Friday 17 November 2023


Then Swamiji began to give a brief account of the life of Shivaji, with great feeling and enthusiasm and we listened to the same with great eagerness and rapt attention; for so engrossing and interesting it was to listen to those soul-stirring words of Swamiji who spoke at the time with so great an earnestness and yet with so much pity and kindness. It was a pity there was no one to take down all that he spoke that evening in shorthand, nor did I make any notes at the time either, for my mind was so absorbed in following his narrative that the idea of taking down any notes never entered my brain. Yet the indelible impressions he made on even our callous hearts that memorable evening do still persist though somewhat dimmed, and the following is but an imperfect reproduction of those impressions.

"Doctor," began Swamiji, "it is a pity that in our schools, History of India written by foreigners alone is taught to our boys. The foreign writers of the Mahratta History can never shake off their bias nor understand the real character and greatness and the inner motive of the actions of Sivaji. We cannot blame them for their beliefs which more or less depended on the writings of the Mussalman chroniclers who out of spite and hatred, denounced Shivaji as a Falim or freebooter. On the other hand there are many Mahratta bakhars or chroniclers who have written about him but who, true to their ancient puranic ideal, looked upon Sivaji as an incarnation of God born to relieve His devotees from the oppressions of Mahomedan fanaticism and to re-establish the Dharma. Naturally the foreign writes leaned on the side of the Mussalman chroniclers and considered the account given by the Mahrattas as mere superstition. But fortunately there are many independent Persian manuscripts dealing with the history of Aurangzeeb, Sivaji and the Bijapur kings. They corroborate the account of the Mahratta chroniclers so far as facts are concerned though they do not share in their belief of the superhuman nature of the exploits of Sivaji. And if young men who have any patriotic feeling towards the history of their motherland were to make researches in finding out and translating these manuscripts much truer light may be thrown on the greatness of the doings of Sivaji and of many others who helped in the formation of the great Mahratta Confederacy and it will be a valuable addition to our knowledge of the real History of India."

"But before proceeding to narrate some of the main incidents from Sivaji s life, said Swamiji "let us see what was the state of India just before the birth of Sivaji. The rise of Maharatta power in India was one of those sudden and surprising revolutions which amid the troubled currents of political events, have been so frequently seen to spring from the reaction of despotism. The Moghal Empire under the absolute direction of Aurangzeeb extended over nearly the whole of India. Aurangzeeb was a tyrant who ruled ably though despotically. The Maharattas were a hardy and active race who inhabited the extensive plains of the Deccan surrounded by those elevated chains of mountains called the Ghats which formed a natural and almost impregnable barrier against the inroads of any invading army. Nearly three centuries of Mahomedan invasion which preceded the birth of Sivaji had left lasting memories of great horrors and oppressions by Mahomedans, and the threatened invasion of the Deccan by the troops of the tyrant Aurangzeeb gave rise in the minds of many, to all sorts of apprehensions of the renewal of fanatical intolerance and cruelty which the Mahomedan conquerors were prone to exhibit in their dealings with the people of the country. There was already ruin of all virtue and religion and the noblest in the land had been made to suffer. Hence a universal prayer seemed to have gone from the heart of these people to the great God of Mercy for the birth of a deliverer. The time also seemed ripe for the birth of such a person and ample opportunities were afforded to a leader of daring and comprehensive mind to assemble the Maharattas who formed now the disunited members of a vast and dislocated empire, and to establish them into an independent community, upon the wreck of that power by which they had been subdued. Such a leader was Shivaji the founder of the Maharatta dynasty, which finally became the most flourishing in Hindustan."

(Vedanta Kesari - Nov 1914)
Celebrating 50 Glorious Years of the Vivekananda Rock Memorial : विवेकानन्द शिला स्मारक - एक भारत विजयी भारत :
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