Monday, February 16, 2009

Sect-of-the-Month Club

Okay, it's been so long since I had a selection, it's hardly "of the Month." But when you've got a catchy name, you have to run with it.

I have only begun to scratch the surface of my new find, but since they're known for their devotional poetry, there's bound to be more to come. And I was so eager to quote, I'm posting first and doing further researching later. Whilst finishing up Kshiti Mohan Sen's fine introduction Hinduism last night, I came across a brief chapter on the Bauls, who believe in "freedom from all outward compulsions," and "accept no divisions of society, such as caste or class," nor any particular deity. (p. 103)

According to Sen, the Bauls tend to be actually opposed to religious worship and the ephemera of temples and rituals (whereas I enjoy that sort of thing, when a particular point of view isn't being foisted upon me). Despite that difference, aesthetic on my part, I have to greatly admire the nutshell notions presented.

For example, Sen quotes an interview with a member of the Baul movement, whom he had asked about their non-belief in scriptures: "Are we dogs that we should lick up the leavings of others? Brave men rejoice in their own creation. Only the cowards are content with glorifying their forefathers because they do not know how to create for themselves." (p. 105)

Now that's punk rock!

In a less aggressive manner, here's some lines from their songs, voicing very fine sentiments:

"There's no worship in Mosque or Temple or on special holy day.
At every step I have my Mecca and Kasi; sacred is every moment." (p. 105)

"Man-made distinctions have no hold on me now.
I rejoice in the gladness of the love that wells out of my own being." (p. 103)

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