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Inspiration: The Mystic Poets On Love – Part 1…

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“My love for God has so possessed me that no place remains for loving or hating any save Him.” Rabia Basri

Inspiration: The Mystic Poets On Love - Part 1...Mirabai

“I want to put out the fires of Hell, and burn down the rewards of Paradise. They block the way to God. I do not want to worship from fear of punishment or for the promise of reward, but simply for the love of God.” Rabia Basri

I was always the eccentric one back in my school days... From as early as my memory serves me, I have loved and still love esoteric, spiritual texts and reading about the great masters; Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed, and the poems of the mystic poets; Hafiz, Gibran, Rabia, Rumi, LaoTzu, Kabir, Mirabai, Milarepa and more… In this first post in a series on Love, I’ll share a few lines of poetry from a few of my favorites; Rabia, Mirabai and Milarepa. I will add more from others in later posts. I invite you to click on the links and read about the lives and works of these dynamic, ecstatic lovers of God and poetry. You won’t be disappointed.

“Is there not a region of love where the sovereignty is illumined nothing, where ecstasy gets poured into itself and becomes lost…” Rabia

Inspiration: The Mystic Poets On Love - Part 1... Rabia

Reality by Rabia
In love, nothing exists between heart and heart.
Speech is born out of longing,
True description from the real taste.
The one who tastes, knows;
the one who explains, lies.
How can you describe the true form of Something
In whose presence you are blotted out?
And in whose being you still exist?
And who lives as a sign for your journey?

Love by Rabia al Basri
I have loved Thee with two loves –
a selfish love and a love that is worthy of Thee.
As for the love which is selfish,
Therein I occupy myself with Thee,
to the exclusion of all others.
But in the love which is worthy of Thee,
Thou dost raise the veil that I may see Thee.
Yet is the praise not mine in this or that,
But the praise is to Thee in both that and this.

Rabia Basri was a Muslim saint and Sufi mystic who loved God with all her heart. Her powerful poems and prayers remind us of the extent to which we can open our hearts to love God and/or each other with unmitigated abandon.

“I give my heart without fear to the Beloved: As the polish goes into the gold, I have gone into him.” Mirabai

Inspiration: The Mystic Poets On Love - Part 1... Meera Temple in India

Mira the Bee by Mirabai
O my friends
What can you tell me of Love,
Whose pathways are filled with strangeness?
When you offer the Great One your love,
At the first step you body is crushed.
Next be ready to offer your head as his seat.
Be ready to orbit his lamp like a moth
giving in to the light,
To live in the deer as she runs toward
the hunter’s call,
In the partridge that swallows hot coals
for love of the moon,
In the fish that, kept from the sea, happily dies.
Like a bee trapped for life in the closing
of the sweet flower.
Mira has offered herself to her Lord.
She says, the single Lotus will swallow you whole.

Only He Knows…
Only he knows the bitterness of love
Who has deeply felt its pangs.
When you are in trouble
No one comes near you:
When fortune smiles.
All come to share the joy.
Love shows no external wound.
But the pain pervades every pore. Mirabai

Mirabai/Meerabai (c. 1498 – c. 1547 AD) was a prolific poet and mystical singer with over 1,200–1,300 prayerful songs or bhajans attributed to her. She was also a devotee of Lord Krishna. Her words are equally powerful. More below. 😉

“Unless pure love and veneration be innate within one’s heart, What gain is it to build a stupa?”  Milarepa

Inspiration: The Mystic Poets On Love - Part 1... Milarepa

Love is the Fire – Milarepa

To Dharma Bodhi by Milarepa
When the five mothers of five wonderful nerves
Meet the father of five pure energies,
The five sons of pure elements are born
The five purities of true nature come.
In middle nerve of palace beyond,
The victory Buddha with great pleasure
Shouts to the wombs of the four rainbow chakras,
Gives the order of non-grasp non-pressure.
By realizing all forms are the truth,
I have held the mind as my wife’s face,
So none of sentient beings of the world
Are apart from embrace of true race.
This is my companion the Bodhi-heart,
Happy is this consort, never depart.

The Eight Reminders by Milarepa
Castles and crowded cities are the places
Where now you love to stay;
But remember that they will fall to ruins
After you have departed from this earth!

Pride and vain glory are the lure
Which now you love to follow;
But remember, when you are about to die
They offer you no shelter and no refuse!

Kinsmen and relatives are the people now
With whom you love to live;
But remember that you must leave them all behind
When from this world you pass away!

Servant, wealth and children
Are things you love to hold;
But remember, at the time of your death
Your empty hands take nothing with you!

Vigor and health
Are dearest to you now;
But remember, at the moment of your death
Your corpse will be bundled up and borne away!

Now your organs are clear,
Your flesh and blood are strong and vigorous;
But remember, at the moment of your death
They will no longer be at your disposal!

Sweet and delicious foods are things
That now you love to eat;
But remember, at the moment of your death
Your mouth will let the spittle flow!

When of all this I think,
I cannot help but seek the Buddha’s Teachings!
The enjoyments and the pleasures of this world
For me have no attraction…

“If you lose all differentiation between yourselves and others,
fit to serve others you will be.
And when in serving others you will win success,
then shall you meet with me.” – Milarepa

Jetsun Milarepa (c. 1052—c. 1135 CE) was born into a wealthy Tibetan family and when his father died, his uncle and aunt stole the family wealth. Enraged, Milarepa left to study sorcery/magic and used his knowledge to commit atrocious deeds against his uncle’s family and others before he embraced the path of renunciation and dharma. He is considered one of Tibet’s most famous yogis and poets.

What are your thoughts? Have you read any writings/poems by the mystic poets? Which ones comes to mind? Do you have a personal favorite? What led you to their writings? Do share! Thank you. 😉

*Please bear with me as I continue to catch up on your blogs and commenting… Thank you all for your patience! 🙂

Positive Motivation Tip: The Mystic poets and poet saints teach us a lot about surrender, love and life in their writings. They convey their words with such fiery precision, we can’t help but pay attention. Enjoy.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All photos MirabaiRabia, Meera  Temple, Milarepa, via Wikipedia and/or via Flickr Excerpts via

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

39 Comments leave one →
  1. 16/03/2012 5:39 am

    thank you for this gift, i especially love “reality” by Rabia. Blessings xx

  2. 16/03/2012 6:20 am

    In one word, this is just beautiful!

    • 16/03/2012 1:42 pm

      Thank you Alexandra. I’ve always loved the mystic poets and wanted to share their writings. I know some people are uncomfortable with their work for all sorts of reasons. But, I think when we drop our baggage and read the writings, and grasp the universal message they convey, it is a wonderful thing… 🙂

      • 17/03/2012 9:50 am

        We have to have an open mind never forgetting our morals and education, remembering never to judge, for trying to judge is in our nature.

      • 20/03/2012 1:33 pm

        Exactly! That is what the mystics would want us to do too. TY! 🙂

  3. 16/03/2012 6:56 am

    Such lyrical poetry! I love “The Eight Reminders” by Milarepa. I’m off to read more about the author… he sounds like a very interesting person.

    • 16/03/2012 1:43 pm

      Milarepa had an interesting life and his writings reflect that… TY! 🙂

  4. 16/03/2012 8:20 am

    I’m fond of LaoTzu, Jesus, Meister Eckhart, Kahlil Gibran, Hildegard of Bingen, the Bhagavad Gita and Rumi. I am always interested to read more wisdom and beauty. Thank you for introducing me to some new mystical writings by women that are quite beautiful.

    • 16/03/2012 1:44 pm

      I love all of them too and I’m glad you enjoyed the writings of the female mystics. I love their writings too as we don’t see enough of their works shared. TY! 🙂

  5. 16/03/2012 3:43 pm

    This is the first I’m hearing of Rabia Basri and I just love her. Thanks Elizabeth for your wonderful blog.There is so much love out there for everybody to share and live in harmony.

    • 16/03/2012 3:56 pm

      Thank you for your feedback and I’m glad i found your blog too. Enjoyed my visit and subscribed. 😉

      • 16/03/2012 4:01 pm

        Thanks for the follow. I know we would just have a wonderful time.

      • 16/03/2012 4:14 pm

        Amen to that! 🙂

  6. Bree permalink
    16/03/2012 4:10 pm

    I’m glad you included the female mystic poets this time. They are as gifted and as ecstatic as the men. Rabia and Mirabai are fantastic poets.

    • 16/03/2012 4:17 pm

      They sure are…. I remember seeing, at an Ashram, a beautiful painting of Rabia with a lit stick running down a village road, eager to burn down all obstacles in man’s path to God. Very powerful. TY! 🙂

  7. 16/03/2012 6:49 pm

    While I am, as you know, an atheist, I find the words of Rabia Basri to be so very sensible. It seems to me he sums up the situation brilliantly. How many worship their god, through whatever religion, for everlasting life or 18 virgins or whatever it is that particular religion promises as the ultimate reward? Or dreads the thought of the punishments threatened?

    Take those away, how many people, I wonder, would continue to worship?

    Just my thoughts, Elizabeth, I know you feel differently! 🙂

    • 16/03/2012 6:54 pm

      Rabia is one of my favorites and she was fearless! TY! 🙂

      • 16/03/2012 7:11 pm

        She sounds it! I’m not nearly as widely read as you, Elizabeth. You amaze me with your knowledge of such writings.

      • 16/03/2012 7:43 pm

        Honestly, I need to read more… Blogging has consumed me and I’m making changes soon… TY! 🙂

    • 16/03/2012 7:58 pm

      Okay, I just read your comment again… and I understand. What makes for an interesting world is the diversity of views/positions and beliefs. I hear you! 🙂

  8. 16/03/2012 7:35 pm

    I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award 🙂 See the post here & congrats!!

    • 16/03/2012 7:47 pm

      TY! I will stop by your blog to say Thanks again… Appreciated. 😉

  9. 17/03/2012 9:47 am

    I especially loved the Eighr Reminders, Elizabeth! thank you for sharing all of these. These mystics are wonderful!

    • 20/03/2012 1:35 pm

      TY Kate and I love the mystic poets too because they were acutely aware of our humanity and our foibles and strengths. 🙂

  10. 17/03/2012 5:39 pm

    Oh, Elizabeth, you are love! Thanks for sharing these. I wish I loved and lived as fiercely as they.

    • 20/03/2012 1:35 pm

      TY Marcia! I feel the same way… their wisdom is empowering too! 🙂

  11. 17/03/2012 11:58 pm

    Milarepa, Rabia and Mirabai are three new mystics you have put on my path Eliz. Thank you!

    • 20/03/2012 1:36 pm

      I hope you will find time to read their works… they are truly inspiring and full of wisdom. TY! 🙂

  12. 18/03/2012 8:01 am

    It looks like I will be busy reading more about these mystics/poets. Thanks for enhancing my day. Miriam

    • 20/03/2012 1:37 pm

      TY Miriam and good to see you blogging again. If you can, do read up them as they offer great tokens of wisdom. 🙂

  13. 18/03/2012 9:40 am

    We grew up listening to Mira Bhajans! Great post!

    • 20/03/2012 1:39 pm

      Hi Madhu, TY for your comment… I grew to love Mira’s bhajans when I lived in an Ashram and I still love her songs and poems… Same of the many others mentioned here and some I didn’t. They are all inspiring! 🙂

  14. 23/03/2012 10:34 am

    I am so pleased you introduce me more to Rabi today. I have been getting a lot of inspirational tweets quoting Rumi in the past weeks. I am now so pleased to add Rabi to my search keys! I have always been fascinated by the Sufi mystics. Wonderful artwork, very spiritual, you share here, as well.


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