The renunciate

On another occasion, King Shivaji entered into a temple and started shedding bitter tears. He was crying piteously and saying that he did not want to return to his palace. One of his attendants said to him, “O King, what are you doing? You have to come back to us. Who will rule the country in your place?”

For more than ten days Shivaji stayed inside the temple. He kept saying, “I am not going back. I want to live here.” Many people tried to persuade him to give up this idea. They said, “How can a king live inside a temple? It is absurd! You have to come back and rule your kingdom.”

But Shivaji was adamant. He refused to go back. Finally, he said, “Since I am not allowed to live here, I want to be allowed to die here.”

“What do you mean?” asked his frightened attendants.

Shivaji immediately pulled out his sword and was about to kill himself. His attendants rushed to his side and grabbed the sword from his hands.

Shivaji told them, “You will not allow me to live; you will not allow me to die. Either allow me to live here or allow me to die here, but I will not go back. I do not need the material life; I want only the spiritual life. I have had enough of being King. Is there anything this world has not given me? I have name and fame, everything, but I do not have peace, I do not have inner joy. When I enter into a temple, I am filled with peace and joy. This is what I need. Being a king, I have everything and I have done everything. But now I do not want to remain King for even one moment longer. I want to stay here inside this temple and only pray and meditate, pray and meditate, pray and meditate. I know this is the only way I can get true satisfaction in my life.”

But Shivaji’s attendants would not listen to their King’s soulful request. They continued begging him and begging him to return to the palace. Eventually, he was compelled to surrender to their demands.

Shivaji was extremely devoted to the goddess Bhavani, who was his family deity. He later built a very beautiful temple dedicated to this aspect of the Divine Mother. Bhavani is the Goddess of Power, the Goddess that was awakening the slumbering India.

Sri Chinmoy, Shivaji, Agni Press, 1997