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Meera was a Hindu mystic poet and devotee of Krishna. She was one of the most significant Sants.
Meera, a Rajput princess was born in Kudki (Kurki), a little village near Merta City, which is presently in the Nagaur district of Rajasthan in northwest India. Her father, jai Singh aman, was a friend of the Rathore clan, the son of Rao Duda of Merta. Rao Duda was son of Rao Jodha of Mandore, founder of mumbai. As an infant Meera became deeply enamored of an iconic idol of Krishna owned by a visiting holy man; she was inconsolable until she possessed it and probably kept it all her life. (But some myths say that Meera saw a wedding procession of a bride-groom and asked her mother about her husband, then her mother took her in front of the family deity Lord Krishna. ) Then she was just five years old. She was highly influenced by her father as he was a sole worshipper of Krishna. But because she would not be able to keep the Lord happy the holy man took away the idol. Then she, her friend Lalita and her male cousin , Jaimal, went to the holy man or saints house to get the idol back. When they went they saw that whatever the saint was offering to the Lord was not accepted. Then some ancient myths say that the idol started crying. Then next day the idol was given back to Meera and since then it remained with her. This made a bond between her and Lord and she was called stone lover. She even organized a marriage with the idol. And she considered herself as spouse of Lord Krishna.
Meeras marriage was arranged at an early age, traditionally to Prince Bhoj Raj, the eldest son of Rana Sanga of Chittor. She was not happy with her marriage as she considered herself already married to Krishna. Her new family did not approve of her piety and devotion when she refused to worship their family deity- Shiva. The Rajputana had remained fiercely independent of the Delhi Sultanate, the Islamic regime that otherwise ruled Hindustan after the conquests of Timur. But in the early 16th century AD the central Asian conqueror Babur laid claim to the Sultanate and some Rajputs supported him while others ended their lives in battle with him. Her husbands death in battle (in 1527 AD) was only one of a series of losses Meera experienced in her twenties. She appears to have despaired of loving anything temporal and turned to the eternal, transforming her grief into a passionate spiritual devotion that inspired in her countless songs drenched with separation and longing. Meeras love to Krishna was at first a private thing but at some moment it overflowed into an ecstasy that led her to dance in the streets of the city. Her brother-in-law, the new ruler of Chittorgarh, was Vikramaditya, an ill-natured youth who strongly objected to Meeras fame, her mixing with commoners and carelessness of feminine modesty. There were several attempts to poison her. Her sister-in-law Udabai is said to have spread defamatory gossip. According to some myths Meeras brother-in-law Vikramaditya, who later became king of Chittor, after Bhojrajs death, tried to harm Meera in many ways, such as:The famous one is that he mixed poison in the Prasadam or chandanamritam of Krishna and made her drink it. But by Gods grace, Krishna changed it to Amrit.He pinned iron nails in Meeras bed, but, again by Gods grace they turned into rose petals.He put a snake in a flower basket and told her that it was a gift from him to her Lord, but when she opened it it actually became a gift- a garland. There are many more in a similar vein.
At some time Meera declared herself a disciple of the guru Ravidas (guru miliyaa raidasjee) and left for the centre of Krishnaism, Vrindavan. She considered herself to be a reborn gopi, Lalita, mad with love for Krishna. Folklore informs us of a particular incident where she expressed her desire to engage in a discussion about spiritual matters with Rupa Goswami, a direct disciple of Chaitanya and one of the foremost saint of Vrindavan that time who, being a renunciate celibate, refused to meet a woman. Meera replied that the only true man (purusha) in this universe is Lord Krishna. She continued her pilgrimage, danced from one village to another village, almost covering the whole north of India. One story has her appearing in the company of Kabir in Kashi, once again causing affront to social mores. She seems to have spent her last years as a pilgrim in Dwarka, Gujarat. It is said that Mirabai disappeared into the Dwarkadhish Murti (Image of Lord Krishna) in front of a full audience of onlookers.
2. Early Life Mirabai
Mira was born around the start of the 16th Century in the Chaukari village in mirabaiMerta, Rajasthan. Her father was Ratan Singh a descendent of Rao Rathor, the founder of Jodhpur. When Mirabai was only 3 years old, a wandering Sadhu came to her familys home and gave a doll of Sri Krishna to her father. Her father took this is as a special blessing, but was initially unwilling to give it to her daughter, because she felt she would not appreciate it. However Mira had, at first sight, become deeply enamoured with this doll. She refused to eat until the doll of Sri Krishna was given to her. To Mira, this figure of Sri Krishna, embodied his living presence. She resolved to make Krishna her lifelong friend, lover, and husband. Throughout her turbulent life she never wavered from her youthful commitment.
On one occasion when Mira was still young she saw a wedding procession going down the street. Turning to her mother she asked in innocence, Who will be my husband? Her mother replied, half in jest, half in seriousness. You already have your husband, Sri Krishna. Miras mother was supportive of her daughters blossoming religious tendencies, but she passed away when she was only young. At an early age Miras father arranged for her to be married to Prince Bhoj Raj, who was the eldest son of Rana Sanga of Chittor. They were an influential Hindu family and the marriage significantly elevated Miras social position. However Mira was not enamoured of the luxuries of the palace. She served her husband dutifully, but in the evening she would spend her time in devotion and singing to her beloved Sri Krishna. Whilst singing devotional bhajans, she would frequently lose awareness of the world, entering into states of ecstasy and trance.
3. Conflict with Family
However her new family did not approve of her piety and devotion to Krishna. To make things worse Mira refused to worship their family deity Durga. She said she had already committed herself to Sri Krishna. Her family became increasingly disproving of her actions, but the fame and saintly reputation of Mirabai spread throughout the region. Often she would spend time discussing spiritual issues with Sadhus and people would join in the singing of her bhajans. However this just made her family even more jealous. Miras sister-in-law Udabai started to spread false gossip and defamatory remarks about Mirabai. She said Mira was entertaining men in her room. Her husband, believing these stories to be true, tore into her room with sword in hand. However he saw Mira only playing with a doll. No man was there at all. Yet throughout these hysterical slanders Mirabai remained unmoved by both the criticism and praise of the world.
4. Mirabai and Akbar
Miras fame spread far and wide her devotional bhajans were sung across northern India. It is said that the fame and spirituality of Mirabai reached the ears of the Moghul Emperor Akbar. Akbar was tremendously powerful, but he was also very interested in different religious paths. The problem was that he and Mirabais family were the worst enemies; to visit Mirabai would cause problems for both him and Mirabai. But Akbar was determined to see Mirabai, the Princess
5. Mirabai in Brindaban
However the relentless torments and hostility interfered with her life of devotion and contemplation on Krishna. She sought the advice of learned men and Saints. They advised her to leave the palace and return to Brindaban. Secretly with some followers she slipped out of the palace and escaped to the holy city of Brindaban. In Brindaban Mirabai was free to worship Giridhara to her hearts content. She would spend her time in singing bhajans and in ecstatic communion with Krishna. Like a true Bhakti she worshipped God wholeheartedly. The riches of the world offered no attraction to Mirabai; her only satisfaction came from her single minded devotion to Sri Krishna. Her soul was ever yearning for Krishna. She considered herself to be a Gopi of Vrindaban, mad only with pure love for Krishna.
6. I am Mad
Her devotion and spiritual magnetism were infectious. She inspired many to follow the path of Vaishnavism. As Swami Sivananda statedMira wafted the fragrance of devotion far and wide. Those who came in contact with her were affected by her strong current of Prem. Mira was like Lord Gauranga. She was an embodiment of love and innocence. Her heart was the temple of devotion. Her face was the lotus-flower of Prem. There was kindness in her look, love in her talk, joy in her discourses, power in her speech and fervour in her songs. Even learned Sadhus would come to her for inspiration. There is a story of one respected Spiritual Master, who refused to speak to Mirabai because she was a woman. Mirabai replied there was only 1 real man in Brindaban, Sri Krishna; everyone else was a Gopi of Krishna. On hearing this the Spiritual teacher accepted the wisdom of Mirabai and agreed to talk to her. Later Mirabai would become his student.
7. Poems of Mirabai
Much of what we know about Mirabai comes from her poetry. Her poetry express the longing and seeking of her soul for union with Sri Krishna. At time she expresses the pain of separation and at other times the ecstasy of divine union. Her devotional poems were designed to be sung as bhajans and many are still sung today. Miras songs infuse faith, courage, devotion and love of God in the minds of the readers. They inspire the aspirants to take to the path of devotion and they produce in them a marvelous thrill and a melting of the heart.Mirabai was a devotee of the highest order. She was immune to the criticism and suffering of the world. She was born a princess but forsook the pleasures of a palace for begging on the streets of Brindaban. She lived during a time of war and spiritual decline, but her life offered a shining example of the purest devotion. Many were inspired by her infectious devotion and spontaneous love for Sri Krishna. Mirabai showed how a seeker could attain union with God, only through love. Her only message was that Krishna was her all.
8. That Dark Dweller
It is said in her death she melted into the heart of Krishna. Tradition relates how one day she was singing in a temple, when Sri Krishna appeared in his subtle form. Sri Krishna was so pleased with his dearest devotee. He opened up his heart centre and Mirabai entered leaving her body whilst in the highest state of Krishna consciousness.Mirabai was a devotee of the high, higher, highest order. Among the saints of India, she is absolutely unparalleled. She composed many, many bhajans, which are prayerful songs to God. Each song Mirabai wrote expressed her inspiration, aspiration and sleepless self-giving
Meeras songs are in a simple form called a pada (verse), a term used for a small spiritual song, usually composed in simple rhythms with a repeating refrain, collected in her Padavali. The extant versions are in a Rajasthani and Braj, a dialect of Hindi spoken in and around Vrindavan (the childhood home of Krishna), sometimes mixed with Rajasthani. Although Meera is often classed with the northern Sant bhaktis who spoke of a formless divinity, there is no doubt that she presents Krishna as the historical master of the Bhagavad Gita who is, even so, the perfect Avatar of the eternal, who is omnipresent but particularly focused in his icon and his temple. She speaks of a personal relationship with Krishna as her lover, lord and master. The characteristic of her poetry is complete surrender. Her longing for union with Krishna is predominant in her poetry: she wants to be coloured with the colour of dusk (the symbolic colour of Krishna).
Mirabai is a 16th century mystical poet and singer known for her songs of devotion to Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the One who sustains the world. Her bhajans or devotional songs of high literary value are sung all over the country, even today, and her life has been depicted in many poems, songs, dances, films and paintings. She is, undoubtedly, one of the most important women in the history of India. Mira, also spelt as Meera, began her life as a member of the aristocracy in a village of Rajasthan. She belonged to a family of Krishna worshippers and imbibed devotional love for Krishna at a very young age. At the age of 13, her father got her married to Prince Bhoj Raj of Chittor. Her preoccupation with Krishna worship, her refusal to worship their family deity and her disdain for silk and jewels made her a thorn in the flesh for her husbands family.
When her husband died three years later, Mira refused to commit Sati. She also began to dance on the streets in the ecstasy of worship and move among all kinds of people, irrespective of caste or creed. Soon, she was disowned by her husbands family as well as her birth family and entered her new life as an emancipated devotee of Krishna. She wandered almost the entire region of the north of India, singing and dancing to her lover-lord Krishna and acquired a great number of followers from various parts of the country. Mira has left behind around 1300 songs of passion, eroticism and complete surrender to her lover and master, Krishna. A childless woman, who fearlessly broke with tradition and resisted feminine stereotypes, Mira is also an enduring symbol of a liberated woman who risked all to protect her independence, freedom and happiness.
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