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Fifth Guru Arjan Dev

Guru Gaddee Story

Fifth Guru Arjun Dev, took birth in the month of Vaisakh, on 7 Vadi, or seventh day of the dark or waning moon, year 1620 BK, or April 15, 1563 C.E. as the youngest son of Fourth Guru Raam Das and his wife Bibi Bhani, the daughter of Third Guru Amar Daas.  

How did it come about that Guru Arjan Dev attained Guru Gadee, the Throne of Enlightenment, when he had two elder brothers, Prithi Chand eldest by 5 years, and second eldest Mahadev? 

Third Guru Amar Daas favored his grandson known then as Arjan Mal from an early age. When just a babe, Arjan crept to his grandfather’s room where the Guru had been eating, and took morsels from the Guru’s plate and put them in his own mouth. After being removed by the Guru’s attendants, Arjan crawled to his grandfather’s room a second time, and again ate from his plate. Upon a third such occurrence, Guru Amar Daas remarked, “Come heir to my plate, you shall have it.” Those who overheard this exchange took the Guru’s word as prophetic, indicating that one day Arjan would be Guru. 

On another occasion, Arjan Mal found his grandfather, Guru Amar Das, resting on his bed and crept in with him awakening the Guru. His mother, Bibi Bhani, found him and scolded Arjan for waking the Guru who instructed his daughter, “Let him come to me, this grandson of mine shall be a boat to float humanity across the ocean of worldly desire.” Again, the Guru predicted Arjan’s future potential.

Prithi Chand had been 16 years of age when his own father Fourth Guru Raam Daas ascended the throne on September 16, 1574 C.E., and very much wished to succeed his father in turn as the Fifth Guru. Mahadev, however had taken the path of renunciate, and had no desire what so ever to serve in the capacity of Guru.

Guru Raam Daas began excavation of a well in Raamdaspur which later became known as Amritsar.

A cousin of Guru Raam Daas, by name of Sahari Mal, requested that the Guru  attend his daughter’s wedding in Lahore. Guru Raam Daas had many responsibilities that made it impossible for him to leave, so he requested Prithi Chand to go in his stead to represent the family. Prithi Chand refused his father saying that he needed to remain in order to continue taking charge of offerings made to his father’s court in order to make sure nothing would be misappropriated. Guru Raam Daas then asked Mahadev to attend the wedding as his representative. Mahadev also refused his father, replying that he had no interest in worldly affairs such as marriage. Lastly, Guru Raam Daas approached Arjan and implored his son to go to Lahore as his representative. Arjan replied that he would happily do what ever his father requested, even though it might cost him his life. The Guru told his son to remain in Lahore until he called him to return, instructing him if should anyone make any offerings that they be used to feed the poor.  Arjan Mal departed straight away for the wedding ceremonies in Lahore.

After the wedding celebrations ended, Arjan remained with his relatives in Lahore as his father instructed, but sorely missed the Guru. He composed a poignant verse of longing and posted it in a letter carried to his father by a Sikh who had accompanied Arjan to Lahore. When the envoy reached the Guru’s court, Prithi Chand recognized the Sikh and intercepted and read the letter. He became very jealous of the sentiments his brother expressed and kept the letter rather than passing it on to Guru Raam Daas. Prithi Chand instructed the Sikh to return to Arjan and tell his brother that their father wished for him to remain in Lahore until he sent for him.

As time passed and Arjan heard nothing from his father, his longing to see him grew even more pronounced. He composed a second verse expressing fervent longing to see the Guru’s face, and again sent it to his father along with instructions to the courier to deliver it only to the Guru Raam Daas. Prithi Chand kept a look out and when the messenger arrived, he refused admittance to the Guru saying he could not be disturbed. After reading the second composition, Prithia’s envy of his brother’s ability to express his spiritual nature turned to bitter resentment and fear that their father might favor Arjan as his successor. Prithi Chand secreted the letter in his pocket and told the messenger to convey the Guru’s insistence that Arjan remain in Lahore until the Guru himself should come to fetch his son.

Arjan missed his father with his entire being. He composed a third verse lamenting his separation along with willingness to sacrifice his soul to his Beloved Guru’s will. Suspecting that the letters intercepted by his brother had never reached his father, Arjan wrote the number 3 on his letter. He instructed his emissary to look out for, and avoid being seen by, Prithi Chand, and stressed the importance that deliver his third letter be delivered to the Guru in person only.

The messenger successfully eluded Prithi Chand and personally handed Arjan’s third letter to Guru Ram Daas. When the Guru noticed the number 3, he realized that two previous letters had not reached him. The messenger confirmed that Arjan had sent three letters in all to the Guru, and that the first two had been confiscated by Prithi Chand. Guru Raam Daas called for and questioned Prithi Chand who denied any knowledge of the letters or their whereabouts. A search made of Prithi Chand’s living quarters discovered both missing letters concealed in the pocket of a garment hanging on a peg. By order of Guru Raam Daas, a public announcement by Baba Buddha proclaimed Prithi Chand’s deceit. The Guru dispatched a carriage with instructions to return with Arjan in all haste.

Upon Arjan’s return, Guru Raam Daas requested his son to completed his first three verses with a fourth. These verses are known as Shabad Hazare. Pleased with Arjan’s humility, obedience, and patience, Guru Raam Daas renounced Prithi Chand for his greed and deceit, and banished him forever from his court. The Guru extolled Arjan’s virtues as suitably desirable merits for a position of trust and proclaimed Arjan to be His ultimate successor.  

Guru Arjun Dev Ji's Inauguration Day (Gadee Divas)

Gadee divas is a term that signifies the day of divine enthronement and refers to the infusion of a singular spiritual radiance emanating from the divine enlightener which is passed from the residing guru to his successor upon being formally inaugurated.

Fourth Guru Raam Das deemed his eldest son Prithi Chand unfit to serve in the position of Guru after him. Instead, the Guru bestowed the mantle of spiritual enlightener upon his youngest son and named him Fifth Guru Arjun Dev. Guru Raam Daas presented Guru Arjun Dev with a small offering of copper coins, a coconut and delegated the revered Sikh Baba Buddha to anoint him.

Guru Arjun Ji's inauguration ceremony took place at age 18 years 4 months 16 days in Goindwal on the second day of Sudi during the waxing moon in the month of Bhadon year 1638 Bk, or September 1, 1581 C.E. of the Julian Calendar, and September 18, 1581 A.D. according to the Gregorian calendar.

Guru Arjun Dev Ji's inauguration anniversary gurpurab, or gadee divas, is a fixed date and is commemorated on September 18th each year of the Nanakshahi calandar.

Shabad Hazare with English Translation
Ang 96 & 97, Siri Guru Granth Sahib

ਮਾਝ ਮਹਲਾ ਚਉਪਦੇ ਘਰੁ
maajh mehlaa 5 chaupdae ghar 1||
Maajh, Fifth Mehl, Chau Padas, First House||

ਮੇਰਾ ਮਨੁ ਲੋਚੈ ਗੁਰ ਦਰਸਨ ਤਾਈ ॥ ਬਿਲਪ ਕਰੇ ਚਾਤ੍ਰਿਕ ਕੀ ਨਿਆਈ ॥
maeraa man lochai gur darsan taaee||
My soul longs for the sight of the Guru||
bilap karae chaatrik kee niaaee||
It cries out like the thirsty song bird||
ਤ੍ਰਿਖਾ ਨ ਉਤਰੈ ਸਾਂਤਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਦਰਸਨ ਸੰਤ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥
trikhaa na utrai saant na aavai bin darsan sant piaarae jeeo||1||
My thirst is not quenched, nor can I find peace, without sight of the Beloved Saint ||1||
ਹਉ ਘੋਲੀ ਜੀਉ ਘੋਲਿ ਘੁਮਾਈ ਗੁਰ ਦਰਸਨ ਸੰਤ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
hao gholee jeeo ghol ghumaaee gur darsan sant piaarae jeeo||1||rahaao||
I am a sacrifice, my soul is a sacrifice, to the sight of the beloved Saint Guru ||1||Pause|| 

ਤੇਰਾ ਮੁਖੁ ਸੁਹਾਵਾ ਜੀਉ ਸਹਜ ਧੁਨਿ ਬਾਣੀ ॥
taeraa mukh suhaavaa jeeo sahj dhun bannee||
Your Face is Beautiful, and the sound of your words imparts divine wisdom||
ਚਿਰੁ ਹੋਆ ਦੇਖੇ ਸਾਰਿੰਗਪਾਣੀ ॥
chir hoaa daekhae saaringpaannee||
It is long since this rainbird has had a glimpse of water||
ਧੰਨੁ ਸੁ ਦੇਸੁ ਜਹਾ ਤੂੰ ਵਸਿਆ ਮੇਰੇ ਸਜਣ ਮੀਤ ਮੁਰਾਰੇ ਜੀਉ ॥੨॥
dhan so daes jahaa toon vasiaa maerae sajan meet muraarae jeeo ||2||
Blessed is that land where You dwell, my intimate friend the venerable Divine. ||2||
ਹਉ ਘੋਲੀ ਹਉ ਘੋਲਿ ਘੁਮਾਈ ਗੁਰ ਸਜਣ ਮੀਤ ਮੁਰਾਰੇ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
hao gholee hao ghol ghumaaee gur sajan meet muraarae jeeo ||1||rahaao||
I am a sacrifice, I am a sacrifice, unto the honorable Guru my intimate friend the Divine ||1||Pause|| 

ਇਕ ਘੜੀ ਨ ਮਿਲਤੇ ਤਾ ਕਲਿਜੁਗੁ ਹੋਤਾ ॥
ik gharhee na miltae taa kalijug hotaa||
When for only one moment, I cannot meet You, then the dark age has dawned for me||
ਹੁਣਿ ਕਦਿ ਮਿਲੀਐ ਪ੍ਰਿਅ ਤੁਧੁ ਭਗਵੰਤਾ ॥
hun kad mileeai pria tudh bhagvantaa
So now, then, when shall I meet You, O beloved auspicious Lord||
ਮੋਹਿ ਰੈਣਿ ਨ ਵਿਹਾਵੈ ਨੀਦ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਦੇਖੇ ਗੁਰ ਦਰਬਾਰੇ ਜੀਉ ॥੩॥
mohe rain na vihaavai need na aavai bin daekhae gur darbaarae jeeo ||3||
My nights are unendurable , sleep does not come, without beholding the Guru’s court ||3||
ਹਉ ਘੋਲੀ ਜੀਉ ਘੋਲਿ ਘੁਮਾਈ ਤਿਸੁ ਸਚੇ ਗੁਰ ਦਰਬਾਰੇ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
hao gholee jeeo ghol ghumaaee tis sache gur darbaarae jeeo||1||rahaao||
I am a sacrifice, I sacrifice my soul to the true Guru’s court||1||Pause||

ਭਾਗੁ ਹੋਆ ਗੁਰਿ ਸੰਤੁ ਮਿਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਅਬਿਨਾਸੀ ਘਰ ਮਹਿ ਪਾਇਆ ॥
bhaag hoaa gur sant milaaiaa||
By good fortune, the Saintly Guru I have met||
prabh abhinaasee ghar meh paaiaa||
The Immortal Lord, I have found within the home of my own self||
ਸੇਵ ਕਰੀ ਪਲੁ ਚਸਾ ਨ ਵਿਛੁੜਾ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਦਾਸ ਤੁਮਾਰੇ ਜੀਉ ॥੪॥
saev karee pal chasaa na vichhurhaa jan naanak daas tumaarae jeeo ||4||
I will now serve You, and shall never be separated from You for even an instant, Servant Nanak is Your slave ||4||
ਹਉ ਘੋਲੀ ਜੀਉ ਘੋਲਿ ਘੁਮਾਈ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਦਾਸ ਤੁਮਾਰੇ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥੧॥੮॥
hao gholee jeeo ghol ghumaaee jan naanak daas tumaarae jeeo ||rahaao||1||8||
I am a sacrifice, my soul is a sacrifice, Servant Nanak is Your slave||Pause||1||8||


Sukhmandir Kaur Khalsa

Sukhmandir has written hundreds of articles on topics related to Sikhism and has co-written and and edited several books on the Gurmat teachings and Naam Simran meditation. 

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