A Baul is a title such as 'Acharya, Guru, or Adept' it is not a Radom title for all, there was a way of life. Baul is a master of Pranayama to balance the vital Vayu (airs) to keep a balance (Tula) of Vayu, the vital Prana in the human body.
For instance Nabani Das Khyapa Baul could meditate under water for 12 hours or more, he could be buried under the earth for 12 hours or more. Perhaps this will help you understand why Baul is extinct, Nabani was the last authentic Baul who carried the Essence of Baul. The Essence of Baul as great Tantric Yogi's or in the case of Baul - Avadhuta- has flown away. It is great that new Baul singers are keeping the name Baul alive but do not be confused of what it means to be a Baul. Singing is important but only a drop in the ocean of Baul. All Baul copy Nabani's style (Ekatara, Baya, Nupoor) they do not have the Essence of Baul.
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 in book after book by mostly scholars, this leads to people who want to follow Baul as being confused? This is how the whole narrative can be changed by an outsider looking in? This is my point and not to be taken lightly!
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 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.
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.
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.
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, murderous 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 was meant, far from what the real Vaishnava who are about and being, 'humbler than a blade of grass'.
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.
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