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Friday, April 06, 2007

6. Joi Guru: Food, ‘Begging’ and the curse of Materialism

A parallel to the Baul belief is found in Buddhism, in the monk or the Bhikkhu, whose penance is exemplified in his head bowed in humility, and in his grim routine of ‘begging’ for his meals. This again only at times he is not fasting – for in his fasting he epitomizes his contribution to the food chain, ensuring that somewhere down the line another Man does not go hungry.

Since every Man by Providence is guaranteed food for his survival no matter how meager, and because the Maker of the Universe will not tolerate individual poverty as the food supply has been evenly balanced out, the Baul in return for a ‘favor’ of a meal, is thus, NOT expected to pray for ‘individuals’ that have fed him. His prayer in the chant ‘Joi Guru’ (Salutes to the Great God in You) is for all humanity, a celebration that life and living prevails. The difference in other monotheistic faith and agnostic monotheism of the Baul is in the act of giving willingly, and in the purpose of sharing. For instance those that have ‘fed’ the Baul, there are no promises of a ‘blessed life’ in the living, or ‘Heaven’ in the afterlife, but simply an acceptance that the cycle of accommodation within the natural process, a continuation of justice that the Maker had deemed fit – as much as nature demands; has been completed.

There is no denying that there is an underlying and atypical attribute of ‘commerce’ associated, as well as a perverse attempts by many to ‘bribe God’ to beg ‘Mercy’ for ones tainted Soul, by offering a meal to the Bhikkhu, the beggar or the Baul. The truth is, the critically tilted cycle of food balance is partially set right every time an offering of food is made to the hungry; it is however never a permanent solution. The Baul seeks his meal, goes hungry, feels the pangs of nothingness and sometimes sleeps with stones tied to his stomach, just like animals and birds are forced to eat stones when they have nothing else to feed themselves. His ‘gratefulness’ if at all, is only to the Maker who created food in the first place which Man has willfully doctored to a state of unavailability.

In the offering or acceptance of food is proof that kindness and Mercy together with the Maker survives and all praise is to him. Conversely, Man offers food to fellow Man, without the basic understanding that he or she is repaying long overdue ‘dues’ as it originally came FREE from the Maker. In feeding a Bhikkhu or a Baul therefore, Man does no overt individual favor; all he does is ‘repay’ the Maker, and nature, what is rightfully the property of Man. He actually does himself a ‘favor’, for anything in the world may be alms – not food.

For one, the Baul does not belong to an institutionalized clergy, nor has he any need for a home when the world as such is his home, with the sky his roof devoid of intrusive pillars or columns, and his Soul the Monastery where his Maker, the Guru resides and sustains him. The Baul seeks the cleansing of the Soul of man, pointing out that we have permitted injustice to creep in and taint our psyche, our Soul, to the extent of accepting it as a natural attribute, and he poignantly explains all of it in few words of deep philosophies, in matter of fact terms in his songs – in singing the glory of Man and his Maker.

The Baul rules for Nature rules and the Maker rules. A continuation like no other that affects the destiny of Man, the inappropriate ‘being’.

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