Culture and People

Meera and Kabir: Stories behind the Names of our Kids…

Meera and Kabir

Stories behind the Names of our Kids…

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The light of our life, the height of immense happiness & reasons for smiles all around our home, this is Kabir (now 5 1/2 year old)  &  Meera  (3 1/2 year),  our bundle of joy. This month these guys are start their educational journey as they start formal schooling, this Blog Post is their pictorial journey so far

October 16th, 2006: The first time I saw Kabir…

May 2007: 6 month+ Kabir, already the funny guy

    

October 2007: Kabir’s first Birthday

   

January 2008: Kabir’s first trip – Taj Mahal, Agra

   

October 7th, 2008: Finally, Meera arrives to complete our family

 

 

May 2009: Sibling Bonding

   

October 2009: Meera’s first & Kabir’s third Birthday

   

August 2010: Then they start growing so fast…

   

October 2010: Birthday Time: Meera turns 2 and Kabir 4

   

April 2011: Trip to Naukuchiatal, North Indian mountain lake resort

   

October 2011: Kabir is 5 and Meera cross 3

  

Why Meera & Kabir?

Both me and my wife, wished for a daughter so that we can name her Meera. But when the god surprised us with a son the first time around, we were ready with the name for him as well and called him Kabir.

Both Kabir & Meera are the names of poets from the 15th & 16th century India. They both were good human beings, with heart filled with love for one and all. They continue to guide the consciousness of Indian for the last 5 centuries. All we want is that our kids is that they should become good human beings, have love in their heart and a song on their lips all the time.

The name Kabir comes from Arabic word al-Kabīr which means ‘The Great’ – its one of the names of Allah (the god in Islam), 37th name of God in Koran to be exact.

Kabīr (1440–1518)also called Kabir Das, Sant Kabir or Kabīra (Hindi: कबीर, Punjabi: ਕਬੀਰ, Urdu: کبير‎) was a mystic poet & saint from India (North India), whose writings have greatly influenced the Bhakti movement.

Kabir is not easily categorized as a Sufi or a Yogi — he is all of these. He is revered by Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs. Apart from that he is also having an important influence on Sikhism, His writings include Bijak, Sakhi Granth, Kabir Granthawali and Anurag Sagar.

Meera मीरा, Origin: Sanskrit, Means “sea, ocean” in Sanskrit. This was the name of a 16th-century Indian princess who devoted her life to the God.Meera, also known as Meerabai (1498-1547) was a female Hindu mystical poet whose compositions are popular throughout India. Meera or Meira  in western world also comes from mirus, a Latin name meaning “Wonderful.

Who is Kabir? http://www.cs.colostate.edu/~malaiya/kabir.html

Sant Kabir holds a very special place even in today’s India, he is one of the several saints that have blessed our country. A well-known mystic poet, deserves a major credit for bringing about the revolution call Bhakti movement. Kabir’s teaching were in very simple and easy to understand language for the masses, he also practiced what he preached. As Kabirdas, he was referred to as the servant of humanity & thus a servant of divinity.

There are plenty of legends associated with the birth and death of Kabir (1440 -1518). But the generally held belief is that he was born to a Brahmin widow, who left him near a water pond as a new-born. From there he was picked up the a child-less Muslim couple whose primary occupation was weaving. So Kabir grew up to be a weaver. As per the life history of Saint Kabir, he was born in 1398 AD. It is said that he was found floating on a lotus leaf in a tank in Benaras by a Muslim weaver. The weaver took the vulnerable child under his care and following the traditional manner, gave him the name of ‘Kabir’, meaning ‘the great one’. Even at a young age, Kabir displayed enormous spiritual talent.

Kabir always wanted to become a disciple of Ramanand. However, since he was a Muslim, it was next to impossible for him to get initiation from a Hindu. So, he took recourse to a trick. Ramanand daily went to the bathing ghat for his pre-dawn ritual ablutions. Kabir lay on the steps of the ghat in such a way that Ramanand stepped on him. Shocked at this incident, he chanted ‘Rama! Rama!’. Kabir said that since he had received teachings from him, in the form of the words ‘Rama! Rama!’, he was Ramanand’s disciple. Impressed with the intelligence of Kabir, Ramanand took him as his disciple. 

Kabir’s role of a teacher & social reformer can be understood by his writings, which mainly consisted of the two line verses called Dohas. He kept his beliefs strongly  upon his learning of Hindu philosophical & religious texts of Vedanta, Vaishnavism and Nath sampradaya as well as learning from Islam, more specifically the Sufism part of Islam. He applied the knowledge that he gained through the various experiences of his life. He was always in the pursuit of truth and nothing could hold him back.

It is said that, when he headed his way for heaven, tussle took place between the Hindus and Muslims over the issue of performance of the last rites. Eventually, in the memory of the great Kabir, his tomb as well as a Samadhi Mandir, both were constructed, which are still standing next to each other. According to another legend, in a short span of time before his death, Kabir took a holy bath in the two rivers, namely Ganga and Karmnasha, so as to wash away his sins as well as the good deeds.

Kabir Philosophy : Kabir’s poetry is a reflection of his philosophy about life. His writings were mainly based on the concept of reincarnation and karma. Kabir’s philosophy about life was very clear-cut. He believed in living life in a very simplistic manner. He had a strong faith in the concept of oneness of God. His basic idea was to spread the message that whether you chant the name of Hindu God or Muslim God, the fact is that there is only one God who is the creator of this beautiful world

Guru Kabir ke Dohe : The hallmark of Kabir’s works consists of his two line couplets, known as the ‘Kabir ke Dohe’. The Dohas reflect the deep philosophical thinking of the poet saint.

Meera & story of her lifelong love for Krishna http://www.sankeertanam.com/meera.html

Meera Bai was one of the foremost exponents of the Divine Love (Prema Bhakti) & become a poet inspired by her love for Hindu God Krishna. She is also regarded as an incarnation of Radha. She sang in local dialect of Hindustani, Brajbasha  (the dialect spoken by people in and around Mathura/Vrandavan area of Northern India) and sometimes it was mixed with words from Rajasthani (another dialect spoken in the state of Rajasthan, India). She sang in love of Krishna (Giridhar Gopal), her lord for whom she developed in her heart the most intense love and devotion.

Meera occupies a sacred place in the history of Indian thought & culture for her deep and passionate religious devotion, as also for her poetry in which her genius was well revealed. Her odes & hymns are so beautiful, rich, sweet & inspiring, not because of any high rhetoric or dexterity of language, but because they are characterized by simplicity & tenderness, of feeling as genuine outpourings of a heart completely in love with the someone, in her case Hindu God Krishna, whom she called Giridhar Gopal (one of the many names of Krishna).

Much legend has gathered around the name of Meera, and there is a good deal of controversy surrounding her life & time when she lived. Most reliable account of her life says Meera was Born in Kurkhi in 1499 A.D., she was the daughter of Rana Ratan Singh of Merta (a place between Ajmer and Jodhpur in the state of Rajasthan, India). Merta was a small state in Marwar, ruled by the Rathors, great devotees of Vishnu.  Meera was raised & nurtured by her grandfather Rao Duda in the fortress city of Merta. As customary with royal families, her education included knowledge of scriptures, music, archery, fencing, horseback riding and driving chariots – she was also trained to wield weapons in case of a war.  However, Meera also grew up amidst an atmosphere of total Krishna consciousness, which was responsible in molding her life in the path of total devotion towards Krishna.  It is said that at the age of five, she was given a statue of Lord Krishna by a saint passing through the kingdom.  Historians claim that this Sant was Raidas (Ravidas, a devotee of Sant Kabir), who initiated Meera into the practice of Shabd or Nada Yoga. Meera developed an instant loving attachment to the idol and began spending most of her time in bathing, dressing and worshipping the image as though it were real.  She danced about the image in ecstasy. She sang beautiful songs in front of the image. She talked to the idol. She slept with the image. She was always present in all divine discourses in the palace, more of which were on #Srimadbhaagwad, #Bhagawad #Gita &  Krishna Leela.

At an very early age, she manifested her deep devotion to Krishna.  Meera watched a marriage procession in front of her residence.  She spotted the well-dressed bridegroom &  asked her mother innocently, “Dear mother, who will be my bridegroom?” Meera’s mother smiled, and half in jest and half in earnest, pointed towards the statue of Krishna and said, “My dear Meera, Krishna – this beautiful fellow – is going to be your bridegroom”.  Soon afterwards, Meera’s mother passed on.  As Meera grew up, her desire to be with her Krishna grew intensely and she believed that Krishna would come to marry her if he could accept a cowherdess Radha as his dear consort. In due course, she became firmly convinced that Krishna was to be her husband.  The benign influence of Rao Duda’s wisdom, the pain of losing her parents at a tender age and her certainty that she was Krishna’s chosen beloved, gave a unique strength and resolve to Meera’s personality.  Meera was soft-spoken, mild-mannered, gifted, sweet, and sang with a melodious voice.  She was reputed to be one of the most extraordinary beauties of her time with fame spreading to several kingdoms and provinces.  Her fame spread far and wide.  Rana Sangram Singh, commonly known as Rana Sanga, the powerful King of Mewar, approached Rao Duda for Meera’s hand in marriage to his son Bhojraj (also known as Rana Kumbha).  Bhojraj wanted to marry Meera for her pious nature and divine intent.  Rao Duda agreed to the union.  However, Meera could not bear the thought of marrying a human being when her heart was filled with thoughts of every nature, all about her Krishna.  But unable to go against her beloved grandfather’s Rao Duda’s word, she finally consented to the marriage. It is also said that Krishna intervened timely in her dream to advise her, “if the gopikas could do their duty to their husbands, tend their families and above all be totally devoted to me all the time, you can do the same thing. Do your duty. I shall not leave you any time”.   Meera was wed to Rana Kumbha in 1513. As ordained, Meera was dutiful. She left for Mewar with the Rana Kumbha.  She obeyed her husband’s commands. Scholars maintain that Kumbha was a great devotee of the Krishna himself, and wrote the treatise known as ‘Rasipriya’ and a grammatical work ‘SangIta rajam’ on the immortal work of Jayadeva, Gita Govindam.  He had sought Meera’s hand out of admiration for her devotion and love to Krishna, which he felt he shared.  After her household duties were over, Meera would go to the temple of Lord Krishna, worship, sing and dance before the image daily. The little image would get up, embrace Meera, play on the flute and talk to her. Kumbha’s mother and other ladies of the palace did not like the ways of Meera, as they were jealous. Meera’s mother-in-law forced her to worship Durga and admonished her often. But Meera maintained, “I have already given up my life to my beloved Lord Krishna”. Meera’s sister-in-law Udabai formed a conspiracy and began to defame the innocent Meera. She informed Kumbha that Meera was in secret love with some one, that she witnessed Meera talking to her lover in the temple, and that she would show him the persons if he would accompany her one night. The ladies further raved that Meera, by her conduct, had brought a great slur on the reputation of the Rana family of Chitore. The enraged Kumbha ran with sword in hand towards Meera, but as luck would have it Meera had gone to her Krishna temple. A sober relative of the Rana counseled him, “Rana! You will forever repent for your hasty behavior and consequences. Inquire into the allegation carefully and you will find the truth. Meera is a great devotee of the Lord.  Remember why you sought her hand. Out of sheer jealousy the ladies might have concocted scandals against Meera to incite you and ruin her”. Kumbha calmed down and accompanied his sister who persistently took him to the temple at dead of night. Rana Kumbha broke open the door, rushed inside and found Meera alone in her ecstatic mood talking and singing to the idol. The Rana shouted at Meera, “Meera, show me your lover with whom you are talking now”. Meera replied, “There sits He—my Krishna – who has stolen my heart”. She went into a trance. The ladies floated other rumors that Meera was mixing very freely with Sadhus.  Meera was unaffected by such scandals and continued to invite them to join her in Krishna bhajan at the temple. She stood unruffled in the face of accusations from the royal family.   When questioned about her marital responsibilities, Meera responded that it was Krishna to whom she was married.  Kumbha was heart-broken but remained a good husband and sympathizer of Meera until his death.

One historical version of Meera’s life states that the Kumbha died in a battle within ten years of their marriage, as did her sympathetic father-in-law Rana Sangha (who named Meera his successor before dying).  At this juncture, the Rana’s relatives began persecuting Meera in various ways, even though Meera had no desire for the throne.  The tortures and torments came from the brother and successor of Kumbha (Meera’s late husband) and his cousin sister Udabai.   It was no different from what Prahlada was subjected to by his father Hiranyakashipu. Here, Krishna always stood by Meera. Meera was sent a basket with a deadly poisonous snake (cobra) inside and a message that the basket contained a garland of flowers. Meera, after meditation, opened the basket and found inside a lovely idol of Sri Krishna with a garland of flowers. The relentless Rana (her brother-in-law) sent her a cup of poison with the message that it was nectar. Meera offered it to her Lord Krishna and took it as His Prasad. It was real nectar to her. The bed of nails that the Rana sent transformed into a bed of roses when Meera reposed on it.

When the torture and scandals continued, Meera sent a letter to Goswami Tulsidas and asked for his advice. She wrote, “Simply because I am constantly tortured by my relatives, I cannot abandon my Krishna. I am unable to carry on with my devotional practices in the palace. I have made Giridhar Gopala my friend from my very childhood. I feel a total bondage with him. I cannot break that bond”.

Meera met up once again with her Guru and mentor Raidas.  She went into the slums often to be in the satsang of this great teacher.  This was the impetus and inspiration behind the many queries and controversies that she raised about caste structure of that time in her songs.

The other version about what happened to Kumbha (Meera’s husband and King) is one where the Rana outlives Meera.  In this version, the confused Rana turned a deaf ear through Meera’s trials and tribulations at the hands of his conniving relatives; however, he became heart-broken upon Meera’s departure from Mewar.  The turning point in Meera’s life (which precipitated her departure from Mewar and hence her earthly bonds) occurred when once Akbar and his court musician Tansen came in disguise to Chitore to hear Meera’s devotional and inspiring songs. Both entered the temple and listened to Meera’s soul-stirring songs to their heart’s content. Akbar was really moved. Before he departed, he touched the holy feet of Meera and placed a necklace of priceless gems in front of the idol as a present. Somehow the news reached the Kumbha that Akbar had entered the sacred temple in disguise, touched the feet of Meera and even presented a necklace. The Rana became furious. He told Meera, “Drown yourself in the river and never show your face to the world in future. You have brought great disgrace on my family”.

Meera obeyed the words of her husband and King. She proceeded to the river to drown herself. The names of the Lord “Govinda, Giridhari, Gopala were always on her lips. She sang and danced in ecstasy on her way to the river. When she raised her feet from the ground, a hand from behind grasped her and embraced her. She turned behind and saw her beloved Giridhar, Krishna. She fainted on Him. After a few minutes she opened her eyes. Krishna smiled and gently whispered: “My dear Meera, your life with your mortal relatives is over now. You are absolutely free. Be cheerful. You are and have always been mine. Proceed immediately to Braj and the avenues of Vrindavan. Seek Me there, my dear. Start now”.

Meera walked barefoot on the hot sandy beds of Rajasthan. On her way, many ladies, children and devotees received her with great hospitality. She reached Vrindavan. It was at vrindavan that she again met and was inspired by Sant Raidas.  She went about Vrindavan & worshipped in the Govinda Mandir which has since become famous and is now a great place of pilgrimage for devotees from all over the world. Her devotees of Chitore came to Vrindavan to see Meera. A repentant Kumbha came to Vrindavan to see Meera in the disguise of a mendicant, revealed himself and prayed that he may be forgiven for all his previous wrongs and cruel deeds. He begged that Meera return to the kingdom and was assume her role as the queen once more. Meera at once prostrated before her husband, and gently added, “What is caste or lineage, heritage or inheritance?  What is the meaning of the division amongst devotees as Kshatriyas and Brahmanas and shudras and the like? Who is man and who is woman? Krishna is the only Purusha and all of us are women. I am no more Queen than you are King.  There is only one King and my life belongs to him.”  Kumbha reminisced for a moment of the days when he wrote the treatises on Gita Govindam and how he had desired the hand of the finest lady of his times for spiritual reasons. His eyes welled up when he was forcibly taken to his dark days of jealousy, rancor and the torture he inflicted on the great soul of divine import. Kumbha, for the first time, truly understood Meera’s exalted state of mind and prostrated before her in reverence.  He then promptly left Vrindavan a changed soul.

Jiva Gosain was the head of the Vaishnavites in Vrindavan.  Meera wanted to have Darshan of Jiva Gosain. He declined to see her. He sent word to Meera that he would not allow any woman in his presence. Meera retorted: “Everybody in Vrindavan is a woman. Only Giridhar Gopala is the Man. Today only I have come to know that there is another Man besides Krishna in Vrindavan”. Jiva Gosain was put to shame. He felt that Meera was indeed a  supreme devotee of the Krishna. He at once went to see Meera and paid her due respects. Meera’s fame spread far and wide.  She was immersed in satsang day in and out.  At the request of Kumbha, Meera returned to Mewar and Kumbha agreed to her request that she would reside in the temple of Krishna but would not restrict her movements and wanderings. From Mewar, she once again returned to Vrindavan, and then went on to Dwaraka. The King went with her.   Dwaraka was to be the place where her Gopala would take her unto Him at the temple of Ranchod.

There are, once again, two versions to Meera’s union with her Supreme Lord.  In one version, the following took place on Krishna’s JanmAshtami at the temple of Ranchchorji (Krishna).  There was much happiness all around in the abode of the Lord. The light of the lamps, the sound of the bhajans and the energy from the devotees’ ecstacy were filling the air. With Tamburi in one hand and cymbals or chipla in the other the great tapasvini was singing ecstatically with her Gopala smiling in front of her closed eyes. Meera stood up and danced with her song ‘Mere Janam Maran ke sathee’, and when the song ended, Kumbha gently approached her and requested her to come back. Meera said, ‘Ranaji, the body is yours and you are a great devotee, but my mind, emotions and the soul are all HIS. I do not know what use am I to you at this state of mind’. Kumbha was moved and he started singing with her in unison. Meera rose up abruptly, stumbled and fell at the flowers on the feet of GiridhAri. ‘Oh, Giridhari, are you calling me, I am coming’. When Kumbha and the rest were watching in awe, there was a lightning which enveloped Meera and the sanctum doors closed on their own. When the doors opened again, Meera’s saree was enveloping Lord Krishna’s idol and her voice and the flute accompaniment were the only sounds that could be heard.

In the second version, Meera was invited back to Mewar by the Rana just as she had reached Dwaraka.  Reluctant to leave her Krishna, Meera asked permission to spend the night at the temple of Ranchhorji. The next morning her lifeless body was found lying at its feet.  It is believed that her spirit entered the deity during the night.

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3 thoughts on “Meera and Kabir: Stories behind the Names of our Kids…

  1. Meera bai Guru was Raidas,he gave 1st mantra only .Ravidas Guru was Kabir das which is self THE SUPREME GOD and play a roll of saint ,was Guru of Ravidas. GOD KABIR GAVE NEXT MANTRA TO MEERA BAI ,WHEN SHE FOUND PURNA MOKSH.
    KABIR IS SUPREME God ,to know visit..www.jagatgururampalji.org

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