About Mirabai/Life History E-mail

by Swami Radhanandaji

We are 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 aspects of her life. Our presentation of her physical life is based on her Bhajans and 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 mango tree."
 
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. 

 

Birth 
princess_meerabai_without_krishna 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 to her.

 

Childhood young_mirabai_as__a_child

One day, her mother was combing her hair in a balcony of her palace. She was about 5 years old at that time. Mira saw a parade of a bridegroom. There was loud music and dancing. Several beautifully clothed women as well as men were in gay spirits. Mira saw the procession and asked her mother about it. The mother responded that the 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 

mirabai_krishna_rock During her 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.
We all 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.

 

Marriage meerabai_and_krishna

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 any unwarranted interference in her spiritual life. She had made known that she was 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 spiritual strength. At every stage in daily life, she experienced troubles; yet, she was 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.

 

Travels

mirabai_krishna_mandir 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.

 

Death 

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 Love for Krishna and having seen the vanity of worldly life, family life, friends and 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.

Our 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!

 


Last Updated ( Friday, 25 April 2008 )
 

Quotes

A needless word is also a violation of truth. That is why the practice of truth becomes easier by observing silence. M.K. Gandhi