Meerabai (Rajasthani: मीराबाई) (c.1498-c.1547AD) (Meera; Mira; Meera Bai) was a Hindu mystical singer and one of the most significant figures of the Sant tradition of the Vaishnava bhakti movement. Some 12-1300 prayerful songs or bhajans attributed to her are popular throughout India.
Meera’s devotion to Krishna led her to ecstatic dance in the streets of the city. Her brother-in-law, the new ruler of Chittorgarh, objected to Meera’s fame, her mixing with commoners, and supposed impropriety. There were several attempts to poison her.
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 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, “dancing 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 spent her last years as a pilgrim in Dwarka, Gujarat.
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, esctatically 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
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.
Mine is Gopal, the Mountain-Holder; there is no one else.
On his head he wears the peacock-crown: He alone is my husband.
Father, mother, brother, relative: I have none to call my own.
I’ve forsaken both God, and the family’s honor:
what should I do? I’ve sat near the holy ones,
and I’ve lost shame before the people.
I’ve torn my scarf into shreds; I’m all wrapped up in a blanket.
I took off my finery of pearls and coral,
and strung a garland of wildwood flowers.
With my tears, I watered the creeper of love that I planted;
Now the creeper has grown spread all over,
and borne the fruit of bliss. The churner of the milk churned with great love.
When I took out the butter, no need to drink any buttermilk.
I came for the sake of love-devotion; seeing the world, I wept.
Mira is the maidservant of the Mountain-Holder:
Now with love He takes me across to the further shore.