Shivaji was born in Poona in the year 1627 A.D. His father, Shahji Bhonsle, was a Jagirdar. He was a general in the service of the king of Bijapur. Shivaji was entrusted to a Brahmin named Dadaji Kondadev for education. He was influenced very much by listening to Ramayana and Mahabharata from his teacher and also from his mother, Jijiabai. He learnt all martial arts easily. He could not agree to a Muslim ruling his motherland. He wanted to revive the past Hindu glory.
His father married a second time and this helped Shivaji to go back to Poona leaving Bijapur. On returning to Poona, he consolidated a small band of youngsters of his age and started conquering small forts, one after the other. He was a born leader. He was able to train a hill tribe called Mawali in war-fare, and with their help, he conquered the important fort of Purandhar at the age of 20.
After this, he started his struggle with the Muslim rulers. Shivaji conquered a few districts and forts, which were under the rule of the king of Bijapur. The king of Bijapur deputed one Afzal Khan to defeat Shivaji. Afzal Khan planned to kill Shivaji at a personal meeting. But the shrewd Shivaji, anticipating the evil designs, killed Afzal Khan and gave crushing blow to the armies of Bijapur. The king of Bijapur had in come for terms of peace with Shivaji.
Shivaji, then, raised his sword against Moghuls. Aurangazab who was then ruling Delhi, sent one of his efficient generals, Shaista Khan, to conquer Shivaji. Shivaji with his men, disguised as a marriage party attacked Shaista Khan and in the battle, Shaista Khan’s son was killed and Shaista Khan escaped with his fingers cut.
Later, Aurangazeb sent Raja Jaisingh to conquer Shivaji. The latter convinced Shivaji to surrender himself and appear before Aurangazeb. When Shivaji did this, he was deceived and imprisoned. Shivaji escaped from the prison by playing a trick. Shivaji returned to Raigarh, conqured back all the forts he forfeited earlier to Aurangazeb and crowned himself, as king at Raigarh in the year 1647 A.D. He thus revived Hindu monarchy in our country after nearly six centuries of Muslim domination.
Shivaji, though not well educated, was an intelligent king. He could resolve his personal as well as his people’s problems easily. He was a devout Hindu and did his best for revival of Hinduism. He had great respect for women, respected all religions equally and never destroyed any mosque.
Shivaji died in 1680 A.D. at the age of 53. Later no other leader of the same stature, patriotism and ability came to rule this land. Though Shivaji was a Maratha king he is an ideal leader for every Hindu in the country. He had his blessings from his Guru Samartha Ramadasa Swamiji.