Thank you to Heidi Mordhorst of My Juicy Little Universe for hosting this week.
Mirabai: Ecstatic Poems (Amazon | Book Depository)
Poetry by: Mirabai Versions by Robert Bly and Jane Hirshfield Afterword by John Stratton Hawley
Published by Beacon Press (2004)
ISBN: 080706386X (ISBN13: 9780807063866). Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me and edited using an iPhone app.
I am not sure whether I learned about Mirabai via Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman (Amazon | Book Depository) – see my review here, but I thought that reading ecstatic poems was just the exact thing to do when I turned 44 a few weeks back at Ras Al Khaimah – isn’t it gorgeous?
This thin collection is divided into three main sections: (I) The Dancing Energy Came By My House, (II) The Ocean of Separation, and (III) Love Has Come Home With The Rains. Apparently, Mirabai was quite the revolutionary mystic. She was born a Rajasthan Princess in 1498 but renounced everything – propriety, her family’s approval, social conventions – when she devoted her entire existence to Krishna, whom she lovingly referred to as The Dark One.
In John Stratton Hawley’s Afterword, he wrote about the extensive reach of Mirabai in her hometown India:
Her story is told from one end of India to the other, and more or less unceasingly in her native Rajasthan. At least ten movies have been made about her life, and her persona shapes the behavior of heroines who appear in many other films, religious and nonreligious alike.
She was in love with Krishna and her mystic songs revealed this in a fearless manner. She couldn’t be bothered by how other people perceived her, even her own family members who apparently disowned her at one point. As can be seen above, she dreamt of marrying Krishna. Her every breath is worshipful and ecstatic and aimed to pay homage to The Dark One.
Have you heard of Mirabai? Which of these poems spoke to you more?
#ReadIntl2020 Update: 16 of 30 (country): India | Translated from Hindi (#6 for language)