Pradipta Bhattacharya (Tampa Bay, FL) wroteon August 11, 2009
One thought is that Sahajia Maat (Maat as in Doctrine) originally came from Buddhism. Its a known fact that around 10th Century AD in Bengal - Buddhism really got bastardized (please no value judgement on my selection of the word) and took the path of Hinajaana - Lower Trajectory. There the practitioners mixed Buddhist philosophy with Hindu Shakto practices. The out come was Tantricism and similar religious abominations.
If we are to look at the buDDHIST relics in Paharpur, Mahastangarh and elsewhere in Bangladesh, this part of Bengal was a thriving bUDDHIST center of knowledge - and most of the ancient site were Universities. It appears that Bangladesh was the Center of the bUDDHIST world and much importance was attached to its networking with Bihar India and rest of South and South East Asia.
2. What then happened to the resident bUDDHIST - who possibly wore the "Chibor" (saffron-ochre robe) and "Mundu" (shaven head) - but were not mONKs and had not degenerated?
Some legends suggest that they fled to the impassable jungles and reversed their roles. Off went the Chibor and they grew their hair and beards. As an additional disguise they wore a white shroud - denoting that they were already dead and instead of remaining consciously silent about gOD - they started 'singing' the praise of the one gOD.
The simplistic "Ektaar" used by bAULs whose origins are thought to be in modern Turkmenistan denotes an affiliation and or introduction to a sophisticated culture - and it surely is way before the advent of Islam or the ‘Sufi's’.