Jijabai who had pledged her son Shivaji to the protection of the country and
the Hindu religion had to suffer sorrow after sorrow. Her affectionate son Shivaji was
always in the jaws of danger. He was compelled by circumstances to go to Agra in order to
meet the Moghul King, Aurangazeb. It was very difficult to foretell what would befall
Shivaji who was at Aurangzeb s mercy. Shivaji, too, had realized that he was
entering a dreadfully dangerous den. Who was to look after the state till his return from
Agra? Who would be able to think calmly in the face of difficulties and take wise
decisions? Jijabai also knew that her son was walking into the jaws of death. In such
circumstances Shivaji placed the reins of the state in the hands of his mother, Jijabai.
Both Shivaji and his son
Sambhaji were thrown into prison at Agra by the Mogul ruler. What
anguish must Jijabai have suffered! And yet the administration of the state went on
smoothly till Shivaji returned from Agra. Jijabai suffered silently all the sadness of her
long separation from her husband and offered her life itself at the altar of the country
for her son Shivaji.
In January 1664 Shahaji fell from his horse when he was hunting and
died. The news of Shahahis death was a bolt from the blue to Shivaji and his mother
Jija. She was so overcome by sorrow that she decided to perform sati, burning
herself on the pyre. But Shivaji begged of her to give up the decision and finally she
agreed. A free state was about to be born; what would its fate be if this great mother,
the source of inspiration, was to perform sati?
The day dawned when sacrifice was to flower into fulfillment. On
that auspicious day Jijabai witnessed the coronation of her son. On the thirteenth day in
the month of Jyestha of the Hindu year Ananda (1674) Shivaji bowed to his noble mother at
Raigadh, received her blessings and ascended the golden throne.
Even in the midst of such rejoicing there was peircing pain and
sorrow in a corner of Jija Mathas heart. She remembered Thanaji, Baji Prabhu,
Suryaji and a host of other heroes who had sacrificed there all for the establishment of
Jija Matha became Rajjmatha, the Kings Mother. But fate was
cruel. On the twelth day after the coronation of Shivaji this great and noble mother
passed away. The light was extinguished. Shivaprabhu wept like an orphaned child.
To this day Raigadh has remained a holy place. Splendid statues of
Mother Jija and the boy Shivaji have been installed there. The young men and the children
of our land should climb up to the fort of Raigadh. They should draw inspiration from
these magnificent figures.