Oct 24 2012

Mirabai – O I saw witchcraft tonight

Published by at 8:40 am under Poetry

O I saw witchcraft tonight
by Mirabai

English version by Robert Bly

O I saw witchcraft tonight
in the region of Braj.
A milking girl going her rounds,
a pot on her head,
came face to face with the Dark One.
My friend, she is babbling,
can no longer say “buttermilk.”
— Come get the Dark One, the Dark One!
A pot full of Shyam! —
In the overgrown lanes
of Vrindavan forest
the Enchanter of Hearts fixed his
eye on this girl,
then departed.
Mira’s lord is hot, lovely
and raven —
tonight she saw witchcraft
at Braj.

— from Mirabai: Ecstatic Poems, Translated by Robert Bly

/ Photo by AMagill /

The “Dark One” referred to in Mirabai’s poetry is Krishna, whose name can be loosely translated as the dark one.

In this poem, milk is the ambrosial drink, the sweet subtle liquid-like substance often perceived during states of sacred ecstasy.

Mirabai herself is the “milking girl going her rounds.” She is the mystic gathering the blissful substance of divine union, traveling town to town as a mendicant ascetic, with her awareness making the pilgrimage through the psycho-spiritual centers of the spiritual body (Vrindavan forest, where the Enchanter of Hearts is found).

The milk pot is “on her head” — a reference to the skull as the bowl that catches the fountain of the rising Kundalini Shakti and the descending heavenly liquid.

When the ecstasy of spiritual union is strong, it is sometimes associated with an outpouring of words — one more reason so many mystics become “babbling” poets.

Her skull, the “pot,” is full of Shyam — Krishna, God — and from this overflowing cup of divine milk, she is eager to share with all.

— Come get Krishna, the Dark One! A head full of God and a heart touched by the Enchanter! —

Mirabai, Mirabai poetry, Yoga / Hindu poetry Mirabai

India (1498 – 1565?) Timeline
Yoga / Hindu : Vaishnava (Krishna/Rama)

Mirabai is one of India’s most beloved poet-saints. Her devotional poetry — directed toward Giridhara, a form of the great God-man Krishna — is so intensely personal that it borders on the erotic while, at the same time, it remains transcendentally spiritual.

Mirabai was born into a noble Rajput family in Northern India. She was married to the crown prince of Mewar, but she made it clear that her love was for Giridhara alone.

Many of the tales of Mirabai’s life focus on her struggles with her husband’s royal family. They apparently did not approve of her constant devotion to God to the neglect of her husband and family. And her preference for the company of wandering holy men was not considered proper for a princess. These conflicts grew to such a point that it is said they attempted to kill her, once with a deadly snake, another time by poison, but she was miraculously saved both times.

When her husband died, Mirabai refused to throw herself on his funeral pyre and eventually took up the life of a wandering mendicant and poet, immersing herself in her love for God alone.

More poetry by Mirabai

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Mirabai – O I saw witchcraft tonight”

  1. Djanion 24 Oct 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Now I know why my cappucinos are so sweet!

  2. chitraon 24 Oct 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Ivan …..
    Lord Sree Krishna is all one needs for eternal bliss..
    Its a bliss you can feel instantly chanting Hare Krishna Hare Rama..
    Saint Mira is believed to be the re-incarnation of ‘radharani’

  3. Larry Coonradton 25 Oct 2012 at 5:09 am

    Once more it is the beauty and sensual nature of a truly spiritual woman that leads us to the Infinite. I have to say especially after your commentary Eric that I do enjoy her walk with us there.

    Thank You

  4. ambroseon 25 Oct 2012 at 5:38 am

    It is a relatively unknown fact that Mirabai reincarnated for the last time in the 19th century, became God-Realized and was one of the Five Perfect Masters of the Avataric Age. She was known as Hazrat Babajan of Pune. It was she who was in place and gave Merwan S. Irani, a college student at the Deccan College in Pune,a forehead kiss that sent Him into the superconscious state whereupon he eventually came into contact with the other four, Narayan Maharaj of Kedgoan, Tajuddin Baba of Nagpur, Sai Baba of Sherdi, the Qutub of the Age and the one who called Merwan ‘Parvardigar(Prerserver) and finally the Emperor, Upasni Maharaj of Sakori, who brought him back to gross consciousness by flinging a stone at Him and striking Him squarely on he forehead. He spent seven years with Upasni, who at the end turned over all the keys to the 7000 members of the spiritual hierarchy and declared Merwan “AVATAR” the 7001 head of the universe of illusion. Merwan’s disciples, including all of Upasni’s, eventually named Him Meher Baba(Compassionate Father). The rest is history. Mirabai-Babajan dropped her body at the age of 123. Her shrine is there today in Pune.

  5. Pegon 25 Oct 2012 at 6:40 am

    I think this is a beautiful poem. I do think that there is a reference to what some call sex with eros. I experienced this many times where orgasim is reached without partner or stimulation from this 3D world. For me at least, this seems to come out of the blue but I have not purposely tracked the experience. My guess is that this happens in the autumn more frequently because the energies shift from the solar plexus to the pelvic floor. For the planet this coresponds with hurricane season.

  6. javed ahmedon 25 Oct 2012 at 10:42 am

    very much impressed by mira bai but kindly do translate in urdu

  7. Djanion 26 Oct 2012 at 11:15 am

    Steel my cappucino is ecstatic..

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