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The Baul Tradition: Sahaj Vision East and West (New)

by Young, M

Publisher: Hohm Press

Binding: Paperback with CD

Book ID: 9781935387831, 1935387839


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This book traces the Baul Path, a Tantric spiritual tradition, from its earliest roots in the subcontinent of India, to its dissemination in the West in modern times. Baul meaning madcap or taken by the wind describes one who has a vision of reality so piercing & clear that they are called to live in a way that goes against the common grain: the safe, plodding life of the mainstream. In the East, for centuries, Baul bards & yogis wandered the dusty roads of Bengal singing & dancing with joy in praise of God. Their poetry-songs uplifted ordinary people, transporting all above the daily grind for survival & into a direct experience of the sublime. Sahaja is the hallmark of the Baul Way, referring to the naturally ecstatic essence of being.

According to the Bauls, sahaja nature is inborn, & underlies one s human personality & habitual social conditioning. It is a blueprint of love, beauty, bliss, wisdom & dignity. From the Baul view, to rediscover sahaja is to love God. The spirit of sahaja arises in individuals in all cultures, in all times & places, the author asserts. In this book, however, she details the unique & vital approaches to life & spirituality that the Bauls, both East & West, have demonstrated throughout their history, & in their philosophy, teaching & practice. The Baul sadhana, or spiritual life, rests on four pillars: Radical reliance on the guru; Wandering and begging as a way of life; Teachings encoded in song and dance; Yogas of the body: including hatha, sexuality & breath. Each of these tenets is elaborated in depth, as the author highlights the notable differences in their expression then & now, in East & West.

The outstanding contribution of this book is its first-hand account of the introduction of Baul spirituality to the modern world through the life & work of Khepa Lee Lozowick (1943-2010), an American teacher & the spiritual Heart Son of Yogi Ramsuratkumar, the revered Beggar Saint of Tiruvannamalai, south India. In 2008, M. Young accompanied Khepa Lee to Bengal where they met with eminent Baul gurus & practitioners, many who had long awaited an exchange with their American brother. On this trip, his band of Western Bauls shared their American rock & blues in a unique interplay between East & West. Foreword is by Parvathy Baul, internationally acclaimed musician and representative of the traditional Baul path. M. Young's work is a feast of scholarship, rich in memoir & practical wisdom.

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