“It is a time now where we really have to
stop thinking about boundaries.
We have to come together all around the world
to hold the tradition.”
- Parvathy Baul
THE STORY OF GURU AND SHISHYA
Sanatan Das Baul, Parvathy Baul’s Guru, once told her of his vision of an Ashram.
He recognized that the spiritual and performative aspects of Baul were not receiving the rigor and honor due to a practice that is developed with discipline slowly over a long term.
He felt the need to document this oral tradition.
Sanatan Baba observed that people often perceive the Sadhana (inner practice) as a different entity from the performances.
He idealized a place for Bauls during tough times; a shelter to protect the ancient wisdom and carry it forward into the modern context of the upcoming centuries.
HOW CAN YOU CONTRIBUTE?
“I am on a Madhukori - where, while I’m singing the songs and telling the meaning - I’m saying that you can contribute.” - Parvathy Baul
We are giving something so subtle - that is the mantra - to the person or a house or the householders, and we are receiving from them something they have.
When a true spiritual seeker stands at the door of a householder, she offers her prayer which has become ripe over the years of dedication.
Therefore she nurtures the inner world of the householders, also bringing peace and healing to the household. In return, the householder gives the spiritual seeker the material element which will sustain this inner work of the Sadhaka.
It’s a beautiful exchange between the two worlds.
Parvathy Maa remained dedicated to the guidance of the Guru, and this has today manifested as ‘Sanatan Siddhashram’.
‘Sanatan’ denotes the eternal or the truth, whereas ‘Siddha’ means perfection. The name Sanatan Siddhashram came from the Master himself.
Sanatan Siddhashram is an eternal, complete space for Sadhana.
It is both an Ashram and a Gurukul, a space to receive learning from the Guru.
The land for Sanatan Siddhashram was acquired after a long search, in January 2017, and work began after the Bhumi Puja – the ground-breaking ceremony on 8th June 2017.
Propagation of Baul wisdom in the modern day world is a key area of work at Sanatan Siddhashram.
Under the guidance of Parvathy Maa, the Ashram and by extension the Online Akhara Learning Center conduct workshops, courses and retreats that give seekers from different paths the opportunity to have an immersive experience of the Baul path.
Participants get to meet Baul Masters and receive from them the life’s teachings.
Thus these initiatives also serve the cause of supporting other Baul ashrams.
Often, some of the participants delve deeper into the practise by becoming sevaks of the ashram.
In this way, Parvathy Maa has formed a small community of dedicated practitioners and sevaks over the last few years.
Parvathy Maa also tours to raise support for the ashram frequently. During these tours she conducts learning sessions on Baul wisdom and practise.
Sanatan Siddhashram aims to build and support next generation Baul practitioners through a systematic effort.
It is a long, extensive task. The idea is to identify younger children within Baul communities who aspire to take up this spiritual path.
The Gurukul at Sanatan Siddhashram aims to help them secure modern education while practising the traditional path. Some nascent steps have been taken up in this direction.
MORE SANATAN SIDDHASHRAM PROJECTS
Sanatan Baba told Parvathy Maa:
Baul is an oral tradition - it’s a transmission.
But the time has come to write them down.
Time has come to archive them, not only in the human body but also materially for reference as a history, as a continuation of the work.
The Gurukul will house an archive accessible to all, including collections already gathered in many different countries over time, to preserve the memories of the Gurus of the Baul tradition.
This space will also serve as memorial centre remembering some of the great Baul masters and documenting their yeoman service to the tradition and the humanity at large.
There will also be an archive of the history of Baul in undivided Bengal.
The archive will include not just literature, but instruments and practices related to Baul which can be used in everyday teaching and learning.
It is meant to be a space that keeps safe the practices that are being lost in modern times. Suitable practice spaces will be designed to keep the practice alive.
Phulmala di listening to recording of her songs, 2007. Photo by Lisa Knight (orig. published in Contradictory Lives: Baul Women in India and Bangladesh, 2011, Oxford University Press, p. 137)
Parvathy Maa has the vision of creating a herbal medicine garden and herbal medicine learning, preservation and treatment center at Sanatan Siddhashram.
Some Ayurvedic herbs and medicinal plants are already growing beautifully at the ashram.
We have also been offering regular free Ayurvedic medical camps for Baul Masters and the village community of all ages.
Offering Sacred Prasad to the Divine in Human Form
We conduct a ritualistic age-old tradition of nourishing the village community by offering sacred prasad to thousands of families once a year.
This year, because of Covid, the Annadan took a different shape.
Sanatan Siddhashram sevaks have made a short 15 minute documentary about the possibilities within the tradition - how it celebrates through all situations or times.
SUBARNA BALA HRIDAY
Children music, art & yoga camps
We regularly hold yoga, crafts design, art and music camps for village community children to spread awareness of the Baul tradition and its practice.
“I believe that opening up this space in the children and making them feel that they can also have the opportunity of learning and growing spiritually inside - that will help the society. I trust it.”
- Parvathy Baul
We do organic farming to become sustainable and self-reliant with our food.
It is also intended to increase environmental as well as physical knowledge and to encourage the traditional intuitiveness of Indian farmers.
SANATAN SIDDHASHRAM PROJECTS PHOTO GALLERY
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you can do a bank transfer to our Indian non-profit: Ekathara Kalari
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