Apasampradayas: Bauls, Kartabhajas and Daravesas

BY: SUN STAFF - 9.7 2018

Baul Singers



"The bauliyas, or baulas, are one of thirteen unauthorized sects that pass as followers of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The Lord ordered Govinda, His personal assistant, not to allow Kamalakanta Visvasa to come in His presence because he had become a bauliya. Thus although the baula-sampradaya, aula-sampradaya and sahajiya-sampradaya, as well as the smartas, jata-gosanis, atibadis, cudadharis and gauranga-nagaris, claim to belong to the disciplic succession of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord actually rejected them.

Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi lila 12:3 
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.

"The 'baul' does sometimes marry his female companion, but the couple tend to roam the villages rather than settle down in a home of their own. This 'boiragi' or 'boishtom' helps the male singer in his wandering life by playing along with him. I myself stay at home and practice at home. We have five main orders; 'Kartabhaja', 'Sahebdhani', 'Khushi Bishvasi', 'Barlarami' and 'Lalan Shahi' all of whom spend their time in singing of the detachment from material goods of this world and the rejection of social barriers." He adds, " 'Baul music is basically spiritual but at the same time it tries to understand the human body from the feet to the tip of the head as man is the 'ashraful makhluqat' as is said in the Holy Quran."


In Bangladesh, a new version of the Kartabhaja sect was founded by Anukul Chandra. Posing himself as a Supreme Lord, Anukul Chandra has been worshipped by his followers as such. Specific features of his worship were his "Visvarupa darsanas", which centered on a very degraded practice. He is now dead, but his followers propagate that he can initiate latter-day devotees through preachers known as ritviks. New initiates must agree to follow the principles-be vegetarian once a week and worship no deity other than Anukul Chandra's picture.

Another well known Kartabhaja sect was headed by Vaishnavacharan, a nineteenth-century tantric contemporary of Ramakrishna. This Kartabhaja sect of tantrics practised the method of "delighting in God in the forms of man." That is to say, Vaishnavacharan's followers sought to experience divine ecstasy by making a living man the subject of their adoration. It is inferred that this would have included sex-play. A central concept in Tantra is that of divine immanence - that one can experience the divine through the worship of god or goddess in a living form. This commonly appears in the forms of tantric puja (ritual) where a goddess is worshipped in the form of a living woman.


Due to his long hair, moustache and beard, Sanatana Gosvami looked like a daravesa, or hippie. Since Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not like Sanatana Gosvami's hippie features, he immediately asked Candrasekhara to get him shaved clean. If anyone with long hair or a beard wants to join this Krsna consciousness movement and live with us, he must similarly shave himself clean. The followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu consider long hair objectionable. Sanatana Gosvami was saved from a hellish condition (Maharaurava) by the grace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Caitanya-caritamrta, Madyam lila 20:70