Shivaji's coronation ceremony at Raigarh (6th June 1674)

Published: Saturday, Jun 02,2012, 12:05 IST
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Shivaji coronation, Vedas, Balaji Avji Prabhu, Sisodias of Mewar, Kshatriyas, purest Rajput clan, Mahadeva, Siva, Bhavani, Gaga Bhatta, culture of India, ibtl

On 6th June 1674, Shivaji's coronation ceremony was performed according to the shastras by Vishweshwar, also called Gaga Bhatta, of Varanasi, a master of the four Vedas, the six philosophies and all the Hindu scriptures after he had gone through the genealogy brought by Balaji Avji Prabhu, Shivaji's secretary, which showed that the Bhonsles were a branch of the highly respected Sisodias of Mewar, the Kshatriyas of the purest Rajput clan.

# भारतीय इतिहास की गौरवशाली गाथा है शिवाजी महाराज का राज्याभिषेक

As there was no unbroken tradition of the ceremonies performed an the occasion of the coronation of an independent sovereign, a body of learned men went through the Sanskrit texts and Smritis to find out the exact procedure, and information was also gathered from Mewar and Amber, two of the oldest Rajput States, on various points connected with Rajyabhisheka.

The daily religious ceremonies preliminary to the main occasion and visits to most of the important shrines in Maharashtra kept Shivaji busy. He performed worship of Mahadeva (Siva), Bhavani, and other deities for a number of days. On 6th June 1674 the formal coronation ceremony took place.

On the two sides of the throne, various emblems of royalty and government hung from gilded lance-heads – two large fish heads of gold, on the left several horses' tails, (the insignia of royalty) and a pair of gold scales, evenly balanced (the emblem of justice) on a very costly lance-head.

As Shivaji mounted the throne,. The priests lifted up their voices chanting holy verses and blessing the king who bowed to them in return. The crowd set up deafening shouts of Jai Jai. All the musical instruments began to play and the artillery of every fort in the kingdom fired salvos of all their guns exactly at this time. The main priest, Gaga Bhatta, advanced to the throne, held the royal umbrella of cloth of gold fringed with pearls over his head, and hailed him as Shiva Chhatrapati or Shiva the paramount sovereign.

The coronation ceremony was an event of great significance in the history of India. In case of all other rulers, the coronation had to be approved by the Mughal Emperor, but Shivaji did it as a bold challenge to the Mughal authority, and the title of Chhatrapati or paramount sovereign which he adopted symbolized this challenge. He could now claim devotion and loyalty of the people over whom he ruled and his treaties and promises now had greater sanctity as engagements of the head of a State and had more legal validity and assurance of permanence.

The formal assertion of his position as an independent king gratified every Hindu heart, harassed and oppressed by the Muslim governments and clerics drawing authority and sanction from the teachings and ideas alien to the culture of India.

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