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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. Some wear malas [Hindu rosaries] around their necks, some tasbis [Muslim rosaries], and so people say they've got different religions.
With such a liberal interpretation of love, it is only natural that Baul devotional music transcends religion and some of the most famous baul composers, such as Lalon Fokir, criticised the superficiality of religious divisions: Everyone asks: "Lalan, what's your religion in this world? But do you bear the sign of your religion when you come or when you go?
The origin of Bauls is not known exactly, but the word "Baul" has appeared in Bengali texts as old as the 15th century.
The word is found in the Chaitanya Bhagavata of Vrindavana Dasa Thakura as well as in the Chaitanya Charitamrita of Krishnadasa Kaviraja.
Its lyrics carry influences of the Hindu bhakti movements and the suphi, a form of Sufi song exemplified by the songs of Kabir.
Their music represents a long heritage of preaching mysticism through songs in Bengal, as in the Shahebdhoni or Bolahadi sects.
Those who choose family life live with their wives, children and relations in a secluded part of a village.
In order to become Bauls, they recite some mystic verses and observe certain rituals.They stress remaining unattached and unconsumed by the pleasures of life even while enjoying them.To them we are all a gift of divine power and the body is a temple, music being the path to connect to that power.Bauls pour out their feelings in their songs but never bother to write them down. It is said that Lalon Fokir (1774 -1890), the greatest of all Bauls, continued to compose and sing songs for decades without ever stopping to correct them or put them on paper.It was only after his death that people thought of collecting and compiling his repertoire.