29 Apr Individual Freedom Through the Path of Love: Mirabai
I was first introduced to the poetry of Mirabai (a 16th century illuminated woman) ten years ago when I set one of her love poems to music (“To Have This” on my Pouring Light CD is available on ITunes).
Mirabai won her authenticity by non-conventional and non-institutionalized means. She refused to be governed by no one or no thing but the Beloved within the cavernous ocean of her heart. Mirabai is an example of one who achieved the purpose of life by surrender to her Infinite Individuality.
Mirabai needed no government, no religion, and no external law to sanction or to maneuver her to give of herself. Her acts of compassion for others were motivated entirely from within. She stands as a planet in the sky for a model of genuine individuality that has chosen freely to give by following the law of love, not through coercion or any human-made law.
Mirabai had no political agenda although she was fearless and outspoken.Her singular protest was the pure desire for her own individual freedom and having won this,reached out her hand—person by person— to assist each in reaching theirs.
Mirabai succeeded in building her inner dwelling outside of the matrix of society and its dramas, and yet was compelled by her immense love to minister to those around her who were in dire need. This woman is modern and current because she is timeless, having learned to live within the narrow gaps and cracks of time.
In these two poems of Mirabai’s (see my Youtube for the second one)we get a glimpse of the long road that the soul must travel—on its own—before it is ready for such a love, for such a spendid individuality as Mirabai’s.
Strange is the Path of love
Do not mention the name of love,
O my simple-minded companion.
Strange is the path
When you offer your love.
Your body is crushed at the first step.
If you want to offer love
Be prepared to cut off your head
And sit on it.
Be like the moth,
Which circles the lamp and offers its body.
Be like the deer, which, on hearing the horn,
Offers its head to the hunter.
Be like the partridge,
Which swallows burning coals
In love of the moon.
Be like the fish
Which yields up its life
When separated from the sea.
Be like the bee,
Entrapped in the closing petals of the lotus.
Mira’s lord is the courtly Giridhara [Krishna].
She says: Offer your mind
To those lotus feet.
Mirabai,who lived in the 16th century,is the most renowned 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.
When you click on the Youtube below, scroll to about 1:35 minutes and you will have the english translation of the original sanksrit bhajan (song), a modern rendition of one of the saint’s love poems to her inner beloved. Listen to it with your heartmind, not your brainmind, and perhaps you will get in touch with the universal feeling of Love that transcends all cultures and religions.