Audio story of Guru Arjan Dev Ji's Shaheedi

We all know what Guru ji did... but why did he do it!???

Blessings on this remembrance of Siri Guru Arjan Dev Ji's shaheedi: a day that remade history itself!

We all know the basic story, our great Guru suffered more than anyone can imagine and saw it all as God's sweet Will. 

There is a few stories behind the story, as I found while researching this SikhNet Audio story (with the invaluable help of the 'Akali Scholar'!). This idea of accepting God took more dimensions when we dove into the history. We took it on ourselves to translate large sections of the Suraj Prakash Granth, among other texts for reference, in order to make this story. 

Important Story Behind The Story

What we found in this important history text was a story that immediately precedes the events that lead to the Guru being summoned to the emperor and being tortured. It involves Baba Siri Chand, the king of the yogis, and the first born son of Guru Nanak. 

Making this pre-story very short Baba Siri Chand sends his right hand man, Bhai Kamalia, to the Guru's house in Amritsar. Bhai Kamalia ends up in a rush to finish his errand for his master and in the course rushes the Guru's wife, Mata Ganga ji. She in turn says a particularly rude thing to the guest. When Bhai Kamalia returns Baba ji asks him every detail of his visit. When Baba Siri Chand hears how Mata ji insulted his devotee he utters a prediction that the Guru's house will be visited with very difficult times and financial ruin. Then when Baba ji hears about how the Guru himself was overly generous to Bhai Kamalia he utters another prediction that the future of the Guru's house will uphold a warrior tradition and will grow to prosper double from its former glory.

 

Of course these ended up coming true! 

A Curse Or A Blessing?

Something interesting happens when these predictions were relayed to the Guru's house. The Guru's wife, and presumably others, held the belief that Baba Siri Chand had cursed their house with these words. However Guru ji himself makes is perfect clear when he essentially says, 'How can he make curses? He is a holy man, he is simply speaking the truth.' This is interesting because till today there are differing views on Baba Siri Chand. The idea that the Guru's themselves would speak great compliments of Baba ji (as I've come to see repeatedly in history) and members of their house had a different view... well, that's fascinating. 

Baba Siri Chand, Not Khusro!

Anyways, if you consult with the emperor's own diary he apparently states his reason for collecting the Guru's property and giving him a death penalty was because the Guru had helped his exiled son Khusro. But the history has prince Khusro visiting Amritsar, and meeting Guru ji, RIGHT after the above incident with Baba Siri Chand. The order of events has divine relevance.

If we only look on the practical physical level then the reason Guru ji was summoned to the capital was for apparently disobeying an imperial order not to aid the exiled prince. In this case his calm composure during the interrogations and torture was a noble reaction to the cards he was dealt. 

BUT IF we look at it the other way it changes the whole story. If Guru ji needed to somehow prove the thrust of his teaching, thus validating the Granth he composed, while simultaneously giving a perfect example that would be needed of Sikhs to face the worst challenges of life... THEN the mechanisms and dramas (like Chandu's obsession with forcing a marriage to the Guru's house or the emperor's rage against helping his son) these were just excuses for the inevitable to play out. If it wasn't these two characters for their particular reasons, it would have been someone else for some other reason. 

So it wasn't that Guru ji did well with the cards he was dealt, he recognized that he dealt the cards before he was born!

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When Guru Arjan heard the prophesy that his house would race ruin he was not disturbed at all, in fact it seems he was in on the prediction. In other words we are not we are not physical being having spiritual experiences, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. In other words the spirit is our very flesh and bones while the world is merely the skin that covers it up. 

That Guru ji and Baba Siri Chand aware of the future events, it means that the physical events that played out were just filling in the pieces of the spiritual game that had already been laid out.

One Heck Of A Game

If calling it a game seems odd, well it struck me as well. Yet as I read the history Guru ji would be in the middle of being tortured and when someone tried to intervene on his behalf he would say, "Don't get in the middle of my game." 

The most brutal event in history... was a Divine play. Spiritual forces were initiated before the worldly mechanisms allowed the drama to play out. Nature, even the worst of human nature, was only doing it's part in a greater play. 

This Changes Everything

Do you see the implications of seeing the world with these eyes? If the worst things happening to such a pure and perfect man can be part of a greater spiritual plan... than what of the dramas that disturb our minds in our, lesser stake, lives??? The implications in our personal lives are perpetual. 

Guru Arjan didn't just want to tell us about a greater truth by writing Gurbani (the most Gurbani of any other author in the Aad Granth!)... he is a true teacher and thus had to SHOW us greater truths.

Imagine if we could see a great Divine play in tragedies, pandemics, panthic disunity, community persecution, past genocides, family drama, personal trauma and.... anything 'bad' in life! That is what Guru ji's example asks us to do. 

That is why I tried to emphasize in this story that there was a spiritual purpose to the events and the world was just filling in the gaps. The Divine makes the design, the world connects the dots. 

We Each Have Our Own Little Hot Plates

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It was my great honor to work with an insightful scholar and to be exposed to the life of the Great Guru! While the story is very gritty and may be too mature for some youth I do hope it serves to convey the Guru's teaching. And I hope it invokes us to bring the Guru into our own troubles. Because that's my understanding of why he went through the worst... so we know we're not alone when we are in bad times. 

During the process of being involved with all of this material, the teaching, the implications of it all I ended up being exposed to someone close to me who was at their rock bottom. The most heartbreak they had experienced, or imagined that they even could. I hope my offering to this person was helpful as I hope it is helpful to you: When you are burning from whatever pain you have... you are on your tati tavi,  your own little hot plate. Whatever trouble you are facing, know that Guru ji stood through worse... and he did it so you can have the option to not just be alone burning on your plate... you are free to get up... and join him on his burning hot plate. When you burn with him... you will see more of the Divine... and it just might not sting as much.

Great is the Divine Guru. May he help us everywhere! Blessings on this shaheedi divas! 

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You can listen to the audio mastered rendition of the shaheedi of Guru Arjan Dev here: 

'Guru Arjan Dev Sacrifices for Truth'

Thank you to 'Akali Scholar' for the invaluable help and to Kanwar Dhillon - Art of Punjab- for the main image. 

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