Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 3:03 AM
The wild tale of pathos shall ever remain writ large on the Temple of Love. She lived on tears and she slept on tears: this shall be the language of love in which Mira will go down to posterity. This child of the Lord, nursed in the best of worldly circumstances, feeling disgusted with the obstructions placed on her meeting freely her Divine Beloved, directed her course to those very regions where His kingdom lay, where the mad ravings of the world could not reach her and where the darts of Satan fell scotched like so many pieces of feather. She had started in search of a place where she could lie undisturbed in the thoughts of her Beloved. She was a child that did not look on Him with the dwarfed vision of the world's artist. While freedom was her creed and liberty her watchword, the slaves of forms, formalities and dogmas could not understand her. Her bondage lay in her love for her Beloved, and the subtle chains of love that she put on herself were not visible to many eyes. She started on her way to Brindaban. Her journey over, she found herself ushered into the region of love, affection and beauty, where she could with freedom continue her search for the Beloved.
At Brindaban this messenger from the Lord preached the cult of Bhakti. Beautiful are the dramas she has enacted on this world's stage; lovely are the paintings she has painted on the canvas of life, and charming is the music of the poems she has given to posterity, steeped in mystic lore and perfect in their rhythm and symphony. The music of her songs thrills the heart. It is in concord with the soul. Peace dawns as if by the help of some miraculous power. To the dying and the broken heart they apply the balsam of life and give unction to the soul.
In the ruthless sea of life there are many whirlpools, through which these devotees have steered clear, unscathed, and pointed the Way. But it is not a lesson that can be learnt by rote. It is the fortunate ones alone that are afforded the opportunity to learn. By her life Mira showed there is no reason for an aspirant to get disheartened when she, born in a noble and conservative family, could row her boat safely through the troubled waters and conventions of the world, unchilled and unruffled by adverse winds, regardless of the sarcasms of the world, and in the teeth of mighty persecutions. Her path was the simplest and yet the most difficult, which can be followed without going to the forests or practising penances. It can be acquired in a moment, for it comes as a gift and none can claim it as of right. An aspirant has only to find out one who knows the mystery, one who is dear to the Lord; for, he is the best interceder who can speak for us to Him. It was this search for the Master (Guru) that made her start on her errand and she was fortunate when she found her Teacher and through him the Way Home. But, before she met Raidasa, she had to undergo painful ordeals, both external and internal, in her noble cause love.
Who understands what love is? It is inexplicable. It can be described only by those who have had an experience of it themselves. Its signs are various and varied. It is known by its effects. A blank face and a vacant eye may be an index of the burning heart within. The attributes of Love are the same everywhere. It is a perilous position in which the lover places himself, but one which he will not willingly give up at any cost. It is a grief in which one feels pleasure. When he recites the tale of separation, it is with a view to consoling himself. Although the sword of Maya hangs overhead, yet he is unhurt. And where is sleep in love! Sleep is a condition of the tired mind. None knows when the Beloved might arrive. The vigil is long continued and the effort sustained. The eyes know no fatigue. The lover looks a maniac, the result of continued wakefulness and waiting.
Such is the state of the poor troubled soul at every moment. None likes to hear even the tale of these people. Nobody has time to listen to their effusions of emotion, unless he is similarly affected. When the restless soul wanders thus, troubled by the love current, and knows no rest, the Lord Himself comes to them, listens to their tale, rubs off their tears and clasps them to His bosom. But the panting and thirst should come first, and then alone the divine support will follow. When no peace comes, the lover wanders weary and thirsty. His condition is then like that of a fish out of water.
A victim of the shafts of love, Mira, hungry and thirsty passed days and nights in silence, waiting and crying for the Beloved.
Here is the secret of all religions. This is the only secret path through which one can approach Him. It is not outward show nor the following of conventional rules that can bring about this condition. The path is through love. Every moment of separation is a pang of death to the lovers. The only words that come to their lips are "Lord, I am Thine and Thou art mine." Their lives are differently led. The decorum of society does not bind them. They live away from all forms and shows. The paraphernalia of priestcraft, the ceremonies in the temples and the formal prayers in the churches do not appeal to them. To all appearances they do not sit in prayers, yet not a moment passes when they are not praying to their Lord.
The condition of the devotees is the same at all times and in all climes. The agonies of the soul know no subsiding. Days and nights pass in torture. Sleep leaves the eyes and no craving is left for anything. Love for God is something different from that for human beings. The lover's passion is like thirst in its intensity. It is unique in its variety. Day and night, the flame of love burns in the hearts of the fortunate few. It smoulders in the adepts, but the spark never dies out. It seems to gain energy from within. The solace comes in the flow of tears, and the creeper of love is nourished by the eyes. This is how the thirst is quenched. Their life is a queer paradox. They are supreme artists and very bad caricaturists. They paint things in their nudity. They belong to the Children's School of Art, all innocence and purity. They lose heart at the least obstruction. At the minutest apprehension of the removal of divine touch they run to the Lord and say, "Father, why hast Thou forsaken me?" They alone realize the value of the ethereal touch. They do not live. They linger in the world. They lead a life of supreme indifference. The knowledge of the world is not their creed and there is no fear in throwing off the shackles of forms and ceremonies. There is a rank carelessness about their actions. This is no immodesty in them, but complete surrender to the Lord. They know of only one union that with the Lord. It is sacrilegious for them to enthrone in their heart anyone else than Giradhara, or even to think of others. Such being the devotion, they meet the Beloved with open arms. The ties of flesh stand broken. So it was with Mira.
With the Lord alone she recognized a relationship and in Him alone she found a friend. When she saw the Lord, she cast down her looks in modesty, in humble submission, and realized how long she had strayed away from Him. Her suppressed feelings gushed forth to do homage to Him. She fell at His feet, but He raised her to His bosom. She felt peace in the arms of her Lord. With the light of fidelity and singleness of purpose clear from her eyes, she started singing to Him.
This is how Mira lived. All her attention was directed to pleasing her Lord. She lived in love. This everlasting spring of love gushes forth in her after years of silent waiting and devotion for the Lord. It therefore knew no drying up. Ceaselessly it gushed out. This was renunciation, the absolute denial of everything. No place was left for an alien thought in the mind. The only craving was never to part from Him; and how sweetly she cherished the new treasure, is apparent from what she says on the subject.
What else could Mira's eyes see but the Lord? She gave herself up completely to Him. This was renunciation, the abandonment of all activities and desires. This is the only channel by which men can reach Him. Renunciation is the necessary outcome of love, and love does not consist in bargaining and bartering. It does not ask for any gift or comfort in lieu thereof.
From the time the devotee sells himself to the Lord, he ceases to have anything to do with himself. All his property, wealth and pride, show and power, which he foolishly thought his, he offers to the Lord. He gives up all he has, and, after all, what are these possessions worth, except Love! He goes to the temple, and through the veil, seeing rays of glory shooting forth say, "Father, I have come to Thee, helpless and infirm, but with hopes fixed in Thee. In utter humility I lay myself before Thee. Do whatever Thou wishest." Volition is dead in me. I have ceased to be my old self. Nothing is mine. Everything belongs to Thee. I come, stand and knock at Thy door. I ask for alms. Turn away this beggar if Thou so desire: bestow on him Thy blessings if Thou so choose. Kick me if that is Thy wish. I am a sinner and have not the strength left in me to repent. Master, I beseech Thee: while the shadows lengthen and the hour comes to die, take me out of the swamps of the dirt of this world. I have nothing with which to purchase this boon. The love that I have is not the arrogant love of the world, the result of pride. It is not that which has caused so many of Thy fair children to stray away from the right path and from Thee. It is not the love for the flesh and blood, the love for the beautiful eyes or the pretty face. It is the love which is the outcome of humility. When all my companions, wealth, power and fame forsook me, and their betrayal stood personified before me, I sought the protection of Thy feet; and, in the silence of night, when everybody slept, I tossed restlessly on my bed, drenching it with tears, crying in all bitterness and asking within myself, Is this love?
"And this last hope has kept life enlivened. My hope has been in the distant meeting as in solitude I lay musing in divine thoughts. In that pensive mood Your Grace has been my only hope. This has been the only softening element, mellowed by the fragrant memories of the passing years, when not a tear of anger has been shed at Thy seeming indifference, not a syllable has been uttered in complaint, not a gesture of revolt displayed. The hope of the distant meeting has given me as much food as the separation itself. The painful watching of the stars in the sky and the restless tossing on the bed have for their end the gleam of the glorious future. The prop has been the divine embrace. I have tried to suppress the feelings, but the body has betrayed me. 'The eyes have told the tale in the language of tears. They have betrayed the path I was following in silence and in that I have found myself helpless. I can boast of no wealth or power or strength. I have no offering to make, yet I have started to have You. When I saw You, I said I wanted to purchase You. But for what price? I gave myself up to You body and soul. What was this giving and what was this article purchased, few will know. Suffice it to say, You sold Yourself to me and I purchased You. It was a bargain. I became Yourself and You were idolized in me a mighty comedy and a majestic melting away into Infinity."
Mira lost herself in the Lord as the colour loses itself in the water.
Writer – Bankey Behari