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Trial Of Guru Arjan

After Guru Arjan was arrested he was taken to Lahore for a kangaroo court (fake trial). The trial of Guru Arjan was held to give the appearance of a fair and just trial, even though the verdict had in reality already been decided before the trial had begun.

The Guru took with him Bhai Bidhi Chand, Bhai Langaha, Bhai Paira, Bhai Jetha, and Bhai Pirana. The Emperor Jahangir was at first disposed to treat the Guru with respect, but Chandu Shah (the enemy of Guru Arjan) reminded him of the Guru's meeting with the rebel Prince Khusrau.

The visit of Prince Khusrau to Tarn Taran came handy as an excuse for Jahangir to do as he wished with Guru Arjan. Jahangir addressed Guru Arjan, "You are a saint, great teacher, and holy man; you look on all, rich and poor, alike. However, I feel it was not right for you to help my son Prince Khusrau."

Being A Sikh Is Not A Crime

Guru Arjan said, "I regard all people, whether hindu or mussalman, rich or poor, friend or foe, without love or hate; and it is on this account that I met your son, and not because he was in opposition to you. If I had not assisted him in his forlorn condition, and so shown some regard for the kindness of your father the Emperor Akbar to myself, people would despise me for my heartlessness and ingratitude, or they would say that I was afraid of you. This would have been unworthy of a follower of Guru Nanak, the world's Guru."

The conclusion of this speech was not calculated to soothe the Jahangir's feelings. He ordered the Guru to pay a fine of two lakhs of rupees, and also to erase the hymns in his Granth which were opposed to the hindu and mussalman religions. The Guru replied, "Whatever money I have is for the poor, the friendless, and the stranger. If you ask for money you may take what I have; but if you ask for it by way of fine I shall not give you even a kauri, for a fine is imposed on wicked worldly persons and not on priests and anchorets. And as to what you have said regarding the erasure of hymns in the Granth Sahib, I cannot erase or alter an iota."

Guru Arjan continued, "I am a worshipper of the Immortal God, the Supreme Soul of the world. There is no true one save God; and what God revealed to the Gurus, from Guru Nanak to Guru Ram Das, and afterwards to myself, is written in the holy Granth Sahib. The hymns which find a place in it are not disrespectful to any hindu incarnation or any muhammadan prophet. It is certainly stated that prophets, priests, and incarnations are the handiwork of the Immortal God, whose limit none can find. My main object is the spread of truth and the destruction of falsehood; and if, in pursuance of this object, this perishable body must depart, I shall account it great good fortune."

Threats Of Torture And Death

It is said that the Emperor made no reply, but rose and left the hall of audience. Murtaza Khan (influenced heavily by Chandu Shah) was left to decide Guru Arjan's punishment. Chandu Shah was hoping to use the situation to his advantage and making a lot of money, he calculated that the Sikh community would pay heavily to have Guru Arjan released. After this a magistrate informed the Guru that he must pay the fine or be imprisoned in default.

When the Sikhs of Lahore heard this decision, they proposed to unite and raise a subscription to discharge the Guru's obligation. The Guru would not agree, and sent them word, that whoever contributed to pay the fine imposed on him would not be considered a Sikh, and would for the sake of momentary gratification imperil his future salvation. People devoted to religion, the Guru said, never paid fines. Fines were for thieves, adulterers, slanderers, and robbers.

As the Guru would not allow the fine to be paid, Chandu Shah told Guru Arjan that he would be tortured until death or would have to expunge (change) the alleged objectionable passages in the Granth Sahib and insert the praises of Muhammad and of the hindu deities.

The Guru replied, "The Granth Sahib has been compiled to confer happiness on people and not create misery in this world and in the next. It is impossible to write it again, and make the omissions and alterations you require." On hearing this Murtaza Khan concluded that he would yield to no ordinary threats, so he ordered Guru Arjan to be put into irons chains and began to torture him.

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