Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Dev 2020: All you need to know about Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Dev

Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Dev 2020: Guru Arjan Dev is the fifth guru of Sikhs. Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Dev is observed on June 16th of every year. Check out all details about Guru Arjan Dev, Life of Guru Arjan Dev and his Day of Martyrdom.

Updated: Jun 09, 2020 17:47 IST

Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Dev 2020: All you need to know about Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Dev

Suganya Vedham

Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Dev 2020:

Martyrdom Day of Sri Guru Arjun Dev Ji is a regional official holiday in the Indian state of Punjab. It is observed on the 24th day of Jeth, the third month in the Sikh calendar. According to the western calendar, it falls in the month of May or June. Martyrdom Day of Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji commemorates the first Sikh martyr, killed in 1606.

Who is Guru Arjan Dev?

Born in 1563, Guru Arjan Dev, was the fifth Guru of the Sikhs. He was the first of the two Gurus martyred in the Sikh faith. Guru Arjan Dev completed the construction of the Golden Temple in Amritsar and composed the Adi Granth, the religious scripture of the Sikhs comprehending spiritual poetry and musical ragas. It was installed at Harmandir Sahib.

Life of Guru Arjan Dev  

Guru Arjun Dev was born in the month of April 1563 in Goindwal, India. His father was Guru Ramdas, and his mother's name was Mata Bhani. The maternal grandfather of Arjan Dev was Guru Amardas. Guru Amardas and Arjan Dev's father Guru Ramdas were considered respectively as the third and fourth Gurus of the Sikhs.

In 1581, Arjan Dev became the fifth Guru of the Sikhs after the demise of his father. Guru Arjan Dev planned the foundation of the Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) in Amritsar. He also projected the four doors in a gurdwara - the Sikh places of worship - proclaiming, "My faith is for the people of all castes and all creeds from whatever direction they come and to whichever direction they bow."

Guru Arjan Dev also declared that all Sikhs should donate a tenth of their earnings to charity. His aim was to compile all of the past Gurus' writings into one book - the holy scripture: the Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Arjun Dev included both Hindu and Muslim saints' compositions, which he considered unchanging with the teachings of Sikhism and the Gurus. Then in 1606, the Muslim Mughal Emperor Jahangir imposed 200,000 rupees and forced Guru Arjan to erase some of the hymns in the text that he found offensive. According to the Sikh tradition, the Guru refused to remove the lines and pay the fine, which led to his torture and execution.

Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev

In the year 1606, when he refused to fulfill the demands of Mughal Emperor Jahangir, he was captured and was imprisoned in Lahore Fort due to his growing influence in Northern India and the fast spread of Sikhism in the country. It is also believed that Guru Arjan also blessed Jahangir's rebellious son Khusrau and that his conversions to Sikhism imperiled the orthodox Muslim clergy and Hindu elite. 

Jahangir arrested the Guru and asked him to convert to Islam, but he refused. Due to his refusal, Jahangir fined the Guru with Rs 2 lakh plus the elimination of content from the Adi Granth that the Mughal emperor found 'offensive' to Hindus or Muslims. But again, he declined. So, Jahangir declared him to be tortured to death.

Famously, the Guru was made to sit on a burning hot plate, and hot sand was made to stream on his face. It is believed that he was last seen when he was allowed to take a bath in River Ravi on May 30, 1606, After 5 days of torture. It is now the same place where Gurudwara Dera Sahib in Lahore stands. However, it is still unclear if he died by drowning in the river or by torture. In the history of Sikhism, his martyrdom is considered as a watershed event.

How to Observe Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Dev?

This day is considered as Shaheedi Divas of Guru Arjan, which annually occurs in May or June, as per the Nanakshahi calendar that was released in 2003 by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee in 2003. This holiday is usually celebrated by fully reading the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.  There is also sometimes a procession with the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, and sweets are offered to the general public outside gurdwaras.

Interesting facts about Guru Arjan Dev

  • Guru Arjan Dev was born in Goindval Sahib, Tarn Taran, India. His maternal grandfather "Guru Amardas" and father "Guru Ramdas" were respectively the third and fourth Guru of the Sikhs.

  • Guru Arjan Dev's son, Hargobind Singh, became the sixth guru of the Sikhs after him.

  • In 1588 AD, Arjan Dev had laid the foundation of the Golden Temple and also prepared the map of the temple. The doors of the temple on all sides signify the acceptance of all 4 castes and religions. 

Quotes of the first Guru Martyr of Sikhs Arjan Dev

“Through the Guru, I have obtained the Lord's spiritual wisdom. I have obtained the Sublime Essence of the Lord. My mind is imbued with the Love of the Lord; I drink in the Sublime Essence of the Lord”

“Blessed, blessed are the humble servants of the Lord, who know the Lord God. I go and ask those humble servants about the Mysteries of the Lord. I wash and massage their feet; joining with the humble servants of the Lord, I drink in the Sublime Essence of the Lord”.

“The devotees of the Lord have the Wealth and Capital of the Lord; with Guru's Advice, they carry on their trade. They praise the Name of the Lord forever and ever. The Name of the Lord is their Merchandise and Support”.

“Everyone cries out, More! More! , with the idea of receiving. How great should we call the Giver? His Gifts are beyond estimation. O Nanak, there is no deficiency; Your Storehouses are filled to overflowing, age after age”.

“Of All The Religions, The Best Religion Is To Repeat God’s Name And To Do Pious Deeds. Of All The Religion Rites, The Best Rite Is To Remove the filth of evil intellect by association with the saints”.

“Your Name, Oh Transcendent Lord, is Ambrosial Nectar; whoever meditates on it lives”.

“According to the karma of past actions, one's destiny unfolds, even though everyone wants to be so lucky”

“When you are under the power of sexual desire, anger and worldly attachment, or a greedy miser in love with your wealth; if you have committed the four great sins and other mistakes; even if you are a murderous fiend who has never taken the time to listen to sacred books, hymns and poetry - if you then come to remember the Supreme Lord God, and contemplate Him, even for a moment, you shall be saved”.

Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Dev - FAQs

1. Why do we observe Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Dev?

Martyrdom Day of Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji commemorates the first Sikh martyr, killed in 1606. According to the western calendar, it falls in the month of May or June

2. Who captured Guru Arjan Dev?

Mughal Emperor Jahangir captured Guru Arjan Dev and he was imprisoned in Lahore Fort due to his growing influence in Northern India and the fast spread of Sikhism in the country.

3. Why did Emperor Jahangir condemn Guru Arjan Dev?

Emperor Jahangir demanded Guru Arjan to erase some of the hymns in the text that he found offensive and later asked him to convert to Islam. Guru Arjan refused to fulfill his demands which led to his torture and execution.

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