Mother and son reunited

During Shivaji's absence from the royal court, his mother, Jija Bai, was made regent. At that time, Jija Bai was very, very old and quite sick. She was a deeply religious woman and Shivaji was devoted to her. She came to hear that Shivaji had escaped in the month of August, but after four months he had not yet returned to his palace at Rajgarh. His mother was filled with worries and anxieties. Why was it taking so long for him to come back? Had he been recaptured by the Moghul soldiers?

One day a servant came to Jija Bai with a message. He said, "There is a mendicant at the gate who wants to see you."

"Fine, fine," said Jija Bai. "Bring him in."

Shivaji was shown into his mother's presence. He had shaved off his beard and moustache and was dressed as a sannyasin. He was so tired and exhausted from his arduous journey that he simply threw himself at his mother's feet.

Jija Bai was surprised that a sannyasin should behave in this manner. "What do you want?" she asked.

"What do I want?" cried Shivaji. Then he started sobbing, "Mother, you cannot recognise me?" and he laid his head on Jija Bai's lap.

At last Jija Bai recognised that it was her long-lost son. Her tearful joy and Shivaji's tearful joy mingled together.

Sri Chinmoy, Shivaji, Agni Press, 1997