The first question:
The Bauls celebrate their lives in their bodies. Could you say more about this? Americans cherish their bodies with health food, Rolfing, massage, etc. But I don’t think this is the same as the Bauls. Could you please comment?
There is a lot of difference, and the difference is not only quantitative, it is qualitative. The modern world, the modern mind, knows only the empty temple. It has completely forgotten about the one who is enshrined in the temple. So we go on worshipping the temple, but godliness is forgotten. Not knowing anything about the center of life, we go on moving and indulging on the periphery.
The American cherishes his body as the body, the Baul worships his body as the shrine of godliness. The body in itself is nothing. It is luminous because of something that is beyond the body. The glory of the body is not in the body itself – it is a host – the glory is because of the guest. If you forget the guest, then it is sheer indulgence. If you remember the guest, then loving the body, celebrating the body is part of worship.
The Baul has a great vision. In that vision, the body is the lowest part, the most visible part, the most tangible. But it is not the all, it is just the beginning. You have to enter through the body; it is just a gate. It leads to deeper mysteries. The Baul cherishes the body because the body is a vehicle, and through the body one can know that which is embodied, that which is not the body itself. The body is the earthen lamp and God is the flame. The lamp is worshipped because of the flame. Once the flame is gone, who worships the body, who celebrates the body? Then it is nothing, then dust unto dust, it returns back to the earth.
The body is throbbing with God, pulsating with God. If you can see that pulsation, then even dust becomes divine. If you cannot see that pulsation, then it is simply dust. Then there is no meaning in it.
The American worship of the body is meaningless. Hence, people go after health food, massage, Rolfing, and in a thousand and one ways they somehow try to create meaning in their lives. But look into their eyes; a great emptiness exists. You can see they have missed. The fragrance is not there, the flower has not flowered. Deep inside, they are just desert-like, lost, not knowing what to do. They go on doing many things for the body, but it is missing the target.
I have heard an anecdote:
Rosenfeld walked into the house with a grin on his face. “You will never guess what a bargain I just got,” he told his wife. “I bought four polyester, steel-belted, radial wide-tread, white-walled, heavy-duty tires – on sale yet!”