Peace and Humanitarian Initiatives

Meera Bai

Human being don’t forget your reality, this gift of life is for a few days only. Take advantage of this opportunity, you came here for a beautiful reason.

Don’t let greed delude you into sleep, don’t waste your resources following desires. Wake up and realize your fortune.

Find the living master, He teaches how to awaken.

Meera Bai

1498. The royals of Merta, a small state in Rajasthan were rejoicing. A baby girl was born to them. She was named Meera. Her father, Ratan Singh had to travel a lot. Meera stayed home with her mother in the household of her grandfather, Rao Duda ji Rathore. They were devotees of Lord Krishna.

Like other Rajput girls, Meera had to learn a lot of things. She learned music and many stories from the Scriptures, but also how to fight with bows and arrows, and with a sword, how to ride a horse and drive a horse-drawn chariot. She had to. Her people were counting on theirs and the other royal families of Rajasthan to lead them in war against the Mughal rulers.

But Meera was only a little girl. She listened to her elders talk about the fighting, cried in sadness for the dead, but could not understand why they are always fighting. She liked playing with her mother much better.

One day, when Meera was about four years old, she heard the sounds of joyful music just outside their palace walls. She ran excitedly to her mother.

“Ma! Ma! Do you hear the music? Can we go watch? Please, Please?”

“Okay, Meera”, her mother said. “Let’s watch them from upstairs, through the lattice walls.”

It was a marriage procession. The groom was leading it, riding a white horse. He was wearing a jeweled turban, looking like a young king. Everyone in the party was happy, singing and dancing as they went! Meera was happy watching them.

“May we go with them, Ma?” Meera asked.

“No, Meera, not this time. You are too young.” Her mother replied. Then she picked Meera up and said, “Can you see the handsome fellow on the white horse?”

“Yes, Ma. I see him. He is wearing a turban like father does. Where is he going?”

“He is the groom. He is going over to marry his bride.”

After watching the marriage party for sometime, Meera thought of another question. “Will I be married, Ma? Who will be my groom?”

“O, Meera, you are too young.”

“No, no, Ma! Please tell me who?”

“Hmm... let’s see who will be my Meera’s groom... who will he be? Why yes, I know. You will marry Thakurji, Krishna Bhagavan.” Meera’s mother said half in jest as she ran her fingers through Meera’s pretty curls, tousling them.

“Is that so, Ma? Please give me my husband, Krishna Bhagavan.”

So they went to the shrine. Meera’s mother picked up a really beautiful, black stone statue of Lord Krishna, playing the flute and gave it to her. “Here is your groom.” That was how Meera knew that she was to marry Lord Krishna.

Not too long after that, Meera’s mother passed away. And then her grandfather also passed away. Meera’s elder uncle, Viram Dev became the new head of the household. Little Meera didn’t know who to go to anymore, and grew increasingly close to her husband, Lord Krishna. Do you know what the name “Krishna” means? It means the “all-attractive one”, God in His most charming. It is true. Love Lord Krishna for one instant, you will see how you too will become permanently attracted to Him. What to say about Meera? She was only a guileless child. Lord Krishna became her life in no time.

Meera grew up to be a most beautiful young princess. Everyone far and wide heard about her beauty. But few knew about her love and devotion to Lord Krishna. Meera had many talents, she was a poet and a singer. She wrote songs and sang them to Lord Krishna.

One day, when Meera was eighteen years old, they had a visitor. It was Rana Singh Sisodiya, king of neighboring Mewar. He wanted to join forces with the Rathores in their common battles against the Mughals. He proposed that Rathore princess be wed to his son crown prince Bhoj Raj. The marriage was settled, and Meera was to be married to prince Bhoj. Meera herself was not keen about the marriage, but agreed to it only to honor her uncle’s word. Before the marriage, she ceremoniously married Lord Krishna. Her uncle and aunt gave many gifts, and send them off to the house of Sisodiyas at Chittor.

Meera’s marriage to Bhoj was in name only. At heart, Meera was married only to Lord Krishna. She was gentle with her husband Bhoj and her family, and served them with all her abilities, but loved only Lord Krishna. Prince Bhoj loved Meera, and tried his best to make her happy. He wanted her company, but Meera spent all her free time for Lord Krishna, writing songs and singing them. She sang:

My only husband is Giridhar Gopal (Lord Krishna), and nobody else.

Other members of the Sisodiya family began to disapprove of her ways. They thought that Meera was too proud and did not want to belong to their family. Bhoj Raj tried his best to make peace in the family, but that was not to be. None of the discontent was noticed by Meera. She couldn’t think of anything else other than her true love, Lord Krishna. Meera would go to temples of Lord Krishna and sing with other devotees of Lord Krishna. Sometimes, she visited Sant Ravidas for Spiritual guidance. The Sisodiyas did not think that Meera should go out of the home. They became very unhappy with Meera. Her uncle and aunt also did not approve that Meera went outside of the home.

Three years later, Bhoj Raj died in battle with the Mughals. With his death, there was nobody else in the Sisodiya family to speak for her. Her in-laws even tried to kill her, by giving her a poison drink, but she was miraculously saved. Meera sang:

O Rana! You gave me poison drink but I became gold burned in fire.

At the end, Meera’s in-laws suggested that she should go to the river and drown herself. Meera decided to do this. When she went to the river, she heard a Divine voice, “Meera, it is a very grave sin to kill oneself. Go to Vrindavan.”

Vrindavan is the holy land where Lord Krishna spent his childhood days. Meera left her home for Vrindavan, singing love songs for Lord Krishna. She sang:

That dark Dweller in Braj (Lord Krishna) is my only refuge.

In Vrindavan, Meera came to the monastery of Jiva Goswami. She wanted to see him. Goswamiji had earlier taken a vow that he will not see any woman. The disciples of Goswamiji did not want to let her in. Meera said, “I thought that in Vrindavan, Lord Krishna is the only male person. Now I see that Jiva Goswamiji is another.” All devotees, man and woman, consider themselves to be Spiritual brides of Lord Krishna, just as the gopis did. When the disciples brought the news to Goswamiji, he realized that he had a really special visitor and came out to greet her with folded hands. Meera became Sant Meerabai.

Meera spent some time in Vrindavan, singing for Lord Krishna at every temple.

Let me be your servant, O Lord.

Afterwards, Meera went to Dwarka, in Gujarat. She went to the Ranachodji Krishna temple. She wrote more songs, and sang them. She had no more wordly distractions. Meera wrote more than 400 songs. Her songs are a journal of the deep love she had for Lord Krishna. She wrote in Rajasthani and Vraj dialects. The lyrics are reverently called pada. Devotees get inspiration from her songs. Some of her songs are set in tunes created by her, including Raag Govind and Raag Mira Malhar. Her writings are in the Madhurya (sweet love) tradition of devotion.

The Rajputs fought on till 1535, when the nawab of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah, defeated them. To avoid being captured, Rajput women committed mass suicide in fire. Later, in 1547, the elder Rajputs sent for her, asking her to return home. Meera refused to go. Then they sent a group of priests to reason with her. The priests told her that they will fast until she relents.

Meera entered the temple, to pray and ask Lord Krishna what she should do. Lord Krishna told her to come to Him. As she approached the stone image of the Lord, her body disappeared into it. Only her sari was found draped around the image.

Mirabai Poems

The poems of Mirabai were traditionally known as ‘pada’, a term that was used in the 14th century to refer to the small spiritual songs. Mirabai composed poems as means to express the deepest feelings of her heart.

In a Sudden

In a sudden,
the sight,
Your look of light,
stills all,

The curd-pot
falls to the ground.

Parents and
brothers
all call a halt.

Praise out, they say,
this thing from your heart.
You’ve lost your path.

Says Meera:
Who but you
can see in the dark
of a heart?

That Dark Dweller

That Dark Dweller in Braj
Is my only refuge.
O my companion,
Worldly comfort is an illusion,
As soon you get it, it goes.
I have chosen the Indestructible for my refuge,
Him whom the snake of death
Will not devour.
My Beloved dwells in my heart,
I have actually seen that Abode of Joy.
Mira’s Lord is Hari, the Indestructible.
My Lord, I have taken refuge with Thee,
Thy slave.

The Plums Tasted

The plums tasted
sweet to the unlettered desert-tribe girl-
but what manners! To chew into each!
She was ungainly, low-caste, ill mannered and dirty,
but the god took the fruit she’d been sucking.

Why? She knew how to love.
She might not distinquish
splendor from filth
but she’d tasted the nectar of passion.

Might not know any Veda,
but a chariot swept her away-
now she frolics in heaven, ecstatically bound
to her god.

The Lord of Fallen Fools, says Mira,
will save anyone who can practice rapture like that-
I myself in a previous birth
was a cowherding girl
at Gokul.

O My Mind

O my mind,
Worship the lotus feet of the Indestructible One!
Whatever thou seest twixt earth and sky
Will perish.

Why undertake fasts and pilgrimages?
Why engage in philosophical discussions?
Why commit suicide in Banaras?
Take no pride in the body,
It will soon be mingling with the dust.

This life is like the sporting of sparrows,
It will end with the onset of night.
Why don the ochre robe
And leave home as a sannyasi?

Those who adopt the external garb of a Jogi,
But do not penetrate to the secret,
Are caught again in the net of rebirth.
Mira’s Lord is the courtly Giridhara.
Deign to sever, O Master.
All the knots in her heart.

We Do Not

We do not get a human life
Just for the asking.
Birth in a human body
Is the reward for good deeds
In former births.
Life waxes and wanes imperceptibly,
It does not stay long.
The leaf that has once fallen
Does not return to the branch.
Behold the Ocean of Transmigration.

With its swift, irresistible tide.
O Lal Giridhara, O pilot of my soul,
Swiftly conduct my barque to the further shore.
Mira is the slave of Lal Giridhara.
She says: Life lasts but a few days only.

Life in the World

Life in the world is short,
Why shoulder an unnecessary load
Of worldly relationships?
Thy parents gave thee birth in the world,
But the Lord ordained thy fate.
Life passes in getting and spending,
No merit is earned by virtuous deeds.
I will sing the praises of Hari
In the company of the holy men,
Nothing else concerns me.
Mira’s Lord is the courtly Giridhara,
She says: Only by Thy power
Have I crossed to the further shore.

 

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