14. Selection of Guruship

Sahari Mal, Guru's cousin from Lahore, invited the Guru to grace his son's marriage. For some reason the Guru could not go, but he asked his eldest son, Prithi Chand to attend the marriage. Prithi Chand refused to go. His refusal is attributed to possibly two motives. It is said that he was incharge of the offerings that were made to the Guru and was able to furtively set aside much wealth for himself. If he had gone to Lahore, this illicit gain might have fallen in somebody else's hands. Secondly he thought that the time was fast approaching for the selection of a person to succeed his father as Guru and so he should remain in Amritsar. Mahadev, the Guru's second son, did not want to go because of his indifference to worldly affairs. The third son, Arjan Dev agreed to attend the marriage. He was instructed to stay on in Lahore after the marriage to look after the affairs of the Sikh Sangat of that place. After some time he started feeling the pangs of separation for his father and the Guru, and wrote three letters, two of which were intercepted by his elder brother, Prithi Chand. A letter marked '3', reached the Guru and Arjan Dev was immediately recalled from Lahore. On his return he told his father that he had sent three letters. The truth came to light and Prithi Chand was forced to produce the other two letters. Thus Prithi Chand's actions were exposed. Guru Ram Das embraced Arjan Dev, sent for five paise and a coco-nut, and placed them before him. He descending from his throne, seated him there before the whole assembly of the Sikhs. Bhai Buddha affixed the tilak of spiritual sovereignty to Arjan Dev's forehead, and thus he was proclaimed as Guru Arjan Dev. This appened in August, 1581. Prithi Chand became so mad that he addressed his father in abusive language. He told Bhai Buddha that his father acted improperly in giving Guruship to his younger brother. He vowed that he would remove Guru Arjan and would seat himself on the Guru Gaddi (throne). The Guru counselled him not to quarrel about it, but Prithi Chand refused to submit and adopted an attitude of open defiance. Having nominated Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Ram Das left for his old headquarters at Goindwal. After a few days He left eft this world on the first of September, 1581.