Gorakshanath (Hindi गोरखनाथ)) (Goraksha (Skt. in tantra, which uses Shabar mantras, and hatha yoga, elements of which were practiced in many religious traditions, such as Shaivism, Sufism, Buddhism, etc.
The name „Goraksha” consists of two parts: „go” (Skt. गो) – universe, feelings, body, and „raksha” (Skt. रक्ष) – lord, protector, which literally translates as „lord of the universe” or „protector of the senses.”
Gorakshanath in India is considered the patron saint of all yogis. He is also revered in the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition. Legends about him are widespread and varied. There are especially many of them in Nepal, Bengal, western India, Sindh and Punjab. The biography of Gorakshanath is included in the biography of the 84 mahasiddhas.
The exact time and place of Gorakshanath’s life has not been established. Naths believe that Gorakshanath appeared in all world eras – four yugas. Modern researchers, based on an analysis of the surviving legends and traditions, as well as archaeological data, conclude that Gorakshanath lived no later than 1200 AD. e. and was born in East Bengal.
Gorakshanatha is considered the author of such texts as: „Goraksha-samhita”, „Goraksha-shataka”, „Goraksha-paddhati”, „Siddha-siddhanta paddhati”, „Viveka-martanda”, „Yoga-martanda”, „Yoga-cintamani” , „Jnana-amrita”, „Amanaska”, „Atmabodha”, „Goraksha-sahasranama”, „Yoga-bija”, „Yoga-siddhanta-paddhati”, „Amaraugha-prabodha”, „Goraksha-pistika”, „Goraksha- gita „,” Goraksha-vacana-sangraha „,” Goraksha-Upanishad „,” Amanaska-yoga „,” Hatha-yoga „and others.
Many other works are based on the teachings of Gorakshanatha: „Swara-tantra”, „Goraksha-purana”, „Jnana-sankalini”, „Yoga-mahima”, „Goraksha-tantra”, „Adinatha-samhita”, „Kalpadruma-tantra”, „Shabar-cintamani”, „Viveka-darpana”, „Natha-sutra” and others. It is difficult to establish exactly who was the author.
Goraksha says in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika: “There are as many Asanas, as there are different types of material bodies, conditioned by matter beings (jiva-atm). Shiva spoke about 8,400,000 Asanas and only he knew them. From this number, he selected 84, of which 4 are the most important and useful. These four – Siddha, Padma, Simha and Bhadra Asanas – are the best. “
Collection of Gorakshanath’s sayings and instructions in . The text reveals the concept of the Absolute (Shiva), as a reality that is beyond any views and descriptions. The Absolute manifests itself thanks to its Shakti. Living beings, according to Gorakshanatha’s definition, are not only a particle of the Absolute, but also the most perfect part of it, since the transcendental union of Shiva and Shakti is realized in them. The text gives the definition of Atman as the root of all that exists and the principles of its comprehension. It also describes the mystery and meaning of the sound OM and outlines the principles of working with the subtle body, breathing and determining the state of samadhi. Further, Gorakshanath gives instructions on six sections of yoga (asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi) as well as yama and niyama (prohibitions and prescriptions). The localization of chakras and adharas in the subtle body of a person and the process of awakening Kundalini are also described. Instructions are given on the practice of mudras and laya yoga. In conclusion, Gorakshanath defines the signs of an avadhut yogi and reminds of the greatness of the true Guru, only by whose grace it is possible to achieve the highest state and all perfections.
At the beginning of the text, Adinatha is mentioned, conducting a dialogue with the Goddess. The text contains instructions on yoga sadhana and a description of techniques, however, it is emphasized that certain practices should be received from the Guru. As a result of yoga sadhana, mystical forces (siddhis) appear, which are divided into kalpita and akalpita, that is, obtained through alchemy, austerities, mantras, etc. and siddhis, which the yogi obtains by following the natural path (sahajiya). The importance of preparing the body through hatha yoga practices is also emphasized, as a result of which the body, reaching perfection, becomes „stronger than the strongest and thinner than the thinnest.”
The text is written in a mixture of Rajasthani and Hindi languages. It is built in the form of a dialogue between Vimala Devi and Gorakshanath. At the beginning of the text, the meaning of the name Gorakshanatha, the principles of the creation of the Universe is explained, what the Creator and Deity are. Then the definitions of the essence of the nine Great Naths are given, as the principles of the universe having one source. At the end, instructions are given for disciples and various ways of comprehending the highest reality, as well as the definition of a brahmana as the ruler of yogis who attained manifested in the qualities of God.
The text „Viveka-Martanda”, containing two hundred and three stanzas, gives a detailed description of yoga practices, considering it as a path to liberation, ending and leading to the union of the jivatman (individual soul) and Paramatman (Absolute). It is emphasized that this knowledge was obtained from Adinatha himself, that is, the god Shiva. Unlike the „Yoga Sutras” of Patanjali in the Natha Sampradaya, yoga consists of six parts: asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi, and the number of yamas, like niyamas, is equal to ten, not five. It also emphasizes the need to honor Guru and Shiva before embarking on any activity.
The text describes in detail the arrangement of the five elements in the chakras, similar to the description in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and the tantric traditions. Below the navel is the kanda-yoni, where 72 thousand nadis, the energy channel of the human subtle bodies, originate. The main ones are considered ten, through which ten types of vayu also flow: five main pranas and five additional ones.
The practice of „ajapa-japa” is also given, in which the continuous repetition of the mantra „So Ham” („I Am”) is accompanied by a unique technique: on inhalation, the apana’s fire should be raised up, and on exhalation, prana should be led down. This is how their similarity and the awakening of Kundalini, which is described as being rolled up in eight turns, is achieved.
For effective practice, gaining health and longevity, advice on proper nutrition is given and a detailed description of the various mudras and bandhas is given.
An important place is given to work with the solar, lunar and fiery energies in the body. Pranayama leads to the state of pratyhara, in which the movement of the mind stops and the state of dharana begins. What follows is a detailed description of the five elements meditation. Moving on to dhyana, the yogi can contemplate the Atman in the nine chakras of the body, which leads to eight different siddhas (miraculous manifestations). The text ends with a description of the state of .
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