Baul History 101 Part 3: Tantra Mantra Yantra and Tantra as Sex

By Trishula Das

Editor's Note: This is part 3 of an exclusive history series on Bauls and Baul music of Bengal. Also read Part-1 and Part-2 which are authored by Babukishan Krishnendu Das Baul. Check out our exclusive audio interview broadcast with Babukishan Krishnendu Das Baul available on-demand here.

Babu Kishan aka Krishnendu Das Baul is a Baul Guru, Master of Indian Folk, Classical, and Bollywood music. He has produced, promoted and composed for all the top Bollywood Indian Cinema's musican's and singers. He is the first Baul to compose Fusion Music, receive a modern education with a BA in Indian Philosophy, MA in Indian Music, the first Baul to live in North America. As a Music Director, Composer, for Indian Cinema for 30 years, he has composed over 150 scores, produced 44 albums. A prolific writer, poet, and author of 3 books on Bauls. He has been traveling the world promoting, teaching Lineage Baul for more than 40 years.He spent 12 years as a Vedic Monk with the Ramakrishna Order.

Indian Postage Stamp: Bengali Baul Mela

I was having a conversation with BabuKishan Das Baul this morning about this description of Bauls that says, "Many of them (Bauls) practice a type of psycho-physical manipulation or tantric yoga which emphasizes control of sexual union, the purpose of which is to enable the couple to achieve a break with phenomenal existence, to escape the endless cycle of death and regeneration, and to achieve a state of eternal stability or samadhi.

This practice involves the retention of semen during intercourse and ingestion of bodily secretions..."

This is not the focus of what a Baul is?? There is nothing wrong with this description of Sacred Sexuality, however, you will see this over and over again like a broken record as if this is the only focus, of what Baul is?.... There are many false things written about the Bauls and so many false Bauls, it is really difficult to get to the truth or to know who is a real Baul.

If this is all writers seem to write about Baul then Bauls will be extinct faster than thought. Baul is a beautiful ecsatic mystical lineage and most of the PHD holders took their research from this lineage given only a very limited point of view and now they are trying to teach the lineage Bauls what Baul is?? It takes years and years if not a lifetime to learn Baul philosophy, Baul songs, Baul poetry, Tantra and Yoga.. it is not simple or easy. Just as real Yoga is not simple or easy. The Tantra Bauls practice has nothing to do with the Neo Tantra of the West. It is a mystical shamanic Tantra. I call Bauls the Rasa Lila Mystics because they take the juice and hold it inside of themselves, they distill this juice only keeping the very best of all practices, they keep what works and grind and polish it into a beautiful play.

Babukishan Krishnendu Das Baul

Baul is about love and devotion, Bhakti Yoga and deep Tantric sadhana, the real Bauls spoke sanskrit as this is the way the oral tradiition is transmitted, they sing their songs in Bengali so the villagers can understand, because they were not necessarily Sanskrit speaking. Because of this repeated nonsense as stated in the first paragraph most writers copy and paste and do not ever write that Bauls are poets, philosophers of all things Indian, that they worship Radha and krishna in their hearts, that there is a lineage of Bauls going back to and originating thousands of years before Sri Nityananada of Ekkchaka West Bengal India, Jai Nitai who was Sri Chaitanya's best friend. Nitai was a Baul an exalted Avadhuta, history was rewritten. The stories of the lineage are within the songs of the lineage because it is an oral living lineage not a book translated lineage. We are writing books to preserve all this and set the record straight but it is not an easy task and will perhaps take years.. Bauls should come from a living lineage of Baul, parampara, they should know and state who wrote the songs, be honest. Nityananda from Ekkchaka West Bengal is Babu's ancestor he is the ancestor of the Vaishnava Bauls.. There is very limited knowledge about this because the truth has been so distorted from modern reformers with big printing presses amongst other things. The Bauls message is for all people and is especially necessary to todays world but that does not mean the message should be watered down or distorted. Of course Baul also changes to adapt to the world but it is in desperate need of being preserved accurately. Writers are focued on sells very easily.. there is a freedom this implies and it looks attractive to become a Baul, tantric sex all day, smoking ganja.. singing, dancing and begging for money, no sadhana?? This is definetly not Baul....this is a distortion making the Lineage Bauls extinct. Bauls are free birds in that they are seeking ecstatic union (yoga) with their beloved Radha and Krishna, Shiva and Kali. This takes place through their lineage songs which are seeds of higher philosophy, this is where their union comes from, you can feel it, you can hear it.. and if you do not you are not listening to a Baul. The body contains the God's and Goddess's in the alter of the heart.. This is the tantra, this is the technique, this is their samadhi, this is their God/dess intoxication. Baul is about high level philosophy it is not about the mundane. Baul songs are not folk songs, they are seed songs of higher philosophy, one must know the discourses that go along with the song.. Babu listens to what Bauls are singing they are either singing his family lineage songs or are singing folk songs, some sing his lineage songs but shorten them thus destroying the meaning. A real Baul usually will not tell you anything, therefore, this is a good opportunity for the fake Bauls to dress like Bauls and when a scholar or a reporter come to Bengal they usually have interviewed fake Baul on philosophy of Baul or the reporter or scholars usually focus on one aspect and because they have a PHD they are considered authority.. My question who owns the truth about the Bauls a scholar or a lineage Baul from the lineage.. who is the authority??.Wikipedia or a lineage Baul.. PhD's or lineage Bauls....Should not the authority on Baul be the lineage, should not the scholars on Baul be the Baul, the problem is Baul is almost extinct there are only a handful of lineage Bauls left Babukishan aka Krishnendu Das Baul being one. It is a huge task to try to preserve this lineage if not impossible... so in the meantime this leaves the door open for all sorts of nonsense.. These neo Bauls like the neo Tantrics and neo Yogi's of the east and west only tell the person a very limited view of Baul from copy and paste, then they repeat the same thing over and over again, copy, paste, copy, paste. It is surprising to Babu that even people he has known write the wrong things about Bauls. Even more surprising the number of people he has taken to Bengal, talked about his lineage with who have either made films or wrote books and they do not even thank him, cut him out completely and thank the western scholars. There is one professor from the US who had him sign paper to get university grants for her to study Bauls only to cut him out completely, everybody wants funding and what a great thing to do get the funding through a lineage Baul then interview and write about the neo Bauls...... this is very disrespectful and is creating such a distortion in the history of what Baul really is.

There are very few real Bauls left, they are almost extinct. Wikipedia is completely wrong on Baul, it is very general and again repeats the same scholars who have distorted Baul in the first place.

Babukishan Krishnendu Das Baul
Baul Guru Babukishan Krishnendu Das Baul

Baul Saint Guru Nabani Das Khyepa Baul
Baul Saint Guru Nabani Das Khyepa Baul

Bauls are Poets, Philosophers of all things relating to Indian Yoga, yes they are Tantrics but one has to understand what Tantra is, Baul is so much more than sex and so is Tantra. Babu's grandfather was a wellknown Tantric at Tarapith in the 19th century. Tantra is shakti sadhana, tantra is the science of light, the science of life..Tantra is technique, techniques on how everything is put together.. Tranta Mantra Yantra... formula, technique, for instance Babu is an expert of the Tantra of Indian Music and sound the technique using a scientific formula to bring the Dieties to life through sound. .. He is also a master the smashan grounds as he was born into this sadhana from his grandfather (not all Bauls are this kind of Tantric, only the avadhuta's are) ..... ..

When talking Tantra in the west it is always about sex.. why, because sex sells.. it is really disrespectful to the Indian people how Tantra is dumbed down all the time..... as Tantra is a Sanskrit word, it originates in India, so Tantra is Indian.. If one wants to be a Tantric learn Jyotish first, learn sanskrit, learn Ayurveda, learn Mantra..learn Shakti Sadhana... There is so much misinformation on Baul it is really a comedy.. Baul is first and foremost Bhakti Yoga... music, kirtan, chanting, singing baul songs, Sadhana, meditiation, it is an oral tradition ... one needs a huge memory..Baul is the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads. Never will you see this mentioned because sex and smoking ganja attracts people.... go online and research Baul.... Hard work and sadhana does not attract people, 12 years of Sadhana with a Guru does not attact anyone. Yes tantric sex, the technique is part of Baul but this is only a drop of what is real Baul, just as asana and meditation are part of Baul, a Baul does not reject anything, they embrace all knowledge yoga ect. ... This practice as described as being Baul at the beginning of this article is meant to be between only sadhaka and sadhika, it is only meant to be between husband and wife... never shared with others, it is private in a commited relationship of soul mates.. and really is not central theme of what Baul is..?? but yet it is mentioned over and over again.. It is not Tantra as taught in the west by experimenting with different partners, there must be love and those parnter should be soul in the Baul tradition. Bauls also do yoga postures in private, Babu's grandfather used to generate so much spiritual heat he used to meditate under water on the bottom of a pond.. Do Baul writers ever mention this, do they ever mention it is an oral tradition, or mention sanskrit, or mention the upanishads, do they ever mention 12 years of sadhana before one goes out and sings publicly. Do they have respect for the tradition or mention Nabani Das Baul whose songs they sing. Yes some are translating the songs, do they know who wrote the songs??? There is so much infighting within the Bauls it is all being distorted, many are making up stories calling names, creating something new. Baul has always evolved but within a context. It is really sad for Babu to see what is happening with his lineage, bauls singing Bollywoods songs, or folk songs calling them Baul songs. He has no problem with folk songs or Bollywood songs but please do not call them Baul songs and do not mess with a rich ancient tradition. The Bauls that came from Bangladesh who changed their names and are now saying they are from a 4 generation of Baul can not be.... because Baul in Bangladesh only started with the Great poet Lalon Fakir.. the sufi origins of Baul, 1774–1890, suddenly they have come from Bangladesh to Bengal as refugees, and changed their names to Das Baul and saying they are 4 generations... Das Baul is only from Bengal and is the Vaishnava lineage. Fakir aul sai darbesh is sufi it is not Baul.. it is Fakir, Sai, Aul, Darbesh (Dervish). Baul is not about singing folk songs. Below is the main description of Baul you willl see.. it is like modern Yoga being described as Asana, gymnastics.. ect.. The Body is not the sole organ of all experience as a means to knowledge..Parampara is.. the Guru is.. The Guru to the Baul is the ultimate, this is a Guru Parampara Tradition. The oral tradition is the means to knowledge, the oral tradition has been transmitted for thousands of years throught Sanskrit, the Bhagavad Gita... all knowledge of Yoga, Bhakti Yoga is the sole organ of experience, this statement is a huge fundamental display of misunderstanding..?? "The term "Baul" refers to various groups of people in Bengal (the Indian state of West Bengal, whose capital is Kolkata, and its neighbor, the sovereign state of Bangladesh, whose capital is Dhaka) for whom the body is the sole organ of all experience and means to knowledge. Many of them practice a type of psycho-physical manipulation or tantric yoga which emphasizes control of sexual union, the purpose of which is to enable the couple to achieve a break with phenomenal existence, to escape the endless cycle of death and regeneration, and to achieve a state of eternal stability or samadhi. This practice involves the retention of semen during intercourse and ingestion of bodily secretions..." "Babu say's, why come to Baul, go to sex education, why even come to Baul, do not destroy Baul by the misconceptions, mostly all Phd on Baul are completely wrong.. " Baul is inner connecting to the divine in a ecsatic mystic way, it is not about outer, grab a partner try some Psycho physical manipulation, this is such a gross misconception and it is really boring and a huge insult to the authentic Bauls. To a Baul the Guru is the path, the Guru passes on all knowledge through the oral living lineage that is thousands of years old.. You can feel the whole universe inside of you that is Baul, as above so below.. The original authentic Baul will never tell you their sadhana, only paramapara will know in that you can guess that who writes about Baul is completely wrong..they may know a few things but to be a Baul is to be an ocean, way beyond what is out there in print.. Baul is an oral tradition. Most Bauls sadhaka's do not even have sex, they are sadhu's... so what do you call them Not Baul??? connection of the supreme God/Goddess through love not through this so called Psycho physical maniputation... It is about the soul...about soul mates, monar manush.. Bhakti Yoga.. Bhakti Yoga.. Bhakti yoga.. street singers, bards, minstrels.. are Baul. They were the newspaper before the newspaper singing Hare Krishna every morning to the villagers as a wake up call.....all we hear in the west or by western writers is sex sex tantric sex.. give me a break.. or also by people who are not Bauls or people including Bauls who are trying to attract unwitting fools. Baul is about love love love, never is it about some physical manipultion... Bhakti Yoga..And the problem is the person who wrote this and is talking for the Bauls should know better???

Baul Saint Guru Nabani Das Khyapa Baul & His Beloved baulini Brajobala Dasi
Baul Saint Guru Nabani Das Khyapa Baul & His Beloved baulini Brajobala Dasi
(Don't like to use word 'Legendary',Such a insult to them because Now a days everyone uses as Legendary and make them feel like they are the only authority of Bauls...What an insult and joke for Pioneers,Pioneers are beyond Legendary)

Interviewed & Edited by Trishula Das

© copyright all rights reserved 2011 Babukishan Das Baul. Reproduced on Washington Bangla Radio with permission.

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