Raghupati guided Shivaji and his son to Mathura. They reached there in three days without facing any further trouble on the way though the news of their escaping from Aurangzeb’s prowess was already spread everywhere. Soldiers and spies started looking for their hunt. But Ram Singh extended his support as much as he could; none was able to trace them. Mathura was anyway the safest place for the Maharashtrian leader to hide. They took shelter in the home of one of his minister’s brother-in-law, a resident of the ancient holy city of the Hindus. On the very next day after reaching there, the leader shaved his famous beard and moustache off.

In the afternoon, Shivaji and his new friend were discussing their escape, what kind of support they could get from the wealthy influential of the city, how much believers would support him in establishing a Hindu empire and what should be ideal route to go back to his own place.  They heard someone banging the main door of the house. It was a three storied brick built house. The Bhawani Singh, the master of the house looked through the window of their private sitting space in first floor. It was a group of three soldiers on horse. He turned to Shivaji, without a word. The Maratha leader didn’t need a word from him to comprehend the meaning of his pale face, anyway. He smiled, “Do not worry. Tell them your friend, a Bania, came from Marwar on pilgrimage.”

Bhawani Singh: “I did not expect Yama’s messengers so soon. Once they came, they are not going to leave without meeting you.”

Shivaji: “So be it!”

After some minutes he heard footsteps on the wooden staircase. Two soldiers entered the room. Shivaji’s attire of the tradesman satisfied them it seemed. One of them asked, “What’s your name?”

Shivaji: “Yashwantrao Shrimal.”

Soldier: “Where are you coming from?”

Shivaji: “Now I am coming from Delhi, but my forefathers, the famous Shrimals are from Marwar. Largest part of my family migrated to Delhi during the reign of the Great Emperor Akbar, where they earned name and wealth by the grace of the great Mughal emperor…”  – he continued as if he was in no mood to stop. Association with Jaswant Singh, Jai Singh as well as long stay in Delhi taught him accents of both Marwar and Delhi very well.

Soldiers were looking for a fugitive, not a trader proud of his heritage from Delhi. They left the room – One of them still doubtful. He whispered, “I know the voice. I have been participating in wars in South under Shaista Khan for a long time. I am telling you this is not a trader.”

The other told, “Who is this then?”

First one: “I guess this is Shivaji. Any two voices cannot be exactly the same.”

Second: “You are an Idiot! Shivaji has beard and long hair!”

First: “People in Sinhagad say, he sometimes dresses as Brahmin.”

Second: “Well, this is a trader.”

They didn’t need to discuss long. The householder arrived with a pouch full of gold coins, held the hand of one soldier and handed it without a word. The soldiers took no time to vanish.

Shivaji commented, “Well they will force me to become a hermit, I see.”

Within couple of days, Shivaji and some of his followers were converted to hermits under supervision of the once Habildar Raghupati. They visited many temple and shrines as well as rich traders in the city who agreed to provide them necessary support to fulfil their purpose. For the time the people of Mathura needed to make sure that the group of hermits reach home safely. No, instead of coming back directly from there, they took a long journey towards home. Under the guidance of Raghupati, now Sadanand Swami again, a small troupe of hermits left Mathura one auspicious day after the rainy season was over. Dressed as mendicants they proceeded to Prayag in the south east direction. From there they turned towards south. Taking a route through Bundelkhand and Golconda, they reached the safe fortress of Raigad after two long months.

None of the Mughal armed force and its informers could trace the most wanted fugitives even after a thorough search across the empire. Aurangzeb was an administrator experienced enough to reckon the game. Accusing Ram Singh of his duplicity, he demoted his position in the royal court. Ram Singh didn’t regret that either.

Reaching Raigad in October 1666, Shivaji resumed his mission to expand the Hindu empire. He will build a considerably large empire within next eight year – and then, will announce himself to be a King arranging a celebratory coronation ceremony in Raigad. But right now, he will have to meet his friend in deathbed.