Beloved Radha & Krishna of the Vaishnava Bauls of Bengal they have been worshiping them for thousands of years. The Vaishnava Bauls of Bengal are "The Rasa Lila Mystics" ancestors of Sri Nityananda (Nitai) of Ekkchakra Bengal India. Sri Nityananda was the elder best friend of Sri Chaitanya and one of Chaitanya's Guru's.
Some of the Lineage is as follows, (Nabani Das Baul took Gosai off of their name because he did not want anybody touching his feet, he said, touch your own feet, bow down to the divine within yourself.)
1. Sri Nityananda,
2. his son Birbhadra (Gosai),
3. Advaita Gosai,
4. Khepa Chand Gosai
5. Rasaraj Gosai,
6. Ananto Gosai,
7. Okkur Gosai & Triguna Das,
8. Phuru Dasi,
9. Nabani Das & Brajabala Dasi,
10.Annapurna Dasi, Radharani Dasi, Purna Das, Lakshman Das, Chakrdhar Das.
11. Krishnendu Das Baul who is the eldest of the new generation of Bauls, his Guru is his Grandfather Nabani Das Khyapa Baul and the last Authentic Baul that all Bauls follow, Nabani is a Baul Avadhut. Oral Sanskrit speaking and yes they had manuscripts, they are Gosai aka Gosain, however, Nabani took Gosai off their name, he said touch your own feet!
This whole lineage goes back thousands of years but I started listing it from the beginning of Gaudiya Vaishnavism late 1500's, Purna Das Baul did a lot fo fundraising for Gaudiya Math and they always held this family in high esteem as the lineage coming out of Sri Nityananda of Ekachakra Birbhum Bengal India.
Nitai was a Baul Avadhut, this lineage is the orginal Hare Krishna singers and dancers.
Vaishnava Bauls lived a vegetarian, Sanskrit oral traditional Vaishnava life that was spontaneous and natural. The had one wife, one husband all their life. They did not sleep with other people wives as stated by the 'new age Vaishnavism' and some were even sanayas all their life. The modern orthodox Vaishnavism that has come out of the west and Calcutta have written very nasty things without even having a clue. So many people are using?
(I only qualify this part because there is a huge misconception because of one British born Vaishnava reformer wrote something back in the 1800's and it is still being passed around in certain circles as pure ignorance.)
However, there are new Bauls singers using Baul, teaching wrong teachings and making Baul a dirty word by their behaviour and associations.
The authentic Baul is Extinct, Baul is no more, all we have are fakes, duping people more and more everyday.
Today Bauls are almost extinct and they are like any indigenous group of original people on this planet who are not being supported, who can not survive in this world and today they have to modernize or die, if you are modern why not the Bauls.
The real Bauls are sweet and innocent ecstatic lovers or the love. Radha and krishna live in their hearts as Sita and Ram lives in Hanuman's heart. Bauls love all Devata. A true Vaishnava always has mercy,Respect for all living things and they never irritates others or call others names. They are about Peace, Love and Unity, accepting all.
Baul is simple but it is not a beginners path they have been around for thousands of years, they are not a new movement as is written by some scholars only because they are not from inside the tradition and can only speculate. Most people who write about the Bauls have never had any connection to this lineage or the oral lineage of Vaishnavism in Bengal.
Baul is the path of the Avadhuta beyond all cultures, caste and creed. Bauls believe in both Duality and Non Duality. They are an ocean..
Bauls areTri Devata including Radha/Krishna, Kali?Shiva and Brahma/Saraswati. As Buddhism flowed into Bengal naturally they added the Rasa of Buddhism, and as Sufi entered Bengal they as added the Juice or essence of Sufi.
However, it should always be understood Bauls are based on Indian Philosophy, Santan Dharma. Bauls are also Tantric (techniques of the macro and mircro cosmos.) Again I must qualify because not all Bauls are Tantrics at Tara Pith this is rare for a Baul from this lineage as Nabani Das Baul and Babuksihan are the only ones in this lineage.
A Baul must experience everything, they have different Guru's to learn different things... in Babukishan's case he learned the Oral Tradition of Baul for almost 30 years before he taught... He also was a monk in the Ramakrishna Order for 12 years.. he has 50 years of experience and to this day is really not teaching.. There quest is for the divine and it takes many years experience in the world as the Avadhuta traveling India learning from nature, the Baul now travels the world learning.
Sanskrit-ists they now sing in Bengali because that is the language of the villagers.
It takes at least 12 years if not a life or many life times to really become a Baul. Bauls are Guru's, and Acharya's they are Masters in all Indian Philosophy, Bhakti Yoga, and Tantra and should be able to answer any question if they want. It is a misconception that a women only take a few years. Brajabala spent a lifetime mastering Baul, so did Radharani and all their Baul disciples and they did not even call themselves a Baul Master. Manju Das spent her life too, although not born into a Baul lineage she lived with a Purna Das Baul for 50 years or more and knew Nabani and Brajabala. It isn't so simple to be a Baul.
They do not collect devotee's and are mysterious and illusive. It is not easy to get anything out of a Baul, it takes years of trust first. Perhaps that will change because of the time. Babukishan is the first and only Baul to live in North America.
The Untold stories from the forgotten Oral Tradition. The Vaishnava Bauls have a great Respect and Love for the Feminine Divine and they always Puja's Radha first. They are natural and spontaneous God intoxicated Mystics who say everybody and everything is Divine.
The Ektara their one stringed Indian Folk instrument is their symbol of Peace Love and Unity they call the Ektara "the Gopi Chand." Bauls of Bengal accept all rejected people as Divine.
Originally Sanskrit Speaking people, now almost extinct. They are preserved so there really is no reason for outsiders to be fundraising in the name of Baul. I mean they sing the songs from this lineage, what are they going to preserve?
There is only one lineage, it is this lineage, so then they must be making up stories. Are they going to preserve this lineage, NOT because unless they are initiated into this one and only lineage they have nothing to preserve. Baul is not a tourist attraction or acting it is a living lineage.
In 2005 UNESCO declared, the Bauls of Bengal:
'A Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible History of Humanity'
The only problem with this is that the Bangladeshi who concocted this took all the money and concocted a story line that says, Bauls came from Persia. When will people (outsiders) stop using the Bauls (this Lineage)?