Sukdev Das Baul

Suri, Birbhum

You Cannot Coax a Man into Becoming a Sadhu (Bole-koye Manushke Ki Sadhu Kora Jaye?)

The being resides not in the frame but in the mind,
(O Crazy One!) This mind-image plays the flute (1),
Alas! You cannot coax a man into becoming a sadhu!

Wearing the loincloth does not make one a sadhu
Unless the heart contains the nectar of love!
Such people, albeit with human form,
Remain forever stone-like. (O my Forgetful Mind!)
You cannot coax a man into becoming a sadhu!

The Golden Man(2) (O my Forgetful Mind!)
Roams in many countries, disguised as the crazy one,
I shall recognize him at last (perhaps)
When I leave this land behind (3)!
You cannot coax a man into becoming a sadhu!

(Were that the case)
The lifelong devotion of Bhaba Pagla (4)
Would have been in vain!
He said, “I won’t show my fetid face,
And reside beneath my own tree! (5)”
You cannot coax a man into becoming a sadhu!


(1) Possibly a reference to Krishna, a central figure within Vaishnav tradition.

(2) Bauls continuously seek the Moner Manush, variously known as the “man of the heart” or the “golden man.” This “man of the heart”, often conflated with Krishna or Chaitanya, is the ideal being that resides inside everyone and has to be sought and eventually realized. The Bauls follow a complex network of bodily rites and practices on order to attain such realization/ recognition of the ideal being— the “golden man” or “man of the heart.”
(3) Reference to the physical body.
(4) Bhaba Pagla (October 17, 1902-February 26, 1984) is an important figure within the folk traditions of West Bengal and Bangladesh. A devotee of the goddess Kali, he composed many songs and remains a well revered figure among Bauls and Vaishnavites of both Bengals.
(5) The idea here is that of social isolation or seclusion from others, a practice which is believed to be one of the ways of attaining the “man of the heart.”

Recorded 11th May, 2008 in Santiniketan, WB

translated by Parjanya Sen
Directed By Aditi Sircar

Camera: Shubhankar Bhar, Shubhra Dutta

Camera Caretakers: Bhola Mullick,Sanjib Das, Shankar, Raja

Sound: Partha Barman, Laltu Dasgupta

Production Coordinator : Kartick Das Baul

Edited By Rhonda Granger