Mirabai, was a 16th-century Hindu mystic poet and devotee of Krishna. She is a celebrated Bhakti saint, particularly in the North Indian Hindu tradition.
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Famous Mirabai Poems
I watched as they ruptured,
ash black and pallid I saw mountainous clouds
split and spew rain
for two hours.
Everywhere water, plants and rainwater,
a riot of green on the earth.
My lover’s gone off
to some foreign country,
sopping wet at our doorway
I watch the clouds rupture.
Mira says, nothing can harm him.
This passion has yet
to be slaked.
Your Look Of Light
On a sudden,
Your look of light
all, The curd-pot
falls to the ground.
all call a halt.
Prise out, they say,
this thing from your heart.
You’ve lost your path.
Who but you
can see in the dark
of a heart?
The Rainy Season
The rainy season is abroad
And the skirt of my dress is wet.
You have gone off to distant lands,
And my heart finds it unbearable.
I keep sending letters to my Beloved
Asking when He will return.
Mira’s Lord is the courtly Giridhara:
O Krishna, O Brother of Balram,
Grant me thy sight.
Mira Knows Why
The earth looked at Him and began to dance.
Mira knows why, for her soul too
is in love.
If you cannot picture God
in a way that always
You need to read
more of my
Friend, Without That Dark Raptor
Friend, without that Dark raptor
I could not survive.
Mother-in-law shrills at me,
her daughter sneers,
the prince stumbles about in a permanent fury.
Now they’ve bolted my door
and mounted a guard.
But who could abandon a love
developed through uncounted lifetimes?
The Dark One is Mirabai’s lord,
who else could
slake her desire?
The Heat Of Midnight Tears
Listen, my friend, this road is the heart opening,
Kissing his feet, resistance broken, tears all night.
If we could reach the Lord through immersion in water,
I would have asked to be born a fish in this life.
If we could reach Him through nothing but berries and wild nuts,
Then surely the saints would have been monkeys when they came from the womb!
If we could reach him by munching lettuce and dry leaves,
Then the goats would surely go to the Holy One before us!
If the worship of stone statues could bring us all the way,
I would have adored a granite mountain years ago.
Mirabai says: The heat of midnight tears will bring you to God.
O My Friends
O my friends,
What can you tell me of Love,
Whose pathways are filled with strangeness?
When you offer the Great One your love,
At the first step your body is crushed.
Next be ready to offer your head as his seat.
Be ready to orbit his lamp like a moth giving in to the light,
To live in the deer as she runs toward the hunter’s call,
In the partridge that swallows hot coals for love of the moon,
In the fish that, kept from the sea, happily dies.
Like a bee trapped for life in the closing of the sweet flower,
Mira has offered herself to her Lord.
She says, the single Lotus will swallow you whole.
Torn In Shreds
Mine is Gopal, the Mountain-Holder; there is no one else.
On his head he wears the peacock-crown: He alone is my husband.
Father, mother, brother, relative: I have none to call my own.
I’ve forsaken both God, and the family’s honor: what should I do?
I’ve sat near the holy ones, and I’ve lost shame before the people.
I’ve torn my scarf into shreds; I’m all wrapped up in a blanket.
I took off my finery of pearls and coral, and strung a garland of wildwood flowers.
With my tears, I watered the creeper of love that I planted;
Now the creeper has grown spread all over, and borne the fruit of bliss.
The churner of the milk churned with great love.
When I took out the butter, no need to drink any buttermilk.
I came for the sake of love-devotion; seeing the world, I wept.
Mira is the maidservant of the Mountain-Holder: now with love He takes me across to the further shore.
mere to giridhara gupaala, duusaraa na koii |
jaa ke sira mora mukuTa, mero pati soii ||
taata, maata, bhraata, baMdhu, apanaa nahiM koii |
ghaaM.Da daii, kula kii kaana, kyaa karegaa koii?
saMtana Dhiga baiThi baiThi, loka laaja khoii ||
chunarii ke kiye Tuuka Tuuka, o.Dha liinha loii |
motii muu.Nge utaara bana maalaa poii ||
a.Nsuvana jala siiMchi siiMchi prema beli boii |
aba to beli phaila gaii, aanaMda phala hoii ||
duudha kii mathaniyaa, ba.De prema se biloii |
maakhana jaba kaa.Dhi liyo, ghaagha piye koii ||
aaii maiM bhakti kaaja, jagata dekha roii |
daasii miiraa.N giradhara prabhu taare aba moii ||
Only He Knows The Bitterness Of Love
Only he knows the bitterness of love
Who has deeply felt its pangs.
When you are in trouble
No one comes near you:
When fortune smiles.
All come to share the joy.
Love shows no external wound.
But the pain pervades every pore
Devotee Mira offers her body
As a sacrifice to Giridhara for ever.
O I Saw Witchcraft Tonight
O I saw witchcraft tonight
in the region of Braj.
A milking girl going her rounds,
a pot on her head,
came face to face with the Dark One.
My friend, she is babbling,
can no longer say “buttermilk.”
Come get the Dark One, the Dark One!
A pot full of Shyam! –
In the overgrown lanes
of Vrindavan forest
the Enchanter of Hearts fixed his
eye on this girl,
Mira’s lord is hot, lovely
and raven –
tonight she saw witchcraft
It’s True I Went To The Market
My friend, I went to the market and bought the Dark One.
You claim by night, I claim by day.
Actually I was beating a drum all the time I was buying him.
You say I gave too much; I say too little.
Actually, I put him on a scale before I bought him.
What I paid was my social body, my town body, my family body, and all my inherited jewels.
Mirabai says: The Dark One is my husband now.
Be with me when I lie down; you promised me this in an earlier life.
I am true to my Lord
I am true to my Lord,
O my companions, there is nothing to be ashamed of now
Since I have been seen dancing openly.
In the day I have no hunger
At night I am restless and cannot sleep.
Leaving these troubles behind, I go to the other side;
A hidden knowledge has taken hold of me.
My relations surround me like bees.
But Mira is the servant of her beloved Giridhar,
And she cares nothing that people mock her.
I Write Of That Journey
I remember how my mother would hold me.
I would look up at her sometimes and see her weep.
I understand now what was happening.
Love so strong a force
it broke the
and she disappeared from everything
for a blessed
All actions have evolved
From the taste of flight;
the hope of freedom
moves our cells
Unable to live on the earth,
Mira ventured out alone in the sky –
I write of that journey
of becoming as
Don’t forget love;
it will bring all the madness you need
to unfurl yourself across
We Do Not
We do not get a human life
Just for the asking.
Birth in a human body
Is the reward for good deeds
In former births.
Life waxes and wanes imperceptibly,
It does not stay long.
The leaf that has once fallen
Does not return to the branch.
Behold the Ocean of Transmigration.
With its swift, irresistible tide.
O Lal Giridhara, O pilot of my soul,
Swiftly conduct my barque to the further shore.
Mira is the slave of Lal Giridhara.
She says: Life lasts but a few days only.
Out In A Downpour
Out in a downpour
in a sopping wet
And you have gone to a distant country.
letter after letter
just asking when,
my lord, when
are you coming?
No One Knows My Invisible Life
No one knows my invisible life.
and madness for Rama.
Our wedding bed is high up
in the gallows.
If the dark healer comes,
we’ll negotiate the hurt.
I love the man who takes care
of cows. The cowherd.
Cowherd and dancer.
My eyes are drunk,
worn out from making love
with him. We are one.
I am now his dark color.
People notice me, point fingers at me.
They see my desire,
since I’m walking about like a lunatic.
I’m wiped out, gone.
Yet no one knows I live with my prince,
The palace can’t contain me.
I leave it behind.
I couldn’t care less about gossip
or my royal name.
I’ll be with him
in all his gardens.
Strange Are The Decrees Of Fate
Strange are the decrees of fate.
Behold the large eyes of the deer!
Yet he is forced to roam the forests.
The harsh crane has brilliant plumage,
While the sweet-voiced cuckoo is black.
The rivers flow in pure streams,
But the sea makes them salt.
Fools sit on thrones as kings,
While the wise beg their bread.
Mira’s lord is the courtly Giridhara:
The king persecutes the Bhaktas.
My friend, the stain of the Great Dancer has penetrated my body.
I drank the cup of music, and I am hopelessly drunk.
Moreover I stay drunk, no matter what I do to become sober.
Rana, who disapproves, gave me one basket with a snake in it.
Mira folded the snake around her neck, it was a lover’s necklace, lovely!
Rana’s next gift was poison: ‘This is something for you, Mira.’
She repeated the Holy Name in her chest, and drank it, it was good!
Every name He has is praise; that’s the cup I like to drink, and only that.
‘The Great Dancer is my husband,’ Mira says, ‘rain washes off all the other colors.’
The Five-Coloured Garment
I am infused in the Lord’s hue, O friend.
Pray, get my garment dyed in five colours
so I may go and play in the arbour.
within the alcove I will meet my Master;
Shedding all falsity, I’ll sing in joy.
The sun will perish, so too the moon;
Earth and sky will exist no more.
Air and water will also go;
The Eternal alone will there be.
Of surat and nirat make the lamp,
And let thy longing be the wick.
In this lamp pour the oil from love’s mart;
Day and night it will keep burning bright.
They write letters whose spouses are afar.
My Beloved resides in my heart;
I need go nowhere to search for Him.
I live not with my parents,
Nor with my in-laws.
Ever do I live in the Word
My Master blessed me with.
Not mine nor thine is this house, O friend;
Mira lives absorbed in the Lord’s hue.
The Beloved Comes Home
The one I longed for has come home;
The raging fire of separation is quenched.
Now I rejoice with Him, I sing in bliss.
The peacocks at the cloud’s roar
Dance with unbound joy;
I rejoice in ecstasy
At the sight of my Beloved.
I am absorbed in His love;
My misery of wandering
In the world has ended.
The lily bursts into bloom
At the sight of the full moon;
Seeing Him, my heart blossoms in joy.
Peace permeates this body of mine;
His arrival has filled my home with bliss.
That very Lord has become my own
Who is ever the redeemer of His devotees.
Mira’s heart, scorched by the blaze of separation,
Has become cool and refreshed;
The pain of duality has vanished.