Social Scientist. v 22, no. 254-55 (July-Aug 1994) p. 76.


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76 SOCIAL SCIENTIST

To which of them, then, wouldst thou make

obeisance, my heart? The welcome offered to thee is thy guru,

the agony inflicted on thee is thy guru, every wrench at thy heart-strings is thy guru,

that maketh the tears to flow.

The Balus, therefore, tend to conclude that the guru resides within the heart of the worshipper:

The guru who is the source of wisdom

resides in thine own home. A great mistake hast thou made

by giving heed to the teachings of all the world.

And again:

The voice from the depths tells thee that the guru is in the lotus of the heart.

Almost in tune with the formulation of the Balus, Kabir, the great sant mystic of north India, would compose:

The Supreme Self, the Guru, abideth near thee, Awake, awake, 0 my heart.11

Not that the Bauls do not admit any outward guru, but he is a danger to be feared, they feel, as well as a help to be sought; for, if he imposes himself on his disciple, he kills the latter's own spirit—a murder worse than the killing of the body. The guru, therefore, should minister to his disciple from a distance:

The lamp gives light from afar,

still further away is the sun;

the guru gives light without heat

who sits aloof in the truth.

The Bauls also call the guru 'sunya*, not implying the absence of substance, but the spaciousness of freedom. That 'sunya* is not used in its negative meaning is clearly evident when the same concept is applied to denote the Supreme Being. Dadu had also perceived 'sunya1 with the same overview:

What name can be given to Him

who is Nothing? Whatever name we use is less than the Truth.12

We have already seen that the earlier Sahajiyas and the Bauls recognised the human body as a microcosm of the universe and that



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