by Swami Radhanandaji
strictly interested in the spiritual teachings of the Love Incarnate
Mirabai. The historical facts about her earthly life are of secondary
interest to us.
Nevertheless, our human nature loves to pay attention to the human
of her life. Our presentation of her physical life is based on her
research done by others. Historical facts play a little role in the
lives of saints and incarnations. It is the spiritual teaching that is
important to us.
We can save ourselves from many unnecessary arguments and confusion if we stick
to understanding and following Mira's spiritual teachings. The physical is
perishable and has limited value. We should think, respect and follow
Incarnations irrespective of their historical facts. Such facts interest the
worldly only. A spiritual aspirant has little time to waste on such matters.
Shri Ramakrishna said that a spiritual aspirant is like one who is interested
in "eating mangos" rather than "counting the leaves and branches of a
We must learn to separate the chaff from the wheat and consume only the
wheat. It's not important to know who said the Truth, when,
where and why it was said and to whom it was said. What was said is important.
A wise aspirant will humbly use her/his discrimination to pay attention to the
"pulp" rather than the "skin" of the mango.
Mirabai was born a
princess, a granddaughter of Rao Dudaji -- the third son of Rao Jodhaji, who established the kingdom of Rathod Dynasty in Rajasthan, with Jodhpur as its
capital in the kingdom known as Jodhpur. Jodhaji gave his son
Rao Dudaji a small portion of the Jodhpur kingdom. It
consisted of several villages with Medta as its capital. Medta is about 60
kilometers west of Ajmer in the present state of Rajasthan, India.
Rao Dudaji had two
sons, Viramaji and Ratnasingh. Rao Viramaji had a son named Jayamal and
Ratnasingh had a daughter called Mira, whose mother, Vir Kuvari, was the
princess of Zola Rajput Sultan Singh.
Mirabai was born in
about 1557 AD and discarded her body in 1624 AD in Dwarka, in the western most
part of the state of Gujarat, India. She lived approximately 67 years during
which she loved nothing but Lord Krishna.
Mirabai was born in
Kudki, a little village near Medta. Her mother passed away while she was still
about 5 to 7 years old. Her father Ratnasingh died in a battle defending
the kingdom against the Mogul Badshah, Akbar. Thus, Mirabai had experienced
very little affection of her parents. However, Rao Dudaji, her grandfather, raised
her with love. It is said that little Mira would play in his lap as he
conducted the business of his kingdom with his ministers and advisors. Mira was
a beautiful child-princess and the beloved of everyone who came close
One day, her mother
was combing her hair in a balcony of her palace. She was about 5 years
that time. Mira saw a parade of a bridegroom. There was loud music and
Several beautifully clothed women as well as men were in gay spirits.
the procession and asked her mother about it. The mother responded that
bridegroom was going to get married. Young Mira asked innocently whom
she would marry. Her mother was puzzled for a minute. Then she saw the
Shree Krishna's Murti in the room, pointed to it and said, "He is
your bridegroom." Mira took this seriously and started to regard Shree
Krishna as her bridegroom from that moment on.
From the tender age
of about five she nurtured the idea that Shree Krishna was her
husband. Her father had unfortunately little time to spend with her since he
was constantly busy in matters of the kingdom.
Mira now began to
play with and think of Krishna as her Beloved Husband. One day a sadhu visited
her family. Mira saw a beautiful little murti of Shree Krishna with the saint.
She saw he held it very close to his heart, worshipped it, pronounced
mantras in front of it, sang songs and even danced in front of it. Mira watched
the sadhu's joy as he worshipped the Lord in that icon. She wanted to have
that icon for herself. She insisted, like children often do, that she
wanted to have that icon of Shree Krishna. She cried until Rao Dudaji requested
the sadhu give the icon to Mira. He promised the sadhu he would make
arrangements to get him another murti. With a reluctant mind,
the sadhu gave the murti to Mira and taught her how to worship the Lord. Mira
was delighted and paid meticulous attention to the details of worship.
adolescence, Mira was the darling of not only her uncle Viramaji, her cousin
brother Jayamal, and her grandfather Dudaji, the ruler of Medta, but she was also
the darling of sadhus, ministers, elders
and the entire kingdom. She was also the most loved in Kudki, her birth place.
Though she was the most beautiful and delightful innocent girl of the kingdom,
she was never arrogant towards anyone. She never forgot her singular goal of
loving her Eternal Bridegroom, Krishna. She made Krishna her play thing.
know how at that age, we are all so engrossed in ourselves, with our favorite
toys and games, and with our friends that we even forget to eat or to sleep. When
we love our object of desire there is no obstacle in our way. So was Mira's
play, except she had found God Almighty as her play-thing. He was a toy to
play with and to sleep with; she fed him, adorned Him with clothes and
ornaments. She sang loving, sweet songs to put him to sleep like a little girl
would do with her choice doll.
Thus, her days passed in loving play and
devotion to the Lord. She was unmindful of upheavals in the Rajput families due
to their disunity and wars with the Moghul emperor, Akbar.
As she approached
the age of sixteen, circumstances beyond her choice arose. The Rajput kings
were always struggling to be united among themselves to fight the Delhi-Ruler,
Akbar. The most powerful and respectful Rajput king, Sangramsingh (Sangaji) of
Sisodia Dynasty, was ruling the kingdom of Chittorgarh. There was no love
between him and the Medta kingdom or the Jodhpur kingdom. However, he decided
to mend the relationship with them for the ulterior motive of creating a temporary
unity required to defeat Akbar.
In those days, the most common means to such
unity was to create a relationship through marriage. Rana
Sangramsingh had four sons: Kumar Bhojraj, Rana Ratnasingh, Rana Vikramajit and
Rana Udayasingh (Rana Udayasingh's famous son, Maharana Pratapsingh, later on
created unusual problems for the Moguls in Delhi). Rana Sangramsingh proposed
the marriage of his Prince Kumar Bhojraj with Mira, thus, tying a knot between
the two most powerful kingdoms of the Rajputs. Unfortunately, girls had little
say in their marriage in those days. The Rajputs were shortsighted and selfish.
They sought the advice of dharma gurus who were ritualistic and ignorant of the
Truth. If only they had sought the wise councel of saints, the outcome would
have been better and just! Nevertheless, we have to face the facts as they happened
and no hindsight would be of much help to us at this stage.
It was a well known
fact that Mira had decided in her heart that she was already married to her
beloved Krishna. This she thought was directed by her mother; though her mother
didn't mean it seriously. Mira was dedicated to her spiritual goal and
purpose of life and did not compromise the Truth under any circumstances.
Mira was married
off, against her wishes to Rana Bhojraj of the Sisodia. After a forced marriage
she did what any wise young lady with true faith in Krishna would do. She
refused to let Rana Bhojran to touch her because she considered herself already
married. She was already the faithful bride of Lord Krishna. At first, nobody in
the Sisodia family took Mira's strange behavior seriously. They hoped in
vain that she would eventually give in knowing that no one dared to displease
the mighty Sisodias. So a tussle began between the worldly and the spiritual,
the tradition and physical power of the mighty Sisodias versus a gentle, beautiful
Mira whose only defense was her true Love, Krishna, the Supreme Lord.
It was obvious that
nobody in the Sisodia family liked Mira's contradictory behavior because it put
their pride at stake. There was persuasion; there were threats; there were attempts
to cause her suffering and there were even attempts to kill her. It's well
known that in the family life of such a clan most in-laws would take revenge on
Mira for her disobedience and non-compliance. Her husband and father-in-law had a soft corner in their
hearts for Mira, but not to the degree to approve her
behavior, which contradicted their religious traditions.
Mira even ignored the
advice of their dharma guru, which the Sisodia family could
not be tolerate.
Mira was, after all, a powerful Rajputani, a Medatani. She didn't allow
unwarranted interference in her spiritual life. She had made known that
already married to Krishna and had no interest in the families' selfish
arrangement for kingdoms. To Mira, only truth and love of God mattered.
The Lord put her to the test. Her faith was undeniably strong and her
love was so
pure that not even all earthly power could have stood against her
strength. At every stage in daily life, she experienced troubles; yet,
too pure to accept the defeat of her love.
It may be
noteworthy that during the rule of Vikramaditya, her brother-in-law, who became
the ruler after the untimely death of her husband, she suffered vehement
opposition from the Sisodias. An attempt was made to poison her, but it had no
effect on her. A very poisonous snake, disguised as a flower garland, was sent
to her but she accepted it as a gift from Shri Krishna and made a necklace out
of it and no harm was done to her. We need not go into many details of her sufferings
as we have known most of them through her Bhajans. We don't know how many
terrible attempts were made to "straighten out Mira;" we will leave
this to the imagination of the reader.
When all attempts
failed to get rid of Mira, the Sisodias finally decided to send her to her
parental home. Mira was always prayerful, humble, gentle and firm in her
determination and didn't allow even the worst circumstances to interfere in
her love for Lord Krishna. She left Chittorgarh, stopped in Pushkar to take a
holy bath and reached Medta. The situation in Medta was no better; constant
wars had created an uneasy situation and she could not stay there either. She
finally decided to leave for Vrindavan where her beloved Krishna had played
with the gopis and Radhika. In her previous life, she was herself Radhika, the
consort of Shri Krishna. Incarnations are all knowing and she was no exception.
She remembered her previous life and the play with her Lord-husband, Gopal
Krishna. In Vrindavan, she went to a sadhu who was considered the most
knowledgeable person about God. But the sadhu refused to see her because he had
vowed not to see any woman. As she started to leave the place, Mira responded that
she did not know there was any man in Vrindavan other than Shree Krishna
(everyone is considered a gopi -- male or female -- to play with the Creator, Shree
Krishna). The sadhu realized his ignorance, came out of his hut, and bowed
down to Mira. Mira pardoned him and continued on her way.
After her stay in
Vrindavan, enjoying and reviving gopi-lila in her own way, she left for Dwarka
in Gujarat. Lord Krishna, once the king of Yadava family, had ruled over Dwarka. On
her way to Dwarka, she stopped at Dakor which was known for its Krishna temple.
Mirabai arrived in
Dwarka and decided that her life must become one with her Lord. In the
meantime, the Rajputs had lost their kingdom. They realized that their
ill-treatment of Mira had caused their destruction. They sent some
Brahmin priests to invite Mira to
return to Medta or Chittorgarh. Mira, however, was too absorbed in her
Krishna and having seen the vanity of worldly life, family life,
others, she had abandoned any hope to reconcile with the worldly.
It is said that the
Lord finally absorbed her in Him at the Dwarka temple.
Note: This sketch of
Mirabai's life is for the benefit of the reader. Discussion or historical
investigation as to dates and places or proof of events are of secondary
importance. Every attempt has been made to provide a reasonable sketch since
historical facts are very poorly kept, particularly in India. Wars and foreign
invasions haven't helped in the matter. Nevertheless we have her Bhajans that
have come down to us through folklore, and there is no doubt about her
personality, her existence and her experiences as depicted in her Bhajans. We
shall expand on these Bhajans, which contain her message of love for Eternity and
for all people. She is an Incarnation par excellence.
presentation is for spiritually minded faithful devotees who may draw
strength from her life. It's not meant for literary art, history or
discussion. Lovers of God have no time to waste, for every moment must be spent
in loving God, rather than arguing about personalities and historical facts. We
have enough material from her songs to strengthen our faith and to follow
in her footsteps. In all humility, I submit that her grace, her love and her
infinite compassion has made it possible to present the above. Even a hair of
her blessing is sufficient to inspire us to follow her, our Beloved Lover of
Lord Krishna. May she bless us all and direct us all to true understanding of
her spiritual message. Jai Miradeviji!