Meera: Drunk with Divine

Birthday of Woman Mystic Meerabai

October 9th will be observed as the birthday of woman mystic Meera, better known as Meerabai, a 16th century Hindu mystic poet and devotee of Krishna. She is a celebrated Bhakti saint, particularly in the North Indian Hindu tradition. Meerabai was born in 1504 AD at Chaukari village in Merta District of Rajasthan. Meerabai grew up amidst an atmosphere of total Krishna consciousness, which was responsible in molding her life in the path of total devotion towards Lord Krishna.

When she was just four years of age, she manifested her deep devotion to Krishna. Meerabai watched a marriage procession in front of her residence. Meerabai, the child, spotted the well-dressed bridegroom and asked her mother innocently, “Dear mother, who will be my bridegroom?” Meerabai’s mother smiled, and half in jest and half in earnest, pointed towards the image of Sri Krishna and said, “My dear Mira, Lord Krishna – this beautiful fellow – is going to be your bridegroom”. Soon after, Meerabai’s mother passed on. As Meerabai grew up, her desire to be with her Krishna grew intensely and she believed that Lord Krishna would come to marry her. In due course, she became firmly convinced that Krishna was to be her husband.

Though she married Rana Kumbha of Mewar, she considered herself the wife of Krishna ( Jaake Sir Mor Mukut Mero Pati Soyee). Kumbha died after a few later. Refusing to become a Sati, as was expected of every Rajput widow, Meera continued with her visits to Krishna’s temple. Songs poured out as she remained in ecstatic trance. Tying anklets to her feet, she danced in public, in the company of sadhus ( Pag Gunguru Baand Meeraa Naacheere). The temple at Chittorgarh where Meera Bai worshipped is a huge draw even today. Her conduct shocked her family. The ruling Rana (her-brother-in law) sent a cup of poison to kill her and she drank it with a smile ( Vish Kaa Pyaalaa Raanaajee Bhejyaa; Peevat Meeraa Haansee Re). But her Krishna saved her. However, when the torture became unbearable, she left Mewar for Brindavan and later for Dwaraka where she became one with the Lord, never to be separated again. Much had to be given up, but she did so readily in the pursuit of her calling.

A number of compositions by Meera Bai continue to be sung today in India, mostly as devotional songs (bhajans) though nearly all of them have a philosophical connotation.  One of her most popular compositions remains “Paayoji maine Ram Ratan dhan paayo“. These songs speak in the first person of deep love and longing for God and of Meerabai’s persecution and rejection of the royal world of her husband. They traverse the range of emotions connected with love—longing, anticipation, the ecstatic joy of union, adoration, jealousy, and anger—but also speak of a merger with the One who transcends all distinctions and forms. 

Osho has extensively talked about Meerabai in his discourses. Osho says  She was really a mad devotee, a mad BHAKTA, in tremendous love and ecstasy with God. She was a queen, but she started dancing on the streets. The family disowned her. The family tried to poison her — the family itself — because it was a disgrace for the royal family. The husband was feeling embarrassed, very much embarrassed, and particularly so in those days. And the story belongs to one of the most traditional parts of this country, Rajasthan, where for centuries nobody had seen women’s faces; they were covered, always covered. Even the husband might not have been able to recognize his wife in the daylight, because they were meeting only in the night, in darkness. In those days, in such a stupid climate, in such a milieu, the queen started dancing on the streets! Crowds would gather, and she was so drunk with the divine that her sari would slip down, her face would be exposed, her hands would be exposed. And the family was obviously very much perturbed. But she sang beautiful songs, the most beautiful ever sung in the whole world, because they came from her very heart. They were not composed, they were spontaneous outpourings. She was a devotee of Krishna, she loved Krishna. Krishna represented to her the very spirit of existence, what Buddha calls dhamma, the law. That is the masculine formation, the masculine expression: the law. Meera calls Krishna “my beloved” — not law but love; that is the feminine heart.”

Osho Says…..

BELOVED OSHO,

WHENEVER I HEAR OR READ ABOUT MEERA, THE ENLIGHTENED PRINCESS, WHO GAVE UP HER PALACE TO DEVOTE HER LIFE TO THE BELOVED, DANCING WILDLY IN THE STREETS, MY HEART IS FULL OF JOY. ALSO, I NOTICE THAT ONLY VERY FEW ENLIGHTENED WOMEN ARE KNOWN TO US. BELOVED MASTER, WOULD YOU LIKE TO TALK ABOUT WOMEN’S ENLIGHTENMENT?

Sadhan,

more women could have been enlightened than men, but man has not allowed them to reach to those heights. He has kept them, enslaved them as second-class citizens. He has not allowed them education; he has not allowed them freedom of movement in society; he has not allowed them even to listen to the religious scriptures. He has tied them to the home, which has become almost a prison while he is free.

And for centuries he has used the woman just as a reproductive mechanism, just to produce children. You may not be aware that in the past the woman was constantly pregnant — because out of ten children only one survived; nine died. Just to have two children, twenty children had to be produced — and that is not a part-time job. The woman’s life has been almost a constant torture, because every pregnancy is a torture. Nine months she suffers, and then she has to bring up the child — that is tedious. And before the child is even a few months old she becomes pregnant again. And man has never thought what he is doing to her — treating her like cattle.

Around the world, all the cultures have misbehaved with women. Even a great culture like China has not accepted the idea that the woman has a soul. She is only a reproductive machine. In China, for centuries, if the husband killed his wife it was not considered to be a crime — even murder was not a crime because the woman had no soul. It is almost like destroying your table, or your chair, or your washing machine. You cannot be dragged to the court as a murderer because you have destroyed your chair. It was your chair, and you have every right to keep it or to destroy it. The woman has been possessed almost like a commodity. The Indian scriptures say that while the woman is a child, the parents should be in possession of her; when she is young the husband should be in possession of her; when she is old her own sons should be in possession of her. In such ugly situations it was almost impossible for women to become enlightened. They were not even living, they were being used. And the most insulting thing in the world is to be used.

No religion has shown any respect to women. I sometimes wonder what kind of religions we have produced. Even the finest people, like Gautam Buddha, were not ready to initiate women into Sannyas. Buddha was more afraid about his male sannyasins… that if women become sannyasins the celibacy of his male sannyasins will be in danger. What kind of celibacy is it? — so fragile, not confident of itself. And it is not surprising that these monks created homosexuality in the world. You can avoid the woman, but by avoiding the woman you cannot destroy the sexuality of man. Mahavira, a man of tremendous compassion, who brought the concept of non-violence to the world, is very violent about women. He says that a woman cannot become enlightened as a woman. First she has to earn enough virtue to be born as a man, and then there is a possibility of her being enlightened. But as a woman he absolutely denied the possibility.

Jesus talks of love so much, but when he chose his twelve apostles he did not include a single woman — although there were three women who were very close to him… far more understanding than those apostles. And it is a historical fact to be remembered that when he was crucified, all his twelve apostles disappeared, afraid that if they were caught, perhaps the same treatment would be given to them too. But those three women: Mary Magdalene, and she was a prostitute, but listening to Jesus she went through a transformation; she dropped her profession, and she was one of the most beautiful women in Judea — Jesus’ mother, Mary, and another woman follower, Martha: they remained near the cross. They showed more courage. And those three women were the ones who brought the body down from the cross — all those twelve apostles were hiding, they were not coming out.

But still Christianity has not given any recognition, any respect, even to Jesus’ mother. But Christianity is not at fault — even Jesus himself was not respectful. One day he was speaking in a marketplace, a small crowd surrounding him, and his mother, who had not seen him for years, came to see him. And somebody shouted to Jesus, “Your mother is standing outside the crowd. She wants to see you.”

And Jesus misbehaved. He said, “Tell that woman….” Now, it is ugly. He could not even call her “mother.” “Tell that woman that I don’t have any mother, I don’t have any father here on the earth. My father is in heaven.”

The same is true about other religions.

Man has been preventing women from any spiritual growth. It is a miracle that even in spite of all this suppression and slavery a few women became enlightened. They are proof that Mahavira is wrong, that Buddha is wrong, that Jesus is wrong. For you, Sadhan, I have been looking for the names of all the enlightened women. There are not many, only five in the whole history of man.

…[Osho talks about four women mystics – Gargi, Mallibai, Rabiya, and Lalla]…

And the fifth, Sadhan — you have mentioned her — is Meera. Perhaps she is the most significant of all the women who have become enlightened. Her songs… each word is pure gold. It is coming from the very source of enlightenment.

She was a queen, but she could not remain imprisoned in the palace; neither could her husband or her family tolerate her in the palace, because even to her husband she had said, “You forget all about being my husband. I have been in love with God from my very childhood. If anybody can claim to be my husband, it is God. But he cannot claim, because with him I am one.”

Naturally, the family also wanted to get rid of her… and she also wanted to move in the streets, to sing her songs, to dance her dances, to spread her blissfulness as far and as wide as possible. Two stories I would like to tell you about her. In Vrindavan, there is the greatest temple of Krishna. The priest of the temple was a celibate; and as all celibates are sick, psychologically sick, he was also a sick person — sick in the sense that he would not allow any woman inside the temple. Only men could come inside the temple — women had to worship from the outside.

He had not seen a woman for twenty years. This kind of celibacy is nothing but tremendous repression, so much fear of women, that even seeing a woman you are afraid you may lose your whole life’s effort. When he heard that Meera was coming to dance in the temple before Krishna — and she was one of the most beautiful women you can conceive of — he put two guards with naked swords at the gate, saying, “Don’t allow her in. Even if she has to be murdered, don’t be worried.”

Meera came dancing and singing, and the guards became so overwhelmed by her love, by her joy, by her ecstasy, that they forgot their business — why they were standing there. And she danced, and entered into the temple. The priest was worshiping Krishna. On a plate he had candles, and he was worshiping with those candles. As he saw Meera, the plate fell — and he could not believe… what had happened to the guards? She was drunk with the divine, and she danced before Krishna. The priest stopped her and asked her, “How dare you? You know that no woman is allowed here. And the guards are at the gate, they should have prevented you.”

Meera laughed, and she said a very significant thing. She said, “I used to think that only God is a man and everybody else is a woman. Today I have found there are two men — you and God.

“What kind of love you do you have? If you cannot become simply the loving heart of a woman, all your worshiping is just hocus-pocus. Whom are you trying to deceive? I don’t see that there is anybody who is a man. Only God is a man, and we are all his beloveds. You are also a woman. Join me in the dance!”

Only these five names….

It is a crime on the part of man that he has prevented women from becoming enlightened. He has not given them a chance, otherwise my feeling is that there would have been more enlightened women than men, because for man there is a difficulty — his head.

The woman has a direct contact from the heart. Man’s journey is a little long — first he has to struggle with the head… that can take years. And unless he comes to the heart, he cannot move towards the being. The woman is already at the point of the heart. In that way she has a superiority; and more women would have become enlightened…. But the crime is on man’s head — and it continues.

Just a few days ago, I heard that in England there is going to be a great conflict. The Church of England is on the verge of splitting in two, because the orthodox bishops and cardinals are against initiating any woman as a priest. A few intelligent people think that this is ugly. Why cannot a woman be a priest? The bishop of London has threatened that if women priests are initiated he is going to take the major part of the Church of England with him, because he is absolutely against women being priests. What to say about enlightenment? Women cannot even be priests! And it is not only in England. You will not find women priests anywhere in the world. Man has created every barrier. It is not only against women, it is against the whole humanity; because women constitute half of the earth. Half of humanity is being prevented from being religious.

Among many of my efforts, this is one of the major projects — that as far as religiousness is concerned there should be no discrimination between men and women. And perhaps this is the only place where there is no discrimination. But because of these things, the whole world is against me. But I am ready — let the whole world be against me. Sooner or later they will understand that I was fighting for them, and they were against me; I was trying to improve the whole consciousness of humanity, and they condemned me. But perhaps that is the destiny of every rebel. And I am not a one-dimensional rebel — I am a multi-dimensional rebel. About everything I am rebellious.

Source:

This is an excerpt from the transcript of public discourse by Osho in Chuang Tzu

Auditorium,  Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune, India.

Discourse series: The Razor’s Edge

Chapter #16

Chapter title: Who created God

5 March 1987 am in Chuang Tzu Auditorium

References:

Osho has also spoken on women mystics like Daya, Lalla, Sahajo, Mallibai, Magdalen, Rabiya, Teresa in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. And the flowers showered
  2. Showering without clouds
  3. Books I have loved
  4. The Last Morning Star
  5. The Perfect Master
  6. Early Talks
  7. The Sword and The Lotus
  8. Turn On, Tune In, and Drop the Lot
  9. Come, Come, Yet Again Come
  10. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha Vol.8
  11. The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
  12. I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
  13. Come Follow To You Vol.1
  14. Tao: The Three Treasures Vol.2
  15. Beyond Enlightenment
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2 Comments

  • tarangita
    Posted January 2, 2023 6:23 pm 0Likes

    Thank you for sharing about Meerabai…

  • asmita alkar
    Posted February 10, 2024 12:40 pm 0Likes

    amazingly expressed…. Thank you for sharing especially about the Meerabai

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