Ruzbeh N. Bharucha



Guru Arjan Dev was divinely inspired to write The Sukhmani Sahib and thus He is close to my heart. In channeling sessions, Baba Sai of Shirdi, has often told numerous Sikh families who come for Baba’s Guidance to pray The Sukhmani Path or Sukhmani Sahib. According to Baba Sai, this Prayer is a must for all those who follow the Faith of Baba Nanak and The Guru’s of Sikhism.

From bringing peace into their lives, to praying for the wellbeing of the ancestors, to protecting oneself from negativity, lower energies, jealously and dark forces, Baba Sai has recommended the praying of the Sukhmani Path. The Sukhmani Sahib was penned down by the fifth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Arjan Dev. The Sukhmani Sahib is the Prayer for Peace and Guru Arjan Dev who wrote this prayer and song of peace was mercilessly tortured to death.

Meditate, meditate, meditate peace is obtained, Worry and anguish is expelled from the body.

Remembering God, you’re not reborn. Remembering God, the fear of death is dispelled.

Remembering God, death is eliminated. Remembering God, your enemies are repelled.

Remembering God, no obstacles are met. Remembering God, night and day you’re fully awake.

Remembering God, fear cannot touch you. Remembering God, you don’t suffer with sorrow.

Remembrance of God, in the Company of Saints. All treasures, O Nanak, are by Lord’s Blessing.

The Guru was a fascinating human being and a phenomenal Master. The Sikh community has a lot to be grateful to Guru Arjan Dev who is considered to be One of the most loveable Gurus, due to His simple, loving and calm temperament.

He was not only a poet, but The Holy Guru Granth Sahib came about due to His need to make sure that the true words of The Guru’s before Him and the Sages and Sufis in praise of The One, reached scores of believers. He toiled hard to prepare The Holy Book. But the best part is that out of nearly six thousand hymns in The Holy Book, nearly two thousand two hundred and more came from the heart and Soul of Guru Arjan Dev. Like His illustrious Predecessors, He made sure that the Holy Book had writings and philosophies of other spiritual Giants, irrespective of which religion They belonged to, the simple fact is that we do not belong to any religion, we belong to The One, who has no religion, and if S(H)e had a religion it would be the religion of Oneness.

The Golden Temple which houses The Guru Granth Sahib which is venerated and worshipped by scores of devotees, was first designed and built by Him. After His Father, who was The Fourth Guru, Guru Ram Das, it was Guru Arjan Dev who took forward the work of the construction of The Golden Temple or Harmandir Sahib which in reality means, The Temple of God. It was He who made the lake, Amritsar, which means, Immortal Waters.

He made certain that the foundation stone of The Golden Temple was laid by His close friend, Saint Hazrat Mian Mir Ji of Lahore, a Sufi Saint, of a very high spiritual order. A friend who stood by Guru Arjan Singh till the last day of the Guru’s physical life. A Sufi so high in the spiritual order that He had the power to destroy Jehangir’s dynasty, if it would take that to save His friend Guru Arjan Dev, but the Latter prevented His friend to use His spiritual power to help Him and ease the torture meted out to The Guru due to Jehangir’s orders.

In August 1694, the construction of The Golden Temple was completed and Guru Arjan put The First Guru Granth Sahib, also then called The Pothi Sahib on a high pedestal within The Golden Temple. He seated Himself at a much lower level and told all the Sikhs that hence forth every Sikh would bow to The Holy Book, not as a form of a Holy Idol, but as a book of Divine Words and Inspiration and a pathway to reach The One and follow the path of Oneness.

Guru Arjan Dev made sure The Golden Temple had four entrances instead of the usual one entrance facing the East (a direction worshipped by the Hindus) or the West (which Muslims face), as He was of the belief that God existed in all directions and no direction existed without The Lord. Also it was a way of telling one and all that The Golden Temple, The Guru Granth Sahib and Sikhism, welcomed one and all, irrespective of caste, creed, colour, gender, profession or religion.

The best part is that He was such a wise man, that He made it clear that by just bathing in the Tank which contained the holy waters in The Golden Temple, one did not get pure nor were one’s sins washed away. According to Him, one needed to bathe twice. The first bath or wash from the first tank, cleaned the physical body.

But the second bath was most important. The second tank contained spiritual water which cleansed the spiritual body off all the dirt and that spiritual bath, the second bath, was achieved if one bathed in the holy spiritual waters of The Holy Name. The spiritual bath that one took by Chanting the Naam or The Holy Name, was mandatory. ‘If mind is sinful, everything is sinful, By washing the body, mind will not become pure.’

The real bath, the inner bath, was contained in the inner tank called ‘Gurbani’- which The Guru Granth Sahib contained, which is brimmed with Praise and Prayer of The One. What Guru Nanak has so beautifully said, in fact one of the most beautiful words ever uttered in any language, “Pilgrimage is Naam” and without this Pilgrimage there is no spiritual growth, no liberation and no salvation. Thus, the Guru had made it clear that bathing in Amritsar (the inner bath) liberation is obtained. ‘All sins are washed away by bathing in Amritsar and by Guru’s Grace, contentment is obtained.’ Chanting of The Name is the only way through which one can progress up the ladder, a rather precarious ladder, to reach The One. Thus, Guru Arjan made it clear, one can go and bathe in any River, but the real cleansing is achieved with prayer and chanting, simple living and high thinking.

Guru Arjan Dev very willingly allowed Himself to be tortured and killed but refused to pay a fine of rupees two lakh or alter a word in The Guru Granth Sahib. He was clear that by paying the cash fine, which was a normal form of punishment for criminals, by force, He would have to admit that He had wronged and thus to escape death agree to be called a criminal, which He wasn’t, thus there was no question of Him agreeing to pay any fine. His followers were willing to pay the money or make the opposition pay with their lives but He made sure not one Sikh removed a sword to protect Him.

“Such is the Will of My God; accept it,” and He added, “Move not; stand calm in your injury.” He refused to use His influence or His spiritual powers to protect Himself. Thus, He willingly, just like The Son of God, allowed Himself to be tortured by maggots in the form of human beings, and brutally murdered.

As for altering a word in The Guru Granth Sahib, He made it clear that only The Almighty God, was truly worthy of praise and that He would alter not a word.

So, He was mercilessly tortured for five days though some say it was for six days.

Guru Arjan Dev is the first Sikh Guru to have allowed Himself to be tortured in the most brutal manner possible and He allowed Himself to be Martyred in The Name of God and His principles.

It is said that apart from not giving The Guru a drop of water, leave aside food, The Guru was forced to sit in a large copper vessel while His tormentors filled the vessel with water and a fire was lit underneath the vessel and in a short period of time the water began to boil with the Guru seated inside. The Guru’s body was scalded while He continued to chant the Holy Name.

Then the next day sand in iron pans was heated while the Guru was seated in a vessel with boiling water. The hot sand was poured on His head while His body got scalded with the burning water within the vessel. The Guru kept repeating the following lines, ‘Nanak begs for the treasure of the Naam, the Name of the Lord’.

On the next day the Guru was made to sit on a heated iron plate that had become red hot while hot sand was poured all over His body. All the while He was tormented and countless Sikhs had gathered outside with swords, ready to sacrifice their lives for their Guru, but they could not do anything, as their Guru had given a firm warning that none would interfere. This was The Will of The One. He had done no wrong and thus He would pay no fine and not a word would change from The Holy Book but violence was not the way to prove one’s point. Also Guru Arjan wanted to send the message across to all His followers that when one believes in something and it involves your Master or your Faith, then death is a beautiful reward, a gift of divine release.

Saint Hazrat Mian Mir, as mentioned above was a spiritual Giant and none dared to mess around with Him, and He was permitted to see His friend and companion Guru Arjan Dev. When He saw His friend, a mass of blood and blisters, He cried and pleaded with Guru Arjan to give Him permission to finish Jehangir’s rule and all those who obeyed the king once and for all. Saint Hazrat Mian Mir was known to have spiritual powers that were of a very High Order and not much patience to tolerate fools.

But Guru Arjan Dev told His friend to look up. Saint Hazrat Mian Mir saw Angels too begging The Guru to give Them permission to finish the tyrant and his rule to safeguard The Guru. The Guru then softly told His friend, “Mian Mir, You are disturbed too soon. This is The Will of My God and Master and I happily accept and surrender to His Divine and Sweet Will.”

Saint Hazrat Mian Mir begged of The Guru to either allow Him to use His supernatural powers or The Guru Himself use the powers He possessed. And Guru Arjan Dev spoke one of the most beautiful sentences uttered. “I simply bear all this torture so that generations of Teachers of the True Name, may never lose patience or get upset with God when in time of pain and misery. The true test of faith is the hour of misery. Without examples to guide them, the minds of people tremble in the midst of suffering.

The load of Karma is removed; I am freed there from.

From the sea I have reached the shore; The Guru hath done Me this favor.”

Saint Hazrat Mian Mir looked at His friend, knowing in the body this was the last time They would meet. Heartbroken, tears streaming down His face, He left.

The practice in those days was to stitch offenders in cowhide so that they suffocate within and die. When all the other forms of torture did not work on Guru Arjan Dev, who not once cried out in pain or showed His anguish, but kept chanting Wahe Guru Wahe Guru, the captors decided to stitch the Guru in cowhide and let Him suffocate within and die. The main reason why the captors wanted the Guru to beg for release or die was to show their power and their fearlessness to the Sikhs waiting outside. To show the devotees that in front of them The Guru was just a mere mortal.

The Guru agreed to be stitched within the cowhide but first insisted on having a bath in the flowing river. So the captors brought Guru Arjan out, all covered in blood and blisters, to bathe in the cold waters of the River Ravi. The very thought of The Guru screaming in pain when the cold waters would touch His blistered body, appealed to the captors much more than just a silent death by suffocation.

When The Guru was brought out, His disciples and devotees, all armed Sikhs, were waiting for their Guru to just say one word and they would have retaliated but Guru Arjan managed to speak these words, “Such is The Will of My God, submit to the Divine Will, move not, stand calm against all woes.”

He walked to the waterbed, looked around. There was a smile in His eyes, His lips moved chanting The Name. He entered the water. People say a bright Light descended or came forth from The Guru. The Guru took a dip but never surfaced. The Guru’s body had disappeared too. The body may have disappeared but the Sukhmani Sahib will remain for all of eternity, spreading the message of peace and Oneness.

Satnam Wahe Guru.

Be blessed always.




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Ruzbeh N. Bharucha​​​

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