Monday, April 27, 2015

W for Worship

“When love and worship merges together, its power can move not just the mountains, the oceans and the earth but the entire universe.”

This is a tale of love, of worship and of devotion to Krishna. This is a tale of a Gopi, who stood so awestruck by the image of Krishna holding up the Govardhan Mountain on his little finger, that even when a boulder fell on her head, the image of Lord Giridhar filled her heart with an undefined, unmanifested sweetness, and an ecstasy beyond description. She died to be reborn as Meerabai, and came to be known as the epitome of worship filled with infinite love for Giridhar Gopala.


“I wish to worship my Lord before I come with you,” she said to the people of Mewar who had come to take her back to the palace.

They nodded and waited outside as Meera closed the door of the sanctum sanctorum and locked it from within. She bowed before the idol of Krishna and hugged the idol of her Lord.

“Giridhar, do you remember the time my mother joked that you would be my husband?” She had been just nine years old then, but she had taken those words to heart. The thought of marrying her Lord had filled her with immense pleasure! “In my mind, I have been married to you since then, Giridhar,” she said cleaning the idol and bathing it in water. “No one understood my love for you Shyam, but can I fault them?” As she decorated the Lord with flowers, she sang a soft tune reminiscent of those days.

I am madly in love in with you 
and no one understands my plight. 
Only the wounded 
understand the agonies of the wounded,
Mira's pain will subside 
when Shyam comes and places his hand on her wounds.

“I have spent every moment singing your praise, and you stood by me in all those moments. I feel blessed,” she said tears flowing out of her eyes.

“Poison couldn’t kill me, neither the most poisonous snake. The poison, you turned to nectar and the snake to a garland of rose. And when they tried to starve me, you nourished me all the more.” Frustrated with Meera’s devotion, her in-laws had tried to kill her many times, but each time, her Krishna had come to her rescue.

And then she picked up her ektara in one hand and danced as she sang again.

I might not distinguish 
splendor from filth 
but I’ve tasted the nectar of passion. 
I might not know any Veda, 
but you swept me away
I frolicked in heaven, ecstatically bound 
to you my lord. 

The love for her Giridhar Gopala, that had begun in her past life as a Gopi was now filled to the brim and bursting over.  It had been a difficult life, but fulfilling nevertheless. She had risked humiliation, had been called insane, and had borne threats to her life, but nothing could stop her from worshipping Krishna.

“Giridhar,” she said, “I am tired my Lord, all I want is to sleep,” she said settling at his feet again and closing her eyes, humming one last tune.

Sleep has not visited me the whole night, 
Will the dawn ever come? 
O my companion, 
Once I awoke with a start from a dream. 
Now the remembrance from that vision 
never fades. 
My life is ebbing as I choke and sigh, 
When will the Lord of the Afflicted come 
I have lost my senses and gone insane, 
But the Lord knows my secret. 
He who deals out life and death 
knows the secret of Mira's pain.

The sound of the songs subsided and the people waiting outside got impatient after a while. They broke open the door, but Meera was nowhere to be seen.

The Lord had absorbed his most ardent worshipper into himself.


Here is one of my most favorite Krishna bhajan sung in praise of Meera's love for Krishna. Gives me goosebumps each time I listen to it.

P.S. The couplets marked in italics are written by Meerabai.

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