Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji

Guru Arjan Dev Ji (15 April 1563 – 30 May 1606) was the first of the two Gurus martyred in the Sikh faith and the fifth of the ten total Sikh Gurus. He compiled the first official edition of the Sikh scripture called the Adi Granth, which later expanded into the Guru Granth Sahib.

Early Life

Guru Arjan was born in Goindval to Bibi Bhani and Jetha Sodhi. Bibi Bhani was the daughter of Guru Amar Das, and her husband Jetha Sodhi later came to be known as Guru Ram Das. Guru Arjan's birthplace site is now memorialized as the Gurdwara Chaubara Sahib. He had two brothers: Prithi Chand and Mahadev. Various Sikh chroniclers give his birth year as 1553 or 1563, the latter is accepted by scholarly consensus as the actual year of birth with 15 April as the accepted birth date.

Guru Arjan spent the first 11 years of his life in Goindwal and the next seven years with his father in Ramdaspur. Per Sikh tradition, he had stayed for two years in Lahore during his youth after being sent by his father to attend the wedding of his first cousin Sahari Mal's son as well as to establish a Sikh congregation. He was appointed as the Sikh Guru in 1581 after the death of his father. Ram Das was a Khatri of the Sodhi sub-caste. With Guru Arjan's succession, the Guruship remained in the Sodhi family of Ram Das.


Guru Arjan had two elder brothers, Prithi Chand and Mahadev. Guru Ram Das chose Guru Arjan, the youngest, to succeed him as the fifth Sikh Guru. Mahadev, the middle brother chose the life of an ascetic. His choice of Guru Arjan as successor, as throughout most of the history of Sikh Guru successions, led to disputes and internal divisions among the Sikhs.

The stories in the Sikh tradition about the succession dispute around Guru Arjan are inconsistent. In one version, Prithi Chand is remembered in the Sikh tradition as vehemently opposing Guru Arjan, creating a faction Sikh community. The Sikhs following Guru Arjan called the Prithi Chand faction as Minas (literally, "scoundrels"), who are alleged to have attempted to assassinate young Hargobind, and befriended Mughal agents.

However, the second version, found in alternate competing texts written by the Prithi Chand led Sikh faction contradict this version (their non-derogatory name is Miharvan Sikhs). They offer a different explanation for the attempt on Hargobind's life, and present the elder son of Guru Ram Das as devoted to his younger brother Guru Arjan. The competing texts do acknowledge their disagreement. They state Prithi Chand left Amritsar, became the Sahib Guru after the martyrdom of Guru Arjan and one who disputed the succession of Guru Hargobind as the next Guru.

The mainstream Sikh tradition recognised Guru Arjan as the fifth Guru, and Hargobind as the sixth Guru. Guru Arjan, at age 18, became the fifth Guru in 1581 inheriting the title from his father. After his execution by the Muslim officials of the Mughal Empire, his son Hargobind became the sixth Guru in 1606 CE.

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