After the death of Akbar in 1605, his son Jahangir became the King. He was not tolerant towards other religions. His son Khusrau revolted against him. He came to Amritsar and asked for Guru Arjan Dev’s blessings as well as help. But the Guru declined to help him and gave him his blessings as he would have given to any other person. This harmless act infuriated Jahangir & he decided to punish all those who helped Khusrau & crush the Guru also for this. He asked Murtaza Khan, the Governor of Lahore, to summon the Guru to Lahore. Accompanied by some devotees, Guru Arjan Dev went to Lahore and presented himself before Murtaza Khan. He ordered that Guru should be arrested & put to Jail. There he was treated like other petty criminals. Then Guru was asked to apologize for helping the prince or receive punishment. The Guru refused to apologize for what he had not done. Then it was decided by the Governor to put him to death.
The executioner was asked to implement the orders of the Governor to put the Guru to death. The people were also asked to come and watch the Guru being tortured to instill fear among the masses. On a hot summer day, the Guru was brought out from the jail, he was chained.
This is the historic scene, the Artist has painted in this beautiful painting. In the earthen stove fire is burning. An iron plate (tava) is kept on the stove. A man is adding more pieces of wood so that the fire is strong. A big pan with hot sand is kept on another side and huge pot of boiling water is also ready.
When the guru refused to tender apology, he was asked to sit on the red hot plate. The Guru is sitting cross-legged. Instead of fear or pain, there is only peace and soft glow on his face as if he was going to address his sangat and to lead them in prayers. The Guru has completely surrendered himself to the supreme Will of God. He showed no pain. He knew what he was doing was for his God and for His people. Irritated the executioner asked one person to take a shovel and put hot sand on the Guru. Many people in the crowd started wailing. Guru Arjan Dev sat calm and quiet, without a cry or sigh, feeling no pain. He sat with his mind fixed on Waheguru. Blisters on Guru’s body are also shown.
A lady standing nearby has folded her hands as if offering prayer for the Guru. His friend and devotee, Mian Mir, a Muslim saint, is also shown as if complaining to the God for putting the Guru through so much pain. The Guru attained martyrdom, his sacrifice is unparallel in the history.
In those days, the Guru had taught the message of compassion, love, dedication, hard work, worship of one God, and the commitment to peace and harmony for all the people of the world. Guru Arjan Dev Ji (1563 to 1606) sowed the seed of martyrdom, which became the heritage of the Sikhs.