Friday, April 06, 2007

2. The Baul’s of Bengal

The attempts to render Baul’s to a farce has been unending, specially since the status quo is one that has no temerity to understand or even delve deep into the minds and works of Bengal’s folk philosophers who we have deliberately termed a 'subordinate culture' to overcome and satiate our inadequacies, our lack of basic knowledge, our ingratiating and perverse sin in claiming to be ‘Masters’ of our own destiny; indeed in our overall Superiority complexes.

To understand the Baul therefore, is to understand the state of nothingness associated with his rejection, by which it is not to be construed, as a willing suspension of disbelief, nor a reckless abandonment of responsibility or that of becoming inordinately fatalistic. It is a living quest to go back to the dynamics of where it all began: to our infancy as much as the first moments of creation. It is a quest we cannot undertake without some prodding assistance, albeit to our well charted ‘roots’, if we have one? Clearly, life is a blessed moment of procreation and an extension of the continuous cycle of Mother Nature which rolls on over, when we know all too well, it is also a process that simply cannot be rolled back.

It is in context of looking for meanings to living, versus that of death which is as an instant, if not completely the end of reasoning, and the probabilities of a life devoid of answers to the future and where it ultimately places us, is the harrowing spectre Man is condemned to life in his living. This premise of not knowing where ‘everything’ if ever ends is one that significantly dilates the implication and importance of NOW.

Birth is neither conditional nor a deviation, but an extension of Mother Nature’s continuation. Like every child born, the nucleus entity ‘family’ bears charge for its growth, nurturing and makes imminent strides into life and his/her ultimate acceptance in society, which is indeed the creation of man. That is only part of the man made equation half understood, and one we have no easier option but to live with, there are yet many consequent travails in this journey called ‘life’, which cannot easily be guided by any rationale at all, nor explained, with the most hazardous aspect: its unpredictability.

The Baul philosophy of agnostic monotheism is therefore universal in its application and not something that evolved in predetermined or tortuous isolation. While we explore, understand and appreciate the lifestyle of great minds who have too often moved away from grounded norms of life and living, to one of selflessly rejecting the status quo with great peril to themselves like Fakir Lalon Shah, we are reminded of someone who gave up on the richest of riches, an adoring society, palatial homes and a loving family, who turned recluse, a hermit, not because he was ostracized – but by choice. He was Gautama Buddha and his quest was for ‘Nirvana’.

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