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Baul Philosophy (An Old And Rare Book)

Item Code: HAX019
Author: Baul Samrat Purna Das, Selina Thielemann
Publisher: APH Publishing Corporation
Language: English
Edition: 2003
ISBN: 9788176484091
Pages: 545
Other Details 9.5x7.5 inch
Weight 1.21 kg
Book Description
About the Book

The Bauls of Bengal, widely known for their music which constitutes an important tool on the path of self-realization, can be regarded as the representatives of the Religion of Man of the religion of humanity whose highest divinity is the human being. Baul philosophy embraces the positive streams of numerous faiths and philosophies, recognizing the ultimate unity of the Supreme Being whose eternal abode rests within man, at the core of the human heart. The Bauls therefore strive for attainment to the Supreme Divinity within their own inner being, referring to the divine truth as the Man of the Heart who sits enshrined in the temple which is the human body. Through their songs the Bäuls articulate the matters pertaining to their spiritual quest, outlining the path of accomplishment in simple yet deeply meaningful words. The Baul thus is much more than the skillful singer-dancer for whom the public takes him at a superficial glance: the Baul is an ardent striver for the ultimate truth, a great thinker. a philosopher whose immense and profound knowledge has been attested on the touchstone of human spiritual experience.

The present book offers for the first time an insight into the spiritual aspect of Baul culture in which the tenets of the Baul's spiritual search are revealed from the insider's point of view. From the basic level to increasingly intricate stages, the procedures and methods of questing as well as their inner signification are introduced one after the other in systematic progression. The essentials of sādhanā, of the journey towards realization are explained in easy language so as to make them comprehensible to anyone interested in the processes of human spiritual emancipation. Baul philosophy as such represents an open-minded spiritual tradition, an ocean of human spiritual thinking in which the many rivers embodying diverse religions are brought to confluence in perfect harmony in one single faith called the religion of man. It is this intrinsic integrity of a philosophy that elevates man to the highest seat, realizing that the sought-after treasure rests in each and every human being, which makes Bäul sädhanā a spritual approach of universal relevance. The tenets of Baul philosophy, if settled in the minds of all humans, are capable of extending exceedingly beneficial effects upon mankind as a whole, guiding man towards fulfillment of his utmost quest and bestowing upon humanity the gift of peace, of joy, of bliss and all-encompassing harmony.

About the Authors

Purna Das Baul represents the eighth generation of an authentic Baul family where tradition is passed down from father to son. Purna Das spent his childhood accompanying his father Nabani Das Baul, the legendary singer, philosopher and close friend of the great poet Rabindranath Tagore. Purna Das can be credited for bringing the unique Baul tradition to Indian cities and the West. Today, he is the most popular exponent of Baul music, who was awarded the prestigious title 'Baul Samrat ('Emperor of Bauls') by the President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad in 1967. He received another President's Award in 1999 by the President of India Shri K.R. Narayanan.

Touring the world since 1962. Purna Das appeared repeatedly in major cities all over Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and the Far East. Besides giving concerts, Purna Das has appeared on radio, television and in films worldwide and has worked with artists such as John Buzz, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Mahalia Jackson. Allen Ginsberg, Gordon Lightfoot and others. His audio albums, cassettes and CDs are distributed through- out the world. Purna Das has participated in many storytelling festivals, and has given workshops at numerous universities around the world.

Selina Thielemann, who belongs to a family of musicians, holds a first degree in Western music and violin performance. After completing her M. Mus. in ethnomusicology from the School of Oriental and Afri- can Studies/ University of London, and M. Phil. from the University of Cambridge, she obtained her Ph.D. from Banaras Hindu University with a thesis on the Vaisnava temple music of Vraja. Based at Vrindaban where she is currently establishing an academic institution, Selina Thielemann conducts research with focus on Vaisnava performing arts, as well as on music and religion in general. Selina Thielemann is also trained as a vocalist in classical dhrupada and haveli samgīta styles.

Selina Thielemann is author of The Darbhangā Tradition: Dhrupada in the School of Pandit Vidur Mallik (Indica Books, Varanasi, 1997), Rāsalīlā: A Musical Study of Religious Drama in Vraja (1998). Sounds of the Sacred (1998), The Music of South Asia (1999), Singing the Praises Divine (2000), The Spirituality of Music (2001), Divine Service and the Performing Arts in India (2002, all published by APΗ Publishing Corporation, New Delhi), and Musical Traditions of Vaisnava Temples in Vraja (Sagar Printers and Publishers, New Delhi, 2001).


The Bauls of Bengal became a subject of scholarly interest during the early decades of the 20th century, especially since the 1920s when Bengal's leading intellectuals like Rabindranath Tagore and Kshitimohan Sen Shastri took up the Bauls' cause and, through lectures, publications as well as collections of Baul songs, began to throw light on the so far unexplored gems of Baul culture and spiritual thought. The emphasis of all academic writing published to date, however, has been on the medium through which the Bauls pursue their search for attainment - that is, their songs rather than on the spiritual quest itself, resulting in a fair amount of literature available on the Bauls' music while the spiritual concepts as such are mentioned randomly if at all.

There are two major reasons to explain this phenomenon. First, singing is the Baul's way of communicating his message to his fellow humans, hence it is this what the public get to see (or rather to hear) in the first place. Second, Baul philosophy constitutes a field of study which is vast in expanse and profound in substance, containing a number of extremely complex and intricate tenets whose proper comprehension calls for a high standard of spiritual accomplishment. The Bauls guard these tenets as their secret treasure which is not to be dislosed even to insufficiently qualified insiders, let alone the outsider. Propagation, therefore, has never been the Bauls' intent.

Yet it is dissemination of the Bauls' spiritual heritage which is most imperative if the priceless treasure is to be kept alive. The tenets of Baul philosophy must be made known to humanity as a whole, because it is this very philosophy which embodies the religion of humanity in a most comprehensive and immediate manner. The Baul's sādhanā, his quest for attainment to the Highest Truth, is relevant not only to an isolated group of seekers, but to mankind in its entirety, to each and every human being. The tenets of Baul sadhanā, if upheld by all, are designed to accomplish the welfare of humanity, for it is through them that man becomes able to turn truly human. And to bring over the message revealed through the Baul's quest is the prime intention of this book.

The Baul tradition comprises four branches representing different approaches to the spiritual search: Aul, Baul, Sai and Darudis. The present account outlines the tenets relevant to the Baul gharānā, to the Baul branch of thinking. What is the essence of these essentials? The English title of the book, Baul philosophy, may appear rather straightforward. This title, however, has emerged as a more or less inadequate attempt to translate our Bengali heading baul ātma darśana for the English-speaking reader. Baul ātma darśana in fact implies much more than can be expressed in a bluntly translated 'Baul philosophy'. In its literal meaning, the term darśana generally employed to denote 'philosophy' signifies 'vision'. Atma darśana hence is the vision of atman, the vision of one's own self the vision of one's own inner being.

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