The Baul Tradition: Sahaj Vision East and West by M. YoungThe Baul Tradition: Sahaj Vision East and West by M. Young

The Baul Tradition: Sahaj Vision East and West

byM. Young

Paperback | October 1, 2014

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This book traces the Baul Path, a Tantric spiritual tradition, from its earliest roots in the subcontinent of India, to its dissemination in the West in modern times. "Baul" - meaning "madcap" or "taken by the wind" - describes one who has a vision of reality so piercing & clear that they are called to live in a way that goes against the common grain: the safe, plodding life of the mainstream. In the East, for centuries, Baul bards & yogis wandered the dusty roads of Bengal singing & dancing with joy in praise of God. Their poetry-songs uplifted ordinary people, transporting all above the daily grind for survival & into a direct experience of the sublime. Sahaja is the hallmark of the Baul Way, referring to the naturally ecstatic essence of being. According to the Bauls, sahaja nature is inborn, & underlies one's human personality & habitual social conditioning. It is a blueprint of love, beauty, bliss, wisdom & dignity. From the Baul view, to rediscover sahaja is to love God. The spirit of sahaja arises in individuals in all cultures, in all times & places, the author asserts. In this book, however, she details the unique & vital approaches to life & spirituality that the Bauls, both East & West, have demonstrated throughout their history, & in their philosophy, teaching & practice. The Baul sadhana, or spiritual life, rests on four pillars: Radical reliance on the guru; Wandering and begging as a way of life; Teachings encoded in song and dance; Yogas of the body: including hatha, sexuality & breath. Each of these tenets is elaborated in depth, as the author highlights the notable differences in their expression "then & now," in East & West. The outstanding contribution of this book is its first-hand account of the introduction of Baul spirituality to the modern world through the life & work of Khépa Lee Lozowick (1943-2010), an American teacher & the spiritual Heart Son of Yogi Ramsuratkumar, the revered Beggar Saint of Tiruvannamalai, south India. In 2008, M. Young accompanied Khepa Lee to Bengal where they met with eminent Baul gurus & practitioners, many who had long awaited an exchange with their American "brother." On this trip, his band of Western Bauls shared their American rock & blues in a unique interplay between East & West. Foreword is by Parvathy Baul, internationally acclaimed musician and representative of the traditional Baul path. M. Young's work is a feast of scholarship, rich in memoir & practical wisdom.
Title:The Baul Tradition: Sahaj Vision East and WestFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 10 × 7.5 × 1 inPublished:October 1, 2014Publisher:Hohm PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1935387839

ISBN - 13:9781935387831

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Read from the Book

For centuries Baul bards, minstrels, yogis, and mystics have wandered the dusty roads of Bengal, going from village to village to ply their spontaneous and simple art, singing songs and dancing with joy. They uplifted the ordinary person with their poem-songs, transporting the listener above the daily grind for survival and into a direct experience of the sublime. In more recent times, the Bauls have thrilled their audiences in both the East and the West with their evocative songs, their symbolic garb, their enigmatic spirit and unique style. Not all Bauls are singers and performers, but all true Bauls are serious practitioners of the spiritual path. The Bauls are carriers of sacred secrets, and in order to make sense of what they do, or the twilight language of their songs, one must dive into the traditional underpinnings of Baul sadhana, or spiritual life. "They came, they sang and danced, and they disappeared into the mists," wrote Osho Rajneesh, one of many famous admirers of the Bauls. Perhaps it is the poetic interplay between the sahaja perception of beauty and impermanence that makes the elusive Bauls so compelling. Far from the clamor and complexity of today's Kolkata, the Bauls of Bengal have flourished despite calumny, criticism, poverty, and hardships of all kinds. Walking the razor's edge between joy and sorrow, love and loss, the Bauls have a way of life that carries a vitally necessary message-like a refreshing wind-to our current times, when the need to rediscover the timeless truths of ancient cultures is so crucially important. A true Baul is a spontaneous occurrence, an uprising of the awakened Divine expressing within the evolutionary pulse of Nature. "Baul" is simply a word-meaning "mad, madcap" or "taken by the wind"-to describe the state of mind of one who has a vision of reality so piercing and clear that they are called live in a way that goes against the common grain: the safe, quotidian, conservative, plodding life of the mainstream. Throughout history, we can discover in diverse cultures and times many individuals in whom the heart of a Baul beats softly or wildly. Not only great spiritual teachers, but also artists, healers, poets, musicians, teachers, geniuses, leaders in any field. The difference between these diverse individuals is that among the Bauls of Bengal, the path is aimed toward the fulfillment of one purpose-to gather honey for the love of the Lord.