The Baul Gyan Darpan is a space created by Ekathara Kalari to spread awareness of the Baul path and offer an immersive experience of Baul life to those interested in imbibing the philosophy of Baul. Through close proximity with great masters- learning from them and listening to their stories, participants become aware of what it means to truly live the teachings of the thousands of year old Baul tradition.
The Fourth Baul Gyan Darpan took place from 1st to 7th January 2017, welcoming the New Year on its very first evening with introductions from the participants and beautiful music from the Masters to invite and bless the coming year. It took place at the Ekathara Kalari Gurukul, Nedumangad, Trivandrum, Kerala. There were about 50 participants, including permanent students of the Gurukul and the participants.
The Sampann Guru who graced the space were Shri Debdas Baul, Shri Kanai Das Baul, Shri Shyam Sundar Das Baul, Shri Madan Das Vairagya, Smt Shokhi Dashi, Shri Satyananda Das Baul, Shri Lakshman Das Baul and Nabin. All but Shri Satyananda Das Baul were familiar with the retreat space from the 2014 Retreat, and were also familiar with some participants who are now regulars.
This retreat was also blessed with Guest Artists Efren Lopez and Ciro Montanari. Efren is a multi-instrumentalist from Spain who has been working to revive the music played on the Afghani instruments Dutar and Rubab. Ciro is a Tabla player, who has trained for 13 years, making his way from Italy to India to absorb this art-form.
All Masters offered Satsangs where they shared the stories and anecdotes from their lives – some intimate, some humorous and all very powerful and touching.
Dr. Vinod, a scientist as well as Ayurvedacharya, offered a glimpse into the world of practice and healing with his talk and interaction with the participants.
Efren offered a Satsang, sharing the intricacies of his musical journey, and also offered a Masterclass in the different rhythms that he has come across in different cultures.
On the evening of the open satsang, a few participants shared their art and practice, with music from Bindhumalini Narayanaswamy, Uttara Chousalkar, Dipannita Acharya, Arjun Chandran, and Urdu storytelling by Ankit Chadha.
The Baul festival took place at the Golf Club in Trivandrum, presented in association with Panorama Media. The soulful and playful renditions of the Baul Masters were preceded by a presentation by Efren Lopez and Ciro Montanari.
The Masters enjoyed their stay in Kerala and visited the Elephant Sanctuary at Nayyardam while Parvathyji offered a talk and performance in collaboration with Efren Lopez at Sivananda Ashram. They also offered a performance at Mitra Niketan, where they were graciously hosted amidst nature for the duration of their stay. Efren and Ciro too, performed at Mitra Niketan to a mesmerised audience.
Shri Shyam Sundar Das Baul, Shri Madan Das Vairagya, Smt Shokhi Dashi, Shri Satyananda Das Baul stayed for a few days after the retreat to offer a performance for Tirur University along with Parvathyji.