Guru Arjan Dev Ji’s Shaheedi
Guru Arjan Dev Jis shaheedi has become shabeela (giving out of cold drinks) vala gururab for our kids. Not many of our children and possibly even their parents could tell us what lead to maharaj sacrificing their life.
Its really important that we hear this fulll katha which could be up to 10 hrs! It’s a once in a life opportunity to read how Kavi Santokh Singh Ji tells us that this entire story unfolded.
Reasons for Guru Jis shaheedi
Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji were blessing all sangata with their darshan in Darbar Sahib, Amritsar sahib and Aad Guru Granth Sahib Ji were also already parkash in Darbar Sahib.
In Delhi on the other hand, Jahangeer was on the throne and in his court was a very influential official by the name of Chandoo Shah
There were many reasons for Guru Jis shaheedi but Kavi Santokh singh ji in Gurpartaap Sooraj Parkash Granth, start the shaheedi sakha from Chandoo who has no fear of vaheguru or vaheguru’s piarre.
Chandoo is a very wealthy man owning multiple homes in multiple cities. Everyone does sallaam to him / greets him and whatever he thinks should happen is what happens.
Chandoo is full to the brim with attitude and ego (hankaar) thinking himself to be better than everyone else.
Chandoo has one daughter ‘Sada’ and one son ‘Ratan Chand’. When his daughter is 7 years old Chandoo wants to find a good marriage partner for her as was customary is those times, Chandoo called the local Brahmin and Barber and said to them “we need to find a good match for my daughter! I would like you to find a good match on 3 counts so don’t come back to me unless you find all 3 things…
* The family must be wealthy like I am
* They must be from an uchee kul … a high status family
* The boy should be very handsome.
Cutting a long story short the Brahmin and barber searched and searched, from house to house and from village to village however they could not find all 3 virtues in a single household.
Where there was wealth and a high status the boy was not good looking and where the boy was good looking there was no wealth and the pair were beginning to despair “what will we say to Chandoo!”-
The brahmin identifies a match for Chandoos daughter
One sikh family in Delhi then told the Brahmin that if this is your criteria then you should consider the son of Guru Arjan Dev Sahib ji in Amritsar where:
* money is limitless,
* they are from the high Sodhi Kul and
* Dhan Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji are the most handsome boy you will ever find.
So the Brahmin and the barber went to Amritsar …
For 2 days they just sat in sangat and took in all that was going on.
A lot of poeple did salaam to Chandoo albeit out of fear but here there was a lot of sangat that was coming to do namaskaar to Guru Ji with pyaar and sharda (devotion).
Not only this, but when Siri Hargobind Sahib ji came into darbar, the brahmin was taken aback with how much respect they were given as all the sangata stood up out of respect!
At this time Guru Siri Hargobind Sahib ji was only 9 years old but already very tall and good looking.
The Brahmin sought to create a rista between Chandoo and Guru ji. But Maharaj knows everthing about the past present and future … so they knew this rista was never going to happen but they didnt want to say yes or no to the brahmin. Insead they kept repeating that only that which pleases vaheguru will come to pass.
Chandoo slanders the house of Guru Nanak Dev Sahib Ji
When the brahmin went back to Chandoo he gave Chandoo congratulations saying that he and the Barber had found the perfect match for Chandoos daughter
But Chandoo spoke with such arrogance!
He had hankaar/ego of his high status and of his wealth.
He went on to slander the Gurus house by saying 3 times over that “I am like the brick from a chaubara (highest room on a building) … theres no one higher than us! You have put the brick of a chaubara in a moree / foundation/ gutter??”
Chandoo felt that Guru Ji were lower than him saying that they live off offerings from their followers!
When Sikhs of Lahore heard about what Chandoo said regarding Guru Jis house they wrote a letter straight away to Guru Arjan Dev ji to do benti/plea “pls do not do your sons rista in the house of chandoo as he speaks very badly about the House of Guru nanak”.
Chandoo was not happy about the rista but his wife manages to persuade him to agree to it… “its not like we have any other offers. Noone will take our daughter now that she has been offered to and rejected by the Guru. We don’t want to keep our daughter in our own house all our lives do we?”
Chandoo agrees with his wife and says to the Brahmin what you have done is done and we have no choice now but to press ahead with the marraige.
So, after a couple of days the Brahmin heads back to Darbar Sahib and at the end of the amrit vela programme just as the Brahmin is doing the preperations for sagan (to finalise the link between the two families), a sikh arrives in darbar with a letter from the Lahore sangat. He does namaskaar and hands the letter to Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji saying this is from the Lahore sangat please read this letter alone and to one side but please do so before you progress with the sagan.
Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji reject the rista
Maharaj read the letter and then came back into the divaan and everyone could see that their facial expression had changed.
Even the Brahmin realised that things are starting to go wrong and so he tried to get the sagan to happen more quickly but Dhan Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji said to the Brahmin with great nimarta (humility) .. the truth is that our family cannot match that of Chandoo… he is a very high man of great status.
Had we been in maharajs position we would have said a lot more! …. assee larkai vale aa or how dare Chandoo say these things about us etc … But maharaj remained completely shaant /calm.
Guru Ji suggested that a rista suits when it is does between 2 sides that are a good match for one another.
“We are a low family and we should find a similar family with which to do a rista. Please ask Chandoo to look after his chaubarai and his dhan/wealth and please find him another rista from a family that matches his wealth and status. We will find a poor family like ourselves.
The Brahmin tried over and over to get Maharaj to agree to the rista as they were very worried now about what they will tell Chandoo and his reaction. But Guru Ji said “This decision is not mine… it has come from the sangat and I cannot go against their wishes.”
Vich Sangat Har Prabh Vasai Jeeo
Guru Ji receives alternative matches for their son Siri Hargobind
When maharaj said this bachan that we will find some poor family like ourselves Bhai Narayan Das from viaage Dulla stood up and said to Guru ji, “please consider my daughter.” Narayan Das explained how he was a direct descendant of Bhai Paro Ji who did a lot of seva of Guru Amardas Ji to the point that Guru Amardas Ji offered them gurgadi but Bhai Paro said all I want is sikhi. So Guru Amardas ji blessed him and said that one day our families will be tied together as family.
Guru Sahib were very pleased and said Bhai parvaan hai, this is acceptable to us!
They had only just said the word parvaan when another sikh stood up Bhai Hari Chand ji… maharaj seeing as your in a happy mood! please also take the rista of my daughter too… Guru ji saw the sikhs sharda and again he replied, this is also parvaan.
Whilst Chandoos daughter will now receive no ristai, Guru ji received 2 ristai at that very moment there and then.
In the house of Guru nanak dev ji … those who come forward with humility, they receive honour
GAREEB NIVAAJ GUSAEEA MERA MAATHAI SHUTTER DHARAI
O patron of the poor, Lord of the worlld, You have put the canopy of Your Grace over my head
MOHE GAREEB KO LEHO RALAAI
Merge me, the poor one, with You, O Lord
Chandoo fills the emporers ears against the house of Guru Nanak
On the other side now, Chandoo is building a great enimity with the house of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He is doing his best to feed lies into the ears of Jahangeer and wants nothing more now than to see Guru Ji punished for rejecting his daughter. He feels maharaj has done his bezti / dishonour by refusing his daughter and that he has no izat / respect left as no one will accept his daughters hand in marriage now.
He tells Jahangeer that Guru Sahib keeps the company of thieves! (Referring to Sikhs of high spirituality!)
He also told Jahangeer that Guru Ji has fed food to Kusro.
(Kusro was the Grandson of Akbar and the son of Jahangeer. He had somewhat good darmic qualities and Akbar wanted to see Khusro as the next king but Khusro was beaten to throne by his own father Jahangeer).
Jahanger had told everyone that no-one must help Khusro otherwise they will find themselves in trouble, however at one time Khusro passed by Taran Taaran where Guru Arjan Dev ji were staying. Historians agree that Khusro did not even go to see Guru Ji but stil Chandoo filled Jahangeers ears that Kusro has got Guru Jis support, that he has been to see him. Guru Ji fed him and his army and even gave him money and that Guru ji put a tilak / mark on Kusros forhead to say you will become emperor one day!
All these were lies made up by Chandoo just to try and make Jahangeer take action against the Guru’s house in revenge for his daughter’s hand in marriage that maharaj had rejected.
It took Chandu about a year to get the emporer on side but eventually, Jahangeer agreed that Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji should be made to pay a fine of 200,000 ruppees and should also be called to Lahore to answer questions in Jahangeers court.
Jahangeer summons Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji to Lahore
Chandoo sent a soldier to Guru sahib with a letter informing them of the 2 lakh fine and that Guru Ji should accompany the soldier to Lahore so that they can be questioned by Jahangeer.
Chandoo had filled the solgiers ears and told him to speak really rudely to maharaj and to even kick them should he get the chance!
However, cutting a long story short, when the solgier saw had darshan of Guru Sahb he was instatly filled with peace and he actually fell in love maharaj and became a sevak. He showed so much pyaar /love for Guru sahib that Guru ji blessed him with a siropa!
When Maharaj read the letter that the solgier had brought they knew that the time was close now when they would need to leave this human form.
They sent the soldier back to Chandoo wth a message “there is no way we will pay any sort of fine with the sangats money and as for coming to Lahore I will come in the following few days of my own accord”.
Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj passes Guruship to Siri Hargobind Ji
After the soldier left, Maharaj called Baba Budha Ji who was 100 years old at this time, and Bhai Gurdas Ji and Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji.
Guru Arjan Dev Ji informed them “only a few days remain now until I will leave this sareer and so we need to make quick preparations to pass the gurta gadi (Guruship) to Siri Hargobind Ji.
Obviously, these Sikhs were very close to Guru Sahib and found this news very hard to accept but maharaj explained to them that it was the right time now and there should be no grieving and instead everyone should stay in Anand (bliss).
Gurtagadi was actually passed to Guru HGSJ that very night.
The Akaal Takhat sahib had not been built yet but the Kotta Sahib was there (which we can do darshan of even today and its now incorporated within Akaal Takhat sahib).
This is where gurgadi was passed on and it was done in the presence of Bhai Gurdas Ji, BB ji and GHSJ and of course Guru Arjan Dev ji maharaj
According to puratan maryada, Baba Budda Ji in a hurry rubbed chandan together and in front of Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji they placed a mark of Gurgadi on Siri Hargobind Sahib Ji.
Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji told the 3 sikhs present to keep this ceremony hidden for now. “Dont tell anyone just yet. When the time comes, after I have left my sareer, you can tell all all Sikhs that Hargobind is my roop and that those who see us as one and the same will receive everything they could ever wish for!
Guru Ji further instructed Baba Budda Ji,… Finalise the guruship ceremony after I have left this sareer in just a fewdays time.
And this is exactly what happened. After Guru Jis shaheedi a hukamnama was sent to all sikhs calling them to darbar sahib and at this time Baba Budda Ji tied the dastar of Guruship on Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji. They placed panj pesai and a coconut in front of Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji and did 3 parkarma and in this way the jot of Guru Nanak Dev ji was transferred from Guru Arjan Dev Ji ito Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji.
Maharaj knows that the time for them to leave this human form has come and so they pass the Gurtagadi to their son (Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji) but ask Baba Budda ji and Bhai Gurdas Ji to keep this gupt (hidden) until after their shaheedi.
Guru Arjan Dev Ji explained to Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji how they wanted them to move forward as the 6th Guru. The instructions included:
-Live like a king
-Establish a throne (takhat)
-Teach Sikhs warfare (Shashter vidiya)
-Keep an army
-Bring those who do wrong to justice
Maharaj went to see Mata Ganga Ji and told them that they would be leaving their body soon. Mata Ji asked if she could follow them to Sachkhand as she couldn’t envisage life without them but Maharaj refused. They told her she had huge responsibilities here and must continue the seva until called to Sachkhand.
Maharaj then selected 5 Sikhs with great dheeraj (patience) to accompany them on the journey to Lahore. They were:
-Bhai Bidhi Chand ji
-Bhai Jaita Ji
-Bhai Langaha ji
-Bhai Prana Ji
-Bhai Paerta Ji
Maharaj informed them that they would travel to Lahore together but the Sikhs would travel back alone. Maharaj explained they will be leaving this human form whilst there. Guru Ji told them that they would witness EVERYTHING, but to keep dheeraj and then come back to share with the Sangat all that they would witness. Whilst in Lahore they were instructed to only watch how the story unfolds and not to say or do anything.
Despite how significant this final trip was, Maharaj still carved out time for his pyare. They stopped at the house of Bhai Sudhoo Ji …. a poor Sikh who did a constant Ardaas for Maharaj to stay one night in his house so that he may do their Seva.
Once Maharaj arrived at the court he was challenged by Jahangeer: “Who is bigger and better, the Hindus or the Muslims?” Maharaj explained that only the name of Vaheguru is big… whoever attaches himself to that naam – be it Hindu, Muslim or anyone will be the highest of all.
Chandoo convinced Jahangeer to allow him to take Maharaj to his house by saying he would collect the fine and forward it on to Jahangeer. He also wanted to make Guru Sahib accept his daughter’s hand in marriage for their son. Jahangeer agreed and left for Delhi.
Maharaj spent this night in Chandoo’s house which was split into two sections – family quarters and a torture chamber. It’s no surprise where Chandooo took Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj. The 5 accompanying Sikhs were also tied up.
Chandoo took Guru Arjan Dev Ji to a room a little distance from the Sikhs and told his soldiers: “Stand close to Guru Sahib with your spears. Do not allow him to sleep and do not give him any food or water… Keep the doors to this haveli closed so the Sikhs are not alerted to his presence.” Chandoo himself went to sleep thinking a night of torture would scare Guru Ji into accepting his marriage proposal.
411 years ago, to the day, this is what Maharaj endured overnight. Whilst we were tucked up safely in our beds, Maharaj and His Sikhs were unable to sleep for a second.
In the morning (411 years ago today) Chandoo came in anger and sat in front of Guru ji.
“Now, listen to me carefully. I can do anything! You refused my daughter’s sagan… Do you know who I am?? How many times did I ask you to accept my daughter? Twice I sent people to you. What do you know about how much worry this has caused me?
Forget accepting the rishta… in your audience, I was called a dog!” “But even now, despite all of this,” says Chandoo; “Everything can be put right if you accept my daughters rishta, I will let you go.”
Dhan Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj spoke without fear… “Since when have you been sitting with the hope of giving your daughter to our house? Your family are very respected like a chaubara (the highest room within a house). We are in the gutter in comparison. Are these not your words? That’s why a person of a low status should marry someone with a similarly low status and those of high status should seek someone like themselves… I will not change this decision, the wishes of the sangat cannot be ignored.”
Chandoo turned red with rage. He instructed the soldiers that no water or food should go anywhere near Guru Sahib. “Make him pay 1 lakh for every drop of water and every second of sleep!”
Guru Sahib Ji replied, “do not worry Chandoo I have no intention of eating any food from your house. From today I will not sleep, nor will I eat or drink anything. I will sit in this one location, and you are free to do whatever you want to.”
Chandoo left the haveli and Maharaj sat in smaadi for all of today and all night too.
Chandoo came back to his house where he was holding Guru Ji and the 5 Sikhs. He didn’t use the main entrance, opting to use the internal connection between the two places instead. He was intent on weakening Guru Ji’s resolve as if Guru Ji was just an average man who could be broken.
On this day, Chandoo again tries to convince Guru ji to accept his daughter’s rishta. “I haven’t been able to sleep in peace for such a long time now. You have ruined our reputation. My daughter is sat at home and no one is willing to give her a rishta as she has been tainted with your rejection.” But Guru Ji did not even honour Chandoo with an answer. They are Nirbau and Nirvair. Everything They wanted to say on this matter has already been said.
Chandoo demanded a big cauldron and had it filled with water… “I will make you burn!” he said to Guru Ji “Just like you have made me burn with shame.”
They heated the water and a placed a lid on top to make it boil faster. Maharaj was then ordered to remove their chola and sit in the boiling water.
It is hard to even stand near such a cauldron and even more so in the burning months of May and June. It must have been smoking from all sides and boiling hot steam rising into the air from the top. First Maharaj would have stepped onto the brick and then when they placed their charan into the water we cannot even imagine what that must have been like… Maharaj sat themselves down in the boiling water in a seated position (chanukra) and focused his attention on Vaheguru’s lotus feet (charan).
The same Satguru who would have walked on a silk pathway. That same Satguru who would have a Chaur Sahib and a Chandoa Sahib over their head. That same Satguru was now sat in this boiling hot water.
Bhai Prana Ji at once stood up and ran over to Guru Ji crying: “Maharaj why have you gone into this Cauldron?” He went right up to the cauldron and wants nothing more than to remove Guru Ji from there immediately. He wanted to kill Chandoo for his evil deeds but the soldiers surrounded Bhai Prana Ji and beat him with sticks.
Bhai Prana Ji asked Guru Sahib for permission to show his powers. “Guru Ji, you must be in so much pain?? I will take Delhi in one hand (where Jahangeer is based) and Lahore in the other (where Chandoo lives) and like a person claps, I will smash these 2 places against one another. It will take but a second. Why endure such a pain? Even if you don’t want to speak, just give me a signal and it will be done!”
Guru Arjan Dev Jee patiently reminded Bhai Prana Ji. ‘Do you not think I have all these powers too? Your duty is to sit and watch everything but you must not interfere.” Other than this short conversation with Bhai Prana Ji only one thing could be heard from Guru Ji’s voice:
Tera Keeya meeta laagai (Your actions Oh Lord, seem so sweet to me.)
But the sight was unbearable for the Sikhs and they sat with their heads down unable to watch. It is ironic that Guru Arjan Dev Jee was totally calm whilst sat in the boiling pot of water whilst Chandoo was burning internally standing on the sidelines.
Maharaj sat in the cauldron of boiling water for 3 pehars (9 hours). Just think, our skin goes wrinkly on our hands even if we have them soaked in cold water for a short amount of time. It is not even possible to share what Maharaj’s body must have been like after 9 hours in boiling water.
That day, Chandoo’s daughter-in-law (a daughter of a Sikh, Har Das of Gwalior) found out what her father-in-law was up to in the adjoining building. When she heard of the torture Maharaj was enduring her heart felt like it had been pierced with a sharp knife. Her parents worshipped Guru Arjan Dev Ji and she had had darshan of Guru Sahib when she was younger. She couldn’t help thinking that she must have a done a huge sin in her past life to have been married into such an evil household. Once all the family were asleep, she sneaked out to have the darshan of Guru Sahib. She took some sweet water and food from the house to feed her Satguru along with jewellery which she knew would be needed to bribe the soldiers to allow her in.
It was on this night 411 years ago that she would have snuck out to have darshan of Guru ji. Seeing Their entire body covered in blisters she broke down and cried. “Maharaj, it was my great fortune that I was the daughter of a Sikh but it is my bad karam that I am now the daughter-in-law of Chandoo paapi!” “Please bless me, please have mercy on me and make my relationship with this evil household come to an end.” “I am your servant,” she pleads with Guru ji. “Please bless me with your compassion and mercy.”
In this dimly lit room, Maharaj congratulated the Bibi for keeping faith in the Guru and Sikhi and tells her that her Seva is Parvaan (accepted) but Maharaj refused to eat or drink anything from the house of Chandoo. Dhan is Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji who heard the pleas of Chandoo’s daughter-in-law and saved her just like Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji would go on to save Mata Kaula Ji from her abusive father. “You are not the daughter of a Sikh, you are my daughter now and if you wish for your salvation then in 2 days when I leave this body I will take you with me.”
Imagine how amazing it is that Maharaj would have gone to Sachkhand receiving jai jai kaar (congratulations) from all the devtai (gods and goddesses) and with them would have walked Chandoo’s daughter-in-law! Dhan Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji!
Maharaj explained that after His departure, Chandoo’s family would be uprooted by the Sikhs and they would receive a lot of pain and burn in hell. (This is exactly what happens. After Guru Ji’s Shaheedi, Chandoo’s wife ends up begging and his son went on to die in battle – killed by Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji).
Apne Sevak kee Aape Raakhai (He Himself preserves His servants)
Maharaj told Chandoo’s daughter-in-law to keep all of this gupt and not to share it with anyone. Having heard all the bachan from Guru Ji, Chandoo’s daughter-in-law begged Maharaj to take her with them and to bless her with the courage to leave her body when the time came.
In this way, the 4th night in Lahore and the 3rd Night in Chandoo’s house also passed.
If only Chandoo knew that he couldn’t hurt Guru Ji – for this is the house of Guru Nanak Dev Ji – those who recite Guru Ji’s name, even they cannot be touched.
Japiyo jin arjan dev guru fir sankat jorn garab na aaiyo
Whoever meditates on Guru Arjun Dev, shall not have to pass through the painful womb of reincarnation ever again
Today, Chandoo conjured up a new plan… “I will have sand heated up and poured over their blistered body and when this hot sand touches their blisters, then maybe I can break Guru Jis resolve.”
When Chandoo came home he was enraged by seeing Guru Ji’s 5 Sikhs and shouted at Bhai Prana: “What is it you were saying yesterday? Were you trying to scare me? Do you want to kill me?” He ordered his soldiers to torture the Sikhs of the Guru more thus the soldiers started to beat the Sikhs with sticks.
When Chandu reached Guru Sahib he asked the same old questions over and over which Guru Ji refused to answer. In anger Chandoo said: “I will do with you as I please and know this, I will do even worse with your son.”
He ordered his soldiers to bring tonnes of sand and gave the order to have the sand heated. A particular Muslim man who works on the bhatee was called to carry out this task but he recognised Guru Ji and remembered that it was Guru Sahib who fed everyone langar and saved their lives when the plague hit Lahore. He refused to contribute to the torture. Chandoo threatened to have him and all his family killed if he didn’t comply so with a heavy heart the man was forced to carry out Chandoo’s order. He repeatedly did Ardaas in his heart for forgiveness.
(Note: Paintings usually depict the sand pourer as an evil mogul but when we look at our history we realise this was not actually the case).
Once the sand was hot, Chandoo asked for the lid to be removed so that sand can be extracted. Kavi Santokh Singh Ji writes: “he was not lifting a lid from the container but he was lifting the lid off of hell – such will be the pain chandoo will suffer forever and ever.”
Maharaj sat for 6 hours whilst hot sand was poured over them. Some say a sheet of hot sand was placed under them too. The sand lodged into Guru Sahib’s blisters.
Bhai Langha Ji and Bhai Paerta ji got up today… they couldn’t help themselves. They put their hands forward to try and prevent the sand from falling on Guru Ji and shouted: “please, put it on us instead of Guru Ji.”
Night 5 in Lahore, Night 4 at Chandus house.
Yesterday Maharaj Ji’s chola was removed and they wore just their kashera and small Dastaar. Today maharaj were left in the room with only their kashera covering their body.
Now Maharaj has no Dastaar due to the hot sand being poured over their head. But for 6 hours they were one with vaheguru despite what was happening to them.
That night, after Chandoo had gone home, numerous gupt rooha (hidden|invisible souls) come in front of Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj.
-Various Devtai came to maharaj and begged for permission to take action
-84 Sidhs came with their leader Gorak Naath seeking the same.
-Even Sai Mian Mir came in gupt saroop. He fell to the floor in front of maharaj crying in bairaag and begging for permission to smash Lahore and Delhi to pieces.
Sun keha satgur meea. Shodoor preeti chaam se
Listen, said satguru, Oh Meea. Let go of your attachment to my body
kiya hooa tun tup riha. mun shannt hai hari naam se
What does it matter if my body is burning, my heart is at peace through the name of the Lord
They all wanted Guru Ji to give them the permission to destroy Delhi and Lahore but Guru Ji refused saying: “what is the fault of all the innocents that will die? We must allow things to continue in the will of God and no one must interfere.”
Guru Ji and the Sikhs have had nothing to eat or drink for days. In fact, their last meal was at the house of Bhai Sudhoo Ji. Sand is now stuck to the blisters that covered Maharaj’s body.
Chandoo feels that all his actions are futile. He thinks: “Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji is not afraid at all! Everything I am doing is wasted. They have not even uttered a single word from their mouth.” He thinks: “Hunger and thirst haven’t done the trick, hot water hasn’t worked, neither has hot sand…” On this day, 411 years ago Chandoo decided to make Guru Ji sit on a hot plate. “Just say once that you accept the rishta.” but Guru Ji did not answer.
Chandoo ordered his men to bring a tava … (a hot metal sheet traditionally used to cook chappatis on) that was big enough for a person to sit on.
Even if we just think of the tava that we make parshada on, we would never be able to place even our hand on it. When cooking, we carefully place the parshada on the tava and carefully take it off because if even one finger touches the tava, – even for only a millisecond, – it causes pain that can last for hours. But today Guru Ji sat in chaunkra (sitting with folded legs) on a burning hot tava for hours. (The tava was heated using over 1 tonne of wood). Bhai Santokh Singh writes that the tava was so hot it had turned red and smoke was coming out from all sides and filled the air. When it was burning hot, Chandoo asked for Guru Arjan Dev Ji to be brought out and told Guru ji to sit on the hot plate.
Guru Ji’s 5 Sikhs were unable to bear this sight. Today, Bhai Bidhi Chand Ji who had stayed quiet up until now spoke up and said to Maharaj: “Please, bless me, allow me to sit in your place”. But straight away Maharaj reminded Bhai Bidhi Chand about the promise to keep patient.
It is very hard to hear this katha. How much pain did the 5 Sikhs feel who had to watch this scene? There are also those that will do shanka, create doubt and say how is it possible to survive 9 hours in boiling water, 6 hours of burning hot sand and now 3 hours on the hot plate?
Giani Sher Singh from Ambala shared a story about an elderly Singh who was born into a Hindu family but later became a Sikh. His name was Indermohan Singh. One day a Christian priest said to Indermohan Singh: “You are very poor. Why don’t you become a Christian preacher and we will give you 50,000r and a car?
What is it that is so special about Sikhi?”
Indermohan Singh who was a great scholar responded: “With the first nail, Jesus said: ‘Oh Lord, I am your son look what is happening to me, where are you? Why have you forsaken me?'” This line from the Bible makes two things very clear. Firstly, that Jesus could not see Vaheguru in all places. If he could see Him he would not have said these words ‘where are you’. Also, he almost accuses Vaheguru by saying ‘look what is happening to me’. “Dear priest listen to the saakhi of Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji” said Indermohan Singh. “They remained seated on a hot plate for 3 hours but not once did they ask why is this happening.”
Olahno mai kahoo na deeo
I don’t blame anyone else
Mun meeth tuharo keeo
Whatever You do is sweet to my mind
Guru Ji stayed in Gods will and said: “Tera Keeya Meeta laagai“
Maharaj already has blisters all over His body with sand stuck to them. Today on the hot plate, Maharaj’s skin has burnt and Maharaj’s face is covered in the dark smoke that had been flying around for 4 days. However, Maharaj sat completely still, absorbed in the Lords Name. And to think that we cannot sit in Darbar on a soft carpet for more than a few minutes without fidgeting and looking around!
It would be fair to say that by day 4, half of Guru Ji’s sanskaar (cremation) has been done while they were still alive.
After 3 hours Maharaj came off the tavee and Chandoo was at his wit’s end. He has no idea what else to do to break Guru Ji. Nothing was having an effect and he realised he was losing the battle.
Guru Ji was obviously such a huge entity but those who read their Bani receive amazing shakti (power) too.
It is said that Baba Jowala Ji (Harkovaal wale) used to read a lot of Bani. One time during the days of Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji’s shaheedi they were in the langar hall and they had a veechar, a thought in their mind – what must it have been like for Maharaj to go through all these tortures? All of a sudden, in that area where the parshade were being made, Baba Ji picked up a piece of burning coal and placed it on their leg but carried on reading Gurbani. When the Sikhs around them recognised the smell of burning skin they came running over and saw what was happening and used something to move the piece of coal off Baba Ji’s leg … but Baba Ji had felt nothing. They asked Baba Ji what happened and Baba Ji responded that a Sikh should never do shanka (doubt) on Guru Ji’s shaheedi.
Similarly, Baba Gurbachan Singh Ji’s jatha used to go far and wide to do katha. One time they went to Orissa and there a man by the name of Gurmukh Singh took Amrit and started to stay with Baba Ji at Mehta. One day, Baba Gurbachan Singh were very happy and they asked each of the Singhs what they would like. When it was Bhai Gurmukh Singh’s turn he said Baba Ji when you leave this world please take me with you! When Baba Gurbachan Singh Ji’s sankaar (cremation bed) was being prepared and the pyre was lit, Gurmukh Singh prepared himself. He bathed, wore new clothes, did Japji Sahib, and even read his own Sohila Sahib. Then he calmly walked straight into the funeral pyre entering from the end where Baba Gurbachan Singh Ji’s feet were. In front of thousands, Gurmukh Singhs sanskaar took place while he was alive. There were no screams… He can be seen sitting in chaukara.
Dhan Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji are the highest of the high! But even people who repeat Guru Ji’s name or read Gurbani are able to reach amazing avasthas (spiritual levels).
Now Chandoo was thinking what to do now? he’d never had to use such severe torture on anyone else before.
5th and final night at Chandoo’s house.
That night, Chandoo went home and again during this night Maharaj was absorbed in the name of Vaheguru. They didn’t need to do bandgi (worship) but they were teaching us a valuable lesson. No matter what our situation, good or bad, never let go of Maharaj’s name. Despite everything they had been through, Maharaj recited Bani out loud so that even the 5 Sikhs could hear them.
We only have to get the common cold and use it as the perfect excuse to cut down our nitnem but Dhan is Sri Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji.
Chandoo’s daughter-in-law came to Maharaj again this night and said: “I cannot wait another day to leave this world.” Maharaj replied: “be patient we will go tomorrow”.
No one can say that Chandoo made Guru Ji Shaheed as Maharaj left their body of their own will.
Why sit Maharaj in a boiling cauldron? Because hunger and thirst did not affect them. Why pour hot sand over them?
Because the boiling water could not affect them. Why sit Them on the tavee? Because the hot sand could not affect them.
On this 5th day, Maharaj finally spoke to Chandoo to say; “I would like to have ishnaan in the Ravi river and my 5 Sikhs need to go with me”.
Chandoo thought for a moment and then agreed. The water of the Ravi is very cold and when the cold water touches Maharaj’s body it would cause them a lot of pain and so for this reason he agreed to let Maharaj go to do ishnaan.
On this day, Maharaj left their body and only had their kashera and a white sheet around them. Maharaj tied a small dastar. We can only imagine the state of their body and sees (head) which had hot sand poured over it for 6 hours continuously and endured many other pains.
Historians agree that it was just before lunch time today that Maharaj set off towards the river Ravi.
10 soldiers surrounded Guru Sahib and the 5 Sikhs and Maharaj walked in the middle. Chandoo had given strict instructions to the soldiers to keep a close eye on the group and to not let anyone speak to them.
Physically, Maharaj’s face and body had suffered from the torture but their mind and soul remained untouched thus they were in chardikala. Maharaj was unable to walk unaided so Bhai Bidhi Chand and Bhai Paerta ji assisted them. Maharaj put their hands on the shoulders of the Gursikhs and started to walk to the river Ravi.
Maharaj had covered much of their body with the sheet but even their face could not be recognised now. Maharaj was told to leave through the small entrance out towards the river rather than going out through the main entrance. But people were everywhere and were looking and wondering who is this in such a bad state? Despite Maharaj’s face being covered with blisters, people begin to realise who it was that was walking and broke down in tears. Slowly more and more sangat joined to walk behind Maharaj.
When Maharaj got close to the Ravi the Sikhs helped Guru Ji to do ishnaan. Maharaj did many choolai (rinsing out their mouth). This is the first time water would have gone into their mouth since they had langar at the house of Bhai Sudhoo Ji so many days ago. Bhai Langaha Ji took water in his hands and washed Guru Ji’s charan/ feet.
The Sikhs cleaned Maharaj’s body the best they could gently dusting off the sand with a dry cloth.
Maharaj then said to his Sikhs – “you also wash your hands, feet and faces.” Now what Dhan Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji did was amazing… They themselves did a complete Japji Sahib da paat while the Sikhs and sangata listened. We struggle to read Bani when we are fit and well but here Maharaj, despite everything that has happened recited Japji Sahib with their own rasna (voice).
This is that Bani, that if read with love, can give us mukti (liberate us). Maharaj is already mukhat but they read this Bani out loud to give mukhtee to those around them.
Now Guru Sahib asked the 5 Sikhs to read Bani saying: “I have read Japji Sahib out loud for you now please read aloud for me too.”
Upon bhog of Japji Sahib, everyone bowed their heads and did namaskaar with love. So by now, six Japji Sahibs had been read and Bhai Baavuk Ji (Guru Jis Rababi sikh) had also arrived and Maharaj asked them to play Raag Maru on the rabab. As Bhai Baavuk Ji started to play Raag Maru. Maharaj themselves did Keertan of the Shabad that appears on Ang 100 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji:
Sevak kee ortak nibhee preet.
The love which the Lord’s servant feels for the Lord lasts forever.
Jeevat sahib sevio aapna chalte raakhio cheet
In my life, I served my Lord and Master, and as I depart, I keep Him enshrined in my consciousness.
Maharaj is one with Vaheguru but they refer to themselves as the sevak, the servant. Maharaj often used to do Keertan in Darbar Sahib and today was their final Keertan haazri in this human form. Whilst doing keertan, Maharaj slowly lay on the ground and covered themselves with the white chadur (cotton sheet). The Sikhs and Sangat were doing lots of bairaag (very saddened) but now Maharaj of their own accord on the 5th day left their body to go to Sachkhand.
Devtai (gods and goddesses) came to get Maharaj Jis sooksham sareer (soul) and placed flowers on Maharaj Ji’s body. They were doing Jai Jai Kaar (celebrations and congratulations) as Maharaj’s soul travelled to Sachkhand where They received a huge welcome.
Jotee jot ralee sanpooran theeaa raam
One’s light blends with the Light, and one becomes totally perfect.
On the other hand, Chandoo had been waiting for Maharaj to return and eventually, fed up of waiting went to see what was happening at the river. As he got close he noticed Maharaj lying down and had covered their body. He assumed Maharaj was asleep as he had not let Guru Ji sleep for 5 nights and 5 days. Chandoo shouted in anger: “Get up! Why are you sleeping?!”
Bhai Bidhi Chand arose and replied in bir ras (warrior spirit)… “Maharaj told us not to say a word but now they have gone, I can tell you that you are a great paapi / sinner and you will pay a heavy price. You can try as hard as you like, but you will not escape!”
Someone whispered into Chandoo’s ear to flee and he quickly returned to his home to find people have gathered there too. At the same time Maharaj left their body, Chandoo’s daughter-in-law also fell to the ground. She had asked Guru Sahib to take her with them when they left for Sachkhand as she didn’t want to remain in such a sinful family. Her desire had been fulfilled. Chandoo is shocked at how she could die all of a sudden when she wasn’t even ill. How fortunate was she, that she was able to take this final journey with Dhan Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji.
Throughout Lahore, people began to hear about what had occurred. Sangat quickly ran towards the river to try and do darshan of their body. Many people bought gifts for Maharaj’s body such as flowers and sehrai…. Sangata had darshan of Guru Ji’s 5 Sikhs but they were in a lot of bairaag and kept their heads down. They wanted to know how Maharaj left their body and Bhai Bidhi Chand told the Sangat what the paapi had done to Guru Ji’s body. He explained: Maharaj gave us Hukam to place their body into the Ravi river rather than cremate it. They also gave bachan “you will be able to receive our darshan from the Ravi river.”
It is said that Maharaja Ranjit Singh always used to have ishnaan in the Ravi river on his way to Lahore and he would say that: “today my body has touched that of Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj,” such was his love and faith.
The sangat sat by Maharaj’s body at the edge of the river and continued with Vaheguru Jaap. Chaur Sahib was done over their body by Bhai Prana Ji and everyone was trying to get a glimpse of Maharaj. Some were doing keertan, some were reading Japji Sahib and some were attempting to control their bairaag by taking deep breaths. The sangat brought dushalai (beautifuly embriodered cloths) and one loving Sikh even brought a cholla for Maharaj. Very slowly and carefully ishnaan of Maharaj’s body was done. The 5 Sikhs who travelled with Maharaj tied their dastaar and dressed them in the new cholla. Many dushalai were placed on Guru Ji.
The water was flowing very fast and many Sikhs were worried that the fast water may hurt Maharaj’s body, such was their sharda.
One poet writes,
Ravi dea paania tu tokhra na maar ve
Oh water of the Ravi, do not flow too fast
mahee de sareer ute shaalai beshmaar ve
my beloved’s body is completely covered in blisters
Now the 5 Sikhs, Bhai Bidhi Chand Ji, Bhai Langaha Ji, Bhai Prana Ji, Bhai Paerta Ji and Bhai Jaita Ji are right by the river’s edge, the Sikhs placed Maharaj onto a beautifully decorated beban (wooden construction used for carrying the deceased) and lifted Maharaj onto their shoulders and entered the river. They didn’t want to let go of Maharaj and release Them into the river but with tears rolling down their faces, obeying Guru Ji’s Hukam they slowly move out to one side.
At first, everyone could see Guru Ji’s sareer (body) but then all of a sudden it disappeared and Guru Ji and the river became one. Noone could see Maharaj anymore.
The Sangat were doing a lot of Bairaag and slowly they began to head back to Lahore and sat in the Dharamsala where Guru Ramdas Ji had came into this world. Bhai Jaita Ji asked the rababi Sikh, Bhai Baavuk Ji to do keertan.
Now the 5 Sikhs attention moved to getting back to Amritsar and they were worried about how they were going to go back to Amritsar and how they could possibly face everyone without Maharaj. They were like an army that returns home having lost a battle. They returned to Amritsar hiding their faces in their hands not wanting to share what they had witnessed in Lahore.
Tomorrow we will summarise what happened in the days and weeks after Guru Sahib’s Shaheedi.
Despite being half cremated whilst alive remember how Guru Sahib went on to do Japji Sahib themselves. May Maharaj give us even an iota of such devotion that we have the ability to keep our faith too.
Let us spend today remembering Dhan Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji. Remembering how their devotion and love to Gurbani, their love for Vaheguru’s Hukam in the face of adversity, their love for all of humanity and their supreme sacrifice has inspired the lives of all forevermore.
Let us remember Guru Ji every day with pyaar and faith and They will always look out for us, their children.
So what becomes of Chandoo?
Paapi ko maarne ko paap maha bali hai
Guru Hargobind Sahib Jee went on to capture Chandoo and they asked Baba Budha Ji to tie him up like you would a dog. A rope was tied around his neck and a ring was put into his nose.
Bhai Bidhi Chand Ji said to Satguru Jee: “Chandoo walked the streets of Lahore with such arrogance and ego. I would love to walk him around the streets of Lahore like one walks a dog!” Maharaj said to Bhai Bidhi Chand Ji. “As you wish but do not beat him so much that he dies too quickly.” But many Gursikhs say that Bhai Bidhi Chand would often beat Chandoo with a shoe, hitting him in his head when Maharaj was not looking! The 5 Gursikhs said that at that time we had to stay peaceful as that was their Guru’s order but now they made Chandoo beg for his life and also instructed every person that lived in Lahore to come and hit him on the head with their shoe.
The Sikhs took Chandoo to the shop which was owned by the man who had been forced to put hot sand onto Guru Ji’s body and head. The Sikhs said to this man: “Here, take your revenge on Chandoo and hit him with your shoe.” That man replied “oh no… I have another way I would like to settle this score! I told him I did not want to put the hot sand on Guru Ji but he forced me to do it. This is the pouring utensil (karsha) he made me pour it on with.”. He took hot sand from his shop and poured this onto Chandoo paapis head himself. Chandoo screamed in pain. The shopkeeper said: “Oh sinful man, you have had only 1 karsha full of sand on your head yet you made me do this for 6 hours straight on Guru Arjan Dev Jee and They did not make one sound.” The man was so angry, he turned the pouring utensil (karsha) around and pierced the sharp handle into Chandoo’s body.
Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji gave instructions to leave Chandoo’s dead body in Lahore’s main junction. It lay there for 3 hours with flies all over it but no one went near the body. In the end, Chandoo’s body was thrown in the same pile that dead dogs were thrown into.
Even today many walk on this earth who do beadbi of Guru Ji’s saroop and they will suffer the same fate as Chandoo.
Let’s spend these days remembering Guru ji and everything they have done for us.
Guru Ji’s Shaheedi brought a big change in this kaum (sikh faith) and birth was given to the principles of miri and piri, soldier and Saint!
Maharaj didn’t give their shaheedi because they refused a rishta… Maharaj could have changed the circumstances however they wanted to HOWEVER they are Shaheeda de Sirtaj. Their Shaheedi was to make us who we are today, to make us saint soldiers. Their Shaheedi took place so that Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji could teach the Sikhs martial arts, horse riding and shashter vidiya.
100% Maharaj gave their shaheedi for you and me and we should never forget that.
Dhan Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji
Dhan Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji
Dhan Guru, Dhan Guru pyare
Apologies for the numerous mistakes we have made whilst writing up this katha. Bhula dee maafi bakshash karnee ji 🙏
Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh