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2014-07-13T16:05:26+05:30
There is not much historical information about the life of Mirabai, considered one of the most famous of north Indian bhakti poets who, in a movement that pervaded much of India from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century, expressed a devotional and passionate love for a Hindi god. She lived in the sixteenth century and was a Rajput princess, the daughter of the Rathor royal family of the village of Merta in the Rajasthan region. In 1516, she married Bhoj Raj, the crown prince of Mewar. Beyond the date of marriage, traditional historical sources reveal little of who she was. The earliest records of her life appear among the stories of saints collected and preserved in hagiographic texts and religious commentaries. According to the hagiographies, after Bhoj Raj died in battle, Mirabai refused to commit sati, or self-immolation, and spent more and more of her time praying to Krishna, whom she called Gidhari, and visiting and receiving sadhus, or holy men. This was not considered appropriate behavior for a woman, and both Ratan Singh, the brother-in-law who succeeded her husband, and Vikram Singh, who next ascended to the throne, conspired against her. Mirabai rebelled and became a bhakti, or religious devotee, rejecting traditional customs and material wealth to devote her life to Krishna as a sadhu, or holy one. The hagiographies note three attempts on her life by her in-laws after she became a wandering sadhu. She survived each and continued her spiritual wanderings. Legend has it that eventually her in-laws found her and brought her home. She asked to be allowed to spend one last night in a temple with an image of Krishna. When they came to fetch her in the morning, the doors had to be broken down, for they were locked from within. But Mirabai had disappeared, leaving behind only her robe and hair.
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