Meerabai – The 16th century saint poetess of India

By Bhudeb Chakrabarti

Meera Bhajan

I have always enjoyed listening to this beautiful, mystical bhajan, dedicated to Lord Krishna, which invariably soothes the soul and removes the effects of discord or disharmony.

The bhajan was composed by Meerabai, one of the greatest Women saints, philosopher and poetess in India. A proponent of the Bhakti movement, Meerabai defied social convention in order to embrace her love for the divine Krishna. She chose a spiritual path for herself, and pursued it with courage and resolve, in spite of stiff opposition and insurmountable obstruction posed by the orthodox society.

On the occasion of Janamasthami (the birth of Lord Krishna), here’s a look into the life of Meerabai, whose name is synonymous with devotion and love.

Meerabai_painting

Born into the royal family of a place called Merta in Rajasthan,in about 1500, Meerabai was blessed with a god gifted voice. Her tuneful songs in praise of ‘Giridhari Gopal’ (Lord Krishna) attracted people from far and afar, who came in large numbers to hear her sing.

The news of Meerabai spread to the nook and corner of Rajputana. It was a matter of time that it finally reached Chittor. Maharana Sangram Singh of Mewar sent the proposal of the marriage of his eldest son Prince Bhojraj with Meerabai. Following her marriage with the Prince, Meerabai moved to Chittor.

With support from her husband and father-in-law, both of whom had a liberal outlook, Meerabai pursued her religious inclination and continued to worship Krishna. Misfortune struck when Meerabai lost her husband after a brief marital life. Soon after, her father-in-law also passed away.

Prince Vikramjit Singh, the younger brother of Meerabai’s husband, who now  became the Maharana of Mewar, objected to Meerabai’s worship of her ‘Giridhari Gopal‘. Failing to stop her from worshiping, he expelled her from the Chittor Fort.

Undeterred by her present state of penury, Meerabai made her way to Vrindavan, walking the whole distance on foot. There she composed and sang the bhajans in praise of Lord Krishna. People came to Vrindavan from many places to see and hear the saintly poetess.

Meerabai longed to spend the final days of her earthly sojourn in Dwaraka in the worship of ‘Ranchhorji‘ (another form of Krishna). She walked the distance from Vrindavan to Dwaraka on foot, on the way singing hymns in praise of Lord Krishna. No amount of difficulties could shake her faith in the lord.

Legends say that Meerabai left for the Heavenly Abode of her Lord approximately in 1547, and her mortal body is merged with the deity ‘Ranchhorji’.

Throughout her life, Meerabai had complete faith in the grace of the God and kept up her eternal quest of the Lord with perseverance and determination, surrendering herself completely to God.

Saint Meerabai’s name is immortalized for her supreme devotion and her life is a source of inspiration to today’s women to overcome the obstacles in their path and empower themselves for their growth and fulfillment.

I end the post with this quote.

Music is the highest art and, to those who understand, is the highest worship. ~Swami Vivekananda


Jagat Shiromani temple, in the town of Amer is also known as Meera Bai temple. Some people claim that this is the only temple by her name, though the claim cannot be verified. It is said that idol of Krishna worshiped by Meerabai, can be found in this temple. During the Mughal invasion of Chittogarh, the idol was carried safely by Jaipur ruler to save it from destruction. Jagat Shiromani temple is surely worth a visit!

To find more about the temple check out the post here in JAIPUR THRU MY LENS !!


 

Inspiration :

  1. Bharater Sadhika (Bengali )-Sankar Nath Roy (Karuna Prakashani , Kolkata )
  2. Sangeet Sangraha (Bengali)(Ramakrishna Mission Vidyapith , Deoghar)

 Image Source: Wikipedia

This article is contributed by Bhudeb Chakrabarti, Dy IG (Retd) CRPF. He has commanded several Operational and Administrative functions in the force and has imparted training to gazetted officers of CRPF and other central & state police forces.

 

 

 

 

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Readers Comments (56)

  1. Nice article. Meerabhai is a true saint who expresses her thoughts through beautiful words.

    Reply
  2. I love Meerabai and her compositions… 🙂
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  3. Nivedita Karlose September 4, 2015 @ 9:03 pm

    Thank you for sharing…it is such a nice article…..it is always such a pleasure to read your posts !

    Reply
  4. Thank you for the wonderful article Somali. 🙂

    Reply
  5. A very nice article. Meerabai was embodiment of bhakti and devotion.

    Reply
  6. I remember couple of her poems that I read in school. I mean, I remember Meera bai’s name from school.
    Glad to know more about her.

    Reply
  7. Thank you for this delectable post. Gulzar saheb even came up with his movie, ‘Meera’, where Vani Jayaram had rendered several of her bhajans.

    Reply
    • bhudeb chakrabarti September 5, 2015 @ 8:59 am

      Thank you for your valuable comment .The devotional songs (Bhajans) sang by the legendary singer M.S.Subbulakshmi in the film “Meera” moved all people .The songs of Meerabai will live for ever .

      Reply
  8. Thanks for sharing Somali. Nice post.. 🙂

    Reply
  9. Right from childhood her story moved me a lot! So much of devotion and miracles… they still continue to amaze me.

    Reply
  10. So uniquely Indian tradition where people leave behind life of material wealth in search of spiritual. It gives me goosebumps to think I am born in the same land of Meera bai, Sant Kabir, Shri Rama Krisna and other luminaries. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post.

    Reply
    • bhudeb chakrabarti September 5, 2015 @ 11:32 am

      Grateful for your very valuable comments. We are fortunate to inherit the great spiritual tradition set by our saints .

      Reply
  11. Hi Somail! I can contribute something towards Meerabai post that you have written. I wrote a post few months back on Jagat Shiromani temple, it is also known as Meera Bai temple. Some people claim that this is the only temple by her name, I cannot verify this claim though!
    What is more important is the fact that idol of Krishna worshiped by Meerabai, can be found in this temple. During the Mughal invasion of Chittogarh, the idol was carried safely by Jaipur ruler to save it from destruction which was rampant during all Mughal rulers. Jagat Shiromani temple is surely worth a visit!

    Reply
  12. Meerabai’s compositions are superb. Thanks for sharing Somali 🙂

    Reply
  13. Thanks for this beautiful and informative article on Meerabai, Somali. She was a wonderful and pious lady with golden heart 🙂

    Reply
  14. Meerabai is an inspiration.
    Nice that you have shared about Krishna’s great devotee on Janmashtami 🙂

    Reply
  15. A great guest post for Janmashtmi! I have been to the fort and seen the temple! And to think that she walked all the way to Virndavan!

    Reply
  16. This poem of Meerabai is immortal… Great tribute to this poetess on the auspicious day of Janamashtami… Wishing you a very happy Janamashtami… 🙂

    Reply
  17. Happy Janmasthami. . Wonderful tribute 🙂

    Reply
  18. A truly beautiful post. It was a treat to read it 🙂

    Reply
  19. A very apt homage on the occasion of Janmashtmi! Dil khush ho gaya! Meerabai was indeed marvelous! A poetess, an accomplished musician, a saint… What else can one desire to be! ‘Mhara re Giridhar Gopal’ was originally composed by her in a raag invented by her. Meera Ki Malhar. It’s so beautiful! Both, the bhajan and this article! 🙂

    Reply
  20. A great tribute to the saint poetess on the occasion of Janamasthami 🙂 An extremely talented woman and a great devotee of Sri Krishna, her life is so full of events and incidents….

    Thanks to Bhudeb Sir for this article… 🙂

    Reply
  21. Wonderful article on the Saint.

    Reply
  22. Meera bai was in our Hindi syllabus so learn a lot about her and her Bhajan’s . but after a long period , I got a chance to visit Chittorgarh this year and learn very unexpected and detail things about Meera bai . She is the peak , her devotion is ultimate to her God (our too ) Lord krishna . very beautiful post Somali ji on the auspicious day of Shri krishna janmasthmi .

    Reply
  23. My Mom was an ardent devotee of Meerabai..She taught us some of her Bhajans.. Great Post!

    Reply
  24. Lovely post, Somali:)
    And coincidentally again mine too is on Meera only:)

    Reply
  25. Nice to know so much about Meerabai :). This is very inspirational indeed. I think it was this and the dohas from Kabir which I really enjoyed while in school, those Hindi days 🙂

    Reply

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