Why Shivaji was the greatest of all Hindu rulers

In the past we have been party to discussions among our compatriots about who the greatest of Hindu rAjan-s was and the answers vary depending on the person (with a strong tendency towards regional bias). Proposed names have included Chandragupta Maurya, Samudragupta, Raja Raja Chola, Rajendra Chola, and Bhojadeva but we have always stuck to our guns that it is Shivaji alone who deserves that honor (note that we are not from Maharashtra nor do we have any relations there). We have our reasons which we hope to elucidate here.

Right off the bat, it is important to make a distinction between fighting other heathens as compared to fighting the Abrahamic barbarians. Losing a war with the former does not generally mean extinction (though there can be exceptions as in when Rome wiped out Carthage) because often it is a war for resources or thirst for conquest not because one party believes that it alone has the true religion and a corresponding duty to extinguish all others.  For example even if Alexander had managed to conquer all of India, it is unlikely that Hindu civilization would have been extinguished and the more likely outcome would have been the slow assimilation of the Greek conquerors as it indeed happened in the Indo-Greek border kingdoms after Alexander’s death. One can extend this principle to the later invaders like the Huns or the Ahoms who were also assimilated. An even more pertinent example is that of the Han behemoth which was repeatedly conquered by various steppe tribes such as the Mongols and the Manchu but has survived intact and even expanded its territory vastly by swallowing up the lands conquered by these tribes for free. By contrast the Abrahamic barbarians are an existential threat who have destroyed civilization after civilization and would have done the same to our own had it not been for men like Shivaji. Thus we see Shivaji’s struggle against the Mohammedans as an existential struggle with much tougher enemies than those faced by a Chandragupta Maurya or a Samudragupta.

Fine you say, but what about the other paragons of Hindu resistance such as Mewar or the Vijayanagara Empire which also battled the Meccan demons in defense of dharma. We of course respect the sacrifices made by all the noble souls in defense of dharma but Shivaji displayed some exceptional qualities that set him apart. When Aurangzeb’s great jihad of 27 years against the Marathas was grinding down and it seemed as if all was lost, Rajaram wrote letters on the need to first reconquer peninsular India before moving onto Delhi to put an end to Islamic tyranny in India. This may seem strange given the position they were in but the plan originated in Shivaji’s own mind and led the Marathas to their ultimate triumph. This vision also guided the great Baji Rao who convinced shAhu on the need to strike North in accordance with the departed rAjan’s vision. When we compare this with the actions of other strong Hindu kingdoms/empires such as the Gajapatis or Vijayanagara, their vision seems to have been more local (i.e. liberating Southern India). The Ajnapatra speaks as follows:

Here some points are of note in this rather remarkable document: 1) He states that they must not stop after clearing the lands from the Narmada to Rameshvaram of the kaNThaka-s and the followers of the lord of the yavana-s. Instead he makes it clear that the war should be pursued until the lands of Delhi, Agra, Lahore, Dacca, Bengal, Tattha and the whole sea coast is conquered. Finally, after these conquests the li~Nga of vishveshvara should be re-established in vArANasI. 2) He stresses the importance of securing the coast against several types of inimical forces such as phirangi (Portuguese), ingrej (English), valAndej (Dutch) and shyAmala (Africans) by raising a naval force that can counter them.


Not only does the Ajnapatra warn of the need for securing the coast (hence Shivaji began a navy which grew formidable under the Angre’s) but it also warns against the intentions of our deadliest foes the mlecchas as follows:

While the subject of the European presence is treated mainly under the heading merchants, they are also listed as enemies of Shivaji (along with many others including a number of Maratha sardars) and the text noted that the European strength lies in “navy, guns and ammunition.” The text enumerates the Europeans as follows: “the Portuguese [Firangi]81 and the English [Ingraj] and the Dutch [Valand; elsewhere also Valandej] and the French [Fransis] and the Danes [Dingmar] and other hat-wearing [topokar] merchants.” The Ajnapatra goes on to note that these merchants are unlike other merchants:

Their masters, every one of them, are ruling kings. By their orders and under their control these people come to trade in these provinces. How can it happen that rulers have no greed for territories? These hat-wearers have full ambition to enter into these provinces to increase their territories, and to establish their own opinions [religion]. Accordingly at various places they have already succeeded in their ambitious undertakings. Moreover this race of people is obstinate. Where a place has fallen into their hands they will not give it up even at the cost of their lives.


So we can see that Shivaji’s vision was much greater in both time and space, let us not forget that it was these very same mleccha-s who ultimately destroyed the Marathas. If only the later day Marathas heeded the departed rAjan’s warnings!

A true testament of Shivaji’s leadership and greatness came during the 27 year war between the Marathas and the massive Mughal jihadi force led by Aurangzeb in an attempt to crush the fledgling Maratha power after Shivaji’s death. The rAjan was not alive for any of it but it was his spirit and foresight (he established a base in deep South during his last great campaign which came in very handy during the 27 year war, for example refer to the siege of Jinjee) which kept the Marathas going until final victory over the Mughals. Unlike the great Chingiz Khan’s sons and grandsons, neither of Shivaji’s sons inherited the intelligence and vigor of Shivaji, so it was all the more surprising that the Marathas emerged victorious and we have no doubt that it was because of the departed rAjan. Sadly today’s sybarites do not even know of this greatest of all wars in our history but are busy with Bollywood and cricket.

It is for these reasons that Shivaji is the greatest ruler of our civilization; he may not have built temples of splendor or composed beautiful Sanskrit literature like Raja Bhoja but it was his efforts that allow you and me to indulge in these for as Kaviraj Bhushan wrote:

But now? kAshI was losing its kalA, mathurA becoming a masjid, and all were about to lose their foreskin, had shivAjI not happened!


Of course this does not mean that Shivaji was always right and this is important to point out because Hindus have a marked tendency towards blind hero worship (most prominently seen in the cases of Bose & Gandhi). One area where we feel he went wrong was in continuing the Hindu tradition of confining the war to Muslim armies instead of extending it to Muslim civilians. We know he ordered his soldiers to respect the Koran, mosques, and sent back a mullah’s daughter that fell into his hands while the followers of Muhammad freely indulged in massacres of Hindu civilians and capture of Hindu women. Indeed this lack of Hindu understanding of the concept of total war may end in our ultimate extinction and it certainly prevented total victory. After the Spanish reconquered their land from the Muslims, they made sure that 0 Muslims or mosques were left in Spain to make future demands of partition where as the foolish Maratha-s made no effort in this direction. Of course it may be the case that Shivaji as a fledgling power didn’t want to antagonize all the Muslim kingdoms into uniting against him by waging total war but then what explains the Maratha reluctance to pursue the same when they had real power?

Thus it is important not to imitate Shivaji blindly in everything and in regards to this particular aspect it is more fitting to emulate the great Maharana Kumbha not Shivaji or the Marathas. It was Kumbha who made sure to destroy every mosque in Nagor and uprooted the poison tree of Mohammedanism root and branch. The Maharana was even said to have captured numerous turushka women and imprisoned them, a fitting punishment for the Meccan demons. Let us remember that in situations of total competition (and that is the situation we are in for the Mohammadeans and the followers of Yeshua won’t rest until the whole world is converted to their respective cults) the optimal strategy is tit-for-tat, so it is foolish for Hindus alone to follow restrictive rules while the enemies wage war without rules.

This is not to say that Shivaji was always so lenient towards those who terrorized the Hindus as the following from the English intelligence dispatches show:

“Sevagee, deeply resenting this rigour, invaded the precincts of Bardese, not farre distant from Goa, and there cutt off the heads of four Padres that refused to turne Moretto’s [Marathas-Hindus] of his owne pereuasion, they having councelled the destruction of all that were not opinionated as themselves; which so terrifyed the Vice Rey that he was forced to revoke his fierce and severe edict. He [Shivaji] burnt and destroyed all the country, and carried away 150 lack of pagodaes. [E. F. India 1665-1667 p. 286]”


Recently there seems to be some attempt to secularize Shivaji and in regards to that we urge people with such illusions to read the full translation of a letter he penned to Mirza Jai Singh as he was attempting to subdue Shivaji on behalf of the Mughals. We quote only a small part to give a taste:

47. This is not the time for fighting between ourselves since a grave danger faces the Hindus.

48. Our children, our country, our wealth, our God, our temples and our holy Worshippers,

49. Are all in danger of existence owing to his machinations and the utmost limit of pain that can be borne, has been reached.

50. If the work goes on like this for some time, there will not remain a vestige of ourselves on earth.

51. It is a matter of supreme wonder that a handful of Mussalmans should establish supremacy over this vast country.

52. This supremacy is not due to any valour on their part; see if thou hast eyes to see…

  1. The most strenuous efforts should be made at this time to protect Hindus, Hindusthan, and the Hindu religion…

63. So that I may rain shower of swords from the thundering clouds of my army on the Mussalmans;

64. So that from one end of the Deccan to the other, I may wash out the name and very vestige of Mahomadanism.


There is Shivaji the “secularist” for you.

Let us end this note with a question that has often been on our mind, i.e. what would the rAjan make of today’s sybaritic degenerates who go by the name of Hindus. He and his immediate successors struggled so hard to uphold Hindu honor and the survival of our civilization in the face of murderous ghazi-s only to see their perverse descendants squander everything away. Today the china-s have joined our two older enemies and we are behind in technology and military might to them and the mlecchas. Meanwhile the Mohammedans lodged inside our land are continuing to eat away at the nation through their tried and tested method of womb warfare while the likes of Mohan Bhagwat repeat puerile nonsense that will ensure our final demise. All this suggests that Hindus will be extremely lucky to survive this century intact unless we put in efforts greater than even Shivaji. As the learned acharya pointed out:

It was by fighting as though inspired by the deva-s described in the veda within the sūkta known as apratiratha aindra that we rolled back the marūnmatta-s and mleccha-s. Now you all have to put in even greater efforts as the enemy is really stronger than you in the military sphere. The lessons learned by other nations show what lies ahead. You have the rudhira-varṇa-s of mahākrauñcadvīpa whose numerous tribes were overpowered and exterminated by the mleccha-s. Then there are the kṛṣṇa-s of sthūladvīpa whom they along with the marūnmatta-s reduced to being slaves. They have been excluded from civilization and left with merely the preta/rākṣasa-pustaka in their hand. Among the pītavarṇa-s, the cīna-s and the ati-prācya-s fought the mleccha-s but were defeated. Yet, by paying an enormous price they either expanded their territorial integrity (the cīna-s) or at least kept the śava-mata limited in their lands (the bindudhvaja-s). These illustrate to you the options that are available for bhārata-s – either you make an exit without even realizing you are out, or you prepare for a conflict where your costs will be enormous. Else a puerile existence will indeed be the nation’s lot like that of the cīna-bhṛtya-s at the edge of the mahādvīpa. Of the dasyu-s, the mleccha-s do not even need to attack directly anymore – by using the marūnmatta-s and their plants, the śavārādhaka-s, they can sink the Hindus if they continue the way they are. The cīna-s will joyfully grab up the rest even as the Hindus are claiming that they had civilizationally subjugated them from the time of Taizong.


Today while you celebrate Shivaji Jayanti mull this over and think about what is coming in the future if we continue on the current course, the rAjan certainly would have wanted you to do so.


4 thoughts on “Why Shivaji was the greatest of all Hindu rulers”

  1. //Unlike the great Chingiz Khan’s sons and grandsons, neither of Shivaji’s sons inherited the intelligence and vigor of Shivaji//

    its wrong to say this . sambhaji kept the legacy alive for eight years after his father’s death.he didnt lose a battle, fort or a single boat while inflicting massive and fatal casualties on the mughal army ten times his army’s size, halving it, in addition to fighting with portuguese and british.

    rest of the article is fine.

    1. When Shivaji was alive, Sambhaji went and joined the Mughals before coming back.

      He took up friendship with Kalash and was indulging in hedonistic pleasures at Samgameshvar the year before he was executed & was caught during one of these indulgences.

      Maratha victory had the contribution of Hambirrao Mohite, Santaji Ghorpade and others.

      Sambhaji was capable when he wanted to be (e.g. when he came close to driving out the Portuguese from Goa) but on the whole he didn’t measure up to his father and was given to vices.

      1. why are you blaming kalash. he defended shambhaji by fighting himself during his capture. he only followed shambhaji’s orders. was he accused for being a north indian???

  2. कैर्धर्माणंचन्द्रगुप्तस्योचुस्तुभ्यम्। अन्योपन्यासान्पठितोऽहंयेननकञ्चनजानामि।

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