Kundalini Splendor

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mirabai Starr and Synchronicity 

Recently (Monday), I was trying to locate Mirabai Starr's e-mail address to send her a note, but had no luck.  I was wondering how to contact her, when I happened to run across a notice on her website that she would be signing books at the local bookstore on Wednesday, two days hence.  I found this a most welcome synchronicity, and of course
made plans to attend.

Mirabai Starr is one of the most interesting writers, translators, poets of mystical topics that we have among us today.  She has done acclaimed translations of Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Francis of Assisi (among others.)  She also has posted some impressive essays on the religious section of the Huffington Post.

Mirabai grew up in the Lama Foundation, a religious community near Taos founded by Ram Dass several years ago.  Her parents were transplanted New York Jews (secular) who fled the East Coast for the spiritual community of the Lama Foundation.  Thus she comes from a generation that had a kind of "head start" in the spiritual world, since she was exposed at an early age to the thought and writings of many traditions.

Here is what one internet site said about Mirabai, the mystic/saint of ancient times (her princely husband had now died and his family was unkind to her because of her insistent devotion to Lord Krishna):

"Her friends advised her to leave the palace and return to Brindaban. Secretly with some followers she slipped out of the palace and escaped to the holy city of Brindaban. In Brindaban Mirabai was free to worship Giridhara (Krishna) to her heart’s content. She would spend her time in singing bhajans (holy songs) and in ecstatic communion with Krishna. Like a true Bhakti (devotee) she worshipped God wholeheartedly. The riches of the world offered no attraction to Mirabai; her only satisfaction came from her single minded devotion  to Sri Krishna. Her soul was ever yearning for Krishna. She considered herself to be a Gopi (maid devotee) of Vrindaban, mad only with pure love for Krishna."

Her poems are still sung in India to this day.  Here is one:

I am mad with love
And no one understands my plight.
Only the wounded
Understand the agonies of the wounded,
When the fire rages in the heart.
Only the jeweller knows the value of the jewel,
Not the one who lets it go.
In pain I wander from door to door,
But could not find a doctor.
Says Mira: Harken, my Master,
Mira's pain will subside
When Shyam comes as the doctor.

Because this ancient saint/poet is a major inspiration to those who follow the path of mystical love, I included some "Poems for Mirabai" in my volume "A Cloth of Fine Gold."  Here is a sample:

The Besotted Follower

To dance in this field
of radiance,
what will I give?

My good name, long since
taken from me.
My tattered robe,
with mud for its hem--
o, no haven't seen it for days.
Family, friends--all have vanished,
have turned their faces away.

Still, I dance,
moving this way or that,
following the inner currents,
celebrating the hidden bliss,
my lone partner
Karshna and his silver flute,
that music which plays only for those
willing to be shattered
again and again,
ravished by sweetness,
torn by joy.

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