Thursday, 23 August 2007

Mirabai ( c.1498-1573)

Mirabai is the most reknowned poet/saint of India. She was reluctantly married at eighteen to the Prince of Mewar. Her husband died soon into their marriage leaving her free to dedicate herself to Krishna; this for Mira was her life purpose. She spent time in public temples (usually only visted by those from lower castes) and sang, danced and embraced with untouchables. In order to escape from her murderous in-laws, Mira, now in her early thirties, renounced her title and fled. She spent the rest of her life living in places sacred to Krishna, dedicating her poetry to him. She spoke out on the injustices of religion, politics and the caste system and was clearly a formidable intellect. Her poetry is often humourous, erotic and ecstatic, reflecting the estatic union she achieved with her God. Mira would often dance with and for Krishna, like many transcendant mystics. She spent the last few years of her life attending the destitute near the Ranchorji temple.

The way Mira addresses Krishna is reminiscent of how many Sufi poets address Allah, with the tenderness and intimacy used to speak to a lover:

I Get Dizzy

I can't forget about love
for more than two seconds
I get dizzy if I think about anything
but the way you pant
in my ear.

I Want You To Have This

I want you to have this,
all the beauty in my eyes,
and the grace of my mouth
all the splendour of my strength,
all the wonder of the musk parts of my body,
for are we not talking about real love,
real love?


Bo said...

These are gorgeous love!

hello said...

nice post. you can read more of her poetry at this site about mirabai under the bhajans tab. you may like it.

Justine said...

Thanks, what a lovely site.

Yvonne said...

Amazing woman! Interesting that her love for Krishna extended to seeing him in the eyes of the poor and oppressed.