When the time came for deciding the next in line, the fourth Teacher, Guru Ram Dass anointed the younger son Arjan Dev as the next Teacher. Guru Arjan Dev’s elder brother Prithi Chand, was very upset at not being anointed as the Guru, and was always scheming for revenge. In his greed, he equated the spiritual domain with the material one, and approached the court for being declared as the Guru. Using the influence of a local revenue official of Lahore, Sulhi Khan, he managed a court order for splitting the Guruship between Guru Arjan Dev and his own son. However, the army commander who led a platoon for implementation of this order was beheaded by a police inspector at Jullunder, after a local dispute between the two commanders.
The slain commander happened to be a nephew of Sulhi Khan, and Prithi Chand used this incident to incite Sulhi Chand. He said that the Gurau had got Sulhi’s nephew killed, to continued as Guru.
Sulhi Khan started spending more time with Prithi Chand, and assured him of splitting the Guru’s seat. With this new alliance, the Guru’s congregations feared attack from a new army from Lahore. When they voiced this fear repeatedly to the Guru, the Guru Granth records this as the Guru’s reply:
The Lord saved me from Sulhi Khan
The emperor did not succeed in his plot, and he died in disgrace.
The Lord and Master raised His axe, and chopped off his head; in an instant, he was reduced to dust
Plotting and planning evil, he was destroyed. The One who created him, gave him a push!
A few days later, Sulhi Khan was returning from a hunting expedition, and inspects a brick kiln on the way. His horse is troubled with the heat, and takes him off-guard with a sudden movement. Sulhi Khan falls down – and straight into the kiln fire pit, and is burnt alive.