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Meerabai

16th century, Rajasthan.

Moghal king Babur ruled Delhi, with an ambition to annex Rajasthan to his kingdom. Small independent kingdoms of Rajasthan fiercely maintained their sovereignty. Marriages were arranged for alliances between Rajput kingdoms. Kings were nearly always at war. If a rajput lost a battle, his proud wife committed Jowhar rather than the Moghals capture her. If a rajput died on the battlefield, his wife committed Sati. Sati was glorified.

It was during this time of turmoil that Meerabai was born as a Rajput princess. A humble devotee of Lord Krishna, she went on to write about 5,000 poems. Her heart wrenching poems bring tears to the eyes of the reader. Her poems are popular even today, and she is considered as one of the greatest poets of Asia.

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Life

Meerabai was born in 1498, to Rana Ratan Singh, the Rajput king of Merta. As a little girl, she watched a marriage procession and asked who her husband was. Amused, her mother pointed to a statue of Krishna. From then on, Krishna became her friend, her lover, and her husband.

She was barely 10 years old, when her mother died. She was sent to live with her uncle, her father's elder brother Vikram Deo. When Meerabai was 18 years old, Vikram Deo arranged her marriage to the crown prince of Mewad. Meerabai was married to Raja Bhoj, the eldest son of Rana Sanga.

Meerabai moved to Mewad with her husband. She still regarded Krishna as her lover. Frequently visited Krishna's temple and sang devotional songs in public. She regarded Shri Jeeva Goswami as her Guru, a cobbler by profession. All these activities enraged the Rajput princes.

Within 4 years of her marriage, Raja Bhoj was killed in a battle. Meerabai, a born rebel, refused to commit Sati. With her husband dead, she was left open to the rage of her in-laws. At least two attempts were made on her life. Her brother-in-law, the new king of Mewad sent her a glass of poison. Like a great philosopher. she sings:
      amUmOs Z{ ^{Om ndf H$m ß`mbm, n[dV _ram hmgs a{ &&

After this incident, Meerabai left Mewad. She went to seek shelter at her father's place, but in vain. She writes:
      bm{J H$h{ _ram hwB© ]mdar, ]m[ H$h{ H$wbZmer a{ &&

Meerabai then left on a pilgrim to Vrindavan, Mathura and finally settled in Dwaraka. She lived in the Ranchod Das temple, singing praises of her lord. Her fame spread far and wide.

Nearly 20 years had passed. Her in-laws now repented for their deeds. Udai Singh, the new king of Mewad sent a delegation of priests to bring her back. They met Meerabai, and requested her to return to Mewad. Meerbai was reluctant. They threatened to give up food and water if she were not to return to Mewad. At last Meerabai gave in. She agreed on the condition, that she spent one night in the Ranchod Das temple. She was never seen again.

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Poems

*    _{a{ Vm{ nJarYa Jm{[b *    h{ar _¡ Vm{ XX© nXdmZr
*    _m{ar bmJr bQH$ JwéMaUZH$r *    _mBar _¡Z{ Jm{nd§X nbÝhm{ _m{b
*    Om{ Vw_ Vm{Sm{ n[`m, _¡ Zmhr Vm{Sw§§ a{ *    _m{hZ AmdZ H$s H$m{`s H$s Om{ a{
*    \$wb _§Jmdy§§ hma ]Zm§dy *    Vw_ n]Z _{ar H$¡mZ I]a b{
*    H$m`H$y nàV bJm`r, à^y Vw_ *    nH$Uy gÝJ
*    a_¡æ`m n]Z nZX Zm Amd¡ *    amYm ß`mar, X{ Smam{ Zm ]Ýgr _m{ar
*    H$aZm \$nH$ar n\$a ·`m nXbnJar *    Ob]rZ H$_b
*    gmd§a{{ a§J amMr *    í`m_ _Z{ MmH$a amIm{ Or
*    _¡§§ Vm{ Jm{nd§X H${ JyU Jm§gy


         ****

_{a{ Vm{ nJarYa Jm{[b, Xwgam Zm H$m{`s &&
         VmV _mV gwV Z ^mV Am[ZwZ H$m{`s
         NmÝS XwB H$wbH$s H$mZ ·`m H$a{Jm H$m{`s &&
OmH${ nga _m{a _wJyQ _{am{ [nV gm{`s
eI MH JXm [X_ H$R_mb gm{`s &&
         gÝVZ gÝJ ]¡R ]¡R bm{H$ bmO Im{`s
         A] Vm{ ]mV \$¡b J`r OmZ{ g] H$m{`s &&
AmÝgw AmÝOZ ngM ngM à{_ ]{b ]m{`s
_ram à^y bJZ bJs, hm{Z{ hm{gm{ hm{`s &&

         ****

h{ar _¡ Vm{ XX© nXdmZr, _{am XX© Z OmU{ H$m{` &&
         Km`b H$r JVr Km`b OmU¡, Om{ H$m{`r Km`b hm{`
         O¡mhar H$r JVr O¡mhar OmU¡, H$r nOZ O¡mha hm{` &&
gwbr C[a g{O h_mar, gm{dU nH$g n]Y hm{`
JJZ_§Sb[a g{O n[`m H$r, nH$g n]Y n_bZm hm{` &&
         XX©H$r _mar ]Z ]Z Sm{by§§ , ]¡Ú n_ë`m Zm H$m{`
         _ramH${ à^y n[S n_Q{Jr, O] d¡Ú gmdir`m hm{` &&

         ****

Om{ Vw_ Vm{Sm{ n[`m, _¡ Zmhr Vm{Sw§§ a{
Vm{ar àrV Vm{S nH$eZm, H$¡mZ g§J Om{Sw§§ a{ ?
         Vw_ ^`{ Véda, _¡ ^`r [nV`m
         Vw_ ^`{ gam{da, _¡ V{ar _nN`m &&
Vw_ ^`{ _m{Vr à^y, h_ ^`{ YmJm
Vw_ ^`{ gm{Zm, h_ ^`{ gwhmJm &&
         _ram H$h{ à^y, nãaO H${ dmgr
         Vw_ _{a{ RmH$ya, _¡ V{ar Xmgr &&

         ****

_m{hZ AmdZ H$s H$m{`s H$s Om{ a{
AmdZ H$s _Z ^mdZ H$s
Am[ Zm Amd{ [nV`m Zm ^{O{
`{ ]mV h¡ bbMmdZ H$s
]sZ XagZ ì`H$yb ^`s gOZs
O¡g{ n]Owas`m lmdU H$s
·`m H$ay e·Vs Zhs _wP{ gOZs
[I hw`{ Vm{ DS OmdZ H$s
_ram H$h{ à^y nJnaYa ZmJa
BNm bJs hna ]VbmdZ H$s
****

a_¡æ`m n]Z nZX Zm Amd¡
n]ahm gVmd¡, à{_H$r AmJ Obmd¡
n]Z n[`m Á`m{V, _§Xra A§Yr`mam{
nX[H$ XmZ Zm Amd¡
n[`m n]Z _{ar g{O AZyZr
OmJV a¡Z n]hmd¡, n[`m H$] Amd¡ ?
Vm{h{ gIr _m{ar, gh{br gOZr
n[`m H$m{ AmZ n_bmd¡
_ramH${ à^y H$] a{ n_bm{J{
_Z_m{hZ _m{h{ ^md¡, H$] ]Vbmd¡?
****

nH$Uy gÝJ I{bw hm{br
n[`m Ë`O J`{ h¡ AH${br
_nUH$ _m{Vr g] h_ Nm{S{
Jb{ _{ [{h{Zr g{br
^m{OZ ^dZ ^bm{ Zhr bmJ{
n[`m H$aU ^`r a{ J{br
_wP{ Xwar ·`m{ Z{br?
ñ`m_ ]rZm nO`Sm{ _waPmd{
O¡g{ Ob n]Z ]{br
_ram H$m{ à^y XagU nXOm{
_¡ Vm{ OU_ OU_ nH$ AH${nb
Xag n]Zm ISr Xwh{br
****

H$m`H$y nàV bJm`r, à^y Vw_
nàV bJm`r [a XwI nXZm{,
H$¡gr bmO Z Amdr?
Jm{H$wb Nm§SH${ _WyamH$m{ Omdy§,
ìhm§_{ H$¡mZ ]Tm`r?
_ramH${ à^y nJarYa ZmJa,
Vw_H$m{ Z§X XwdmB
****

\$wb _§Jmdy§§ hma ]Zm§dy,
_mbZ ]ZH$a Amdy§§
Jbm e¡br hmW gw_aZr,
O[V O[V Ka Om§dy
_ram H$h{ à^y nJarYa ZmJa,
]¡RV hnaJyU Jmdy§§
****

_m{ar bmJr bQH$ JwéMaUZH$r
MaUn]Zm _m{h{ H$Nw Zhr ^md{,
PyQ _m`m g] g[ZZH$r
^dgmJa g] gwI J`m h¡,
n\$H$ra Zhr _m{h{ VaZZH$r
_ramH${ à^y nJarYaZmJa,
CbQ ^B _m{a{ Z`ZZH$r
****

_¡§§ Vm{ Jm{nd§X H${ JyU Jm§gy
amOm ayR{ ZJar amI{,
hna ayR`m{ H$hm§§ Omgy§§§§
`{ g§gma ]mS H$m H$mQm,
nO`m g§JV Zhr Omgy§§
_ram H$h{ à^y nJarYaZmJa,
nZV CR XagZ [mgy§§
****

Vw_ n]Z _{ar H$¡mZ I]a b{, Jm{dYZ nJarYmar?
^ar g^m_m{ Сm[Xr Rmar bmO amIm{ h_ar
_m{a _wJyQ n[Vm§]a em{^{ H$w§SbH$r N]r Ý`mar
_ramH${ à^y nJarYaZmJa MaUH$_b ]bhmar
****

Ob]rZ H$_b Mm§X ]rZ aOZr,
E{g{ Vy_ X{»`md{ Z gOZr
ì`mH$wb ì`mH$wb n\$駧 a¡Z nXZr,
n]ah H$b{Om Im`{
n]ah ì`Wm bmJr Ca A§Va,
gm{ Vw_ Am`{ ]wPmdm{
****

g°§mdma{ a§J amMr, amUmOr hy§§ Vm{
]°§mY Ky§Jam à{_ H$m,
hy§§ Vm{ hna H${ AmJ{ ZmMr
EH$ nZaIV EH$ [aIV h¡,
EH$ H$aV _m{ar h°§mgr
A¡ma bm{J åhUr H$m`r H$nagr,
hy§§ Vm{ hnaOr à^yOr H$r Xmgr
amUm{ ndf H$m{ ß`mbm{ ^{Om{
hy§§ Vm{ nhå_V H$r H$m§Mr
_ram MaUm bmJ¡ N¡§gm§Mr
****

í`m_ _Z{ MmH$a amIm{ Or
MmH$a ah{gw, ]mJ bJmgy, nZV CR Xg©Z [mgy
n]¬§XmdZ H$r H$w§O Jnb§_m{, V{ar nbbm Jmgy
_m{a _wJyQ n[Vm§]a gm{h{, Jbm d¡O`§Vr _mbm
n]¤XmdZ _{ Y{Zw Mamd{ _m{hZ _wabrdmbm
****

amYm ß`mar, X{ Smam{ Zm ]Ýgr _m{ar
]Ýgr _{ _{am{ àmU ]gV h¡, dh ]Ýgr hm{ J`r Mm{ar
H$mh{g{ JmC§? H$mh{g{ ]OmC§? H$mh{g{ bmC§, J§¡æ`m K{ar?
hm§ hm§ H$aV, Vm{a{ [¡§æ`m [aV, Vag ImAm{, amYm ß`mar
_ram H${ à^w, JrnaYaZJa, ]Ýgr b{H$a Nm{Sr
****

_mBar _¡Z{ Jm{nd§X nbÝhm{ _m{b
H$m{B H$h{ hbH$m, H$m{B H$h{ ^mar, nb`m{ VamOy Vm{b
H$m{B H$h{ gñVm, H$m{B H$h{ _{h{§Jm, H$m{B H$h{ AZ_m{b
n]§XmdZ H${ H$w§O Jbr_{, nb`m{ ]OmH${ Ym{b
_ramH${ à^y nJarYaZmJa, [wa] OU_H${ ]m{b
****

H$aZm \$nH$ar n\$a ·`m nXbnJar,
gXm _JZ _¡ a{hZm Or
H$m{B nXZ hmWr, H$m{B nXZ Km{Sm,
H$m{B nXZ [¡Xb MbZm Or
H$m{B nXZ »dmOm, H$m{B nXZ bSw,
H$m{B nXZ ^wH$m a{h{Zm Or
H$m{B nXZ Tm{nb`m, H$m{B nXZ VbmB,
H$m{B nXZ ^w_r[a bm{QZm Or ||
_ram H$h{ à^y nJnaYa ZJa,
Am`{ [S{ gm{ g{h{Zm Or ||

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