Today is celebrated as “Shiv Jayanti” in the Indian state of Maharashtra, in commemoration of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s Julian calendar birth date.
Shivaji Maharaj established the mighty Maratha empire by uniting the brave Marathas to fight the Mughals and stop them from conquering south India. Without him, Vedic culture would’ve been wiped out from south India.
Modus operandi of Muslim kings invading north India was to kill warriors and learned men among the survivors of war and destroy temples and libraries, thereby breaking the continuity in various important traditions. Fortunately, this onslaught on important living traditions, with millennia of history, was stymied in south India and Shivaji Maharaj deserves huge credit for that!
Even as he fought Muslim kings and protected Hindus from those barbaric marauders, Shivaji Maharaj NEVER forcefully converted any Muslim to Hinduism! He protected ALL his subjects, treated them with equal dignity, respect and love and gave them freedom to practice their religion (including Islam). In fact, he had some Muslim commanders in his own army!
At the same time, he never shied away from practicing his own religion privately as well as publicly.
In other words, he fully practiced secularism – the Sanatana Dharma style (see https://vedicastrologer.org/blog/secular.htm)!
He was a great devotee of Divine Mother and the legend has it that he possessed a special sword that he received as a boon from Ma Bhavani Herself!
His spiritual guru Sadguru Samartha Ramadas is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Hanuman Himself and a great devotee of Lord Rama. He was a mendicant wearing just a loin cloth and he widely travelled to establish 108 Hanuman kshetras across south India.
Though he was a brave warrior, Shivaji Maharaj wasn’t a man who just wanted wars and bloodshed. He was very wise and tried his best for peace whenever there was even a shred of a chance.
BTW, when he went to negotiate peace with Mughals once, he was tricked, captured and jailed by them. He later escaped from the Mughal prison in Agra, in a miraculous and daring rescue operation staged by his men.
Actually, that escape helped spread his legened and inspired many more to join his army!
Lesson: Sometimes, awful suffering lays the ground work for awesome things to follow!
He was one of the most perfect and dharmik rulers in recent human history!
He is such a great role model for all leaders of today.
Today’s leaders put themselves, and their own comforts and individual/family gains, ahead of their subjects. Shivaji Maharaj was a highly impartial, wise and extremely fair emperor who worked hard for the well-being of his subjects and even put himself in the greatest peril towards that end.
Writer: Shri PVR Narasimha Rao
Writer’s Personal Note:
BTW, a personal note..
My family has a small connection to Shivaji Maharaj and the Maratha empire he established.
Those who know the history of the Maratha empire may know about Peshwa Moropant Pingle. He was the FIRST Peshwa (Prime Minister) of the Maratha Empire, which he helped Shivaji Maharaj establish. He also served later on Shivaji Maharaj’s Ashta Pradhan (8 main ministers).
Apart from being a competent administrator, scholar, thinker and strategist, he was also a warrior who took part in several major battles of his time, alongside both Shivaji Maharaj and later his son Sambhaji!
I am a descendant of the legendary Peshwa.
My ancestors migrated from western India to Andhra a few centuries back and my surname Pingali (P in PVR Narasimha Rao) is a transformation of Pingle. My father used to have our family tree tracing all the way back to Peshwa Moropant Pingle.
Who knows – it is perhaps some genes from him that give me my combative spirit! ?
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