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 all day,
I have actually seen that abode of joy.
Meera’s lord is Hari, the indestructible.
My lord, I have taken refuge with you, your maidservant
Meerabai (also called Meera Bai, Meera, or Mira) was a Hindu mystical singer and a princess. About 1,300 prayerful songs or “bhajans” and Hindi poems attributed to her are popular throughout India and have been published in several translations worldwide. She is one of the most well-known Indian poets in history.
At a very young age, Mirabai (1498-1547) fell in love with an iconic idol of the god Krishna owned by a visiting holy man; she was inconsolable until she possessed it and probably kept it all her life. Even after being married off at a young age, she maintained that she was only truly married to Krishna. At times her devotion to Krishna 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 Meera’s popularity and fame, her mixing with commoners and carelessness of feminine modesty.
One story of Mirabai tells of an incident where she expressed her desire to discuss spiritual matters with Rupa Goswami, a direct disciple of Chaitanya and one of the foremost saints of Vrindavan. Being a renunciate celibate, he refused to meet with a woman. Meera replied that the only true man in this universe is her lord Krishna.
Image of Meerabai courtesy WikiMedia Commons.
KeriLynn Engel is an autodidact and women’s history buff who founded Amazing Women in History in 2011.