Guru Arjan

Guru Arjan
Khanda emblem.svg

Guru Arjan [2][3] (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਅਰਜੁਨ Guru Arjan ) 15 April 1563 – 30 May 1606)[1] was the first of the two Gurus martyred in the Sikh faith and the fifth of the ten total Sikh Gurus. He compiled the first official edition of the Sikh scripture called the Adi Granth, which later expanded into the Guru Granth Sahib.

He was born in Goindval, in the Punjab, the youngest son of Bhai Jetha, who later became Guru Ram Das, and Mata Bhani, the daughter of Guru Amar Das.[4] He was the first Guru in Sikhism to be born into a Sikh family.[5] Guru Arjan led Sikhism for a quarter of a century. He completed the construction of Darbar Sahib at Amritsar, after the fourth Sikh Guru founded the town and built a pool.[6][7][8] Guru Arjan compiled the hymns of previous Gurus and of other saints into Adi Granth, the first edition of the Sikh scripture, and installed it in the Harimandir Sahib.[6]

Guru Arjan reorganized the Masands system initiated by Guru Ram Das, by suggesting that the Sikhs donate, if possible, one-tenth of their income, goods or service to the Sikh organization (dasvand). The Masand not only collected these funds but also taught tenets of Sikhism and settled civil disputes in their region. The dasvand financed the building of gurdwaras and langars (shared communal kitchens).[9]

Guru Arjan was arrested under the orders of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir and asked to convert to Islam.[10][11] He refused, was tortured and executed in 1606 CE.[10][12] Historical records and the Sikh tradition are unclear whether Guru Arjan was executed by drowning or died during torture.[10][13] His martyrdom is considered a watershed event in the history of Sikhism.[10][14] It is remembered as Shaheedi Divas of Guru Arjan in May or June according to the Nanakshahi calendar released by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee in 2003.[15]

Arjan was born in Goindval to Bibi Bhani and Jetha Sodhi. Bibi Bhani was the daughter of Guru Amar Das, and her husband Jetha Sodhi later came to be known as Guru Ram Das. Arjan's birthplace site is now memorialized as the Gurdwara Chaubara Sahib.[16] He had two brothers: Prithi Chand and Mahadev.[17][18] Various Sikh chroniclers give his birth year as 1553 or 1563, the latter is accepted by scholarly consensus as the actual year of birth with 15 April as the accepted birth date.[19] Arjan spent the first 11 years of his life in Goindwal and the next seven years with his father in Ramdaspur.[17] Per Sikh tradition, he had stayed for two years in Lahore during his youth after being sent by his father to attend the wedding of his first cousin Sahari Mal's son as well as to establish a Sikh congregation.[20] He was appointed as the Sikh Guru in 1581 after the death of his father.[21] Ram Das was a Khatri of the Sodhi sub-caste. With Arjan's succession, the Guruship remained in the Sodhi family of Ram Das.[22]

Arjan had two elder brothers, Prithi Chand and Mahadev. Guru Ram Das chose Arjan, the youngest, to succeed him as the fifth Sikh Guru. Mahadev, the middle brother chose the life of an ascetic.[23] His choice of Arjan as successor, as throughout most of the history of Sikh Guru successions, led to disputes and internal divisions among the Sikhs.[6][24]

The stories in the Sikh tradition about the succession dispute around Guru Arjan are inconsistent.[23] In one version, Prithi Chand is remembered in the Sikh tradition as vehemently opposing Guru Arjan, creating a faction Sikh community.[25] The Sikhs following Guru Arjan called the Prithi Chand faction as Minas (literally, "scoundrels"), who are alleged to have attempted to assassinate young Hargobind,[26][27] and befriended Mughal agents.[23] However, the second version, found in alternate competing texts written by the Prithi Chand led Sikh faction contradict this version (their non-derogatory name is Miharvan Sikhs). They offer a different explanation for the attempt on Hargobind's life, and present the elder son of Guru Ram Das as devoted to his younger brother Guru Arjan. The competing texts do acknowledge their disagreement. They state Prithi Chand left Amritsar, became the Sahib Guru after the martyrdom of Guru Arjan and one who disputed the succession of Guru Hargobind as the next Guru.[28]

This page was last edited on 13 July 2018, at 16:28 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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