Friday, April 06, 2007

5. Hawadom: The Gust and Mother of all Winds

Since the Baul’s believe Adam evolved when the Maker breathed into fire, Eve in the folklore and languages of South Asia, (Arabic, Persian, Hindi, Urdu or even Bengalee) is ‘Hawa’ or the WIND, the difference if at all is comprehensible when we translate the term into English as a ‘gust of wind’! It is also worthwhile mentioning that Eve the mother of all mankind is referred to as ‘Ma Hawa’ or the ‘Mother of Winds’ in common cultural parlance, paradigm and usage.

While the Baul interprets Adam as product of the original ‘breath of life’ of the Maker, apparently a secondary and very long ‘gust of wind’– ‘Hawa’ or Eve, possibly caused the planet to cool, condense, precipitate and make ‘bearable’ conditions for an environment where life as we know it today, could emerge, and for procreation to start in earnestness.

It is thus no mystery that wind is the infinite catalyst for all that is considered ‘forceful’ to initiate change, a gift of nature that bestows upon us, the blessed ideas of comfort, peace and Mercy. Procreative conditions, they are bounties for Man, for the Wind carry clouds laden with water, pollinate flowers and so on, as much as it is FREE, because nature is inherently free with no ‘religion’ claiming to be its sole proprietor? Wind has ways to reciprocate Man’s ingratitude by its action as a force of occasional destruction, but thankfully we call these ‘storms’!

In the song ‘Hawadom’ (Seeking him in Wind and Breathe) composed by Fakir Lalon Shah, the intricacies of creation, and the reference to fire as precursor to life is discussed semantically. For the uninitiated to Bauliana, this song has sometimes been interpreted as seeking union with the Maker in the dom or puff of the marijuana plant, with hawa meaning the smoke that enter and exits the chillum (bong) through Man.

While it is not our intention to dispute the many schools of thoughts in the Baul pantheon, this analysis especially of the last two couplets followed by the signature line of Lalon Shah seeks to go beyond the mundane. It is our belief that this composition is an inquiry about Adam and Eve, with the pro-feminist Baul deliberately adding the name of Eve before that of Adam in reverence. Since it is never in the interest of the Baul to preach, we remind readers that this analysis is subjective and open to scrutiny and NOT to be construed as the ultimate truth, or the ultimate analysis.

Hawadomay dekho taray, tar ashol baina
Seek him in the wind and breathe, in advance, in full measures

kay banolo emon rong moholkhana
Who is it that created this colorful abode?

The couplet sets the tone for the Baul quest of the Soul, devoid of physical attributes that we ‘humanoids’ have inherited and ‘naturally’ latch on to, and further the debate as to WHO created us in all our color, sound and fury. The search realistically is within than without.

Man is ‘debatably’ superior to all other species on Earth because he has the capacity to reason, analyze and these attributes leads him on to disseminate his thoughts through his intellect and speech. The appreciation of the spirit of the living being in compassion as a human attribute in its totality is underscored by use of the word ‘baina’ or an ‘advance’ as in commerce, more aptly an inference to universal conscience devoid of any ‘strings attached’ to inconsequential earthly entities.

Commerce plays a significant part in the Baul and his interpretation of life, for it reminds him that it is a debilitating and destabilizing force in the sustenance of the Soul, as it invokes the acceptance of the foremost of human vice, Materialism. The condition by which the Maker subjected the Soul to ‘thousands’ of years of hunger, is only to reinforce the ideal that Man ought to share a collective bounty, and in as much as the Wind and Sun is a free natural commodity, so is Food.

Contrary to popular misconceptions the Baul is no beggar. He is a roving minstrel for rekindling, renewing, reviving and reminding a world gone astray that love and compassion may have eluded Man, it has NOT the Maker. The beauty of the Baul’s yearning and music are in questions they raise, and the answers we readily do not have, nor do they themselves offer. To face up or question the Baul doctrine is to be humbled into silence. It is a willful acceptance of fate accomplii, without being fatalistic.

Tampering with the food chain is a Sin like no other in Baul belief. The Baul agonizes that Man has deemed it fit to doom food as a tool for oppression and exploitation, for gain. Nature providentially guarantees food to every living organism on earth from the tiny ant, to the birds in the sky, to the mighty elephant, to the whale in the ocean – as much as it does to Man. Seeking answers about our food source determines existence through ‘wind and breathe’ and the analogy is to touch our Soul through that of Adam and Eve, as in the ‘ashol’ or in full, all paid up measures, in total, unconditional supplication. No jokes here about a half-empty or a half-full glass!

The rationale is as simple as saying ‘pay up or lose’; the difference being: Man is being asked to pay an ‘advance’, a ‘baina’ for his Soul, since he has made it a habit of giving importance to only things that have price tags or ‘value additions’ and consider only those ‘worthwhile’. Since intangible values are rarely recognised: ‘fair enough’ says the Baul - wisdom is not FREE either.

Adam and Eve are not exclusive to creation and akin to the sustenance of life, complimentary and conditional. Likewise in the human species while the Male is condemned to a life in Labour, the Female is condemned to Labour in ‘bearing’ life, and as civilizations move ahead and more women set out to labour and toil as much as the Male, Adam’s may relate to all pains real or imagined of the Eve, he is ‘blessed’ NOT to endure or feel the pain or the process of birth.

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