Nature has designed every human to be diaphragmatic breathers: observe any newborn sleeping face up, steady rise and fall of the stomach – (and not the chest) punctuates its breathing. Yet in less than the time it takes for an infant to sit up and warble a few words, the entire breathing process is taken over by extreme pressure to the lungs? Yoga taught us proper breathing thousands of years ago, but it is only recently that the medical profession has seen its merit in treating cardiac and asthmatic patients and relaxation exercises for overall mental well being.
This deliberation on breathing is essential in our real understanding after translation of the word Baul (pronounced Baa-ool), for ‘affected by the wind’ it may mean from its Sanskrit some say Persian variant Baa-tul, the underlying tragedy is the terms have often been most rudely conjured as ‘going mad’. The lampoon-isation as if, it were the lifestyle of a bunch of lunatics with some insinuations even implying this, as the aftereffect of all the ‘wind’ consumed in chillums (bongs) full of ganja or marijuana, with the word Batil or ‘wasted’ only a continuation of Baatul? It is only but fair to say that cannabis smoking was never a part of the Baul way of life, although many smoke it, with Lalon Shah cautioning if not condoning his followers of its dangerous after effects.
What then is the ‘wind’ that the Baul believes in, and is ‘affected’ by? One answer could well be ‘stop breathing and find out’!
In the trinity of earth, wind and fire that underlines monotheism today, it is entirely a unique attribute of the Baul how he interprets Adam, the first ‘Man’ for our understanding. Apparently the Maker chose to breathe wind to cool down the fireball he ejected from the Sun (Big Bang theory?) and send hurtling down to the planet we have now inherited. Science confirms that rainfall and precipitations continued for millions of leading to formation of what we call the planet Earth. Yet the advent of first Man whom many will not reject in that it amounts to rejection of ones owns existence is flawed, temporal and at the least unconvincing on one basic premise: we have no clue if the ‘being’ was actually a humanoid?
Ilm-e-Tussawuf (commonly Sufism) connotes Adam as a fusion of two Persian words – Aag (as in fire) and Dum (as in breathing). ‘Thinking life’ on the planet by some calculation of the Maker had to be of the ‘breathing’ variety, to be of some consequence, to appreciate existing and existence and this placed Man in a category far removed from other ‘creatures’.
The Baul believes the Maker breathed life into all of us, and we are only but a continuation of the force of that very first breath, the very first wind, and scientifically ‘first life’ was possibly an air-borne virus, trapped in the fiery dust debris that fell, cooled off and evolved underwater and went on to produce bacteria’s, cells, till they moved over land, and what else have we..... Essentially we have no proof other than our instincts - scientific or otherwise - to confirm any of these speculations.
Be that, life for the Baul is an extension of the ‘first wind’ and what we call SOUL that charges our dynamo and keeps that infinitely complex vehicle called the BODY going. The body is synchronized not to hours, minutes or seconds that we calculate, but the numbers of time we breathe in and breathe out and ironically how many times we may do that in a lifetime is beyond scientific reasoning are ‘serious’ matters the Baul wishes to reason with. Therefore every Man no matter his faith or ‘religion’ receives a Baul farewell or so to speak, when obituaries read ‘he breathed his last’ or poignantly ‘he passed away’.
Science’s quest is unending for it is a study of nature and what we say today in agreement may well be doomed obsolete in the days ahead simply because nature deemed it fit, with newer interpretations, led on by Man’s inquisitive discovery. One therefore ought to stop and wonder if millennium adventures of looking for LIFE in Mars are conditional on finding water, or the right WIND. ‘Life’ is a ‘wind’ and let us not blame the Baul for pointing this out. If they have been ‘affected by the wind’ it is merely because they have pointedly reminded us to our insane and mad rush to live life in subterfuge - in hypocrisy. If this truth overwhelms any of us, let us pause and take a deep breath!