सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "Mirabai"




In General

Mirabai (16th Cntury) was a Rajput princess, a mystic poet and a prominent figure in Vaishnava Bhakti movement. She composed more than a thousand bhajans in religious ecstasy each one of them depicting passionate love for Lord Krishna. To Mira, the Lord Giridhara is a living presence in all her life and she in love for Giridhara, burned herself, spreading spiritual fragrance everywhere. Meera's songs are in a simple form called a chand, a small spiritual song composed in simple rhyming words with rhythm. Her style of literature is mainly Rajasthani mixed with Brij language. But one can also see a hint of Gujarati as well as Punjabi in her writings. The traditions make her a disciple of Guru Ravidas of Chittor. She exchanged letters with her contemporary poet Tulsidas and discussed religious matter with Rupa Goswami a direct disciple of Chaitanya and a foremost saint of Vrindavan. Once she argued with a sage Rupa Goswami that only the Giridhara Gopala is the only Purusha, the lonely man of the world and all else are just Gopikas, his Prakriti. The devotional poetry that has come out of her genius only illustrates this philosophy of Purusha-Prakriti in literal words. Mira lived the message she preached, scoffed at cold intellectualism and boldly proclaimed the doctrine of absolute faith in and devotion to the lord.

Mirabai was believed to be born in first half of 16th century in far off Marwar, in the village Kurkhi as a princely child of Rao Ratan Singh, the youngest son of Merta king Rao Duda and a descendent of Rao Rathore, the founder of Jodhpur. When Mira was 3 year old a wandering Sadu presented her with an idol of Krishna and she instantly fall in love with the Giridhar Gopala Krishna. In another occasion when Mira was 5 year old she saw a wedding procession going down the street. Turning to the mother she asked in innocence, “who is my bride”. Mother Veer Kumari told her that she already have Giridhara Gopala as her husband. This resolved her mind to make a final commitment to Krishna and throughout her turbulent life she never wavered this commitment. At the young age of seven she lost her mother and thereafter she moved to her grandfather’s palace accompanied by her childhood friend, Mithula, who stayed with Meera till the end.

At an early age of 13 years Mira got married to Prince Bhoj Raj, who was the eldest son of Rana Sanga of Chittor. She served her husband like an ideal Hindu wife. Blessed Mira left no stone unturned to please her husband and see that his mandates were obeyed. She tried to give him no occasion for offence. She stood out a sublime figure of a devoted wife, an ideal that could be the boast of any Hindu lady. But in her love for Lord Krishna she could not accept any compromise. To her caring Giridhara Gopala Krishna was superior over all other duties – spiritual, moral or temporal. In the busy day, she never forgets to feed her beloved Krishna. In every evening she would spend her time in devotion and singing to her beloved Giridhar Gopala Krishna. Whilst singing devotional bhajans, she would frequently lose awareness of the world, entering into states of ecstasy and trance. Her days at husbands house passed by bathing, feeding, praying and talking with the deity.

But her innocent devotion to Krishna greatly irritated mother-in-law and other ladies of her husband’s family; moreover, the favorite deity of husband’s family was Tulaja Bhawani (Durga). They persuaded her to worship Ma Durga. When she did not obeyed; then the sister of Raja, Udabai take up the lead and spread rumor about Mira. They hatched a conspiracy and defamed her. Soon the rumor reached the King that his wife Mira with her companions goes to temple at night. Her husband, believing these stories to be true, tore into her room with sword in hand. To his surprise king found Mira in complete surrender to Krishna and conversing with the idol of Krishna; and no other male anywhere near. The young prince quizzed his wife and she replied, “there He sits, the Eternal One, who had stolen my heart and gives it not back. But I do not complain it, for, there lies in my solace”. Hence forward the prince felt that his wife had gone mad of God and so he didn’t troubled her further. And out of his love for her, he made a private temple for her to worship her Giridhara Gopala.

Slowly common people came to know about the devotion and songs of the prince. Some Sadus and Vaishnava devotees came and visited her in their enthusiasm and praised her devotion. But the world saw this through the eye of scandal, and rumors were round that Mira had started mixing freely with Sadus. This just made her family even more critical of her. But Mirabai remained unmoved by both the criticism and praise of the world.

The Mugal King Akbar came to know about the devotional path of Mira determined to visit her. Since he will not be accepted in a Rajaputra kingdom he disguised as a Sadhu and visited her along with his court musician Tansen. It was usual that, as she dances in ecstasy, everybody seated close to her feels that the lord Himself appear and makes his presence. Akbar had the same feeling and was very much impressed by the songs of Mira and out of his respect he touched her feet in reverence and left a costly necklace for her lord the Giridhara Gopala.

Few days after the King recognized that his arch rival, a muslim who killed many from his race have touched his wife and gave her a present. He became very furious and thus reprimanded her in an isolated place in palace. He even thought to drown her in some river. Understanding the wish of the husband, Mira moved to the river singing the song of the lord all the way. The ladies of the palace felt relaxed at the fate of Mira. But while the guards were looking at her she took a jumb; alas, unnoticed by the guards, she got fainted and found herself in the lap of Giridhara Gopala.

Then she started for brindavan singing and dancing the way she passed. She passed the hot sands of Rajaputana in bare foot and with no food, nobody to take care, chanting the name of Giridhara Gopala. She sang, “He is my all, I have no one to call my own”. The Ladies and children of Vraja gaze at her and then they danced with her and wept with her in full ecstasy for Giridhara Gopala. News spread of prince Mira as a beggar in Brindavan. It even reached her Marwar and one day her husband came in disguise and sought her forgiveness. She acceded to his entreaties and consented to accompany him back home.

On arrival in chittor her time was passed in prayer in the temple as before. Her relatives were still very arrogant and intolerable as before; but her husband was of great support to her in these days. Unfortunately this did not last long; her husband the king of the land died on a war. Mira was only twenty three then, and only ten years had elapsed after her marriage. Her father-in-law, Rana Sanga respected and protected Meera Bai died a few years later in a War. Life became very miserable for Mira.

Amids the suffering Giridhara Gopala is her only solace. She sang in praise of him and enjoyed the company of friends who are in the same mood. She would quietly leave the Chittor fort at night and join Satsangs (religious get-togethers) in the town below. This behavior did not fit the expected behavior of a Rajput princess and a widow. Her brother-in-law, the new ruler of Chittor, Rana Vikram Singh strongly objected to Meera's devotion, her mixing with commoners and her lack of feminine modesty. He made several attempts to kill Meera, and her sister-in-law, Uda bai, is said to have spread defamatory gossip, tried to kill her by locking her in a room for several days without food. But Lord Krishna sent a plate of food for her everyday and she Sang beautiful bhajans for him. The Raja was always busy inventing a new formula to torture her. He once sent a snake in a basket but it turn to be a beautiful image of the Devine Lord. Then he tried poison, Mira drank it, but it turn to be nectar. He pinned iron nails in Meera's bed, but, again by God's grace they turned into rose petals. Life is very cruel to her, but Giridhara Gopala is still live, so how can she commit suicide by Sati. She found Krishna to be her only support and resisted the wishes of her in-laws to give up her worship. Her grief turned into a passionate spiritual devotion that inspired in her countless poems drenched with separation and longing.

She wrote to her contemporary poet Tulasidas for advice. Tulasidas encouraged her in her path of devotion and advised her to disregard and reject the relatives. She left Chittor and went to Merta, her own birth place, where also she was not accepted and thus found all family security a mirage and left for Vrindavan and Kasi. She continued her pilgrimage and danced from one village to another village, almost covering the whole of north India. She is thought to have spent her last years as a pilgrim in Dwarka, Gujarat.

Udai Singh, who had succeeded Vikram Singh as Raja, sent a delegation of Brahmins to bring Mira back to Mewar. Reluctant, she asked permission to spend the night at a temple of Krishna. The next morning she was found to have disappeared. According to popular belief, she miraculously merged with the image of Krishna.

A songs of Mira

Only he knows the bitterness of love

Who has deeply felt its pangs.

When you are in trouble

No one comes near you:

When fortune smiles.

All come to share the joy.

Love shows no external wound.

But the pain pervades every pore

Devotee Mira offers her body

As a sacrifice to Giridhara for ever.

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Word Sanskrit IAST In General Veda Purana