Baul, A Hidden Gem

So, I saw a friend share a link to a folk song (click to see)

Listening to it, I sure was inspired and it has been a long time a piece of music has touched me at so many different levels. I explored the comments section for some translation of the song because I do not understand Bengali and it seemed to be sung in that language.

After a good try in googling for the same while in my head I was going--- how come nobody thought of translating this amazing piece--- I shared it with a Bengali speaking friend requesting her to help and waited patiently for her to see and reply.

And reply she did! With an enthusiasm that sparked further curiosity and love for the piece :) So I’m sharing her words for you to also have a context to the beauty of the Baul, as she especially highlighted!

Omg! That’s a baul song. Where did you find this?
They are wandering mystics of Bengal and their songs have very deep meanings. From body anatomy to physics and spirituality they talk about many things. I will try to decipher the song but I am afraid I don’t have that kind of knowledge. (SO VERY HUMBLE!)

These are ancient songs...earlier they would go from home to home...and used to sing these songs...using Ektaras (the musical instrument like the guitar)
Very soulful and deep songs. Bauls are basically tantrics.
They don’t believe in deities much.
Nirgun Brahma concept is what they go with more

It’s very advanced, their songs
I have heard them live as a kid
Now very rarely, they do come
They are a part of our culture in Bengal and Assam, Bangladesh and possibly Bihar as well.
I read about them in the book Nine Lives, by William Darymple
There I got to know they are Tantrics.
It’s a very good book.

There is a Baul song which describes different parts of the human body. And this song was composed before Western medicine came along, and the descriptions are very accurate.
So it’s kinda amazing, the Indian religious traditions.
The West loves them but in their own hotch potch pop version. Most like to perform like artistes and that melody of the past is gone.
We have forgotten our own traditions
You can read this book Nine Lives. I read it way back in 2005 I think. It talks about 9 religious traditions of India. Jainism, Tantrism, Baul, Buddhism. The author goes to the practitioners and asks them about their lives. It’s pretty amazing.

Next day, I received the meaning to the lyrics from her and here they are for you as well:

Prophet Mohammad came in Arab, and Krishna came in Mathura.
One plays the game of "imaan", the other plays the game of "leela".
One reads Quran, the other reads Ved Purana
One says Allah, the other says Bhagwaan
But both are sons of the same mother, of the same caste
And drink the milk of the same mother.