A translation of over two hundred of the songs attributed to the early sixteenth-century female bhakti poet Mirabai. These poems express an intense love for Krishna.
The Devotional Poems of Mirabai offers the reader a sober English translation of two hundred of her Padas, based on the interpretative work of Indian scholars that has appeared during the last few decades. Three introductory essays deal with her life, her place in the Bhakti movement and the characteristics of her poetry.
About the Author:
Because of her late date and her social status, more is known about Mirabai than about earlier Indian women poets. She was born in Rajasthan to a Rajput noble family, and was married in about 1516 to the heir-apparent of the ruler of Mewar. Her husband died before he could attain the throne, and he left no heir.
In 1527, the Rajputs opposed a Muslim invasion from Afghanistan. Mirabai's father was killed in battle; her father-in-law was wounded in the same battle and died the next year. Mewar got a new child-ruler, who with his mother, made life at the court difficult for Mirabai.
Tradition says that Mirabai left the court in her 30s and became a wandering mendicant, and that she was rejected by traditional gurus because she was a woman. Her poems show her a devotee to Vishnu in his incarnation as Krishna (whom she calls Giridhara or Girdhar- literally, "lifter of mountains").
Modern scholars accept over 200 poems (bhajans) as hers, but more than 1300 have been attributed. She may have written in Gujarati, but her poems were almost immediately translated into Hindi and other languages and sung at first over the north, and later in the south. She has remained immensely popular throughout India, and many English translations of her poems have been made.