Mirabai | Saint’s story

Category: 

Mirabai | Saint’s story
Name:
Mirabai
Meera Bai
Born:
1498 Kurki, district Pali,
Rajasthan, India
Died:
1546
Dwarka, Gujarat
Religion:
Vaiṣṇavism
Famous:
Devotional Female Saint,
Poet of Devotional Songs (bhajans)
Bhakti of Śrī Kṛṣṇa
Travelled:
Rajasthan & Gujarati, India
Work:
Devotional Poems & Songs (Bhajans)
Works About Mirabai:
1. Mirabai | Saint’s story

Mirabai Temple Rajasthana Temple dedicated
to Mirabai and Śrī Krṣņa
at Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan

Mirabai

This is the Legendary life-story of the famous Hindu mystic poet and devotee of Krishna of 16th century – Mirabai, the author of hundreds of famous devotional poems and bhajans, the inspiration of many generations of bhakti yogis.

Saint’s life story as the full moon

1. Listen, O hearers, with an attentive mind. Faith may be said to be a full-moon festival: There the Saint’s life story is the moon that has suddenly become visible.

2. And when revealing itself in the sky of the heart, the darkness of ignorance is driven far away. The wise Chakora bird, seeing the moon, feels great happiness in its mind.

3. Looking with faith and fondness one receives a rain of nectar-like love; therefore he feels in his heart a limitless happiness.

4. Others who are lovers of interesting stories receive a blessing from these stories. Feeling great satisfaction thereby they partake of the happiness of final deliverance.

5. When the moon is seen, the hesitating thieves grumble, for they cannot continue their evil course and they flee away.

6. A tree though entirely ignorant yet feels the beams of the moon on it, and when the month of Chaitra (April) comes it becomes densely covered with flowers and fruit.

7. Therefore with attentive minds listen with reverence.

Mirabai's birth and childhood

8. In the great country of India there is a holy city by name of Udaipur. The king of that region was a reverent bhakta of Vishnu.

9. If any uninvited guests arrived, the king provided them with garments and food. If Vaishnavas suddenly appeared, he used to worship them.

10. In his house the king used to worship the icon of Krishna with the sixteen materials used in worship. With love he was accustomed to dress it in garments and ornaments and sing its praises.

11. Then after receiving the favour of Hari he was accustomed to eat. At this time a jewel of a daughter descended through him, a treasure-house of devotion.

12. After twelve days had passed they gave her the name of Mirabai. The mother lifted her up and placed her at the feet of Krishna.

13. She had a charming form and was extremely beautiful. When the king saw her it was a great pleasure to him. She grew up day by day and her mother and father were made happy.

14. It was at that time the custom of the king to take his daughter and go to Krishna's temple where with reverence he used to worship the eagle-bannered One (Krishna) with the sixteen materials used in worship.

15. He used to put ornaments on the extremely beautiful icon of Śrī Krishna. In his love the king used to dress it in priceless jewels and pearl garlands.

16. The icon of the cloud-dark Krishna looked beautiful with His brilliant crown, and His beautiful waistband. Around His waist was the gorgeous yellow robe and around His neck was the Vaijayantī garland.

17. In His ears were earrings set with jewels and on His breast was the exceedingly beautiful Kaustubha jewel. His glorious face was most pleasing with His broad smile.

Her resolve to marry Krishna

18. As she regularly looked at this form, Mirabai's heart was impressed by it and she said to herself, “I am not going to marry anyone except God alone.”

19. Having this determination in her mind the daughter of the king held to it in her love for God. Now it happened on a certain day that the king came and conversed with his wife.

20. The king said to the queen: “I see that Mirabai appears to be grown up. We should now look for a worthy bridegroom and have her married at once. “

21. Mirabai was listening to ber father's words and spoke in a sweet voice, “I have already chosen a husband for myself.”

22. “Would you ask me who is he, I will tell you how you may recognize him. Śrī Krishna whom you are regularly worshipping is the one I love.”

23. “You, mother and father, are my elders. Both of you think over the matter and offer me to the Lord Śrī Krishna without making any objection.”

24. The king replied to the daughter, “That stone icon is lifeless. You are a mere child and therefore do not understand and in consequence your love has been given to it.”

25. “In the Kali Yuga Krishna has taken the form of Buddha and has remained silent. No one can see Him in His visible form.”

26. “Your childish mind does not comprehend this; therefore you desire to marry this icon of Krishna. This is a foolish notion. Marry some distinguished prince.”

27. Mirabai replied: “Hunt where I may, there is no God superior to God-supreme, the Husband of Rukmiṇī.”

28. “He is the Father of Brahma-deva. Although He does all things, He is still a non-doer. Shiva's burning pain left Him when He repeated Krishna's name. Do you not know this, father?

29. In the three worlds there is no God, man, or king who is superior to Him, therefore my intense love is for Him.

30. You say that this is a lifeless stone. But you should not say so. Prahlāda believed God, and God manifested Himself out of the wooden pillar.

31. You might say that these are old fables, and doubts about them may come into your mind, but still in the Kali Yuga the Lord of the world walked from Dwārkā to Dakur.

32. On a certain night the antique icon of Mathura went to Hardwar. He saw the perfect bhakti of Nama and dined with him.

33. Know that the pure devotion of God's bhaktas is God Himself, and wherever His praise is sung with love there he dwells.

34, When a bee feels love for a lotus-flower, it buzzes around it. So the Husband of Rukmiṇī hastens to the place where there is a kirtan.

35. In the Kali Yuga the Life of the world is silent with one who is not a bhakta, but with a God-loving pious bhakta God speaks.

36. So hold no hesitation and listen to my request, O king. Offer me to the icon of Krishna and let me worship Him with love.”

37. Hearing his daughter say this, the king was astonished. He said: “I understand now. I now truly understand what her life means.

38. She is but an ignorant child who has not listened to the Purāṇas, and where has she gained this extraordinary knowledge? I do not understand.”

39. So he said to his daughter, “I give to you an image of Krishna. Take it into your room, and there worship Krishna with love.”

40. Listening to her father's acquiescence, Mirabai's heart rejoiced.  

Her worship of Krishna

She at once took the icon of Krishna and went to her room.

41. She installed the eagle-bannered One in her room and worshipped it with the sixteen materials for worship. The king supplied her with all materials she needed for the worship, believing his daughter was a wise girl.

42. In the early morning, having bathed, she repeated the names of God. Then taking a Vīṇā in her hand she sang hymns in her love.

43. Then waving the lighted wicks over Krishna she sang His praise and worshipped Him. She rubbed Him over with fragrant oil and bathed Him in warm water.

44. She then washed the icon with milk, curds, butter, honey and sugar mixed with crude sugar. After bathing Him in the five nectars she would wash Him in pure water.

45. After wiping it with her own garment she dressed Him, placed a crown on His head and adorned Him with brilliant ornaments.

46. On his forehead and person she made the three upright and other twelve marks, and with these she made Krishna look beautiful. He looked charming in the intensely lustrous earrings and the Vaijayantī garland.

47. She adorned Him with the Kaustubha jewel and made him look lovely with a garland of pearls and a waist-cord and radhavali.

48. On His wrist were ornaments and hero's bracelets, and on His fingers were rings set with jewels. On His feet were the ornaments of jewels. These she put on Him in her intense love.

49. Around His neck was a garland of tender tulasī leaves and over it was sprinkled the fragrant black powder. The dark-complexioned One looked beautiful and in visible form showed His beauty.

50. She used to wave over Him incense made of ten materials and the platter light. In her love she offered Him dainty food and with a final hymn of praise she prostrated herself before Him in her love.

51. She would exclaim, “O Purifier of the sinful, the eagle-bannered One, the adornment of Thy bhaktas, and One who is not known by the senses, O King of kings, Śrī Krishna, You honour my crude faith in You.”

52. Worshipping Him in this way, she would invite Vaishnava bhaktas. She would worship them reverently and bow to them in her love.

53. If any food remained she ate it as the favour of Hari. Then after the third watch of the day she would listen to the reading of the Bhāgavat Purāṇa.

54. In order to listen to the stories of Krishna, Vishnu bhaktas used to come to her room, especially those who had knowledge of philosophy, who were examples of goodness and whose minds were indifferent to worldly things;

55. those who were indifferent and always contented, who loved the devotion to the visible God, whose touch made the sacred water clean, were merciful to the lowly, and compassionate,

56. who regarded a common citizen as on equality with a king, to whom dung and gold seemed the same and who had the same feelings for the heavenly singer Urvaśī as for a she-wolf.

57. Sadhus and saints who were thus filled with the spirit of indifference to earthly things came to listen to her. At night full of love she used to perform Kirtanas describing the goodness of Hari.

58. Mirabai composed many poems. Putting them to use in the worship of Krishna she lovingly described His good deeds.

Mirabai’s Revilers

59. There were some crooked-minded men in the town that reviled her day and night, saying, “That king's daughter has ruined the reputation of the king.

60. She collects vairāgīs (ascetics) and in the kīrtana dances before them without shame. Although beautiful in form, a very treasure-house of beauty, she has brought a stain upon good manners.

61. When outsiders tarn aside from the right road the king punishes them, but he does not know of the evil done in his own house, as his mind is always intoxicated and blind with pride.

62. Although the sun appears brilliant, yet he has for his children the ominous Vyatīpāta and Kalyaṇī; likewise the king is the chief jewel among the powerful, yet this daughter is lacking in good manners.”

63. Revilers laughed and clapped their hands in ridicule and they said: “She is like a broom which is associated with dirt though made of holy grass.” In this way they conversed among themselves with sinful hearts.

64. A crow sits upon a tree and watches the cattle with sores upon them; so a reviler not being a witness of goodness naturally talks of one's imagined bad qualities.

65. - Thus they spoke to one another.

Her firm resolve

The king finally understood this and full of anger he went to his wife privately and said to her:

66. “You do not yet understand the rumours that are afloat. Our family reputation is being stained. Evil people revile the God-loving bhakta Mirabai.

67. They say, "She gathers together Vaishnavas and without any shame she sings in their company; she has bad manners for one of good family.”

68. Now hasten and tell our daughter: "Until now you were a child and had not sufficient understanding.

69. Now the king will find out a bridegroom for you and marry you to him.” Come back soon to tell me her intention.”

70. According to her husband's advice she went and advised her daughter, saying: “Men are constantly reviling you, because you are unwilling to marry.

71. Until now you were but a child, and now the king is going to have you married to a prince. He has sent me to tell you at once of his decision.”

72. Her daughter listened and then replied: “Tell my father that aside from Krishna every other person, king, is the same to me as you are.

73. My decision being what it is why do you frequently come and needlessly request me? Whatever harm there might be in people reviling me I am responsible for it. My heart has no fear.

74. When one buys anything in the market without weighing it he should never say that it is expensive. So, mother, as you do not know my heart, why blame me?

75. With cymbals and drums I perform Kirtanas in the assembly of Vaishnava. Just because I do this, evil men revile me.

76. But these who are pious and wise say: "She has brought a bright light into her family line." It is only those who are not bhaktas who revile me and say that I have chosen for myself the path to hell.

77. Some say of me: "She has conceived a great fondness for worship." Others say: "Mirabai has become crazy.” But those ignorant people do not know my pure heart.

78. With a weapon of knowledge in my hand I am determined to walk the path of bhakti. Evil-minded people try to blacken my pure action by blaming me, but thereby they only clean it without being paid for it.

79. Tell my father that I have become absorbed in the name of Rāma.”

Hearing her daughter thus express her opinion the mother quickly left her.

Mirabai poisoned

80. Coming to the king in private she told him all the conversation: “I spoke to her a great deal regarding her moral duty but our daughter did not pay respect to what I said."

81. Hearing this the king then became very angry and said to his wife: “lam going to give her the most virulent poison. Now go and with your own hands make our daughter drink it!

82. One should either hear of his daughter as dead or that she is living peacefully at her husband's house. Such is the public saying. Think well of this.”

83. Thus speaking to his wife, the king at once brought some poison. He poured it into a cup, and sent it to his daughter by the hand of his wife.

84. She was not able to go against her husband's wish but felt supremely unhappy over her errand. The mother went along crying bitterly, for she deeply loved her daughter in her heart.

85. She went to the temple where Mirabai was and said to her: “The king has sent some virulent poison to you.”

86. As she said this, tears filled her eyes. She exclaimed: “O my beautiful lovely child, the god of death has now come here for you.”

87. Seeing the great love of her mother, Mirabai replied: “Man's body is extremely perishable. It is certain that it will perish at the end of life.

88. If I have to depart because of my worshipping Krishna, why, O mother, should you needlessly mourn? If the water of a mirage should dry out, why be troubled by it?

89. If the match of a son of a barren woman is broken, why mourn over it? To say on a new moon night that the moon has disappeared from the sky is of course a false statement.

90. Because the sky flowers are withered, the bees are unhappy. As that would be absurd to say, why needlessly mourn, O mother?

91. A fruit loses its hold of the stem and falls somewhere. So now my love is fixed upon the feet of Śrī Krishna and I have no relation with you.

92. Pearls are developed in water and the rich make ornaments of them. So I, born of you, have given my love to Śrī Krishna.

93. Or as men in order to make ornaments beautiful set jewels in them, so the Lord of the Yādavas (Krishna) has accepted me.

94. Therefore now put aside all love for things of this worldly life and mourn no longer needlessly over me.” Thus speaking to her mother she fell at the feet of Śrī Krishna.

95. Placing her heart on the god's feet she said to Him: “My father has sent poison for me, O Krishna.

96. So now by your favour I shall reach my home in heaven. But who will there be than to give You the worship that I do? This is my great concern.

97. Revilers will say: "Because Mirabai showed her bhakti, poison was finally given to her to cause her death, according to the determination of the king.”

98. If the non-bhaktas speak in this way, then who will worship You as I do? O God Supreme, I am very anxious about that.

99. Who will dress You in garments, ornaments and adornments, and weave garlands of many kinds of flowers for You and who will put these upon You? That is what makes me deeply concerned.

100. The king used to make offerings to You, now he also has become angry. Calling me the cause (of the evil rumours) he has turned aside from Thy service.

101. O beautiful, dark-complexioned One and lotus-eyed, evil men will continue to give me such blame as this. They will say, "Mirabai died for that reason."

102. Still however, O Husband of Rukmiṇī, why should I worry over this blame? There is no other but Thee who brings about the past and the future.

103. When the lacquered house was on fire. Thou didst protect the Pāṇḍavas. Even the Vedas and the Shastras do not know the limits of Thy power, O Ocean of mercy, Helper of the helpless!

104. When poison was given to Prahlāda, Thou, O Lord of the heart, didst protect him. If Thy name is on one's lips the god of death cannot harm him.

105. The poison that Shiva took lost its virulence when Thy name was taken. So now why should I be troubled, since Thou art One merciful to the lowly?”

106. Then taking the cup of poison she presented it to God as an offering saying: “Śrī Hari is the Enjoyer of this.” Then she at once drank it.

Colour of Krishna’s image changes

107. Immediately a most wonderful thing happened: Listen to it, you pious people. The poison which Mirabai drank became like nectar.

108. The icon, made of stone from the Gaṇḍakī river, immediately changed its colour. It became green all over and every one saw this.

109. Because the king did not believe his wife he immediately came there. Seeing the change right before him, his throat choked with emotion.

110. He then exclaimed: “I am a sinner, and an extremely wicked person. I have made God drink this poison.” Thus repentant in his heart, he grasped the feet of his daughter.

111. She lifted up the head of her father and made him a prostrate Namaskāra, exclaiming: “O father, it is because of you that I have been united to Śrī Krishna.”

112. Mirabai's father then said to her: “When I made you drink the poison, the colour of the icon changed, therefore I am much concerned.

113. Go now and pray to the Husband of Rukmiṇī that He will make the icon as it was before. By doing so I shall be made happy, and your reputation will spread in the world.”

114. Mirabai then joining her hands palm to palm, said to the icon of Śrī Krishna: “The moment You drank just a little of the poison Your form changed.

115. At the time of the Krishna avatar, You killed the serpent Kāliya in the Yāmuṉa river. Now how comes it today, after taking a little poison, You have changed colour?

116. When your bhaktas repeat Your name - poison becomes nectar, so the Purāṇas say. Today I had experience of it.

117. When Shiva repeated Your name His burning pain at once became quiet. But now I see that the moment You took this poison, O Lord of the world, You became troubled.

118. If Agasti abandons his austerities out of fear of the ocean, then only, O God, will the poison be harmful to You.

119. If the burning fire begins violently to tremble at the sight of grass, then only, O Husband of Rukmiṇī, will the poison harm You.

120. If repeating the name of Rāma continually would harm bhaktas, then only would poison harm You suddenly.

121. But to say that in drinking nectar, O Govinda, mankind would be afflicted with disease, then only would harm come to You.

122. In order to show miracles to men, You perform many deeds of various kinds, so now, Lord of the heart, become as You formerly were!”

Image restored to former colour

123. Hearing Mirabai's plea, Krishna was joyful and immediately the Husband of Rukmiṇī became as He was before.

124. In order that the world might have evidence of this He left His throat green. Thus the merciful One, destroying the evils of this life, continued uninterrupted to increase the glory of His servants.

125. The king at once arose and made a Namaskāra to the god. Then he said to Mirabai: “You have brought salvation to your family line.”

126. Hearing what the King said, all the slanderers looked down with shame, saying, “In persecuting this bhakta we have become disgraced.”

127. Cries of “Jaya, Jaya” and clapping of hands then took place. All the assembly of bhaktas rejoiced and said, “Krishna has become favourable at this time to Mirabai."

128. Mirabai continued to worship Śrī Hari with a mind filled with satisfaction, thus manifesting the power of a bhakta who has attained spiritual knowledge.

129. Even today in that country in the palaces of kings there is placed in their icon-rooms the intensely beautiful icon of Śrī Krishna.