(100) (Meera) The Story In Brief - Poem by Rajaram Ramachandran
The life story of Meera was shown in black and white Tamil film somewhere in the year 1976 or so. The famous actress M.S.Subbalakshmi acted as princess Meera and the actor Nagaiah as King Kumbha Rana of Chittor. Even today the songs of M.S.Subbalakshmi in Tamil are very popular. This story attracted me from my young days for the reason that Meera’s character was unique in that one can notice her sincere devotion to the Lord Krishna from her childhood days. Though a princess she was, she faced several hardships through out her life, yet her faith in Krishna was unquestionable. More than that, her captivating melodious songs in Vraja-bhasha, a dialect of Hindi spoken in and around Vrindavan, also sometimes mixed with Rajasthani, are still popular like folk songs even after 500 years.
THE STORY IN BRIEF
Meera was one of the most famous devotees of Lord Krishna. She was born in 1498 AD in Kudki, a small village near Merta, Rajasthan, which is presently in Pali District. (Some say she was born in 1504 AD at Chaukari Village in Merta District of Rajasthan) . She was the only daughter of a Rajput king, Rathan Singh in Merta, a fortress town, founded by her grandfather Rao Dudha, about 40-50 miles north east of Ajmer.
When she was young her father died and she was brought up under the care of her mother, Chandramugi and her grandfather Rao Dudha. (Some say that both father and mother died when she was young and she was brought up by her grandfather.)
Rupa Goswami, a devotee of Krishna from Vrindavan gave an idol of Krishna to Meera, when she was just 3 years old. She was always playing with Krishna. One day, she happened to see a marriage procession in the street and asked her mother what was going in the street.
Her mother explained that it was a wedding procession of a girl marrying a boy. Meera then asked who her husband was to marry. Her mother jokingly said she would marry Krishna. From that moment, Meera took Lord Krishna as her husband and this thought continued till her last days.
Under a compulsion she was forced to marry the King, Kumbha Rana of Mewar, but she was not interested in her marital life. She was always singing and dancing before her idol Krishna. Kumha Rana’s mother and sister were not interested in Lord Krishna, as they have been worshipping Lord Shiva and Goddess Durga.
However, Rana turned a devotee of Lord Krishna to please Meera and he was also singing along with her before Krishna on some occasions. At the request of Meera, he built a temple for Krishna inside the palace compound, where Meera was staying all the time, singing and dancing. Many Sadhus and common people entered this temple to listen to the music of Meera. They also started singing and dancing. This created a displeasure among the family of Rana and whenever opportunity came they were complaining against this to Rana, which he was ignoring in the interest of Meera.
The brother and sister of Rana gave a cup of milk mixed with poison to Meera, when she was alone the temple singing and dancing, as they felt that the honour of the royal family was lost on account of her acting against the Rajput traditions Meera took this poisoned milk, but nothing happened to her. But the Krishna Deity of Dwaraka Temple became blue due to the poisonous effect and the temple doors got closed and jammed automatically. It was a strange phenomenon that was seen by the devotees assembled in the temple.
Her music spread far and wide. The Moghul ruler, Allaudin (some says it was Akbar) heard about her musical talent and sent a pearl necklace as a gift to her through his spies in Sadhu dress. The guards of Mewar noticed this and reported to Rana, saying these spies of Allaudin were collecting information about the defence position at Mewar in the guise of Sadhus. Rana got angry and gave orders to the guards to break the temple, in order to avoid such incidents later on.
Meera and the devotees assembled refused to leave the temple, when the guards brought elephants to break the walls and pull down the temple. Out of frustration, Rana gave orders to Meera to jump into the river and die to save the honour of Mewar. She jumped into the river, but did not die there, as Krishna saved her from this punishment also. She was then exiled from Mewar and she willingly took this as a freedom won from Rana, that helped her to intensify her devotion to Krishna without any hindrance.
She went to Vrindavan, the birth place of Krishna and did her daily prayers in that spiritual atmosphere, where Sadhus joined her in the worship. She sang several songs in the name of Krishna while dancing simultaneously along with the Sadhus.
One day, she went to Rupa Goswami to meet him. His disciples prevented her from entering his cottage, saying that he had a vow not to see any woman. Meera sent a message through them that in Vrindavan all were women gopies and Krishna alone was a male there. Rupa Goswami came out and recognized Meera to whom he gave the idol of Krishna, when she was young. He apologised for his refusal to see any woman and accepted her plea as correct.
Rana became mad after Meera left Mewar. Some of his ministers and commanders resigned for his improper action to kill an innocent woman. People criticized Rana that he was heartless in driving out Meera from his country. Rana went to Vrindavan in a Sadhu’s dress to bring her back, but she refused to return saying that she was no longer his wife, once she was forced by him to die in the river. She told him that she was reborn once again from her death and was then living as the Lord Krishna’s wife. Rana returned to Mewar disappointed.
She travelled on foot and visited many temples, singing and dancing followed by devotees in large numbers wherever she went. Thus her popularity went up sky high and from the lips of everyone her songs came out in the country.
On the Janmastami day, the birthday of Lord Krishna, a huge congregation was there in the temple hall. Meera was tired and cried before Lord Krishna. She caught hold of his feet and fell down flat. She told Krishna that she was tired of His tests all through her life and begged Him to take her to His fold. Suddenly, a spark shot up from her body and merged with Lord Krishna. She was found no more thereafter.
She may be no more physically now, but her songs live eternally revealing her true devotion and her struggle to attain the status of Krishna’s consort.Thus a star is born one in million.
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