Paban Das Baul at Nine Lives concert, 2009. Although Bauls comprise only a small fraction of the Bengali population, their influence on the culture of Bengal is considerable. The origin of the word Baul is debated. The origin of Bauls is not known exactly, but the word « Baul » has appeared in Bengali texts as old le spontané : Chants Carya et Baul PDF the 15th century.
There are two classes of Bauls: ascetic Bauls who reject family life and Bauls who live with their families. Ascetic Bauls renounce family life and society and survive on alms. They have no fixed dwelling place, but move from one akhda to another. They carry jholas, shoulder bags for alms. Those who choose family life live with their spouse, children and relations in a secluded part of a village. They do not mix freely with other members of the community.
Unlike ascetic Bauls, their rituals are less strict. In order to become Bauls, they recite some mystic verses and observe certain rituals. Baul music celebrates celestial love, but does this in very earthy terms, as in declarations of love by the Baul for his bosh-tomi or lifemate. Everyone asks: « Lalan, what’s your religion in this world?