- (c. 1450–1547)mystic poet and devotee of KrishnaMirabai is one of the great mystic poets of India. A princess of the Rajput warrior clan in the Indian state of Rajasthan, she married a great prince of the famous town of Udaipur but was so devoted to Lord KRISHNA that she could not play the role of a proper wife. She eventually became the disciple of Raidas, a low-caste Hindu who was himself later worshipped as a saint.Mirabai was persecuted by her husband and his family; it is said that they even gave her poison to drink, which failed to kill her. Finally Krishna appeared to her and told her to abandon family life and go to BRINDAVAN, his most sacred shrine. After spending some time there she settled at last in Gujarat in Dvaraka, where she died. Legend has it that she disappeared into the icon of Krishna in order to avoid a delegation from Rajasthan that was pleading for her to return.Mirabai’s works, written in the Hindi dialect Braj, show a passionate all-consuming devotion to Lord Krishna as the divine lover. As was the case with so many Vaishnavite (see VAISHNAVISM) saints, her songs often depict the agony of sepa-ration from God (Lord Krishna), who only rarely visits in mystical union. The mode of Mirabai very much resembles that of St. John of the Cross in his famous “Dark Night” (Noche Oscura). Mira’s songs are known all over India but are sung particularly in Rajasthan.Further reading: Robert Bly and Jane Hirshfield, Mira-bai: Ecstatic Poems (Boston: Beacon Press, 2004); Rita Dalmiya, Meerabai (Calcutta: Writers Workshop, 1988); John Stratton Hawley, Three Bhakti Voices: Mirabai, Surdas, and Kabir in Their Time and Ours (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2005).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.