in marriage to anyone below his status. At best,
he lives on the offerings of his followers, he objected, he has no social or political position. A brick baked for a palace cannot be used for a gutter. The agents were silenced. The proposal was accordingly dropped. In the meanwhile, the Sikhs of Delhi came to know of Chandu Shah’s remarks and they conveyed them duly to the Guru. As it happened, the agents continued to search everywhere but they couldn’t find a suitable hand for Chandu Shah’s daughter. The marriageable daughter became the source of grave anxiety to the mother. She couldn’t wait. any longer. Chandu Shah’s wife felt that Hargobind was an excellent match for their daughter and that they should not have turned down the proposal. Before long, Chandu Shah also realized his mistake and, sending for the agents, asked them to finalize the proposal. The agents went to Amritsar. But the Guru, who was aware of Chandu Shah’s earlier remarks, declined to accept the offer. He said that the daughter of a rich man like Chandu Shah will not fit into the house of a dervish. Chandu Shah could not imagine that the hand of his daughter could be refused by anyone. He was wild to see the proposal gifts returned to him. In a fury of temper, he decided to avenge himself on the Guru for the indignity hurled on him.
Soon an opportunity came his way. Prithi Chand, the Guru’s eternal enemy, complained to him that the Holy Granth compiled by the Guru had derogatory references to Muslim and Hindu prophets and saints. Chandu Shah lost no opportunity to bring this fact to the notice of the King. Akbar’ordered the Guru and the Holy Granth to be brought to him. Guru Arjan sent Bhai Budha and Bhai Gurdas to the Mughal court with a copy of the Holy Granth. When the Holy Book was opened, the first hymn that was read was:
From clay and light God created the world.
The sky, the earth, trees, and water are made by Him.
I have seen men pass away.
Forgetting God in avarice is like eating carrion,
The way the evil spirits kill and devour the dead.
One must restrain oneself;
Hell is the punishment otherwise.
The miracle man, the riches, brothers, courtiers, kingdoms, and palaces,
None will come to one’s rescue at the hour of departure.
When the messenger of death comes to carry one way.
God the Pure knows what’s in store for me.
Nanak, my appeal of a slave is to You alone.
The Emperor heard it and he was fully satisfied. He had always looked upon the Sikh Gurus as social reformers ‘and believers in the unity of God and the brotherhood of man. And all this was close to his heart.
However, Chandu Shah, who had considerable influence in the court, was too wicked to be satisfied. He said that ~Bhai Gurdas, who had read the hymn, had done so from memory and had not read the text from the Holy Granth. He therefore, got one Sahib Dyal from the town and made him read for them another piece from a page of his own choice. The hymn read out this time was:
You don’t see God who dwells in your heart,
And you carry about an idol around your neck.
A nonbeliever, you wander about churning water,
And you die harassed in delusion.
The idol you call God will drown with you,
The ungrateful sinner!
The boat will not ferry you across.
Says Nanak, I met the Guru who led me to God,
He who lives in water, earth, nether region, and firmament.
The King was delighted to listen to the hymn. It was as nobly inspired as the earlier piece. Far from finding anything that could be construed as maligning anyone, he felt that the hymn inculcated love and devotion, and strove to rid both the Hindus and the Muslims of the communalism that was tearing them apart. This is exactly what he wished to project through Din-i-Ilahi, a new religion he advocated. The King was happy to be acquainted with the highly inspiring volume compiled by the Guru. He bestowed robes of honor on Bhai Budha and Bhai Gurdas, and sent one for the Guru along with
numerous gifts. He also promised to pay his respects personally to the Guru when he visited Lahore next.
The Emperor kept his promise and came on pilgrimage to Amritsar. He was greatly impressed with the activities of the Guru. He made rich offerings and sought the Guru’s blessings for the peace and welfare of his kingdom. At the Guru’s intervention, the King exempted the region from land revenue, as it had suffered a severe drought that year. When the cultivators came to know of it, they were deeply grateful to the Guru.
Unfortunately, a monarch of vision like Akbar did not live long. He was followed on the throne by his son Jehangir. Akbar had, however, nominated his grandson Khusro to succeed him.
Jehangir was pleasure-loving. He was given to drinking. He left the administration of the kingdom to his Queen and his courtiers. While on his way to Kashmir, the Emperor summoned Guru Arjan to meet him in Lahore, mainly at Chandu’s instigation.
When the Guru received the King’s summons he knew what was in store for him. He called Hargobind and had him installed as the sixth Guru in the presence of prominent Sikhs. As usual, Bhai Budha applied the ti/lak on Hargobind’s forehead. The Guru then took leave of his Sikhs and, bidding farewell to his beloved city of Amritsar, left for Lahore.
The Emperor levied a fine of rupees two lakhs and asked the Guru to revise the Holy Granth, deleting all references to Islam and Hinduism figuring in it. The Guru told the King that his money was the sacred trust of the Sikh community and the hymns in the Holy Granth were a revelation in praise of God: no one dare alter them. The King was on his way to Kashmir. He was in a hurry and in no mood to involve himself in arguments. He asked Murtza Khan to deal with the Guru the way he considered best and proceeded on his journey. It was exactly the opportunity Chandu Shah was looking for. He approached Murtza Khan and poisoned his ears, urging him to extract the fine levied by the King.
The moment the Sikhs of Lahore came to know that the Guru had been put in prison for non-payment of the fine, they started collecting funds. When Guru Arjan heard of it, he forbade them to do so. He had done no wrong for which he should pay a fine. In the meanwhile,
the qazi gave an injunction ordering the Guru to be tortured to death if he didn’t agree to expunge the so-called derogatory references to Islam and Hinduism in the Holy Granth.
It is said that the Guru was made to sit on a red hot iron sheet. They poured burning hot sand on his body. He was given a dip in boiling water. As the Guru was being persecuted thus, Mian Mir, the Muslim divine of Lahore, who had laid the foundation stone of the Holy Temple at Amritsar, came and begged the Guru to allow him to use his mystic power to undo those who were responsible for the suffering inflicted upon him. TheGuru heard Mian Mir and counseled patience. He told him that one must accept the will of God; not a leaf moves if God doesn’t ordain it. When Chandu’s daughter-in-law heard about it, she bribed the jailor and came to the prison with sherbet and other delicacies to serve the Guru. The Guru declined to accept anything from Chandu’s house but blessed the lady for her faith and devotion.
The Guru was tortured for five long days. When the tyrants found him bearing all the agony with perfect equanimity, they became helpless. They were at a loss and didn’t know what to do. At this the Guru asked for a bath in the river Ravi by the side of the Mughal fort in which he was imprisoned. Thousands of his followers watched the Guru walk to the river with tears in their eyes. His bare body glistened with blisters. There were blisters on his feet and he couldn’t even walk properly. Sweet is Your will, 0 God; the gift of your Name alone I seek, said the Guru again and again. As he reached the river, he bade farewell to the bewailing multitude and walked into the water as serene and as calm as ever. It is said that it was the last glimpse his devotees had of the Guru. He never came out of the river. The tide bore him in her longing lap and he was gone forever. Guru Arjan was only forty-three years old at the time of his supreme sacrifice on 30 May 1606.
Thus a magnificent life was brutally cut short at the hands of tyranny. The way in which Guru Arjan gave his life for the values that he cherished is of far-reaching significance. With his martyrdom the attitude of the Sikhs toward life changed. Emulating their Guru, they would readily give their lives for any cause dear to them, whether it was a fight with the bigoted Mughals for the protection of their faith
or with the British for the freedom of the country, or even the Congress after Independence for the Punjabi-speaking state.
Guru Arjan’s humility is almost unparalleled.
There was no trace of self; he emphasized with actions that more important than the Guru, were the Guru’s Sikhs. What they decide as a congregation must hold good. Since the Delhi Sikhs did not want the Guru’s son to be married to Chandu Shah’s daughter because of his arrogance, the Guru respected their wishes, even when his life was at stake.
Guru Arjan has left a massive volume of 2218 hymns marked for their musicality. and richness of imagery. They have continued to be popular with the Sikh musicians generation after generation. He wrote in a simple, conversational language, reflecting the various stages of the spiritual journey of the human soul. His magnum opus, the Sukhmani, the Psalm of Peace, is a long poem, ranking next to only to the Japji of Guru Nanak in popularity with the devout. Though it doesn’t form part of the essential set of five hymns enjoined upon the Sikhs to be recited every day, the Sukhmani is recited by a large number of devotees every morning and also at the hour of anxiety in the family.
In Guru Arjan we have the culmination of all that Guru Nanak and the three Gurus following him stood for. They combined in themselves the best of Islam and Hinduism. Rather than alienating anyone, they strove for mutual understanding. Venerated equally by the Muslims and the Hindus, they were peace-loving, devoted to meditation and prayers, and service of their fellow-beings. In Sikhism the stress is on universal truth. All rites, rituals, and worship of gods and goddesses have been dispensed with. Sikhism comprises love of God and service of humanity.
The Sikh Gurus established places of worship called dharmasalas and promoted projects of general welfare like the digging of wells, baolis and tanks. They set up new villages and townships. With a view ‘to fighting social evils they encouraged common kitchens and community living. They were poets and music lovers. They patronized arts and artists. While Mardana, the rabab player, was a constant companion of Guru Nanak, Satta and Balwand, and a number of other professional musicians, were attached to the gurus following
Nanak. They would have indeed been happy if they were left alone to pursue their mission of propagating the love of God and the service of man to the people of the world.
But this was not to be. The rulers of the day became suspicious of their growing popularity and power. This unfortunate distrust was fed by petty jealousies and intrigues cropping up at every succession. While Guru Arjan represents the best in the way of life led and propagated by Guru Nanak, we also find him standing at the crossroads, as it were. There were tensions brewing; the Sikhs were to face forces of reaction, and the bigotry and arrogance of the rulers of the day.
Guru Arjan’s martyrdom precipitated the issues. It gave a new complexion to the shape of things in the Punjab and the Sikh polity. While Guru Arjan’s non-violence and the way he made the supreme sacrifice reflects the best in Guru Nanak, the training he gave to his successor Hargobind was a signpost of the~ long-drawn-out conflict that followed, culminating in a momentous turbulence during Guru Gobind Singh’s life and times.
To a student of Guru Arjan’s life, the Guru’s martyrdom was an inevitability. The forces of evil and hatred were relentless and the events moved with calamitous inevitability. The Guru had attended to all his major assignments. The completion of the holy tank called Amritsar, and the Harmandir, known as the Golden Temple, gave the Sikh community a sense of solidarity. The town which came up around the Holy Tank grew into a metropolis of Sikhs from all over the world. The Holy Granth not only preserved the Holy Word; it has served as a spiritual lighthouse ever since its compilation. In his not too long life of forty-three years, Guru Arjan’s achievements are monumental. He could accomplish all this, perhaps, because he was groomed for his mission by his maternal grandfather, and then by his own father. Hi& predecessors, Guru Angad, Guru Amar Das, and Guru Ram Das, did not have this advantage.
Though a man of letters and a poet of eminence, Guru Arjan was highly organized and practical. Since he undertook massive construction works, he set up brick kilns to bake bricks. With a view to making Amritsar a self-sufficient town, he invited skilled workers of all crafts to settle there. Traders from Kashmir and Kabul were
encouraged, so that Amritsar became an important commercial centre in the Punjab.
A soldier once came to the Guru for spiritual advice. Guru Arjan told him that as long as he served in the army, he must remain loyal to the king and fight his enemies. A soldier’s dharma is to live for peace and die fighting.
Similarly, he was against the renunciation of the world. He said that it was like a soldier running away from the battlefield. One must live in the world and yet, as a lotus remains above water, remain above it.
Guru Nanak had rejected the caste system of the Hindus. There is no higher caste, he said, and there is no lower caste. It is one’s deeds that determine whether one is good or bad, high or low. Guru Arjan sought to abolish the distinction between the haves and the have-nots, the caste system that permeated the economic field; those who Labored and those who exploited them. He didn’t attach any great importance to contemplative life if it had to be sustained on the sweat of the neighbor’s brow. He advised that one must work and earn and share one’s earning with others.
The Hindu theory of karma upholds that what we are is of our own making. We suffer because of misdeeds committed in our previous life. So even the indignities and atrocities inflicted by the rulers were borne by the Hindus with stoic indifference. Guru Arjan said that evil must be resisted, even if one has to give one’s life for it. He underlined the virtues of self-sacrifice. According to Guru Arjan, one must fight evil and injustice, even if it means giving away one’s life.
Guru Arjan was highly practical in day-to-day conduct. Once, a village headman called Chuhar came to him for his blessings. He believed that the nature of his duties was such that he had to resort to falsehood. He was anxious to know how he was going, to find his deliverance. The Guru asked him to maintain an account of his good and bad deeds and bring it over to him at the end of the month. When Chuhar came after a month, it was discovered that he had done hardly any good deeds, whereas he had a large number of bad deeds to his credit. The Guru asked him to read them out and confess his sins in public. The next month his performance was better. It improved
consistently in the following months, until the village headman had only good deeds to his credit and not one bad deed.
Accepting the Will of God, Guru Arjan gave up his life suffering inhuman atrocities. Yet the last message he sent to his son was to arm himself fully and prepare for the struggle ahead, which was to be a long-drawn-out war against tyranny.