MAHARAJAH SHAHAJI II

> H.H. Cholasimhasanathipathi Srimant Rajasri Maharaja Kshatrapati Sri Shahaji II Raje Saheb Bhosle was born at Bangalore in 1670 A.D.

> He came to the throne when he was 13 or 14 years old.

> His mother Deepabai and his father’s (King Venkoji alias Ekoji) ministers were his guide and mentors.

> He was well versed in Sanskrit, Telugu, Marathi, Hindi, Persian and Tamil languages.

> He was a musicologist and composer. He had composed many songs on Thanjavur Brihadeshwara Temple and Thiruvarur Tyagesha.

> ‘Shahaji Ragalaksanamu’ is his own work on the science of music.

> His period was the golden period of literary activities.

> His work in several languages is numerous.

> He was called as “Abhinava Bhoja” for his attainments and generosity.

> He built choultries, hospitals and had physicians from Arabia.

> He was a builder and he provided medical and educational facilities to the people. Maratha Durbar hall was built by him and named as “Siva Sowdah.”

 

> He wrote many dramas during his reign.

> A work named “Dharmakutam” (a rare commentary on Dharma Sastra) by scholar and poet Triambaka Raya Makhi praises King Shahaji II’s literary accomplishments and various activities.

> Shahendra Vilasa’ was written by scholar Sridhara Venkatesa with King Shahaji II as the hero of the drama.

> Shankara Pallakhi Seva Prabhandam” was his work which was practiced at Thiruvarur Tyagesha temple. He composed Pallaki Seva Prabhanda, Tyagesha Kuruvangi in Telugu and Tyagesha Padas in honour of the presiding diety of Thiruvarur.

> Historical kavyas on the life of King Shahaji II named “Vidya Parinaya” was written by scholar Anandaraya Makhi in the praise of King Shahaji II. These dramas were performed during Vasanthosavam in Brihadeshwara Temple.

> There are also Telugu works from his period named “Saharaja Vilasa Nataka” narrates how King Shahaji II defeated the Muslim Sultans and conquered all lands upto Varanasi.

> The southern staple food “SAMBHAR” was developed in his kitchen and got its name after Dharmaveer Chatrapathi Sambhaji Maharaj who was the guest at his Palace to whom it was served.

> He himself wrote the following works: Chandrasekara Vilasa, Sabda Ratna Samanvaya, Sabda Ratna Sangraha, Singara Manjari.

> A series of bells were connected from Thanjavur Palace to Thiruvarur Tyagesha Temple, because only after the pooja-bells were rung and on hearing the bell sound, King Shahaji used to have his mid day meal.

> He captured Tranquebar in 1699 A.D. and extended his kingdom.

> He was praised in the records of Fort St. George.

> He endowed 4500 acres of lands to Thiruvarur Tyagesha temple and several villages with Agraharam along the banks of Cauvery river and named them after eminent scholars or poets like Bhaskara Rayar, Vichitra Rayar etc.

> He also constructed Agraharams (house quarters) at Ekarajapuram and Deepambapuram named after his father and mother.

> Thiruvisanallur was endowed by King Shahaji to scholars for promotion of spiritualism and fine arts in 1695 and was formerly known as Shahajirajapuram. Many eminent scholars lived at that village, prominent among them were Maruthanallur Sri Sadguru Swamigal (birth place), Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral, Sri Bhagavan Nama Bodendral and Sri Sridhara Venkatesa Ayyaval.

> Great saints like Thiruvianallur Ayyaval the author of Shahendra Vilasam who is attributed to have brought Ganga in his well, Bodendra Saraswathi the Dwaita Sanyasi who later became Shankarachari and Sumithendra Thirtha, author of Jayagoshana and pontiff of Madhva Mutt have written several Panegerics on King Shahaji II.

> Thiruvisanallur Ayyaval has praised King Shahaji in his poem that Raja himself is the heart and soul of muse to the Goddess of learning (Vani). •  He was called as Master of Choladesh by his people.

> King Shahaji abdicated the throne in favour of his brother (King Serfoji 1) and became a Sanyasi (Saint) towards the end of his life.

> There were as many as 48 scholars of Thiruvianallur who received substantial grants from King Shahaji in addition to several others.

> Kuravanji Nataka is a type of musical play, very often conducted in temples during festival days. They are devotional dramas in Tamil which flourished during the days of King Shahaji. He himself is credited to have composed Tyagesha Kuravanji, a Tamil play-the hero of the play being Lord Tyagesha the presiding deity of Tiruvarur temple worshipped by Maratha kings.

> King Rajaram, Son of Chhatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj was in Gingee (it is at Villupuram district, Tamilnadu) and the strong fort was in the hands of Zulffikar Khan, the redoubtable Moghul general. He himself led an expedition to Gingee and helped his kinsman to drive out the Moghuls.

> He has also composed several kirthanas of rare scientific merit.

> He was a linguist and a patron of learning.

> He was a great scholar in music and literature. More than 30 works comprising dramas, padas and kavyas have been ascribed to him.

> King Shahaji II was famous for his contribution to music, dance and drama. He was a valiant ruler and during his tenure, the country expanded upto Ramanathapuram.

> He died in 1712 A.D.

Maratha Darbar hall was built by him and he named the darbar hall as ‘sivasowdah’. He wrote Dramas like Bhuloka Devendra Vilasa, meenakshi Kalyanam, Shankara Narayana Kalyanam, chandrahasa Vilasa natakam, kuravanji Vishnu shaharaja Vilasam in Tamil during his reign. Sanakrit works of high order were written in large numbers during the reign of Venkoji and his three sons between the years 1676 to 1737. Dharmakutam praises Shahaji.

His minister Gangadhara Makhi and his three sons have contributed eminent works of rare merit in Sanskrit. Such works as Dharamakutam Acharya Navaneedam, Mukunda vilas Kavya, Uttarama Champu and Tamil works like Thiagaraya Kuravanji Thanjai Nayakam Pilla Tamil. Tamil Vannam, Veera raghava Mudalaiar vannam were the result of his patronage.

VenkataKrishnaKavi was an ornament of the courts of Trichinopoly, Gingee and Thanjavur. Appaya Dixitor of Gowri Mayuramwas an eminent Sanskrit scholar who flourished at that time. Besides several scholars one Sridhara Venkatesa known at that time as Ayyaval of Thiruvisanallur wrote shahendra villasa, superb kavya with Shahaji II as the hero of the drama. Shankara pallakki Seva Prabhanda a mellifluous dance drama is one of his works meant to be enacted in the Shrine of Thiagaraja at Tiruvarur. He endowed to Tiruvarur Temple 4500 acres of lands as sarvamanyam for the up keep of the Temple called Rajanga Kattalai. He endowed several villages with agraharam along the banks of Cauvery river and named them after eminent scholars or poets like Bhaskara Rayar, VichitraRayar etc.

In addition to the Contribution of his court poets, his own output of literature by way of dramas, kavya’s and nritya sahityas is stupendous.

Anandaraya Makhi praises Shahaji for his acts of munificence to the scholars in his dance drama Vidya Parinaya which is a historical kavyas on the life of Shahaji, this drama was being enacted during Vasanthothsavam in Brahadeshwara Temple.
He also constructed Agraharams at EkaRajapuram and Deepambapuram named after his father and mother.
Such great saints and seers like Thiruvisanallur Ayyaval the author of Shahendra Vilasam who is attributed to have brought Ganga in his well, Bodendra Saraswathi the Advaitasanyasi who later became Shankarachari and sumatindra tirtha, author of Jayagoshana and pontiff of Madhava Mutt have written several panegyrics on Shahaji. Thiruvisanallur Ayyaval has praised Shahaji in his poem that the Raja himself is the heart and soul of the muse the goddess of learning (vani). Dharmakutam (a rare commentary on dharma Sastra) by Triambaka Raya Makhi a court poet and minister of Shahaji gives a clear insight into the various activities of Shahaji as well as his literary accomplishments he is hailed by contemporary poets as ‘Sarvagnachudamani’. Shahaji II himself feels proud to call himself Chola Rajendra or master of Choladesh. Shahaji II died in 1712 without any issue and he was succeeded by his brother Serfoji I.

There are also some Telugu works from his period named Sahasraja Vilasa nataka narrates how Shahaji II defeated the Muslim sultans and conquered all lands upto Varanasi.

Shahaji was a great scholar who discovered and encouraged talent. Shahaji was a builder and he provided medial and educational facilities to the people. He himself wrote the following works Chandrasekara Vilasa, Sabda Ratna Samanvaya, Sabda Ratna Sangraha, Sringara Manjari. The myth says that the southern staple food sambhar was developed in the kitchens of Shahaji II. One of his favourite dishes, The amti (daal with tamarind pulp) one of whose key ingredients was kokum (Garcinia indica), the souring agent. On a particular day, Shahaji II’s cooks found to their horror that they didn’t had kokum, so they replaced it with Tamarind pulp which was added to the other ingredients toovar dal, vegetables and spices. Shahaji II loved the new dish so much that he got it served to his guest of the day,Chatrapathi Sambhaji, son of Shivaji the great after whom sambhar gets its name.