Amongst other remarkable personalities of India, the name of Guru Goraksh Nath can be easily recognized, being surrounded by many legends about his wonderful deeds. Those stories are so much strange, that they appearing more as fairy tales to the modern materialistically oriented minds, and it is very much difficult to believe in them presently. He described as flying in the air, turning a mountain into gold, creating alive people by his yogic powers and as doing many more supernatural miracles contradicting all laws of the modern science.
In the modern Hindi language even exist term, connected with his name: ‘Goraksh dhanda’, which translated literally means ‘as bewildering as the deeds of Goraksh’, and used to define events, which happening in intricate and mysterious circumstances.
Literally translated, the name Go-rakṣa means ‘to defend cows’. In one of devotional couplets of Näthas, senses compared with indiscriminately wondering cows, which he protects as cowherd. Gorakh is the another variation of spelling of his name, having the same meaning.As historical personage, Goraksh Nath was widely famous all over India, as distinguished saint, who achieved remarkable heights in the practice of Yoga and 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 achievements in 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 formation of the Nätha order, he was unanimously accepted as an incarnation of Shiva, and in such way, many others ascetic sects were persuaded to be included in the newly created order. There exist many books attributed to the authorship of Goraksh Nath, some of which became milestones for further development of Yoga tradition. Amongst them, few are in Sanskrit and few are in the mediveal 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.… 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 Jñāneśvar, in accordance with which Goraksh Nath lived not long time before him.
The Natha Yogis believe that Goraksh Nath was more then human Guru, 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, 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 Näthas 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 Näthas, has happened about three hundreds years ago, when he walked in India as the Siddh Baba Masta Nath.
He always remained away from creating two many theoretical conceptions, and even his most philosophical book Siddha Siddhanta Paddhati, counted by modern researchers as being only semi-philosophical work. This is not matter of big wonder, because he himself stating in the beginning of this book , that it is impossibly to express Absolute truth by written words, yet with purpose to bring ideas of Enlightened Siddha Yogis in front of the masses he attempting to express them. In such way, he stepping away from all possible future disputes, by accepting that from point of Absolute truth, all what he going to narrate, is only relative truth and only one of many points of view. He always insisted that Higher Spiritual reality can be realised and experienced only individualy in proccess of Yogic practises and can’t be defined by debates.
Instead indulgence in different discussions and attempting prove superiority his doctrine over doctrines others, by argumentation, he practically realized essence of his teaching, and became alive example of Great yogi. Teaching, which he presented, very simple and strightforward oriented, it based on correct knowledge of subtle structures existing in body of each individual and laws existing in univerce. It so much logically connected, that even today it seems as very much wonderful. Life as Yoga and real example what yogi should to be like, such he was, and such is his teaching.
Conceptions are always only conceptions, and however refined and well argument they can be, at last point they felt they lead us to nowhere. More ever, while yoga advising restrain mind from all possible kinds of sensual activities, submersing mind in philosophy appearing as nothing else, but as one of the forms of the intellectual indulgence. Conforming ourselves by the well-balanced arguments will not save us from the inevitably coming death, and can be comparing with ostrich, who when he sees approaching danger puts his head deep into sand in hope to avoid it. “I am not see danger, it means it not existing, his logic sound good, but in reality, this is not the actual state of things, but only one of the ideas, which will not save him from the coming death.
Teaching of Guru Goraksh Nath is remarkable part of the Indian spiritual heritage, and can’t be separated from it. As most of Indian Religions, it based on disappointment in materialistically aproachig of life, and highly emphasizing spiritual ideals as alternative to it. Be it Vedic, Buddhist, Jain or Sikh tradition, idea of impermanence and fickleness of life, very deeply rooted in all Indian spiritual culture. Why we came to this world? Is there some guiding invisible power behind frame of this material world, or we are only most highly developed form of animals? What real meaning of our lives? To get answer on these questions is crucial for deciding course of our lives.Where the last point to reach? Did we come here only to eat and make merry? Is this real means of our lives? Then why all these sorrows around?
All possible enjoyments prove themselves to be no more then sweet dreams when time to live this world comes. How much sorrow we filling when those whom we love so much and can’t live without, leave us forever. And we cant’t cange such situation or to stop it.
Day by day our own body, which we love so much, goes older and older, beyond of point of repair, and at last stage it inevitably going to be destroyed. Life spent in the attempts to get enjoyments by accepting body for Self, and not seeing any higher ideals, at last point leads as to nowhere. Actually, the idea of accepting body for Self by itself is fatal, becouse body definetly going to be destroed one day, but not the soul. We are coming in this world with empty hands and alone, and going from here with empty hands and alone. Even our body we have to live here, what to say about all kind of the material wealth we are collected, and this appearing as most total bankruptcy ever possible through which everybody have to pass at last. People are shameful to go through the bankruptcy in their lives, but no body feel shameful to die. Death is one of the realities of life, which no one can ignore, in front of which nothing of known remains true. Death makes no difference between reach and poor, strong and weak, neither it waits even for a moment, when its time has come.
Question “is there any Supreme force beyond of the frame of this material world, or all we are just eventual produce of evolution”, was always in people’s minds from the very beginning of the human civilization. All world religions agree that this life is full of sorrows, and impermanent, than is there something better than this, or any escape from it? Yogis tradition estabilished by Guru Goraksh Nath saying yes, there is a way. Material frame is going to die and be destroyed, but our souls are immortal and indestructible. By turning attention from the external material life, inside self, towards this Divine soul, we are stapping on the way to become spiritual.
It is difficult to get human birth (in accordance with Hindu believes our soul passes through different endless transmigrations, taking different kind of bodies each time), and it is only as humane beings we can reach emancipation from the cycle of births and deaths, ‘chorasi lakhs yonis’ (eighty four lakhs species of potential bodies to take birth). The soul of each individual has in itself the potential to reach higher realities, and it is our sacred duty to realize it.
The birth of Goraksh Nath
This is the traditional story of the appearance of the Guru Goraksh Nath in this world, in the form as it is popular amongst the Natha Yogis. This story is continuation from the story of Amar Katha, from Adi Nath page of this website.
After being initiated by the Lord Śiva, Yogi Matsyendra-Nath became absorbed in his yogic practices. He was practicing yoga in accordance with the guidances he got from Śiva, and he was performing worship of both: Śiva and Śakti. After twelve ears of practice he achieved great yogic powers and all possible siddhis. He traveled a lot, and became famous all over India and Nepal for his performing miracles, and propagating yoga.
Once in course his wondering he has reached the village Chandragiri, situated somewhere on the bank of the river Godavri. In this village, there were living the family of the householder Suraj and his wife Saraswati. While Matsyendra Nath was passing near their place, Saraswati greeted him respectefully and invited him to stay and to have food, and he accepted her offer. After Matsyendra Nath spent some time at their place, and when the time to live has come, he being pleased with her services told her to ask some favor from him.
Saraswati with folded hands and with tears in her eyes, told him that everything they were having in abundance, but there was no no child in their family. After learning this, the yogi has told her that this was not big problem for him to solve, and he can bless her with a boy. Then he taken some ash from his bag, spelled mantra over it and then given it to her. “What to do with it?”-She asked him in misunderstanding.
“Just eat it and you will get your child,” the yogi answered. After saying this he left. When he disappeared from view, Saraswati still was standing on the road in misunderstanding. She was feeling that yogi has made a bad joke with her; even more she felt being cheated. She has asked him for a son, and instead he had given her this useless ash. In disappointment she has thrown the pouch given by him at the place where dry cow dung was kept (in some versions of the legend she was advised to do so by other woman). After some time, she forgot about the incident, and remind childless as before.
After twelve ears have passed, again it happened that Matsyendra Nath was passing by the same way. When he reached the place where Saraswati with her husband were living, after exchanging greetings, the first thing which he asked was: “I hope that your son is well, show me him right now?”
She look at him in misunderstanding in her eyes and answered:” I have no any child, about whom you are asking?
Matsyendra Nath was possessing yogic power duty which his words never were becoming untrue, so now his time to wonder has came, “Didn’t I has blessed you with son twelve ears ago?”
On what Saraswati answered: “About which son you are talking, why do you make jokes with a poor women? Didn’t you had given me only some ash which I have in abundance without you?”
Matsyendra Nath became astonished to listen what she was saying and at the same time greatly annoyed: ”What, what did you done with ash I had given to you, did you eaten it?” he asked.
“No, not I did’t eat it, but thrown it at the place where we keep cow dung.”-She answered.
“Show me immediately that place!” has exclimbed Matsyendra Nath. .
Saraswati has showed him the place where twelve ears ago she had thrown the ash.
He reached there and called: “Where are you my child? Come out.”
After some time from the midst of cow dung answer has come: “Here I am.”
When the heaps of cow dung were removed, they found that under it there was seating a beautiful boy of twelve years old. All the people around became greatly astonished to see this wonder: “How it is possible, that boy was born from cow dung?” They was asking each other.
Matsyendra Nath has taken child away from the place he was sitting and told him: “You are a child born from the ash I had given to that women long time ago. Because she misused it she has no more right on you. So you will now become a yogi as I am, and from now your name will be Gorakh Nath. After some, both of them left the village and continued their pilgrimage together.
The Life story of Guru Gorakṣa-pa
In the Eastern India raja Devapal was ruling, who has one son. When the boy became twelve ears old, his mother queen, became very seek, and was about to die. Last words she spoke to her son were, that happiness and unhappiness of living beings are caused by good or bad deeds they (themselves) are performed (karma). (In accordance with Hindu believes our present lives are caused by our Karma- record of deeds we done in our previous lives. If we behave well, we are getting good consequences, and if we did bad to some one, we getting suffering as punishment. In such way man writing his own future fate by his own actions.) So she told him, that better to die, than to do evil to others. After saying this she breathed her last breath.
After some time people asked the king, who was still young, to marry other queen from another state and he did accordingly. After spending together with his new wife few days, raja went in jungle for hunting. When the new queen came on the roof of the palace, she saw there king’s son. She became extremely fond of him, so that she sent messenger to him, inviting him to come near her. When he got her message, his answer was that he doesn’t want to do so. After listening this, the queen felt herself greatly ashamed, and she thought: ‘He showed me disrespect, (in front of the people), and what may be more painful for me! By any means he should be destroyed!’ In anger she ordered servants immediately to kill him, but she was answered, that he is the only son of the king, and duty this reason it is impossible for them, to kill him.
(But enraged queen not became pacified on it), so she decided to destroy prince, by any cost and means, by applying her craftiness. The queen went to her room and made bloody injuries and scratches all over her body. She torn her closes to pieces and lay down on her bad in such state. When the king returned to the palace, he after seeing her state, asked her: ’Who did this with you?’
On what queen has told: ‘This was done by your son’.
After listening her, the king became inflamed with anger and he told: ‘Who ever did this misbehavior with you, we should be put to death immediately.’ Then he called two of his executioners and ordered them to take prince to the jungle, and cut away his legs and hands. The both executioners thought, that it is not proper for them to kill the son of the king, so they decided instead, to kill they own sons and spare his life. They told to the prince that kill him is impossible for them, and duty this reason they would kill they own sons instead of him.
But the prince answered that doing so would be wrong, and that they should obey the order they got from the king, and kill him only. He told them the last words his mother was saying: ‘Even to safe your life, don’t do wrong things. So to fulfill the order given by the father, you should kill me’. They put him under a tree, and after cutting away his hands and legs, went away.
In such condition he was found there by yogi Achintya (Matsyendra Nath) who happen to pass by. Acharya accepted him as a disciple and initiated him into Yoga. After walking little distance from there, he saw few herdsman. When he came into their midst he has addressed to them, ‘Do you see those vultures collected over there? At that place under a tree, one limbless man is laying. Who of you can go to him and take care of him?’ One of cowherds, the boy who was from the caste of incense sellers, has agreed to go and to have a look. He told to the yogi: ’But I have one condition. I will accomplish your job, and you will have to make complete mine.
He went to the place in jungle as he was told by the yogi, towards the place where vultures were circling. After seeing the limbless prince, he returned back and told to the yogi: ‘Yes, what you was saying is true.’
The yogi asked from cowherd boy: ‘What you have for your daily food?’
The boy answered: “I am getting some food from our main cowherd. I will share half of it with him daily.’ On listening his answer Achintya has told: ‘Very kind of you, my child. Please take care of that limb-cut (Chor-ang) man properly.’ After saying this he left.
Cowherd boy has built some hut over the helpless prince, and started daily provide him with food and what ever else was required. He also was cleaning away urine and excrement of helpless Chorangi, with his own hands. In such way twelve ears have passed. Once when he came to the hut as usually, he saw that prince was standing on his own legs. In amazing he asked him; ‘How this became possible?’
The prince answered:’
"As result of the way given by the able Param Guru,
By explaining oneness of the mind and elements,
All natural laws merged into the one Supernatural law.
Going beyond of happiness and sadness,
Has made my legs and hands restored.’
While saying this he flew up from the ground, and remained seated in the air. He asked from cowherd:’ (You are sincerely served me in course of twelve ears, and shared your food with me. You became more then brother for me. How I can pay for all you did for me?) Should I teach you yoga?’
On what he was answered:’ (No I don’t want anything in return for my services.) I did it because I was told to do so, by my Guru. Now you are no more helpless as before, so I think my work is up.‘ After saying this cowherd (leave him and) went back, to continue taking care of the cattle as before.
One day Mahayogi Achintya came again. The cowherd boy narrated him what has happening in course of the twelve ears, and yogi became pleased to know it. He accepted the boy as his disciple and initiated him in Yoga. Then he has left somewhere else.
The cowherd was doing worship in accordance with the guidance obtained from the guru, and at last he has achieved the realization of Maha-mudra (the Great seal, stage of Bodhisattva realization in Tantric Buddhism, or the State of the Great Union). One day Achintya came again and ordered him, that till then he will not initiate ten million people, he should not take mukti (the final liberation from the circles of birth and death) for himself. So to fulfill the order given by the guru, he started initiate all people to whom ever he happen to met. Then one day he was approached by Mahadeva (Siva) himself, who told him that he should not initiate each and every body indiscriminately, but should give initiation only to those who deserve it and who ask for it with proper respect. Those whose hearts are impure, and those who have no faith, must not be initiated at all.
After liberating uncountable number of people, and because he was cowherd, he became famous under name ‘Goraksha’.
Even nowadays those who earnestly seek liberation, can get their initiation from him. Sincere and true in heart, get sight of him and can listen his Damru (kind of a drum) inside themselves. But he does not reveal his presence to those, who are selfish and who are in lack of faith and purity. Invisible he remains on the Earth even today.
On this story of Guru Goraksha is completed.