Fakir, Aul, Sai, Dervish, Shah are 'NOT' Baul. The narrative has changed, these blog posts may seem like a rant but they actually are setting the ground for Babu Kishan's new Book which is about releasing his archive and correcting the false narratives that have been created about his tradition.
Baul is not an 'Umbrella name', for a group of people and speculations, those who are now writing this, do not have a clue, they make it up as they go. They talk a great talk, all sweeter than sugar but what is coming out is in-accurate and the westerner or modern Bengali eats it up.
Baul was an oral Sanskrit tradition, the very name is based on two Sanskrit root words, (Vayu and Tula), there is not secret to this, however, over and over you will see Baul mean 'afflicted by the wind', which is NOT what Baul means. Most will say Bauls are illiterate, this is not true either, the people who come to Baul, the people who follow Baul may be illiterate but a Baul is never illiterate. An oral Sanskritist is way beyond any English Scholarly knowledge.
It is important to understand the two root words (Vayu and Tula) and understand are the roots of Baul. In the Bengali language B (Bayu) and in the rest of India V (Vayu) = VayuTula = Vatula in Bengali Batula and over time Baula and now Baul.
The name Baul comes from Sanskrit and their tradition is an 'Oral Sanskrit Tradition' Bauls are 'wind catchers' they call Pranayama. Vayu Dharma means to balance the vital Vayu (airs) to keep a balance (Tula). Afflicted by the wind is a misinterpretation of Baul. In Ayurveda to be afflicted with the wind is an illness created when the body has an over abundance of Vata (the element air) in the body, this is not so for the Bauls and is a misconception and misinterpretation of Baul that is copied and pasted because a scholar said it and now has become the standard for what Baul means, it is wrong.
If one says, Baul means 'afflicted by the wind' they do not understand, they have copied and pasted it from Edward Dimock who was an American early Bengali scholar, in his Book "The Places of the Hidden Moon" he did a great job describing Sahajiya Vaishnavism which by the way is Baul. Then in his chapter on Baul he completely got it wrong and could not figure out who they are, it is laced with confused speculations? Can you understand how the whole trajectory or narrative of a tradition can be changed by even subtle misinterpretations and then copy and paste as if true over and over? How the whole narrative can be changed by an outsider looking in? This is my point!
Baul is NOT Afflicted by the wind, and people use 'Edward Dimock' as the bench mark on what Baul is? He did the best he could at the time but the repeated scholarly copy and paste of this is an insult to the real authentic Baul. To the Bau who has archived his lineage over decades and who is from this lineage, an expert Sanskritist oral and classical at the highest levels.
Most of the PHD's from over the world used to come to Babu Kishan aka Krishnendu Das to learn both Sanskrit, Bengali and yes of course about Baul because his house in Calcutta was a Cultural Hub. Carol Solomon always came to Babu Kishan over decades as a resource to get their work correct she always consulted him about Bengali and they became friends. This story will be told in his book because it is of major significance in the Cultural Appropriation and twisting of Baul History. Babu Kishan met or knew them all and has much to say.
Babu Kishan, asked Lila Roy, (the best ever Bengali translator) and the most (under recorded) American Bengali Translator for Rabindranath Tagore. When Babu asked her if this person or that person was very good at doing Bengali to English translations, she just shrugged her shoulders in none agreement way. However, Lila Roy would never say anything bad about anybody. All scholars pat each other on the back but do they ever talk about Lila Roy, I am pretty sure they all met her!
*Note*, The Vaishnava Bauls were Sanskritists as Babu Kishan was born into. None speak Sanskrit anymore and have twisted the story to suit their narrative. Many are great keeping the story alive and all praise should go to them. It is now necessary to get the narrative straight because Baul is extinct and it seems many are saying anything and changing the narrative.
The Bauls sang their songs in Bengali, just as Tulsi Das composed the Hanuman Chalisa in the vernacular language of the villagers, so did the Bauls because their job was to educate the villagers, they were the Guru's.
Bauls are known as the 'Wind Catchers'. Babu Kishan is the first person to explain this, just saying because now you will see others change their story and attribute it to their fake lineages.
More will be written about this in his new book. Baul = Vayu Dharma = the Wind Catchers, yes the Honey catchers and there is a long explanation because they are the Pied Pipers of Vaishnava (a term I used long ago) the Vaishnava Bauls are "The Rasa Lila Mystics" another term coming from Babu Kishan.
If they are this how can they be Fakir, Aul, Sai, Dervish and Shah those of Muslim Sufi if you want to categorize Baul one could say they are 'Hindu Sufi' Sufi as a term to describe the original people of planet earth the people of music, dance and love, who accepted all.
Bauls are Hindu (Sanatan Dharma) they are from before Muslim and they are from 'Bharata Mata' not Persia, Uzbekistan or Saudia Arabia. They accepted Sufi Muslim into their group but they did not become them.
Bauls are from the soil and soul of Birbhum Bengal India. The people (Bauls who say) that Bauls are from the above places are confused, they are 'riding on the coat tails of this lineage' and at the same destroying the legacy that Babu Kishan and his family created around the world. We know who they are, you copy everything and follow this lineage around the world. Strangely enough the term, 'riding on the coat tails' was coined in Calcutta, this is nothing new.
All Bauls and other follow this lineage of Baul, Baul and this lineage does not follow others, they accept others. Another misconception Baul is Buddhist, no they are not Buddhists are Baul like and Baul includes not just one part of Hinduism as the Buddhist do, they include all parts.
You can say Buddhism came out of Baul not the other way around. Part of Baul is the Maha Vidya, Hindu Tara Ma one of the Shakti Piths (places) of Tara Pith in Bengal came way before Buddhist Tara, this too can be calculated from the ancient scriptures that originate way before Buddhism.
Baul is different it is based on 'Indian Tantric Yoga' Das Baul and Dasi are not and never were Fakir, Sai, Dervish or Shah, this are Muslim and Baul accepts them but they are not the same. I have recently seen a Baul Women giving a talk at Berkley and she is saying there are 4 types of Baul, she is completely wrong. This is the problem, this cause reductionism and the destruction, people posing and teaching who do not even know who Bauls are? Fundraising that they are going to archive Baul when Baul is already archived and has been archived decades ago by Babu Kishan.
In the past many different groups were wandering around Bengal and they were lumped together under 'Baul', they were not Baul, however, the British had a huge disdain for all wandering people, they were treated badly and they all were called Baul, at the time even the British educated Bengalis did not understand, they were too busy trying to please the British and gain some sort of respectful life. Fakir, Sai, Aula, Dervesh and Shah are not Baul but were lumped together with the Baul for terminology sake, however the Bauls are a unique and distinct sect, the oldest lineage being the Vaishnava Bauls who were Sanskrit speaking people, they are Brahmin but rejected Brahmanical rules and regulations.
Baul is educated in the oral tradition and this Oral tradition is Sanskrit not just random Bangladeshi Bengali, there is a big difference from Birbhum Bengali and Bangladeshi Bengali.
BhaktiVinode Thakur (1838 -1914) born Kendranath Datta (not a Baul name) was one of the first people in modern times (1800-1900) to pretend he was a Baul with sarcastic poetry. He hated Bauls and other sects and wrote some English poetry to describe why he was a Baul, he denigrated Bauls and many other sects, he put himself on a pedestal. It is kind of like a Muslim attitude, he can criticize others but if you criticize him, his fanatical followers come out of the word work, I was even threatened for stating my opinion??
Bhaktivinode was a man of his time, he was Vaishnava orthodox reformer a British educated who learned Sanskrit later in his life, many in Iskcon follows him. He did a great job but there are some things that one needs to know, he used strong negative language against other sects including the Bauls, he was a meat eater, more about that later.
Like a virus this is how it spread and any Baul who repeats this is not a Baul, these groups did not deviate, they are from the same Sampradaya but not pedantic, they were not collecting money to build temples, they were not preachers, they were not trying to reform or take over, they were the were different and it has never been explained exactly who they are, or how Bhaktivinode came to this conclusion.
Who is he to say who everybody is, and who are the people that go viral without ever having met anybody from any of these groups? And a real true Vaishnava never condemns anybody? These groups do not have any missionary activities. Parasitical growth upon the tree of Sanskritan - he did not know Sanskirtan came from Baul - Sri Nityananda of Ekachakra and from generations before. Who is the parasite?
Baul Samarat Purna Das Baul - Padma Sri, Many times President Awarded over 8 decades, always was a special guest, recognized by all Gaudiya Vaishnavism in India as a direct lineage of Sri Nityananda of Ekachakra Birbhum Bengal. Nitai was a Baul Avadhuta and of this lineage.
Before him Sri Nabani Das Khyapa Baul his father who was the Baul who inspired Rabindranath Tagore. Before him all Gosai.... all Bauls and the path of the Avadhuta. All will be said, in the new book, including famed Baul Women.
Purna Das Baul like his family before him has fundraised huge sums of money for Gaudiya Vaishnavuan and always was a very special guest. I really think the people who are spreading this dark negative un-Vaishnava behaviour towards the Bauls understand Karma.
"Bhaktivinoda Thakur identifies thirteen apa-sampradayas that split away from the Brahma-Madhva- Gaudiya Sampradaya after Lord Caitanya's disappearance: Aula, Baula, Kartabhaja, Neda, Daravesa, Sani, Sahajiya, Sakhibheki, Smarta, Jata-gosani, Ativadi, Cudadhari and Gauranga-nagari.
Bhaktivinode Thakur wrote, "These apasampradayas (apa means "deviated") are like parasitical growths upon the great tree of the sankirtan movement. Because they exhibit all the defects of material conditioning, they are spiritually useless. Their missionary activities are condemned as cheating." I didn't say or write this and it does not take a rocket scientist to know that a Vaishnava never talked like this?
You can find all sorts of Un- or Apa- Vaishnava language full of hatred, when in actual fact Vaishnava accepted all peoples, they would never talk like this. I will add more logic to this in the book.
I speculate BhaktiVinode Thakur had never met a VAISHNAVA Baul and never met anyone from this one and only lineage of Baul in his life but made huge assumptions another example of what people who represent other sects speculating, writing and how this creates a copy and paste history of personal opinions that change an indigenous culture. This is how they British managed India, they created a new narrative for the India people, one that was not in fact truth.
Bhaktivinde Thakur met someone but he did not meet a Baul. , Gosai is added to Bhaktivinode's list too, this lineage is Gosai, he never liked Gosai is aka Gosain, Goswami. This is parroted and printed all over the internet under apa-sampradaya if only Bhaktivinode had foreseen the future of the branches of what he tried to preserved including the child molesting Western Branch of Vaishnavism from Bengal, who are they to point a finger at anybody, seriously.
When one mentions Baul, the orthodox and Western fundamental Vaishnava come out in hate of Bauls displaying a type of apa-sampradaya that is far from what Vaishnava eve meant, far from what the real Vaishnava who is about and being, 'humbler than a blade of grass'.
For any Baul to parrot there are 4 types of Baul 'Fakir, Aul, Sai, Dervish' this is a huge puzzlement and this Baul now says they are going to archive Baul, how is this possible, when Baul has already been archived decades ago by Babu Kishan???
Same old thing over and over and all inaccurate. Follow your path but do not call it Baul, follow Baul but at least know what you are copy and pasting. It should be noted, this lineage has been recognized by Gaudiya Vaishnavism, forever, and they have done extensive fundraising for Gaudiya Vaishnavism in Bengal and around the world and not one person ever told them they were apt-sampradaya?
A little respect please, this One and Only lineage are the ancestor of Sri Nityananda of Ekachakra. Vaishnava Baul the path of the Avadhuta going back for thousands of years before Sri Nityananda.
It is said, the Pandava's were exiled in 'Ekachakra' in the Mahabharata War , which can be calculated using Jyotish the eyes of the Veda's.
Date of the Mahabharata: