Mirabai's divine poetic: a feminist reading

Emily Heiss

Document Type Dissertation/Thesis


Despite the beauty I have found manifested in religion, I have also encountered the negative effects of its institutionalization. With the imposition of codes, doctrines, and authorial power, the possession of the self fades. The value and expression of individual life becomes lost. Women, in particular, have been excluded from actively forging and partaking in the beatific aspects of being. As I have sought for feminine voices, I have found them absent, negated, or dismissed by patriarchal perspectives. Centuries of scholarship, theology and history have passed over the significance of the feminine identity. We see the same phenomenon rampant in our twentieth century secular culture. However, despite our oppression, women have sought and continue to ponder, affirm and pursue their sublime presence. In the figures of several female mystics, I find women who have transcended the constraints of patriarchal societies and have engaged in an intimate relationship with the Divine.