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Complaint Made To Akbar

Ever since its inception Sikhism has been viewed as a threat to established religions. Modern open views on moral philosophy and equality made many enemies for the Sikhs. The qazis and pandits were fearful of losing control of the masses and bore enmity to Guru Arjan on account of his compilation of the Granth.

Prithi Chand, Guru Arjan's estranged brother, induced the qazis and pandits to complain to Emperor Akbar to say that Guru Arjan had compiled a volume in which the Muhammadan priests, prophets, and leaders, and the hindu incarnations and gods, were spoken of with contempt and to hold an official inquest.

Akbar's Court

At that time, Akbar was touring in the Punjab and the complaint of the qazis and the pandits was placed before him by Chandu Shah on his arrival in Batala, Gurdaspur. Chandu supported the complaint by saying that he knew the charges were based on facts. Upon this Akbar ordered that Guru Arjan and his Granth should be produced before him.

Guru Arjan asked Baba Budha and Bhai Gurdas to represent him. When they said they were not sure how to deal with the Emperor, Guru Arjan explained that he would be with them in spirit and guide them. Once Baba Budha and Bhai Gurdas arrived in Batala with a copy of the Aad Granth they attended the Akbar's court.

Akbar had asked the complainants to also attend his court. When everyone had gathered around the Granth, Akbar questioned what was contained within it. Baba Budha and Bhai Gurdas provided an explanation but the qazis and pandits wanted Akbar to select a random verse.

The First Shabad

Bhai Gurdas opened the Granth at random and was asked to read the first hymn that caught the Emperor's eye. The composition was Guru Arjan's own Gurbani in the Persian language, as follows;

ਤਿਲੰਗ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ਘਰੁ ੧
Ŧilang mėhlā 5 gẖar 1
Tilang, Fifth Mehl, First House:

ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥
Ik▫oaʼnkār saṯgur parsāḏ.
One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru:

ਖਾਕ ਨੂਰ ਕਰਦੰ ਆਲਮ ਦੁਨੀਆਇ ॥
Kẖāk nūr karḏaʼn ālam ḏunī▫ā▫e.
God infused its light into the dust, and created the world, the universe.

ਅਸਮਾਨ ਜਿਮੀ ਦਰਖਤ ਆਬ ਪੈਦਾਇਸਿ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥੧॥
Asmān jimī ḏarkẖaṯ āb paiḏā▫is kẖuḏā▫e. ||1||
The sky, the earth, the trees, and the water - all are the creation of God. ||1||

ਬੰਦੇ ਚਸਮ ਦੀਦੰ ਫਨਾਇ ॥
Banḏe cẖasam ḏīḏaʼn fanā▫e.
O human being, whatever you can see with your eyes, shall perish.

ਦੁਨੀਆ ਮੁਰਦਾਰ ਖੁਰਦਨੀ ਗਾਫਲ ਹਵਾਇ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Ḏunīʼn▫ā murḏār kẖurḏanī gāfal havā▫e. Rahā▫o.
The world eats dead carcasses, living by neglect and greed. ||Pause||

ਗੈਬਾਨ ਹੈਵਾਨ ਹਰਾਮ ਕੁਸਤਨੀ ਮੁਰਦਾਰ ਬਖੋਰਾਇ ॥
Gaibān haivān harām kusṯanī murḏār bakẖorā▫e.
Like a goblin, or a beast, they kill and eat the forbidden carcasses of meat.

ਦਿਲ ਕਬਜ ਕਬਜਾ ਕਾਦਰੋ ਦੋਜਕ ਸਜਾਇ ॥੨॥
Ḏil kabaj kabjā kāḏro ḏojak sajā▫e. ||2||
So control your urges, or else you will be seized by the Lord, and thrown into the tortures of hell. ||2||

ਵਲੀ ਨਿਆਮਤਿ ਬਿਰਾਦਰਾ ਦਰਬਾਰ ਮਿਲਕ ਖਾਨਾਇ ॥
valī ni▫āmaṯ birāḏarā ḏarbār milak kẖānā▫e.
Your benefactors, presents, companions, courts, lands and homes -

ਜਬ ਅਜਰਾਈਲੁ ਬਸਤਨੀ ਤਬ ਚਿ ਕਾਰੇ ਬਿਦਾਇ ॥੩॥
Jab ajrā▫īl basṯanī ṯab cẖe kāre biḏā▫e. ||3||
when Azraa-eel (Azrael), the messenger of death seizes you, what good will these be to you then? ||3||

ਹਵਾਲ ਮਾਲੂਮੁ ਕਰਦੰ ਪਾਕ ਅਲਾਹ ॥
Havāl mālūm karḏaʼn pāk alāh.
The Pure Lord God knows your condition.

ਬੁਗੋ ਨਾਨਕ ਅਰਦਾਸਿ ਪੇਸਿ ਦਰਵੇਸ ਬੰਦਾਹ ॥੪॥੧॥
Bugo Nānak arḏās pes ḏarves banḏāh. ||4||1||
O Nanak, recite your prayer to the holy people. ||4||1||

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Arjan, Ang 723

The Second Shabad

Akbar was amazed, the Gurbani was a revelation and not as the qazis and pandits had been saying. The qazis and pandits tried to insinuate and argue that the hymn was specially selected for the Emperor's hearing, and begged him to try another random shabad. The Emperor turned over the Granths leaves himself, and pointing to a particular spot asked Bhai Gurdas to read from there. Bhai Gurdas quoted the following Gurbani;

ਮਾਰੂ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥
Mārū mėhlā 5.
Maaroo, Fifth Mehl:

ਅਲਹ ਅਗਮ ਖੁਦਾਈ ਬੰਦੇ ॥
Allah agam kẖuḏā▫ī banḏe.
O slave of the inaccessible Lord God Allah,

ਛੋਡਿ ਖਿਆਲ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਕੇ ਧੰਧੇ ॥
Cẖẖod kẖi▫āl ḏunī▫ā ke ḏẖanḏẖe.
forsake thoughts of worldly entanglements.

ਹੋਇ ਪੈ ਖਾਕ ਫਕੀਰ ਮੁਸਾਫਰੁ ਇਹੁ ਦਰਵੇਸੁ ਕਬੂਲੁ ਦਰਾ ॥੧॥
Ho▫e pai kẖāk fakīr musāfar ih ḏarves kabūl ḏarā. ||1||
Become the dust of the feet of the humble fakirs, and consider yourself a traveler on this journey. O Saintly dervish, you shall be approved in the court of the Lord. ||1||

ਸਚੁ ਨਿਵਾਜ ਯਕੀਨ ਮੁਸਲਾ ॥
Sacẖ nivāj yakīn muslā.
Let truth be your prayer, and faith your prayer-mat.

ਮਨਸਾ ਮਾਰਿ ਨਿਵਾਰਿਹੁ ਆਸਾ ॥
Mansā mār nivārihu āsā.
Subdue your desires, and overcome your hopes.

ਦੇਹ ਮਸੀਤਿ ਮਨੁ ਮਉਲਾਣਾ ਕਲਮ ਖੁਦਾਈ ਪਾਕੁ ਖਰਾ ॥੨॥
Ḏeh masīṯ man ma▫ulāṇā kalam kẖuḏā▫ī pāk kẖarā. ||2||
Let your body be the mosque, and your mind the priest. Let true purity be God's Word for you. ||2||

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Arjan, Ang 1083

When Akbar heard this he was very pleased and his doubts were removed. Chandu, however, was not to be thwarted. He said that Bhai Gurdas had repeated this from memory. The Emperor must have the Granth read to him by someone else who knew Gurmukhi, none among them being acquainted with the Gurumukhi characters in which the sacred volume is written.

The Third Shabad

Chandu found a man called Sahib Diyal, who possessed the necessary knowledge. Chandu turned over the leaves of the Granth and told him to read the hymn he pointed out. The hymn was the following;

ਪ੍ਰਭਾਤੀ ॥
Parbẖāṯī.
Prabhaatee:

ਅਵਲਿ ਅਲਹ ਨੂਰੁ ਉਪਾਇਆ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਕੇ ਸਭ ਬੰਦੇ ॥
Aval alah nūr upā▫i▫ā kuḏraṯ ke sabẖ banḏe.
First, Allah created the Light; then, by God's creative power, God made all mortal beings.

ਏਕ ਨੂਰ ਤੇ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਕਉਨ ਭਲੇ ਕੋ ਮੰਦੇ ॥੧॥
Ėk nūr ṯe sabẖ jag upji▫ā ka▫un bẖale ko manḏe. ||1||
From the One Light, the entire universe welled up. So who is good, and who is bad? ||1||

ਲੋਗਾ ਭਰਮਿ ਨ ਭੂਲਹੁ ਭਾਈ ॥
Logā bẖaram na bẖūlahu bẖā▫ī.
O people, O siblings of destiny, do not wander deluded by doubt.

ਖਾਲਿਕੁ ਖਲਕ ਖਲਕ ਮਹਿ ਖਾਲਿਕੁ ਪੂਰਿ ਰਹਿਓ ਸ੍ਰਬ ਠਾਂਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Kẖālik kẖalak kẖalak mėh kẖālik pūr rahi▫o sarab ṯẖāʼn▫ī. ||1|| rahā▫o.
The creation is in the creator, and the creator is in the creation, totally pervading and permeating all places. ||1||Pause||

ਮਾਟੀ ਏਕ ਅਨੇਕ ਭਾਂਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਸਾਜੀ ਸਾਜਨਹਾਰੈ ॥
Mātī ek anek bẖāʼnṯ kar sājī sājanhārai.
The clay is the same, but the fashioner has fashioned it in various ways.

ਨਾ ਕਛੁ ਪੋਚ ਮਾਟੀ ਕੇ ਭਾਂਡੇ ਨਾ ਕਛੁ ਪੋਚ ਕੁੰਭਾਰੈ ॥੨॥
Nā kacẖẖ pocẖ mātī ke bẖāʼnde nā kacẖẖ pocẖ kumbẖārai. ||2||
There is nothing wrong with the pot of clay - there is nothing wrong with the potter. ||2||

ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਸਚਾ ਏਕੋ ਸੋਈ ਤਿਸ ਕਾ ਕੀਆ ਸਭੁ ਕਛੁ ਹੋਈ ॥
Sabẖ mėh sacẖā eko so▫ī ṯis kā kī▫ā sabẖ kacẖẖ ho▫ī.
The One True Lord abides in all; by God's making, everything is made.

ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਨੈ ਸੁ ਏਕੋ ਜਾਨੈ ਬੰਦਾ ਕਹੀਐ ਸੋਈ ॥੩॥
Hukam pacẖẖānai so eko jānai banḏā kahī▫ai so▫ī. ||3||
Whoever realizes the Hukam of God's Command, knows the One Lord. One alone is said to be the Lord's slave. ||3||

ਅਲਹੁ ਅਲਖੁ ਨ ਜਾਈ ਲਖਿਆ ਗੁਰਿ ਗੁੜੁ ਦੀਨਾ ਮੀਠਾ ॥
Alhu alakẖ na jā▫ī lakẖi▫ā gur guṛ ḏīnā mīṯẖā.
The Lord Allah is unseen; God cannot be seen. The Guru has blessed me with this sweet molasses.

ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਮੇਰੀ ਸੰਕਾ ਨਾਸੀ ਸਰਬ ਨਿਰੰਜਨੁ ਡੀਠਾ ॥੪॥੩॥
Kahi Kabīr merī sankā nāsī sarab niranjan dīṯẖā. ||4||3||
Says Kabeer, my anxiety and fear have been taken away; I see the God pervading everywhere. ||4||3||

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Bhagat Kabir, Ang 1349-1350

Akbar had heard enough, he was very pleased with the teaching of the Granth which was similiar to his own philosophy. He then gave his decision, "Excepting love and devotion to God, I, so far, find neither praise nor blame of anyone in this Granth. It is a volume worthy of reverence." Akbar then made an offering to the Granth of fifty-one gold mohars, and gave Bhai Budha and Bhai Gurdas dresses of honour for themselves and a third for Guru Arjan. He told them to give his respectful salutations to the Guru, and promised to go to visit him when he was returning from Lahore where he was then proceeding.

The Guru's slanderers and enemies had been defeated. When Chandu and his party heard the Emperor's decision and his message to the Guru, their faces became pale and they hung down their heads through shame. All good people cursed Chandu, and his evil reputation spread from house to house.

Visit To Guru Arjan

The Emperor, true to his word, visited the Guru on his return journey to Dehli, and was charmed with his saintly bearing. He was also pleased with the imposing and beautiful Gurdwara which the Guru had constructed, and the delightful melodies to which the hymns of the Gurus had been set, that words failed him to express his gratification. He called himself the Guru's slave and asked for instruction to render him happy and secure peace for his soul. The Guru then repeated for him the following hymn;

ਰਾਮਕਲੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥
Rāmkalī mėhlā 5.
Raamkalee, Fifth Mehl:

ਕੋਈ ਬੋਲੈ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਮ ਕੋਈ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥
Ko▫ī bolai rām rām ko▫ī kẖuḏā▫e.
Some call God, 'Raam, Raam', and some call God, 'Khudaa-i'.

ਕੋਈ ਸੇਵੈ ਗੁਸਈਆ ਕੋਈ ਅਲਾਹਿ ॥੧॥
Ko▫ī sevai gus▫ī▫ā ko▫ī alāhi. ||1||
Some serve God as 'Gusain', others as 'Allah'. ||1||

ਕਾਰਣ ਕਰਣ ਕਰੀਮ ॥
Kāraṇ karaṇ karīm.
God is the cause of causes, the generous Lord.

ਕਿਰਪਾ ਧਾਰਿ ਰਹੀਮ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Kirpā ḏẖār rahīm. ||1|| rahā▫o.
God showers its grace and mercy upon us. ||1||Pause||

ਕੋਈ ਨਾਵੈ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਕੋਈ ਹਜ ਜਾਇ ॥
Ko▫ī nāvai ṯirath ko▫ī haj jā▫e.
Some bathe at sacred shrines of pilgrimage, and some make the pilgrimage to Mecca.

ਕੋਈ ਕਰੈ ਪੂਜਾ ਕੋਈ ਸਿਰੁ ਨਿਵਾਇ ॥੨॥
Ko▫ī karai pūjā ko▫ī sir nivā▫e. ||2||
Some perform devotional worship services, and some bow their heads in prayer. ||2||

ਕੋਈ ਪੜੈ ਬੇਦ ਕੋਈ ਕਤੇਬ ॥
Ko▫ī paṛai beḏ ko▫ī kaṯeb.
Some read the Vedas, and some the Koran.

ਕੋਈ ਓਢੈ ਨੀਲ ਕੋਈ ਸੁਪੇਦ ॥੩॥
Ko▫ī odẖai nīl ko▫ī supeḏ. ||3||
Some wear blue robes, and some wear white. ||3||

ਕੋਈ ਕਹੈ ਤੁਰਕੁ ਕੋਈ ਕਹੈ ਹਿੰਦੂ ॥
Ko▫ī kahai ṯurak ko▫ī kahai hinḏū.
Some call themselves muslim, and some call themselves hindu.

ਕੋਈ ਬਾਛੈ ਭਿਸਤੁ ਕੋਈ ਸੁਰਗਿੰਦੂ ॥੪॥
Ko▫ī bācẖẖai bẖisaṯ ko▫ī surginḏū. ||4||
Some yearn for paradise, and others long for heaven. ||4||

ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਨਿ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਪਛਾਤਾ ॥
Kaho Nānak jin hukam pacẖẖāṯā.
Says Nanak, one who realizes the Hukam of God's will,

ਪ੍ਰਭ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਕਾ ਤਿਨਿ ਭੇਦੁ ਜਾਤਾ ॥੫॥੯॥
Parabẖ sāhib kā ṯin bẖeḏ jāṯā. ||5||9||
knows the secrets of his Lord and Master. ||5||9||

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Arjan, Ang 885

The Emperor partook of the Guru's hospitality, and prayed to be allowed to make a contribution to his large expenditure, so that thereby he might secure spiritual and temporal welfare and happiness. The Guru replied, "The welfare and happiness of monarchs depend on cherishing their subjects and doing justice. The monarch whose subjects are happy, shall himself be happy in this life, and in the next obtain praise, glory, and honour."

The Emperor remitted the revenues of the Punjab for that year in compliment to the Guru, who represented that there was a severe famine in the land and the cultivators required some consideration. Some said that the Guru's fame and influence largely increased owing to the respect the Emperor had shown him. This, in the words of the chronicler, was the cause of such agony to Prithia as would last till it had taken his life with it.

Badaoni states that on another occasion, namely, the thirteenth of the month of Azur (Jamadi ul sani), Akbar, with a gorgeous military retinue, crossed the Bias and went to Goindwal to visit Guru Arjan, whose teaching and character he appreciated. Badaoni also writes that people reverenced the successive Gurus as spiritual leaders, and solicited their benedictions.

  • Gurdwara Sri Harmandir Sahib

    Gurdwara Sri Harmandir Sahib

    Amritsar City, Punjab, India.

    Associated with Sri Guru Ram Das Ji, Sri Guru Arjan Sahib Ji, Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji.

    Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as Darbar Sahib and informally referred to as the 'Golden Temple' is one of the most prominent Sikh Gurdwaras.


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