Thursday, September 29, 2011

Who is Krishnendu Das Baul aka Babu Kishan?

Krishnendu Das Baul aka Babukishan...BAUL GURU
"BAUL GURU" aka Krishnendu Das Baul, Babukishan is a Baul Sanskrit Indian Music Master Scholar Mystic born into the Oldest Living Lineage of Bauls of Bengal. 9 generations to Sri Nityananda of Ekkchaka West Bengal, and thousands of generations before. This is the oldest living lineage of Baul on earth.

BA Indian Philosophy, Kolkata University
MA Indian Music, Kolkata University

"Master of Baul, Indian Classical, Indian Folk, Baul Fusion, World music and Indian Cinema Music, with over 30 years experience in Indian Cinema, he has been traveling worldwide for 40 years as a cultural representative of India, he was only 9 years old when his parents took him on their many world travels, teaching at Universities and singing on the biggest stages of the world."

Babu Kishan Das aka Krishnendu Das Baul born 1962 in Suri, Birbhum, West Bengal, India into the legendary Nabani Das Baul's family and the Baul lineage of Sri Nityananda of Ekkchakra West Bengal in the 1500's, Sri Nityananda was a Baul this is recorded in the oral lineage through their songs and a very well know fact in Bengal. In recent time this has been written out of the history books by the New Age Vaishanavism that collected devotee's and steam during the past 100 years. Remember Baul is an oral tradition not a book translation new tradition of the personal opinions of a few fanatical men.

This is the Baul lineage who introduced Baul to the world starting back in the1940's & 1950's. Babukishan's family are the pioneering family who introduced Baul to the world, if not for them no one would even know who the Bauls are? It is all their work in teaching around the world that has kept the Bauls of Bengal alive.

This lineage is the roots of the Baul tradition. They opened the door for all future Bauls to carry on the Baul tradition around the world.

This lineage has been performing on the biggest of world stages, festivals, lecturing at Universities, around the world for more than 50 years. 
Babukishan is a Lineage Baul, music composer, music director from India, he was born into a family of music, poetry and Indian Philosophy, he has composed over 150 musical scores, and produced some 44 albums. He has composed and recorded most of his father's Purna Das Baul's music.

In 2007 Babukishan was awarded a Lifetime Achievment award for his contribution to Indian Cinema.

Vaishnava Baul is an oral tradition, the stories are recorded in the songs. Babu is the eldest son of Purna Das Baul and the late Manju Dasi.
Manju Dasi is the first Women Baul to travel the world starting back in the 1960's until the mid 2000's she traveled every corner of the globe and performed on every stage, her story is truly what legends are made of. Manju was an extremely talented musician, an HMV/EMI and Polydor artist. Manju was the first Female Baul (Baulini) and perhaps the only to date to be a"A class female Baul singer in India" she was the first Baul to introduce Harmonium to Baul, before her the Bauls did not use the harmonium. Manju was the first Baul to introduce official Lalon Fakir songs to Radio, TV, recordings and film.
Babukishan was traditionally trained in the oral tradition of his Baul lineage in sanskrit, he learned this from his grandfather and others in his Baul family, learning by hearing and remembering, "this is the way it was done before books, it is called having the lineage passed to you orally, as in storytelling." As a inborn mystic and musician he started composing music, and writing poetry before he went to grade school. When he was 10 years old he was awarded the youngest music composer at that time in Bengal.

Babu spent 12 years in the Ramakrishna Order as a Vedic Monk, where he learned book knowledge to go with his oral teachings. Babu says, "he does not trust books, they are fine but they leave out important information and are mostly personal opinion depending on the translators agenda." It is a paradox, books are good, however, all of India's knowledge was an oral tradition where people dedicated their lives to keep, preserve, pass on and hold the spiritual knowledge of India within family lineages. Guru is the way but today there are very few qualified Guru's, or qualified disciples. Even today how can one trust a Guru there are so many taking advantage, Guru's are big business, making more money than any Bollywood star. He has seen his share of failed Bollywood actors ect.. turn to the Guru business. Commitment between Guru and disciple is endless and strong Unless one has a guru books only give a small sample of the story, there are layers upon layers that are passed down guru to disciple.
Some of his guru's at the Ramakrishna Mission were, Swami Lokeshwarananda, Swami Gombhrananada, Swami Mitrananada, Swami Gopeshwarananada.
The problem in finding a Guru is, you will be tested, the question should be am I a disciple, there are not many that are. We just want to have fun, feel good, and be God/intoxicated, unfortuetly guru/disciple is not fun, easy, and perhaps does not always feel good? Who wants to sit and do the work, the sadhana that is involved, no most would just rather say I am this, I am that.

His Baul Guru's are "Baul Saint" Sri Nabani Das Kyappa Baul, Brajabala Dasi, Purna Das Baul, his aunt Radharani Dasi and many others from this lineage. Some of the other saints and guru's he had personal relationships and his favourites were Ananadamayi Ma, Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath and many other unknown to the western world.
And many stories of others like Balakbramhachari, Maha AnandaMaharaj, Sathya Sai Baba, Dhirndra Bramhacharya, Osho, Sant Nirankari, The Shankaracharya's of India, and lots of Baba's and Ma's.

His musical repertoire is like the who is who of Indian music from lineage teachers of Indian music, and the best coming out of Bengal to the best of Indian Cinema or (Bollywood.)
BabuKishan is probably one of the very few living authentic authorities alive today regarding the Bauls. He is starting to speak now because he is seeing a prolific amount of mis-information on Baul by the many scholars, PhDs, new Bauls singers and writers who are lacking information in what the authentic Baul lineage is really about. Each day he see's another story or more speculation on who the Bauls are, it is almost becoming a joke.
Nabani Das Baul his grandfather named Babukishan, "Krishnendu" he kept Babu the moment he was born, with massage and Ayurveda he was able to straighten tiny Krishnendu's crooked limbs. Krishnendu was his Baby Krishna and he took his Krishna everywhere with him, as he wandered India. Babu spent the first 8 years of his life in the highest of spiritual energies and his grandfather left him a huge spark of himself when he passed away.

Baul really started to change over the past 30 years with the influx of foreigners, hippies, Bangladesh refugee's into Shantiniketan. Many refugee's and others who saw being a Baul as a way to earn a living started to turn Baul into begging and a great way to make a living without doing sadhana, dress the part, sing a folk song, being a Baul became a great way to survive. Baul's were offered Dakshina as Guru's and spiritual messengers. Today they deserve to be paid appropriately for the grace and musical skill they bring, Bauls should not be used or asked to perform for free when the world has changed, so should how we treat the Bauls change.

It also is the fault of his own lineage but you can not blame them as Bauls have always been used and marginalized. Bauls do not share openly, and times have changed, the correct information on lineage Baul needs to be passed on as accurately as possible or it will be gone forever, and Baul will just be a tourist attraction. Being from North America it reminds me of the rich culture of the North American idigenous people and how their shamanic traditions, are also suffering the same fate.

Baul is a "Guru" based tradition, oral living lineage tradition, the lineages were passed down in familes this is common knowledge in India. This is how Baul was passed from father to son, mother to daughter, however, Bauls always included all and it was not uncommon for a Baul to take someone into their family.

There is a huge misunderstanding on what Baul is because there were in the past many people wandering through Bengal when the first writers started to speculate about the nature of Baul. They lumped all these wandering souls together under one umbrella calling them all Bauls but in fact very few of them were actually Bauls. Fakir, Sai, Aula, Dervish, Shah actually are not Baul. Only a Lineage Baul knows exactly what a Baul is, not a scholar or a new Baul singer, the account of Baul history comes from "inside" the tradition not from "outside" the tradition or from speculation. Speculation about the Bauls has gone on from the beginning of time and it continues today, all one outside the tradition can do it but speculate. Scholars from outside the tradtion can only speculate.

Baul songs are not folk songs, they are spiritual sadhana's and one must complete difficult sadhana's before one can call oneself a Baul. There is a misconception that singing folk songs on a train or on a street is Baul.. Baul is a difficult sadhana learned under a Guru for years and years or perhaps a whole lifetime. There is no I am initiated ... the initiation into Baul goes on for a lifetime.

Baul is about the SOUL, pure LOVE, Monar Manush as in ecstatic union with the divine in the highest of loves, the love between Krishna and Radha as soul mates. Bauls do not worship the body for mundane purposes. The body is worshiped as the temple for the divine, the soul is situated in the human heart, Radha and Krishna live in the "altar of the heart with the soul in the human body."

Vaishnava Bauls are the original Das and Dasi, Gosai, (Goswami) lineage in West Bengal India. They have been singing the Hare Krishna Mahamantra for thousands of years wandering from village to village, as the morning wake up call to the people of the villages, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna... Bauls believe in Monar Manush in soul mates. Krishna's flute is always calling Radhe ..Radhe..Radhe and because of Radha's connection to Krishna and their love for each other Radha and Krishna are the original soul mates. Bauls know all the philosophical arguments, they are Indian philosophers, they just have a rare take on all the pedantic othodox bantering.
Love and Devotion, Traditional Bhakti Yoga, Kirtan, ecstatic song and dance. Bauls are natural, spontaneous Bhakti Yogi's, Poets and Philosophers. The soul is not in the temple the soul is in the human body residing in the heart. Bauls do not believe in caste, creed, they believe in the Soul. Ask your soul?? the body will lie, the mind will lie but the soul will tell you the truth.

Most of the people writing about Babu's lineage either cut and paste from internet or are talking to the wrong Bauls and new Bauls singers who are not trying to preserve the lineage they just want to travel, or create something new. At this point The Bauls of Bengal are almost extinct and it is time to preserve what is real it is not a time to make it up. Perhaps the New Bauls are saying they want to preserve Baul however, how can you preserve something you do not own. A gift is given by the owner of the gift, as in Sampradaya, or lineage. If the gift has not been given by a lineage Baul how can something that you do not own or have be given to other.

That respect also should also include who wrote the songs that Bauls are singing? Most do not even know where the songs came from, who wrote the songs.. they do not even know the history of Baul.That love and respect include acknowledging the Baul Guru's of the past as in Nabani Das Khyappa Baul and those who walked before him. One by one we will be writing about each and every Baul back to Sri Nityananada and beyond.

Most teachers passing on Baul are only passing on the limited information that they have picked up here and there. I am a researcher and I ask Babu who is this, who is that, this Baul is saying this person is their Guru, who is that, and he knows the whole history of who everybody is, where they came from, how they got involved in Baul, he knows what songs they are singing, who wrote the song, and more importantly whether it is a folk song, a Baul song and sometimes they are even singing Bollywood songs?

These neo Bauls today are just making a mess of what Baul is, they lack sadhana and the god intoxication the energy that come from doing Baul Sadhana. Baul is not about singing folk songs it is sadhana, years and years of sadhana. Babu has been preserving his lineage for 40 years and has seen it all. The most recent wave is that Baul is only about sufi, or that Baul orginates in Bangladesh and Persia? Baul is about neo tantric sex and smoking ganja?

Baul has become just one big regular party, the few real authentic Bauls are not to be seen or will not share anything.

It is not easy to be a Baul, it takes at least 12 years 24/7 under a guru. Not too long ago there used to be 22 Baul ashrams now there are only 2. Bauls do not build temples, raise money for temples, or collect devotee's as in orthodox religions.

Babu's family has been singing to help out so many groups, and temples ect.. helping fund raise money for their causes, giving free performances for years and years.
Now the Bauls need help, I pray these groups will also come to the assistance of the Bauls through the Ektara Foundation. We are now fund raising to preserve this lineage, through the Ektara Foundation and the Bhava project (Baul Historical Ashram and Vedic Academy).
The real authentic Bauls are in deep danger of extinction. The poor Baul children need education, food, medicine and we want to pass on this tradition properly to them so at least they can preserve and have right livelyhood. This is our seva, more information to come, please stay tuned. We are in the beginning phases of setting this up, it will under Babukishan's name with a board of directors.
Babukishan under the name Krishnendu Das is the author of 3 books on Baul printed in the 1980's to be republished and expanded soon. George Harrison and Ravi Shankar helped him publish his last book in 1986, now out of now, all to be republished soon.

Babu was raised in the village by his grandparents"Baul Saint Sri Nabani Das Khyappa Baul and Brajobala Dasi." Babu lived a lucid life in the highest of spiritual energy, and was initiated by most of the Saints, Sadhu's, Siddha's, Guru's, Yogi's, Tantrics, Nath's, Avadhuta's, that lived during the 60's, & 70's,80's, 90's, most who have left this earth long ago and many who are completely unknown outside of India.

Nabani Das Baul was an accomplished "exalted Tantric Avadhuta Baul Saint" accomplished in the Bhakti Sadhana's of Krishna and and Avadhuta Sadhana's of Shiva and Kali (Tara Ma) he was a famed Baul Guru Poet who millions of people came to see from all over India.

Nabani Das Baul inspired everyone from Rabindranath Tagore to "American Poet Allen Ginsberg who claims Nabani as his guru, he inspired common people to the highest intellectuals. Nabani Das Baul was the first and last Guru to teach Baul philosophy at Rabindranath Tagore Vishva Bhartai University in Shantineketan and was Rabindranath's Baul. Tagore gave Nabani Das the name "Khyappa" he was the first Baul to be called this now many are calling themselves this name. Nabani gave Tagore the name Robi (Ravi) Baul.

You can hear all the Bauls singing Nabani's compositions, however, you will not hear them acknowledge his songs, in the 70's new Baul singers arose who were jealous of Purna Das Baul and his fame as millions would come and see him, some even tried to kill him by poisoning him to death, this started a movement away from the truths of the lineage, new Bauls were creating new stories and promoting Baul is about neo tantric sex and new lineage that did not exist before?

Babu is a poet, composing an unlimited amount of poetry from standard 1 onward. His poetry was published in all Bengali magazines under his name Krishnendu and pseudo names for years. He was known as a great romantic poet who attracted untold attention at a very early age. He is first Baul to compose Fusion Music, His compostitions made it easier for other Bauls to experiement.

As a composer Babu has worked with all the top Indian musicians, singers, and legendary Indian music guru's. He spent 13 years with RD Burman in Mumbai. Total 30 years in Indian Cinema composing Bollywood music, meeting all of the Bollywood legends, promoting Bollywood singers, again promoting others, and completely forgetting to promote himself. Babu worked behind the scenes and is the most well know person behind the scenes in Bollywood. This is a book in and of itself.

Babu Kishan is a unique intangible masterpiece of Bengali History, he is a rare gem, multi talented and an ocean beyond ocean of knowledge. He is the encyclopedia of Bengali, Bollywood, Indian Philosophy, Indian history with a photographic memory. A yogi who believes one must be in the world and not of the world. Times are changing fast! A Baul is for the world, and has an important message of peace, and unity.

by Trishula Das, his wife, supporter, and Baul transcriber! Jai Baul Guru Babuji

©copyright. ..all rights reserved. 2011

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