Written by Yogi Matsyendranath

The Sampradaya of Mahayogi Gorakshanath is an ancient authentic Yogic Tradition. It was Guru Gorakshanath who has founded this Tradition. In India he is regarded as Shiva. Mahayogi Gorakshanath has established and developed yoga which is being practiced nowadays all over the world. Many scientists determine the period of formation of the Tradition from 5th to 12th century A.D.; but as a rule all dates are quite contradictory. Gorakshanath and other great Yogis are honoured by Nathas as spiritual Masters with realized kaya-siddhi and attained immortality.

It was preeminently Gorakshanath who developed the Hatha-yoga which is known as well as kaya-sadhana, pinda-sadhana, etc. He is also reputed as great master of Tantra and miracle-worker. There are a lot of various legends about him in India.

Practices of Nathas include the internal alchemy leading to immortality. During many centuries Natha Tradition has transmitted the spiritual knowledge through lineages from Guru to disciple, therefore the Tradition has been kept till our time; during this period various spiritual systems of India have borrowed methods of Hatha-yoga from Nathas. Gorakshanath is justly considered as the founder of Hatha-Yoga.

Gorakshanath 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 earrings in the ears, symbolizing solar and lunar energy. Natha Yogis have another characteristic feature which is Nadi (ritual whistle), that yogis carry on a black woolen cord (Janeu). This symbol is related to Nada-anusandhana practice, which is intended for working with sound vibration. The Janeu cord is associated with Ida and Pingala channels. Some treatises on Yoga and Tantra which are traditionally attributed to Mahayogi Gorakhshanath 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.

In comparison with Yoga of Maharishi Patanjali, Hatha-yoga of Natha-Sampradaya accentuates on the Kundalini-jagaran, sadhana originated from Tantric doctrines. Guru Gorakshanath has founded 12 Panths or branches of Yoga-Sampradaya. The spiritual culture of India is extremely wealthy and multifarious, therefore different groups of Natha-Sampradaya contain elements of various religious traditions in their spiritual practice. Hence 12 Panths were formed as a base of yoga-discipline. Nathas have never entered into confrontation with any doctrines and always have kept aside from social and religious activity. The predominant orientation of Natha Tradition is mystical experience. When the Buddhism was being superseded from India, many tantric Buddhists came into Nathas Panths. For this reason it's possible to meet Sufies, Vaishnavas, Shaivas, Shaktas and Kaulas among Nathas. The first Guru, who revealed the Natha doctrine for the disciple Matsyendranath was Shiva in the form of Adinath. Then Matsyendranath trasmitted the doctrine to Gorakshanath.

Gorakshanath is revered in all states of India, legends and sagas confirm this fact. The glory of Gorakshanath has surpassed the popularity of his Guru Matsyendranath, who is known not only as Nath but also as the founder of mystical tantric Kula current; therefore partially these doctrines are correlated with each other. There are well-known Nine Nathas (Nava Nathas) which are worshipped besides Gorakshanath in Natha-sampradaya. In the practice of Yoga and Tantra Gorakshanath has created the quintessence practically of all spiritual traditions, such as Vedism, Tradition of Puranas, Tantrism, Shaivism, Shaktism, Buddhism, Jainism, etc. Gorakshanath and his followers have disclosed the Essence of these doctrines to the world, popularizing the knowledge of Yoga.