Guru Arjan completed the unfinished work of excavation of tanks- Santokhsar and Amritsar. Bhai Buddha being the most trustworthy disciple, was appointed to supervise the work of construction. Santokhsar was completed in 1587-89. Having completed the tank of nectar, the Guru laid down the foundation of Hari Mandar which is now called Golden Temple, in the center of the tank. It is said that the Sikhs represented to the Guru that Hari Mandar should be the tallest building in the neighborhood. The Guru explained,”Hari Mandar should be the lowest because what is humble, shall be exalted. The more a tree is covered with fruit, the more its branches descend to the earth.”
Mian Mir, a famous Muslim saint, was a friend and a devotee of the Guru. The Guru asked Mian Mir to lay the foundation stone of Hari Mandar. Thus, Mian Mir laid the brick in January, 1589. The head mason moved the brick to place it in order. Whereupon the Guru prophesied that since the brick was moved by the mason, the foundation of the temple would be laid again in the coming times. His words were subsequently fulfilled as Ahmad Shah Abdali destroyed the temple and desecrated the tank in 1763. However two years later, the great army of the Khalsa recovered possession of the temple, relaid its foundation and reconstructed it.
Hindu temples were closed on three sides and their entrances were generally towards the east while Muslim mosques had entrances towards the west. Hari Mandar, the holy Sikh temple had entrance on all four sides. This denotes that God was in all the directions; and secondly four doors in the four directions (east, west, north and south) meant that all the four castes would have equal access to the temple. Whereas the Hindu temples were only open to the chosen classes, the Golden temple was open to all who would seek God. Muslim mosques were open only to Muslim men, the Golden temple was open equally to all men, women and children, irrespective of caste, creed, race, color, sex, religion or nationality. The Adi Granth, Sikh holy Scripture, was placed in the center of the temple.
When the construction of the tank and the temple was completed, Guru Arjan uttered the following Sabad in joy and gratitude:
“The Creator stood in the midst of the work,
And not a hair of any man’s head was touched.
The Guru maketh my ablution successful.
And by repeating God’s Name, sins shall depart.
saints, Ramdas tank is beautiful,
He who batheth in it shall save himself and the souls of his family.
The whole world shall congratulate him,
And he shall obtain the reward his heart desireth.
He who while meditating on his God
Cometh to bathe here shall be made safe and whole.
He who batheth in the saints’ tank
Shall obtain final salvation. Meditating on God’s Name,
He shall not suffer transmigration.
He to whom God is merciful Knoweth divine knowledge.
His cares and anxieties shall depart
Who seeketh the protection of Baba Nanak and God.”
(Sorath Mohalla 5, p-623)