Sri Guru Arjan Sahib Ji

NameSri Guru Arjan Sahib Ji 
(5th Sikh Guru)
Born15th April 1563, Goindwal, Taran Taran, Punjab
Joti Jot(Rejoining with God) 16th April 1606 (aged 48) at Khadur Sahib
Guruship16th September 1581 from age 18 for 25 years: 1539 to 1606
FatherSri Guru Ram Das Ji (4th Sikh Guru)
MotherBibi Bhani
Spouse(s)Mata Ganga
ChildrenGuru Hargobind
PredecessorSri Guru Ram Das Sahib Ji
SuccessorSri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji
GurbaniSukhmani Sahib and 2312 shabads in 30 raags
Known forComposed the Adi Granth (which later became Guru Granth), 1st Sikh Martyr – was severely tortured for 5 days, by musalmaan (muslims) at the orders of Jahangi

Guru Arjan Sahib Ji (Gurmukhi: ਗੁਰੂ ਅਰਜੁਨ ਦੇਵ) (Sunday May 2 1563 – Monday June 16 1606) was the fifth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism, who became Guru on 16 September 1581 following in the footsteps of Guru Ram Das Ji. He was born in Goindwal Punjab India the youngest son of Guru Ram Das and Bibi Bhani, the daughter of Guru Amar Das.

Guru Arjan Sahib Ji, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, was the embodiment of Godly devotion, Selfless Service and Universal Love. He was the treasure of celestial knowledge and spiritual excellence. He substantially contributed towards the welfare of the society. He stood steadfastly for the principles he believed in, sacrificed his own life, and attained a unique and unparalleled martyrdom in the history of mankind.

Guru Arjan Sahib Ji was born on April 15, 1563, in the house of Guru Ram Das, the fourth Guru. He was the youngest of the three sons of Guru Ram Das Ji. His oldest brother, Prithi Chand was very astute in social and worldly affairs. He was noted for his diligent management of all the affairs of the Guru’s household, including the running of the langar (communal kitchen).

The second son, Mahadeve was captivated with reclusive tendencies. He wanted to lead the life of an ascetic. His attitude, full of fierce interactions towards the congregants, was contrary to the modesty of the Guru’s teachings. Moreover, he himself displayed no inclination for the acceptance of the Guruship.


The following is a summary of the main highlights of Guru Ji’s life:

• Compiled and collated the hymns of the previous Sikh Gurus as the foundation of the Guru Granth Sahib. 
• Additionally Guru Ji contributed a total of 2218 hymns to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. 
• Authored the Sukhmani Sahib Bani – Prayer for Peace 
• Installed for the first time the holy Sikh scriptures, which at that time was called the ‘Adi Granth’, a major achievement. 
• Built Sri Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar (the gold was added much later). 
• Developed Amritsar as a centre of excellence. 
• Enhanced the structure of Sikh society by further developing the masand system. 
• Guru Arjan Sahib was the first Sikh Guru to be tortured (for 5 days) and martyred by muslims for his refusal to convert to islam.

Father’s High Expectations

Guru Ram Das had envisioned heavenly qualities in his youngest son Arjan. From his earliest childhood the Guru had found him to be imbued with the Name, and immersed in tranquillity. Almost since his birth it seemed that the Guruship was destined to be bestowed upon Arjan. One day baby Arjan had crawled up onto the Divine throne of his grandfather, Guru Amar Das the third Guru, and sat there comfortably.

Seeing this the Guru smiled and prophesied, “My maternal Grandson will ship the Name across.” But growing up Arjan was always well aware that despite his Grandfather’s prediction, it was the service to the Sangat, not their lineage that had bestowed Guruship on the previous preceptors, Guru Angad and Guru Amar Das. With this in mind, he indulged in Seva (service) most ardently.

But his emotive intentions were always quite perceptible to his father, Guru Ram Das Ji and, all to apparent to his eldest brother, Prithi Chand, who suspecting the consequence of their Grandfather’s prophecy, indulged in numerous means to disrupt the life of Guru Arjan, that ended in bringing about what he had feared.

Prithi Chand’s Deception

Guru Ram Das’s first cousin Sahari Mal came to invite the Guru to visit Lahore in connection with the marriage of his son. The Guru being much too busy with his work promised to send one of his sons instead. Guru Ram Das Ji asked his eldest son Prithi Chand to attend on his behalf, but he refused. Prithi Chand found a reason to avoid the trip, perhaps, he feared that his father would, in his absence, install his youngest brother, Arjan Sahib as the next Guru. Prithi was sure that Arjan was the favorite son of his father. Next the Guru asked his next eldest son Mahadev to attend the wedding, but Mahadev was a recluse and excused himself on the ground that he was not interested in the affairs of the world. The Guru therefore asked his youngest son Arjan Sahib to attend, which he agreed to do with such grace and humility, that Guru Ram Das Ji was very pleased.

Sent To Lahore To Attend A Family Wedding

Arjan Sahib proceeded to Lahore where, his father had asked him to remain until called for and to take charge of the needs and education of the Sikhs in Lahore, his father’s ancestral home. Two years later, feeling intensely homesick, Arjan Sahib composed a poem of love and devotion and sent it to Guru Ram Das Ji. This poem along with another one, sent a few month’s later were intercepted by his elder brother Prithi Chand who made sure his father never received them. Finally Arjan wrote a third poem marking it with the number 3 and gave strict instructions to the messenger to give it to the Guru personally.

My mind longs for the Blessed Vision of the Guru’s Darshan. 
It cries out like the thirsty song-bird. 
My thirst is not quenched, and I can find no peace, without the Blessed Vision of the Beloved Saint. ||1|| 
I am a sacrifice, my soul is a sacrifice, To the Blessed Vision of the Beloved Saint Guru. 
~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Raag Maajh, Pannaa 96

Receiving this poem, Guru Ram Das Ji seeing the number 3 sensed that there must have been two earlier letters. Aware of the jealousy of his eldest son he confronted Prithi Chand, asking him if he knew anything about previous letters. At first, Prithi Chand denied everything, but seeing the insistence of the Guru and the consequences of his refusal to obey him, he finally confessed his treachery and produced the two earlier letters. (Another story often told has the Guru sending someone to Prithi Chand’s quarters who finds the letters in Prithi’s clothing.) When Guru Ram Das Ji read them, he was moved to tears by the humility and sincerity of his son Arjan’s compositions.

Despite his brother’s actions he showed no resentment to his elder brother and inundated him with reverence and honour. Guru Arjan Sahib Ji was a born an apostle of peace. Although he ascended the throne of Guru Nanak at the age of 18, he was far more advanced in wisdom than normal for his years not to ention his angelic qualities. The letters he wrote to his father from Lahore, not then even a teen-aged boy, stand testimony to that fact