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VINE VOICEon May 7, 2000
Mirabai's poetry has remained alive orally in Hindu, Sikh and Muslim traditions. Her's is a poetry of Krishna - an Indian diety relatively well known in the West if only for his place in the Mahabharata.
This translation of Mirabai's poetry from a Prakrit (a vernacular language rather than the formal Sanskrit - i.e. as if in Provencal rather than Latin) uses free verse to put her poems in our contemporary poetry conventions. Andrew Schelling did a superb job - the poetry retains the South Asian religious sensibility while creating poems that stand on their own merit.
A taste: "But life on this crazy planet is torment, / day and night torment. / Mad, raked by separation -- / drifting from country to country -- / look at Mira's black hair / it's turned white.
If you enjoy Rumi, Hafiz, Kabir,Emre then you will enjoy this book.
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on July 7, 2009
My mom gifted me with this amazing, powerful, lovely, devastating, sweet little books of bhakti poems many years ago. I still treasure it.

The poetry is amazing, as are the paintings, by Mayumi Oda.

It has, at times, been like a little Bible to me. And I consider Mirabai both a teacher and a saint. It was through this book that I came to want to know her story, and through her story that I first heard of mergence with the divine - or rainbow body, as it's called in Tibetan Buddhism. At the end of Mirabai's life, she entered fully into the body of the Beloved, leaving behind nothing but her clothing, bones, and hair.

Her love for and devotion to her Lord was beyond reason, and be going beyond reason, became all the reason in the world.

Read Mirabai's words, and let them rend you. And let them heal you.
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on February 24, 2015
Mirabai, in turn, was a woman poet, born a princess in sixteenth century Rajasthan (alright, fifteenth century: 1498, to be precise). A woman poet in those days was a contradiction in terms; Mira's poetic vocation was considered so severe an affront to her family that they tried to have her killed, after which she abandoned her position and took to the streets. It was perhaps this opposition (which might be legendary) that gave Mira's songs their snarling tenacity of passion, but there is no doubt that in her devotion to Krishna she found her true task and voice, and that she was as fulfilled by it as thoroughly as George Herbert was by his Christianity. The versions by Louise Landis Levi, in SWEET ON MY LIPS: The Love Poems of Mirabai (Cool Grove Press, 1997) and by Robert Bly and Jane Hirshfield, in MIRABAI: Ecstatic Poems (Beacon Press, 2004) are good, but my favorites are Andrew Schelling's, in FOR LOVE OF THE DARK ONE: Songs of Mirabai (Shambhala, 1983) which has a useful discography as well.

Glenn Shea, from Glenn's Book Notes, at www.bookbarnniantic.com
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on November 9, 2010
There are many lyrical passages here that are truly lovely and memorable.

I wouldn't recommend this as your only collection of Meera poems, tho.

Half way through, her endless complaining gets old.

Other translations are kinder.
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on July 23, 2015
Beautiful book. I find comfort in reading this book daily.
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My Name is MiraBai Devi Dasi, January 6, 2001

I have been practicing Bhakti Yoga or the yoga of love and devotion to Sri Krishna for 21 years. My spiritual master gave me the name Mirabai when he initiated me. The word "Devi" refers to the Saint Mirabai and "Dasi" means servant. So that means that I am the servant of Mirabai Devi.

The position of servant is a spiritual position that the aspiring Bhakta or lover of the Lord Sri Krsna accepts with all of his or her heart. A devotee of Sri Krsna recites the Maha Mantra: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare //Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare for prayer and meditation, follows a spiritual lifestyle and performs devotional service to purify their life. It is through these activities that one can express and consolidate one's desire to make spiritual progress. Actions speak louder than words.

My understanding of Mirabai Devi's devotion is that she describes through her poems the absolute attraction of the finite soul for the Infinte Soul which is Krsna. Her poems express the desire of the one who loves to be united with the Beloved, Supreme Lover, Sri Krsna. Her descriptions of Krsna as her Beloved, mean exactly that. She is in love with the Supreme Lover who has a beautiful form, personality, activities, in short everything that would make the Supreme Person or Super Soul infinitely fascinating and capable of attracting the finite souls eternally. She desires no other lover, husband or boyfriend! No one else but Krsna can satisfy her desire to love and to be loved!

Therefore, Mirabai Devi does not desire to merge with her Supreme Lover! She wishes to maintain her identity and to "be" with Krsna by participating in His activities and by reciprocating His love for her through devotional service. The desire to "become one" is understood to be the desire to have the same desire and will as Krsna. So that the will and the desire of God, Sri Krsna becomes the will and the desire of His sincere and loving devotee. No one who is in love wants to "merge" with their beloved!

To the contrary, it is the separate and distinct form, personality and activities that are attractive in the first place! A true Bhakta, a devotee of Krsna would NEVER want to merge with Krsna! Mirabai Devi describes her love, attraction and desire to serve Sri Krsna because He is God, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Her spiritual master is her link to Krsna and she respects and honors him but she is not in love with him. She follows his instructions so that she will one day not be forced to take another physical, material birth. In this way she will be able to be with Krsna in Krsnaloka, the spiritual planet where all souls who have been freed from the repeating cycle of birth and death can live because they have been cleansed of all material desires.

When you desire and serve only Krsna you can obtain Krsna! Sri Krsna says in the Bhagavag-Gita (9.34) " Engage your mind always in thinking of ME, become My devotee, offer obeisances to Me and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me."

I am only a servant of Krsna who by trying to follow in Mirabai Devi's footprints hope to NOT imitate her, because this is not possible, but to keep the beautiful vision and image of my Beloved Lord Sri Krsna ever in my heart and mind and to one day be as in love with Him as she was! Her poems are not an academic study or sterile metaphors! They are intimate glances into the divine love relationship between Mirabai Devi and Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Hare Krsna! Namaste! MiraBai Devi Dasi (Shirley Marie Bradby)
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on October 2, 2000
The poetry contained in this book is no doubt exceptional. But the comments of the editor, and some aspects of the translation misrepresent the teachings of Mirabai. First, this is not erotic poetry. Mirabai was a perfect Saint, and if she refers to the physical love is only as a metaphore of the union of the soul with the Oversoul. Second, Mirabai was not in love with Krishna. Her poems were for her Master, Sant Ravidas (a disciple of Sant Kabir), who was a cobbler by chaste, which was why the royal family taunted her. Krishna, as he himself makes clear, was an incarnation of Vishnu, the sustaining power. Mirabai had merged with the Absolute, she was above Krishna. Also, Krishna lived in the Copper Age, when the Mahabarata war was fougth, whereas Mirabai lived after that, in the Kali Yuga, or present iron age. Third, Mirabai's beloved, her Master Sant Ravidas, was a beam of spirituality and love. How could she refer to his beloved as "the dark one"? More faithful renderings of Mirabai's mystic poetry are available.
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on January 6, 2001
I have been practicing Bhakti Yoga or the yoga of love and devotion to Sri Krishna for 21 years. My spiritual master gave me the name Mirabai when he initiated me. The word "Devi" refers to the Saint Mirabai and "Dasi" means servant. So that means that I am the servant of Mirabai Devi. The position of servant is a spiritual position that the aspiring Bhakta or lover of the Lord Sri Krsna accepts with all of his or her heart. A devotee of Sri Krsna recites the Maha Mantra: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare //Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare for prayer and meditation, follows a spiritual lifestyle and performs devotional service to purify their life. It is through these activities that one can express and consolidate one's desire to make spiritual progress. Actions speak louder than words. My understanding of Mirabai Devi's devotion is that she describes through her poems the absolute attraction of the finite soul for the Infinte Soul which is Krsna. Her poems express the desire of the one who loves to be united with the Beloved, Supreme Lover, Sri Krsna. Her descriptions of Krsna as her Beloved, mean exactly that. She is in love with the Supreme Lover who has a beautiful form, personality, activities, in short everything that would make the Supreme Person or Super Soul infinitely fascinating and capable of attracting the finite souls eternally. She desires no other lover, husband or boyfriend! No one else but Krsna can satisfy her desire to love and to be loved! Therefore, Mirabai Devi does not desire to merge with her Supreme Lover! She wishes to maintain her idenity and to "be" with Krsna by participating in His activities and by reciprocating His love for her through devotional service. The desire to "become one" is understood to be the desire to have the same desire and will as Krsna. So that the will and the desire of God, Sri Krsna becomes the will and the desire of His sincere and loving devotee. No one who is in love wants to "merge" with their lover! To the contrary, it is the separate and distinct form, personality and activities that are attractive in the first place! A true Bhakta, a devotee of Krsna would NEVER want to merge with Krsna! Mirabai Devi describes her love, attraction and desire to serve Sri Krsna because He is God, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Her spiritual master is her link to Krsna and she respects and honors him but she is not in love with him. She follows his instructions so that she will one day not be forced to take another physical, material birth. In this way she will be able to be with Krsna in Krsnaloka, the spiritual planet where all souls who have been freed from the repeating cycle of birth and death can live because they have been cleansed of all material desires. When you desire and serve only Krsna you can obtain Krsna! Sri Krsna says in the Bhagavag-Gita (9.34) " Engage your mind always in thinking of ME, become My devotee, offer obeisances to Me and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me." I am only a servant of Krsna who by trying to follow in Mirabai Devi's footprints hope to NOT imitate her, because this is not possibile,but to keep the beautiful vision and image of my Beloved Lord Sri Krsna ever in my heart and mind and to one day be as in love with Him as she was! Her poems are not an academic study or sterile metaphors! They are intimate glances into the divine love relationship between Mirabai Devi and Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Hare Krsna! Mirabai Devi Dasi (Shirley Marie Bradby)
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