THE BAULS’ TRADITION
Vedic tradition has seen many streams of living enlightened masters, out of which many streams have dried up. The streams which have an unbroken lineage of living enlightened masters are Vedanta, Aghori, Tantra and Bauls. The Baul Mystics are not well known as a mainstream tradition just because of their habit of not having any property. That is the only reason they are not well known, otherwise they have all the qualifications to be respected as living stream of enlightened masters. The Bauls have a strong belief that the moment you start staying in one place, corruption starts happening. I do agree with it. Organization sometimes unconsciously forces people to dilute the truth. In a way I can say unconscious people will dilute the truth even if there is no organization.
That’s the reason I accepted to have an organization – because otherwise people are going to dilute the truth.
But the Bauls are such a pure and uncompromising tradition that they they don’t have an organization or even a permanent place to stay. I had the fortune of spending some time in Bengal and being associated with some of the Baul sannyasis. The Baul sannyasis are not celibates or unmarried. They live like a breeze. They travel place to place, sometimes alone, sometimes together. They sing so beautifully. Each Baul can at least sing two thousand verses. Sometimes the verses are of their predecessors, the early masters, sometimes it is their own spontaneous compositions.
THE MAIN THEME
But the main theme which runs through the Baul tradition is the pure love towards everything that exists; to the river, hill, sun, moon, plants, trees, animals and to themselves. Whatever exists they flood it with love. That is why they are not socially accepted, because they are such a joyful species. I can say, Bauls and Tantrics are actually a different species altogether – one of the most endangered species on planet earth. They are an altogether different species. It’s a different life. The very word “Baul” means (it’s a Bengali word) ‘mad’. If somebody else calls you mad, there is every possibility that you may get hurt. If you yourself declare I am ‘mad’, you are liberated. It is a great liberation from the social image.
Each tradition has a “mahavakya” – means the ultimate truth, the ultimate word. Vedanta has a mahavakya, Tantrics they have their mahavakya, Aghoris have their own mahavakya. The mahavakya for Bauls is “NO to society and social hypocrisy”. One of the core messages they transmit to the disciples is to break free from social hypocrisy – the unconsciousness being carried from generation to generation and transmitted to you unconsciously without knowing why, what, without having any reason. Constantly, a kind of unconscious lifestyle, unnecessary lifestyle is made into a legitimate living condition or trend and forced on human beings in the name of social etiquette or tradition. It is unnecessary social hypocrisy which keeps you away from enlightenment and is the cause of your suffering.
BAULS’ KUMBHA MELA
The Bauls are ultimate beings from my experience. I have seen Bauls in lakhs (1 Lakh = 100.000). Just like Vedantis have a Kumbha Mela in Allahabad and Haridwar, Nasik and Ujjaini, Bauls have their own Kumbha Mela in Calcutta. I’ll sincerely suggest at least all my disciples should make pilgrimage to the Bauls’ Kumbha Mela.
They gather every year. If you Google you will find out their date in Calcutta. They don’t have a big organization structure; only a few people maintain this website. Almost all Baul mystics gather. None of them are well known to society because they live such a beautiful life, such an innocent life that society cannot tolerate them. The collective unconsciousness cannot tolerate them so they don’t recognize the Baul mystics. I can say that it the most powerful congregation I have ever seen. There is a beautiful book called ‘Nine Lives’ which beautifully describes Bauls’ Kumbha Mela. The whole theme of their Kumbha Mela is only one line, ‘Say NO to social hypocrisy’.
The Bauls are an amazing people who really live with a backbone. Even the Zen tradition has missed one point – not to have a permanent place to stay. There are only two traditions which still maintain that – Aghoris and Bauls. Aghoris don’t have permanent address, but they have monasteries where Aghoris can stay temporarily and then go somewhere else. But Bauls have not even compromised to that level. Bauls are literally like butterflies. They happen, fly, spread colors, and just disappear; nothing else. The only truth the Bauls radiate is ‘Say NO to all social hypocrisy’.
Sit today – you must be having thousands of social hypocrisies inside you now. Pick up only one, just one, and say No to it.
Taken from Nithyananda’s Morning Discourse on 14th August, 2010, Bidadi Ashram