Died At Age: 59
Also Known As: Mira, Meeraan, Meeran Bai, Meerabai
Born Country: India
Born in: Kudki
Famous as: Bhakti Saint
Spouse/Ex-: Bhoj Raj
father: Ratan Singh
mother: Veer Kumari
Died on: 1557
place of death: Dwarka
Mirabai was a great Bhakti saint, Hindu mystic poet and a devotee of the Lord Krishna. Born in the late fifteenth century into a royal family of Rajasthan, Mira, from her childhood was a great devotee of Lord Krishna and wrote many beautiful poems in praise of her Lord. The ‘bhajans’ she wrote so many centuries ago are still sung by Krishna devotees all over the world. However, her life is equally inspiring from another point of view. One may draw parallel between her life and the struggle many modern women have to undergo in order to lead a life of their choice. Married off to Prince Bhoj Raj of Chittor at a tender age she was expected to lead the life of a princess and was pressured into devoting her time to her domestic duties. Yet, young as she was, she stood firm and devoted her life in the service of her Lord. Neither riches nor danger to her life could deter her from her path. When it became impossible to live within the royal household, she chose to leave home and went to Vrindavan, where Lord Krishna had spent his boyhood days. There she led the life of a saint, devoting her time in the service of Lord Krishna.
Childhood and Early Life
It is believed that Mirabai was born in 1498 AD in the Chaukari village of Merta, a feudatory estate in the state of Rajasthan. However, according to some accounts the place of her birth was Kudki, not Chaukari.
Mira’s father Ratan Singh Rathore was the younger son of Rao Dudaji, the ruler of the kingdom. He spent most of his time away from home fighting the Mughals. According to one accounts he died at a young age while fighting in a battle. Her mother too died when Mira was around seven years old and therefore, as a child Mira got very little parental care and affection.
Mira was brought up by her grandfather Rao Dudaji, who was a devout Vaishnav. From him Mira received lessons in religion, politics and government. She was also well educated in music and art.
One day, when her parents were still alive, Mira saw a bridegroom being taken to the wedding venue in procession. Like all children of her age she was attracted by the jamboree. Her mother explained to her what it was all about and hearing that, little Mira wondered who her bridegroom was. At this, her mother jest fully said, “You have Lord Krishna as your husband.” Little did she realize that her words would change her daughter’s life forever.
Some time later, a wandering sage came to Merta. He had an idol of Lord Krishna with him. Before leaving the fortress town, he handed over the idol to Mira. He also taught her how to worship the Lord. Mira was delighted.
Remembering her mother’s words, Mira began to serve the idol of Lord Krishna as she would serve her husband. Time flew past and Mira’s devotion to her Lord grew to such an extent that she began to see herself as marred to Him
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As Mira began to grow up her guardians began to look for a groom for Mira. That she considered herself wife of Lord Krishna meant nothing to them. In 1516, she was married off to Prince Bhoj Raj, the crown prince of Mewar, and the eldest son of Rana Sangram Singh.
After marriage, Mira went off to live in the Chittor Fort with her husband and his family. However, she still considered Lord Krishna to be her husband and remained detached from the worldly affairs.
Bhoj Raj was initially confused and could not understand what to do. In the beginning he tried to pull Mira back into the worldly life. Soon enough he began to appreciate her and before long, a relationship, based on friendship and mutual respect, began to grow between them. It is said that Bhoj Raj protected her young wife from all kinds of criticism and encouraged her to write poems. He also built the temple of Lord Krishna within the fort complex so that Mira could serve her Lord at will.
Unfortunately, Bhoj Raj died in a battle in the year 1521. the death had a profound effect on Mira; she not only lost a friend, but also her mentor and her protector. They did not have any children.
With the death of her husband Bhoj Raj, Mira began to devote more time to her spiritual practices. She danced and sang for hours in front of the deity in the temple. Devotees, consisting of common people, came from far and wide to listen to her songs. This was not taken kindly by the royal household and they tried to stop her. However, Mira did not let anything to come in her way. She began to concentrate on the spiritual practices more and more.
Within a short period, her father-in-law Rana Sangram Singh too lost his life in a battle and her brother-in-law Vikram Singh became the ruler of Mewar. He highly disapproved of such public show of devotion and at point of time tried to lock her up inside her quarters. It is also said that on two occasions, he even tried to kill her by administering poison; but each time, she was miraculously saved. Ultimately, she was sent into exile.
Mira first went back to her paternal home. However, her relatives too disapproved of her conduct. So, Mira decided to leave Rajasthan and go to Vrindavan, where her Lord had spent her boyhood days.
Once in Vrindavan, Mira was free to serve her lord without restraint. There she led the life of hermit, writing poems, having discourses with other sages and interacting at will with the devotees. She also undertook pilgrimages, visiting places associated with Lord Krishna.
Her popularity began to increase day by day and everywhere she went devotees gathered around her in the hope of listening to her words and to hear her sing.
She passed her last days at Dwarka, where Lord Krishna and his clan was said to have lived after leaving their original home at Mathura. Here in 1547, Mirabai left her mortal body to unite with her Lord. It is not exactly known how Mirabai died. According to folklore she merged into the idol of Lord Krishna and became one with Him.
Mirabai has left a rich collection of poems. The impassionate emotions displayed by these poems have such a universal appeal that they have been translated in many languages, including English.
Once in Vrindavan, Mirabai wanted to meet Jeeva Goswami, another Vaishnava saint. But he refused to oblige because at that time he used to avoid women. On hearing this, Mirabai said that Lord Krishna is the only male (Purusha) in Vrindavan and rest are women (Prakriti). Jeeva Goswami conceded the point and agreed to meet her. Later they had long discourses.