Japanese Mystic in Search of her Soul

Maki Kazumi in a white cotton Sari in the traditional Bengali style can attract you by her motherly love. Apart from this her gentle and unassuming personality will made you think atleast for a while, how someone can be so intense to adapt a different society with different race, language, traditions and customs at a go.

Maki, Sadhan Sangini (Partner in Spiritual Practices) of Sadhan Das Bairagi, a leading exponent and mystic from Bengal, has been at the Panchanantala Dakhin Damodar in the rural district of Bardhaman in Bengal for more than twenty years in quest of her soul. Now, she is among the most acclaimed women singers in the world of Bauls and travels across the world performing at various national and international concerts. Maki has over the years also attained the status of a guru and is called Maa by her disciples, whom she trains in singing the song of life.

Though Maki in her initial days was never interested in Music. Born in Osaka, Japan and after completing her formal education in school and college was working in an International Travel Agency, but the intense longing to know the self bound her to take the route of India.

Sadhan Das Bairagi

It all happened at a Baul concert in Osaka in 1991. Baul Sadhan Das Bairagi was performing at the festival. It was here she was instantly infected by the devotional joy and inner bliss. His songs gave her a glimpse of another world and she found a new direction of life. The man, who appears to belong to a different world, also fascinated her.

This experience change the course of her life altogether. She packed her bags and arrived in India on December same year to become a disciple of Sadhan Das Bairagi. Who then formally initiated her into mysterious nomadic world of the Bauls. Thus a middles class Japanese working lady, a graduate of Osaka University left a luxurious life in Japan to lead a unknown and simple life of a Baul. Maki now lives with many other Japanese devotees and disciples in her Guruji’s Moner Manush Akhara in Bardhaman district in rural Bengal.

Baul are a sect of humanists, as they don’t identify themselves as Hindu or Muslim. The Bauls also do not follow a traditional lifestyle and rituals. There is no caste system, no specific deity and no particular religion. They search for the divine beloved. The ultimate goal for the Bauls is becoming one with the Moner Manush (Man of the Heart)- the true divinity that dwells within every man, but that may take a lifetime to discover.

Report & Photograph: Joydeep Dasgupta || Editor || News Sense || 2018/04/01