Natha Sampradaya – Hatha Yoga, Kundalini and Kriya Yoga

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Natha Sampradaya – The Yoga Order 

The Sanskrit word nāthá or नाथ, is the proper name of a siddha initiatory tradition and the word itself literally means „lord, protector, refuge”. The related Sanskrit term Adi Natha means first or original Lord, and is therefore a synonym for Shiva, Mahadeva, or Maheshvara, and beyond these supramental concepts, the Supreme Absolute Reality, Parama Brahman, as the basis supporting all aspects and manifestations of consciousness. 

The Natha Sampradaya tradition and lineage is a heterodox siddha tradition containing many sub-lineage. It was founded by Master Matsyendranatha Ji and further developed by Master Gorakshanatha Babaji. These two individuals are also revered in Tibetan Buddhism as Mahasiddhas (great adepts) and are credited with great powers and perfected spiritual attainment. The Nath has been known to lead like a Mother.

Amongst the variety of the numerous ascetic traditions existing in India, the Lineage of Nathas is the one of most ancient and remarkable. The spiritual order itself appears to be about one thousand years old, but the principles on which it based trace their original to far remote past. Nathas are also known as Yogis, because the foundation of their order based on the ideas of Yoga. 

Indian alchemy (known as Rasayana) and the ritual, spiritual and medicinal usage of mercury, cinnabar and other minerals and crystal preparations and elixirs was a practice of Natha Siddhas. The primary aim of the ancient Natha Siddhas was to achieve liberation or jivan-mukti during their current lifespan. 

Foto: Sri Mahavatar Goraksha Natha – Nagaraja Kriya Babaji

Adhinatha Sampradaya

The Sanskrit term Adi Natha means „first” or „original Lord,” and is therefore a synonym for Shiva, Mahadeva, or Maheshvara, and beyond these mental concepts, the Supreme Reality as the originator of all things. G.W. Briggs noted that, „although Adinath may have been a yogi preceding Matsyendranatha, he is now identified with Shiva, and the name is used to trace the origin of the (Nath) sect to the greatest of yogis, the god Shiva. 

The same „Adi Nath” word is used by Sri Vidya Upasakas, and one of the tradition is Uttara Kaula under the greater ambit of Sri Vidya Upasana. However, the tradition still survives and the sampradaya still exists, although confined to few and those few not willing to share the details in the public domain as the sampradaya is kept always in secret. There was never any Indian Natha Order as such since this has been living tradition transcending lands, still surviving in Tibetan, Nepal and other part of South Asia. 

The International Natha Order should be classified under Neo Tantra ideology, however the true tantra still remains in the hand of few ones in India and other parts of the world. The Guru paduka verses used by Sri Vidya disciples mention that their tradition starts with Adi Natha itself. 

The Adinath Sampradaya was a sadhu sub-lineage of the greater Natha Tradition. Followers of this tradition were given Sannyasa Diksha (Initiation), thus renouncing householder life, and thereafter lived as naked sadhus. Believing that sadhus should live alone until they had attained the goal, they lived in caves, huts, ruined buildings, or empty houses, and always away from towns and villages. Reference to the Adinath Sampradaya is pointed out by Rajmohan Nath (1964) who lists them among the twelve traditional sub-lineage of the Nath Sampradaya. The Adinatha Sampradaya is also listed among the sub-divisions of Natha Lineages in the Census Report, Punjab, 1891, p. 114. 

The last sadhu holding authentic Guru status in the Adinatha Sampradaya was Shri Gurudev Mahendranatha, who attained Mahasamadhi in 1991. Though he created, and gave Diksha into, a western householder variant of the Natha Tradition, he intentionally terminated the Adinath Sampradaya by refusing to bestow Sannyasa Diksha, an initiation required for succession. This intent is clear from Shri Gurudev’s writings. In The Magick Path of Tantra, he wrote: „I had decided not to initiate anyone of Indian origin into the Uttara Kaula or the Adinatha Sampradayas. As sannyasi or sadhu, there was the danger that after I had entered Mahasamadhi and was unable to deny, that someone might claim that they had been given Sannyasa Diksha, and claim authority as guru by succession.” 

Also, in The Phantastikos: „I myself have been an initiate and the final Guru of the Adi Nathas, one of the many sublineages of the Great Natha stream and ancient tradition. With the birth of the International Nath Order, the Indian Adinatha Lineage became defunct, and I myself retired from public life.” Thus, while the flame of the Natha Tradition was passed to the West, the sadhu tradition of the Adi Nathas was laid to rest with Shri Gurudev Mahendranath. But many in India and Nepal do not agree for passing Natha Lineage to Western people… Natha have to be properly initiated keeper of all Yoga practuces and teaching, perfectly knowing Sanskrit and tantrical Yoga scriptures… 

Nandhinatha Sampradaya 

Nandinatha Sampradaya (नन्दिनाथ सम्प्रदाय) is a denomination of Vedic Hinduism that places great importance on the practice of yoga, mysticism and spirituality. It is related to the broader Natha Sampradaya. The Nandinaatha Sampradaya traces its beginning to at least 200 BCE or even 2000 BCE. Its founder and first known spiritual preceptor was the Great Sage MahaRishi Nandinatha. 

Shree Nandinatha Rishi is said to have initiated eight disciples (Sanatkumara, Sanakar, Sanadanar, Sanantanar, Shivayogamuni, Patanjali, Vyaghrapada, and Tirumular) and sent them to various places to spread the teachings of Advaita Shaivism (non-dualistic Shaivism). Though some of these disciples were sent as far as China to spread the Shaiva Siddhanta philosophy of their Guru, the work of two is especially important. 

Patanjali Rishi is remembered as the author of the Yoga Sutras. This crucial text is one of the most widely quoted and respected texts on the practice of Yoga. Its translations are studied today in Yoga Centers throughout the world. Most of the mystical, Sanskrit vocabulary of Yoga teachings are first codified in this text. The aShThanga (eight-limbed) process of Yoga comes from this text. The text contains a spiritual blueprint for using the physical body to yoke consciousness to the Divine source.

Tirumular authored the Tirumantiram, which is a well known Tamil text. The Tirumantiram is still chanted in Tamil Nadu. It covers a wide variety of topics and illuminates much of the esoteric mystical insight of this Sampradaya. It illustrates the life style and moral conduct advocated by this tradition. It provides much insight into the mystical meditations and tantras (techniques) valued by the Nandinatha Sampradaya. It places great emphasis on repetition of the panchakshara (or five lettered) mantra: „Om namah Shivaaya”. 

The teachings of the Nandinatha Sampradaya, value highly the necessity of a living perceptor to carry the unseen, energetic essence of these teaching to devotees. The Nandinatha Sampradaya is a Siddha Yoga Tradition („Siddha” means literally attainment), and its Gurus have often demonstrated great mystical abilities and wisdom. It is said that these teachers have realized their oneness with the Supreme God (they call „Shiva”) and have merged as completely as humanly possible with this Divine source of all. With such realization, it is said, comes limitless bliss and direct command of every power in the universe. 

There are many accounts of miraculous powers demonstrated by the Teachers of this lineage. It is taught that the aid of such a highly realized Siddha can greatly quicken spiritual practice. Some even say that without the diksha (initiation) of such teachers, the human instincts will always fail to lead to this highest Realization. 

The Nandinatha Sampradaya is maintained today by several groups stemming from MahaRishi Nandinatha’s eight disciples. The Kailasa Parampara is based out of Kauai, Hawaii, U.S.A. where a monastery and mandir (temple) is maintained. The Sannyasis (Monks) of this order continue to spread the teachings of this Sampradaya through the Himilayan Academy and the „Hinduism Today” magazine. Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami is the living preceptor or the 163-rd Guru Mahasannidhanam of the Kailasa Parampara of the Nandinatha Sampradaya. 

Natha Appearance 

As all other Shaiva ascetics, Nāthas wear saffron colored closes, or go around half-naked, after besmearing body with ash from their sacred fires. Many of them keep their hair matted, some are clean-shaven. The most striking detail of the Natha appearance, which makes them very easily distinguished from the ascetics of all others lineages of India, is their huge earrings called kundala (kuṇḍala), inserted into lobes of their ears. The word kuṇḍala translated from Sanskrit means earring, ring, coil or circle of rope. From the same root comes word Kundalini (the coiled Goddess) the famous name of the mysterious Goddess Durgā. The splitting lobe of ears and the inserting earrings is the important part of the Natha sadhanā and the second stage of their initiation. 

The Natha Yogis believe that the two important nadies (subtle channels) are become cut in the process, what becomes helpful for the permanent rising of Kundalini. Another purpose of this custom is to demonstrate the faith and determination of an adept, to follow the path once selected by him. The procedure of the splitting ears by itself is very painful, and traditionally no medicines were applied to keep the pain in control. After earrings, another important distinctive mark of Nathas is their sacred thread called janeū, worn around the neck. It consists from six dark brown threads with pavitri (pāvitrī ring), rudrākṣa and siṅgnād (whistle) attached to it. Janeū is given to an adept at time of entering into the order, along with new name ending on Natha and Guru Mantra. 

This is first stage of initiation into the order, after which yogi becomes known as aughaṛ. For aughaṛ, his janeu is the only mark of his belonging to the Natha Sampradaya Lineage, without which he would not be recognized as its member. The fully initiated Nathas, who have accomplished the task of splitting their ears and inserting earrings, called Darshani (darśanī). Darshni yogis have much more respect then aughars, and considered to be full pledged members of the lineage, while second are still looked on as ‘candidates’ for the complete initiation. 

Natha Sampradaya

The Natha Sampradaya (Devanagari:नाथ संप्रदाय), is a development of the earlier Siddha or Avadhuta Sampradaya, an ancient lineage of spiritual masters. Its founding is traditionally ascribed as an ideal reflected by the life and spiritual attainments of the Guru Dattatreya, who was considered by many to have been a human incarnation of Lord Vishnu born to Rishi Atri and Anasuya Mata. Shiva God is the Lord of all Nathas means Yogis and Yoginis. The establishment of the Nathas as a distinct historical lineage purportedly began around the 8th or 9th century with a simple fisherman, Matsyendranatha, sometimes called Minanath, who may be identified with or called the father of Matsyendranatha in some sources. 

One story of the origin of the Natha Sampradaya teachings is that Matsyendranatha was swallowed by a fish and while inside the fish overheard the teachings given by Shiva to his wife Parvati. According to legend, the reason behind Shiva imparting a teaching at the bottom of the ocean was in order to avoid being overheard by others. In the form of a fish, Matsyendranatha exerted his hearing in the manner required to overhear and absorb the teachings of Shiva God. After being rescued from the fish by another fisherman, Matsyendranatha took initiation as a sannyasin from Siddha Carpati. It was Matsyendranatha who became known as the founder of the specific stream of yogis known as the Nath Sampradaya. 

Matysendranatha’s two most important disciples were Cauranginatha and Gorakshanatha. The latter came to eclipse his Master in importance in many of the branches and sub-lineages of the Natha Sampradaya Order. Even today, Shree Gorakshanatha is considered by many to have been the most influential of the ancient Nathas. He is also reputed to have written the first books dealing with Laya Yoga and the raising of the Kundalini-Shakti. 

There are several sites, ashrams and temples in India dedicated to Gorakshanatha. Many of them have been built at sites where he lived and engaged in meditation and other sadhanas. According to tradition, his samadhi shrine and gaddi (seat) reside at the Gorakhnath Temple in Gorakhpur. However, Nityananda stated that the samadhi shrines (tombs) of both Matsyendranatha and Gorakshanatha reside at Nath Mandir near the Vajreshwari temple about a kilometer from Ganeshpuri, Maharashtra, India. The Natha Sampradaya does not recognize caste barriers, and their teachings were adopted by outcasts and kings alike. The heterodox Nath tradition has many sub-lineages, but all honor Matsyendranatha and Gorakshanatha as the modern founders of the tradition. 

Sampradaya of Mahayogi Gorakshanatha is an ancient authentic Yoga tradition. Guru Gorakshanatha has founded this tradition. In India him regard as Shiva. Mahayogi Gorakshanatha has established and developed yoga which now are practised all over the world. Many scientists assigned of creation of tradition to 5-12th century A.D.; but as a rule all data are very contradictory. Gorakshanatha and other great Yogis are respected by Nathas as realized kaya-siddhi and attained immortality. 

It was Gorakshanatha that developed the Hatha-yoga which are known as well as kaya-sadhana, pinda-sadhana, etc. He also is known as great master of Tantra and miracle-worker. There are many legends about him. Practices of Nathas include the internal alchemy leading to immortality. During many centuries Natha-cult transferred knowledge through lineage from Guru to disciple, therefore the tradition was kept to our time; during this period various spiritual systems of India borrowed methods of Hatha-yoga from Nathas. Gorakshanatha is justly considered as the founder of Hatha-yoga.

Yoga Spreading 

The wide spread influence of the Natha lineage presently can be traced all over India, but it is more strong in the North and Western parts of the country. Such states as Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat are the stronghold of Nathas and having the biggest number of their establishments and followers. The Southern and Eastern parts of the country are less frequently visited by the Nātha yogis and have relatively few ashrams of the lineage. The reasons for this are the language barrier and the poor density of places to stay. There are also some Nātha ashrams in the Nepal. At present moment, the Nātha tradition slowly attracting fellowship and gaining popularity all over the world. 

The twelve traditional Natha Panthas

The Natha Sampradaya is traditionally divided into twelve streams or Panths. According to David Gordon White, these panthas were not really a subdivision of a monolithic order, but rather an amalgamation of separate groups descended from either Matsyendranath, Gorakshanath or one of their students. According to the Shri Amrit Nath Ashram website, the twelve Natha Panthi are as follows:

Satya natha

Dharam natha

Daria natha

Ayi Panthia

Vairaga kea

Rama ke


Ganga nathi


Rawal ke

Paava panth

Paagala panthi

However, there have always been many more Natha sects than will conveniently fit into the twelve formal panths. Thus less populous sannyasin sub-sects such as the Adinath Sampradaya or Nandinatha Sampradaya are typically either ignored or amalgamated into one or another of the formal panths. Reference to the Adinath Sampradaya is pointed out by Rajmohan Nath (1964) in the following list of the twelve sub-lineages: 














The Order Names 

There exist many different names associated with the lineage, amongst them Nāthas, Gorakshnathi, Yogis, Siddha Sampradaya, Kanphata Yogis’ are most popular. Each of these names has its own unique significance, reflecting some distinctive aspects assigned to it. ‘Nātha Saṁpradāya’ (the Lineage of Nathas), ‘Nātha yogis’, ‘Nātha panth (i)’or simply ‘Nāthas’ are most commonly used names of the order. Reasons about the origin of starting using this word, best of all explained in commentary of Brahmaananda on Hatha Yoga Pradipica called Jyotsna:

ādināthaḥ sarveṣāṁ nāthanāṁ prathamaḥ tato nāthasampradāyaḥ pravṛtta iti nāthasampradāyino vadanti|

Adi Nath is the ‘first from all Nathas’, from him Natha Sampradaya has arisen, duty this reason it is spoken about as Nātha Saṁpradāya. 

Nathas believe that the Great God Siva (Shiva Mahadeva) himself was founder of their order. Then he is known as Adi Natha, the one of the Nine Great Nathas, ‘the First Nath’, ‘the Primeval Master’, unanimously accepted by Yogis as the Adi Guru (the First Guru) and patron deity of the lineage. Shiva is also know as Yogeśvara (the Lord of Yoga), the ideal of ascetic per se, the Lord of detachment, austerity and penance. In more wide sense, the Adi Natha also can be translated as ‘the First Lord’ of the entire creation, one without begging.

The Original of word ‘Nātah’ 

Translated from Sanskrit, the word Natha means: a protector, patron, possessor, owner, lord, master and husband. Presently the word became strongly associated with the Nātha Order of Yogis, and became its unique recognition symbol amongst the other ascetic traditions of the India. However, the word has much older original than the order itself, which can be traced as far as three millenniums ago. After writing the book by G.W. Briggs ‘Goraksh Nath and Kanphata Yogis’, the expression ‘Kānphata Yogīs’ became one more popular name under which the members of the lineage widely recognized, especially in the literate circles. Normally this term does not used by Nathas themselves. ‘There exist few more names related to the Natha LIneage, which are not as much widely popular, and appear mostly in the different texts defining ideas and practices of the order. They are Siddha Matha, Siddha Marga, Yoga Marga, Avadhuta-Mata, Natha Mata and Avadhuta-Sampradaya. 

Natha Sampradaya historical 

The name Siddha Sampradaya, illustrates that Nathas are descendants of the tradition of Mahasiddhas, which has reached its peak around 7th-9th centuries. Guru Goraksha Natha has created the Natha Sampradaya by assimilated into it many ascetics from the contemporary Shaiva lineages, such as Lakulīśa, Kāpālikas and Pāśupatas along with Buddhist Vajrayāna Siddhas. The Siddha movement was started as the rebellion against the formalism and hypocrisy existed in the contemporary traditions, it rejected all double standards and superstitions, and emphasized the direct practice of Yoga as the only way to salvation. Amongst other reforms carried on by Mahāsiddhas, one was starting to use simple regional languages instead of traditional Sanskrit, as for worship, as well as for propaganda of their doctrines. Sansktit is much more for mantras and philosophical terms. 

Although the Natha Sampradaya was formed on the base of the unorganized movements of its forerunners, it was designed to be much different from them. The Nātha yogis closely resembled Kāpālikas in their outer appearance, they were half-naked, besmeared with ash and keeping long mated hair, but it was only the external similarity. Not like its predecessors, the new order was well organized, disciplined and was having the simple and systematical teaching, which could be easily understood by people. The complex system introduced by the Guru Goraksha Nātha, was based on the correct knowledge of the subtle structures existing in human body and the Cosmic Laws of the Universe. It was emphasizing the practice of Hatha Yoga and the power of austerity (tapa), and was almost totally denying the learning of scriptures as means of liberation. 

Master Goraksha Natha put the end to the practiced by Kapalikas custom to carry female consort with them and condemned it as ridiculous and hypocritical. To avoid the further confusion, he discontinued the authority of all previously existed philosophical traditions (not spiritual) and Tantras, and instead started the practice of passing knowledge from Guru to disciple in the line of direct transmissions. The esoteric part of the teaching was put in the form of short couplets called Mantras, which were easy to remember and were learnt by heart. Each of those couplets contained some elements of knowledge on particular topic, and was passed only from Guru to disciple. The other part of teaching addressed to wider public was included in Ārati – the songs of praise and prayer to Deity, singed daily as part of the morning and in the evening worship.

The Followers of Shree Goraksha Nātha 

Amongst their other names Nāthas also known as ‘Gorakṣnāthi’ or followers of Guru Goraksha Natha. Although they revere Goraksha Natha as the actual founder of their order, the names of Matsyendra Nātha along with Jalandhara Natha precede him in the paramparā (the lineage of succession) of the great masters of the order. Matsyendra Nātha is also known as Dādā (Guru) Matsyendra Nātha, or ‘the grand-father guru’ of all Nāthas.

Foto: Mahayogi Shree Mahavatar Goraksha Natha Babaji

The Personality of Goraksha Nātha Babaji

Goraksha Natha Babaji is himself shown in the supreme samadhi sitting as Nagaraja upon a Yogic throne under which the Nine Nagas, Vasuki, Ananta, Takshaka, Varuna, Padmaka, Sankhpala, Kulika, Mahapadma, and Karkotaka. This Lord of karma and destiny, Shiva Goraksha Nagaraja sat upon his throne of nagas for 12 years to withhold the rain and create a drought to give the people of Nepal their Karmic retribution, thereby evolving their souls. 

The name of Guru Goraksha Nātha can be easily recognized, amongst the other remarkable personalities of India, being surrounded by numerous legends about his wonderful deeds. He described as flying in air, turning mountain into gold, creating alive people by his yogic powers and as doing many more supernatural miracles contradicting all laws of the modern science. Literally translated, the name Gorakṣa means ‘to defend cows’. In one of devotional couplets of Nāthas, senses compared with indiscriminately wondering cows, which he protects as cowherd. Gorakh is another variation of spelling of his name, having the same origin and meaning.

As historical personage, Goraksha Natha was widely famous all over India, as distinguished saint and Yoga teacher, who achieved remarkable heights in the practice of Yoga and has acquired the supernatural powers. He traveled wide, in India and neighbor countries, and even today, many places there surrounded with the legends about his miracles. His powerful personality and the achievements in tantric Yoga became the reason of creating huge fellowship, and many of kings contemporary to him become his disciples. It seems that at the time of the formation of the Nātha order, he was unanimously accepted as the manifestation of Shiva God, and in such way, many others ascetic groups were persuaded to be included in the newly created order. 

There exist numerous books attributed to the authorship of Shree Goraksha Natha, some of which became milestones for the further development of the Yoga tradition. Amongst them, few are in Sanskrit and few are in the medieval form of the different local dialects of India. Not too much known about the place of his birth, and there exist lot of different opinions on this question by different scholars. The areas of the Bengal, Nepal, Assam, Punjab, Gujarat, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Maharashtra are usually mentioned in the legends about him.

In accordance with the opinions expressed by different researchers, he lived no earlier than 7th century and not later than 12th century A.D. and probably had very long yogic life, may be more than 300 years. Earliest date based on the accepting as fact that he lived at the same time with the king of Nepal Narendra Deva, who ascended to the throne in about 640 A.D. and ruled till his death in 683 A.D.… The latest date based on the biography of the Saint Jṣāneśvar, in accordance with which Goraksha Natha lived not long time before him.

The Natha Yogis believe that Goraksha Natha was more then human Guru nad living Spiritual Master, and insist on his miraculous non-human birth and immortality. It is told that he lived even before the creation has taken place, and through all four Yugas like Shiva God or one of His close disciples, and presented here even now, being invisible. Various accounts are showing him as meeting with the different people, who lived at the periods so far remote from each other that makes it impossible for the ordinary human being. He is described as unseen background and inspiriting power behind the manifestation of many saints at the different periods of history.

Kabir, Guru Nanak, Guga Pir, Raja Bhartrihari and many others are traditionally connected with his personality. In accordance with some legends about him, he was not bound to one physical body, and was able easily leave own body and enter into other bodies, or to create one or few of them by his will and as such, he is an immortal. The Nāthas believe that he is still alive and appears at different places, at the time when it is most relevant to protect Dharma. One of his latest manifestations regarded by Nāthas, has happened about three hundreds years ago, when he walked in India as the Siddh Baba Masta Nath.

Gorakshanatha has written about fifty texts on philosophy, metaphysical aspects of yoga and various methods of Yoga-sadhana. He has founded the order of Kanphata Yogis. The Kanphata yogis’ distinctive attribute is big ear-rings in the ears, that symbolizes solar and lunar energy. Natha Yogis have another characteristic feature, some of thise is Nadi (ritual whistle), which yogis carry on a black woolen string (Janeo). and This symbol is related to Nada-anusandhana practice, which intend for work with sound vibration. The Janeo string is connected with IdaPingala channels. A few treatises about Yoga and Tantra which are traditionally attributed to Mahayogi Gorakhshanatha and his followers are given below:

Hatha-yoga Pradipika, Gheranda Samhita, Shiva Samhita, Svara Tantra, Siddha Siddhanta Paddhati, Goraksha Vacana Sangraha, Amanaska Yoga, Goraksha Siddhanta Paddhati, Viveka Martanda, Goraksha Upanishada, Yoga Siddhanta Paddhati, Yoga-bija, Goraksha Paddhati, Goraksha Samhita, Goraksha Shataka, Yoga Chintamani, Yoga Martanda , Jnyanamrita, Jnyana-sankalini, Amaraugha Prabodha, Yoga Mahima, Goraksha Gita, Yoga Siddhanta Paddhati, Atmabodha, Goraksha-sahasranama, Kulananda Tantra, Matsyendra-samhita, Akulavira Tantra, Jnyana Karika, Natha-sutra, etc. 

Hatha-yoga of Natha-sampradaya accentuates on the Kundalini-jagaran (sadhana, which trace to Tantric doctrines) as distinct from the Hatha-yoga of Maharishi Patanjali. Guru Gorakshanatha has founded 12 panthas or branches of Yoga-sampradaya. The spiritual culture of India is greatly rich and various, therefore different groups of Natha-sampradaya contain elements of various religious cults in their spiritual practice. Hence were formed 12 pathas which base on yoga-discipline. They did not be drawn into confrontations with any doctrines and always to keep aside from socially-religious activity of its. The priority objective of Natha cult is mystical experience. When the Buddhism was superseded from India, many tantric Buddhists come over to Nathas’ side.  Among Nathas it’s possible to meet Sufies, Vaishnavas, Shaivas, Shaktas and Kaulas. The first Guru, who has told the Natha doctrine for disciple Matsyendranatha was Shiva in the form of Adinatha. Then Matsyendranatha transferred doctrine to Gorakshanatha. 

Gorakshanatha is known throughout the India, that legends and traditions confirm about him. Glory of Gorakshanatha to exceed popularity of his Guru Matsyendranatha, who is known not only as Nath but also as the founder mystical tantric Kula current, therefore partly these doctrines are connected with each other. There are well-known Nine Nathas (Nava Nathas) which are worshipped besides Gorakshanatha in Natha-sampradaya. In the methods of Gorakshanatha’s Yoga and Tantra has made quintessence practically all traditions, such as Vedism, Tradition of Puranas, Tantrism, Shaivism, Shaktism, Buddhism, Jainism, etc. Gorakshanatha and his followers showed the Extract of these doctrines to the world, popularizing knowledge of Yoga. 

People know him by many names, and yet he is called the Nameless One. He broods over the infant humanities from eternity to eternity. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but he shall be in the here now, eternally to stay. The limited vision of sages, siddhas, philosophers and yogis cannot pierce his transcendental star. His spiritual stature is inconceivable. He is the collective Dewas, Gods, Elohim, the spiritual essence of the nine Natha Lords combined. He is the great sacrifice who in a countless supernovae explosion infused every atom of creation with his spirit of livingness, wisdom and truth to redeem not only humankind but all life and matter to their pristine state of consciousness.

Shree Shiva Goraksha Babaji is regarded as a manifestation of Lord Shiva himself. He has bestowed upon humanity the practices to evolve human consciousness, in particular, the divine alchemy of Shiva Shakti (Kundalini or Kriya Yoga), which exercises a double action to hasten the evolution of the self soul. This expands the self consciousness and burns away past evil karma. Shiva Goraksha Babaji is the founder of the Natha Sampradaya Tradition. He reveals himself to only a few he chooses and usually remains invisible, guiding humanity through his disciples. He has revived the ancient science of Shiva God realization in modern times. His mission continues to manifest through the work of his disciples.

Babaji Mahavatar is ever the same. He was never born and therefore can never die. They call him aja (the unborn). But from time to time this compassionate Lord of irradiant splendor does manifest for humanity to do what needs to be done. Pulling the veil of Maya by his own will he takes a form of Lightless light to incarnate amongst the haunts of men. He guards, guides and enlightens their consciousness as per their evolutionary blueprint. There is a great mystery and a sacrifice to the ninth level of Divine Awareness which is self born. This is the state of Brahma Nirvana from which the ineffable Shiva Goraksha Babaji descends to redeem humanity yet maintains his state. How this is possible is known only to Him.

He is the collective consciousness of the seven primordial sages of the fire mist born at the beginning of Time.  His deathless body of lightness light may take any form through which he can express and show himself to the faithful from age to age.  He took the form of Adi Natha Shiva Yogi himself, and of Rudra of the Ancient of Days. He came recently in 500 B.C. as Kala Agni Natha, then as Dakshina Murti when he initiated many isciples. Then he manifested as Gorksha Natha in 70 B.C. at the time of King Shalivahan and Chowrangee Nath. In the same ever present immortal body he manifests as Shiva Goraksha Babaji in the ninth century A.D. during the time of Guga Natha, whom he empowered to have complete mastery over the Nagas and ultimately be worshipped as a Naga God.

Then the Lord of compassion Shiva Goraksha arose from beneath the dirt and mire of our earth to cleanse and free the earth and its people from the same dirt and dung which covers their souls. To give us the radiant love and nectar of the Divine through Kriya Yoga Meditation. 

Yogic Pantheon

Nāthas are adherents of Śaivism, as such, they are devotes of the Great God Śiva Mahādeva and his consort Goddess Pārvati in all their different manifestations. In Shaivita, the Shiva is looked upon as the Primeval Lord of Universe, the One from whom all started, who responsible for creation, maintenance and destruction. The worship of fireplace (dhuna) plays important role in the daily lives of yogis, they believe that fire represents the mother Goddess. All of Nathas adore Goraksha Natha as their Guru, they also worship the Nine Great Nathas, the 84 Mahāsiddhas and some later Siddha yogis. Approximately all gods of the Hindu pantheon some how integrated into the Natha Tradition, and valued by yogis. There is said that id 144 000 spiritual enghlighment Masters, Saints and Awataras in this Earth. 

The Philosophical base 

Foto: Shree Mahavatar Goraksha Natha Babaji

Goraksha Natha is not only Philosopher

As good yoga teacher, Goraksha Natha always emphasized the practical aspect of yoga and always was against of creating any kind of sophisticated philosophical doctrines around it. Instead of indulging in creating one, he formed the Nātha Paṇth as the medium to present within itself the living body of his teaching. By example of his life, he practically realized the essence of his doctrines, and became the living example of a Great yogi. 

The Siddha yogis consider any attempts to grasp and express the Absolute Reality – Brahman by the power of words, or by mind as a waste of time. Even the most philosophical book of Goraksha Nātha, the Siddha Siddhānta Paddhati, counted by the modern researchers as being only the semi-philosophical work. This is not matter of big wonder, because Goraksha Nātha himself stating in the beginning of this work, that it is impossibly to express the Absolute Truth (Parama Satyam) by the written words, yet with purpose to bring the ideas of Enlightened Siddha Yogis in front of masses, he still makes an attempt to express them.

nāsti satyavicāre’sminnutpattiścāṇḍapiṇḍayoḥ | tathāpi lokavṛttyarthaṁ vakṣye satsampradāyataḥ SSP 1|| 2 ||

In such way, he steps away from all possible future disputes, by accepting that from the point of view of the Absolute truth (Parama Sathyah), all what he going to narrate, are only relative truth and only one of many points of view. It is through the practical implementation of the described methods and the teaching into life, that one acquires the experience of the Absolute truth as the direct personal experience. 

The Main Natha Conceptions

The Human Body as Microcosm

One of the fundamental conceptions of the Siddha Yogis is that human body is the Microcosm, which contains in itself all what exist in the Macrocosm or the Universe (Brahmanda). On the high stage of realization, the Yogi, particularly Laya Yogi perceiving himself as being one with the universe and as being in ultimate harmony and peace with it, and the aim of Nāthas is to reach this stage.

Shiva and Shakti

From the point of view of the enlightened Siddhas, this entire world is nothing else but the cosmic play of Shiva (God) and Shakti (Goddess). In all diversity chaotic realities of the material world, Yogi sees unity and the manifestation of the one Divine Will, and the one Divine Plan. At the certain stage of sadhana, yogi has to realize his ātmatattva (the true nature of the soul, higher self) as Shivatattva, when he experienced himself as Shiva being the master of universe and of his personal Shakti (power). However, this is not the ultimate end of Nathas, because Shiva and Shakti taking care of their creation much better then any human could ever dream to do. 

Yogi have to transcendent even this state and to reach the state of Turyātīta, which means ‘Turyā as past’. The highest ideal of Nāthas is to realize themselves not as the Shiva, who is consort of the Goddess, but rather as Goraksha Natha, who known as Parvati putra ‘the son of the Mother Goddess’, in reality probably one of reborning son or son-disciple. Goraksha Natha is also known as bāla ‘a child’, and as Jatī. Jatī is the state of innocent child, who is bellow 10 years age, who does not have any idea about sexuality. As Jatī, he harmoniously unites opposite principles, and being in their midst, does not become affected by their play. Then he is called Shree, Shambhu, Yati (Śrī Śambū Jatī) Guru Gorakṣa Nātha, where Shree is the name of the Goddess of wealth and fortune Lakshmi, Shambhu (Beneficial) is the one of Shiva’s names. In other words, Śrī Śambū Jatī is name for the Great Cosmic Trinity of Mother, Father and Son. Yati is the Holy Man, Godman. 

Adhikara – The Ultimate Destination

The Ultimate State to be reached by the Siddha Yogis, has been defined in the Natha texts in various terms, amongst which Parama Pada (the highest state, the final beatitude) and Samarasa (having equal feelings) are most frequently used. In accordance with the view of Goraksha Natha, the path of yoga is agocara, it cannot be described in the terms of normal physical experience. It is also agamya (unattainable), because it cannot be reached by using of any means. The Ultimate state is beyond of both Vyakta (duality) and Avyakta (oneness), Sat (real) and Asat (unreal), the both opposites have proof of their existence from the different points of perception. Clinging to or ignoring one of them leads to confusion, therefore yogi in his enlightened state should reflect the both situations, but at the same time go beyond of them.

bastī na sunyaṁ sunyaṁ na bastī agam agocar aisā |gagan siṣar maṁhi bālak bolai tākā nāṁa dharahuge kaisā | Goraksh Bani ||1||

The city full of life appears as merely illusion, at the same time, the life there is going on by its own laws, such are the realities of that State, which cannot be reached or described. ‘My head is touching the sky’, boy has said, ‘But how I can name this?’

Yogis believe that every spiritual aspirant has to face the same realities as any one else, there are limited individual self and Eternal Divine Self, Jīvātma and Paramātma, Soul and Spirit. The Soul identifies itself with the mind and body with its senses, and missing the Spirit, which is its Higher Self, again and again. Yoga in its true sense is about how to realize the union of both or their essential oneness. In the process of transformation, it is limited, which must be sacrificed to Unlimited, by going through fire of purification (tapa) and merging. The Ultimate end of the Yoga is always the same, only different traditions call it by different names.

rāja-yogaḥ samādhiśca unmanī ca manonmanī |amaratvaṁ layastattvaṁ śūnyāśūnyaṁ paraṁ padam 4|| 3||amanaskaṁ tathādvaitaṁ nirālambaṁ niraṣjanam |jīvanmuktiśca sahajā turyā cetyeka-vācakāḥHaṭha Yoga Pradīpicā 4|| 4||

Rāja-yoga, Samādhi, Unmanī, Manonmanī, Amaratva, Laya-tattva, śūnya-aśūnya, Paraṁ Pada, Amanaska, Advaita, Nirālamba, Niraṣjana, Jīvanmukti, Sahajā and Turyā all these are different words to express the same State. HYP 4.3-4

The Chief aims: to get sight, to be established

Siddha yogis say that the ultimate aim of Nāthas is not to have merely sight of the Divine State, but is to become permanently established in it. At the advanced stages of sādhanā, yogi reaches uninterrupted state of spontaneous (sahajā) experience of the Union with Higher Self (Yoga) at all aspects of his life, without undertaking any efforts for it. He becomes established in this state so firmly that he goes beyond of the three normal states of consciousness: sleep, dreaming and awakened states, and even beyond of the fourth state of Turyā. He transcends the ideas of the time and space, and goes beyond of all other physical laws guiding the universe.

yogayukto viśuddhātmā vijitātmā jitendriyaḥsarvabhūtātmabhūtātmā kurvann api na lipyateBhagavad-gītā 5|7

Established in permanent state of Yoga (union with Higher Self, the Soul, Atman) yogi whose soul became purified, who subjugated his senses, who realizes himself as Self of every living being, although (appearing as) acting, in reality never get attached to what he is doing.

The Ultimate Ends of the Life and of the Yoga are the same

The idea that the purpose of all transmigrations of the individual soul is its evolution to the higher spiritual ideals, was widely presented in the Indian spiritual horizon trough the ages. In accordance with it, the Soul or Atman (self), passes through the different kinds of lives and bodies, which called 84 laks of yonis (wombs) of all possible forms of life. By its nature the soul is immortal and free, it is neither male, neither female, but by identifying itself with the different kinds of bodies it abides in, it becomes affected by the experiences they are getting. In the process of these transmigrations, this individual soul receives the different kinds of experiences, as result of which it has the potential to evolve to the higher realms of life. The side effect of this constant movement is that it is full of sorrows and never ends. From all forms of life, it is only human body which allows attaining the emancipation from the circle of births and deaths. 

In accordance with Guru Goraksha Nath , the final emancipation is not merely ceasing of existence, in reality it is transformation into purely new form of life and reaping ultimate goal of the final beatitude of existence. This process roughly can be compared with the evolving of caterpillar into butterfly. The same awareness, first perceives itself as caterpillar, with all its peculiarities, then as butterfly, with the different set of qualities and the way of life. The same observer acts in the both situations as the different living entity, but what a difference is there, caterpillar can crawl on the earth only, but butterfly can walk in the sky! 

The Magical powers: Siddhis

The accruing of Siddhis or the magical powers is not the aim of the Nātha Yogis, achieving the State of Siddha is their Main Aim. Siddha is a person who has attained his highest object, who has succeed in his sādhanā and become perfectly established in the state of permanent and spontaneous union with the Eternal Self. When yogi realizes this state, Siddhis appear side by side with it, and yogi should take extreme care not to fell in temptation to use them indiscriminately. Then more powerful yogi becomes, then higher must be level of his self-control and purity, otherwise he would be ruined. The idea of the compassionate Bodhisattva underlies the movement of Mahāsiddhas, and sometimes, when it is required, the Siddha yogis demonstrate their powers for protection and spreading of Dharma.

Sādhanā (Practices)

Diksha – Initiation 

The Natha Sampradaya is an initiatory Guru-shishya tradition. Membership in the Sampradaya is always conferred by initiation (diksha) by a Diksha-guru — either the lineage-holder or another member of the Sampradaya whose ability to initiate has been recognized by his diksha-guru. The Natha initiation itself is conducted inside a formal ceremony in which some portion of the awareness and spiritual energy (shakti) of the Guru is transmitted to the shishya (student). The neophyte, now a Natha, is also given a new name with which to support their new identity. This transmission or „touch” of the Guru is symbolically fixed by the application of ash to several parts of the body.

Bhakti – The Devotion to Guru

There exists waist body of the different yogic and tantric practices, which are traditionally associated with the Nātha lineage. Above all of them is the Path of the Devotion to Guru, established by the examples of lives of Goraksha Natha and his Guru Matsyendra Nātha. When one attempts to come in the direct touch with Divine (Daivam), all attempts of cheating and negotiation are of no use. The total surrender oneself to it is the only alternative and the only method. To get everything, one has to give up everything, all personal attachments, aspirations and ambitions. Ishwara-prani-dhana (īśvarapraṇidhānā) can be translated as, “Offering the life to God”. On practice, this means total surrendering to the Divine will and dedication own life for the God’s sake. Maharishi Patanjali has emphasized this important aspect of Yoga in his Yoga Sutra:

Samādhi-siddhir-īśvarapraṇidhānāt | YS.2 || 45||

The Ultimate State is attained by Offering life to God. (Yoga Sutra 2.45)

In this short aphorism, were reflected both: the essence and the ultimate end of Yoga. It is one of the fundamental conceptions of all religions and spiritual lineages existing in the India that Guru should by looked on as the embodiment of Divine. When the devoted spiritual seekers become ready for his spiritual journey, God Himself accepts the form of Guru to guide them. It is trough Guru that God reveals Himself to an adept and guide him on the path of yoga. In one famous mantra, Guru saluted as to be same with the main Gods of Hindu pantheon: Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Rudra, Ishvara, Sadashiva, Maheśvara (Śiva) or Mahadeva and as the embodiment of the Eternal Lord. 

gururbrahmā gururviṣṇurgururdevo maheśvaraḥ |guruḥ sākṣāt paraṁ brahma tasmai śrīguruve namaḥ ||

The Sadhana of Nāthas centered around the unshakable faith and devotion towards Shree Guru. ‘My commitment is ability of Sri Guru’, says famous aphorism of the Nāthas. Some practices can be useful in bringing about the glimpses of the Divine State, but non of them can help in realizing the same state permanently, because for this the Divine grace itself required. The Bhagavan Krishna tells in Bhagavad-Gita:
daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī mama māyā duratyayāmām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te | BG 7.14

It is almost impossible to transcend my Divine illusion (Māyā) consisting of the three modes of ignorance (Gunās). Only those who have totally surrendered themselves to Me can cross over it.

In the lesson five of the Siddha Siddhānta Paddhati, Sri Guru Goraksha Natha after mentioning the huge list of all possible yogic practices, all kinds of worship and meditation, make a concluding statement that the state of Parama Pada can not be attained through them.

nānantopayayatnebhyaḥ prāpyate parama padam 5 || 59 ||

He adds that all of those practices are centered around the conception of the body, and give advice to forsake them as means to be established in the true Yoga state:

etāni sādhanāni sarvāṇi daihikāni parityajya paramapade’daihike sthīyate siddhapuruṣairiti SSP 5 || 60 ||

In order to attain the Ultimate State, after giving up all these external bodily practices, one should be resolvedly established in the state of Siddha Pursha instead. 5.60

Goraksha Nātha says that it is only through compassion of the Shree Guru that one can attain liberation and be established in this state:

gurudṛkpātanāt prāyo dṛḍhānāṁ satyavādināṁ sā sthitirjāyate SSP 5 || 61 ||

Establishment in that State can be achieved by patient and sincere disciple only through the grace of the Guru. 5.61

kathanācchaktipāta dvāyadvāpadavalokanāt | prasādātsvaguroḥ samyak prāpyate paramaṁ padam | SSP 5 || 62 ||

By obtaining Shaktipata, (the awakening of his personal Divine power), trough the supervision and favor of own Guru, Param Pada can be obtained. SSP 5.62

ataeva śivenoktam |na guroradhikaṁ na guroradhikaṁ na guroradhikaṁ na guroradhikaṁ śivaśāsanataḥ śivaśāsanataḥ śivaśāsanataḥ śivaśāsanataḥ| SSP 5 || 63 ||

This is the saying of Shiva:‘Nothing and nobody are greater then Guru, more then Guru, higher then Guru and bigger then Guru. This is order of Śiva, order of Śiva, order of Śiva’. SSP 5.63

The Guru Mantra

At the first stage of the initiation into the Siddha tradition, the Guru Mantra (magical spell) is given to yogi by his Guru. It is compulsory for disciples who decided to follow ascetic path, and can be given to lay disciples as well. This custom is not peculiarity of the Nātha sect alone, but common amongst all other ascetic traditions of India and of Vajrayāna Buddhism. Translated from Sanskrit, the word mantra means ‘to control mind’. The Guru mantra is different from all other kinds of mantras, and must be continuously repeated by yogi in midst of his daily activities, especially in the primary stage of his sādhanā. This allows stopping all activity of the mind and at the same time preserve awareness of the practitioner, at once taking him beyond of all his limitations and difficulties to the higher spiritual realms. The Guru Mantra plays prominent role in the process of raising the Divine Power, known as Kundalini Shakti. 

Nāthas and Tantra

The Natha Yogis does not adopt any written work having word Tantra in its name, as the canonical or officially accepted by their lineage; they are not followers of any of written Tantras. However, it does not mean that they totally disregard practices, which can be classified as Tantric. In accordance with the Monier Williams Sanskrit dictionary, another name for Tantra is Kundalika (Kuṇḍalikā)-Math. If we accept definition of word tantra in this light, then Nathas can be qualified as Tantric adepts per se, because the conception of the rising Kundalini plays prominent role in their teaching.

Shaktipata (Śaktipāta)

sā kuṇḍalinī prabuddhā aprabuddhā ceti dvidhā | aprabuddheti tatra piṇḍa cetanā rūpā svabhāvena nānā cintā vyāpārodyama prapaṣcarūpā kuṭila svabhāvā kuṇḍalinī ravyātā saiva yogināṁ tattadvilasita vikārāṇāṁ nivāraṇodyamasva rūpā kuṇḍalinyūrdhvagāminī prasiddhā bhavati SSP 4|| 14 ||

In accordance with Śri Guru Gorakṣa Nātha, the Divine Power exists in her two states, one is dormant (as sleeping) and other is awakened. When she remains asleep, she appears as coiled serpent who sleeps at the Mūlādhāra chakra situated at base of the spine. After she became awakened by the yogic techniques, she moves up through the middle channel Sushumna (Suṣumṇa) to the Sahasrāra chakra, which is her final destination. In the process of her journey, she is passing through chakras and becoming united with her consort Shiva on the each level of her journey. 

When she is not awakened, she appears in all her glory as the Power of illusion or Māyā, which having the nature of three Gunās, by which all this complex reality comes into existence. She is the power responsible for the appearance of this world as real, with all its phenomena, cosmic and physical laws and countless objects. Without her, this world would not exist, but as side effect of her activity, she keeps people in ignorance of their own true nature.

After she becomes awakened, she turns into her own opposite, from Māyā, the power of illusion pushing into ignorance, she becomes Yoga Māyā, the power of yogic transformation delivering from it. Then she is known as the Great Goddess Kundalini, who takes yogi beyond of all his limitations. Once she became awakened, she makes her appearance to yogi, and takes care of his salvation, taking him by so-called ‘the Short path’ also known as Śaktipāta. 

Yogi, who has offered his limited personality for the sake of Divine part of self, has to pass trough the fire of purification, when all his impurities and limitations mercilessly cut off. It is Goddess, who creates situations and temptations in the mind of yogi, and it is she, who mercifully delivers him from them. She sees far ahead in the future, and knows better what is beneficial for him. In his turn, the yogi should always obey the Divine orders (Adesh) and be sincere on the Path he once selected.

The Kuṇḍalinī is not only the flawless Goddess of Yoga, but also the zealous protector of the occult knowledge, and those who are try to enter into the ‘Temple of God’ as thief, or insincere are get hurt. It is should be mentioned that the path of Śaktipāta as it is very extreme, and the practices resulting in the complete awakening of Kundalini (Himavanti) must not be attempted by any one without proper Natha Guru.

The Role of the Nātha Yogis in the Propagation of Yoga

The phenomenon of the Nātha tradition is much more complex than can be described in this short article. Since the time of its foundation by Guru Gorakṣa Nātha until now, the Yoga Lineage of Nāthas has exercised enormous influence on the spiritual life of India and beyond of its borders. The Nātha yogis played prominent role in propaganda of Shaivism all over India and influenced the development of many later Shaiva and Shakta traditions of the country. Many Saints of the medieval Bhakti movement became influenced by the ideas of Gorakṣa Nātha, and trough them wide masses of people all over India. Numerous yogis of the Lineage have realized the state of Siddha, and contributed to the spreading and protection of Sanatana Dharma and the spiritual ideals of life by the examples of their own lives.

Yogis of the Natha Lineage have developed complex system, which later became known as Haṭha Yoga. Those practices of Haṭha Yoga, which were purposed for the maintenance health of human body, proved itself as very effective alternative medicine. In today’s world, the millions of people are implementing the principles of Yoga in their lives and practicing the basic Haṭha Yoga exercises as the way to maintain good health and to get enlightened. The ideas and practices introduced by the Guru Goraksha Natha were much ahead of his time, and his teaching does not lost its actuality until present moment.

Siddhas – Perfect Yoga Masters 

A Siddha सिद्ध in Sanskrit means „one who is accomplished” and refers to perfected masters who, according to Vedic and Hindu belief, have transcended the ahamkara (ego or I-maker), have subdued their minds to be subservient to their Awareness (Cittam), and have transformed their bodies (composed mainly of dense Rajo-tama gunas) into a different kind of body dominated by sattva. This is usually accomplished only by persistent meditation. According to Jain belief Siddha are liberated souls who have destroyed all the karma bondings. Siddha do not have any kind of body, they are soul at its purest form.

A siddha has also been defined to refer to one who has attained a siddhi. The siddhis as paranormal abilities are considered emergent abilities of an individual that is on the path to siddhahood, and do not define a siddha, who is established in the Pranava or Aum (Om) – the spiritual substrate of creation. The siddhi in its pure form means „the attainment of flawless identity with Reality (Brahman); perfection of Spirit.” In the Hindu philosophy of Kashmir Shaivita (Hindu tantra), siddha also refers to a Siddha Guru who can by way of Shaktipat initiate disciples into Yoga.

In Jain Cosmology siddha-shila is situated at the very top of universe. The Siddhas (liberated souls who will never take birth again, who have gone above the cycle of life and death) go to the siddha -shila after being liberated and stays there till infinity. Siddha is a level of soul above Arihanta who possess kevala jnana. In Hindu cosmology siddhaloka is a subtle world (lokam) where perfected beings (siddhas) take birth. They are endowed with the eight primary siddhis at birth.

In Hindu theology, Siddhashrama is a secret land deep in the Himalayas, where great yogis, sadhus, and sages who are siddha live. The concept is similar to Tibetan mystical land of Shambhala. Siddhashrama is referred in many Indian epics and Puranas including Ramayana and Mahabharata. In Valmiki’s Ramayana it is said that Vishwamitra had his hermitage in Siddhashrama, the erstwhile hermitage of Vishnu-Shiva, when he appeared as the Vamana avatar. He takes Rama and Lakshmana to Siddhashrama to exterminate the rakshasas who are disturbing his religious sacrifices (i.28.1-20). 

Foto: Shree Mahavatar Goraksha Natha – Nagaraja Kriya Babaji

Siddha Sampradaya

Whenever siddha is mentioned the 84 siddhas and 9 nathas are remembered and it is this tradition of siddha which is known as the Siddha Sampradaya. Siddha is a term used for both mahasiddhas and nathas. So a siddha may mean a siddha, a mahasiddha or a natha. The three words siddha, mahasiddha and natha are used interchangeably. 

The eighty-four Siddhas in the Varna(na)ratnakara

A list of eighty-four Siddhas (though, actually only 76 names are mentioned) is found in a manuscript (manuscript no 48/34 of the Asiatic Society of Bengal) dated Lakshmana Samvat 388 (1506) of a medieval Maithili work, the Varna(na)ratnākara written by Kaviśekharācārya Jyotirīśvara Ṭhākura, the court poet of King Harisimhadeva of Mithila (reigned 1300–1321). An interesting feature of this list is that the names of the most revered Nathas are incorporated in this list along with the Buddhist Siddhacharyas. The names of the Siddhas found in this list are:













































































The Siddhas in the Hathayogapradipika

In the first upadeśa (chapter) of the Haṭhayogapradīpikā, a 15th century text, a list of yogis is found, who are described as the Mahasiddhas. This list has a number of names common with those found in the list of the Varna(na)ratnākara:

































76 and 32 siddhas there is directly mystical list of 108 siddhas…

In South India, a siddha refers to a being who has achieved a high degree of physical as well as spiritual perfection or enlightenment. The ultimate demonstration of this is that siddhas allegedly attained physical immortality. Thus siddha, like siddhar or cittar (indigenisation of Sanskrit terms in Tamil Nadu) refers to a person who has realised the goal of a type of sadhana and become a perfected being. In Tamil Nadu, South India, where the siddha tradition is still practiced, special individuals are recognized as and called siddhas (or siddhars or cittars) who are on the path to that assumed perfection after they have taken special secret rasayanas to perfect their bodies, in order to be able to sustain prolonged meditation along with a form of pranayama which considerably reduces the number of breaths they take. 

The Natha tradition (Sampradaya) is a timeless lineage of spiritual masters, connected with Infinite Consciousness through the greatest Yogi of all ages, Babaji Gorakshanatha, the same introduced in Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi. These ancient yogis discovered that the secret of cosmic consciousness is intimately linked with breath mastery. The life force, which is ordinarily used for bodily functions, can be channeled for higher activities by a method of calming and stilling the ceaseless demands of the breath. We get only a glimpse of the lineage of the Natha Yogis. It began from Adi Natha, Lord Shiva himself, who gave it to his consort, Parvati Nathi. She gave it to Shanmuka Natha, Ganesha and Nandi Natha.

Then Lord Krishna as a member of Shaivita Natha Sampradaya initiated Lord Vivasvat, the Spirit of our sun living on Earth. The lineage was later guarded by the kings of the solar dynasty. Then Vaivasvat Manu, King Ikshavaku down to Harishchandra, then to Lord RaghuNath (Rama), 47th in descent from Ikshavaku, whi is the 8th Rudra, esoterically connected with Shiv Goraksha Babaji. It is through this grand lineage of the Natha Yogis that the royal science of Kundalini Kriya Yoga has been preserved and handed down through the corridors of time by the ever living Shiv Goraksha Babaji. There is very a lot of mysticism in spiritual lineage of Nathas. 

Foto: Shree Mahavatar Babaji – Goraksha Nathar

Om Namah Shivayah!


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