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The existence of folk literature and the court literature indicates the stratification of Bengali culture. The eclipse of the individual character by the dominance of the material narration defines and confirms the stable, unchanging, lastingly stagnant nature of Bengali economy. The intellectual climate of 'Mangal' literature and Punthi literature rotated within a very narrow circle. The chronological survey of Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim eras reflect a continuity deriving mainly from the lack of economic expansion. This, in turn compelled the agriculture-bound rural population to an inward looking culture that logically went through the process of many obscure Tantric cults and sectarian practices of decadence. The decadent form of Buddhist religion is the Tantric religious practice, that of Brahminism is the Shakti cult and Islamic decadence manifested itself in it's primitive faith in magical rites and ritualism. The Baul community is a continuing form of such decadent search for diversification. Nath Dharma no longer exists, and so is Abadhut cult. The naturalist Sahajias have transformed into the Vaisnavite groups; but in many practices of the Bauls, those lost rituals and mores of primitive agricultural societies are surviving. The magical practices of Mantra and Mandala, earth and the seed and the creeper practices: Jantra Practices, three pulse practices are the ones to be noted. In the Buddhist cult these took the form of Latana Rusana and Abadhuti, in Brahminite cults Irha, Pingala, Suchumna. These are relics of an older primitive magical cult.

Economic stagnance has had similar effect on the mental climate of a people. This general sociological truth is exemplified in these cults of Baul and Tantra. The ways of Baul and Tantra are the ways of an inward-looking, decadent folk culture. In these practices they are trying to grasp the truth of the universe in the body. Their concept formation revolves round the physicality of the cult practices. The Masculine' expressed in this is indifferent, apathetic and without any effort. The root of this inactive masculine principle is hidden in a long past matriarchal society. The ideas of a primitive agricultural society is always mother-dominated or fertility motif laden. Fertility cult is the basis of Baul Philosophy. Since the agricultural economy has remained in the semi-primitive state, this Baul thought has persisted to this day.

The conquest of Bengal by the Muslims did not create a dynamic change in the overall economic change and the folk literature reflects this lack of dynamic quality of the economic life. In Punthi literature the memory of a far away country is the subject and there is no experiential knowledge. This absence of realism helped to keep alive religious practices and superstitions and became tiresomely repetitive and monotonous in its lack of imaginative vitality.

 
 

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