Dadu (1544-1603) et les mystiques Bauls du Bengale.

Dadu (1544-1603) et les mystiques Bauls du Bengale. 1

Extrait du texte principal de nature historique. 1






Extraits de Kshitimohan Sen, Medieval Mysticism of India, Munshiram Manoharlal, New-Delhi, 1974. Authorized Translation From the Bengali by Manomohan Ghosh.

Nous donnons les sections traitant de Dadu (1544-1603) et de son école, soit un extrait biographique du texte principal, suivi des quatre annexes situées  en fin de volume. Paradoxalement elles présentent un intérêt supérieur au texte principal, car elles traduisent l’attachement intime de K. Sen pour les mystiques Bauls.

Extrait du texte principal de nature historique.

Lecture II, Liberal thinkers.


Pandit Sudhakar Dvivedi was of opinion that D a d u was born of muchi (shoe-maker) parents in Kasi (Benares). According to a different authority he was born in Ahmedabad (Gujarat). And his followers seek to prove that he was born of Nagar Brahman parents. It appears from his writings that he was a cotton-carrier by pro­fession. This information is strongly corroborated by many works such as the J i v a n p a r i chi (by Jana Gopal) and the writings of T e j a n a n d. According to these documents Dadu was a cotton carder of the Mussulman class. At his time there were Hindu cotton-carders also, and the Mussulman cotton-carders were their converted brothers.

Even after their conversion the cotton-carders remained Superstitious owing to their want of education-a drawback inherited from the 109[1] past. But, by his genius, sadhana and asso­ciation with saintly people, Dadu got over this difficult situation and developed an uncommon vision. He was quite unhampered by any burden of the past.

Dadu's earlier name was D a u d and the name of his wife was H a w a (Eve). He had two sons; Ga r i b-d a s and M a s ki n-d a s, and two daughters, N a n i-b a i and M a t a b a i. Born in 1544 Dadu died in 1603 in Narana (Rajputana) where the chief math of his followers is situated.

Dadu had the ambition of uniting Hindus and Mussulmans as well as followers of other creeds by means of a broad ideal of fellowship. With this end in view he established his Brahma or Para-brahma Sampradaya (society). Dada's savings are equally deep and broad. And in these he has often paid homage to Kabir's greatness.

Dadu who gave a high place to self-realisation had no respect for the sastras. To give up vanity and to surrenderer to the One God and to look upon all people as one's own brothers and sisters w is his instruction. According to him the shrine of God was within one's own self where one could meet Him only through love. One should seek union with 110 God through love. To make one's approach to God more intimate, instead of asking for anything from Him one should direct one's service in the course of God's service to His own creation.

Truth, which is invincible cannot be coll­cealed in this life. After giving up impurity and evil nature one should surrender oneself to the Divine will. This leads to union (Yoga). One should be humble, kind, free from vanity, eager for serving others and at the same time fearless, energetic and brave. Sectarian pre­judice should be shunned.

Pilgrimage, observance of vows, worship of images, rituals etc. are all in vain. One should be tolerant to all sorts of opposition and have a strong faith in God.

According to Dadu the acquisition of a guru (spiritual guide) makes sadhana easy. He believed strongly in the S a h a j a (natural or simple) method. His prayers are very sweet, and deep in meaning. He was, as we saw before, a house-holder and liked that others too should strive for higher life from that state.

Sayings of Dadu have been collected by his disciples J a g a n u a t h and this collec­tion is known 111 V a n i'. Another disciple, Rajjab, collected his writings and divided them into 37 angas and 27 rags. This collection goes by the name of the A h g a b a n d h u. There is also another work by name of the K a y a v e l i in which also there are sayings of Dadu.

By order of Dadu, his disciples collected the writings of sadhus of different sects. One such collection is available with the Sadhu S a i k a r-d a s, and it was used by his guru and contains writings of sixty-eight bhaktas among whom there are many Mussulman names, such as Garibdas, K a z i K a d a m, Shaikh Farid, Bakhna, Rajjab and others. Though the Granth Sahib contains only one pad of Ramananda this collection contains no less than three of his pads. Besides this, there are other such collections e.g. the S a r v a n g i by Rajjab and the G u n a g a n j a-n a m a by Jagannath. Both are unique collection of savings of Indian sadhakas.

Many of Dadu's disciples, such as Rajjab, Bakhna and W a z i n d  K h a n and others first belonged to Islam.

With Akbar the Great, Dadu had a discussion for forty clays. The story goes that just after this Akbar removed his own name 112 from his coins and in its stead printed Jalla Julaluhu on their one side and "Allahu Akbar" on the reverse.

The following is a list of principal disciples of Dadu

1. Jag-jivan-of Dyausa. 2. Sundar-das-(Senior) was a prince of Bikanir. 3. Sundar­das-(Junior) born in Dyausa, was a poet. 4. K s e t r a-d a s. 5. Rajjab-poet and sadhaka, his place was in Sanganer and Fatehpur. 6. Garib-das-the eldest son of Dadu. 7. Jaisa. 8. Madho-das-of Gular, Jodhpur. 9. Prayag-das-Bihani, lived mostly in Didwana and Fatehpur. 10. Bakhna. 11. B a n w a r i-d a s-leader of the Uttaradhi sect. 12. Sahkar-das-Bushera, Jodhpur. 13. M o h a n-lived often in Sanganer. 14. Maskin-das-the youngest son of Dadu. 15. Jan-gopal-his math is in Andhigram, Sekhavati, Jaipur. 16. Jagannath-constant companion of Dadu and was the compiler of the Gunaganjanama. 17. H a r i-d a s-of the Niranjan sect. 18. N i s c a 1-d a s-turned a Vedantin later on. Each of these bhaktas was an outstanding personality.

Dadu's followers include many Hindus as well, though among the leaders of his sect there are many born Mussulmans. Even 113 now, in the branch of Dadu's sect which developed under the guidance of Rajjab the place of a guru (spiritual leader) is accorded to one who is great in his spiritual achieve­ment, and no one questions his Hindu or Mussulman birth. At Sikar, Sekhavati, Kal­daira, Bhiwani Malsisar in Jaypur state, at Churi in Khetri and at N arnaul in Patiala there are many followers and Inonasterics of Rajjab. Many of the sudhus of this sect have now become ascetics and a few of them are householders and are styled as Pandits.

Lack of time prevents quoting extensively from Rajjab's savings; only a few are given here:

"Within our own selves is that lamp which will dispel the darkness that surrounds us."

"Can your dry asceticism vanquish the enemy that is within yourself or get any light for you?"

"In the mosque of life complete your namaz and salutation. It is the mind that often brings in there many distractions, so turn out the fitful mind, this kafir, from this peaceful place of worship."

"Complete your spiritual experience by developing the different sides of your life and character. The effort for spiritual experience, 114 which in order to develop one or two aspects of life, kills all the rest is to he compared with the conduct of cats or tigers which to rear up one or two strong offsprings feed them with all the rest. The efforts of any one who develops his kindness at the cost of manliness is of the strangest kind. For it is the heroes who are commissioned to create, it is a privilege, a power which is not given to the cowards."

"There are as many sects as there are men. Such is the creation of the Providence endowed with a variety. The worship of different sects, which are like so many small streams, are moving together to meet God (Hari) who is like the ocean."

"The Ganges has come out of the feet of Narayan (God). If in the heart of every devotee there are His feet, then the streams of ideas coming out from the heart of different devotees, are so many Ganges. The supremely holy water where all these Ganges meet can give spiritual freedom to one who bathes in it."

“Every drop of water has the call of the sea towards which it cannot start alone: for in that case it will dry up in the way. The holy stream which is formed from these drops overcomes the obstacles and dryness of the 115 way. So bring together different streams of world's ideas and do away with poverty."

"All the world is the Vedas and the entire creation is the Koran. Vain are efforts of the Pandit and the Kazi who consider a mass of dry papers to be their complete world."

"The heart of the sadhaka is the real paper where are written all truths in the shining letters of life. The great human world which consists of all such hearts is resplendent with the light of the complete Vedas and the Koran. Remove the obstacles of artificiality and read the truth of that world.. Many are the readers of the lifeless letters written on equally lifeless paper. Read, O Rajjab if you are at all to read, the gospel which is revealed in all the lives."

The poet Sundar-das had five principal disciples. Syam-das, Damodar-das, Dayal-das, Nirmal-das and N a r a y a n-d a s. And among their fol­lowers we find many great leaders of thought and ideal.



[Appendix I to IV (complets):]


Dadu was religiously inclined from his boyhood. Low born though he was, he was to be found standing and listening at any place where religious discourse was being held. After he had gained personal contact with a true devotee, his one concern was: When shall I forget my little self, my petty desires, and become established in Truth ?

Feeling Shambhar, near Jaipur, to be a suitable place, Dadu at length retired there and strove for realisation. By virtue of his fervour, free communion with the Supreme was eventually vouchsafed to him:

"When realisation came to me, I was filled with joy and all fear departeda from. me. I found pure deliverance in the realm of the unapproach­able, the unthinkable. The Unapproachable has come near, the message of the Unthinkable abides with me always, the Unutterable finds utterance From separation I have come to Union. The bonds of self' are loosened, all error has fled, and the light of the Brahman. shines upon my soul."

He had no longer any use, says his disciple, Jangopal-das, for the sectarian creed of the Mussulmans, nor did he resort to any sectarian practices of the Hindus; he gave up all search for truth in the six systems of philosophy. Throughout the livelong day he remained steeped in the Divine essence, coloured 174    with its colour. Knowing the Brahman alone to be the Supreme Trath, he worshipped no gods or goddesses, nor did he take to fasts, vows or pilgrimages, nor adopt the garb or sign of any religious order. To the quarrels between Hindus and Mussulmans he replied with his own life.

That, indeed, was Dadu's way. His answers to questions were given not so much by his words as by the manner of his life. And of that life one of the outstanding features was the Brahma Society founded by him. This Society grew and flourished with the expansion of its ideal, not the increase of its member­ship. Dadu never believed that mere addition to the number of his followers would help in gaining the truth. He was content to wait for the true devotee, whom he knew to be rare. As he says:

"Every forest has not the sandal tree, nor is every sea full of pearls. Sages are not to be found in crowds, so also is the true devotee rare in this world."

His followers, apparently, also looked upon the formation of any separate class or order to be a danger to the truth of religion, for they always denied that Dadu was the founder of any sect. The Parabrahma-Sampradaya referred to by Dadu's disciple, Sundar-das (through sampradaya means sect or cult) was this same Brahma Society, the name having been subsequently so changed to distinguish it from the well-known Brahma-sect of the Madhvis, from which it was entirely different. This Society was only intended to he a gathering for the adoration of the Supreme Brahman, who alone was acknowledged as its Guru or Head. 175

Their religion was often described by Dadu's disciples as sahaj (simple or natural). The Society itself was also sometimes called the Sahaj-sampradaya. Once, when asked by a visitor about his method, Dadu said:

"The giving up of self-regard, the worship of God, the curing of all corruptions of mind and body, the cultivation of friendliness for all creatures,- this is its essence."

Beginning from Kabir, many devotees of North­West India have pursued this sahaj or simple path of realisation, devoid of avatar or image, symbol or ritual. It need hardly be added that this was not the same as the vulgar offshoot of Buddhism which goes by that name in Bengal.

No two creations of God are alike, says Rajjab, the Moslem disciple of Dadu, hence there are as many sects as there are men. But, he continues, the strings of the vina each sound a different note, and yet they unite in harmonious obeisance. The individual is but a drop of the spirit, to each of whom comes the call of the Ocean of the Brahman; and, on the one who responds to it, is cast the duty of communicating it to the others, so that the current of devotion may flow onwards, if the individual tries to go alone to the Ocean, the arid spaces between, dry him up on the way. The love of the solitary drop is not enough, the flood of their united movement can alone overcome the obstruction of the way and, by His mercy, attain His presence.

This doubtless was also Dadu's feeling, and his friends and disciples were accordingly gathered to his side after the day's work was done. Thus a meeting pace for devotees was formed at Sambhar, to which 176 gathering Dadu at first gave no name, but simply called the place their Alakh-dariba , the place of the Almighty. Dariba means a market place, and darba a perch raised on a pole for the settling of pigeons after their flight. It was perhaps the latter which Dada had in mind in his verse:

"The love-intoxicated devotees come to the Alakh-dariba to sit together in the presence of the effulgence of the Lord."

Some of his admirers used to send offerings of refreshments for the assembled devotees and, on one occasion, a poor man sent some jawar grain, the food of the poorest, which seems specially to have touched them, for Jangopal-das has recorded the incident in one of his verses. Elsewhere Dadu has likened this meeting place to a chaugan or park where, after the toil of the day, the devotees could forget their petty worldly concerns and come out of the narrorw limits of their own house­holds into the fresh, open air of the Infinite. Amongst those who thus gathered round Dadu are to be found the names of all sorts and conditions of men. Of Hindu devotees there were any number, and Mussulmans also were not few. There were Kazi Kadam, Shaikh Farid, Kazi Muhammad, Shaikh Bahawad (also known as the Dervish), Bakhna, Rajjab and others.

It was when he was thirty, and married, that Dadu definitely took up the formation of the Society. His disciples then began to call it the Brahma-Sampradaya, then Dadu humbly accepted the name. Later on, as we have seen, in order to avoid confusion with the Madhvi sect of the same name, they changed it to the Para­brahma-Sampradaya. It was for the purposes of this 177 Society that Dadu came to compose his simple Hindi poems.

Devotees, as a rule, consider the married state to be a hindrance to realisation, but not so Kabir, Dadu, or their followers, who looked on it as a help. Life, according to Dadu, is an immense problem, of which the solution can only be found by living it in all its departments. To attempt to reply to the vastness of the question by a narrow life is to offer it insult. "For him who is fettered in mind all the world is a fetter. To him who is free, all worldly estates are the means of freedom. Customs and institutions keep the world in bondage and the Pandits with their confusions help them, to do so." But, loving freedom as he did, Dadu was prepared to give freedom. His two daughters, later on, would not marry, but desired to renounce the world for a life of devotion. Dada reasoned with them; but did not press them against their inclination. The place where these two women ascetics strove for realisation is still pointed out. Women devotees frequent it and there find help and enlightenment.

Dadu with his unwavering faith in the power of the Supreme, was fearless in his up-rooting of all noxious practices, in spite of every kind of opposition from. the orthodoxy of the day. He says:

"From the day I renounced sectarianism, they were all angry with me; but, by the mercy of the Lord, I neither glory in that, nor do I regret it."

We have already noticed on a previous occasion, how when they said to him: “But, Dadu, each one follows some particular path or other, where is the example of salvation being gained by this universal path of yours, devoid of all distinctions?"-he replied: 178           

"Great Nature itself and all great men are on my side. What cult do they pursue, earth and sky, water, and wind, day and night, sun and moon? What creed was followed by Mahomed, tell me, or by Gabriel,- to what sect did they belong? Who but Allah Himself was their Guru or Saint? The invisible God alone is the World-teacher, there is none else."

If any disciples would ask to be allowed to take the ochre garb of the ascetic he would admonish them thus:

"There are many sages and pandits, many brave and generous men, and as for ascetics they are innumerable; but those who are united to tho Supreme in love are rare. If you have rejected the branches for the root, then why seek to be known by your garb? Through all the different insignia only the self is displayed; none of them want to take the road to God on which self must be cast away."

And so, in forming the Society, Dadu did not lean to any side, Hindu or Moslem. Its door was always open to all those whose faith was true, whose ideal was high, whose endeavour was earnest, whether man or woman, high or low born, rich or poor. But though some rich and influential persons did join the Society, its leading spirits were always those who could claim the greater depth of realisation. When twitted with his own low descent Dadu said:

"God is my forebear, the Creator is my kins 179 man, the World-guru is of my caste, I belong to the children of the Almighty."

And on behalf of his numerous low-born followers, both Hindu and Moslem, he added:

“Amongst the servants of the Lord there is neither high nor low. If the service be true, the Lord accepts it. He did not ask the caste of Sadna, (a butcher) or of Ravidas (a sweeper) but came over to them, leaving the Brahman and the Vaisnava disconsolate."

There were also slaves amongst his disciples of whom it was objected: How can these bondsmen become servants of the Lord? To which Dadu replied:

"What of that? Is not the Lord bound by his own laws? He who has the Truth within himself cannot be subject to any other master. For the sake of the Supreme Truth, Gorakhnath sold himself 12 times, and the gallant Ali 18 times."

At that time many of the sanyasis and faqirs were in the habit of enticing the ignorant folk to the path of religion by a display of their magical powers. This Dadu could not tolerate. To prostitute one's spiritual power for gaining popular adherence was to him a low proceeding, an insult to the Lord. "If truth has no power of its own," was its view, "what is the use of preaching it?"

Neither did Dadu rely on any dogma, doctrine, or set forms. He had no fixed time for divine worship, in the presence of spectators. He was always rapt in the 180 sense of the Divine Presence. When they blamed him for his lack of piety he said:

"What is it to you, my brother, if I make no namaz? One should go along one's own path, and not follow that of others."

Just as Dadu did not adhere to any sect, so also had he no partiality for any particular age. He did not glorify the past, nor did he advocate any starving of the present for the sake of some future hope. Neither did he preach the subordination of courage and bravery to pity. His disciple Rajjab puts its thus:

"The cult of pity that would kill power, and reduce manhood to impotence, is a false one. To do so would be as cruel as are the cats that kill some of their young to feeds the others. A nice kind of cult, that!"

The special feature of Dadu's Society was the cultivation of all the qualities side by side,- which he called the true yoga, or coherent endeavour.

"When all the strings of the vina are played on, then does the melody sound entrancing. So when all the powers and faculties and ideas of man are cultivated in the same degree, in tune with the wisdom, of all cults, all ages, all climes, then does it become a true yoga, the Brahma-yoga. Such is the power of true striving that all deficiencies are made complete, the bitter becomes sweet, the broken becomes whole. Such is the resulting wisdom that the very bonds become the means of freedom, the fettered are liberated, the enemy turns into friend." 181

If you will not form any separate sect or order, asked a faqir, then what is it you are trying to do here? Dadu said: "We are trying to make a place fit for true devotees, and also to make ourselves worthy of it," What is the sign of a true devotee? further questioned the faqir. "He who has given up his self," was the answer, is the wise devotee from whose sparkling cup priceless bliss is ever pouring out." On this the faqir came and joined them.

Dadu makes it clear that such cup is not filled with the products of the fruits of imagination, but of realisation whereof the test is peace. "He whose mind has not ceased its struggles," he says, "has not attained true realisation."

Dadu has also illustrated this point by a story : A merchant once asked a devotee for a tireless servant. If you get such a servant, replied the devotee, will you be able to keep him supplied with work? If not, you will get into trouble. On the merchant accepting the condition, the devotee gave him a goblin for servant, warning him again that he must always be kept at work. But whatever task the merchant set him the goblin ac­complished in a trice and asked for more. The merchant was at his wit's end. Whereupon the devotee rescued him from his dilemma by telling him to set up a bamboo pole and ask the goblin, whenever other work was lacking, to keep climbing up and down. That is how the merchant was saved from his goblin servant. That is how it is with the imagination. The difficulty always is to keep from running riot.

When they asked him: What is the designation of your cult? Dadu said: "Never trouble about your own designation. Your duty is to serve the Lord." 182

When they further pressed him: On what, then, do you seek to establish yourselves?- he rejoined:

"Who so unfortunate that he would seek to establish himself on aught else than on Him? Where else can you find a foot-hold? As the scent in the flower, the life in the veins, as everywhere the light of the sun, so is He naturally within you. He who has built this temple has not left it empty; why then would you search for other refuge? Let the lotus of the heart breathe His name, the wind of the mind carry it forth, the lips of love utter it, then will you know that the Infinite Brahman has entered into your life. Fear not if the way be not easy : He who is within you will fulfil all shortcomings, if but your striving be true. "

Devotees, both Hindu and Moslem, found no diffi­culty in accepting the position of the Brahma Society, but the more obvious became the truths proclaimed by Dadu, the angrier waxed orthodoxy, till at last his friends began to caution him saying: Look here, Dadu, go a little slow. Is it good to blurt out everything before everybody? Say only what it is absolutely necessary to say,- what if sometimes you remain prudent­ly silent? To which Dadu answered:

"Smother it as you will, truth can never be suppressed. If there be anything that is luminously manifest, whether in the depth of hell or in the height of heaven, that is Truth. The universe in multifarious ways is testifying to it, so must the devotees with their lives."

But, they urged, your truth is hurting the self-interest 183 of so many,- the Mullas and the Maulavis, the Pandas and the Pandits, the Mahants of the monasteries and the Pirs of the dargas. Then there are the Rajas and Ranas, the Mirs and the Maliks. Day by day is their wrath roused against you. Your message to the people means the loss of their prestige and power. Be­think you well of this. But Dadu was not to be daunted. His reply to the local Raja, Bhagwanta Das took the form of this prayer to God:

"O Father, I who am strong in Thy might hold Rana or Rao to be of no account. Thou alone art my Mir, my Malik, my Chief, my Lord, my King; without Thee all are as thin air."

But though he was not afraid of the rich or the powerful, neither was he antagonistic to them.

"Because I am the servant of the Lord who is the redeemer of the lost, I am happy in the com­pany of thieves, of the breakers of law, of the scoffers against high ideals, who occupy the lowest seats with the fallen. But, though people think themselves fulfilled when in the society of their peers, how can I feel full satisfaction only in the company of my own people?"

And, as a matter of fact his liking for such company did not stand in the way of his intercourse with even the Emperor Akbar.

There is the tradition that a messenger came from Delhi to say that the Emperor himself wished to attend the Brahma Society and accept its teaching. Dadu merely said:

"What can the Emperor expect to gain from 184 this Society of poor men? But if the devotee Akbar wishes to meet us, that is another matter. He is welcome."

It is stated that Akbar appreciated the spirit of this reply and acted accordingly. In 1586 Dadu had interviews with the Emperor during a period of 40 days. This meeting should be an important landmark for students of Indian religious culture. It was from that time that Akbar had the name of God impressed on his coinage instead of his own, and promulgated the Ilahi era.

The Kazis and Pandits of Akbar's court, astonished at the depth of Dadu's words asked him: “From what book have you got all this? Dadu answered them: "This body is my book, in which the All Merciful writes his messages. My life is my Pandit." Where is your temple, asked they, where do you pray? "My temple of God is within me," he replied, "There I worship, there no outsider can come and disturb me; bathed and clean, there I offer up my reverence."

Curious characters sometimes came to join the gathering. Once a simple Rajput youth took the vow that he would serve, without asking for any reward, the one who held the highest position. He first went to his own Raja and asked him: Do you, Sire, occupy they highest place? No, said the Raja, the Emperor is above me. Thereupon the youth went straight to Akhar and said to him: Since there is none above you I would devote myself to Your Majesty's service, asking for no return. The Emperor said : If you expect no return, why serve me? All true devotees are higher than I am. Finally the youth, hearing of Dadu from the Emperor, came to the Brahma Society's gathering and asked 185

Dadu : You are a true devotee; are you then above everyone else? "How can that be," replied Dadu, "when the Lord Himself is there? No one is greater than another in this place of devotion. The Lord alone is great, before Him there are no distinctions of big or small, high or low." Then, said the Rajput, I would be the servant of Him who is above all else. "Take your seat amidst us," said Dadu, "may your life be one unfaltering obeisance at the feet of the Lord!"

Dadu always maintained that realisation was only to be obtained by spiritual endeavour, by the working of the spirit within. When certain townsmen objected that they knew nothing of his spirit, bud wanted to know what works he advised them to do, Dadu told them:

"The root of all works is the realisation of Truth. Had there not been the unfailing store of snow behind, the river could never maintain its current, nor villages and towns spring up on its banks. So, for works there must be a constant fount of Truth, else their flow cannot be enduring. The spring of service is the love welling up within. Without this love the servant will tire of his service and be unable to stave off the onset of inertness. The inert creature is not even aware of the depri­vation of all joy in work that overtakes him. He, whose spirit is conscious, alone tastes of this bliss. Whoso serves with love knows no weariness, he forgets his self, but cannot forget his service. Feel, consider, meditate on the evergreen earth. Ages have passed over it and yet its verdant beauty remains unsullied. What an unwearied service of love is there! Not for a day is it. dulled. Why should it be,- is not love eternal life? Where love 186 is, there service finds its resting place. The loving Lord fills the Infinite with His presence. For Him the Earth adorns herself with foliage and flower of many a colour, the sky is filled with refreshing water, the land with resounding acclamations, keeping perpetually renewed festival in defiance of Time."

On Dadu's death his son Garibdas was asked to take up the leadership of the Brahma Society. After he had occupied this position for a time, he received a poem from Rajjab which began with an appreciation of him, personally : "Garib-das has no pride, humblest of the devotees is he; none ever turns away from, him, for he is ananda itself." But this was followed by a hint that his administration had its defects,- devotee as he was, he lacked proper circumspection. Whereupon Garib-das retired in favour of Maskin-das. Thereafter the gathering gradually crystallised into the Dadu-panthi sect.

It is usually the case that the principle, which first brings a band of followers together, is not maintained in its purity for long. Nevertheless the Dadu-panthis remained true to the original ideal. for over a century. The devotee Das-ji wrote about this sect a hundred year later:

"He who has no pride, who worships the Almighty in his heart, but, wears no outward sign ; who has given up all men-made distinctions, who relies on no philo­sophy, but has conquered his own mind,- he is the true devotee, the Dadu-panthi.

He who has cast off both custom and tradition, who is not partial to any of the ten avatars, but worship in 187 his soul the One devoid of all distinctions,-he is the Dadu-panthi.

He for whom there is neither high nor low, to whom king and beggar is the same, who is immersed in the Divine Love in the depth of his heart,- he is the Dadu-panthi.

He who has conquered greed and anger and selfish­ness, who is satisfied with enough for food and clothing and does not keep on accumulating more and more, who accepts only alms of love and ideas, whose toil is only in the service of the world to give it gladness; whose longing and adoration is only for Him, whose only sorrow is in separation from Him, who is enveloped by the unqualified Brahman alone,- he is the Dadu-panthi.

He who casts away all falsehood for gaining the truth ; whose thoughts fearlessly dwell only on realisa­tion ; whose words utter only the immortal truth ; who, meek and humble at heart, is ever careful and clear in his judgment,- he is the Dadu-panthi.

He who is true to this ideal in word and thought and deed, he alone is the true Dadu-panthi,- the others take the name of the sect in vain."

Tripathi Chandrika-prasad, an admirer of Dadu, says:

"Because the religion of the Brahma Society, founded by Dadu-dayal was simple and yet high, it has come to be universally honoured. Both Hindu and Moslem devotees have accepted the teaching of the good Dadu. Their worship of the unqualified Brahman is pure and lofty and leads its votaries to great heights of realisation. Being equally consistent with Reason and Spirit, hurting the feelings, of none, it has promoted 188 equality and fellow-feeling amongst men. It makes all men realise that they are the children of One Father, and creates brotherly and sisterly feelings. It brings mankind closer together in love, destroys all barriers between them, and helps their united advance. When it is realised that all creatures are images of the Supreme Soul, they look upon and feel for one another as them­selves. They cannot admit anyone to be high or low by birth or position; they do not esteem external forms of worship, but offer up their adoration within the heart."

Even up to this day, image worship has no place amongst the Dadu-panthis. There are several branches, both Hindu and Moslem. One of the best known of the Hindu sub-sects is the Uttaradhi, founded, accord­ing to Traill, by Banwari-das, a follower of Rajjab. Their chief centre now is in the village of Ratia in Patiala State, of which the devotee Dharam-das was recently the head. Gopal-das founded a centre of this sect in Hardwar, where, of late, Sachchidananda was a well-known figure. Sometime ago there was a movement to introduce image-worship into this sect, but owing to the strenuous opposition of the other sects, this innovation was dropped.

During these hundred years, both Hindu and Moslem were to be found among the leading Dadu­panthis. There have been several Hindu devotees at its head who attained great heights of realisation. Among the leaders of Moslem birth were : Garib-das, Maskindas and Faqir-das who were all devout yogis. Even today, those who are member of Rajjab's branch, elect their leaders from Hindu and Moslem alike. 189          

It will also he of interest to note, in conclusion, the impression made by Dadu's principles on some of his disciples.

Sundar-das, who was a Vedantin, bears testimony to the universality of Dada's path thus:

"Whilst Hindu and Moslem were engaged in their quarrels, Dadu evolved this beautiful society of Para­brahma. What you believe in as obvious and tangible, I, by the favour of my Guru, have learnt to be a mere dream,. The ideal he has held before us, which seems to you but a dream, is for me the only certainty. To the great teacher, now renowned as Dadu-dayal (the kind Dadu), who looked upon men-made distinctions and institutions as so many empty names, I offer my reverent salutation."

Ksetra-das says: "Neither Bhagavata nor 5aiva, not belonging to any sect,- such was his way. No sign not outward mark, no class name nor worldly expectation,- such was his distinction.

No injunctions of Veda or Sastra, no symbols or practices, no rules or rigours,- such was his freedom.

No leaning towards Moslem narrowness or Hindu exclusiveness, firmly established on the Infinite, - such was my beloved Dadu!"

Jaisa says: "In order to saturate himself with Love, Dadu gave up philosophy and argument. 190.

In order to understand the greatness of Man, he gave up class and clan and sect.      

In order to drink freely of the beauties of Creation, he gave up the bondage of all obsessions and observances.

In order to gain the supreme Self, he gave up himself." 191


Dadu belongs to the series of Indian poet-seers, which includes Nanak, Kabir, Ravi-das, Mira-bai, who were the outcome of the impact of Islam on Hinduism, and are revered by both Hindu and Moslem to this day. He was born in 1544, and died in 1603, of the Christian era. He made his living by sewing skins into bags for raising water from wells, until eventually he was initiated into the religious life by the sadhu, Sundar-das. His original name, given to him by his parents, has been lost sight of; nor is there any record of the customary religious name bestowed on him by his guru. He used to call everyone "brother" and they in turn affectionately called him Dadu (pet name for elder brother) and this name of Dadu-dayal, the good Dadu, is the one which has come down to us. (note : This explanation or Dadu's name current among some of his followers has proved to be unhistorical. For the correct interpretation of the same see p. 109.)

Dadu had no book-learning, but his natural genius and the vision gained by his devotion, made him a lover of beauty and a poet. Service has its social and ethical side, expressed in the performance of civic duties and of good works. Religious fervour sometimes takes the form of rigorous discipline, or sacrifice, or penance, for their own sake. But the Path of Service which Dadu pursued was spiritual, that is to say, it was the outward manifestation of the Love of God which filled his heart. 192      

Spiritual emotion finds its expression in works of art, in forms of ceremonial; the urgence of spiritual service finds its outlet in action, the duty, the motive force behind which is not sense of beauty, nor self-immolation, but love of God. And so its expression has all the beauty of Art, or Poetry, and is as spontaneous. Man's indwelling Spirit finds at least as good a medium for artistic self-expression in the life he lives, as in the paint or stone with which he works. And the spiritual devotee, like the poet or artist., finds inspiration, not in material wants- seeking their satisfaction, but in his hunger after Perfection itself.

The Supreme Spirit takes form in the universe because of its joy There is no compulsion of any necessity. Man attains kindred nature with God- he also is able to create artistically when he gives expression to his spiritual emotion in service, without reference to any utility, whether for himself or for others. Whenever such expression is narrowed to any purpose, Beauty does not come into being. Dadu views creation as still going on- he has no apprehension of its ever coming to an end- and for him, in the field of service, man's own creation finds eternal scope in love and joy unfathomable.

The devotees of our middle ages were none of them learned men, and they gave novel meanings of their own to the technical terms in use in our philosophy, either because they did not know their technical application, or else because they found that such application did not cover the significance of their own direct experiences.

The terms Dvaita and Advaita. technically signify respectively the quality and identity of the Brahman and Creation. But Dadu uses these words to denote the two 193 kinds of communion which man's self holds with the Supreme Self, the differences between which were brought out by the devotee, Ravi-das, before him.

Man holds communion with his Divinity in two different ways. In the Dvaita, he is a supplicant, with nothing to offer, or to create for himself. Such communion is one of necessity or want, not of spiritual expansion. There the worshipper and the worshipped are at best complementary to each other, their essential spiritual unity is not recognised. Nor is such com­munion permanent; for, his want being satisfied, the worshipper has to come down again to his own material plane, and separation from the Divine is thus inherent in the very act of answer to prayer. In the other, the Advaita man surrenders his self and has nothing to ask for. In the joy of mutual service the spiritual one-ness of worshipper and worshipped becomes patent. Both are creators and mingle permanently in their creation.

When woman asks for the price of her ministra­tion, she becomes merely handmaid, losing her function of assisting in man's creation; and so in Dvaita­ communion man may obtain grace as the reward of service, but not the thrill of mutual surrender. When woman knows herself as the companion of her mate, then is she mistress of her lord's heart.. Then she gives, but asks not for return ; and as mistress she is creator, her love fashioning her home as well as her in its own beauty. So, likewise, in Advaita-communion, the In­finite is made manifest in the service of the worshipper; for, his service is nothing less than the realisation of the identity of his nature with . the Divine. On this plane, love and joy gush forth in super-abundance, surpassing all need. 194         

And it follows that if, in man's worship there be any narrowness, or feeling of separateness, or sectaria­nism - any element of  finitude, then such supreme realisation of service is obstructed. "O Dadu," deplores our Poet, "The Brahman in whom all separate things are to find unity,- even Him they have divided amongst their separate sects. Casting aside the living God, they have tied into bundles their own ignorance". Then again : "Each of them are ensconced in their en­closures of sect or caste, but the heart of Dadu, the servant of the Almighty, is not filled within these narrow bounds".

When they ask him : "Is it then so easy to com­prehend, the All in its vastness?" Dadu replies: "It rather requires overmuch intellect to maintain so many distinctions,- they are beyond my simple mind." And he adds: "Look on the Supreme Soul and you will find all souls to be one; they are different only if you cannot look beyond their differently coloured bodies.

We have no eyes until we catch sight of the supreme Truth ; only till then are we kept bound to sects, unable to attain the Bondless."

"But," they object, "each one follows some parti­cular path or other; where is the example of salvation being gained, by this universal path of yours, devoid of all distinctions ?” Whereupon Dadu answers them : “Great nature itself, and all great men are on my side. What cult do they pursue- earth and sky, water and wind, day and night, sun and moon? What creed was followed by Muhammad, tell me, or by Gabriel? To what sect did they belong? Who but Allah himself was 195 their Guru or Saint? The invisible God alone is the World Teacher, there is none else."

Self, according to Dadu, melts away when immers­ed in the depths of true Service. The good housewife lurks in the back-ground, while the household is alive and fulfilled with her loving activity. God keeps hidden away behind the veil, even in the tiniest, dew­drop, but is manifest throughout the Universe in the vastness of his service. "O God", cries Dadu. "Teach me to be like Thee, mindful of service, forgetful of self. Teach me to rejoice in Thee as thou rejoicest in me, in the grand durbar of our communion, for ever and ever."

The worshipper lie exhorts thus: "Do you hesitate, O servant, fearing that you have nothing of value to offer? Offer up yourself, in reverence, as you are: no other thought need trouble you, for that is to be like the Master. Let your striving be as is the striving of the Master, for then will your song be attuned to His. Let your service be as the service of the Master, for then will you taste of the true joy of mutual service;- not the reward of a servant, but the eternal bliss of fellow­ship in creation" 196


The language of man has been mainly occupied with telling us about the elements into which the finite world has been analysed; nevertheless, now and again, it reveals glimpses of the world of the Infinite as well; for the spirit of man has discovered rifts in the wall of  Matter. Our intellect can count the petals, classify the scent, and describe the colour of the rose, but its unity finds its expression when we rejoice in it.

The intellect at best ran give us only a broken view of things. The marvellous vision of the Seer, in spite of the scoffing in which both Science and Metaphysics so often indulge, can alone make manifest to us the truth of a thing in its completeness. When we thus gain a vision of unity, we are no longer intellectually aware of detail, counting, classifying, or distinguising;- for then we have found admittance into the region of the spirit, and there we simply measure the truth of our realization by the intensity of our joy.

What is the meaning of this unutterable joy? That which we know by intellectual process is something outside ourselves. But the vision of anything in the fullness of its unity involves the realization of the unity of the self within, as well as of the relation between the two. The knowledge of the many may make us proud, but it makes us glad when our kinship with the One is brought home to us. Beauty is the name that we give to this acknowledgment of unity and of ito re­lationship with ourselves. 197

It is through the beauty of Nature, or of Human Character, or Service, that we set our glimpses of the Supreme Soul whose essence is bliss. Or rather, it is when we became conscious of Him in Nature, or Art, or Service that Beauty flashes out. And whenever we thus light upon the Dweller-within, all discord disappears and Love and Beauty are seen inseparable from Truth. It is really the coming of Truth to us as kinsman which floods our being with Joy.

This realization in Joy is immediate, self-sufficient, ultimate. When the self experiences Joy within, it is completely satisfied and has nothing more to ask from the outside world. Joy, as we know it, is a direct, synthetic measure of Beauty and neither awaits nor depends upon any analytical process. In our Joy, further, we behold not only the unity, but also the origin, for the Beauty which tells us of Him can be nothing but radiance reflected, melody re-echoed, from Him; else would all this have been unmeaning indeed - Society, Civilization, Humanity. Tile progress of Man would otherwise have ended in an orgy of the gratification of his animal passions.

The power of realization, for each particular individual, is limited. All do not attain the privilege of directly apprehending the universal Unity. Never­theless, a partial vision of it, stay in a flower, or in a friend, is a common experience; moreover, the poten­tiality is inherent in every individual soul, by dint of disciplined striving, to effect its own expansion and thereupon eventually to achieve the realization of the Supreme Soul.

By whom, meanwhile, are these ineffable tidings from the realm of the Spirit, the world of the Infinite, 198 brought to us? Not by potentates or philosophers, but by the poor, the untutored, the despised. And with what superb assurance do they lead us out of the desert of the intellect into the paradise of the Spirit!

When our metaphysicians, dividing themselves into rival schools of Monism, Dualism or Monistic-Dualism, had joined together in dismissing the world as Maya, then, up from the depths of their Social obscurity, rose these cobblers, weavers, and sewers of bags proclaiming such theorems of the intellect to be all nonsense, for the metaphysicians had not seen with their own inner vision how the world overflowed with Truth and Love, Beauty and Joy.

Dadu, Ravi-das, Kabir and Nanak were not ascetics; they bore no message of poverty, or renunciation, for their own sake; they were poets who had pierced the curtail of appearances and had glimpses of the world of Unity, where God himself is a poet. Their words cannot stand the glare of logical criticism ; they babble, like babes, of the joy of their vision of Him, of the ecstasy into which His music has thrown them.

Nevertheless, it is they, not the scientists or philo­sophers, who have taught us of reality. On the one side the Supreme Soul is alone, on the other my individual soul is alone. If the two do not come together, then indeed there befalls the greatest of all calamities, the utter emptiness of chaos. For all the abundance of His inherent joy, God is in want of my joy of Him; and Reality in its perfection only blossoms where we meet.

"When I look upon the beauty of this Universe," said Dadu. "I cannot help asking: 'How, O Lord, did 199 you come to treat, it? What sudden wave of joy coursing through your being compelled its own manifestation? Was it really due to desire for self-expres­sion or simply on the impulse of emotion? Or was it perhaps just your fancy to revel in the play of form? Is this play then so delightful to you; or is it that you would see your own inborn delight thus take shape?' Oh, how can these questions lie answered in words?" cries Dadu. "Only those who know will understand."

"Why not go to him who has wrought this marvel," says Dadu elsewhere, "and ask : `Cannot your own message make clear this wondrous making of the One into the many?' When I look on creation as beauty of from, I see only Form and Beauty. When I look on it as life, everywhere I see Life. When I look on it as the Brahman, then indeed is Dadu at a loss for words. When I see it in relation, it is of bewildering variety. When I see it in my own soul, all its variousness is merged in the beauty of the Supreme Soul. This eye of mine then becomes, also the eye of the Brahman, and iu this exchange or mutual vision does Dudft behold Truth."

The eye cannot see the face- for that purpose a mirror is necessary. That is to say, either the face has to be put at a distance from the eye, or the eye moved away from the face- in any case what was one has to be made into two. The image is not, the face itself, but how else is that to be seen ?

So does God mirror Himself in Creation, and since He cannot place Himself outside His own Infinity, He call only gain a vision of Himself- and, get a taste of His own joy- through my joy in Him and in His Universe. Hence the anxious striving of the devotee 200 to keep himself thoroughly pure- not through any pride of Puritanism, but because his soul is the playground where God would revel in Himself. Had not God's radiance, His beauty, thus found its form in the Uni­verse, its joy in the devotee, He would have remained mere formless, colourless Being in the nothingness of infinity.

This is what makes the Mystery so profound., so inscrutable. Whether we say that only the Brahman is true, or only the universe is true, we are equally far from the Truth, which can only be expressed as both this and that, or neither this nor that.

And Dadu can only hint at it by saying: "Neither death nor life is He; He neither goes out, nor does He come in; nor sleeps, nor wakes; nor wants, nor is satis­fied. He is neither I nor you, neither One or Two. For no sooner do I say that all is One, than I find us both: and when I say there are two, I see we're One. So O Dadu, rest content to look on Him just as He is, in the deep of your heart, and give up wrestling with vain imaginings and empty words.

"Words shower", Dadu goes on, "when spouts the fount of the intellect; but where realization grows, there music has its seat." When the intellect confesses defeat, and words fail, then, indeed, from the depth of the heart wells up the song of the joy of realization. What words cannot make clear, melody can; to its strains one can revel in the vision of God in His revels.

"That is why", cries Dadu, "your universe, this creation of yours, has charmed me your waters and your breezes, and this earth which holds them, with its ranges of mountains, its great oceans. its snow-capped 201 poles, its blazing sun, because, through all the three regions of earth, sky and heaven, amidst all their multi­farious life, it is your ministration, your beauty, that keeps me enthralled. Who can know you, O Invisible, Unapproachable, Unfathomable! Dadu has no desire to know; he is satisfied to remain enraptured with all this beauty of yours, and to rejoice in it with you."

To look upon Form as the play of His love is not to belittle it. In creating the senses God did not intend them to be starved. "And so" says Dadu, "the eye is feasted with colour, the ear with music, the palate with flavours, wondrously provided." And we find that the body longs for the spirit, the spirit for the body ; the flower for the scent, the scent for the flower; our words for truth, the Truth for words; form for its ideal; the idea for form ; all thus mutual worship is but the worship of the ineffable Reality behind, by whose Presence every one of them is glorified. And Dadu struggles not, but simply keeps his heart open to this shower of love and thus rejoices in perpetual Springtime.

Every vessel of form the Formless fills with Him­self, and in their beauty He gains them in return. With His love the Passionless fulfils every devoted heart and sets it a-dance, and their love streams back to the Colourless, variegated with the tints of each. Beau­teous Creation yields up her charms, in all their purity, to her Lord. Need she make further protestation, in words of their mutual love? So Dadu surrenders his heart mind and soul at the feet of his Beloved. His one care is that they he not sullied.

If any one should object that evanescent Form is not worthy to represent the Eternal, Dadu would answer 202 that it is just because Form is fleeting that it is a help, not a hindrance, to His worship. While returning, back to its Origin, it captures our mind and takes it along with itself. The call of Beauty tells us of the Unthink­able, towards whom it lies, In passing over us. Death a`ures us of the truth of Life. 203


Bau1 means madcap, from bayu (Skt. vayu) in its sense of nerve-current. Some try to derive the name Bau1 from bayu in its other meaning of air-current, on the supposition that in the cult of the Bau1s, realisation is dependant on the rousing of the spiritual forces by regulated breathing exercises. I am unable to accept this, because from the Siva-Samhita and other books we find that it is wisdom gained by meditation and concen­tration that is clearly laid own to be the means of realisation. Moreover the former derivation is support­ed by the following verse of Nara-hari:

That is why, brother, I became a madcap B5aul.

No master I obey, nor injunctions, canons or customs,­

Now no men-made distinctions have any hold on me,­

And I revel only in the gladness of my own welling love.

In love there's no separation, but commingling always,

So I rejoice in song and dance with each and all.

Here the term Bau1 and its meaning occur together. These lines also introduce us to the main tenet, of the cult. The freedom, however, that, the BauIs seek from all forms of outward compulsion, goes even further, for 204 among such are recognised as well the compulsions exerted by our desires and antipathies. Therefore, according to this cult, in order to gain real freedom., one has first, to die to the life of the world whilst still in the flesh,- for only then can one be rid of all extraneous claims. Those of the Bauls who have Islamic leanings call such "death in life" fans, a term used by the Sufis to denote union with the Supreme Being. True love, according to Bauls, is incompatible with any kind of compulsion. Unless the bonds of necessity are over­come, liberation is out of the question. Love represents the wealth of life which is in excess of need. The idea appears to he the same as that under which the uhchchhista (surplus) is exalted in the Atharva Veda (XI, 9). It should also be noted, that Kabir, Nanak and other upper Indian devotees, use the work baur in the same sense of madcap, and in their verses, there are likewise numerous references to this idea of "death in life."

The Baul cult, is followed by householders as well as homeless wanderers, neither of whom, adknowledge class or caste, special deities, temples or sacred places. Though they congregate on the occasion of religious festivals, mainly of the Vaisnavas, held in special centres they never enter any temple. They do not, set up any images of divinities, or religious symbols, in their own places of worship or mystic realisation. True, they sometimes maintain with care and reverence, spots sacred to some esteemed master or devotee, but, they per­form no worship there. Devotees from the lowest strata of the Hindu and Moslem communities are welcomed into their ranks,-hence the Bauls are looked down upon by both. It is possible that their own contempt for 205 temples had its origin in the denial of admittance therein to their low class brethren. Anyhow they have no use for Thakor-thokor (deity or divinity), say they, What need have we of other temples,-is not this body of ours the temple where the Supreme Spirit has His abode? The human body, despised by most other reli­gions, is thus for them, the holy of holies, wherein the Divine is intimately enshrined as the Man of the Heart. And in this wise is the dignity of Man upheld by them.

Kabir, Nanak, Ravi-das, Dadu and his followers, have also called man's body the temple of God,-the microcosm, in which the cosmic abode of the all-pervad­ing Supreme Being is represented.

Kabir says:

In this body is the Garden of Paradise; herein are comprised the seven seas and the myriad stars; here is the Creator manifest. (I-101).

In this body are the temples of the gods and all pilgrimages (1-85).

Dadu says:

This body is my scripture; herein the All­-Merciful has written for me His message. (XIII, 41).

Rajjab (Dadu's Chief Moslem disciple) says:

Within the devotee is the paper on which the scriptures are written in letters of Life. But few care to read them; they turn a deaf ear to the message of the heart.

Most Indian sects adopt some distinct way of keep­ing the hairs of head and face as a sign of their sect or order. Therefore, so as to avoid being dragged into any 206 such distinction, Bauls allow hair and beard and moustache to grow freely. Thus do we remain simple, they say. The similar practice of the Sikhs in this matter is to be noted. Neither do the Bauls believe that lack of clothing or bareness of body conduce to religious merit. According to them the whole body should be kept decently covered. Hence their long robe, for which if they cannot afford a new piece of cloth, they gather rags and make it of patches. In this they are different from the ascetic sanyasins, but resemble rather the Buddhist, monks.

The Bauls do not believe in aloofness from, or renunciation of, any person or thing; their central idea is yoga, attachment to and communion with the divine and its manifestations, as the means of realisation. We fail to recognise the temple of God in the bodily life of man, they explain, because its lamp is not alight. The true vision must be attained in which this temple will become manifest in each and every human body, whereupon mutual communion and worship will spon­taneously arise. Truth cannot be communicated to see the divine light that shines within them, for it is your own lack of vision that makes all seem dark.

Kabir says the same thing:

In every abode the light doth shine: it. is you who are blind that cannot see. When by dint of looking and looking you at length can discern it, the bondage of death will be torn asunder (11-33). It is because the devotee is not in communion that he says the goal is far away (II-34).

Many such similarities are to be observed between the sayings the Bawls and those of tile Upper Indian 207 devotees of the Middle Ages, but unlike the case of the followers of the latter, the Bauls did not become cristallised into any particular order or religious organisation. So, in the Bauls of Bengal, there is to be found a freedom and independence of mind spirit that resists all attempt at definition. Their songs have given expression to the very heart of rural Bengal. With no claims to erudition or prestige of tradition, the spiritual heights attained by these social outcastes are yet rare even in the highest of religious orders. Their songs are unique in courage and felicity of expression. But under modern conditions, they are becoming extinct or at best holding on to external features bereft of their original speciality. It would be a great pity if no record of their achievements should be kept before their culture is lost to the world.

Though the Bauls count amongst their following a variety of sects and castes, both Hindu and, Moslem, chiefly coming from, the lower social rank-, they refuse to give any other account of themselves to the questioner than that they are Bauls. They acknow­ledge none of the social or religious formalities, but delight in the everchanging play of life, which cannot be expressed in mere words, but of which something may be captured in song, through the ineffable medinm­of rhythm and tune.

Their songs are passed on from Master to disciple, the latter when competent adding others of his own, but, as already mentioned, they are never recorded in book form. Their replies to questions are usually given by singing appropriate selections from. these songs. If asked the reason why, they say : "We are like birds. We do not walk on our legs, but fly with our wings." 208          

There was a Brahman of Vikrampur, known as Chhaku Thakur who was the disciple of a Baul of the Namasudracaste (accounted one of the lowest) and hence had lost his place in his own community. When admonished to be careful about what be uttered, so as to avoid popular odium, he answered with the song:

Let them relieve their minds by saying what will,

I pursue my own simple way, fearing none at all.

The Mango seed will continue to produce Mango trees, not Jambolans.

This seed of mine will produce the real me, all glory to my Master !

Love being the main principle according to the Bauls, a Vaisnava once asked a Baul devotee whether he was aware of the different kinds of love as classified in the Vaisnava scriptures. "What should an illiterate ignoramus like me know of the scriptures?"-was the reply. The Vaisnava then offered to read and explain the text, which he proceeded to do, while the Basil listened with such patience as he could muster. When asked for his opinion, after the reading was over, he sang:

A goldsmith, methinks, has come into the flower garden.

He would appraise the lotus, forsooth,

By rubbing it on his touchstone !

Recruits from the higher castes are rare amongst the Bauls. When any such do happen to come, they 209 are reduced to the level of the rest. Are the lower planks of a boat of any lesser importance than the upper?-say they.

Once, in Vikrampur, I was seated on the river bank by the side of a Baul. "Father," I asked him, "why is it that you keep no historical record of yourselves for the use of posterity?" "We follow the simple way," he replied, "and so leave no trace behind us," The tide had then ebbed, and there was but little water in the river bed. Only a few boatmen were to be seen pushing their boats along the mud. The Baul continued : "Do the boats that sail over the flooded river leaves any mark? What should these boatmen of the muddy track, urged on by their need, know at the simple way? The true endeavour is to keep oneself simply afloat in the stream of devotion that flows through the lives of devotees,- to mingle one's own devotion with theirs. There are many classes of men amongst the Bauls, but they are all Bauls,- they have no other achievement or history. All the streams that fall into the Ganges become the Ganges. So must we lose ourselves in the common stream, else will it cease to be living."

On another Baul being asked why they did not follow the scriptures, "Are we dogs," he replied, "that we should lick tip the leavings of others? Brave men rejoice in the output of their own energy, they create their own festivals. Those cowards who have not the power to rejoice in themselves, have to rely on what others have left. Afraid lest the world should lack festivals in the future, they save up the scraps left over by their predecessors for later use. They are content 210 with glorifying their forefathers because they know not how to create for themselves."

If you would know that Man

Simple must be your endeavour.

To the region of the simple must you fare.

Pursuers of the path of man's own handiwork,

Who follow the crowd gleaning their false leaving,­

What news can they get of the Real?

It is hardly to be wondered at, that people who think thus, should have no use for history!

We have already noticed that, lijke all the followers of the simple way, the Bauls have no faith in specially sacred spots or places of pilgrimage, but that they nevertheless congregate on the occasion of religious festivals. If asked why, the Baul says:

We would be within hail of the other Boat­men, to hear their calls,

That we may make sure our boat rightly floats on the sahaj stream.

Not what men have said, or done in the past, but the living human touch is what they find helpful. Here is a song giving their ideas about pilgrimage:

I would not go, my heart, to Mecca or Medina,

For behold, I ever abide by the side of my Friend !

Mad would I become, had I dwelt afar, not knowing Him. 211

There's no worship in Mosque or Temple special holy day.

At every step I have my Mecca and Kasi, sacred is every moment.

If a Baul is asked the age of his cult,- whether it comes before or after this one or that,- he says: "Only the artificial religions of the world are limited by time. Our Sahaja (simple, natural) religion is timeless, it has neither beginning nor end, it is of all time." The religion of the Upanisads and Puranas, even that of the Vedas, is according to them artificial. In this there appears to be an element of profound truth.

Bauls who have a smattering of the scriptures say that in the first three Vedas, traces of this Sahaja cult of the Bauls are specially referred to in the Vedas under the name Nivartiya or Nivuttiya, being described as those who conform to no accepted doctrines, but to whom, having known the truth in its purity, all direc­tions are free. Not bound by prescribed rites or ceremonials, but, in active communion with all by virtue of their wealth of the natural, they are ever mobile. I have, as a matter of fact, found in the Atharva Veda many references to the Vratyas (which may be translated as Non-conformists) in these identical terms. I give a few examples:

The Vratya is ever mobile. He made even Prajapati mobile (XV, 1, 1, 1).

The Vratya was active in all directions (XV, 1, 2). 212

The Vratya went forth in all directions, and with him went all else (XV, 1. 6).

Full of rasa (emotion), mobile and independent, the Vratya entered the world, and there remained as a sea of flowing rasa (XV, 1, 7).

The Vratya went amongst men, and with him went the leaders and the assemblies, the braves and the armies (XV, 2, 1).

The Atharva is also full of enigmatic verses similar to the sayings of the Bauls:

The wise one who has known the Brahman, he alone knows the whole of language. Ordinary men use only a part of it (IX, 15, 27).

There is a truth inherent in the phenomenal world, in ignorance of which the heart knows not bliss. In search of this truth do the waters ever flow (X, 7, 37).

Man is a wondrous temple. When it was made, the gods came and took shelter therein (XI, 10, 18).

The Bauls says: In the body is the essence of the world : in the world the essence of the cosmos. In the Mahi Sukta of the Atharva (XII. 1) and also in several other suktas (V. 1; VII. 1; VIII. 9 ; IX. 14; IX. 15; etc.), we have wonderful expressions of the mystery of creation in similar cryptic terms, which may serve to throw light on many of the Bauls sayings.

The Bauls claim that from the eternal Sahaja religion the Vedas have but called some of its truths. 213

But they repudiate the suggestion that it is they who are indebted for their inspiration to these scriptures; for, as they say, what have ignoramuses like them to do with scriptures? They further assert that Vasistha, Narada and other well known Vedic seers, all pursued the mystic path of this Sahaja religion that permeates the world, and has yielded some of its truths to each and every religious sect. When, for instance, Nitya­nanda joined the ranks of Chaitanya's followers, he brought into Vaisnavism many of the Sahaja truths, for he belonged to that cult.. His son Virabhadra, was a Baul. The Bauls freely make use of texts from the first portion of the Chaitanya-Charitamrita, the authori­tative Vaisnava work by Krisna-das, an initiate of Nityananda's branch; for, say they, though his attempt was to compose an orthodox treatise, many Sahaja truths crept in, such as are not to expected from a mere Vaisnava.

The Vaisnavas, the wandering sects of whom have a superficial resemblance to the Bauls, have not been able to attain to their catholicity of spirit, their power of making every religion their own, and therefore despise them as lacking in proper restraint and self­-respect. The latter, in turn, look, down on the former as people to be pitied. "Had these Vaisnavas the understanding, they would have known better,"say the Bauls. “Chandi-das, Vidyapati and others were good Vaisnava poets simply because they had glimpses of Sahaja ideas,- but are their followers competent to understand their message? They took the idea of Radha from us but have dragged her down to the level of their low desires. Devoid of the realisation of the simple, their minds, obsessed with the complexities of 214 their literature, fail to do justice to the wealth they have inherited. At best they make an attempt at simplicity and naturalness in their songs and festivals, but in their lives, their temples, their religious observances, they are unable to get free of the shackles of their scriptures. They have made a jumble of love and desire, the workings of the spirit and the inclina­tions of the senses. They have not the courage to realise that Jagannatha, the Lord of the World, is everywhere, and that His class-destroying festival is for ever being held. So they cannot live up to the height of the words they use."

Having no faith in scriptures, the followers of the Sahaja cult believe only in living religious experiences. Truth, according to them, has two aspects, inert and living. Confined to itself truth has no value for man. It becomes priceless when embodied in a living person­ality. The conversion of the inert into living truth by the devotee, they compare to the conversion into milk by the cow of its fodder, or the conversion by the tree of dead matter into fruit. He who has this power of making truth living, is the Guru or Master. Such gurus they hold in special reverence, for the eternal and all pervading truth can only be brought to man's door by passing through his life.

The guru is the past, the disciple the future, and the initiation the present, according to the Bauls. Past, present and future are thus synthesised in the communion of Master and disciple. The Master as well as the disciple have likewise two aspects. The one is spiritual (cinmaya) the other earthy or worldly (mrinmaya). The true initiation takes place when their spiritual aspects come into mutual communion. The  215 mere physical proximity of their worldly aspects produces no result. The woman devotee, Ksema, says:

If for years and years you hold on to the earthy part (of' your guru) leaving out the spirit,

You will gain neither faith, nor reverence, nor wisdom.

In the Indian religious cults only one guru is ordinarily presupposed. The Tantrics acknowledge two, who give respectively intellectual and spiritual initiation. But in the Sahaja view such limitation of the number of gurus results in narrowness of realisa­tion. Dadu indicates this in a verse of salutation:

Dadu first salutes the colourless Supreme Person,

Next, as the means of understanding Him, he salutes his guru as divine.

And then he transcends the bounds of saluta­tion, by offering reverence to all devotees.

In the Chaitanya-Charitamrita. the salutations are to gurus in the plural. The author, Krisna-das, makes his initial obeisance to his six gurus (p. 10). This Sahaja idea finds expresion in the Tantras:

As the bee in quest of honey flits from flower to flower.

So do thou gather wisdom by going from guru to guru. (Kularnava, 13, 132).

The Baul puts it thus:

By what path comest thou, O Guru, the mystery I cannot solve, 216

So it passeth my understanding where to leave my obeisance.

According to the Bauls, initiation is a life-long process, to be gained little by little, from all kinds of gurus. On the occasion of one of their festivals a friend of mine happened to ask a Baul about his guru, to which he received this characteristic reply:

Wouldst, thou make obeisance to thy guru, my heart?

He is there at every step, on each side of thy path,- for numberless are thy gurus.

To which of them, then, wouldst thou make obeisance, my heart?

The welcome offered to thee is thy guru., the agony inflicted on thee is thy guru,

livery wrench at thy heart-strings is thy guru that maketh the tears to flow.

My baffled friend tried again by asking the same Baul from whom he first received initiation. Then came the song:

The day I was born I received my first initiation,

With one-syllabled mantra I begged my mother's grace.

The tears of a mother, the milk of a mother, my life from my mother.

And withal my mother's training I received.­

Not a breath have I drawn but I gained initiation, that's my firm conviction. 217

The conclusion to which they come is that the guru is within.

The guru who is the fount of wisdom resides in thine own home.

A great mistake hast thou made by giving heed to the teachings of all the world.

And again:

The voice from the depths tells thee that the guru is in the lotus of the heart.

O distraught! Cease from thy turmoil,­there the darkness-killing light doth shine.

So also Kabir:

The Supreme Self, the Guru, abideth near to thee,

Awake, awake, O my heart. (II, 20).

Not that the Bauls do not admit any outward guru. but be is a danger to be feared, they feel, as well as a help to be sought; for, if he imposes himself on his disciple, he kills the latter's own spirit,-a murder worse than the killing of the body.

The lamp gives light from afar, still further away the sun.

The guru gives light without heat who sits aloof in the truth.

So, say the Bauls, the guru should minister to his disciple from his distance:

The bird fosters its young under its wing, the fish keeps its fry at its side, 218

But the turtle hatches its eggs in the sand from afar,-this the wise guru well knows.

The Bauls also call the guru, sunya (lit. nothing, emptiness) not implying the absence of substance, but the spaciousness of freedom. The luminous expanse of the sky above means more to the sprouting seed than the material of the ground below. That Sunya is not used in its negative meaning is clearly evident by its being also applied by them to the Supreme Being.

Dadu has the same conception:

What name can be given to Him who is Nothing?

Whatever name we use is less than the Truth (XIII. 145).

And again:

In Sunya doth the Brahman, the formless the colourless, abide.

And Dadu has beheld, bewildered, the dazzling light that is there. (IV. 130).

Sundar-das has used the term Sunya in the sense of the Supreme Peace in which the devotee closes himself.

The Bauls say that emptiness of time and space is required for a play-ground. That is why God has preserved an emptiness in the heart of man, for the sake of His own play of Love. Therefore the guru who is sunya "fosters but pesters not." So far for the mystic theory. In practice, as we have seen, the Bauls pay high reverence to their gurus.

Our wise and learned ones were content the Brulrrnan with finding in the Brahman the tat (lit. that, the ultimate 219 substance). The Bauls, not being Pandits, do not profess to understand all this to do about that-ness, they want a Person. So their God is the Man of the Heart (maner manus) sometimes simply the Man (purus). This Man of the Heart is ever and anon lost in the turmoil of things. Whilst He is revealed within, no worldly pleasures can give satisfaction. Their sole anxiety is the finding of this Man. The Baul sings:

Ah, where am I to find him, the Man of my Heart?

Alas, since I lost Him, I wander in search of Him, Thro' lands near and far.

The agony of separation from Him cannot be mitigated for them, by learning or philosophy:

Oh these words and words, my mind would none of them,

The Supreme Man it must and shall discover!

So long as Him I do not see, these mists slake not my thirst.

Mad am I, for lack of that Man I madly run about,

For his sake the world I've left; for Bisha naught else will serve.

This Bisha was a Bhuin-mala by caste, disciple of Bala, the Kaivarta.

This cult of the Man is only to be found in the Vedas hidden away in the Purusa-sukta (A. V. XIX. 6). It is more freely expressed by the Upper Indian devotees of the Middle Ages. It is all in all with the Bauls. The God whom these illiterate outcastes seek 220 so simply and naturally in their lives, is obscured by the accredited Religious Leaders in philosophical systems and terminology, in priestcraft and ceremonial, in institutions and temples. Hence their lament:

Thy Path, O Lord., is hidden by mosque temple.

Thy call I hear, but guru and murshid stop the way.

What gives peace to my heart, sets but the world ablaze,

The cult of the One dies in the conflict, of the many,­

Its door closed by the locks of Koran, Puran and rosary.

Even the way of renunciation is full tribulation, Wherefore weeps Madan in despair.

Kabir has the following observations on this point:

You refuse the pure water that is before you,

Waiting to drink until you have dug a reservoir!

The Smriti, daughter of the Vedas, has come to bind you in unbreakable shackles.

The hedge that you put round the fields is itself exhausting their soil.

Those who know all the rest have their heaves and hell.

Those who know God have neither. 221

Dadu thus extols the followers of the simple way:

They trouble not about Life and Death, they do not care for transmigration or cycle of existence,

They shirk not the touch of water or wind, with Him they ever abide. (Rag Ramkali, pad 210).

Neither confined to the home, nor wandering abroad,

They torture not the body, but are attuned to the wise guru's mind. (Gurudev anga, 74).

Not satisfied with the avatars (incarnations of God) mentioned in the scriptures, the Baul sings:

As we look on every creature, we find each to be His avatar,

What can you teach us of His ways?-in ever-new play He wondrously revels.

And Kabir also tells us:

All see the Eternal One, but rarely a real devotee, recognises Him. (II. 52).

A friend of mine was once much impressed by the reply of a Bau1 who was asked why his robe was not tinted with ascetic ochre:

Can the colour show outside, unless the inside is first tinctured?,

Can the fruit attain ripe sweetness by the painting of its skin?

This aversion of the Bail from outward marks of distinction is also shared by the Upper Indian devotees, as we have elsewhere noticed. 222

The age-long controversy regarding dvaita (dual­ism) and advaita (monism) is readily solved by these wayfarers on the path of Love. Love is the simple striving, love the natural communion, so believe the Baul's. "Ever two and ever one, of this the name is Love," say the. In love, one-ness is achieved without any loss of respective self-hood. Some of their ideas on  this point are to be found in the Chaitanya-Charitamrita, from which we cull a few stray lines:

The follower of Love obeys neither nor scripture. (p. 720).

He who worship Krisna by the way of Love,easily tastes of his sweetness. (p. 669).

Neither wisdom nor austerity is part of Love. (p. 718).

Love seeks to please God; desire seeks to please oneself. (p. 101).

Not for me the cheap love dependent on riches. (p. 71).

He who glorifies Me and despises himself,- Me he captures not with such love. (p. 71)

I give the name of love to that which has the two-fold aspect:

The love accompanying the right of possession, the love free of all ties. (p. 76).

The last idea occurs thus in Dadu:

The body is for the world : the dweller within it for God. (XVIII. 27). 223

The Bauls also have their own ideas in regard to the love of man for woman. Being asked whether he had experienced such love, a Baul replied: "I once had a wife, my son, and for ten years or more my body was by her side. Then she departed from this world. It was ten or more years after that when, suddenly, for a moment, I knew her for the first time. And at her loving touch I became as gold."

The Chaitanya-Charitamrita, has the verse:

In mutual attraction they came together, leaving all else,

But their union may or may not be, save by the grace of God. (p. 72).

Naturally the Bauls do not look upon the love of woman as something to fight shy of, but rather as the greatest of helps to spiritual realisation. Space compels me to restrict myself to a bare outline of their doctrines in this connection.

They compare woman to a flame, of which the heat is for the use of the household itself, but the light shines far and wide. The first is, called her vigraha (formal) aspect and the latter her agraha (ideal) aspect. In the former she belongs to husband and home, in the latter she is capable of energising all and sundry. He who deals with her exclusively in the first aspect, insults her womanhood in its fulness. The internal enemies that obstruct the complete vision of her are man's lust, distraction and egotism.

The idea of Parakiya (the woman not belonging to oneself) has been woeful misunderstood. The Bauls look upon the knowledge of self as a door to divine realisation or liberation. But one's self cannot be 224 truly known unless it becomes manifest through love of another. Even God the Omniscient knows not His own bliss, and so seeks to discover it through love of His creatures (symbolised by Radha in Vaisnava Scriptures). So is the love of a woman, who is under no social compulsion, appreciated by the Sahajias as a means of man's self-knowledge and libera­tion. The idea has unfortunately been degraded by being understood in some quarters as a plea for pro­miscuous love between the sexes.

Then come the teams eka-rasa (the emotion that unites) and sama-rasa (the harmony of emotions). Space is overcome by the motion of the body; time by the course of life. And all gulfs can be bridged by the spiritual process of sama-rasa. If Siva and Sakti, wisdom and devotion, remain apart, they cannot function to any purpose. "When Siva and Sakti are united, then results sama-rasa."

Kabir says:

When Love and Renunciation flow together, like the Ganges and Jamuna,

That alone is the sacred bathing place which can give the boon of prayaga (supreme union). (II. 62).

(note : The pilgrimage (lit. bathing place) at the confluence of the Ganges and the Jumna is called Prayaga.)

Says the Baul:

While Siva and Sakti remain apart

The right and left streams (of reason and of feeling) remain apart likewise.

Then reason is useless, all is emptiness, and liberation hopeless. 225

Listen, 0 Madha, says Jaga,

Penances and formulas, fasting and pilgrimage, reading and learning all are then futile.

If thou wouldst gain the supreme end, get the different streams to mingle.

Sama-rasa, with its equivalent eka-rash, is there­fore, obviously another name for love. It is the outflowing joy of love that alone can serve to synthesise the several one-sided endeavours of man. "It is only by this sahaja (simple) way," says Sundar-das, "that man's life can be attuned to the Divine song." And as we have already shown, this sahaja way of love is the one that has been followed and advised by all the Indian mystics.

Trikala-yoga (harmony between past, present and future) is another important doctrine of this cult. Life itself is the regulation of the activity of the present in accordance with both past and future. Kabir once admonished an irreverent learned person thus: "Your life is an expensive bridge of' marble, but it has failed to touch both banks," the implication being that he was sacrificing the future to the present.

You have devoured the three "times" (past, present and future) all at one time

To what end, O miserable one, have you allowed yourself to come to this pass?

You have bartered away the golden key, how will you now enter the treasure-house?­

How gain your inmost self? 226

O wretched one, you bring your fate on yourself!

Great opportunities had you, my heart,

But, you let them slip with overmuch neglect.

Yours is now the wondrous store-house,

The folly of allowing the material interests of the present to stunt the future growth of the spiritual life becomes apparent when it is too late,-when those in­terests have flagged with the waning physical desires, but the wasted Spiritual powers can no longer be recovered.

The same need exists for the reconcilement of the antagonism between the outer call of the material world and the inner call of the spiritual world, as for the realisation of the mutual love of the individual and Supreme self. It is a case for the application of the save sama-rasa. The God who is Love, sau the Bauls, can alone serve to turn the currents of the within and the without in one and the same direction.

Kabir says:

If we say He is only within, then the whole Universe is shamed. If we say He is only without, then that is false. He whose feet rest alike on the sentient and on the inert, fills the gap between the inner and the outer worlds. (1. 1114).

The inter-relation of man’s body and the Universe have to be realised by spiritual endeavour. Such endeavour is called Kaya-Sadhana (Realisation through the body). There are numberless instances in the poems  of Dadu where the body has been eulogised as the seat of thee Almigty, the pilgrimage of pilgrimages, the sacred place of worship, of realisation and of final 227 liberation. One of' the recognised methods of attaining this realisation, is the use of the rhythm, of breathing as a rosery for meditation, in place of the usual beads. This process of inhaling and exhaling the outer atmos­phere, is called ajapa-japa as distinguished from japa (the telling of beads). The anthropomorphic narrowing of the Infinite Spirit of the Universe by inviting Him into thee confines of the body has, however, to be guarded against. The endeavours should rather consist in the expansion of one's own self into the universe by means of the cultivation of sama-rasa.

Another process in this Kaya-sadhana of the Bauls is known as Urdha-srota (the elevation of the current). Waters flow downwards according to the ordinary physical law. But with the advent of Life the process is reversed. When the living seed sprouts the juices are drawn upwards, and on the elevation that such flow can attain depends the height of the tree. It is the same in the life of man. His desires ordinarily flow downward towards animality. The endeavour of the expanding spirit is to turn their current upwards towards the light.

The currents of jiva (animal life) must be converted into the current of Siva (God life). The former centre round the ego, they must he raised by the force of love.

Says Dadu's daughter, Nani-bai:

How is the divine to conquer the carnal,­

The downward current to be upwards turned?

As when the wick is lighted the oil doth upwards flow, so simply is destroyed the thirst of the body.

The Yoga-vasistha tells us:

Uncleansed desires bind to the world, purified desires give liberation (I.3.11.). 228  

References to this reversal of current are also to be found in the Atharva Veda (X, 2, 9; 2,34). This rever­sal is otherwise considered by Indian devotees as the conversion of the sthula (gross) into the suksma (fine).

The Baul sings:

Love is my golden touch,-it turns desire into service;

Earth seeks to become Heaven, man to become God.

Another aspect of the idea of reversal has been put thus by Rabindranath in his Broken Ties:

If I keep going in the same direction along which He comes to me, then I shall be going further and further away from Him. If I proceed in the opposite direction, then only can we meet.. He loves form, so He is continually descending towards form. We cannot live by form alone, so we must ascend towards His formlessness. He is free, so his play is within bond. We are bound, so we find our joy in freedom. All our sorrow is, because we cannot understand this. He who sings, proceeds from, his joy to the tune; he who hears, from the tune to joy. One comes from freedom into bondage, the other goes from bondage into freedom; only thus can they have their communion. He sings and we hear. He ties the bonds as He sings to us, we untie them a we listen to Him.

This idea also occurs in our devotees of the Middle Ages.

The Yoga of the Bauls is essentially different from that of the Tantrics who are mainly concerned with the 229 different methods of gaining occult and other powers for serving some end. The Sahaja, endeavour seeks the bliss of divine union only for its own sake. Mundane desires are therefore accounted the chief obstacle in the way. But, for getting rid of them, the wise guru, according to the Bauls, does not, advise renunciation of the good things of the world, but the opening of the door to the higher self. Thus guided, says Kabir:

I close not my eyes, stop not my ears, nor torment my body. But every path I then traverse becomes a path of pilgrimage, whatever work I engage in becomes service. This simple consummation is the best. (I. 76).

The simple way has led its votaries easily naturally to their living conception of Humanity.

Rajjab says:

All the world is the Veda, all creations the Koran,

Why read paper scriptures, O Rajjab, gather ever fresh wisdom from the Universe.

The eternal wisdom shines within the concourse of the millions of Humanity.

The Baul sings:

The simple has its thirty million strings

Whose mingled symphony ever sounds.

Take all the creatures of the World into yourself

Drown yourself in that eternal music.

The raising of the Retodhara (seminal current) to the higher centres, the process of piercing or rousing of 230 the chakras (spiritual force centres) are special esoteric doctrines of which I can only make passing mention on the present, occasion.

I conclude with a few more examples of Baul songs, esoteric and otherwise, from amongst many others of equal interest.

By Ganga-ram, the Namasudra:

Ah, the comings and goings with every breath of ours,

The Mantra of eka-casa makes them all into one.

In you are the fourteen regions, amid them is yourself,

Yet of these comings and goings naught have you understood !

Mediate on this life movement, prince of Yogis will you be,

Realising how finite and. unbounded are One, as you breathe in and out.

Of all ages, then, you will count the moments, in every moment find the ages,­

The drop in the ocean the ocean in the drop.

If your endeavour be but Sahaja, beyond argument and cogitation,

You will taste of the nectar of rasa, the precious quintessence.

Blinded are you by over much journeying from bourne to bourne, 231

O Ganga-ram, be simple ! Then alone will vanish all your doubts.

Past the seven seas, across the eight mountains

You wil come to the essential principle.

From patal then you will mount the sky,

To descent again on the regions below.

Throughout the six seasons will last your festival,

In every kamalt will be your play.

(note: Patal thee nether region - Kamal lit. Lotus, used of centres of man’s physical or spiritual forces)

My life is the lamp afloat on the stream.

To what bourne shall it take me?

By Jaga, the guru of Gangaram:

Within you is the unfathomable sea, its mystery you have not solved,

No banks or shores has it of scripture-texts or rules or rites.

Over its bottomless, shoreless expanse nor creed nor book will show the way.

Yet cross it you must, or fruitless will be your great boon of human life.

Could you but open your looked door, to find your relations with All,

If by he grace of your guru your obstructions be but removed,

Then, says Jaga, would you be gloriously fulfilled. 232

By Bala, the Kaivarta:

O’erhead is the mind-ravishing blue lotus of the sky.

How dazzlung shine it uncounted petals in the limitless blue.

And as the beams of nectar flash from its sky-filling vastness

The drunken mind flies into its ineffable expanse, enraptured


Cries Bala, O brother, but what am  I to do,

For ever and anon I lose my way !

By Bisha, the disciple of Bala:

The simple Man was in the Vrindavan of my heart,

Alas how and when I lose Him,

That now no peace I know, at home or abroad?

By meditation and telling of bead, in worship and travail,

The quest goes on for ever;

But unless the Simple Man comes of Himself,

Fruitless is it all;

For He yields not to forcefulness of striving.

Bisha's heart has understood right well

That by His own simple way alone, is its door unlocked.

"Listen, O brother man," declares Chandi-das, "The Truth of Man is the highest of truths, there is no other truth above it."


For Dada's sayings referred to in this paper see “Sri Swami Dadu-dayal-ki Bani," edited by Chandrika-prasad Tripathi, Ajmer 1907. And for quotation from the Chaitanaya­-Charitamrita see the edition published by Nityaswarap Brahma­chari from Calcutta in 1334 B.E. Texts of the songs of Bauls have not yet been published and are with the writer. For Kabir's sayings see Kabir's Poems translated by Rabindranath Tagore and published by Macmillan.



[1] Pagination d’origine.