Born in Kurkhi, Rajasthan
Period 16th Century
Parents Veer Kumari and Rana Ratan Singh of Merta
A passing mendicant presented a statue of Krishna to little Meera. It became the object of her affection from that minute. One day, seeing a wedding procession pass, Meera asked her mother who her bridegroom would be. Her mother playfully pointed to Krishna’s statue. In time, Meera’s attachment to Krishna blossomed into passionate love.
Though she married Rana Kumbha ( also known as Bhojraj) of Mewar, she considered herself the wife of Krishna (Jaake Sir Mor Mukut Mero Pati Soyee). Kumbha died after a few later. Refusing to become a Sati, as was expected of every Rajput widow, Meera continued with her visits to Krishna’s temple.
Songs poured out as she remained in ecstatic trance. Tying anklets to her feet, she danced in public, in the company of sadhus (Pag Gunguru Baand Meeraa Naacheere). The temple at Chittorgarh where Meera Bai worshipped is a huge draw even today.
Her conduct shocked her family. The ruling Rana (her-brother-in law) sent a cup of poison to kill her and she drank it with a smile (Vish Kaa Pyaalaa Raanaajee Bhejyaa; Peevat Meeraa Haansee Re). But her Krishna saved her. However, when the torture became unbearable, she left Mewar for Brindavan and later for Dwaraka where she became one with the Lord, never to be separated again.
Watering her creeper of love with tears, Meera waited for it to bear the fruit of bliss. (Ansuvan jal seenchi seenchi prem bel boyee; ab to bel phail gayee; aanand phal hoyee).
Meera is very clear as to who she is and what she wants. She has no one except Krishna (Mere To Giridhar Gopaal, Doosraa Na Koyee). She has bought him with love (Maine Govind Leeno mol). She is most willing to be Krishna’s servant; she does not expect anything else from Him (Chaakar Raakhoji).
Being a sufferer herself, she understands the suffering of others and pleads with her Lord to remove their sufferings. (Hari! Tum Haro Jan Kee Peer).
Meera broke many social norms of the time. She accepted Raidas (Ravidas), a Dalit by birth, as her guru (Guru Miliyaa Raidasjee). It is believed that it was Raidas who had given her that statue of Krishna, all those years ago when she was a small girl.
Choosing the language of the people, Meera wrote in Vrajbhasha, interspersed with Rajasthani.
Around 1000 padas of Meera are available now. Around 500 more are attributed to her. Sadly, no attempt was made to preserve all that she composed.
Those that have survived continue to delight listeners, whether sung in Hindustani, Carnatic or as film songs. Her poems may not be scholarly, but no scholar could have articulated raw emotions as well as Meera did.
B. Ramadevi is a teacher and writes music reviews. She regularly blogs on http://rewindwithramadevi.blogspot.in/ Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org