You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : March 1996

Re: Madal Urdal - A different angle

Jaganath.Bharadwaj_at_nrecatao.nreca.org
Date: Wed Mar 27 1996 - 23:15:21 PST

A lot of informative articles have appeared on this subject.  One
person who did a Madal urdal of sorts was Meerabai.  She was married
to the king of Chittaud when still a child.  By the time she came of
age, the king had been killed in battle.  She thus remained a virgin
with the Lord as her only lover till the end.  She was put through
all kinds of harrasment by her in laws and high priest a Durga
worshipper, who felt his power threatened if the rest of the family
were to follow Meera and abandon Kali worship and goat sacrifices.
But even poison would not work.  She was locked inside a temple
courtyard for days.  Those temples were open and snakes crawled at
nights.

She wrote about this harassment to Tulsidas who replied that people
who are not devotees of Sita Rama are not to be considered relatives.
 She then abandoned Chittaud and moved to Vrindavana.  She decorated
herself sometimes as a bride (inspite of being a widow) and sometimes
as an ascetic complete with shaved head and saffron robes.  She sang
once "Laaj, saram, Kul ki maryada sar se door kari" or "I have given
up decency, shyness and family prestige by giving up my "ghoonghat"
or cloth that covered the head and face.  This is an extraordinary
feat in rural Rajasthan today not to speak of the 15th and 16th
centuries.

In another song she sings "There is no comfort or wealth that I have
not given up for You.  There is nothing that I have left.  Yet You
are not appearing before me...]"

Since a Paramahamsa Vaishnava was subjected to all sorts of torture
and thrown out of Chittaud, after she left, there was drought and
other natural disasters.  People eventually realized the reason for
their continued misfortune and the king went to Vrindavan to bring
Meerabai back.  Upon receiving his invitation, Meera said that she
needed Krishna's permission to return.  She went into one of the
temples and there she saw the Lord not in His archa form but in His
Para Roopa and she was taken away from this earth along with her
body.  While this happened the doors of the temple closed and opened
automatically when it was all over.

Jaganath.
PS.  There is a movie made by Hema Malini as well as many books on
this subject.  The movie and many books however take generous
liberties with the truth.  What I have reproduced here is parts of
her life story that are told in her own songs and what I have heard
about her life from a pure devotee of Sriman Narayana.