Mirabai, Mystic Experience, and Sant Ravidas
The inner spiritual experiences of all mystics, whether of the East or the West, are the same. Like Namdev, Kabir, Paltu, Ravidas (Mira’s Sant Satguru later in her life, also spelled Raidas — see NOTE below ++), and other Saints, Mira gives indications of her inner experiences in some of her poems:
0 friend, the firmament within
Resounds with the Divine Melody.
Listen, my soul, to the clanging sound
That reverberates without any cymbals.
On the peak of Sunn* burns a lamp;
Forever it burns without any wick or oil.
Describing the bliss of one of the inner regions Mira says:
In Bhanwar Gupha** revel bumble bees#
in joy around flowers of bliss.
Flowers whose fragrance overwhelms
them with ecstasy.
Within Bhanwar Gupha swing souls
Souls, who on getting the body
of five elements,+
Did light the lamp of divine knowledge
My eyes oblivious of all else now gaze
at the Beloved without blinking.
The stupor caused by endless wanderings
And the Beloved speaks to Mira directly.
— Sant Mirabai,
(Encyclopaedia of Saints of India: Mirabai: Volume 16, Dr SR Bakshi and Dr Sangh Mittra, Criterion Publications, New Delhi)
* Sunn: Void: The Third Level in the soul’s journey into the inner spiritual regions..
** Bhanwar Gupha: Revolving Cave: The Fourth Level within..
# Souls — also “bees” may elude to humming sound (Shabd/Nada Yoga)..
+ The human body.
++ Mirabai and Ravidas: Mira Bai was the daughter of Rana Rattan Singh Rathor of Merta and a great grand-daughter of Rao Jodhaji, the founder of Jodhpur. She was born at village Kudki in the Merta District in or about AD 1498. She was married to Bhoj Raj, the eldest son of Rana Sangram Singh (popularly known as Rana Sanga). But as ill luck would have it, Prince Bhoj Raj died three or four years after the marriage. Mira became widow at a very young age. A series of deaths in the family left her prostrate. She was broken-hearted and took to a life of devotion and ecstatic mysticism. In some of Mira’s padas we find definite clues that she became a disciple of Ravidas.
Many scholars feel that Mira was a believer of Saguna Bhakti and a devotee of Lord Krishna who was an incarnation of Vishnu. Hence, it was not possible for her to become a disciple of Ravidas, who believed in Nirguna Bhakti [devotion to the Formless God]. In this regard it may be said: ‘Though the Saguna Bhakti is generally devoted to the incarnation of Vishnu, yet Saguna Bhaktas do not disagree with Nirguna form of God.’ The second possibility is that Mira had been a devotee of Lord Krishna before coming into contact with Ravidas. The possibility of a meeting between Mira Bai and Ravidas cannot be ruled out. After the death of her father in March 1527, Mira’s devotion and ecstatic mysticism brought her insurmountable misery and suffering. She left her home and started living the life of a recluse and during that period she is said to have visited Kashi and other holy places. It may be that during her visit to Kashi late in 1527 she became a disciple of Ravidas. Ravidas breathed his last in 1584 Bikrmi Sambat (Nov—Dec AD 1527)”.
(Sant Ravidas and His Contemporaries, R Chandra and KL Chanchreek, Shree Publisher and Distributors, New Delhi)