September 1, 2020
Mira Bai/MiraBai (1498-1546 CE)
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Mirabai, also known as Meera, is a Bhakti poet and mystic from India. She is the central poet of the Bhakti movement, a path of spirituality that focuses on a personal love for the Divine, and that one is able to have direct access to the Divine through this intense devotion. She became a symbol of the suffering and persecution of her people, of all castes.
She was born into the Rajput aristocracy. Legend has it that when she was a mere four-year old, she and her mother witnessed a wedding procession. She seriously looked at her mother and asked who her bridegroom would be. Not knowing how seriously her answer would be taken, her mother pointed to a statue of Lord Krishna and said he is your bridegroom.
In 1516, Meera was made to marry the Crown Prince of Mewar, much against her will. She felt that the Lord Krishna was her true husband.
She refused to worship her husband’s family’s Goddess, due to her vow to Krishna.
She did not fulfill the duties and expectations of a dutiful and obedient wife. This continued until the death of her husband, when she refused, as custom demanded, that she throw herself on his funeral pyre.
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Her husband’s family tried several times to have her killed. Once she received a basket of flowers designed to hide a cobra; when she opened the basket, she discovered a garland and an idol of her beloved Krishna. Another time, as an offering, she was given a cup of poison; as was her habit, she offered it first to Lord Krishna. When she drank the contents of the cup, she was not harmed.
Mirabai’s love for Krishna surpassed all other. In doing this, she forsake a life of luxury and began her non-violent fight against persecution.
After her husband’s death, her husband’s family, due to their disapproval of her, tried to lock her in the house, and ultimately, turned her away. She returned to her own family, who also disapproved and turned her away.
She began to travel, write her devotional poetry to Krishna. She sang and danced in her intense devotion and began to gain many followers. There is a temple to her in Chittorgarh, not far from where she was born.
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What Meera or Mirabai tells us is to do what it right for us, to stand up for what we believe and for what we know is best for us, and not what someone else thinks is best for us. Be sovereign; be authentic.
(Photo Credit: The Divine Feminine Oracle by Meggan Watterson)
The following is a sample of Mirabai’s poetry:
MINE IS GOPAL
Mine is Gopal,
there is no one else.
On his head he wears the peacock-crown:
He alone is my husband.
Father, mother, brother, relative:
I have none to call my own.
I’ve forsaken both God, and the family’s honor:
what should I do?
I’ve sat near the holy ones,
and I’ve lost shame before the people.
I’ve torn my scarf into shreds;
I’m all wrapped up in a blanket.
I took off my finery of pearls and coral,
and strung a garland of wildwood flowers.
With my tears,
I watered the creeper of love that I planted;
Now the creeper has grown spread all over,
and borne the fruit of bliss.
The churner of the milk churned with great love.
When I took out the butter,
no need to drink any buttermilk.
I came for the sake of love-devotion;
seeing the world, I wept.
Mira is the maidservant of the Mountain-Holder:
Now with love
He takes me across to the further shore.