Usha S. Nilsson (essay date 1969)

(Poetry Criticism)

SOURCE: Nilsson, Usha S. “Mira Bai's Poems.” In Mira Bai, pp. 29-36. New Delhi, India: Sahitya Akademi, 1969.

[In the following chapter from a treatise on Mirabai's life, legend, and poetry, the author categorizes Mirabai's padas (sung poetry) into poems of entreaty and salutation and poems of love. The author provides a close reading of several padas.]

The poems of Mira Bai do not cover a wide range of subjects. They are strictly a form of self-expression, completely dedicated to Krishna. It is difficult to gauge from her poetry that she had lived in a time of political upheavals, and internal intrigues. She did not use her poetry to criticize...

(The entire section is 1929 words.)

Shreeprakash Kurl (essay date 1973)

(Poetry Criticism)

SOURCE: Kurl, Shreeprakash. “Bhakta Mira.” In The Devotional Poems of Mirabai, pp. 15-23. Calcutta, India: A Writers Workshop Publication, 1973.

[The following essay, from an extended introduction to a translation of Mirabai's religious poetry, places her poetry in the context of the bhakti (devotional) religious movement and offers examples of her devotional poetry.]

A study of Mira's poetry is a study of the phenomenon of the poet as a devotee. Choosing the short lyric as the most powerful style through which to convey the intensity of religious emotion, Mira express the urgency of a single experience—the agony and the intense longing of a human soul in...

(The entire section is 2894 words.)

K. S. Ram (essay date 1989)

(Poetry Criticism)

SOURCE: Ram, K. S. “Kabir, Surdas, and Mirabai: A Note on Bhakti Poetry in Hindi.” Literary Criterion 24, nos. 1 & 2 (1989): 147-52.

[This essay provides a brief history of Bhakti poetry and its influences and compares Mirabai with two predecessors.]

Kabir, Mirabai and Surdas are three of the top four Bhakti poets in Hindi. The fourth is Tulsidas who, in terms of ranking, would probably come first but is excluded from the scope of this note.

‘Bhakti’ is a rather wide label under which each of the three poets discussed in this note has his or her own distinctness. For the sake of convenience and not on any criterion of merit, we could...

(The entire section is 1756 words.)

Andrew Schelling (essay date 1996)

(Poetry Criticism)

SOURCE: Schelling, Andrew. “‘Where's My Beloved?’: Mirabai's Prem Bhakti Marg.” In Vaisnavi: Women and the Worship of Krishna, edited by Steven J. Rosen, pp. 47-58. Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1996.

[In the following essay, both academic and personal in tone, Schelling identifies Sanskrit influences on Mirabai's work, reflects on why Mira's songs are so compelling to modern North American audiences, and finds the reasons partly in the prem bhakti marg of the title, the path of romance and worship.]

I.

Two poets linked across centuries by the act of translation develop a perilous intimacy. I want to speak a word...

(The entire section is 4368 words.)

Krishna P. Bahadur (essay date 1998)

(Poetry Criticism)

SOURCE: Bahadur, Krishna P. “What Mira Wrote About.” In Mīrā Bāī and Her Padas, pp. 25-9. New Delhi, India: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1998.

[In the following essay, Bahadur provides an overview of the descriptive language and themes of Mirabai's padas and suggests that they are strongly rooted in an oral tradition.]

More than four hundred years ago, God sent on earth a puppet of his love. She came immersed in the love of God, held fast in his embrace and merged with his form, uniting her heart with the jingle of ankle-bell, pouring out her soul in the notes of his flute, held spellbound by his yellow garment of silk and his soft...

(The entire section is 1888 words.)

Krishna P. Bahadur (essay date 1998)

(Poetry Criticism)

SOURCE: Bahadur, Krishna P. “Mira's Poetical Art.” In Mīrā Bāī and Her Padas, pp. 30-2. New Delhi, India: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1998.

[In the following essay, Bahadur considers Mirabai's padas as lyrical poetry.]

Mīrā's poetry may be termed lyrical verse, which, Earnest Rhys says, ‘is a form of musical utterance in words governed by overmastering emotion and set free by a powerfully concordant rhythm.’1 In fact the lyric was sung to the accompaniment of the lyre. In some recensions Mīrā's songs are classified according to specific tunes (rāgas). This does testify to their musical quality, but it is very doubtful if...

(The entire section is 1178 words.)

Krishna P. Bahadur (essay date 1998)

(Poetry Criticism)

SOURCE: Bahadur, Krishna P. “The Nature of Mira's Love.” In Mīrā Bāī and Her Padas, pp. 33-8. New Delhi, India: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1998.

[In the following essay, Bahadur addresses how Mirabai's padas express her love for Krishna.]

Sensual love and spiritual love are worlds apart. One pampers to the body, the other is balm for the soul. Krishna says, ‘As rivers enter the sea and lose themselves in it, while the sea is ever the same, so too that man achieves peace in whom all desires are extinguished, not he who clings to his desires.’1 The person who has reached the topmost height of spirituality, sees God everywhere. To him...

(The entire section is 2686 words.)