Meerabai is the most famous of the women devotional poets of North India. Born as a princess in 1498 in Rajasthan, she was an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna. Known for her active involvement in the Vaishnava Bhakti Movement, hundreds of Bhajans in Hindi and Gujarati languages, sung in the praise of Lord Krishna and some even on Lord Rama, have been attributed to her. Though born as a princess in a royal Rajput clan, and married to Prince Bhoj Raj of the royal clan of Chittor, she lived her life in simplicity, austerity and total surrender to her Lord Krishna. She has been immortalized for her devotion towards Lord Krishna, and finally merged in Him at the Dwarka temple in Gujarat in 1557.
DEVOTION FOR KRISHNA
Meera derived supreme satisfaction when she experienced the Divine in the form of Giridhara Gopala, the cowherd boy Krishna, who raised the Govardhana peak, as an umbrella to protect the people and cattle of Gokul against the ravaging rains sent down by the angry rain God, Indra.
- “Jumping to Conclusions”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 07,
October 13, 1967, Prasanthi Nilayam
In worshipping Krishna, devotees have their own individual partiality for certain names. Meerabai always hailed Him as ‘Giridhara Gopala’.
- “From Annam to Ananda”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 21, March 13, 1988, Brindavan
Meera was a devotee who had completely merged herself in Krishna consciousness. After Her marriage, she requested her husband to build a temple for Krishna. The Rana built for her a temple in marble. Meera spent all the time in the temple singing Bhajans (devotional songs) oblivious of the outside world. The Rana, who allowed Meera to carry on her worship of Krishna, as agreed by him before the marriage, got vexed with her complete absorption in Krishna; prohibited her from going to the temple and closed its doors. Meera felt, “The Rana may bar Me from the temple which he has built. But who can bar Me from seeking the Krishna who resides in the temple of My heart?” Meera’s thoughts were centred on Krishna installed in Dwaraka.
She ran towards Dwaraka through forests and hills, defying storm and rain, singing all the way and calling on “Krishna! Krishna!” Reaching Dwaraka, she entered the temple but found the doors of the sanctum closed. Despite all her efforts, the doors would not open. She cried out “Oh Krishna ! Do you think with the cymbals in one hand and Tambura in the other how can I hold your lotus feet? See, I am throwing them away. I shall not give You up and You cannot get away from me. Abandoning everything, I will cling to your feet”. Crying in anguish, Meera knocked her head against the door of the sanctum. That very moment she fell into a swoon. An effulgent flame emerged from her body and merged into the Krishna idol. Few can understand the ways in which devotion manifests itself among the lovers of God. Human relations come and go. But the association with God is eternal.
- “The Lord and the Devotee”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 20, May 3, 1987, Brindavan
Meera asked her mother, as a tiny girl, “Mother! We are playing a game. The other girls have all given out the names of the man each will wed; who will be my husband? Tell me, I must tell them his name”. When she prodded her for some time, the mother blurted out, “This Giridhara, installed in this shrine, He is your husband. Go”. Meera dedicated herself to the Lord Giridhara (Krishna) from that moment and saw everywhere, at all times, only His complexion and His compassion. The body is the bridegroom for the Life principle which is the bride; this is the wedlock in every life.
- “Acquire Me as Charioteer”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 08, August 18, 1968, Prasanthi Nilayam
Meera was a great devotee of Lord Krishna. She had the habit of offering everything to the Lord before partaking it. Those days it was a custom and people observed such rules. She was the wife of the Maharana. A queen never used to move in the midst of men in those days. However, Meera did not have any differences. What was her feeling? Her belief was that the entire nature is feminine and only Lord Krishna was the masculine principle. When she was among people, she used to mingle with them as though they were women. Just because one is wearing shirt and pant one should not think that one is a man. Nature is associated with the feminine quality.
In the drama of the world, everyone takes a certain role to play. When a person faces sorrow whether it is a woman or a man, both cry. Similarly, whether man or woman, both partake food when they are hungry. Both of them get angry. Therefore, in reference to the six qualities of desire, all are the same. We may possess physical and mental strengths but in terms of strengths of virtue, all are same. Hence, all of you are feminine. It is only the Lord who has the power of control. Therefore, He alone is masculine.
|Meera drinking the poison after offering to Krishna|
Meera had this sort of feeling. Thus, she used to move about in the midst of all people, whether it was Emperor Akbar or anyone else. This feeling of devotion of Meera pleased Akbar. Akbar offered a garland to Meera asking her to offer it to Lord Krishna. Maharana, who considered Akbar as his enemy, came to know about it and developed hatred against Meera. He thought that in the pretext of devotion to Lord Krishna, she was forgetting the difference between men and women. He asked his associates to give poisoned milk to Meera. The poison was so severe that even a drop could kill a person. Such a poison was mixed with the milk and sent through a servant to Meera. As was her habit, she offered the milk to Lord Krishna, prayed and then took the milk. As she was drinking the milk, all the servants of the king were watching intently. But she did not show any signs of the effects of poison. Why? The reason was that she offered it to God. This poison might have turned the complexion of Lord Krishna into blue but it never reached Meera. Thus, any type of food once offered to the Lord will turn nectarine even if it is poisonous.
- “Consume only Satvic Food”, Discourse 02, My Dear Students, Volume 02
Once Meera was singing, ‘Giridhara Gopala, Giridhara Gopala.’ Hearing this, Maharana, her husband, became very angry. Out of fury and anger, he caught hold of her hair and dragged her out of the temple. Meera felt very sad. She said, “Krishna, can I leave You? God is everywhere. My heart is Your temple. Not this temple which is built by Maharana. The temple You built is permanent. You cannot give up my heart. That is my temple. Let the mind travel where Ganga and Yamuna meet. Prayag is the place where Ganga and Yamuna merge. Ganga is devotion. Yamuna is action. The inner current is Saraswati. All the three are at the centre of the Tirtha. There, You are present. Oh mind! Travel to that place. The water of Ganga and Yamuna are very pure. It is pleading to the mind so that it might travel to that place and it may find God. Go there. Don’t go anywhere”. Where is this Tirtha (place of pilgrimage– the confluence of rivers)? It is within you. It is not the outer world or outer place. God is in your heart. However, if you experience Him, see Him directly, you will be happy.
- “Always Remember the Lord”, Discourse 07, My Dear Students, Volume 04
When Meera was in the Krishna temple, she was put to trouble in various ways by Maharana. Tulsidas was her contemporary. She sent a letter to Tulsidas in which she asked him as to what she should do. She wrote, “Devotion to husband is necessary. But he is standing in between the Lord and me. In such a situation, please let me know, whom should I leave – my husband or God?” Then Tulsidas replied from there, “Your husband is only the master of your body. But God is Jagatpati, Lokapati, Vishwapati, Pranapati and Dehapati (Lord of the three worlds, of all the people and creation, of the very life breath and of your body too). Why do you worry of your husband’s reaction? If he is coming in way of your reaching the goal – God, leave him. God is the Lord of the universe. He was there with you before your birth and will be with you after your death. Your husband is like a passing cloud, which comes in between only in this life. God is present with you in all the three periods of time. Then why do you think about all this?” Why should you go for a paltry plant in the backyard?When you have the very Kalpavriksha (wish fulfilling tree) that grants all your wishes? Why should you buy a cow for money? When you have the Kamadhenu (the celestial cow) ready to give you milk in plenty?
God is like a wish-fulfilling tree, then why do you go after banana trees! After receiving the letter, she took her Tambura and left the palace for Dwaraka. Then she prayed to Giridhari, “You are the only refuge of the forlorn, I have none else”. With this feeling in her, she merged in Krishna.
- “Unity of Thought, Word and Deed”, Discourse 02, My Dear Students, Volume 05
Continued in Part 2…
Source: Sai Vani: Avatar on Mahapurushas