Thursday, January 3, 2008


Madapati Hanumanta Rao was born on 1885, at Pokkunur village, in Nandigama taluk, Krishna district. He was a great poet and politician and social worker. He completed his metriculation in first class from Madras University. He was practiced 24 years as advocate, in Hyderabad. He was started Andhra Mahasabha in 1930. He was close associate with Nilagiri and Telugu Patrika Journals. He was translated so many stories and novels from Marathi and Bengali to Telugu. He wrote so many essayes in Telugu, Kannada, Urdu and Hindi languages. Usmania University awarded Doctor of Literature to him for his service of literature. He was the first mayor of Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. He was first chair person of A.P. Sasana Mandali, in 1958. The Indian government awarded him as 'Padmabhushana'. His wife Srimati Manikyamba was also active participant of Andhra Mahasabha. He worked for 'Samaikya Andhra'.

Gidugu venkata Sitapathi was born january 28, 1885, in Bhimunipatnam, in Visakapatnam district. He was completed his B.A. degree from Madras Christian College. Sri vedam Venkataraya sasthri was his guide. He was worked as a teacher some years in Parlakimidi high school. He was participated in Andhra Udyamam. In 1936 he entered to Telugu cine Industry through Gudavalli Ramabrahmam. He worked very short period in Telugu Industry. He wrote so many essayes and novels. In 1948 The Telugu Basha Samithi was started through this VignanaSarvaswam Telugu journal. Gidugu was founder and editor for this. He served nearly 50 years to Telugu literature development.

Sri Adiraju Veerabhadra Rao was born in 1887, in Dendukur village, Madhira taluk, Kammam district. He was serviced as secretary for Andhra Jana sangham in 1921. He wrote so many historical stories, Greek Mythological stories. His greatest book was Kakateeyandhra Darsini.

Mamidipudi Venkata Rangaiah was born in january 1889, in Purini village in Kovur taluk, Nellore district. He was completed his B.A. in 1907, from Madras Pacheyappa College as University first. He was inspired by Bipin Chandra Pal. He was worked nearly 14 years as a tutor in Vijayanagaram college. In that period Gandhiji was came to Vijayanagaram. Srimathi and Sri Mamidipudi met Gandhiji . He was worked as principal Nellore V.R.College. He was editor to Educational India nearly 30 years. He wrote so many text books and defination of constitution. He was chief editor for Vignana Sarvaswa, Sangraha Vignana Kosha journals. He continued his writings from 1908.

Gannavarapu Subbaramaiah was born March 15, 1890, in Soollurpet taluk, Nellore district. He knows tamil, kannada, malayalam, hindi, gujarati, bengali languages. He was very well trained in book-keeping, shorthand and typewriting. At 1912 he associated with Veturi Prabhakara Sasthri and Vedam Venkataraya Sasthri. In that period he worked in Madras Prachya Likhita Pustaka Bhandagar. In that period for writers to see their essayes in Bharati journal was very great. For the Bharathi journal Subbaramaiah was the editor. He served nearly 70 years to Indian journalism.

Nelaturi Venkata Rmanaiah was born in 1891 in Nelatur village, in Nellore district. He was well known as Hampi Venkata Ramanaiah or Vijayanagaram Venkata Ramanaiah. He was a great historian. He worked as a history tutor in Madras Christian College. In 1930, the first doctorate awarded by Madras University for the thesis of Origin of the South Indian Temples, written by Subbaramaiah. The famous books of the Subbaramaiah are Origin of the City of Vijayanagar, further source of Vijayanagara History, Complie and Vijayanagar, Early Muslim Expansion in South India, Velugoti vari Vamsavali, Raghunathabhyudayam etc.He was written so many essayes about history.


Monday, December 24, 2007



The hero who escaped from the prison of the Mughal Emperor himself, to become the ruler of a kingdom devoted to Dharma and the service of the people. As a boy he dedicated himself to Hindu Dharma. He matched cunning against cunning, courage against courage; he was one of the wisest rulers as he was one of the greatest generals.


A small boy is seated on the throne, of curse, on a small throne bound hand and the village Patel. He had dishonored a helpless widow; it was he is duty to protect such persons. Indeed he was a wicked Patel. In his limitless pride he did not even think that a small boy would have the courage to hold an inquiry. Yet the young prince subjected this Patel, who proudly sported a thick moustache, to a proper judicial trial. It was clear that the Patel had done wrong.

In a stern and majestic tone the young prince announced the judgement: both the hands and the feet of the Patel were to be cut off. All present were stunned at the firm devotion of the prince to justice. Not only were they wondering struck but also pleased beyond measure. The townsfolk began to say to one another: Ah! Look! How devoted to justice our young prince is He is not in the least afraid of the wicked people. He metes out fit punishment to all that do wrong. He is kind and loving towards the poor, the downfallen and the wretched. He is ever determined to help them and to protect them. What is more, he regards all women as mothers. Surely when he grows up into manhood, not only will he save our land but also will uphold our Dharma. Therefore let us all stand by him.

Don’t you wish to know who this young prince was? He was none other than Shivaji. At the time of this incident he was just fourteen. His small kingdom comprised the few small villages that skirted the township of Poona. His father was Shivaji who served as general under the Sultan of Bijapur. The father knew only too well the nature of his son. He felt joyous when he thought of the fearless lion-like disposition of his son, which would never let him, bow down to any foreigner. How the father became aware of this fearless nature of his son is itself and interesting story.

On a certain occasion Shahaji took his son to the court of the Sultan of Bijapur. Shivaji was then not even twelve years of age. Shahaji touched the ground thrice and saluted the Sultan. He asked his son to do the same thing. But…Shivaji only retreated a few steps. He stood erect with his head unbent. His dazzling eyes seemed to carry with them his determination that he would not bow down to a foreign ruler. He walked back from the court with a lion-like gait and bearing.

Till then no one had dared to behave in that manner at the court of the Sultan of Bijapur. All were wonder-struck at the boldness of the young boy.

Did such acts of the son enrage Shahaji? They did not. On the contrary he was mightily pleased at heart. He had not been fortunate enough to be an independent ruler. He sent his son to Poona, blessing him that at least he might become an independent ruler.

You may ask. How did Shivaji acquire all these noble virtues courage, heroism, love for the motherland and love of Dharma? Even when he was a little child his mother Jijabai used to tell him stories of heroes, of saints and sages who appear in the Ramayana, the Mahabharatha and the Puranas. As Shivaji listened to these tales of heroism and Dharmic deeds, he grew more and more eager to be like Rama or Krishna, Bheema or Arjuna. He was further blessed in that he had for his teacher and guides such a great man as Dadaji Kondadev was. He was also inspired by the memories of the glorious empire of the Vijayanagara Kings in Karnataka.

A Fortress Of Fortresses - For The Goddess Of Independence

Shivaji was born in the fort of Shivneri in 1630. Strangely enough, his task of building up an independent kingdom too was to be accomplished with the help of forts only. Even at the young age of sixteen he captured one of the forts. It was the fort of Toranagadh. Torana! What a beautiful name, full of meaning and significance! It was as though he had woven an auspicious garland for independence. The saffron colored sacred banner, the Banner of the Lord, ‘Bhagavajhenda’, fluttered on the fort. Shivaji ordered his soldiers to strengthen the fort, this first fort that was to lead to independence. When the ground was being dug in the fort, the diggers saw hidden treasures. Was that the first gift of the goddess of Fortune to the Goddess of Independence? Strangely, the poor diggers who came by so much wealth were not in the least move by thoughts of greed. The carried the entire treasure to Shivaji handed it over to him. They knew it was wealth granted for the struggle for independence. It belonged to the lord and they were not to touch it.

After Toranagadh Shivaji began to capture one fort after another. The news that Shivaji was capturing forts reached the Sultan of Bijapur. In order to crush Shivaji the Sultan hit upon a treacherous plan. He got Shahaji captured by deceitful means; then Shahaji was brought to the Sultan’s presence and was thrown into prison. A rumor spread that Shahaji would be tortured and executed. This news was like a thunderbolt to Shivaji who was rejoicing in the birth of an era of independence. His other Jijabai was heart-broken. She felt as if the God of Death himself was about t snatch her sacred ‘mangalya’ (The symbol of a life-long partnership with the husband). On the heels of this news came tow other bits of frightening news: one, that Fateh Khan, the valiant Sardar of Bijapur, was proceeding against Shivaji with a large army; another, that Farrad Khan yet another valiant general was attacking Sambhaji, the elder brother of Shivaji, It was clear the Sultan was posing these threats only to see that Shivaji gave up fighting and surrendered to him. If he did not surrender, if the continued to fight, his father’s life would be in danger. Shivaji was worried, not knowing what he should do. At this juncture his fourteen year-old wife, Sayibai, said to him; "why do you worry yourself over this? See that your father is freed. See to it also that you retain this state of independence. Destroy your enemies." She was a worthy wife of hero like Shivaji, wasn’t she?

Shivaji came to a decision. The commander of Purandaragadh was in the employ of the Sultan of Bijapur; Shivaji won his heart with soft-spoken, friendly words. He stationed a small army there. The soldiers of Shivaji fought against Fateh Khan who attacked the fort. This was the first test of the battle for independence. So valiant were the men of Shivaji that Fateh Khan had to retreat and run away. Elsewhere Sambhaji to broke the back of the attack of Farrad Khan.

All this was victory. But how was he to save his father? Shivaji was deeply trouble by this thought. Suddenly, like a flash of lightning, a plan occurred to him. His intellect was as sharp as his arms were supple. Shahjehan was the Emperor in Delhi at that time. So he wrote to Emperor: "My father is kept captive by the Sultan of Bijapur. As soon as he is released my father and I will willingly serve you. We are very eager". The Sultan of Bijapur came to know of this. He knew well that the Emperor of Delhi was waiting for an opportunity to attack him. He feared what would happen to him if the Emperor decided to attack him. So with all due honor the released Shahaji. With his valor and his diplomacy, Shivaji thus overcame the first great danger to freedom.

Shivaji was twenty-eight. By then Kondana, Purandara, Kalyan, Raigadh and other forts numbering forty flows the flag of freedom. It was also at this time that on the West Coast the English, the Portuguese and other foreigners set foot. Shivaji was apprehensive that some day these foreign armies might occupy the whole land. Intent on containing them he began building fortresses by the sea. He began to equip himself with warships and trained the navy. Shivaji was the first among those who in their farsighted vision saw the lurking dangers of foreign domination, and acted to check such aggression.

The Terror Of The Enemies

Sultan Adilshah saw how Shivaji’s dream of Swaraj would come true, and felt both anxious and helpless. Every day he received news of some fort or the other falling into Shivaji’s hands! The Sultan had a foster mother, by name Uliya Begum. She hated Shivaji like poison. One day she herself held a Durbar. The far-famed heroes of Bijapur all attended it. At that Durbar Uliya Begum threw out the challenge to all present: "if there is one amongst you who can capture and bring Shivaji captive here, let him accept this token gift of ‘pan’." So saying she held out the silver platter in which was place the ceremonial ‘pan’ and betel-nut offering. A sever-foot tall robust general stood up and accepted the gift. The general was Afzal Khan. He was a Pathan general who was as brave as he was cruel and deceitful. The Sultan sent a strong force of 25,000 soldiers to help him.

Afzal Khan first proceeded to destroy Bhavani of Tuljapur, the family deity worshipped by Shivaji. His axe broke. The idol of the Goddess Bhavani of Tuljapur to pieces. The Khan desecrated this idol and another in Pandharpur. Shivaji was being informed of all these happenings daily. The Khan knew that as long as Shivaji was safely behind his fortresses and was in the jungle areas, it was difficult to defeat him. He hopped that Shivaji would come into the open plains and offer battle if he indulged in such desecration of temple, slaughter of cows and the molestation of women. Then it would be easier for him to defeat Shivaji.

Shivaji was not slow to understand this scheme; he knew that the Khan would overpower him if the came down from the forts and offered battle. So he made up his mind to proceed to the new fort of Pratapgadh which he had built in the forest of Javali. He then planed to attract the Khan to this place and fight him there. Just at this time he had a dream’ in this dream Goddess Bhavani appeared to them and blessed him saying that he would be victorious.

Afzal Khan wanted to make Shivaji come down from the fort of Pratapgadh and meet him on the plains. Towards this end he sent a representative of his with secret instructions. He met Shivaji and politely informed him that Afzal Khan was a great of his father and that he did not intend any harm and Shivaji should come down to meet him. In reply, Shivaji sent a flattering letter through his own representative. He wrote, ‘You are like an uncle to me. You must forgive all my crimes. You should come to Pratapgadh and uplift me and take me to the Sultan of Bijapur." The humble and pleading tone of Shivaji’s letter deceived the Khan. And the representative sent by Shivaji praised the courage of the Khan and made fun of Shivaji’s cowardice. So the Khan was very much pleased.

The Khan arrived at the forest of Javali with all his forces. He stationed himself right at the foot of Pratapgadh. It was decided that Shivaji and Afzal Khan should meet as friends. It was also agreed that as Shivaji was a little terrified, Afzal Khan alone should meet Shivaji and the body guards of both should remain at some distance.

It was the night before this meeting. Who could sleep on such a night? Netaji, Tanaji, Kanoji and other trusted lieutenants of Shivaji came down from the fort and with their battalions, hid in the forest; they stood ready for action. They had been instructed that they should fall upon the enemy ranks and destroy them the moment they heard the booming cannon on the fort. The day dawned. As usual Shivaji bathed, and worshipped Lord Shiva. He put on a metallic helmet to protect the head and a metallic cost to protect he chest. In the scabbard at his waist were the dagger ‘Bhavani’ and a sharp knife. Meditating on Goddess Bhavani he went down from the fort, to meet Afzal Khan. They were to meet halfway down the hill; the place was hidden from view from the came of Afzal Khan. In the shamiana the Khan waited for Shivaji. He rose as soon as he saw Shivaji. Their eyes met for short while. Pretending to offer him the customary embrace of friendship, the Khan invited Shivaji. He stretched both his powerful and long arms in an act of embrace of friendship, the Khan invited Shivaji. He stretched both his powerful and long arms in an act of embrace. It seemed as though it was an embrace of death itself. But whose embrace of death itself. But whose death? Shivaji too came forward and embraced him. At once the Khan drew out his sharp knife and biting his lips in anger thrust it into the side of Shivaji. Shivaji’s steel vesture with a grating noise, Quickly Shivaji released himself from the hold of the Khan and dragging out his own sharp knife thrust it deep into the entrails of the Khan. The Khan tried to run away. But Shivaji flung his sword at him and at one stroke the head of the khan fell down severed.

Shivaji stuck the severed head of the Khan on his sword and ran up the fort. Simultaneously the cannon also boomed as if it I would cut opens the skies. The Khan’s soldiers were rejoicing, forgetful of the situation in the thought that the Khan would have caught Shivaji. Suddenly the soldiers of ‘Shivaji punched upon them like leopards. Godess Tulaja Bhavani was now fully avenged. The Khan’s forces were completely destroyed. Shivaji was all-victorious. He sent Jijabai a gift. Can you guess what gift was? The head of Afzal Khan!

Shivaji fame as the slayer of Afzal Khan spread everywhere in our own country and abroad. A dark and dismal gloom descended on the Sultan of Bijapur. But Shivaji did not grow careless in the joy of victory. Taking advantages of this temp of victory he proceeded to other places and annexed quite a few forts of the Sultan of Bijapur.

The Sultan of Bijapur again chose another general and sent him to attack Shivaji with a force seventy thousand strong. The general, Siddi Jauhar, tried hard to capture Shivaji who was then in Panhalgadh. Even the English came to his assistance with their artillery. The attack gathered more and more strength. Shivaji hoped that the attack would lose its force and strength as soon as the monsoon set in. But in this Shivaji was disappointed. At the same time, in answer to a request from the Sultan of Bijapur, the Badshah of Delhi sent his uncle Shaista Khan with an army, a hundred thousand strong, to attack Shivaji. All thought that the hopes of Swaraj and the survival were completely blotted out.

During this period of great danger Shivaji’s mother Jijabai took charge of the administration in the place of her son and managed the affairs ably. In the meanwhile Shivaji came to the decision that he should few himself from this encirclements. But how? For Siddi Jauhar guarded the fort from below. Shivaji thought of the less dangerous mode of escape. He sent to Siddi Jauhar through his envoy a letter offering to surrender. He had appealed earnestly that he would surrender unconditionally the next day and that he should be given pardon. The moment news of this surrender reached the soldiers of Jauhar they spent the whole night in great merriment. They hardly knew that such letters from Shivaji were sweet only to deceive. It was night of pouring rain, and terrible thunder and lightning. Just at that moment Shivaji and 800 of his men got down the fort and proceeded stealthily towards Vishagadh. The soldiers posted to watch the enemies were no doubt in their tents, by they were lost in merriment thinking of the surrender of Shivaji. Even the slightest suspicion would have resulted in utter destruction. Hence Shivaji’s men were anxious at every step. But Bhavani’s blessings wee with this mall battalion. They were able to Escape unnoticed.

The group of Mavali soldiers carrying Shivaji in a palanquin ran faster and faster. As they ran the whole area was lit up with a large streak of lightning. One of the spies of Siddi Jauhar noticed the party and he ran to inform Siddi Jauhar of this escape. On hearing this Jauhar was thunder-struck. Still he did not lose heart. He sent for his son-in-law Siddi Masood. He was entrusted with the cavalry and was sent in hot pursuit of Shivaji. Shivaji too felt that it would be difficult to escape from this case. But once again he thought of plan. He sat in another palanquin and traveled in a different direction. There was a man in the army who was like Shivaji. These man put on the clothes of Shivaji and sat in the first Shivaji’s soldiers, captured him and proceeded to Siddi Jauhar. But when the captive was questioned it was found that he was a ‘Shivaji’ by name and was just a barber of Panhalgadh! All were put to shame.

So Siddi Masood again took up the chase. By that time Shivaji and his soldiers had already covered twenty-five miles and were now near the valley of Gajapur. Vishalgadh was a few miles from there. Five thousands soldiers of Masood raced towards the group. Shivaji had a brave lieutenant, a man strong like Bheema. He was Baji Prabhu Deshpande. He asked Shivaji to proceed to Vishalgadh taking half the force with him. With the remaining half he was their face the mighty battle on of Siddi Masood. It was a sight to see Baji Prabhu wielding two swords in both his hands.

In that narrow valley Baji Prabhu began cutting down the Pathan soldiers who rolled in again and again like waves. In the battle he too was wounded all over the body and blood was flowing out. In spite of this he gave battle till the evening. Many of his soldiers too fell in this battle. Finally Baji Prabhu fell a victim to an enemy’s sword that severely wounded him. At the same time Shivaji had overpowered the soldiers who were attacking Vishalgadh, and climbing up the fort let the cannon resound in Victory. As Baji Prabhu lay dying he heard this sound. He died in peace, happy that his efforts for his master had not been in vain. The valley was made scatted by the blood of this martyr. From hence this valley came to be known as Pavan Khindi or the Sacred Valley.

The news that Shivaji escaped from Panhalgadh and reached his capital fell on the ears of the Sultan of Bijapur. He felt like one who was struck by a thousand thunderbolts at once. He could not summon again the courage to attack Shivaji. But Shivaji had the other danger from Shaista Khan to attend to. How was he to free himself from this? For this Shivaji chose the month sacred to the Muslims when they observe Ramzan. It was a time when the community would fast all day and then eat sumptuously and be fast asleep at night. The day also was the anniversary of the coronation of Aurangzeb. Need it be said that on that day there would be all the revelry and merriment of a great feast? On that day Shivaji came down from Raigadh with an army of two thousand soldiers. He stationed himself at a distance of some two miles from Poona. Shaista Khan was then camping in the Lal Mahal at Poona, Where Shivaji had been brought up as a boy. In and around Poona a hundred thousand soldiers of the Moghul Emperor were stationed.

A childhood friend of Shivaji by name Babaji moved towards the Moghul camp with a small force of soldiers. Behind him proceeded Shivaji with another small troop. Babaji entered the city, chatting and shouting. The sentries stopped him and his men. But without a moment´s hesitation, Babaji said, "We too, are the Khan´s men-, we just went out to keep watch and are now coming back." He and his men disregarded the sentries and quietly entered the city. Shivaji´s soldiers followed them. Shivaji went directly towards the gates at the rear of the Lal Mahal. From there he went to the Kitchen and cut down all who were there. From there he proceeded to the place where Shaista Khan was sleeping. He had to pull down a small wall that obstructed his entry. A servant heard the wall collapse and went to inform the Khan of what was happening. But the Khan was so sleepy ´ that he drove the servant away saying that it must be some rat in the kitchen.

Shivaji and his men rushed in. By that time the entire Lal Mahal was never be rating with shouts which announced that the enemy had broken in. The wives of Shaista Khan hid him behind a curtain. Shivaji burst in and flung his sword. Three fingers of the Khan, one as it were for the three syllables of the name of Shivaji, were chopped off by this throw.

The Khan jumped down from the window. By then the Moghul army had surrounded the Lal Michel. In this utter confusion Shivaji and his men shouted, "Catch the enemy, cut him into piece ´ s!" They opened the doors of the Lal Mahal and went away. They´ escaped and raced to Simhaoadh on the horses that were waiting for them in readiness, This incident convinced Shivaji´s enemies that he was not just a mountain rat´ but some sort of a fiend or demon, of superhuman powers. Aurangzeb was put to unbearable shame and even transferred Shaista Khan to Ben gal as a punishment.

To build up such a vast kingdom independently and to rule it with an army and a navy, Shivaji needed lots of money. Where could he hope to obtain so much wealth for the purpose? He decided to extract this money from Aurangzeb himself who was enjoying the wealth of this country. In those days Surat was known to be almost the city of Kubera, the God of Wealth. So he attacked Surat on one occasion and then emptied the city of its great wealth.

In The Clutches Of The Moghul Emperor

This was the limit of Aurangzeb´s patience and he was in a great fit of rage. But he checked himself from leading an army against Shivaji. He had known well how sharp the tearing nails of this $mountain rat´ were. So he thought of a plan. He decided that he should send a ´Lion´ to overpower this lion. He chose for task the King, Raja Jayasimha. (Incidentally, ´Simha´ means a lion.) Jayasimha was a great warrior and a hero. He was also a clever general. What a shame that a man like him should he be subservient to a foreigner who was ruling the land! Jayasimha proceeded south with his large army. He won over the Sultan of Bijapur to his side. The battle against Shivaji began. All of a sudden Shivaji wrote a letter to Jayasimha informing him that he would agree to a friendly compromise. What was more, he met Jayasimha and told him that he would remain loyal to the Badshah at Delhi.

Shivaji was a lion that had grown up independently in the mountain ranges of Sahyadri. How then did he all of a sudden agree to bow down to the Badshah? All were baffled. Many thought -that there lay behind this some secret plan. It is possible that Shivaji had planned to go to Delhi on the pretext of serving the Badshah as a dependent and then to put an end to the life of Aurangzeb in a direct encounter. This was perhaps a venture of greater heroism and sharper strategy than ever before in his life. Accordingly, Shivaji proceeded to meet the Emperor, Aurangzeb. His son Sambhaji also accompanied him. At home, in the land of freedom, all were filled with great anxiety. As the proceeded, the Hindu community welcomed him and With great respect Dowed down to him. Shivaji reached Agra in order to meet Aurangzeb. The latter too was equally tactful. He never let Shivaji approach him. He bid him stay at a distance in the court. This ´was a great disappointment to Shivaji´s hopes. Aurangzeb also acted in a manner ´ that insulted Shivaji. Aurangzeb did not , keep the promise that he would treat him with respect. Naturally Shivaji was greatly enraged. Ignoring Aurangzeb he left the court.

Shivaji was now in great danger. For Aurangzeb was not such a fool as to let an enemy who had come within his reach escape easily. He ordered Shivaji to be imprisoned and to be executed also.

In spite of the gravity of the situation Shivaji did not lose heart. At this critical hour his intellect and his courage shone more brightly. Suddenly Shivaji ´took ill.´ He soon grew worse´. Shivaji begged of Aurangzeb that his Maratha soldiers might be allowed to return. Aurangzeb felt relieved ´and permitted them to go. Shivaji began distributing sweets to the Fakirs, mendicants and ascetics of the town hoping that his ill ness may be cured. He began sending gifts ´also to the wealthy in the town. Aurangzeb permitted all these. Even, such a very clever man as Aurangzeb had no doubts. No Vaidya or Hakim could improve Shivaji´s ´condition´. The day of Shivaji´s execution had been fixed. On the previous day * Shivaji´s ´illness´ grew very serious, and he lost ´consciousness´.

As usual the baskets that would carry the sweets were brought in. Shivaji who was lying on his ´sickbed´ suddenly jumped into one of the baskets and so did his son Sambhaji. Immediately the servants put on the lids and carried the baskets away.

The sentries who had been examining the baskets were convinced by long custom that they contained nothing but sweets. Even on that day the chief of the sentries, Polad Khan, examined a few of the baskets. They contained merely sweets. Luckily the Khan did not chance upon the baskets in which Shivaji and Sambhaji were hidden. That was by the grace of Goddess Bhavani, coupled with the forgetfulness of the Khan. He must have meant ´Let him live´ when he said, ´Let the baskets go.´

Inside the prison where Shivaji had been lying a little while before, a friend of Shivaji by name Hiroji lay down. He put on the royal ring, which Shivaji had given him. He lay down, with his hand, which showed this ring thrust out. The rest of the body had been covered with the blanket. Madari, an innocent looking lad, was massaging the limbs. Polad Khan used to peep in now´. and again just to find out how´ ". Shivaji fared. T W day came to a close and it was nightfall. The ´Shivaji´ who was lying there all the time got up_ He made up the blankets and the pillows to look like a man on the couch. Putting on his usual clothes, he came out and announced to the sentries that the condition of Shivaji was very serious and that it was a matter of a few hours for Shivaji. He said he- was going to bring some medicine. So saying he went out. Madari too quietly followed him. Both went away never to return. Inside, on the couch, lay the huddled imitation of Shivaji. Outside the prison the sentries stood with swords drawn.

The day dawned. That was the day appointed for the execution of Shivaji. Polad Khan came in. There was a strange silence. He grew suspicious. As he stepped in the saw ´Shivaji´ asleep. For a moment this sight put some comfort into his heart. But there was no movement. Thinking that Shivaji, might have died the Khan came near and pulled back the blanket. He was shocked to see just the bare bed and the pillows! Shivaji had disappeared. You can imagine the feelings of Polad Khan, and more important still, of Aurangzeb. They must have felt the agony of being stung at once by a thousand scorpions. Aurangzeb at once ordered his army to capture Shivaji and the army set out in all directions.

By this time Shivaji and Sambhaji had already mounted the horses that were kept in readiness for them and proceeded south. They dashed away at great speed. On the way they were sheltered comfortably in the Maths established by Swami Samarth Ramdas.

Like a holy man in the robes of a ´sanyasi´, Shivaji finally reached Raigadh. For a while even his mother Jijabai could hot recognize her son. But when she understood who it - was, what a shock of recognition! Who can describe the ecstasy, at such a moment, of a mother who had born such a noble son?

When the news of Shivaji´s escape from Agra reached the ears of his enemies in the south, they were all speechless and helpless. Not just that Shivaji´s fame spread all over India. Shivaji had thrown dust into the eyes of the greatest schemer and politician like Aurangzeb and had escaped from the latter´s capital where all the twenty-four hours of the day sentries stood with drawn swords. He had evaded the gaze of the Moghul soldiery for a distance of a thousand miles. The world had never before heard of such daring and cleverness.

Shivaji The Emperor -The Protector Of The Land And Its Dharma

Shivaji established an independent empire that was a source of inspiration to all the Hindus. Yet he had not been crowned in accordance with the rites of the Shastras. Many, therefore, did not feel that he was truly the - King. So a great pundit from Kashi came down south to remedy this shortcoming in the life of Shivaji. This great pundit, Gagabhatta, crowned Shivaji King by name, in accordance with the rites of the Shastras. This great event took place in 1674. Shivaji was then 44 years of age. The towering fort of Raigadh became the capital. After touching his mother´s feet and obtaining her blessings, Shivaji sat on a golden throne on the fort. Gagabhatta held over his head the golden umbrella, The symbol of Kingship, and proclaimed that Shivaji had become the Chatrapati. Women offered ´arati´. Sages and saints blessed him. The people assembled shouted in great joy "Victory to Shivaji Maharaj!" The cannons over the forts resounded. The Sultan of Bijapur and the English acknowledged Shivaji as an independent King and sent him gifts. Samarth Ramdas sang in praise of this great event: "The land and its Dharma have been uplifted. A kingdom of bliss has arisen.

Shivaji did not just content himself with establishing an independent kingdom by defeating his enemies. He also undertook reforms to make his people happy and contented. To him the people were the gods and he would let no one harm them. His soldiers had to go far to defeat the enemies. To these soldiers he had laid down a firm rule: "No harm should come to the people whom you meet on the way. Their standing crops should not be touched." Shivaji would always mete out severe punishment to those who disobeyed his orders. Shivaji was all affection for the poor farmers of villages. They were all, at that time, groaning under the injustice of wealthy Zamindars. Shivaji took over the land of such Zamindars and distributed them among the tillers of the soil.

Untouchability too was rampant, among the Hindus at that time as it is today. Society had branded some amongst its own members untouchables and had kept them at, a distance from the others. Shivaji loved them also. He invited them to join his army and promoted them, to high positions and offices in it. They too served Shivaji and looked up to him with great devotion. They struggled hard for the establishment of Swaraj. Many of them gave up their lives too fighting. Shivaji set an example to all Hindus that they belonging to the same faith should not hate one another.

Shivaji was also greatly interested in the education of the people. Sanskrit language had lost its glorious position. Everywhere Persian was being held up to esteem. Shivaji saw to it that Sanskrit words were substituted for Persian words.

Sometimes, Hindus who had been forced to become Muslims wished to go back. But the Hindus refused to take back such converts. Shivaji felt that this- was not right. So he reconverted all those who wished to return to their old faith. He also cast aside the foolish belief that it was sinful to undertake a journey on the seas. He undertook expeditions on the sea and established forts.

Shivaji was very angry with people who were corrupt or who worked against their country. He hated those who betrayed the land. He would have punished even his own son if the son had turned against his country. Shivaji was an embodiment of justice. He never showed any special favors to his relatives. He always encouraged those who were virtuous and meritorious. This enabled those who were virtuous to progress and occupy high places. There was no scope for selfish contrivers in his kingdom. In this manner Shivaji revolutionized every department. of life.

This is the thrilling tale of how Shivaji won Swaraj. As we read it don´t we feel that we too should follow the example of Shivaji? Why is this so? It is because Shivaji underwent all hardships for the sake of his country, for the sake of its Dharma. He did not care for his own life and quite often entered the very jaws of death. Till his last breath he lived for his country and for the Dharma of the Hindus. It is nearly three hundred years since he died but the memory of this great man lights up the torch of inspiration.


Thursday, December 20, 2007


Abburi Varada Raajesvara raavu, (1923-1993)
[Abburi Varada Rajeswara Rao]
Prominent poet, critic and educator. On the editorial staff of several literary magazines. Taught for some time at Univ. Wisconsin, Madison.

Harikathaa Pitaamaha,
Ajjaada Aadibhatla Naaraayana Daasu (1864-1945)
[Ajjada Adibhatla Narayana Dasu]
The foremost modern exponent of the literary and performing arts genre "harikatha." Great musician and scholar of Telugu, Sanskrit and Persian. Principal of Maharaja Music College, Viziyanagaram.

[Ajanta -Penumarti Viswanatha Sastry]
Eminent poet and editor. Made a very big impact on modern Telugu poetry even though he wrote only a few verses in all his life in a highly individualistic tone.

[Akkiraju Unakantam]
Eminent scholar of Telugu, Sanskrit, English, etc. Writer. Influenced early Telugu literary criticism.

padakavitaa pitaamaha, harikeertanaacaarya,
Tallapaka Annamacharya
One of the greatest composers of South Indian classical tradition. World-class. Wrote more than 32000 compositions known as 'padam' as well as other major works. More than 14000 have been discovered to date on copper plate and stone inscriptions. He was the head of an astonishingly brilliant lineage. Seems to have influenced some other great composers of that time, e.g., Purandara Dasa.

( 1925-1998)
[Arudra -Bhagavatula Siva Sankara Sastry one*, ]
Major modern poet, critic, movie lyricist and literary historian. His "tvamEvaahaM" and the encyclopedic work on Telugu literature "samagraaMdhra saahityaM" are very influential.

( 1933-)
[Bapu -Sattiraju Lakshmi Narayana one*, two*, ..]
Eminent painter, cartoonist, movie director, writer, journalist. World class artist. Uniquely personalized style blending to perfection the classical Telugu lines and modern techniques. Had an enormous impact on contemporary Telugu arts, movies, etc.

[Bhandaru Achchamamba]
Writer and early pioneer of women's issues. Published a well known biographical work on prominent national and international women, "abalaa satcaritra ratnamaala" (1901).

Caaso ( 1915-1993)
[Chaganti Somayajulu]
Eminent writer of short stories and poetry. Although he wrote sparingly, many of his short stories have been translated into other languages. His indirect contributions include his influence on his friends such as Sri Sri and Narayana Babu. He was a long time president of Progressive Writers Association, arasaM.

[Chellapilla Venkata Sastry]
Brilliant and highly influential poet in the classical genre. Prolific literary genius. Trained a large number of famous writers. The second of the great duo tirupati vEnkaTa kavulu. Honoured as the first poet laureate of Andhra.

[Chilukuri Narayana Rao]
Well-known lexicographer, historian and scholar. Published "aandhra Bhaashaa caritraM" (1937) and a revised version of Sankaranarayana's English-Telugu Dictionary, etc.

Sinaare -1931
C. Narayana Reddy
Well-known poet, educator, critic, administrator, and song writer for the movies. For his epic poem viSvaMbhara in modern style the highest literary award in India j~naanapeetha, was given to him in 1987. He also produced several other major works, e.g., karpUra vasaMta raayalu.

Arthur Cotton (1803-1899)
Perhaps the most beloved western personality in Telugu history. Knighted. One of the finest civil engineers of 19th cent. Built the anicut on Godavari at Dhavaleswaram among other things. His irrigation works and plans transformed the economy of the coastal districts and very strongly influenced its current domineering position.

Charles Philip Brown (1798-1884)
Brilliant scholar of Telugu. Although he was not an Indian, he was intimately connected with Telugu literature for nearly sixty years and immensely contributed to its progress.

[Damerla Rama Rao]
Brilliant artist. Became well-known within a very short life span. Founded the Andhra School of Art at Rajamundry. There is an art gallery named after him at Rajamundry today.

[Divakarla Tirupati Sastry]
One of the greatest classical poets in the modern era. Excelled in several genres. The first of the famous duo "Tirupati Venkata kavulu."

( 1902-1975)
Gora -Goparaju Ramachandra Rao
Highly influential thinker and social reformer. Dedicated his life to developing atheistic thought in Andhra and beyond. Authored several works. Founded the Atheist Center, Vijayawada. His son lavaNaM is also a well-known atheist and thinker.

navayuga vaitaaLikudu,
Gurajada Appa Rao,
Perhaps the greatest modern writer in Telugu. Commands tremendous respect. Uncompromising intellectual and a social reformer in his own way. More than any one else's, his works defined the beginning of modern Telugu drama, poetry and short story. The Kanyasulkam drama and much of his poetry are world class. His contributions lay not only in the techniques but also in the refreshing, original and modern outlook and a deep humanistic spirit that he instilled in Telugu literature.

Visva daata, Desoddhaaraka,
[Kasinathuni Nageswara Rao]
Great philanthropist, scholar, editor, journalist and entrepreneur

[Mandapaka Parvatriswara Sastry]
Brilliant scholar of Sanskrit and Telugu. Authored 23 Satakas, several maalikas, and kaavyas. Well known for his travelogue yaatraa caritra.

Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna
Brilliant musician in the South Indian classical style. Perhaps the finest from Andhra in his generation. Composer, vocalist, and music scholar.

[Mutnuri Krishna Rao]
Great editor and journalist. His Krishna Patrika was instrumental in shaping the Telugu Literary scene for four decades beginning 1907.

Nataraja Ramakrishna
Very influential dancer, scholar and writer on Telugu dance forms. Single handedly revived the forgotten art form "aaMdhra naaTyaM." Although he was born in Bali, his service to Telugu, his ancestral language and its culture is very meritorious.

[Oleti Parvatisam]
Pioneering modern writer. The second of the famous duo "vEMkata paarvateeSvara kavulu." Authored major kavyas, children's literature and novels. Produced several translations.

Naada Brahma,
Kaakarla Tyaaga Raaju (1767-1847)
Perhaps the most famous of all the South Indian composers. Part of the great trio of Carnatic music. Great writer. Devotee of Lord Rama. He has a very large lineage of brilliant pupils (Sishya parampara). Greatly praised and revered as a saint. Hailed as "on whose art no human hand can improve!"

Vedantam Satyanarayana Sarma
Famous exponent of the kUcipUDi style dance drama. Well-known for his portrayal of female roles, e.g., satya bhaama in bhaamaa kalaapaM. Influenced several other artists.

Telugu caitanyOdyama saarathi,
[Kandukuri Viresalingam]
One of the most brilliant and profoundly influential writers in Telugu. One of the greatest social reformers of 19th century India.

Vecheru Narayana Rao,
Eminent literary critic and educator. Krishnadevaraya Professor of Languages and Cultures of Asia, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison. Produced several well-known translations of medieval Telugu poetry in English. Collaborated with many western scholars. His seminal work "telugulO kavitaa viplavaala svarUpaM" is highly influential.

Vempati China Satyam
Eminent dancer, scholar and dance composer in the kUcipUDi style. Founded the Kuchipudi Art Academy, Madras and a trained several top performers.

kavi samraa,
[Visvanatha Satyanarayana]
The greatest classical style writer in modern times. A literary institution all by himself. His work and personality invoked just about every superlative (positive as well as negative) from various critics. Prolific writer and critic. Eminent educator. Significantly contributed to many diverse literary genres . Received India's highest literary award j~naanapeeTha for his raamaayaNa kalpa vRkshaM. His novels such as Veyi paDagalu are equally famous.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Shivaji's preceptor and guide, Ramadas imparted to him the message that till we fulfil the required duty towards the motherland. he provide succour and guidance to thousands.

Samartha Ramadas The night was calm and serene. That night there was a religious discourse by Tukaram. People from all the surrounding villages had gathered to hear the discourse. Shivaji Maharaja was also present. People would forget themselves when listening to the discourses of Tukaram. It would be so enchanting.

At last Tukaram sang the mangala. Shivaji Maharaja got up from his seat, moved a step or two and bowed down at the feet of Tukaram. "Blessed I am by the nectar of your words. I realized that this kingdom and my rule over it are all insignificant compared to Sankeertana (glorification) of Lord Vittala. Maharaja, release me from the barren responsibility of this sword and armor. I too would like to spend the rest of my life in the Sankeertana of Vittala. Teach me the Nama-Sankeertana."

Sant Tukaram, saint among saints, was neither happy nor surprised at the words Of Shivaji Maharaja. On the other hand he was very much hurt. "How could it be? What would happen if Shivaji were to abandon his sword and adorn his hands with Tamboora!"-Tukaram thought. Patting Shivaji on the back, he said, "Up, up! Only Samartha Ramadas can be your worthy Guru. He will tell you what your next course of action is to be. See him, and follow his advice. He is your real guide and Guru."

Who is this Samartha?
Known everywhere as Samartha Ramadas, Narayana was born in the village Jamb, on the bank of river Godavari in Aurnangabad district. The Shanbhog of that village was Sooryaji Pant Thosar. His wife was Ranoobai. Sooryaji Pant worshipped the Sun God. Gangadhara. Pant was the eldest son of Sooryaji Pant. Narayana was born next to him.

Narayana took birth on Sri Ramanavami, that is, the ninth day of the month of Chaitra in the year 1530 of Shalivahana Era (1608 A.D.). It was this Narayana who later became the famous Samartha Ramadas.

"I Will Think Over it, Ma"
Narayana was growing as the darling son of his parents in Jamb. Unlike his brother Gangadhara, Narayana was very mischievous. There was no end to his pranks.

Disgusted with his mischievous son, his mother once said, "How long can you go on like this, Narayana?"

"What else can I do, mother?"

"Narayana, have you ever given thought to your future?"

"That is all right Ma, I will now think over it."

'"What do you do next, my son?"

"Let me think over it, mother."

"Think over what?" She asked him again.

"Think over this world. About the future of this universe."

Ranoobai laughed at her son's words. "He is always mischievous she thought and kept quiet. Narayana would get over his mischievous tendency when he is married, some said. In those days, it was customary to perform marriage of boys by the age of 8 or 10. Why not find a suitable bride forNarayana? - Thought his parents. But Narayana declared, "I shall not marry". Narayana would run away from the spot, whenever people raised the topic of his marriage and hide himself somewhere.

One day he was hiding in the temple of Lord Anianeya, outside the village. He did not know how long he was hiding. His thoughts were enveloped in LordAnjaneya. Life-long celibate Hanuman was the devout servant of Sri Rama.

Hanumanta - unsurpassed in intellect. Anjaneya, who had traced Seeta, wife of Sri Rama. Mighty Maruti! The very idol of Maruti inspired Narayana. "I must also lead a life of celibacy, life-long Brahmacharya. I must also become strong and sturdy, like Hanumanta," he thought. Born on Rama- navami, Narayana saw from his mind's eye the purpose of his life, by the darshah of Maruti

An Ideal
From that day onwards Narayana was a changed man. All these days he was talkative. He suddenly became mum. He appeared to be thinking over something always.

Brother Gangadhara got married. Father Sooryaji Pant died. Mother Ranoobai began worrying about the future of her son Narayana: "My son seems to have lost even his power of speech. He has become dumb. What should be done now?"

"All will be right, if you celebrate his marriage" - well wishes told her.

People had suggested such a remedy earlier when Narayana was very boisterous. Now he had become very sober and silent.

Now also people suggested the same remedy.

Ranoobai also agreed to this. But her son would kick a row if anybody raised the subject of his marriage.

One day, Ranoobai asked her son. "My son, will you heed my words or not?"

Narayana did not break his silence.

I am pleading, as your mother. Please fulfil my one request."

Narayana looked up as if to know what his mother had to say.

"You get married. Please fulfil at least this one wish of your mother," she appealed.

It was difficult for Narayana to say ‘no’ to his mother. Though his mind was saying ‘no’ his tongue refused to say so to his mother who was the very embodiment of love and affection.

"All right, mother," he said.

Ranoobai felt immensely happy, as if the very heaven was within her reach. She sent word to her elder brother Bhanaji, who resided in the neighboring village Asangaon.

'Will you marry your daughter to my son Narayana?" She asked him. Bhanaji was ready for the alliance. Preparations for the marriage began fast.

Changed Narayana
The muhurta (auspicious time fixed) was fast approaching. The bride and the bridegroom were standing face to face. Only a yellow cloth screen (Antahpata) was separating them. The priest was uttering the 'Mangalashtaka' in a loud pitch. Narayana became suddenly alert when he heard the last few words of 'Mangala shtaka': "Sumuhurte Saavadhaana."

The word 'Saavadhaana' made him doubly alert. "I must not be caught in the web of marriage. The very purpose of my life will be lost by it. I must run away before the
screen (Antahpata) is remove," he thought.

Priests were chanting 'Mangalashtaka' verses. People who had gathered in large numbers to bless the couple were getting ready to throw mangalakshata on their heads. In the meanwhile Narayana had disappeared from the scene.

The cry, 'Where has Narayana gone, where is he?" echoed in the marriage pandal.

Sumuhurte Saavadhaana
Panchavati is a sacred place. In the Tretayuga, Prabhu Sri Ramachandra and Seetadevi had spent their days in these parts and sanctified them.

From the marriage pandal, Narayana went straight to Panchavati on the bank of the river, Godavari. The purpose of his life and the path to attain it became clear to him in
this sacred place, Nasik.

He spent twelve years of his life at auspicious Panchavati in meditation and penance. Here, he would leave his bed two hours before dawn, have a dip in the Sangama and perform Sand- ayavandana, Meditation and Japa.

Standing in knee-deep water for five to six hours a day from the minute of sunrise till midnoon, he would deeply engage his mind over God. Fish would sometimes bite his legs, he would not mind them. After meditation he would visit some houses and beg for food. He would divide the day's collection into three parts. He would set apart one portion to the cows, another to the fish and third for himself. The rest of the day he would spend in reading religious books, and in 'hearing religious discourses and devotional songs.

The rigorous routine of austerity of this thirteen-year-old boy would surprise everyone. These intense Tapas made his body shine like gold and his mind became

Has not his personal God, Prabhu Sri Ramachandra said that one's mother and one's country were superior even to heaven? "Janani Janma-bhoomischa swargadapi gareeyasi." His love for his mother and motherland Bharata-varsha overflowed his mind. Narayana felt: I am Ramadasa, servant of Rama. I shall obey every word of Sri Rama and follow his footprints." Thus Narayana became Ramadasa.

Where is Narayana? What happened To him?
Ramadas wanted to go round the whole country and study the conditions of the people. What is the meaning of going round the whole country? Should he visit every nook and corner of it? No, it is enough if one visits the holy places, which represent the entire country and its people.

An interesting thing happened in Paithan. That was the reason, people say, why Ramadas was begun to be called "Samartha Ramadas."

By then well known for his impressive discourses and Keertans, (singing of hymns, one day Ramadas was walking on the banks of Godavari. He was carrying a bow in one hand and some Brahmins saw it.

One of them asked, 'Do you know the use of the bow?"

"Yes," he replied.

"Then aim at the bird there," said some of them, pointing to a bird flying high in the sky.

One shot of Ramadas brought the bird down to the earth.

"You are a sadhu, you say. Should you kill an innocent bird? What a sinful act you have committed!" the Brahmins commented.

"You asked me to kill it!"

"Can you commit a sin because some one asks you to do so?"

"Yes, true, one should not," said Ramadas.

"You must repent for the sin of killing the bird. Otherwise you will have to suffer for it," warned the Brahmins.

Ramadas accepted to repent, and performed some sacrifice. Then he-asked the Brahmins, "Am I now free from the sin?"

Brahmins said, "You are free."

"Then how is it that the bird is still dead?"

"But how can a dead bird come back to life?"

"If the bird cannot come to life, then how am I to be sure that I got rid of the sin?" Ramadas asked them.

Ramadas took the bird in his hands, prayed with great devotion to Lord Sri Ramachandra. The bird began breathing. Lo, it fluttered and flew away! From that day onwards people began to address Ramadas as Samartha Ramadas. Thus goes the story.

Then Ramadas traveled to Kashi in the North. On the way he would take rest in villages and fill his stomach by begging for food. Ramadas keenly observed the prevailing conditions, customs and manners of people, during his journey throughout the length and breadth of the country.

In one of his poems, Ramadas has given the following picturesque description of the conditions that existed then in the country.

"Subjected to foreign. Invasions, the villages are deserted, lands are left uncultivated. Even in places where people managed to live, they appeared to be living as if faced with an impending deluge. High prices of day to day necessities of life have made their lite most miserable. Many have put an end to their lite by taking poison. People are disgusted with life.

He was heartbroken by the sight. "Is there no salvation for these people?" He implored God.

In this frame of mind Ramadas entered the temple of Lord Vishwanatha at Kashi (Banaras). Kashi is a holy place, a great pilgrimage center. People flock there in
thousands from all parts of Bharat.

One day Ramadas was taking rest outside the temple after the darshan of Lord Vishwanatha. His imposing personality attracted the attention of the devotees visiting the temple. He entered into conversation with them. An important aspect of life he came to realize from these talks.

Visit To Holy Places
As you know, the temple of Kashi Vishwanatha is built on the banks of the river Ganga. Steps are built to facilitate bathing. But nowhere was there to be seen a statue of Hanuman.

People requested Ramadas: "Maharaj, the statue of Maruti has to be installed at the Ghat if it is to be called really Hanuman Ghat."

Ramadas thought: "Yes, this place cannot be called Hanuman Ghat without Hanumanta." He succeeded in installing an idol of Anjaneya there.

Waves of thought rose in the mind of Ramadas. "What is this? Who am I? What should be the will of God that I should be brought here from such a far-off place and
ordered to build the temple? There must be some purpose. What can it be?" Ramadas began to ponder over it. Then the purpose of his life, the message of God, became clear to him like crystal.

"It is true that Bharatavarsha is greater than heaven. But that is of no use without freedom-like the Hanuman Ghat without Hanuman. Hanuman is well known for his
strength and valor, ‘Buddhimataam Varishthah'- the wisest among the wise.

"He was also a tower of strength. He possessed unsurpassed intellect. It was his effort, which enabled Ramachandra to get back his wife Seeta. To worship Hanumanta means worshipping strength and valor. This goal of freedom should have a firm foundation in the minds of the people of Bharata. Then alone could they have independence, the Seeta of freedom.

"It is true that Bharateeyas are as intelligent as Hanuman. If they can make up their mind, there could be none to equal them both in strength and intellect. They could cross the seas and Climb Mountains.

The idol of Hanuman must be installed in the minds of the people, like installing the statue of Hanuman in Hanuman Ghat."

Hanuman At Hanuman Ghat
Ramadas had a clearer picture of his life's mission at the holy Kashi.

Ramadas visited many places in North India. Then he turned his mind towards South. He went up to the holy Rameswara and then to Tirupati, and came to Pampakshetra on the banks of the river Tungabhadra. He had the darshan of Lord Virupaksha. Hardly a few decades had passed since the Vijayanagar Empire had been razed to the ground. In his restless efforts to climb the heights of spiritual glory, sage Vidyaranya had realized the importance of preserving Dharma. He had striven hard, day and night, for the establishment of the Vijayanagar Empire.

Likewise the pontiff of Sri Vyasaraya mutt provided necessary advice and guidance to Krishandevaraya of Vijayanagar in building the empire.

While the nation and the character of its people are in grave danger, spiritual aspirations and efforts at personal salvation by the heads of religious institutions and individuals should be kept aside for the time being. The first and foremost concern of all citizens should be to resolve the challenges confronting the nation.

Shivaji was at the time faced with similar situation.

When Vijayanagar was on the verge of an attack by enemies, spiritual activities alone could not be sufficient to defend the country. Strength of arms and ammunition and the determination to drive out the enemy were needed. Mere love of one's motherland is not enough, might of the muscles is necessary. It should be acquired by hard effort, and nurtured and developed. Irrespective of whether one is a family man or a monk or a soldier, every one should be prepared to die indefending the motherland. Ramadas saw this need.

Ramadas came to Pandharapur, the abode of Lord Vittala. When Pundalika, a great devotee of God Vittala, wasengaged in the nursing of his aged parents, God himself came to give darshan to his devotee and test him. But to Pundalika, the darshan of God Vittala was not of as much importance as his service to his parents.

"My first duty is to my parents. Without fulfilling it I have no time to welcome you," he told Vittala. "Till then please be waiting on the bricks," he added, throwing two bricks. This is the story of Vittala of the famous Pandharapura. One can see even to this day God Vittala standing on the two bricks with arms akimbo.

Ramadas derived a lesson even from this legend. It is the first and foremost duty of every person to attend to the needs of his parents and not to forget them with the
excuse that worship of God should come first.

One's motherland is one's true mother. Swadharma, duty, is one's father. It is not right to go to the Himalayas and perform penance in search of God forgetting one's duty to one's mother and motherland. One should first discharge one's duty to the land of one's birth; then one could turn his thoughts towards otherworldly things or heaven.

These were the thoughts that coursed through the mind of Ramadas. From his pilgrimage all over the country Ramadas realised that the nation was in grave danger.

Vow To Protect Motherland
Ramadas sent word to Shivaji Maharaja as soon as he returned to Maharashtra.

Prostrating at the feet of Ramadas, Shivaji begged of him: "I seek your advice. Show me a path to salvation. You are my Guru. You alone must save me."

Ramadas felt immensely happy when he saw Shivaji. In him he saw the person who could fulfil the high ideals he had set forth.

"Shivaji is not an ordinary person. He has all the qualities of becoming the man of the age," Ramadas thought.

"Shivaba, I have heard you have taken an oath before Rohideswara to free the country from the foreign bondage. From my recent tour I have fully realised the danger the country is facing. The people should be freed and their glorious heritage should be restored. Then alone could this great land be smiling with plenty and happiness. Why think of God and other world now? You have to do much to free your people from the fear of foreigners. God is waiting to help such people. Do not forget the oath you took before Rohideswara. Service to your people is service to God."

Shivaji Maharaja heard his Guru with rapt attention and devotion.

The Right Disciple
Shivaji Maharaja worshipped the feet of Ramadas. In return Ramadas gave to Shivaji a coconut, a fistful of mud and two fistfuls of sandstone.

The coconut signifies suspiciousness, according to Hindu belief. The mud symbolizes one's motherland. And the sandstone is the sign of strength of defense, an impenetrable fort. To be doubly ready to defend one's country and countrymen is what is meant. That was the message of Ramadas.

"Maharaj, be like a strong fort to your people. May you be successful in your endeavour to defend the country and drive away the enemies." With these words Ramadas blessed Shivaji Maharaja.

Ramadas discussed the ways and means of helping and co-operating with Shivaji Maharaja in his struggle to free the country. Ramadas gave a gist of the principles of his teachings to Shivaji when they parted. These words are included in the 'Dasabodha' which Ramadas wrote later.

Those words are:

"Put down mercilessly those who carry tales and also those who rebel against you.

Leave no work half-done. He is unfortunate who shows disregard for the task entrusted to him. What is the use of a coward? One who cannot face danger is not a soldier. Courage is the stepping- stone to success. Go ahead with your task in the name of God."

Shivaji Maharaja returned to his pi with these words of advice.

"Be a Strong Fort"
Ramadas began to think of the next course of action. He decided to move to the banks of Krishna from Godavari. Adil Shah was the principal enemy of freedom that Shivaji was contemplating to restore. Therefore Ramadas thought that his stay on the banks of Krishna which was in the occupation of Adil Shah would be an ideal place to be of assistance to Shivaji. Before settling there, Ramadas wished to have the darshan of his mother at Jamb village.

Ramadas came to Jamb, stood in front of his house, and shouted, "Jaya Jaya Raghuveera Samarth!"

Brother Gangadhara's wife came out with alms (Bhiksha). She could not recognize Ramadas.

Laughing, Ramadas said, "Sister-in-law, I am not a beggar, I am your Narayana."

She lifted her head and saw Ramadas. She then recognized him. She ran into the house to convey the information to her mother-in-law. Ranoobai, mother of Ramadas, was overjoyed to hear that her son who had run away from the marriage pandal had returned.

Ramadas entered the house. He fell at the feet of his mother. She was taken aback to see her son in the saffron robe, long beard and long hair.

She could say nothing at first as she was dumb-founded. But then she uttered, Narayana, my Narayana!"

"Yes, ma, I am your Narayana."

"True, you are my Narayana. But what is this? Which devil has taken hold of you?" She asked.

Ramadas laughed heartily at his mother's remark. "Mother, it is true a devil has taken hold of me. But you do not know what sort of devil it is!"

"The divine force that is in Vaikunta descended to earth. Born to Kousalya, it finished Tataki "Ramadas went on singing in his melodious voice. "The force that has taken hold of me is Prabhu Sri Ramachandra," he said jocularly.

Tears of joy rolled down the eyes of his mother on hearing these words. Ramadas narrated his wanderings in detail.

Finally he said: 'I went round* the country and saw decadence of morality and virtue (Dharmaglani) in men."

"What? Have men abandoned Dharma?" she said aghast. "Oh, very bad; very very bad," she muttered.

"Good will come out of this evil, mother; good will certainly come out of it," Ramadas consoled his mother, speaking as if in a dream.

"Am I Your Narayana?"
After spending a few days with his mother, Ramadas went down South to select his field of activities. On the way he installed idols of Anjaneya at Taakali, Maahulli,
Mahableswar, Vai, Karad and many other places.

He had gymnasiums (Vyayamashalas) built in front of those temples. It was to present the ideal qualities of courage and character before the people. He composed inspiring stotras in simple Marathi for their daily chanting.

Bheemaroopee Mahaarudraa Vajra
Hanuman Maruti!

Vanaaree Anjaneesutaa Raamaduta Prabhanjana!!

By chanting these verses daily, one can acquire unsurpassed strength and intellect.

Ramadas thought of settling in Chaphal village on the banks of the river Mand situated amidst sylvan surroundings. He requested the villagers for a piece of land to build a temple of Prabhu Ramachandra.

Their rough answer was: "Go away and build the temple in the burial-ground on the outskirts of the village."

"Very good", said Ramadas. He made up his mind to build a beautiful temple in the burial-ground itself. For one who was dreaming of creating a heaven out of ruins,
building a temple in a burial-ground would hardly present a problem!

The work of construction began and in a few days the temple was ready. In the depths of Krishna River he searched for the stone image of Prabhu Ramachandra and installed it in the temple.

Near by at Pratapgadh Shivaji Maharaja had his palace. This news reached him, He went to Chaphal, met Ramadas and offered his deepest respect. He provided Ramadas all the assistance needed for the construction of the temple

The Temple Of Sri Rama
Shivaji was growing strong day by day. The area under his control was extending. It gave Ramadas great joy.

Ramadas learnt that Afzal Khan, trusted lieutenant of King Adil Shah, was marching southwards with the challenge that he would bring back Shivaji either dead or alive. He also learnt that Afzal Khan, on the way, had destroyed many holy places like Tulajapur and Pandharapur. Afzal Khan was about to attack Shivaji with a strong force. Like death personified, Afzal Khan waited at the gates, eager to finish off Shivaji.

It worried Ramadas greatly. Day in and day out he thought over it. How would Shivaji safely escape from this mortal danger? He prayed to goddess Tulaja Bhavani.

"None but you could save my Shivaji from the savage enemy. I should have the fortune to see Shivaji safe after routing the enemy." That was the incessant prayer Ramadas fervently offered to goddess Tulaja Bhavani.

Afzal Khan had come to kill Shivaji but it was he who was killed by Shivaji. With the death of Afzal Khan the throne of Adil Shah began to shake. Shivaji's might, name and fame spread far and wide.

Ramadas were immensely happy at the turn of events. He blessed Shivaji with all his heart.

In humility Shivaji told Ramadas that the vast kingdom he had acquired was on account of the guidance, good wishes and the blessings of godly men like him. "I place all this at your feet" he offered.

Overjoyed by these words, Ramadas said: "Shivaraya, what use is this wealth and kingdom to me? Do not think your task is over with this. It has to be further extended. Ananda-Vana-Bhuvana (Heaven on Earth) is to be established. Success is surely yours. May God Almighty ever stand by you."

Shivaji prostrated before Ramadas.

Same Shivaji
The death of Afzal Khan was a decisive turning point in the life of Shivaji Maharaja. All these days his enemies had thought that Shivaji was a nuisance, a rebel and
guerrilla. With the strength of arms he built up, the area under his power began expanding.

In 1674 Shivaprabhu ascended the throne at Rajagadh. Samartha Ramadas was present on the occasion. Shivaji Maharaja got built a special room for Ramadas at

It stands there even to this day.

The coronation of Shivaji Maharaja was not an achievement of any one individual. It was a proud day for every Indian. There was no end to the joy and merry-making of
people that day. And there was no limit to the joy and happiness of Ramadas.

He named this kingdom of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja asAnanda-Vana-Bhuvana.

Ananda-Vana- Bhuvana
The death of Afzal Khan was a decisive turning point in the life of Shivaji Maharaja. All these days his enemies had thought that Shivaji was a nuisance, a rebel and
guerrilla. With the strength of arms he built up, the area under his power began expanding.

In 1674 Shivaprabhu ascended the throne at Rajagadh. Samartha Ramadas was present on the occasion. Shivaji Maharaja got built a special room for Ramadas at

It stands there even to this day.

The coronation of Shivaji Maharaja was not an achievement of any one individual. It was a proud day for every Indian. There was no end to the joy and merry-making of
people that day. And there was no limit to the joy and happiness of Ramadas.

He named this kingdom of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja asAnanda-Vana-Bhuvana.

The Writing Of 'Dasabodha'
Shivaji requested Ramadas to settle at Sajjangadh instead of Chaphal. Sajjangadh is a beautiful place at the foot of the Sahyadri Mountains. "Gadh" means a fort on a hill.

"What am I to do at the fort Ramadas asked Shivaji.

"It is a place with beautiful natural surroundings. It is best suited for your meditation and penance. I will see that the temple at Chaphal is kept undisturbed. My humble prayer is that you settle at Sajjangadh," Shivaji said.

"Yes, as you please" Ramadas answered.

As desired by his disciple, Rama came and settles at Sajjangadh.

At Sajjangadh Ramadas finished book 'Dasabodha.'

In 'Dasabodha' Ramadas has recorded his reflections on worldly life and on spiritual life. He has shown the way to a peaceful life. He has classified his teachings in
fourheadings: (1) Harikatha, (2) Politics, (3) Eternal Vigilance, and (4) Intelligent Living.

"First a person should learn to lead a life of righteousness, discharge one's duties to one's self and to one's neighbors and then think of the other world, that is, the spiritual side of life. There is no place for a lazy man. One who strives to establish Dharma is alone a godly person." This Ramadas preached in 'Dasabodha'.

The Light That Went Out
In 1680 A.D. Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja died. It was an irreparable and unbearable loss to Ramadas. The entire Sajjangadh was drowned in sorrow. Ramadas could not bear the loss of Shivaji and he was very much dejected.

That was not all. Many more unpleasant events were waiting for Ramadas.

Sambajiraje Bhonsle ascended the throne after Shivaji. Though bold and chivalrous like his father Shivaji, Sambaji was vain and stubborn. He was after pleasure and pomp. He did not trust his officers and treat them well. Often, for no fault of theirs they were severely punished.

Ramadas could not stand such ill treatment by Sambaji. He wrote a long letter to him advising him in the matter.

The gist of it is as follows:

"Material happiness should be looked upon as worthless. We should live in such a way as to be praised and remembered in this world and welcomed in the other. We
should be ever vigilant in our thoughts, words and deeds. We should never think low. One should sit alone and think deeply. One should be less severe and more liberal in judging others. One should take one's officers into confidence. Always think of Shivaji Maharaja and his great deeds. Think of his form, think of his valor. Think of his bravery, his tact, and his administrative capacity. How noble were his words, his conduct! What warmth of personality! He should be an inspiration in every walk of your life. It should be your constant endeavor to better him if possible in every respect. Then alone will you be worthy of praise. What else can I write?"

These words of advice of Ramadas opened the eyes of Sambaji. He tried his best and thenceforward did his utmost to mend his ways.

The health of Ramadas worsened day by day, as days passed by. His one desire had remained unfulfilled, namely the installation of the idol of Sri Rama at Sajjangadh. The beautiful image of Sri Ramachandra from Thanjavoor was brought and installed at Sajjangadh.

All his wishes were completed after this event. His mind remained concentrated always on Prabhu Sri Ramachandra.

"God ever dwells in the minds of his devotees, observing their thoughts, words and deeds. He blesses all with happiness, wealth and emancipation. Sri Rama will never let down his devotees."

With this song on his lips, Ramad breathed his last.

Ramadas died on the ninth day of the dark fortnight of the month of Magha in the year 1682 A.D. (1604 of Shalivahana Saka.) There is tombstone of Ramadas at
Sajjangadh built by Sambaji. His devotees observe the day of his death as "Dasanavami " even to this day.

The religious discourses and Keertans of Ramadas inspired and thrilled the people. Their life was purified in the sacred Ganga of the Lord's Name. Ramadas etched these words in their hearts

"Do not search for Moksha for getting your country. Lead a pure life. First you owe a duty to your family and to your motherland. Then alone should you turn your thoughts
towards Moksha or Salvation."