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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Explaining bAULIANA - The Concept of gURU among the bAULS

Pradipta Bhattacharya (Tampa Bay, FL) wrote on August 11, 2009
I am not sure where the concept came from but a Baul worth his cent will never leave his impression on others. He or She sings seeking the man within for himself or herself. There is no concept of Guru (a major practice deviation for any religious sect) - as for them anyone other than the self is a Guru. :-) Kind of confusing but true.
Smita Ghose (India) wrote on August 11, 2009
It is a very interesting and enlightening write up Pradipta. Do want some more on this. I found in Mimlu Sen's book "Baulosphere" that concept of Guru was there. ..and they had to take dikhsha.
b) The gURU in the bAULs:

There have been disagreements in these discussion about the concept of gURU among the bAULs. What I will try to say, will not be a safe trajectory, but I wish to attempt it based on historical notions, instincts and verifiable facts.

For one – the concept of the gURU does exist in the bAULs, and if there is at all any difference, it is in its interpretation. The gURU conjures up an image of a venerable sAGE, somebody who has an answer to most questions troubling us. If it is a mAN, a hUMAN, it would be necessary to equate him simply as a teacher and or guide – nothing more to it. We all have been and are dependent on teachers or guides in our lives. Even in the smallest way we do not stop learning, and most that we learn comes from input of someone who is perhaps slightly more aware or ‘enlightened’ or 'educated' then we are.

None of us would be able to communicate here had it no been for an ‘education’ that we all have been blessed with. To take it further, none of us would have any acceptance in this ‘society’ if the light of education did not reach us.

bAULs therefore do not reject society per se, but look at alternative means at addressing societal woes and anguish, with emphasis being on reaching out to the sOUL of mANKIND, as also ensuring that pEACE and tolerance be the enduring credo of our existence.

It would be wrong to say that all bAULs have a gURU, there are actually more of them out there who do not have one or never had one – and I am proud to say – I am one of them. But then for those who have never had an education of any kind simply because their parents couldn’t afford to give them one, for the sHONATON there was always an Ashram to take refuge, for a Muslim the Madrasa, and for Agnostic either it was to take tutelage from a gURU, mURSHID or a pIR at an Ankhra.

Basically what these people had/have (with exceptions), are they gave a alternative, and divergent view on spirituality then the existing status quo would permit or afford. I have many friends who are gURUs in their own right, have disciples etc – but on enquiry I have found that what they possess are thoughts, ideas and words of great wisdom for which many flock around and feel 'blessed' with their presence, much as we would our teachers from kindergarten down to University.

Wisdom on its own is not tangible commodity – neither can it be passed on to those that are not knowledgeable and/or do not yearn or have a thirst for the same. Then we have the ‘lips to ear’ wisdom that cannot be shared – but only passed on to the ‘ear of the knowledgeable’. I would love to expand/ elaborate on this if there is any genune interest on this.For the time being I trust this link should prove useful:

With that comes the Islamic concept of mAN being ‘Ashraful mAKLUKAT’ – or the best of creations, and whether gOD up in hEAVEN made us so is debatable, what we consciously cannot deny is we are the only creatures on the planet that can communicate our views, see all colors of the rainbow and importantly express our feelings.

The ‘Sufi’ order of the bAULs therefore interprets, if we are at all gODs best creations, we do not have to look skyward, indeed each and every one of us has a gOD within us worth our wORSHIP.
The mANUSH gURU concept is at the foundation and as fAKIR Lalon Shah said:

"Shorbo Shadhon shiddi hoi tar
mANUSH gURUr nishta jar,
bHOBEY mANUSH gURUr nishtha jar
Nodi kinba bil baor Khal
shorbo shathaney eki ek jol
Eka mere sHAI firen shorbothai
mANUSH e mishiya hoi bHED (Ved),
bHED antor mANUSH gURUr nishta jar"

If we were only to understand that it is nothing more than the sOUL that drives us, keeps us going in our times on the planet, then simply put - gOD exists in our sOUL, for try as we may, we have not been able to explore it, tap it, or exploit it to common benefit. The sOUl is perhaps the only thing we are aware of that is infinitely individual..... singular tryst with destiny.

I recommend friends to read this post for further understanding:

To end – this is what I wrote in my book :

"The Baul Guru therefore is no Man, but the Maker in each and every Man, and it is how we approach our faculties associated with cultivating knowledge, is the difference in the Guru that the Baul reveres and ones the charlatans have made a practice to exploit his fellow Man. The sore bone of contentions that have ravaged the minds and thinking of evolving thought processes in Bengal however continues unabated even among the different schools of thoughts of the Bauls. To equate the Guru to that of the Maker is Sin in the Baul pantheon, for possibilities of arrogance and subterfuge have appeared, with damming ramification to Mankind. Let us be reminded of the Pharaohs, long before monotheism came about."

With that jOI gURU to all in Adda Today – by that is meant – “I salute the gREAT gOD in you”

Love and best wishes.


To be continued……………….

Dhaka, 27th August 2009

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