Lives of the Luminaries: Mirabai & Sri Sarada Devi

Integral Yoga Teachings   |   February 20, 2015

MeerabaiMirabai was a woman saint of India who lived from 1498 to 1546. She is not only known and loved throughout her own country, but has gradually become known in the West as well. Her love songs to the Lord led to a revival of bhakti (loving devotion to God) among the Hindus of her day.

She was a princess by birth; but with all her breeding, money, jewels, beautiful clothes, banquets, and the honor accorded her as royalty, she still had no interest in worldly life. Instead, she gave her heart and soul to her beloved Lord, Krishna. Mirabai sang ceaselessly for the Lord. Thus she left behind a wealth of devotional songs that have been sung by Hindus for centuries. These songs express a single, fervent longing from the heart of one who detached herself from the world, and took refuge in the name of her Beloved. Mirabai belonged to God and God alone.

“O, great Lord,

You alone are the crown of my life!

You are the light of my heart–I have none else.

I have searched the whole world, none else but You pleases me!

I was born for devotion’s sake. My Beloved dwells in my heart, so I sing day and night.

I am mad with love. Forget me not, I beseech You–life is nothing without You! ” – Mirabai

Sri Sarada DeviSri Sarada Devi lived in India from December 22, 1853 to July 21, 1920. She was the spiritual partner of the great saint, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, and lovingly cared for his disciples. The devotees called her “the very embodiment of love that never seeks to possess, but is content to simply give.”

The holy mother, Sri Sarada Devi, used to be visited regularly by a very troublesome child who demanded constant attention. Whenever the little girl came into the room, she would run to Mother and hold her fast. The Mother always gave the chills lots of sweets to eat. One day, Holy Mother said to the little girl, “You have been visiting me a long time now. Do you love me?” “Oh yes, I love you very much!” the child said. “I shall be sure of your love for me, if you can love everyone at home, the Mother said. “All right, I will love all of them. I will not be naughty anymore.” replied the child. “That’s very good,” Mother continued. “But how shall I know that you will love all equally?” The child then asked “What should I do to love all equally?” “Do not demand anything of those you love. If you make demands, some will give you more and some less. In that case you will love more those who give you more, and less, those who give you less. Your love will not be the same for all. You will not be able to love impartially.” The little girl promised to love everyone without asking for anything in return. From that day forward, the child lived harmoniously with her family, and brought them great joy. Likewise, the Holy Mother, with her own loving ways, transformed the lives of the disciples. It was said of her, “By Mother’s grace, even desperadoes became devotees of the Lord!”

“The patient earth always puts up with people’s
transgressions. We should behave likewise.” –
Sri Sarada Devi

(from Lives of Luminaries, which is available through Integral Yoga Distribution. IYTA members receive a 43% discount.)

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