Sambhaji lost his mother Sai bai at the age of 2. After her death, his paternal grandmother Jijabai looked after him. He was extremely handsome and possessed immense bravery. He was a scholar of Sanskrit and eight other languages. In 1666, he was married to Yesu bai, and later the couple had a son – Shahu. On June 6th, 1674 at the time of the coronation of Shivaji Maharaj, he was declared the prince of the Sovereign Maratha Kingdom.
The remarkable things that Sambhaji Maharaj achieved in his short life had far-reaching effects on the whole of India. Every Hindu should be grateful to him for that. He bravely faced the strong army of Aurangzeb and defeated several Mughal chieftains in the battlefield forcing them to retreat. Because of this, Aurangzeb remained engaged in battles in Maharashtra, thus keeping the rest of India free from Aurangzeb’s tyranny for a long time. This can be considered as the greatest achievement of Sambhaji Maharaj. If Sambhaji Maharaj would have arrived at a settlement with Aurangzeb and accepted his proposal of being a tributary prince, then within the next 2 or 3 years Aurangzeb would have captured North India again. However, because of Sambhaji Maharaj and other Maratha ruler’s (Rajaram and Maharani Tarabai) struggle, Aurangzeb was stuck in battles in South India for 27 years. This helped in the establishment of new Hindu kingdoms in the provinces of Bundelkhand, Punjab and Rajasthan in North India; thus providing safety to the Hindu society there. So this is an extraordinary sacrifice and work done by Sambhaji Maharaj for India.
Sambhaji was captured by Mughal troops on 1 Feb, 1689. He and his advisor, Kavi Kalash both were taken to Bahadurgad. Aurangzeb humiliated them by parading them wearing clown’s clothes. Later, Sambhaji and Kavi Kalash were tied upside down to camels with Mughal soldiers throwing stones, mud, and cow dung at them.
When they were brought face to face with Aurangzeb, the latter offered to let Sambhaji live if he surrendered all the Maratha forts, turned over all his hidden treasures and disclosed the names of all the Mughal officers who had helped him. Sambhaji refused.
After every torture, Aurangzeb would ask him if he had had enough and wanted to convert – but the courageous king kept refusing. By doing so he earned the title of Dharmaveer (Protector of Dharma) by which he is known to this day. On March 11, 1689, Sambhaji was finally killed.
Sambhaji Maharaj was a Sanskrit scholar and has written 4 scriptures , Names are: Budhbhushan, Nayika-bheda, Satshatak, Nakhshikha