Pakistani people know about Arnab Goswami

The religion of the Baul community

Transcript

1 The religion of the Baul community A study on a religious community of Shudras and casteless people in India Kabita Rump Hannover, 2000

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4 4 Introduction The Scientific Issue The Hindu society is divided into four castes, Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra and the casteless. The holy scriptures of classical Hinduism forbid the Shudras and casteless people from studying the Vedas, performing Vedic ceremonies (yajña) and the usual worship (puja). Only the three upper boxes are allowed to do this. In addition to classical Hinduism, which is presented in the Hindu scriptures, there are several currents in India practiced by the Shudras and casteless people. To date, there is almost no scientific work on these currents. Such work is desirable, however, since otherwise one does not know how the Shudras and casteless, who are Hindus as well as the Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, practice their religion. It is therefore necessary that the religion of the shudras and casteless be examined. Such research will complete the picture of Hinduism. The study presented here would like to make its contribution in this sense. It is an analytical representation of the Baul community, made up of Shudras and casteless people, located in the state of West Bengal, India. The scientific question of the present work is: What do the Bauls understand by Hinduism, since they are not allowed to learn the Vedas and therefore also cannot know the teaching of the Vedas and how do they practice Hinduism, since they do not enter the temple and the May not perform ceremonies; what is their relationship to classical Hinduism; How does the authority of Indian society, which consists of the three upper castes, react to the religious practices of the Bauls and how does the Baul community fit into this colorful, pluralistic society? A theory is developed to answer these questions. Previous work on the Baul community The Bauls are considered curiosities among intellectuals in the state of West Bengal, India. Although there is no scientific work on them that presents them completely, there is an article or a book here and there about these people, who with their freedom fascinate the intellectuals, especially because the intellectuals, who are exclusively from the three upper castes come from, about the rituals and living conditions of the Bauls know little. Such literatures often portray the Bauls as sovereign rebels above caste society. Examples are the essay Kakoli Banerjee: Die Bauls, Symbol of the Revolt against Orthodoxy, India, Perspektiven, February 1993, S and the book by Bhaskar Bhattacharyya: The Path of the Mystic Lover, Baul Songs of Passion and Ecstasy . The truth is different, as the current study shows. The Bauls form a subjective world for themselves in which they can preserve their dignity, but the events in their environment do not leave them indifferent. Like their caste comrades, they suffer from social and financial disadvantage. It is understandable that it is precisely the intellectuals of a society that does not allow individual freedom in the secular realm, since every step is determined by the Dharmashastras for the members of the three upper castes, are fascinated by the Bauls. The Bauls are those who do not disregard the existing order

5 5 submitting by proclaiming that the Vedas do not reflect the true religion and that the provisions of the Dharmashastras are petty. There is no doubt that the Bauls are rebelling in their own way, but they do it because they are excluded from classical Hinduism and not, in fact, because they would not have liked to practice the religion of the upper three castes. Chapter 5, Festivals and Rituals, shows how they organize their festivals and rituals based on Hinduism. Another criticism of Bhaskar Bhattacharyya's book is that he also names the fakirs and dervishes of Bauls, so that it is not known whether the songs he cited were actually written by the Bauls or by the fakirs and dervishes. Often a book treats the Bauls so superficially that, even after reading the book, one doesn't know much about the Bauls. One such book is P. Bandyopadhyay: Bauls of Bengal, Calcutta, The Book of Alokeranjan Dasgupta: Life in Songs, Master Texts from India and Bangladesh, Nuremberg, 1992 cites song fragments so that the stanzas are taken out of context. In addition, the title gives the impression that the author collected the cited songs in India and Bangladesh, which is most likely not the case. Dasgupta probably thinks that some of the songs he cites come from India and some from Bangladesh, because some of these songs were written before Pakistan and Bangladesh were part of India. There are two serious books on the Bauls, Upendranath Bhattacarya: Banglar baul o baul gan, Kalikata, 1957, written in Bengali, the language of the state of West Bengal, and Manas Ray: The Bauls of Birbhum, Calcutta, probably prevented his admiration for the Bauls Bhattacarya to give the reader a truthful picture of the Bauls. The Bauls were idealized here. Free from all worldly needs, they seek God. They live in solitude and are perfect ascetics. They are yogis who reject festivals and rituals and seek God in their own bodies. Now it is true that the Bauls practice tantra yoga and therefore seek God in their own body and spend their free time among themselves. But they are also members of society, like everyone else, who sense both worldly and spiritual needs and act accordingly. The ascetics described by Bhattacarya are found in the Himalayas. These ascetics do not practice tantra yoga, but rajayoga, which does not allow a partner. However, the collection of songs that Bhattacarya offers his reader must be praised. This collection contains a total of 680 Baul songs. However, the author does not explain a single song, so that these remain incomprehensible for the majority of the readership. The Bauls often write their songs in a secret language so that the uninitiated do not understand them. Anthropologist Manas Ray's book is a 132-page treatise on the Baul community. The focus of this work is on the social aspect of the Baul community. The religious practices of the Bauls are dealt with in this book on 17 pages and the rituals on 8 pages. Ray quotes, if you add the fragments, 10 Baul songs in total, in the original, i. H. in Bengali with a short free translation, as this is not the focus of his study. The book is interesting for sociologists, however, as the author focuses on the social aspects of the Baul community. Another noteworthy book is Krishnendu Das: The Bauls of Bengal, Calcutta, because here he presents a 16-page biography of his father Purnadas Baul. Purnadas Baul is now considered the emperor of the Bauls and serves as a model for many young Bauls who want to become famous and rich.

6 Resources and Methodology The reason there is no scientific study of the Bauls, although the intellectuals in West Bengal, India, are interested in the Bauls, is likely because the Bauls do not have scriptures. The only source literature for this is the Baul songs. However, these are not written in Hochbengali, the language of the educated in West Bengal, but in the dialects of the state. The educated citizens do not understand these dialects. The songs almost always contain grammatical and spelling mistakes. Often the sentences are incomplete. In addition, the Bauls sing their songs in front of everyone, but do not allow anyone to view or photograph the manuscript, if they have one. They mistrust the three upper castes and believe that they can only misrepresent their religion, since they practice classical Hinduism and rely on the true religion, i. H. of course from the Baul religion, understand nothing. This means that anyone who wants to write a scientific paper about the Baul community has to gain their trust so that the Bauls can show and interpret their collection of songs. Because the songs, written in secret language, are incomprehensible to the Hindus of the three upper castes without explanation, since they are not familiar with the religious practices of the Shudras, here the Bauls. For me it was possible to win the trust of the Bauls. Through my school and college education at Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, State of West Bengal, I have known many Bauls since my childhood. The Visva-Bharati University organizes twice a year (in December and February) a festival to which it invites the Bauls, among others. It was at this festival that I first met the Bauls when I was still a student. My education at Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, which is a school and university boarding school, ended in 1967. However, my connection with the members of the university continues to this day. Every time I visit my homeland, I also visit my former teachers and professors and, since 1984, also the Bauls in the area. During the three-day festival in February 1984, my late teacher Brajagopal Gosvami made me aware of the peculiarities of the Baul religion and introduced me to various Bauls. Through the mediation of Mr. Gosvami, I quickly gained the trust of the Bauls in the area. Narayan Gosvami, an employee of Visva-Bharati University, also helped me in this regard. He always compiles the list of Bauls who are invited to the festival in February. This made it possible to find out the names and addresses of famous and less famous Bauls throughout the state of West Bengal from him. The next step consisted of talking to the Bauls. Every time I've been to India, I've visited as many Bauls as possible. In doing so, I not only visited Bauls, which I didn't know yet, but also Bauls I already knew. I was in India for the last time in 1994. The last conversation I had, however, was in Detmold with Purnadas Baul and his wife Mañjudasi Baul, who were on a European tour.The Bauls in India explained their songs to me. Without this reading it would not be possible for me to write a paper about the Baul community. However, I did not tell them that I wanted to write a paper about them as it might have aroused their suspicions. That is why the interviews were not recorded on tape. In order to guarantee the intersubjective verifiability, all named Bauls are mentioned in this work with their place of residence. During the field study there were no particular problems other than those related to the means of transport. Not all of the Bauls' places of residence were

7 7 bus can be reached. But also the transport problem could be solved with the help of the rickshaw. As for the conversations with the Bauls, I mentioned right away at the introduction that I was acquainted with Brajagopal Gosvami, Narayan Gosvami, and a few other Bauls. This had a positive influence on the field study. The song collection, the deciphering of their secret language and the interview happened on the same day and merged. I respected the unbureaucratic and slow nature of the Baul and was not disappointed if my visit to a Baul on one day did not yield a lot of material. In order to understand the songs linguistically, I had to learn the dialects, which was not particularly difficult. The material foundations of the present work are the published and as yet unpublished Baul songs, conversations with the Bauls and their partners who live in different villages in the state of West Bengal, conversations with the members of the three upper castes of the aforementioned state and your own Observation. Other important sources of this study are the biography of Caitanya Shri-shri-caitanya-caritamrita, written by Krishnadas Kabiraj, and other writings of Caitanya-oriented Vaishnavism in West Bengal, since the Baul community arose from this branch of Hinduism. These scriptures are written in Bengali. A hermeneutical approach was followed for gaining knowledge and developing a theory based on it. In doing so, the objects of investigation were viewed and understood from the outside with methodological distance. At the same time, however, the understanding of the Bauls' thoughts has also been taken into account. Therefore, the representation of the phenomenon of the Baul community in this work is not an evaluative description of this belief, but an investigation of a contemporary religious movement. For this reason, concepts such as false doctrine or superstition that make value judgments have been avoided. However, this does not mean that the religion of a social class has been described without asking what made it believe and want this or that. However, it is not the aim of this work to find out the objective truth of this basic conviction. With a methodical investigation, this work tries to reconstruct the religious ways of thinking of the Bauls and to make their religious actions comprehensible. Here, comparisons with classical Hinduism were necessary in order to determine where the Baul community accepts the classical model and where it separates from it and develops new ways of thinking and acting for itself. I first had the Bauls explain and explain the songs, which were written in the secret language. In order to double-check the objectivity or the correctness of the explanations and explanations, I went to several Bauls with the same song until I was able to decipher the codes myself. In this work, the songs have been thoroughly examined and analyzed from a content and philological point of view, as these are the main sources of this work. The conversations with the Bauls and non-Bauls rank second as the sources. The songs and the conversations were first examined separately and then compared with one another. Where possible, the results of the comparison have been supplemented by our own observations. The books on Caitanya-oriented Vaishnavism are available in the book market in India.

8 8 Technical details The Sanskrit and Bengali words are always written in lower case in brackets in this work, as the languages ​​mentioned do not use upper or lower case letters. However, where these words have been integrated in a German sentence, they are written in upper or lower case according to the German orthography. The compound words are not hyphenated in Sanskrit or Bengali. The present work does this anyway to accommodate the reader. However, this is done at the discretion of the author, so that the reader might have found a compound word without a hyphen with a hyphen here and there. It happens that the Duden disregards the gender of a Sanskrit word. B. the mantra in Sanskrit in Duden is quoted as the mantra. In such cases the articles according to the Sanskrit grammar have always been preferred. The reader's attention is drawn to the fact that many books published in India have no indication of the year of publication, so that in the bibliography these books are cited without a year. Explanations 1. In the present study, Baul-dharma is translated as Baul-Religion. The term Baul religion identifies with the emotion, instinct, cult, ritual, perception, observation, belief, mysticism and metaphysical thoughts of the Baul community. 2. In this work the terms Ishvar and Bhagavan are translated as God and prem or Krishna-prem of Caitanya-Vaishnavism as love of God. 3. Classical Hinduism: In this work, Hinduism is referred to as classical Hinduism, which considers the Vedas and the Upanishads to be infallible, keeps the instructions of the Dharmashastras and the Puranas and considers the epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana to be indicative. 4. Readers are cautioned that both the tatsama (the same as that) and the tatbhava (derived from) Bengali words do not always have the same meaning as the original Sanskrit words. 5. Readers are cautioned that the tasama and tadbhava Bengali words are often spelled differently than the corresponding Sanskrit words, e.g. B. Kavita and Devidas are spelled in Bengali Kabita and Debidas.

9 9 Chapter 1 Bauls as members of society Bauls are members of a religious community that Caitanya (see Chapter 2) calls her Urguru and follows his teaching according to its own interpretation. They are now located in the state of West Bengal. Before India's independence in 1947, there were also Bauls in what is now Bangladesh. Today the Bauls live in the state of West Bengal. This chapter examines the peculiarities of the Bauls that give them an individual identity in Indian society. The caste affiliation The Baul are almost exclusively Shudras and casteless. As a result of their caste affiliation, they are also mostly illiterate. Some Bauls, who think that their children should be better off than themselves, send them to school. But it cannot be taken for granted that village society should accept it. It has happened that the village community decided against their children going to school with the casteless. In such cases, the village school refuses the Baul child to attend school. 1 There are individual Bauls that originally belonged to one of the upper castes. Originally because everyone from the upper castes who enters the Baul community loses their original caste and becomes a casteless because they have violated the caste-related rules. Because the Dharmashastras forbid the members of the three upper castes from dealing with the Shudras and the casteless. 2. Once you have lost your caste membership, it is no longer possible to return to your parents' home. Because in this case the parents would also have lost their caste membership. Social security is the only reason they join this community. As an ordinary beggar one is often turned away, but as soon as one appears as a religious person, e.g. B. as Sadhu or Baul, one receives alms and financial support in case of illness. That is why it happens that here and there an unemployed person from the upper caste enters the Baul community, as is the case for example. B. is the case with Debidas Baul. He, a resident of Saithiya, joined the community when he lost his job due to poor health. He was born a brahmin. Jayadas Baul, residing in Suripara, Bolpur, was born into a Brahmin family. After losing his job, he joined the Baul community. Even the former criminals with no career prospects find refuge in this community. Santiram Das Baul, resident of Mallarpur, was known for his criminal activities. He was arrested and punished for a robbery. After his release from prison, he joined the Baul community. 1 See Krishnendu Das: The Bauls of Bengal, Calcutta, 2 2 Cf. B. Gautama-Dharmashastra XX, 2, Vashistha-dharmasutra I, 19-22

10 10 The different groups The Maluidhari and the Kistidhari bauls The Baul community consists of two groups, Maluidharis, i. H. Bauls, which is an oval hollowed-out coconut shell, and Kistidharis, d. H. Bauls, who always have an elongated, hollowed-out coconut shell with them. This bowl serves as eating and drinking utensils and is sacred to the Bauls. You must always carry this harness with you. At first glance, grouping according to the dishes seems pointless. But they differ not only in the dishes, but also in the way they behave. The Maluidhari Bauls are only allowed to go to the alms parade once a day. Everything they receive as alms during the day they divide into three parts, one part for the Urguru Caitanya, whom they affectionately call Mahaprabhu (great God), the second part for the direct guru and the third part for themselves. The part for Caitanya, gatherings are held throughout the year to celebrate the great annual festival of Mahotsab (see Chapter 5). The Kistidhari-Bauls do not have such fixed rules regarding almsgiving and alms-giving. Both carry a large cotton bag (ãcla) during the almsgift. They carry their dishes in this bag. It also serves as the carrying bag for alms-giving. In fact, there are enough Maluidhari-Bauls who go out for alms at least twice. Fish, meat, eggs, onions and garlic are forbidden for the Maluidhari Bauls. This corresponds to some provisions of Manusmriti V, 5 and These restrictions do not apply to the Kistidhari-Bauls.A chain made from the seeds of the Tulsi plant (basil) is mandatory for the Maluidhari Bauls, as Tulsi is sacred to the Caitanya Vaisnavs. 3 The Kistidhari-Bauls wear several chains made of quartz, glass and wooden beads. In daily life, the two groups do not differ from each other so much that an outsider can tell a Maluidhari Baul from a Kistidhari Baul. Since the Bauls are naturally open-minded, the exchange between the two groups takes place. The Udasi-Bauls (the homeless Bauls) and the Grihi-Bauls (the settled Bauls) Purnadas Baul, also called Purnacandra Das Baul, differentiates between the homeless (udasi-baul) and settled (grihi-baul) Bauls. 4 The homeless Bauls should ideally be seekers of God without worldly ties. The constant change of residence should also express the rejection of everything that binds them to the worldly. In reality, however, it is financial considerations that force them to move. A village where they are new to where they are not yet known is more willing to give. If a certain tiredness becomes noticeable here when giving alms, they move away. The resident Bauls live in a shared apartment in the village (see below). 3 Cf. Krishnadas Kabiraj: Shri-shri-caitanya-caritamrita, Madhyalila XV, Purnadas Baul: Banglar baul gan, Kalikata, 4

11 11 The music and the clothing The importance of the songs Music is very important to the Bauls. It is not only the form of expression of their thoughts, but also the only means of preserving their religion. They proclaim their message through their songs. Therefore, these songs are their scriptures. some have been handed down, some have been written by the artist himself. The Bauls are happy songwriters. Purnacandra Das Baul writes: These songs are the spiritual exercises of the Bauls. In these songs you open the true teaching of (your) religion (dharma-tattva) 5 and you seek the person of your heart (i.e. God) through the songs. 6 He also writes: They have all their joy in songs. They exist in the songs. (...) They liven up the area with their songs and wake people from their sleep. Through their songs they suggest: I am looking for the person of the heart, come join me! 7. The quotations clearly show the high opinion of the Bauls towards their songs. Music is also the capital with which the Bauls earn their living. The demand for this music is very low. Usually it is used for the almsgiving. If the music is good, a good return can be hoped for. Therefore, in addition to the songs they wrote themselves and handed down from their own guru, they also like to sing popular Baul songs that are not written or handed down by foreign gurus. 8 Subjects of the songs The majority of the songs have religious themes. The songs about Tantra yoga are written in a secret language (heyali) (see appendix Baul songs) so that the uninitiated will not understand the content. The Bauls do this because they believe that the Hindus from the three castes above understand their religion wrong if they know everything about Tantra yoga. In addition to religious themes, the songs also contain social criticism (see appendix Baul songs). The diversity of the songs clearly shows that the Bauls are not only concerned with spirituality. As disadvantaged members of society, they observe the economic situation and society in India with particular interest. Since the songs are usually transmitted orally, the Bauls sometimes sing different versions of the same song. Occasions for the presentation of songs The Bauls sing at alms-giving, large and small meetings (mela, see Chapter 5), at festivals and celebrations and whenever they feel like it. Sometimes they are invited to concerts as folk song singers. Individual Bauls, like Purnadas Baul, are sometimes commissioned to appear on television. Here they do not appear as members of a religious community, but as folk song singers. 5 Ibid., 7 6 Ibid., 3 7 Ibid., 5 8 See ECSD 2525, Stereo, The Gramophone Co. of India Ltd, 1975

12 12 Type of performance The Bauls sing their songs solo as well as in a duet with their partners or with another Baul. They also like to sing in two groups. The male Bauls like to dance while singing. The dance has no fixed step rules. The singing Baul walks gracefully forwards and backwards and gesticulates with his hands. The further the song progresses, the faster the steps become and at the end it turns in circles with quick steps. In this section the singer asks the listening Bauls to shout out the name Hari with him. So now all Bauls present call Hari Hari. It is believed that in this phase the singer is in ecstasy. This dance is very popular with the spectators. The older of them often sit singing; the female Bauls don't dance. They sing standing and gesticulating. A new kind of performance could be observed in Detmold on. Here a non-professional Indian dancer accompanied the singing of PuraDas Baul and his group. The group consisted of Purnadas Baul, his spiritual partner Mañjudasi, his son Bapidas Baul, the dancer and two other Bauls (?). The author has not observed any Bauls performance in India in which a dancer took part. When asked by the author, Mañjudasi explained that the dancer was a young student at Visva Bharati University, the University of Tagore (see below), who wanted to travel with her. Since her father paid for the ticket to Europe, the group leader had no objection to her traveling with the group and attending the performance. Instruments The Bauls accompany their singing with musical instruments. Most often they use the instrument Ektara (the instrument with one string) or Dotara (the instrument with two strings). They build these instruments themselves. Purnadas Baul, who likes to sing in a group that includes his son Bapidas Baul and his wife Mañjudasi Baul, uses additional instruments such as Nupur (two oval rings made of copper with numerous beads that are worn on the ankles ghunghur (two rattle instruments, each made of 21 small bells and a thick cotton cord worn around the ankles), and dupki (a small drum tied around the waist). Dugi (a small portable drum). His wife Mandira (a couple of small conical brass disks), his son Khamak (a string instrument) and two other members of the group played the flute and khol (an elongated barrel-like drum) during his performance on in Detmold. The style and the melody The style and the melody of the Baul songs are similar to the Bengali folk music. The Baul songs are therefore considered to be Bengali folk music, 9 with each Baul interpreting the song musically according to his taste. The melody is monotonous and the content is interesting for experts. 9 S. Sukumar Ray: Folk-Music of Eastern India, Calcutta, 1988, 81-86

13 13 Clothing The male Bauls wear an ankle-length skirt, a loose shirt and a coat-like overgarment that covers the knees. They often tie a long, narrow scarf around the waist, which can be compared to a scarf. The traditional Bauls wear the Indian shirt, but the European shirt is now also popular among the Bauls. Some Bauls wear the dhuti instead of a skirt. Dhuti is the traditional garment in the state of West Bengal. This is a four meter long and 1.20 m wide seamless cloth with a 1 cm wide border on both sides, which is wrapped around the waist. The Bauls don't traditionally wrap it with folds, but wear it like a skirt. The loincloth of the Bauls is called Kaupina. The first loincloth of the build is ritually cleansed by his guru. Many Bauls wear a turban. All clothing can be either white or saffron (geruya). Gerua is also the color worn by the Hindu ascetics (sannyasi) in India. The female Bauls, like all women in West Bengal, wear a blouse and a sari. These too are either white or orange. The male and female Bauls carry their large white or orange cotton bags (ãcla) with them outside their homes. In this bag you have everything you might need on the go, e.g. B. your own holy dishes. The male and female Maluidhari Bauls wear the basil rosary (tulsi), while the members of the Kistidhari group wear all kinds of rosaries, e.g. B. Rosaries made of wood, glass and quartz. The female Bauls wear bracelets made of glass and metal. Some female Bauls who have performed the Kanthi-badal ceremony (see Chapter 5) wear the traditional red color (sindura) on their head, which shows that the woman is married. All Bauls have long hair. The male Bauls wear a shell-like bun a little high on the right or left at the back of the head. The female Bauls wear the traditional Indian bun. The financial situation of the Bauls Although the Bauls sing repeatedly in their songs about the insignificance of worldly wealth (see appendix Baul songs), they still suffer from poverty. Because even if some Bauls have an almost regular income that they receive as farmers, fishermen, servants or day laborers for their work, they belong to the poor. Since their income is insufficient to cover the cost of living, they are always in debt. Often they have their salary, or at least part of it, paid in advance. However, since it always has to be paid in advance to cover the running costs, the debts are not paid off. The son inherits the father's debts. In disputes, the village court, which consists of the Hindus from the three upper castes, decides. The children of a Baul family often have to make a living. They receive financial support from the wealthy villagers in the event of oddities and additional obligations, such as celebrations. Sometimes the Baul turns confidently in his plight to the mother goddess Kali (see appendix Baul songs). Bauls, who sell their music as art and earn relatively good money with it, are among the exceptions. 10 The majority of the Baul are charity recipients. However, one must distinguish them from ordinary beggars. The Bauls bring a religious message to the secular and receive alms in return. The life of alms is considered a virtue in India when it is done for religious reasons. It interprets 10 p. The report on Purnendudas Baul in Krishnendu Das: The Bauls of Bengal, Calcutta, 4-11

14 14 towards the lack of property and renunciation of the world.Caitanya, the original guru of the Bauls, also lived from the donations of his followers (see Chapter 2). The Bauls practice their almsgiving in their own village, in neighboring villages and, for some years now, on the train. If you take a train, choose the distance so that you can come back on the same day. They are not required to have a ticket. The income they achieve on the train is not to be despised, because the Bauls interrupt the passengers' boredom with their singing. Here the listeners only give money, although in the village the alms can consist of money or food. Since money is an advantage when planning the household, some of the younger Bauls prefer to go to alms on the train instead of in the village. Older and traditional Bauls despise the almsgiving on the train, as this kind of almsgiving is not in keeping with tradition. There are now a few Bauls who have become known as folk song singers. In addition to their alms, they earn as guest singers at various events. They sing on the radio and appear on television. Some of these Bauls have also made recordings. 11 The success of these Bauls is portrayed somewhat exaggerated in India by the Bauls and building admirers. In this context, people like to speak of Purnadas Baul and Debidas Baul 12. It is suggested that these two Bauls were not only successful in India but also in Europe and the USA (Purnadas Baul). If one wants to mean by the success that these musical performances brought the Bauls a lot of money even for their means (1 rupee = 0.05 pfennigs), the statement is correct. The relative success of Purnadas Baul and Debidas Baul is great in the eyes of the Bauls who live in poverty. It is not uncommon for an Indian living in Europe to be asked by the Bauls whether it is not possible for them to organize a concert in the West. If you tell them that there is not enough interest in their music in Europe, they will not believe it and give the example of Purnadas Baul, who does not go alms. It is difficult to make them understand that today Indian music in the West is not promoted by any Bob Dylan or George Harrison, and that today's youth in the West hear nirvana, the dead pants, rap or techno. The Indo-German Society in Hanover cannot invite Purnadas Baul to Germany for 1999 because it expects high losses. The favorable German exchange rate makes it appear to the Bauls in West Bengal that the demand for the Baulieder is great in the West and that the Bauls can therefore make big money here. The Akhra (the residential community) The residential communities of the Bauls are called Akhras or Ashrams. You can be compared to an extended Indian family. Two generations live here. The recognition of the authority of the older generation and the docility of the younger generation ensure peaceful coexistence. The nonchalance and liberalism, by which most of the visitors are impressed, have to be within this framework. Residents of a shared apartment feel spiritually related to Nityananda, the disciple of the Urguru Caitanyas (see Chapter 2). Since all Bauls are related to Nityananda, all shared apartments belong to the same family (paribar), namely to the Nityananda family (nityananda-paribar). This custom is obviously based on the Gotra system of the box 11 See Indian Street Music, The Bauls of Bengal, Explorer Series, H (stereo), Nonesuch Records, New York 12 How much Purnadas Baul asked for his appearance on in Detmold, could not be determined. Debidas Baul earned around rupees in Europe in 1981

15 15 Hindus ajar. Each Hindu from one of the three castes above has a Gotra name in addition to his or her name. The Gotra name shows from which Vedic scholar his family originally descended. All Hindus who have the same Gotra name are related to one another and are therefore not allowed to marry one another. 13 The feeling that they all belong to the Nityananda family is also evident in the Bauls' greeting. The Bauls do not greet each other with Namaskara (salutation), as is customary in the state of West Bengal, but with Jaya guru (Hail the Guru), or Jaya Nitai (Hail the Nitai, i.e. Nityananda) or Jaya Radhe (Hail the Radha). Only Bauls and their spiritual partners live in a shared apartment. Children are not allowed here. The structure of these residential communities has a family character. How the Bauls address each other suggests that they regard them as one family. The guru of the facility is addressed as the father guru (baba-gõsai) and his partner as the mother guru (ma-gõsai). The students address each other as ritual brothers (guru-bhai). Accordingly, all women except the guru's partner are called ritual sisters (guru-bona). The student's partner is chosen by the guru himself. She is not referred to as the wife (patni, also stri in West Bengal) of the student, but as the partner for the spiritual exercises (sadhana-sangini). Theoretically, the student's partner is selected only on the basis of her religious and yogic ability. The partner is never addressed by his partner by first name, but always as Gõsai or Thakur (in this context Lord, Guru). She herself is addressed by her first name. This custom shows that the partner is subordinate to the partner. 14 In front of a third person, the Baul does not name his partner by first name, but as his spiritual partner (sadhana-sangini). The younger ones are always addressed by the older ones by first name, whereby they themselves always address the older ones with the appropriate designations, such as Baba-gõsai, Ma-gõsai etc. A new life begins for the Bauls in the shared apartment. Everyone is baptized with a new name when they join the Baul community, and thus also the shared apartment. By joining the order, they put an end to their previous social life. They are no longer the sons of family X with this and that religious or secular obligations, but members of the Baul community. So they no longer have the names of the old phase of life (purvashram). This practice is based on the common usage in Hinduism. When one leaves his family and becomes an ascetic, he receives an initiatory name from his guru. Although they have a partner, the Bauls consider themselves to be ascetics (gõsai). Regardless of their original caste affiliation, they are now called Das, i. H. Servant, by her new first name. So the Bauls are called: Purna-das Baul, Debi-das Baul, Nakshatra-das Baul, Lakshman-das Baul etc. The female Bauls are actually not allowed to use the designation Baul, although some do. Because they are only the spiritual partners of the Bauls, instruments of the adepts, so no independent Bauls. They are called: Phulamala-dasi, Radharani-dasi etc. They are only addressed by their new name by their father-guru, mother-guru and Baul siblings. Manas Ray describes the Das part of the name as a family name. 14 Probably because the word Das, written with dental Sa, means servant / slave and thus makes it obvious that the wearer belongs to the Shudra caste. Bauls who are not illiterate, such as B. Purnadas Baul write the word Das with dental Sa. Die 13 Cf. Gobhila-grihyasutra III, 4, Cf. Apastambha-kalpasutra, Prashna I, Patala 2, Khanda 8, 15

16 16 Names of the Bauls are always written with a dental Sa by the Hindus of the upper castes. Ray's hypothesis is not entirely impossible. However, it must be remembered that many believers in God like to call themselves God's servants / slaves. So z. B. There are names like: Rama-das (servant of the god Rama), Kali-das (servant of the goddess Kali) etc. In addition, not all are who have the family name Das, written with dental Sa, meaning servant / slave belonging to the Shudra caste, such as B. the poet Jibanananda Das (), or the scientist Upendrakumar Das. The Bauls replied to my question that they are Caitanya's servants or God's servants or also servants of their guru, etc. However, they did not associate the term Das with their caste membership. Probably Manas Ray's hypothesis is a projection of the mindset of an upper-caste Hindu. 15 The guru is the head of the residential community. His job is to lead his disciples spiritually, with his partner assisting him. Neither of them do any household chores. The division of labor corresponds to the common norm of Indian society. The men are responsible for the hard physical work and the women for washing and cooking. Both take part in the charity course. The shared apartment remains child-free, because conception is officially forbidden in the Baul religion. If the partner becomes pregnant, the husband and wife are considered to be fallen (aparadhi) and must leave the Akhra. The pregnancy proves that the two are unable to practice the tantric rituals (see Chapter 5). They are no longer recognized as Bauls by the Akhra residents. They are no longer entitled to live in the facility. The so-called fallen still consider themselves to be Bauls. They move out and start their own household. They keep their religious beliefs, continue to sing the Baul songs and wear the Baul clothes. Whether these Bauls also practice the sex rituals cannot be determined in every case. So live z. B. Purnadas Baul and Bisvanathadas Baul in a single family household. Both have children. The marriage-like relationship with the sadhana-sangini (the spiritual partner) The Bauls do not marry in the traditional sense, i. H. they do not marry a woman to raise a family. You take a partner to perform the tantric rituals. Therefore they do not call their partner a wife (patni, also stri in West Bengal), but a spiritual partner (sadhana-sangini). They live with this woman. Theoretically, they are not allowed to have several partners at the same time and change partners for worldly reasons. However, the Baul religion allows a change if it is necessary for the exercise of spirituality. In practice it happens that a building has several women. But since he is not married to any of these women, the law cannot intervene here. In this way z. B. Gangadhardas Baul with his two partners in the village of Pãcda and Sudhirdas Baul with his two partners in Sãithia. Purnadas Baul has changed partners twice and now lives with his third partner in Calcutta. The partner is the property of the construction.He can take it, leave it or sell it. If the builder dies before his much younger partner, she has to look for another partner if she wants to remain a member of the community. This dependence of the partner on her partner means that she plays a subordinate role in daily life. The spiritual partners of various 15 S. Manas Ray: The Bauls of Birbhum, Calcutta, 1994, 99

17 17 Bauls in a shared apartment do the housework together without male help. With the fallen Bauls, the spiritual partner works in the household with the help of her daughters, if she has any. Ideally, a change of partner may only be made with the consent of the guru and only for spiritual purposes. Only if the partner has shown herself unsuitable for the tantric exercises, the Baul may turn to a second. Under no circumstances may he have more than one partner at the same time. The examples of Gangadhardas Baul etc. show, however, that it is not uncommon for things to look different in practice. A certain business acumen can be observed among the so-called fallen Bauls. It is not uncommon for these Bauls to enter into a spiritual bond several times (see Chapter 5) and on the occasion demand a dowry from the parents of the respective spiritual partner. In the event of death, the Bauls regulate the inheritance in the immediate family. The cultural contribution of Baul himself overestimated the cultural contribution of her music. This is most evident in the following two examples: 1. Krishnendu Das claims: Baul composers greatly influenced the Bengali poetry of the later phase and perhaps the most ardent poet on whom its influence was imense is Gurudev Tagore (i.e. Rabindranath Tagore). 16 It is true that Tagore was impressed by the philosophy of the Baul songs (see below). But it is evident in his works that the Upanishads and Caitanya-Vaishnavism shaped his religious sentiments. Krishnendu Das also writes about his grandfather Nabanidas Baul that he contributed to the freedom movement of India with his songs and that many great writers have written books about him in English and Bengali. 17 Upon request, the most prestigious bookstore in Calcutta, Dasgupta, College Street, Calcutta, could not provide any information about such books in 1994. The contribution of Nabanidas to the independence of India could also not be ascertained through interviews or in the literature. Krishnendu Das writes in his book The Bauls of Bengal about the teaching experiences and publications of his father Purnadas Bauls. 18 Purnadas Baul is said to have taught music as a visiting professor at the Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan between 1971 and 1978. It should be mentioned here that he has no school leaving certificate, but that he has at least an M.A. for the professorship in West Bengal. is required. However, there are actually books that cite Purnadas Baul as their author. Many Bauls believe that their songs and their religion find enthusiasm in Europe and the USA (see the financial situation above), which does not correspond to the fact. This idea becomes clear in a speech by Purnadas Baul, who claims that the Sahibs are eager to learn the religion of the Bauls. 20 It is obvious that some Bauls have discovered a niche in the market for themselves and want to use this opportunity to improve their financial situation. There are now individual Bauls who have set up a concert group. As an example, the group 16 Krishnendu Das: The Bauls of Bengal, Calcutta, Ibid., Ibid., One of them: Purnadas Baul: Banglar baul gan, Kalikata, n.d. 20 S. Manas Ray: The Bauls of Birbhum, Calcutta, 1994, 93

18 18 described by Debidas Baul. Debidas Baul lives in the Suripara settlement (settlement of alcohol manufacturers, caste affiliation: untouchables), which is located near the city of Bolpur. He calls his group Ranga matir baul sampraday (the group of the Bauls who live in the red earth). The color of the earth in and around Bolpur is actually red. The group consists of him, two other male and one female Baul, and one from the washer caste. As the leader and lead singer of the group, Debidas Baul retains 50% of the proceeds. The rest will be divided equally among the other members. If one of the employees gets an order, he is entitled to a higher percentage. The client pays the fee and bears the costs for accommodation and meals. Narayan Sengupta from Surul village is z. B. someone who occasionally invites a Baul group for a day or two. A new and interesting aspect is that the state government of West Bengal promotes the Bauls as folk song singers and sends them to other federal states as representatives of the Bengali folk songs. 21 The effect of such performances on the audience or listeners of other federal states should not be overestimated. So residents of other states do not understand the lyrics of the songs. So the songs are also of no interest to them. The buyers of these goods are actually only the Bengali from West Bengal who are interested in the Baul culture and there are not many who appreciate this religious culture. The Bauls are part of the permanent cultural program of the Paush-mela and Magh-mela (see Chapter 5) of the Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan. This fact is due to the fact that Rabindranath Tagore, the founder of this university, valued and promoted the Baul songs (see below) and his university maintains this tradition. Bauls and politics The Bauls do not take an active part in politics, i. H. they do not join any party and do not run for office. They are passive when there is a riot. They do not demonstrate against the existing abuses. Bauls who want to improve their financial and associated social situation try their luck as lone fighters. With Purnadas Baul, however, one observes a completely new view and effort that the traditional Bauls reject. At the Mahotsab festival (see Chapter 5) in the village of Daskalagram, where he has his secondary residence, he tends to invite important personalities of the Birbhum district, such as Additional District Magistrate, Chief Medical Officer, Chief Engineer, Chief Public Relation Officer, etc., and for them to win the interests of the Baul community. He asks the Bauls to demand a higher fee and not to sell their treasure for 10 Paisa in the village and Mela (see Chapter 5). He demands special protection from the government of West Bengal, as it gives the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes 22. In addition, the government is to found a Baul city (baul-nagar), where arrangements are made for the poor Bauls and the spiritual exercises (sadhana) and music of the Baul community are promoted. There is said to be a classroom there where the Guru teaches Bauls and non-Bauls the theory and practice of the Baul religion Ibid., Detailed about Scheduled Casts and Scheduled Tribes, the so-called underdeveloped social and ethnic groups that are particularly encouraged by the Indian government in: Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan: Impact of Education on Scheduled Caste Youth in India, New Delhi, Manas Ray: The Bauls of Birbhum, Calcutta, 1994, 92-93

19 19 The majority of the Bauls consider the cooperation with the government officials to be harmful, as they fear the interference of the authorities in their private affairs, which could lead to the loss of freedom. Furthermore, if they should sing for the money or just for more money, their honor will be hurt because they consider their songs sacred and not for sale. They emphasize again and again that they are not pop singers who want to earn money with their singing, but God's ambassadors who want to praise the love of God. For this reason, some are boycotting the Mahotsab of Purnadas Baul. 24 The Bauls believe that India's economic policies, which encourage foreign investment and the import of foreign goods, are causing poverty among local manufacturers. In the indiscriminate introduction of western goods, they see not only a danger of cultural alienation, but also a disadvantage for the Indian economy. (see appendix Baul-Lieder). The Bauls abhor imitation of Western culture, but they appreciate cultural exchange and are ready to learn from the foreign culture. You remember gratefully Rammohan Roy (), who appropriately processed the western ideas for India and created the possibility for modern India with reforms (see appendix Baul-Lieder). Mañjudasi, the spiritual partner of Purnadas Baul, wrote a song because it was a product of socialist thoughts (see appendix Baul songs). Mañjudasi accompanied her partner to the Soviet Union on a tour. The leisure activities of Baul, who love freedom above all, reject any kind of coercion in the context of leisure. They determine the conditions and design of their activities themselves. Therefore, the design of the activities is always different, depending on the ideas of the initiator. Apart from the festivals (see Chapter 5), which also have a certain leisure character, the internal music concerts are the only leisure activities of the Bauls. This certainly has to do with the musicality of the community in the first place. But there is also another reason why they prefer to make music together instead of e.g. B. to go to the cinema. The leisure activities of the Bauls must not incur any costs. A music concert costs the Bauls nothing. It takes place either in a residential community (akhra), in the house of a fallen Baul brother, who has fallen but is influential, or in a remote place in the village that is not claimed by the people from the upper castes. The musicians are the Bauls themselves. This means that they do not need to rent a hall or venue and do not have to pay a fee. In addition to the Bauls, individual members of the top three castes take part in such events and enjoy their trust. Such concerts take place in the late afternoon or evening, when the day's work is done. The participants are men, women, children and young people who want to join the Baul community later. Women who can sing well are treated here on an equal footing with men. Songs that are sung here are the same as those that are sung elsewhere, such as B. begging. So it can be said that the theme of leisure is at the same time the religion of this community. If religion is called a profession, then profession and leisure merge into one another. Here the 24 Ibid., 94

20 20 Dharma concept of Hinduism, which does not separate religion and daily life from one another.Religion is not worship, prayer or sacrament that is practiced at a fixed time of the day or season, but it must be lived in all areas of life. The topics of conversation in such afternoons or evenings have a secular character. There is talk and gossip about price increases and other problems. These concerts can last for hours or all night. The hemp creates a light-hearted atmosphere. There is heavy smoking of hemp here. But only water is drunk. Sometimes the guest from the higher box, if one is present, will buy a small snack. The Image of the Bauls in West Bengal Civil Society The higher castes of Hindus expect the shudras and casteless to accept their fate as a result of their previous karmas and to behave humbly. If they meet this expectation, they will be tolerated and not condemned by the caste Hindus as fringe groups of society. Although they are not allowed to learn the Vedas, celebrate the sixteen compulsory ceremonies and practice no worship (puja) according to the provisions of the holy scriptures (shastra) (see chapter 2), they must recognize them as the authorities and are not allowed to do so Ask a Question. That's exactly what the Bauls don't do. As Caitanya-Vaisnavs, they do not submit to the caste system of the Dharmashastras, question the Vedas and traditional religious activities, such as bathing in the Ganges and pilgrimage, and practice tantric yoga. When it comes to relationships with women, the Bauls are known to have a relaxed attitude. For their part, the caste Hindus are irritated and call the Bauls people who have no ethics or morals. When Manas Ray wanted to visit Bisvanathdas Baul and Debidas Baul in Materpara near the town of Bolpur and asked a businessman for their address, the businessman replied that he did not know where these characterless people lived. 25 The businessman's response demonstrates the opinion of civil society in West Bengal. Aksaya Kumar Datta claims: For the spiritual exercises that they practice in order to attain the highest (paramartha-sadhana), it is not enough for them to have sexual intercourse with their own partner, or even with two partners of their own. Whether in public or behind closed doors, they hire several prostitutes and housewives to practice their spiritual exercises (sadhana). 26 Nagendranath Basu presents his observation as follows: The habits and behavior of these people are despicable. The people of this community do not recognize the caste system. They eat and drink everything. (...) They are always very unclean. (...) They have their Akhras in different places in Bengal. Two to three Avadhuts (here: male Bauls) live in each Akhra and they have several wives. They initiate people from all castes and accept them into their community. 27 Aparna Bhattacharya describes the Bauls as people who do not follow the social or moral instructions of the Hindus, do not practice fasting or other religious practices of the Hindus, live with several women in a shared apartment, regardless of age or caste to marry. 28 The judgment of civil society is unequivocal, it is members of society who, for them, do not adhere to certain traditional rules of Hindu society and are therefore despicable. 25 Ibid., Upendranath Bhattacarya: Banglar baul o baul gan, Kalikata, 1981, Ibid., Aparna Bhattacharya: Religious Movements of Bengal and Their Socio-Economic Ideas, Patna, 1981, 61-63

21 21 However, there are individual people from the three upper castes who particularly appreciate the romanticism of freedom and the philosophical thoughts of the Bauls. Rabindranath Tagore was impressed by two main focuses of the Baul religion: God and man love one another, and God lives in the heart of man and is therefore not to be found outside, but in oneself. Tagore also saw the philosophy of the Upanishads, Brahman manifests itself as the world represented in the Baul songs, since the Bauls seek the truth in themselves. He promoted the Bauls and published twenty songs by Baul Lalan-sa (h) Phakir. 29 In his tranz dramas Phalguni and Raja, Rabindranath Tagore introduces fictional Bauls who introduce the above-mentioned emphases of the Baul religion in their songs. Ksitimohan Sen, a friend of Tagore, is also of the opinion that the Bauls proclaim the philosophy of the Upanishads. In his opinion, the Bauls strive to leave their own ego and to unite themselves with God through the path of love and passion, which is present among the adepts as living faith, and with spiritual practice. 30 The admiration of Tagore and Sena, each of the Brahmana and Kshatriya caste, for the Bauls was based on two facts. They did not know about the Baul community's tantric yoga, and they believed that the Bauls did not portray themselves in hiding in their songs. An imitation of Tagore, who still influences Bengali literature today, can be found in the story Manus-lila, written by the contemporary writer Samares Majumadar. The builder of this story is an educated person, masters the philosophy of Caitanya-Vaishnavism and knows some of the songs composed by Rabindranath Tagore. 31 Upendranath Bhattacarya also has a positive opinion of the Bauls and thinks the tantric yoga that the Bauls practice is not lust, but a difficult yoga exercise. The union between man and woman, the most important ritual, happens according to (the arrangement) of their religion. 32 Investigation results 1. The caste membership of the Bauls, d. H. actually the lack of caste in the Bauls creates the framework in which they can move and develop. These are and cannot be particularly generous. The older generation of Bauls are largely illiterate. Some send their children to school. But even these few children who go to school remain outsiders there. For example, they are not allowed to take part in a religious ceremony in the house of these caste children. It remains to be seen and seen how today's Baul children will improve their situation as adult members of society in the future. At the same time it must be stated that one of the important prerequisites for the existence of this religious direction is not being bound by the rules of the Dharmashastras. 2. In addition to the Maludharis and Kistidharis, there are Bauls who call themselves Udasi or Grihi. Each category has its own special characteristics. The Udasi-Bauls often change their place of residence for financial reasons. The Bauls themselves stubbornly deny that a financial reason motivates them to move. They always claim that they only do this out of ideological conviction. 29 Detailed in: Upendranath Bhattacarya: Banglar Baul o Baul gan, Kalikata, 1981, Ibid., Samares Majumdar: Manav-lila, Desh, vol. 63, No. 1, 1995, Upendranath Bhattacarya: Banglar baul o baul gan, Kalikata, 1981, 69

22 22 3. Since the Bauls proclaim their religion only through their songs, these songs have the position of the holy scriptures in the Baul religion. However, the teaching should not be disclosed to everyone, so the songs that describe Tantra yoga in particular have been written in a secret language. The songs also serve as the service facility. But the Bauls do not consider their songs to be capital. Bauls who do are the exception. For most of the Bauls, their music, which they do not want to market, is sacred. The Bauls are immediately recognizable by their music and clothing. Well-trained ears can tell from a distance by the monotonous melody and the accompanying instrument Ektara that somewhere within reach a Baul is singing his songs. 4. The Bauls live in poverty. The majority live on alms. Some Bauls believe that they can sell their music dearly, which is not true. The pursuit of prosperity can be observed in individual Bauls, but is not particularly widespread in the Baul community. Most of the Bauls are humble. Individual Bauls have been able to improve their financial situation as folk song singers. The market for these musicians is the educated in West Bengal, who occasionally hear folk songs. It may be said that what supports the freedom of thought of the Baul community, namely the unbound to the religious and ritual rules prescribed by the Dharmashastras, causes its members the financial disadvantage. The charity of the wealthy villagers, for example when they fall ill, helps them selectively, but does not fundamentally improve their situation. 5. The residential community has the structure and characteristics of the Indian extended family. The common good is the focus here. The authority of the elders and the obedience of the younger and women are the two conditions that keep the community working. That is why it can be said that the Bauls community offers its members social security, but at the same time demands unconditional acceptance into the community. There is a strict division of labor between the older and younger generations and male and female members. 6. The marriage-like relationship between the Bauls and their spiritual partner generally reflects marriage in Indian society. The partner is the property of the building, which corresponds to the provision of Manusmriti IX. She is the household worker who is paid for her work by the building with social security. The construction company may unilaterally part with this worker without entering into any obligation. For Mahayoga (see Chapter 5) the spiritual partner is used like an instrument. If the instrument does not serve its purpose, it will be replaced. 7. In India the Baul songs are not regarded as products of high culture, but as folk songs. Because of the monotony of their melody and because the text is difficult to understand, partly because of the secret language and partly because they were written in dialect, the songs are only in demand in very small professional circles. Therefore, one cannot speak of a great cultural or commercially significant contribution in connection with the Baul songs. For the students of Hindu culture, however, these songs are extremely interesting as they introduce the culture of a religious community. In this sense, the Baul songs make a major contribution to Indian cultural history. 8. Although the Bauls do not take part in day-to-day politics, they are not apolitical. They observe politics, economy and society with critical eyes and draw the

23 23 The consequence of this is that they do not bow to the given situation, but instead, with the help of their religion, create a world for themselves in which they can live with dignity. This act of the Bauls can be called silent revolution and compared to Mahatma Gandhi's Satyagraha. However, unlike Satyagraha, the Bauls revolution does not change the general situation in India. The mobilization attempt by Purnadas Baul does not find a majority among the Bauls. 9. The leisure activities of the Bauls are a mixture of sociability and religiosity. These people were completely unaffected by the club culture imported from England, which can be observed in the upper classes. The creativity of the Bauls becomes evident at their leisure concerts. Almost without resources, they are able to organize an artistic social get-together that confirms their faith and gives them the feeling of togetherness. 10. Despite the positive attitude of some of the three upper castes in West Bengal, for the majority of civil society the Bauls remain Shudras and casteless people who move outside the provisions of the Dharmashastras, which is why they are avoided in sacred ceremonies. This is made clear by the fact that in sacred ceremonies such as marriage (bibaha) and death ceremony (Shraddha), the Shudras and casteless people who submit to the provisions of the Dharmashastras are invited and entertained as marginal guests. However, the Bauls are not invited or entertained on such occasions. 11. The Bauls deviate from traditional values ​​and express their opinions openly in their songs. In this way they develop into a critically thinking group and assert their independence in society. The diversity of Hinduism offers the Bauls the opportunity to live undisturbed according to their own religious ideas, values ​​and norms. The Baul community is a religious movement that, as a member of Indian society, maintains its independence and thereby enriches Hinduism.

24 24 Chapter 2 Shri Caitanya and the establishment of the Baul community Caitanya opened the door to classical Hinduism for the excluded. The Baul community emerged from this reform movement. This chapter examines the aspects of Caitanya Vaishnavism related to the religion of the Bauls community. Provisions on Shudras and casteless people in the Dharmashastras The Varnashramdharma, the four-caste system of Hinduism, goes back to Rigveda X.90. The Dharmashastras classify the Hindus according to their caste affiliation. For each caste, a certain part of the entire Dharma, which, among other things, is supposed to keep society functioning, has been ordained. The relationship with God, with fellow human beings, the choice of occupation and other living conditions are subject to this regulation. Self-realization is only possible within this given framework. The Bhagavadgita II.31 assures that the Svadharma (one's own Dharma) is actually the only way to self-realization. Svadharma is not the Dharma that one has chosen or devised for oneself, but the Dharma that has been prescribed by the authorities on the basis of one's caste. The Manusmriti forbids the Shudras and casteless people from learning (IV, 99) and listening (IV, 99) to the Vedas and from performing Vedic ceremonies, such as B. the Upanayana ceremony (II, 36) and defines the service of the three higher castes as their Dharma (II, 91). But the service that Svadharma of the Shudras and casteless could / cannot satisfy their hunger for religion. For in serving the upper castes there is no direct relationship between God and man. A religious person would like to have this direct relationship, no matter what caste they come from. Therefore, there have been repeated attempts to interpret the provisions of the Dharmashastras differently, to circumvent or contradict them. The Caitanya movement and the resulting Bauls religion are two such attempts. The preparatory work done by the Vishnu and Shakti cults Since Vedic and Brahmanic Hinduism excluded the broad masses, the various directions of the Vishnu and Shakti cult, which offered people an alternative, had existed since earlier times. Two main points of these directions are of importance for this work: 1. Both directions were not limited to the Vedic literatures, but created their own holy scriptures, which deviated from Vedic and Brahmanic Hinduism, and 2. They adhered less strictly to the caste-related ones Provisions of the Dharmashastras. The preliminary work that these cults have done has been to include the excluded in their group, thereby making society aware of the problem. However, they could not integrate these people into the overall complex of Hinduism. The reason was that they either leaned on the Vedic caste system in spite of everything, as the Vaishnavism of Ramanuja did, or that they completely disregarded the Vedas, as the Vamacara of the Shakti cult did. So a reform was needed that synthesized the philosophy of the Upanishads, the theology of the Puranas and humanism. This synthesis should be in a religion

25 25 who both the Hindus from the three upper castes and the Shudras and casteless found their own religion. Caitanya succeeded in doing this. Shri Caitanya Brief Biography The most authentic biography of Caitanya is the Shri-shri-caitanya-caritamrita, written by Krishnadas Kabiraj (). Caitanya was born in 1486 in Nabadvip, also called Nadiya, about 120 km north of Calcutta, into a Brahmin family. He learned Sanskrit and other branches of science in India at that time such as philosophy, astonomy, astrology, literature, grammar etc. and discovered a special inclination and ability in the logic of Nyaya philosophy. Caitanya traveled to the holy city of Gaya, which is located in today's state of Bihar, to perform the offering ceremony (pindadana) for his ancestors there. Here he got to know the ascetic (sannyasi) Ishvar-puri. Ishvar-puri was a follower of the Bhakti teaching. At Caitanya's request, the ascetic gave him the mantra initiation (mantra-diksha), which changed Caitanya very much inside. The scholar Caitanya returned to Nabadvip as a Krishna fool. Caitanya resumed his duties as director and teacher of his school. But he soon found himself unable to teach the conventional subjects, because all his concentration was on Krishna. In this way he turned the school into a place where Krishna love was taught and learned. People from around Nabadvip came to see Caitanya and to be taught by him. Caitanya initiated the willing into Krishna love. Soon he had among his followers not only his students, who were young and inexperienced, but also adults and scholars, such as Advaitacarya, Nityananda, also called Nitai, who were able to work independently for the movement. Convincing people of the new idea was an important job that Caitanya and his followers had to do. At twenty-four, Caitanya left his family, which consisted of his mother Shacidevi and wife Vishnupriya, and entered asceticism and lived the rest of his life in the city of Puri, Orissa state. Puri was an ideal place for Caitanya's activities. He lived here in the house of the brahmin Kashi Misra, as decreed by King Prataparudra. Next to the temple, this house became a meeting place for the Caitanya devotees. The king became Caitanya's disciple. This created the necessary conditions for the spread of the new direction. The unfinished biography gave / gives an opportunity for speculation about Caitanya's death. Some believers think that Caitanya could no longer bear the separation from Krishna and hugged the Jagannatha figure in the temple altar and this absorbed her lover. So Caitanya dissolved into Jagannatha. Others believe that Caitanya jumped into the sea because he thought it was Yamuna, the river in Krishna's hamlet of Vrindavan. In addition to these legends, there is also the sober suspicion that he was envied for his success by some temple priests and that he was killed by them. Detailed about Caitanya's death in: Svami Tapasyananda: Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. His Life Religion and Philosophy, Mylapore, 61-63

26 26 The reforms introduced by Caitanya In particular, Caitanya carried out the following reforms: 1. Establishing the direct relationship between God and man through God's hymn of praise in the choir (sankirtan) and replacement of the Sanskrit in the mantra and worship by the mother tongue The direct relationship between God and man were lost in the post-Rigvedic period. 34 In Caitanya's time, the sacrificial ceremony was past its prime, but it still played an important role. The sixteen compulsory ceremonies, 35 the additional large and small ceremonies that were performed on occasions or simply to bring good luck and temple worship (puja), secured the position of the priests as liaison men between God and man. Thus, through the influence of the priests, God became alien to man. There was no direct warm relationship between the two. Daily worship (puja) in front of the house altar was the only way in which people could turn directly to God. Caitanya showed the people the possibility of how they could turn directly to God and thus establish a direct trusting relationship with him. He introduced a form of worship that did not require an intermediary. It was called Sankirtan (praises of God). Sankirtana is always practiced in a choir. The lyrics of the chants were simple and understandable. In contrast to the traditional mantras, the language of the texts was either Bengali, the mother tongue of the followers, or light Sanskrit that everyone could follow. Here are two examples that are often sung by Caitanya Vaishnavs in West Bengal: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare. and Hari, Haraye namah, Krishna, Yadavaya namah Gopala, Govinda, Rama, Shri-Madhusudana. Translation: My devotion to Hari, Krishna, the Yadava people, Gopala, Govinda, Rama and Shri-Madhusudana. 2. Simplification of the regulations for the worship of God Unlike the worship of God (puja) in classical Hinduism, the worship of God introduced by Caitanya did not require any ritual preparations and could be performed regardless of the time of day and the location. In Shri-shri-caitanya-caritamrita, Antyalila XX, 17 Caitanya says while preaching: 34 Detailed in: Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan: Indian Philosophy, Vol. 1, London, 1977, About 16 obligatory ceremonies of the three upper boxes in: G.R.Sholapurkar: Religious Rites and Festivals of India, Varanasi, 1990, 21-58

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