Lost and Found Shivaji

Discussion in 'Indian History' started by Speechless world, Dec 27, 2015.

  1. Speechless world

    Speechless world New Member

    The following is a narration of how one of the foremost warriors of the world fell into a state of worry and doubt, but was guided by his guru to follow his Dharma.

    The air was charged with devotion. Tuka says, “Let my tongue ever sing your glory.” So saying, Santha Tukarama sang the glory of Vitthala. The audience was spell bound. Lust was frightened and fled from the place. Her sister Greed felt scorched and followed her soon. Their brother-in-law, Worry, and his wife, Fear, were themselves enveloped with fear of their sustenance, and they also followed suit. Such was the discourse of Tukaram Maharaj.

    Among the audience, there were luminaries, whom Bhaaratha Maata (Mother India) was blessed to have as her children. For there seated, infused with the devotion to Panduranga, was Chhatrapathi Shivaji - the warrior emperor of the Marathas, Jeeva Mahal, and Suryaraj, his trusted bodyguards.

    Shivaji Maharaj, who himself was the blessed son of Mother Bhavani (God in the form of Universal Mother), was so overcome with dispassion, that after the discourse he threw aside his sword with its scabbard, his tiger claw, and his shield; removing his turban, he fell at the feet of Tukaram Maharaj and said to him, “Sadguru Tukaram Maharaj ki Jai! Verily, you are Panduranga and no one else. Through you, I could catch a glimpse of the infinite glory of Panduranga. Of what use is this worldly life? It is but like the dream of a daydreamer. Where does this lead one? I have now realized that I am living but a dream. Of what use is it to fight the enemies hiding in stone forts? What of the enemies who are within us? You drove them away today during your discourse. I wish to be rid of them forever. Therefore, enough of this fighting. Enough of this war. I shall become a haridaasa (devotee) and with the name of Vitthala on my lips, shall serve you, Vitthala’s foremost devotee.”

    When Suryaraj and Jivamahal heard this, they were alarmed! How could the lion cubs possibly fend for themselves without the lion and lioness in the pride? The other predators would quickly devour them. With quivering hearts, they pleaded with Shivaji Maharaj to see reason.

    Jeeva Mahal said, “But my lord, what of the people? What of those who are struggling under the yolk of foreign rule? What of young Sambaji? What of your wife Sayyibai?” Suryaraj added. “My lord, the moment the enemies know that you have renounced the world, they would charge upon our lands like a hungry pride of lions attacking a helpless crippled deer. Please think twice before you reach this decision.”

    But Shivaji was unmoved by their requests. He said, “When warriors like Bhaji Prabhu, Tanaji should be around, why do you worry? The enemies quiver even hearing their name. Tanaji is like a lion. One roar from him sends the enemies flying. Let him become the king of the Marathas and continue this struggle. I have made up my mind.”

    So saying, Shivaji Maharaj rested his head yet again at the lotus feet of Tukaram Maharaj. Tukaram Maharaj, the ever gentle and all knowing one, watched all this with a smile. Now that all eyes were upon him, he spoke gently to Shivaji: “Shivaba, what is this you are talking about? So many people come to listen to Vitthala’s glory but do they all renounce their duties? What of Pundalika? Even when Panduranga came to him, he continued his work serving his parents, but just threw a brick for Vithala to stand on, lest his robes get dirty. Thus by doing his duty did Pundalika reach Panduranga. Why then do you talk of renouncing your duties Shivaba?”

    Shivaji Maharaj replied, “After tasting nectar, would one still be inclined to like sugar candy? Similarly after glimpsing the glory of Panduranga through you, I have become attached to your lotus feet. Please allow me to be your disciple and serve you.”

    To which the all knowing divine Sadguru Tukaram replied, “Panduranga! Panduranga! Why do I even struggle to explain. It is not for me to do this. Shivaba, if you believe me, then hear me out patiently. I am not ordained to be your guru. Your guru is the incarnation of Maruthi (Hanuman) and is the very embodiment of devotion. Verily through him, you will reach Rama (Panduranga). Hence, before you take any hasty decision, I request you to go meet your guru, Shree Samartha Ramdas, at Sajjangad. To you he alone is Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara. He is beyond everything and he is beginning-less and endless, for he alone is Parabrahman. Go therefore, righteous one. Go meet him. Go seek refuge in his holy feet. He alone is Panduranga. He will verily bless you. He is the Goswami (swami who protects cows) who lives in Sajjangad.”

    Hearing this, Jeeva Mahal and Suryaraj breathed a sigh of relief, if only for a moment. They now set off with their beloved Shivaji Maharaj to Sajjangad to meet the incarnation of Maruthi, the great Rama Bhaktha (devotee), Shree Sadguru Samartha Ramdas.

    After travelling many days, eagerly seeking the darshan (divine vision) of the guru, like a thirsty person travelling in a desert or like a hungry person looking for his next meal, Shivaji Maharaj traveled with his retinue, with ever-increasing restlessness in his mind.

    However, as they neared the desolate landscape of Sajjangad, a kind of calm seemed to envelope them. As they neared the temple of Lord Ram, inside they saw a Samartha sitting and reading the Ramayana. His handsome face shone with the brilliance of a thousand suns. As soon as he saw them approach, as though he was waiting for them, he came out and greeted them, “Welcome my children, I was waiting for you.”

    One look at the Samartha, and Shivaji had lost all his restlessness. His mind became very still. He had forgotten about hunger, thirst, and fatigue. His hands were aching to touch the lotus feet of the Samartha. He got off his horse, fell on the lotus feet, and cried tears of joy and ecstasy at having come so close to divinity.

    He then entreated the Sadguru thus: “O Lord! Tukaram Maharaj was right. You alone are God. There is no doubt in this. My store of good merits from past life have brought me to your feet. You know what doubts have assailed my mind. You know how they have besieged my mind. Only by your kindness and mercy can I be saved. You alone are mother, father, brother, and friend. You are everything to me. One look at you and all my troubles seem to have fled far, far away. Please accept me as your humble disciple and guide me as to where I should go, for there are many roads before me, and I do not know which one to traverse, for I have lost my way.”

    The ever-compassionate Samartha Sadguru looked kindly at Shivaji Maharaj and said to him, “O Shivaba, I know what doubts assail you. What you saw at the Keerthan was indeed the infinite glory and splendor of Lord Rama, sung by Tukaram Maharaj, his great devotee. It is indeed this essence of truth and splendor that we are all striving to reach.

    “There are many paths to this destination. Just like all paths up a mountain ultimately lead to the peak of the mountain, all paths lead to the same truth, the same essence of the universe.

    “As Lord Vishnu, in his Krishna avatara (incarnation) has said in the Bhagavad Gita, there are four types of yoga: Jnana yoga, Bhakthi yoga, Karma yoga, and Raja yoga.

    Samarth Ramdas acknowledged Shivaji as “Shrimant Yogi,” or a person achieving desires with detachment.

    “Each of these paths is as good as the other. But depending on one’s inherent tendencies, which are a result of one’s actions in this life and preceding lives, one gets attuned to follow a particular path. There is no path that is better than the other. One cannot argue that his path is better than another’s path.

    “According to your tendencies in this life and in previous lives, you were born a warrior. It is this tendency, O Rajan (king), that made you take the oath of Swarajya (a free land) when you were a mere stripling of a boy. It is this tendency that made you capture Torna fort when you were a mere teenager. If a person is standing on a cliff and sees nectar on another cliff separated from his cliff by a deep ravine, he may jump toward the nectar and end up falling in the ravine. Similarly, you are trying to jump from your chosen path of karma (duty) to the path of bhakthi (devotion).”
  2. Speechless world

    Speechless world New Member

    Shivaji Maharaj, who was listening attentively until now, spoke to the Sadguru, “But O Lord, why can’t I become a haridaasa and chant the name of the Lord all the time? What is wrong with me, or what is wrong in choosing that path?”

    The Samaratha said, “Oh Shivaba, you are now enamored by the way of a haridaasa. Let us assume that you do become one. It is of utmost importance that the heart and mind should be one hundred percent directed towards the worship of God. However should you hear that a temple is destroyed, should you hear of innocent people killed because they refused to convert, should you hear of women being abducted and their honor put to stake, would you still be calm? Would you still be able to see Panduranga? If those innocent and hapless women and the orphaned children of the Mughal tyranny start thinking, “If only Shivaji Maharaj had not renounced the world. Why did he do such a ghastly deed?”, when you hear their cries and anguish, would you still be calm? Do you think you will be able to sing the glories of the Lord in peace?”

    Shivaji Maharaj answered, “No, Guru Maharaj. I now realize that I cannot. But is there no way for me to glimpse the infinite glories of Lord Rama, which you have experienced? I know that I can by your grace. Kindly help me in this pursuit as well.”

    The Samartha replied, “Oh Shivaba, I see Lord Rama as clearly as I see you. There are various ways to reach him. I reached him by thinking of him and only him. All my actions were dedicated to him. I thought of him alone as the doer and myself merely as an instrument. When I gave up this false ego, I was able to see him and experience him. There was everlasting bliss. Having achieved his feet, what was there for me to do.
    Yet the Lord instructed me to spread his glory. As I was doing so, I saw the miserable conditions of the people of Sanathana Dharma. They groan under this foreign oppression. Hence I set about constructing temples of my Lord Shree Rama.

    “Take Mahavira (Lord Hanuman). How much was his surrender to the Lord? He did anything and everything for the sake of Lord Rama. He fearlessly flew to Lanka taking Shree Rama’s name. He single-handedly combated the demons at Ashoka Vatika. He neither had fear nor cared for his life. All that mattered was service to Lord Rama. That was his duty.

    “Likewise, O Shivaba, do everything as a service to the Lord. Offer the results to Rama. You do your work. A grihastha (householder), who does his work with devotion and offers the fruits to the lotus feet of Lord Rama is as great, if not greater than a sanyasin (one who has renounced the world).

    “I accept you as my disciple. If you follow me as your guru, here is my advice to you. Let all your worries, doubts, and burdens be with me. Leave them to me, and thinking of me, do your dharma (duty) with sincerity and submit the fruits to Lord Rama. Then you shall reach the very same place, which Shree Tukaram Maharaj and I have reached. Do not have any doubts anymore. I will take you to the abode of Rama.”
    Thus dispelled of all fears and doubts, Shivaji Maharaj fell at the Lotus feet of the Samartha Sadguru and declared, “Oh Sadguru Maharaj. Your words are the Vedas for me. Now my mind is clear. I shall continue performing my duties, and offer the results at your lotus feet, O Maruthi avatar. I am now fearless as I know that you shall guide me, and now no fear or doubt can assail me, since I am protected by your grace.”

    The Samartha Sadguru was pleased, and placing his right hand on the head of Shivaji Maharaj, he declared, “Go now Shivaba. Go to your favorite temple at Tuljapur. Go to Mother Bhavani. Pray to her earnestly for three days, and she will help you in the successful accomplishment of your duty.”

    Thus, cleared of all doubts and fears, Shivaji Maharaj now looked like a tiger roused from his nap. With firm faith in the Sadguru’s words, Shivaji Maharaj went to Tuljapur and prayed earnestly to Mother Bhavani for three days. At the end of three days, as the guru had prophesized, Mother Bhavani appeared before Shivaji Maharaj. Shivaji Maharaj cried with tears of joy, “Jai Bhavani! Jai Raghuveer Samartha! (Victory to the foremost devotee of Rama , who was of the Raghu dynasty, symbolizing Hanuman or Samartha Ramdas). Blessed am I, O Mother, to behold you. Let my tears wash your lotus feet. You and you alone can help me achieve my life’s aim.”

    Mother Bhavani replied, “O Child, it is to help you achieve your life’s aim, that I sent you to Samartha Ramdas. Cling to his feet at all times. Do your duty and rid this earth of all evil people who reside in this holy land. Tough times are ahead for the good people of this land owing to the age of Kali. You can do your dharma. To help you in your work, I shall give you my powerful parashu (axe) and khadga (sword). This will make you invincible. Use this for good, for the protection of the good and the helpless. My blessings are always with you.”

    Thus having received the boon from Mother Bhavani and Sadguru Samartha Ramdas, Shivaji Maharaj was elated. He returned to his duties, and as the future unfolded he became the emperor of the Maratha empire, which at its peak overthrew the Mughal rule from even Delhi and the Bahamanis from Karnataka. Shivaji Maharaja served his Sadguru till the end and reached the goal of eternal bliss by the grace of Sadguru Samarth Ramdas.

    By Sharath Kumar

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