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In order to become Bauls, they recite some mystic verses and observe certain rituals.
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.
The Bauls themselves attribute their lack of historical records to their reluctance to leave traces behind. Jeanne Openshaw writes that the music of the Bauls appears to have been passed down entirely in oral form until the end of the 19th century, when it was first transcribed by outside observers.
suggests that Bauls are descendants of a branch of Sufism called ba'al.
Like the Sufi, the Baul searches for the divine beloved and finds him housed in the human body.
Bauls call the beloved sain (lord), murshid (guide), or guru (preceptor), and it is in his search that they go 'mad'.
Men wear white lungis and long, white tunics; women wear white saris. Until 1976 the district of Kushtia had 252 ascetic Bauls.from outsiders, as they might be thought to be repulsive or hedonistic.Bauls concentrate much of their mystic energies on the four body fluids, on the nine-doors (openings of the body), on prakriti as "nature" or "primal motive force", and on breath Sadhana.In 1982-83 the number rose to 905; in 2000, they numbered about 5,000.Those who choose family life live with their wives, children and relations in a secluded part of a village.
In 2005, the Baul tradition was included in the list of "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO.