"Ektara Baul Foundation" AND the "Nabani Brijabala BAUL" ASHRAM & Vedic Academy
International Baul Ashram, For the Bauls of Bengal, including research, preservation, education, translation, support, food, medicine, health care, support for struggling Baul performers.
Traditional authentic spiritual Bhakti Yoga, including, Indian music, Indian Philosophy, Kirtan from an authentic India Kirtan lineage.
(Preserving a traditional authentic Living Lineage of India)
Nabani Brijabala Baul Ashram
Bauls do not have temples, they had ashrams, not too long ago there used to be 22 now there are only 2, our goal is to preserve this dying tradition, and create a Baul ashram in Bengal for all Bauls, new Baul singers, lineage Bauls, Sufi Bauls ect .. so that they have a place, so that they at least can preserve this tradition. Most new Baul singers are singing regular Folk Songs, there needs to be a place to educate them correctly on Bauls songs, Baul Sadhana a place for philosophical discourse... Bauls are sadhaka's, sadhika's, and are poets, philosophers, they speak sanskrit, they are peacekeepers, and spiritual guru's, teachers.
The Bauls also need a place to perform, to survive in this world.. they need education, medical care, and food. They need hope, there is too much poverty, they need a solid ground to stand on in this changing world. This was Babu's dream years ago. but due to difficult family karmas he was not able to complete this.. now is the time... for a Baul ashram in Santinekatan, and one outside of India...This is our Cause, so that the Bauls are given a chance at an authentic education, and survival.
One thing I would like to add, is Babu would rather not do any of this, he is guarded about his spirituality, sort of letting the cat out of the bag, for many reasons, it is a double edged sword, he holds his secrets close to his soul. There is a saying that I learned in Tai Chi, and I observed from my Sifu, he never gave anything outright, he made you do research, encouraged deep inquiry, encouraged us to develop the inner master, "Never give pearls to swine." I see this with Yoga, all the changes, commercialization of Yoga, money, money, everybody is an authority.
A mystic never talks. On one hand Babu wants to preserve his ancient oral living tradition, and on the other hand he does not like being used, he does not like the distortions mad by new Baul singers who make it so trivial, or by scholars, who are making it up as they go.
Most of the Bauls traveling in the name of Baul are not actually Bauls, I have heard the term shilpis, shilipis are singers who are making up lineages based upon so called Baul Guru's who are not even Baul, they dress like Bauls, or should I say they dress like Purna Das Baul, they even out number the Bauls today, the real Bauls are poor, and in a desperate situation. People are talking to the Shilipis and thinking they are Bauls when they are not, these Shilipis have convinced people they are Bauls, that the western concept of Tanrtric Sex and smoking ganja is Baul... Sex today sells, this is a good way to make money, and a huge distortion on the real deeper meaning of what it is to be Baul, the Sadhana, practice, Guru lineage, seva the real message Baul..
There are many people who love the Bauls freedom who take it the wrong way, and are committing all sorts of bad behavior in the name of Baul, they are drinking, smoking ganja, they are treating women badly, all in the name of freedom, and Baul. This is not Baul. Yes a Baul may smoke ganja, but only a Avadhuta for spiritual purposes.. they are advanced yogi's not regular people. The difference is they smoke ganja, the ganja does not smoke them, and only an advanced yogi who lives away from regular people preforms this ritual.
Women have always been treated with respect. Today people come to the Baul Mela's thinking there is a freedom, but a real Bauls freedom is inside.. not outside... the real lover is inside.. the tantra is on a energetic level.. a soul level. The Baul women need respect.
Everything has been so distorted in the name of Freedom...people from all over the world with huge misunderstanding of who, and what these indigenous beings are..they are constantly used, scholars, filmakers, journalists, but does anybody give anything back to the Bauls.
Some of these indigenous Bauls have not been able to handle all of the attention, and this has also led them astray... the 60's created a great influx of different ideas, and values for the Bauls, they were exposed to the 60's and were sought out by the freedom seeking foreigners, this has not helped the Bauls but has created a certain amount of damage in their actual way of this.... They after all are humans, and this has happened with indigenous cultures all over the world.
Our goal is to educate all Bauls on what is Baul, and what is not.. To be as accurate as possible... and provide a ground, a place for the indigenous Bauls, and all Bauls of the Heart, to survive in this changing world. They need medical care, food, shelter, education the basics first... then like any indigenous culture they need to preserve their songs, their poetry, their yoga, their way of life... and to do this properly, they need the basics first.
Babu is an indigenous Baul, yes he is also experienced in the world, and the first educated Baul, and feels the weight of the responsibility to come forward in a big way and preserve his tradition, he has been given so much, and to those who have been given much, he feel the responsibility to give back, and create this ashram as it was supposed to have created years ago, he must complete what he started on 20 years ago, but again due to difficult family karmas, his dreams were destroyed many times.
Babu comes from a Baul lineage, a Baul family that has been Baul for thousands of years. Only his relatives come from this lineage, there are a very few who are initiated into this lineage, mostly because Bauls like true Yogi's do not share the secrets easily. A Baul may have told many westerners you are Baul, and they go, and form a group called Western Bauls, a Baul will always tell you ... yes you are Baul.. they do not care. However, to be a true Baul is so different, you must be with a Guru for years and years, you will have learned the songs, you should know sanskrit because the oral tradition is transmitted in sanskrit.. You must be a poet, philosopher, musician... a sadhaka, sadhika..
Baul is not a tourist attraction, it is not something you learn a few songs, perform at festivals, dress the part and you are a Baul... it is more than that.. it is deep, it is not easy, it is being in the world and not of the world.
However, I must qualify myself, and the "Ektara Baul Foundation," I am pushing Babu to reveal, and speak out about his lineage, about who he is, about his life..I want Babu to realize his dream of preserving his lineage, the only lineage of Baul, if it is not his lineage, ther is no lineage Baul, because no other group of Bauls has a lineage..
Even though he has written books in the past, and tried to preserve his tradition traveling for 40 years, he has not been successful, all one can say is I guess God/dess wanted him to experience more, like losing everything, and being in Indonesia at the time of the tsunami in 2004.
I in no way want anybody to think, this is easy, that this is something Babu even really wants to do again, he would be quite happy to just be Baul by himself, and forget the past.. It is I who am pushing him... As a westerner I am realizing there is much we just do not understand, layer upon layer of what it is to be an indigenous Indian, what it is to be from an oral tradition. I am humbled, and learning.
What he has experienced in his life, is beyond, beyond, and the Saints he has met do not exist on the planet anymore.... I can not imagine, to be near a Saint and have the ground shake as they walk by, the universe respond in such a way that everything moves. To see the miraculous happen all the time, life and death. Babu is an extra-ordinary person, and yet a simple human being, a big huge walking heart with 2 legs sticking out, with a fire that burns.
His experience are his, and I am the one who is pushing him, to reveal more. Believe you me, it is not easy, and when he does reveal something, I have to be ready, or I will not catch it, it comes out, and he will not repeat it, or should I say he is learning to repeat it. It flows like a river turning into a fire, catch it or it is gone, and certainly do not ask again, because if the fire is flowing, and you stop it, it can burn, and yes there is a love there I have never experienced, I am thankful he allowed me to join him in that place so deep.
I have taken this as my cause, preserving the ancient oral living lineage of Baul.. Vaishnava, Tantric, Bhakti, Sufi, Buddha Baul of Bengal... they like to move around, be on their feet, a mystical moving wandering, shaman just cruising by this space at this time....
We have been living in Vancouver for the past almost 2 years, it has been the longest Babu has been in one spot except for when he spent 12 years in the Ramakrishna ashram but then he traveled around the world with his parents on breaks. There is constant movement, and in that movement, a constant sadhana, whatever one is doing, where ever one is in this world. Om shanti...