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Saturday, 5 October 2019

Saturday Rave: The Love of Meera Bai

There are a lot of love poems in the world, but Meera Bai's love songs (and they are still sung) are different from most we come across in the West.

For the great love of Meera Bai's life was the god Krishna, and with Him she had a passionate, devoted, tortured relationship which lasted until the end of her life. 

Meera Bai was born in about 1498 in Rajasthan, and died in about 1547 (or perhaps, as the stories say, she didn't die but was absorbed into a statue of Krishna). Meera Bai lived in time of war, and many of the men of her family were killed in battle. 

Is this why Krishna seemed the best focus for her passion? I don't know, but it should be noted that Meera Bai is famous for her piety, as well as her writing, and there are several miracles attributed to her.

Here's a small taster of her verse, which has been translated by John Stratton Hawley for his 2002 book Asceticism, OUP.

After making me fall for you so hard, where are you going?
Until the day I see you, no repose: my life, like a fish washed on shore, flails in agony.
For your sake I'll make myself a yogini, I'll hurl myself to death on the saw of Kashi,
Mira's Lord is the clever Mountain-lifter, and I am his, a slave to his lotus feet.

Word To Use Today: yogini. This word is the feminine form of yogi, and comes to us from Sanskrit.

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