Parvathy Baul created Radha Bhav (Radha’s rapture) inspired from “Kaliya”, a story performed by her teacher, Sri Sanatan Das Baul. Parvathy has learned the story from him and added a few more elements. In this performance, Parvathy’s visual art background merges with her music, dance and singing: all the paintings are created by Parvathy Baul, in acrylic on canvas. The Patua scroll paintings are a Bengali folk storytelling tradition which is still alive today. Parvathy has studied this tradition with appreciation and respect, describing it like this:
“The simple love epics of Radha and Krishna are sung even today from dusk to dawn, and the stories transcend all the borders of mind and self-consciousness, elevating the spectators into a pure inner experience of Bhakti (unconditional love).”
While singing, Parvathy points at different images on the canvas, going from one section of a story to another, representing it with music, voice, dance, and hand gestures, and invoking the particular mood (bhav) of every part of the story.
The Baul tradition is transmitted through Guru-Sisja parampara (master-disciple chain), through initiation. The origins of the Baul are difficult to decipher because there is no written history, and the Baul masters transfer their knowledge in song. Songs are the object of everyone’s meditation. The Baul tradition has undergone many transformations over time, intersecting with the Tantric, Advaita Vedic schools, the Fakir, Sufi, Buddhist paths and the Vaishnava bhakti.