The ecstatic poems of Mirabai have been treasured for centuries in India. This princess married into an aristocratic family by arrangement and following her husband's death, spurned the conventions of society and surrendered herself to Lord Krishna, the Dark One. Some have compared her passion and devotion to that of the nineteenth century Hindu teacher Ramakrishna.
Robert Bly, author of ten collections of poetry, and Jane Hirshfield, author of five, have brought their prodigious talents to bear on the spirited poems of this fifteenth century poet-saint. We are elated at the outcome of their efforts! Here are soulful poems that speak to our yearning to connect with the Divine, our respect for the passion that consumes those who surrender themselves, and our respect and reverence for those who can achieve a spiritual practice of unity. In his brief commentary on Mirabai, Robert Bly salutes "the enormous elegance and exquisite grace" of her devotion to Lord Krishna.
Jane Hirshfield is thankful that this poet's verse sings "of what it is like to see through the colors of the world to their original source." She is especially fond of a line from "Why Mira Can't Come Back to Her Old House" where the poet says of her alliance with Lord Krishna: "I have felt the swaying of the elephant's shoulders; and now you want me to climb on a jackass? Try to be serious." Columbia University professor of religion John Stratton Hawley presents a historical overview of Mirabai's life and writings. He sees her as a fine exemplar of the Hindu practice of devotion.