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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Talk Show Review: Mirabai on SecretBuilders

This Wednesday Joebar's guest was Mirabai - the most famous of the women bhakta poets of north India. She shared with the audience her interesting story.

She was a Rajput princess born around the start of the 16th Century in Kudki, a little village near Merta, which is presently in the Nagaur district of Rajasthan in northwest India. Her father, Ratan Singh Rathore, was a warrior of the Rathore clan, the son of Rao Jodha of Mandore, founder of the city of Jodhpur.

As an infant Mirabai became deeply enamored of an iconic doll of Krishna owned by a visiting holy man. She was inconsolable until she possessed the doll and kept it all her life. She has been devoted to Krishna from a very early age. Her mother was supportive of her religious tendencies but she died early.

Upon the death of her grandfather, Mirabai's uncle Viram Dev took her into his charge, and it is her uncle who consented to have her married off to Bhoja Raj, the heir to the throne of the famous warrior Rana Sanga of the House of Sisodiya. There were no children from this marriage, and she took no interest in her earthly spouse, since she believed to be married to Krishna.

Her new family did not approve of her piety and devotion to Krishna. To make things worse Mirabai refused to worship their family deity Durga. She told them she had already committed herself to Sri Krishna. Her family became increasingly disproving of her actions, but her fame and saintly reputation spread throughout the region.

After Joebar asked Mirabai about her poetry and songs, she shared that her songs are in a simple form called a pada (verse), a term used for a small spiritual song, usually composed in simple rhythms with a repeating refrain, collected in her Padavali. The extant versions are in a Rajasthani dialect of Hindi, Braj, a dialect of Hindi spoken in and around Vrindavan (the childhood home of Krishna).

Mirabai was nice enough to even share one of her poems with the audience:

I Have been Pierced by the Arrow of Love

I have been pierced by the arrow of love,
what shall I do ?
I can neither live, nor can I die.
Listen ye to my ceaseless outpourings,
I have peace neither by night, nor by day.
I cannot do without my Beloved even for a moment.
I have been pierced by the arrow of love,
what shall I do ?
The fire of separation is unceasing !
Let someone take care of my love.
How can I be saved without seeing him?
I have been pierced by the arrow of love,
what shall I do ?

After she was done, everyone was clapping and congratulating her. Joebar promised to invite her over again some time in the future.

Next week's guest is Galileo, so mark your calendars for another amazing Talk Show.
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