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Sunday, 29 July 2012



Here is a story which illustrates wide spread fame. Akbar was a great Moghal Emperor. Tansen was a celebrated musician at his court. Tansen had seen Mira. Akbar came to know about Mira. He had heard that she had won the Grace of God and that God appeared before her when she sang in the ecstasy of devotion. So Akbar also wanted to see her. Both Tansen and Akbar decided to go to the place where Mira was living.

But it was not so easy for a Mogul Emperor to go and see a Rajput lady in Rajasthan. It was risky to go undisguised. Many of the Rajputs were hostile to Muslims. Though Akbar was able to make friends with quite a few of them, he had many enemies too.

So according to Tansen's plan, both entered Chittor in the guise of monks. Hindus do not harm monks. Moreover, the guise of ascetics made it easier for them to see Mira.
So, both Tansen and Akbar came disguised as hermits to the temple where Mira lived. At that time Mira was singing and dancing before God. Her face was glowing like a lamp. Her voice was so sweet and sonorous that the listeners stood amazed and thrilled. Forgetful of the entire world, she was singing of God and was dancing. Seeing Mira in that state of trance, the Mogul Emperor was filled with admiration, wonder and devotion. He felt ashamed that he stood before such a saint in the false guise of a monk. He reproached himself in his mind. "Tansen, come let us confess before this great saint who we really are and beg her to forgive us," said Akbar. "My Lord, if these people come to know that we are not really monks, just think of the consequence. If they find out that you, the Mogul Emperor, have come to see a Rajput lady, they will never allow us to go alive," warned Tansen. Akbar was overcome with devotion and forgot himself in the song and dance of Mira. The song and the dance ended, and Mira offered her salutation to God and sat down. Akbar went up to her and bowed in salutation touching her feet. Then he took out a fine diamond necklace and was about to place it at her feet. Mira said, "Please don't do it. I do not take gifts of this kind." "Mother, this I have brought as an offering to God. Pray accept it for God. I cannot take back what I have brought for God. Please do not refuse, “implored the Emperor. "All right, it is God’s," said Mira and put it round the neck of God's Idol.

The necklace was dazzling. It caught the eye of every visitor. All wondered who could have given such a gift. Someone identified it as belonging to Akbar. Then how did it come there? By and by the news spread: the great Mogul Emperor had come to the temple to see Mira and he touched her feet in reverence and offered a precious diamond necklace to God. Rana burned with anger on hearing this news. To him it was a question of the honor of the family. "A Mogul has not only stepped upon the sacred Rajput land but has gone back alive even after touching a Rajput lady. What a disgrace to the family!" He thought that Mira herself, by leading the life of an ascetic, was responsible for it. So he began to further harass her.

The Rana sent to Mira a basket full of flowers with a snake concealed in it. Mira, engaged in worship, put her hand into the basket to take some flowers. What a wonder! The snake had changed into a saligrama." (A saligrama is a small round - shaped stone picked from thebanks of the river Gandaki;it is worshipped as a symbol of Lord Vishnu by the Vaishnavites.).

साँप पिटारी मोकल्यो, दो मीरा के हाथ |
खोल तिपारी देखिया, हो गया नोसरहार ||
((मीराँ सुधा-सिन्धु, प्र-282)

Determined to kill Mira somehow, the Rana sent a cup of poison. She prayed to Lord Krishna and drank the poison. The poison turned into nectar. The Rana got a bed of sharp nails made. Mira lay down on it as soon as it grew dark. The nails instead of piercing her body became flowers. Mira was saved from all these dangers by none other than her Lord. She was intoxicated with immense love towards God as she wandered all over in search of her Lord dedicating herself to Him in entirety." Since several of her songs mention a number of tortures inflicted on her by the Rana, the account must be true. How was Mira able to escape from so many dangers? Mira believed it to be only the grace of her Lord. Her devotees also have the same belief.

The Rana never tried to kill her openly. May be he thought it was a sin to kill a woman and feared it, or he thought that such an act would enrage the people who loved her very much? When all his secret plots failed and Mira stood unscathed through all acts of violence, he cursed her, "Why shouldn't this ignoble woman drown herself and die?"

Mira came to know about this wish of Rana. She too thought that it was right. If she were drowned it would be a great relief to her mother-in-law and her relations. And she too could join her Lord. It was the simplest solution. With these thoughts, Mira went to the river. Standing on the edge of the water she prayed in her mind to God: "0, my Lord! Take me unto thy self. She was about to jump into the river. But a voice seemed to address her: "it is a great sin to kill oneself. Don't do it, don't jump into the water. Go to Brindavan." Brindavan was the place where Krishna spent his childhood. Mira set out for Brindavan. Now nothing troubled her there about family prestige. No codes of courtly conduct curbed her freedom. She was free from the constant fear of the Rana. In happy abandonment, Mira sang and danced before Sri Krishna: 'Mere tho Giridhar,Gopal, Dusaro na koyi' (Except Giridhar Gopal, I have no one).

There is a fascinating story connected with Mira's life in Brindavan. There were many saints in Brindavan. Jeeva Goswami was prominent among them.He followed a very strict vow. He would not allow even the shadow of a woman to touch him. So women could never go and see him. Having joined Chaitanya Dev's Bhakti Movement he was spreading the cult of Bhakti.

Having a high regard for saints and sages Mira went to see this great man. At the very entrance of the hermitage she was stopped by a disciple of Goswami. He said, "The Swamiji will not see anywoman. Mira only laughed at this and said," I thought the only man in Brindavan is Sri Krishna. Now, I see there is a rival to Him." These words pierced the heart of Goswami like a sharp pointed lance. He came out of his cottage and walked up barefooted and conducted Mira into the hermitage with all honor.

The political condition in Medatha and in Chittore had changed very much. Nobody cared for Mira. Everyone had branded her as a disgrace to the community. Her uncle, Beerama Dev, had to fight hard to retain his kingdom. He had no time to think of Mira. She, too, did not bother herself about these things. In a state of utter detachment she went on pilgrimage with saints. Finally she halted at Dwaraka. The temple of Ranchodji in Dwaraka became her shrine. Though Mira was extremely popular, the royal families of Rajasthan hesitated to own her. The news that the Rana had been very unfair to Mira had spread. After Ratan Simha the Second was murdered, Udaya Simha was crowned. He thought that if Mira lived alone in the company of monks, it would bring a bad name to the royal family. So he requested her to return to Chittore. Having once suffered many tortures there, the pious Mira did not wish to return to that cage.
Udaya Simha soon realized that Mira would not come back in deference to his words. He sent five Brahmins of Chittore to meet her. They requested her to return to Chittore. Mira felt that if she went back to the palace, the same old tale would be repeated. She was probably about forty-eight at that time. Even while her husband, Bhojaraja, was living it had been difficult for her to worship Sri Krishna in the palace. Mira had to shift to a temple. Now twenty-five years had passed since her husband's death. The royal family had even tried to murder her. So she had come to live in Dwaraka, far away from them all. She had resolved that she was related to nobody except God. Was she to go back to that palace, to that prison? "I shall not come," she said.

It was the Rana who had sent the Brahmins. They dared not stand before him with dull face, without Mira. They implored, they entreated and they tried more than one way to persuade her. "No," said Mira, "I shall not come." Then the Brahmins used their last weapon. "We shall not return without you," they said, "If you do not come with us, we shall fast here unto death. Mira was in difficult situation. She did not like to go to Chittor. But she could not be responsible for the death of these Brahmins. So she requested them to wait that night in the temple itself. She agreed to go to Chittor with them the next morning. The Brahmins felt very happy and stayed in the temple.

The day dawned. Mira was not to be found anywhere. The Brahmins got scared. They searched for her. Other devotees and sanyasis also searched for her. But she was nowhere to be seen. Only her dress was found lying in front of Ranchodji's shrine.

The devotees concluded that she might have got merged in her God. The possibility would have been that she left in disguise to some other peaceful location.


Mira's achievement in music is remarkable. She herself has set tunes to her songs and has mentioned the ragas. 'Rag Govinda' and 'Rag Mira Malhar' are her own creations. Mira's songs can easily be set to music. And this is why those songs have been on the lips of people for over four hundred years. There are several compositions on record said to have been her work. But only the lyrics known as Padas (songs of folk style) are important. So far more than four hundred such songs have been collected.

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