From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
By Jit Majumdar
Sometimes transliterated as: Baul, BAul, Baaul
- (from “vātula”) mad; intoxicated; devoid of senses
- (from “vyākula”) wild; ecstatic; passionate
- a lokāyata sect of humanistic and iconoclastic mystic minstrels and their musical tradition, that are native to Bengal (West Bengal in India and Bangladesh), whose mystic tradition derives from Tantra, Sahajiyā Vaişņavism, Sahajiyā or Tāntrika Buddhism and Sufi Islam. The key element of their tradition is realizing the body principle (deha-tattva) and the expression of the body (deha-sādhanā) and the mind (mano-sādhanā), faith and reliance on the earthly life and in humanity instead of in otherworldliness or hypothetical philosophies and concepts, the realization of the human body as the centre of all truths and the expression of the universe, and the combined devotional practices by a man and a woman together.