Janabai : There is nothing empty of the divine

Milan Mohanta Janabai (late 13th c. – 1350 CE) was a poet from Maharashtra whose works are highly revered by Maharathi speaking Hindus. She came from a poor, lower caste family and entered domestic service around the age of seven. The household where she served was devout, and one of the sons of the family was Namdev, who also became a prominent religious poet. Janabai was devoted to the god Vishnu, and in the poem below the name ‘Vitabai’ refers to Krishna, an avatar or incarnation of Vishnu, portrayed as a dark skinned youth.

What I eat is divine
What I drink is divine
My bed is also divine
The divine is here, and it is there
There is nothing empty of divine
Jani says — Vithabai has filled
everything from the inside out

Translation by Rajeshwari V. Pandharipande

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