Life, as it is, is totally accepted. That does not mean that a Baul is a man of mere indulgence, no. He knows the alchemy of how to transform the baser into the higher. He knows how to transform iron into gold. He knows how to transform sex into samadhi; he knows the secret. And what is the secret of transforming life into eternal life, time into eternity? The secret is love. Between sex and samadhi, the bridge is love. Love is participated in by both: on the one hand sex, on the other hand samadhi. It is the bridge. One bank is sex, the other bank is samadhi. Love includes both, comprehends both. “Through love,” the Bauls say, “one reaches to the eternal home.”
So that is the only provision for the path: love. Love is their worship, love is their prayer, love is their meditation. The path of the Baul is the path of love. He loves tremendously.
There are two traditions in India: one is the tradition of the Vedas and the other is the tradition of Tantra. The Vedas are more formal, more of the nature of rituals. The Vedas are more social, organizational. Tantra is more individual – less concerned with rituals, forms, habits and more concerned with the essential; less concerned with the forms and more concerned with the soul.
The Vedas are not all-inclusive, much is excluded; it is more puritan, more moralistic. Tantra is non-puritan, all-inclusive, more human, more earthly. Tantra says that everything has to be used and nothing is to be denied.
Bauls belong more to Tantra than to the Vedas. There is only one improvement on Tantra and that is the only difference. Tantra is all-inclusive, more feminine than male; the Vedas are more male-oriented, Tantra is more feminine. Of course, woman is more inclusive than man. Man is included in woman, but woman is not included in man. Man seems to be a sort of specialization. Woman seems to be more general, more fluid, more round. Tantra is the way of the feminine, just like Tao.
But the Bauls have improved upon Tantra also. Tantra is too technical. The very word tantra means technique. It is a little harsh, more scientific. Bauls are more poetic; Bauls are more soft – singers and dancers.
Tantra uses sex to rise higher than it, but it uses it. Sex becomes instrumental. Bauls say that is not very respectful: “How can you use some energy? How can you use some energy as a means?” They don’t use sex as a means; they delight in it, they enjoy it. They make a worship out of it, but without any technique. It is not technological. They love it, and through love the transformation happens on its own accord.
In Tantra, you are to remain unattached. Even while using sex as a means to go towards samadhi, you have to remain unattached to sex, absolutely neutral, absolutely like an observer, a witness, just like a scientist working in his lab. In fact, the tantrikas say that Tantra techniques cannot be used with the woman you love, because love will be a disturbance. You will be too attached. You will not be able to remain detached and outside it. So tantrikas will find women with whom they are not in love at all so the attitude can remain absolutely of the observer.