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The origin of Bauls is not known exactly, but the word "Baul" has appeared in Bengali texts as old as the 15th century.
The word is found in the Chaitanya Bhagavata of Vrindavana Dasa Thakura as well as in the Chaitanya Charitamrita of Krishnadasa Kaviraja.
In 1982-83 the number rose to 905; in 2000, they numbered about 5,000.
Those who choose family life live with their wives, children and relations in a secluded part of a village.
) are a group of mystic minstrels from Bengal, which includes the country of Bangladesh and the Indian State of West Bengal.
Bauls constitute both a syncretic religious sect and a musical tradition.
They do not mix freely with other members of the community.
The madness of the Baul may be compared to the frenzy or intoxication of the Sufi diwana.They have no fixed dwelling place, but move from one akhda to another. A male Baul can have one or more sevadasis, who are associated with him in the act of devotion.Men wear white lungis and long, white tunics; women wear white saris. Until 1976 the district of Kushtia had 252 ascetic Bauls.Votaries of this sect of Sufism in Iran, dating back to the 8th-9th centuries, were fond of music and participated in secret devotional practices. Like other Sufis, they also entered the South Asian subcontinent and spread out in various directions.It is also suggested that the term derives from the Sanskrit words vatul (mad, devoid of senses) and vyakul (wild, bewildered) which Bauls are often considered.