Mirabai

Mirabai (1498 – 1547) was an aristocratic Hindu lady – a mystical singer and poetess from Rajasthan (India).  Throughout India, her prayerful songs are popular and some of her translated work has been published worldwide.

 

Mira. Meera. Mirabai.  The married Rajasthani princess fearlessly sang of love…a different kind of love…her divine love for her Lord Krishna.  Unmindful of any customs or royal traditions, the princess roamed the streets of her kingdom like a sufi! 

 

A sufi gives up all worldly pleasures.  A sufi does not even desire paradise.  A sufi only desires union with the beloved.  A sufi cannot see anything other than the beloved, which is basically, essentially: GOD. 

 

Though there is no positive evidence to show that Mira was influenced by the doctrine of Sufism, but it could be that among the holy men whose company she kept, there were some sufi saints, who might have further strengthened her inborn instinct of giving up all worldly wants.

 

Having forsaken her royal comforts, at some occasions, Mira would go dancing from streets to streets; at other moments she would go into a trance.  She appeared to have despaired for loving anything which was impermanent.  Hence, she channelized her energy into a spiritual devotion – in the form of writing poems for Lord Krishna.  More than 1200 songs in verse of Mirabai speak about her immense feelings for The Divine. Mirabai’s fame grew day by day as she traveled from Chittorgarh to Vrindavan.  There were several attempts made to harm her, or poison her.  But she survived.  Mirabai mixed freely with commoners and did not believe in caste or creed.  Her entire life was a continued pilgrimage and she may have spent her last days as a pilgrim in Dwarka, Gujarat. 

 

Alston and Subramaniam have published selections with English translation in India.  Schelling and Levi have presented anthologies in the U.S.A.

 


Mirabai’s Melodies

 

1. Ek Araj Suno Piya Mori, Mein Kin Sang Kheloon Hori – At the festival of colours – hori / holi, Mira pleads to her Krishna to hear her plea.  Mira is pining for her all-prevailing Krishna, who is absent from her, yet, very much present in her thoughts.  Mira asks of Krishna, “With whom should I play hori?”  She says that she has forsaken her fine robes.  She has given up decorating herself in all forms.  Mira says, “Without you, O, Krishna, I find the prospect of facing tomorrow very difficult.”. She pleads to him to hear her lamentations and confesses that she is drenched in his colours of love.

 

2. Tumhre Karan Sab Sukh Chodra, Ab Mohey Kyon Tarsavo Rey – While addressing her Krishna, Mira says, “For your sake I have forsaken all the pleasures of this world.  Why are you not responding? The state of my heart is lamenting for you.  Please come and appease my yearning heart.  Now, I am at a point where I cannot leave you.  Please accept me willingly.  I am your slave from many many births.  Please embrace me.”

 

3. Koi Din Yaad Karogey, Ramta Ram Ateet – Mira is remembering Giridharnagar (another name of Krishna).  Mira is addressing about a fellow being, a spiritual companion, who has gone his way and left her almost in a lurch.  When it comes to the end, Mira realizes that Krishna is the ultimate companion.


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