Bauls: As Happy as Epicurus, As Silent as Buddha

Osho on Bauls

Humanity is split. The very human mind is split because of two extremist life philosophies. Both are exaggerations; both are logical extremes. One is what people call the philosophy of `eat, drink and be merry’, the materialist standpoint that life is just an accident. It is not going anywhere. There is no meaning in it, no significance, no coherence. You are not preparing for something. Nothing is going to happen, so you are left in the moment; make the most of it. Death is going to destroy utterly, nothing will survive, so don’t be bothered about the other shore. Don’t think in terms of goals. Don’t think that God, truth, liberation, MOKSHA, NIRVANA have to be achieved. These are all just illusions; they don’t exist — empty, dreams of the human mind. They are not substantial, so squeeze out of the moment whatsoever you can. But there is no undercurrent of meaning in life. Life is accidental: you are not created for any purpose.

Many live that way and miss much — because there IS purpose, because

life is not an accident, because there is a running thread in each moment of eternity, because life is an unfoldment. Something is going to happen. The future is not barren, it is going to be creative. Preparation is needed so that you can unfold, so that your seed can become manifested, so that your essence is achieved, so you can know who you are and what this existence is. Life is not just a madman’s thought. It is very systematic. It is not chaos, it is a cosmos. There is order. Even behind disorder there is order; only eyes are needed to penetrate to that depth.

On the surface maybe you can see only a sequence of moments and you cannot see eternity. On the surface maybe you can see only the body and nothing more. Just as when you go to the ocean, standing on the beach you cannot see the depth of the ocean, only the waves. But the ocean is not just waves. In fact, waves cannot exist without the ocean; the ocean can exist without the waves. Waves are not separate from the ocean. Waves are nothing but ocean waving, and ocean has tremendous depth. But to know that depth one has to go into that depth, one has to dive deep.

The materialist standpoint makes life absolutely empty of meaning. Then whether you live or you commit suicide makes no difference, because life and death are just the same. Life is nothing but a way of dying. You are going to die; how you die does not matter, when you die does not matter. How long you live and then die does not matter. Nothing matters. This standpoint is a half-truth — and half-truths are dangerous, more dangerous than lies because they have something of truth in them. That something can be very, very deceiving. A complete lie is not so dangerous because it cannot deceive for long. Sooner or later you will come to know that it is a lie. Half-truths are very dangerous because something is true, and that something true may keep you hooked and you may never be able to know the lie.

The other extreme is that of the spiritualist. He says, “This moment is useless. Time is useless, only eternity has meaning. So don’t waste this moment in rejoicing, delighting. Don’t waste this moment, prepare for the future. Sacrifice the present for the future. Sacrifice all that you have for that which the future holds in itself as a promise. Make life a constant approach towards truth. Make life a constant effort to realize oneself, or God, or NIRVANA. This is not significant, but THAT. HERE is not significant, but THERE. The other shore is significant. This shore is to be used only as a jumping board. But you have to go to the other shore. Real life is on the other shore. On this shore there is only illusion, MAYA, so don’t waste your time in anything that keeps you on this shore. Don’t be happy on this shore, because if you are happy on this shore, how will you be able to leave it? Become sad, become serious. This shore is the shore of sorrow. This shore is not the shore of life, but death. This shore is nothing but accumulated sin, so be sad that you are here, be indifferent to whatsoever this shore can give to you. Don’t be attached to anything here. Don’t fall in love with someone. Don’t fall in love with the beauty of this shore. Be alert and remember the other shore, keep your eyes on the other shore.”

This too, is another extreme. It also carries half of the truth, and is as dangerous as the first extreme. This moment is also part of eternity, and this shore belongs to the river as much as the other shore. And the beauty on this shore, and the song and the poetry of this shore is as divine as the song and the poetry of the other shore. This very moment, is eternity available to you. So just sacrificing this moment for the future is foolish, because the future will always come as this moment. The other shore will always come as this shore. And, if you have learned a trick that spiritualists have learned, and that they have taught to the whole humanity and corrupted the mind — how to destroy this moment, how to be negative on this shore — then you will be negative anywhere. Wherever you are you will be negative. Wherever you are you will be destructive. Wherever you are you will remain sad and sorrowful. This is not religion.

THE BAUL attitude is a great synthesis between these two polarities. The Baul understanding uses both half-truths and makes a whole truth out of it.

The Bauls say, “This moment is not all, right; but to say that this moment is nothing is wrong.” The Bauls say, “Life is a preparation, but the preparation is nothing but to be blissful in this moment.” They are not materialists and they are not spiritualists. They are religious people. Religion is a great synthesis. And if you don’t understand this, you will be a victim of either this extreme or that. Or, you can be a victim of both, half-half. That’s how schizophrenia arises. Schizophrenia is not a disease that happens to a few people — it is the normal state of humanity. Everybody is divided, split.

You can watch it in your own life. When you are not with a woman, with a man, not in love, you think, you fantasize about love. Love seems to be the goal. That seems to be the very meaning of life. When you are with a woman or with a man and in love, suddenly you start thinking in terms of spiritualism: “This is attachment, this is possessiveness, this is lust.” A condemnation arises.

You cannot be alone and you cannot be with somebody. If you are alone you hanker for the crowd, for the other. If you are with somebody you start hankering to be alone. This is something to be understood, because everybody has to face this problem. You are born in a schizophrenic world. You have been given double standards. You have been taught materialism, and you have been taught spiritualism, together. The whole society goes on teaching you contradictory things.

I was staying with a Vice Chancellor, and he told me that he was very worried about the new generation. He has two young boys and he was worried about them. He wants them to be humble. He wants them to be true, honest; he wants them to be religious, prayerful.

I said, “That’s okay. What else do you want them to be?”

He said, “Of course, I would like them to succeed in life.”

I insisted, “What do you mean by success?”

He said, “At least I have become a Vice Chancellor. I would like them to be well-educated, to reach to high posts, to succeed materially as far as wealth is concerned: a good house, a good car, a good wife, respect in the society.” And then he became a little uneasy, and he said, “But why are you asking this?”

I said, “I am asking this because both are contradictory. On the one hand you want your son to be humble, on the other hand you want him to be ambitious. Now both will make him just split. On the one hand he will try to carry the ideal of humility, humbleness, simplicity; on the other hand, the ideal to succeed, to be ambitious, to achieve. An ambitious man cannot be humble; a humble man cannot be ambitious. And you want him to be prayerful? And you want him to be true and honest? A man who is trying to succeed in the world HAS to be dishonest. Of course, he has to be dishonest in such a way that nobody ever discovers it. He has to be very cunningly dishonest. He has to pretend to honesty and remain dishonest. He has to pretend to humbleness and remain egoistic. But these are such different, diametrically opposite goals, and you put them inside one person — that person will always remain divided. If he succeeds he will think, ‘What happened to my humbleness, what happened to my prayer, what happened to my compassion?’ If he becomes humble he will think, ‘What happened to my ambition? I am nowhere’.”

You are born in a schizophrenic world. Your parents were schizophrenic, your teachers were schizophrenic, your priests, your politicians are schizophrenic. They go on talking about two diametrically opposite goals, and they go on creating the split in you.

The Bauls are very healthy people — not schizophrenic, not split. Their synthesis has to be understood; the very understanding will help you tremendously. They say, “This world and the other world are not opposite.” They say, “To eat, drink and be merry, and to be prayerful, are not opposite.” They say, “This shore and the other shore belong to the same river of God.” So they say that each moment has to be lived as a materialist, and each moment has to be given a direction as a spiritualist. Each moment, one has to be delightful, rejoicing, celebrating, and at the same time, remaining alert and conscious, remaining fully aware about the future unfoldment. But that unfoldment is not against this moment’s rejoicing. In fact, because you rejoice in this moment, the next moment your flower opens more.

The more you are happy in this moment, the more you will become capable of being happy in the next moment. If today has been a heaven, tomorrow cannot be a hell because it will be born out of today. If today has been tremendously beautiful, a day of song, a day of dance and laughter then how can tomorrow be a day of sorrow? From where can sadness enter in? It is going to be YOUR tomorrow. And whenever it will come, it will come as today, and you have learned the secret of how to live today.

The Bauls say, “Learn from the materialist the way to live. Learn from an Epicurean, a CHARVAK; learn from him the way to live this moment. Learn the direction from real spiritual people — a Buddha, a Mahavira, a Krishna — and make a synthesis out of both.”

Don’t divide time and eternity; don’t divide matter and mind; don’t divide earth and sky. Don’t divide the roots and the flowers; they are together. This togetherness is the goal of the Baul. And when inside you divisions disappear, and inside you there is no conflict, and inside you, you are one, you become luminous. A great grace arises in you. Then you will be as happy as Epicurus and as silent as Buddha. IN the soul of a Baul, Buddha and Epicurus embrace each other.

And this is my goal also, and this is my teaching also. If somehow you can become a Buddha without becoming an Epicurus simultaneously, you will miss much. You will become a stone Buddha; you will not be alive. Or if you can become an Epicurus without becoming a Buddha, you will miss much. You may enjoy a few fleeting moments of life, but that’s not enough. Life has more to give and you live only on the waves, you never reach the depths. I would like you to become capable of living on the waves, with the sun shining and the storm raging and great winds blowing, and to go into the depth also, where all storms cease, where deep darkness exists without any penetration from the sun, where everything is silent and peaceful and tranquil, and there is no disturbance. But, I would like you to become capable of both. If one makes you incapable of the other, then you are not a very rich human being. Then you are half-human. Then half of your being is dead. Then you are paralyzed; then you are not fully alive.

You must have heard what the existentialists say. They have a very basic dictum: that existence precedes essence. They say that man is born first, and then, by and by, he creates his own essence, his own soul. Man is born empty, with no content in him, just a blank paper. Then, by and by, he has to write his own autobiography on it. He has to make his own signature; he brings none. He comes as an emptiness. The Bauls say just the opposite thing. They say: Man is born with essence, the ADHAR MANUSH. The essential man is always there, maybe manifest or not manifest. The tree is already in the seed. Essence precedes existence, not otherwise. The Bauls say that life is not a creation of something new, it is just unfoldment. You already have it; it just has to be unfolded, barriers just have to be removed. Obstacles just have to be put aside and your life starts unfolding. You are like a bud: when obstacles are no more there, you start flowering, your lotus opens. BUT that which you are going to become you already are, in essence — “Because if you are not already,” the Bauls say, “then you cannot become.” You can become only that which you are. You can become only your being. There is no other way of becoming, there is nothing else you can become. A rosebush will grow roses, a lotus plant will grow lotuses. You are already carrying your destiny; just obstacles have to be removed.

This is what Bauls call preparation.

To prepare oneself means to remove the obstacles on the path. If you remove hate, love starts flowing. You are not to create love; nobody can create love. If you were to create love then it would be impossible. Just remove the hate and you will see love streaming. Remove unconsciousness, and you will see knowing arising in you. Remove the negative, and the positive starts unfolding itself. Then the whole preparation is just negative. It is almost as if a rock is blocking a small stream: you remove the rock and the stream starts moving. With the rock blocking her path, it may not ever have been possible for her to come and be manifested. We are carrying many rocks within our beings — call them blocks in your energy — but those blocks have to be dissolved and removed.

The methods of the Bauls are very simple. They say that if you can dance, many blocks will disappear from your being — because when a person dances and really moves into dance, and becomes movement, then he becomes liquid. Have you not seen it? If you have seen somebody lost in dancing, can’t you see it? that he is no longer solid? He is flowing. The solidity is gone; he has become liquid. This liquidity melts the blocks. So dancing is the Yoga of the Baul; he dances for hours together. When the moon is in the sky in the night, the Bauls will dance the whole night — because for them the moon is a symbol of their Beloved, Krishna. They call Krishna ‘the moon’. When the moon is there they will dance, and they will dance madly. And this dance is not a performance. It is not for somebody else to see. If somebody sees it and watches, that’s another thing. The Baul dances for himself, for his own pleasure.

Somebody asked Tulsidas, a great poet, “Why have you written RAMAYAN? Why?” — because he devoted his whole life to it. Said Tulsidas, “SWANTAHSUKHAI TULSI RAGHUNATH GATHA”: for my own pleasure I have been singing the story of Ram — SWANTAHSUKHAI; for my own pleasure, for my sheer pleasure, but for my own pleasure. It is not a performance, it is not for somebody else.

The Bauls dance SWANTAHSUKHAI, for their own pleasure. Singing is another of their methods, They have chosen very aesthetic methods, not hard, but very soft methods, feminine methods, Taoist methods. They sing and they are lost completely in their singing. Singing is chanting for them; singing is prayer for them. And they sing about their Beloved, and they sing about their Lord, about their God. If you are lost in your singing you are lost in NADABRAHMA, you are lost in ‘the soundless sound’. And their singing and dancing is not a ritualized thing. There is no ritual. Each Baul is individual. You will not find two Bauls singing the same song or singing in the same way. And you will not find two Bauls dancing the same dance or dancing the same way. They don’t follow any ritual.

This has to be understood, because this is very, very fundamental for them. And this I would like you to remember: if anything becomes a ritual, then drop it; it is useless now — because a ritual means a repetition. Mohammedans do their NAMAJ in a certain way every day; it becomes a ritual. Christians do their prayer, the same prayer again and again. They become so habitual with it that no consciousness is required. They can do it and they can think many thoughts in the background. It has become robot-like. They can repeat the words. They know the words, they have repeated them so many times. It is a dead ritual.

Bauls say, “Let your prayer arise in each moment. What is the need to carry the past? Can’t you talk to your God directly? What is the point of repeating the same thing again?” Today is different from yesterday — the prayer has to be new, as new as the morning sun or the morning dewdrop. Say something that arises in your heart. If nothing arises, bow down in deep silence, because He knows. He will understand your silence. Some day you feel like dancing — dance. Now that is the prayer for that moment. Some day you want to sing — but don’t repeat anybody else’s song, because that is not your heart, and that is not the way you can pour your heart into the divine feet. Let your own song arise. Forget about meter and grammar. God is not too much of a grammarian, and He is not worried about what words you use. He is more concerned about your heart; He is more concerned about your intention. He will understand.

So Bauls make their own songs on the spur of the moment. It is spontaneous. They just relax in the moment: they let the dance happen, they let the singing happen. That’s why they are known as mad people, because on some day they may be quarrelling with God! It has to be so. When you love God you can quarrel also. Some day they may be very angry and they will say, “No, I’m not going to pray to you today. What have you done to me? I am very angry.” But this is beautiful; this is prayer. This will be heard. This will reach to the very core of existence. When you love, sometimes you are annoyed also. When you love, sometimes you are angry also, sometimes you dance also, sometimes you complain also. Man is very helpless, and a Baul lives in total helplessness. That’s why he leaves all possessions and becomes a beggar on the road. He leaves himself in the hands of God. He says, “I will trust you.”

JUST the other day I was reading one prayer of a Baul, and the Baul says, “Okay, if you want to test me, test. And if you want to give me pain, give. I will try to tolerate as much as I can. Okay.” But his talk is not mere talk; it is a communication. And he’s not repeating scripture. He creates his scripture. And when you CREATE your scripture, only then do you live it. If it is borrowed you cannot live it.

A borrowed song is not a song, and a borrowed dance is not a dance. Let it arise in you.

Don’t be worried about performance, because we do performance because we are too concerned about the opinion of others. The Baul is not performing anything; his approach is direct. He talks to God as a small child talks to his father or to his mother, or a lover talks to his beloved: it is alive.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune. 

Discourse Series: The Beloved, Vol 2

Chapter #1

Chapter title:The Roots And The Flowers Are One

1 July 1976 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on ‘Bauls, love, dance, song, silence, Buddha, awareness, madness, celebration, heart, prayer, essence, individual’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Beloved, Vol 2
  2. A Sudden Clash of Thunder
  3. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 7, 8
  4. Returning to the Source
  5. Tao: The Pathless Path
  6. Theologia Mystica
  7. The Messiah
  8. TThe Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
  9. I Am That
  10. I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
  11. The Book of Wisdom
  12. The Razor’s Edge
  13. Zarathustra: A God That Can Dance
  14. Beyond Psychology
  15. Satyam Shivam Sundram

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