Mira: A love-mad woman

Look at me: I’ve gone mad with love!
No one knows my pain.
Under the flower petals on my wedding bed
Are stakes that pierce right through me.
How can I sleep?

My Beloved’s bed is in the skies –
How can I reach him, how can we ever meet?
I’m mad, insane with the pain of love.

Someone being slaughtered
Knows what it’s like to die violently.
So does the one who brings it about.

It takes a johar to understand
What a johar feels – strange joy, elation, adoration.
I’m insane, gone mad with pain!

In agony I’ve staggered from forest to forest.
I’ve never found a doctor who could heal me.
My Lord, Mira will be cured of pain
When you yourself come as my healer.
I’m love-mad, insane from the pain of your love.


“heree mai~ to prem diwaanee”
Mira Sudha Sindhu,
English version by Anthea Guinness, 1998

In the bhakti tradition, it is said that Mira left her home in Chittor (where she was a royal princess in the ruling family) and spent the rest of her life trying to locate her spiritual teacher, Ravidas – whom she never found again, in the outside world. Her agonized longing to see him drew her inwards and her songs tell us that she ultimately found “the radiant form” of her master within herself, in meditation.

A few months after Mira left Chittor, the fort was besieged. Thousands of men died in battle and when it was clear they would lose, they went out one more time to fight to the death while their wives – 10,000 women dressed in wedding finery – burned themselves to death. This Rajput warrior tradition is known as johar or jauhar. (Some scholars take jauhar to mean jeweller, jauhari, in which case the lines would read: It takes a jeweller to recognize a diamond – Or someone with a jeweller’s eye.)

For info on other images, see It Means What?


Creative Commons License
MYSTIC SONGPOEMS by Anthea Guinness (Translator) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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