7. The Masand System Strengthened

Guru Ram Das introduced the institution of Masands (representative of the Gurus at far flung places) along with the principle Dasvand of a Tenth of an individual's income payable for the Guruís Langar (Common Kitchen) and for other acts of benevolence on behalf of the poor. In Guru Angad's days the professional bards, Satta and Balwand, who sang the hymns at the Guruís Darbar had started to believe that their excellence as musicians and singers was responsible for their Guru's popularity. With his love for music and expertise in the Ragas, Guru Arjan Dev Ji introduced the tradition of singing by the congregants themselves to avoid such egoism. During his incumbency the Punjab was very badly effected with a famine. By dint of his influence he gained Mughal Emperor Akbarís consent to eliminate land revenue, to some extent, for that year. But Jeth Sudhi 4 Smt. 1663 corresponding to May 30, 1606 A.D. is the most momentous date in the Sikh chronology. Mughal Emperor Akbar had already been convinced of the piety of the Sikh Gurus. During one of his campaigns he had come to Goindwal and partook of the Langar; sitting on the floor he ate the simple food of the Amar Das's Langar seated among men of every caste before he was able to meet with Guru Amar Das. A Muslim Pir, the Saint, Mian Mir of Lahore had great affinity with the Guruís domain. The opinions and words of the Pir were immensely revered by Akbar, which on one occasion resulted in the charges levelled against Guru Arjan in the Akbarís Court by a few impostors (Prithi Chand and his son Meharban) and some jealous Brahmin Priests, being totally disregarded. The complainants were virtually thrown out of the Kingís court, but humiliated they were unfortunately to continue their designs, with more success, after the death of Akbar.