Masta Nath

By the Natha Yogis in general and by the yogis of Ai Panth (Ai-sub-sect of the Natha Sampradaya) in particular, the Siddh Baba Masta (Mast) Nath is recognized as the one of most recent appearances of the Guru Goraksh Nāth in embodied form, which occurred around the middle of the 18th century. Because of its relative nearness to modern time, his life story, which has reached our time without being much distorted by time and people, is one of the best preserved biographies of the Great Natha Siddhas. Although the miraculous part of the biography of the Siddh Baba Masta Nath, still could appear as unbelievable to the modern materialistic minds, his life story is the good example of how the original biographies of Great Natha Yogis supposed to look like. This makes it to be an important document amongst few older life stories of the Great Natha Siddhas, some of which by now have became distorted to such extent that they more resemble fairy tales, then actual life events.

As a Great Yogi, the Siddh Baba Masta Nath exercised immense influence on the contemporary to him development of the Nātha Sampradaya and played big role in the establishment of the influence of the Natha Yogis in the Haryana State (at that time the part of the Punjab state) and the areas around it. The biggest establishment of the Natha Yogis in India and in the Haryana State at the present moment, which is widely famous as the Asthal Bohar, was founded by the personal order of the Siddh Baba Masta Nath, and maintained nowadays by the direct lineage of his spiritual descendants. The present Piṭhādhiśvar of the Math is Śrī Bābā Cānd Nāth Yogī. The life of the Baba has been surrounded with the numerous stories about the miraculous deeds he has performed, and there exist many places associated with his name in the Northern India, most of which are situated in the present Haryana State. Because he lived not much long ago, his biography is one of best documented and detailed amongst the other biographies of the Great Natha Siddhas. There is no any doubt that he was highly realized yogi, who had at his disposal numerous magical powers (Siddhis), the powers, which he used from time to time only for the propagation of Dharma. From his life story, we learn that he had commanded respect for the Natha Yogis at every place he has visited, and his ways to make this happen were very uncommon. Being unpredictable and incredibly powerful, he was walking amongst people as living God, as one who has insight into past and future, and as one who was able to bless righteousness and to punish wicked merely by pronouncing the desirable effect by his mouth; the both of these, he used to do frequently. He was the true Avadhuta Yogi, who lived in the realms of the Spirit, being completely unconcerned with the worldly matters; for him there was no any difference between the contemporary mighty kings and simple people, as well as between golden coins and stones.

The Living Example

The life pattern of the Siddh Baba Masta Nath represented the great example of the renunciation (vairagya) and of the power of austerity (tapasa), which inspirited many of the contemporary to him Nātha Yogis and invigorated the new life force into the Nātha Sampradaya. By the way of his life, he reintroduced the classical example of the lives of the Great Natha Siddhas, the way, which was in existence since immemorial times. He lived always besmeared with ash (vibhuti) from his fireplace (Dhūnī), and besides it preferred to live completely naked or used to wear only langoti (a peace of lion close). He traveled anywhere he liked, mostly around the areas of the Southern-Eastern Punjab (the modern Haryana State), being accompanied by few of his disciples, and all his possessions were his asana (seat or blanket), chimta (fire tongs) and kamandal (water pot). He avoided living at houses and preferred to stay away from villages; usually he used to stop somewhere in jungles or field. There he used to stay under open sky or under the branches of trees, which were his only shelter. It was his custom that in his travels, on coming at new place, first thing he used to do, was to put his fire tongs (chimta) into the ground at the spot he liked, and start his Dhuna (Dhūnī) there. Since long time ago, this tradition was common amongst the Natha Siddhas, the Dhuna was everything for them, their home, their place of worship and the only thing they were always needed. The daily routine of the Baba Masta Nath was not much different from the daily routine of the Natha Siddhas, how it used to be from the times of the personal appearance of the Guru Goraksh Nath. The Baba Masta Nath represented the example of the ultimate freedom, being independent from the needs of house, closes, food and household utensils, which usually bound a man to one place. Until very late period of his life, he did not stayed at one place for long period of time and always was moving from one place to other, being unbound by anything or anyone. While staying at one place, Baba Masta Nath always used to sit near his burning fire place (Dhuna). Simultaneously, some of his disciples were going in nearby village or city for the begging of alms, some of them were fetching water from nearest river or well, and some others were cooking food. In his biography, there is not found any mentioning stating that he has any formal education and he did not left after him any written works, but surely, he was writing legends not by his words, but by his deeds. The Baba Masta Nath himself and many of his direct disciples have become famous for the severity of their penances, most common of which were pancha-dhuna tapasya (sit surrounded by five fires in the hottest season of the year), and kalesri (always keep standing for long period of time). This tradition is still alive amongst his spiritual descendants, the yogis of the Ai Panth, which are recognized as performing this kinds of worship more frequently than the yogis of other sub sects (panthas) of the Natha Sampradaya. The main idea behind of such apparently harsh practices is that when one voluntarily chooses to put own body into the grasp of continuous suffering, which is impossible to bear normally, and simultaneously concentrates on the repeating of the Guru Mantra, his individual awareness would be pushed beyond of the body and senses automatically, to the Spiritual State.

The life of the Siddh Baba Mastanath was abundant with many various miracles, which took place as in his childhood as well as in the period of his being the Yogi of the Natha Sampradaya. Those miracles are so numerous that it is impossible to describe all of them in this short article; to write his complete biography mentioning all of his deeds would require writing of a separate book. Therefore, only few selected stories from the life of the Siddh Baba Masta Nath were selected for this article. The legends narrated in this article are mostly approximate English translation from the Hindi text presented in the book written by Kokcandra Śāstrī, Asthal Bohar Maṭh ka Saṁkṣipt Itihās, which was published by the Asthal Bohar Maṭh from Rohtak, Haryana, under the supervision of the Mahant of the same Math, Śrī Baba Cānd Nāth Yogī. In its turn, the work of Kokcandra Śāstrī is the translation into modern Hindi of an older work by Siddh Śrī Śankar Nāth Yogī, ‘Śrī Mastanāth Carit’.

The First Appearance of Baba ji

About 300 years ago, in the village named Kaṁsareṭī (Kesari-Haṭṭ) situated in the modern Haryana State of India, there lived a man of a trader caste, whose name was Sabalā. He was pious and religious person, and his main business was to load different goods on camels and to take them from place to place for selling. One day, when he was moving as usually along the bank of the Yamuna River, accompanied by his camels loaded with goods, he came upon a sadhu who was sitting near the way he was about to pass. On seeing him, Sabalā devotedly greeted the yogi and offered him his services (seva), such as food and so on, after receiving which the yogi became pleased. When the yogi has asked him about his life, Sabalā told him that he and his wife were having everything in abundance, but they were childless. On hearing this, the Yogi blessed him and promised him that they would get a child before the period of one year would be over. After this, they parted their ways, and Sabalā continued his travel. It is believed by the Natha Yogis that the yogi to whom Sabalā meet, was no anyone else, but the Guru Goraksh Nāth himself, who appeared to him in one of his numerous bodies.

When much exited by happened Sabalā returned to his home, he told to his wife about this event. After that day, they both were eagerly counting passing days, waiting for the promised baby. But to their disappointment, even when the period of one year was about to finish, his wife was still not showing any signs of pregnancy. Close to the end of the appointed year, Sabalā accompanied by his wife went by jungle road to some other village, intending to visit their relatives. In the middle of their way, in the midst of jungle, they saw a small boy about one year old, who was lying near the road. Besides the child, there was no any one around, and so Sabalā and his wife have become much puzzled by such strange situation. Soon, the couple has realized the grave danger of the situation; the jungle was abundant with wild animals, some of which could easily harm to the helpless child left alone in the midst of jungle, without anyone to protect him. Therefore, they decided to stay near the baby, until coming of someone, who has left him there, and to whom he belonged. However, even after staying there for quite long period of time, no one came to pick him up. It was not possible for them to leave such helpless child in jungle alone, for they knew that it was sure death for him. Therefore, they decided to take him along with them, and take care of him, until his parents would be found. After that, they were inquiring in all neighbor villages around, in attempt to trace his parents, but all their searches ended in vain. Some villagers have suggested them that this child was the God’s gift for them and therefore they should keep him for themselves. Since they liked baby very much and were childless as well, they decided to properly adopt him as their own son and heir. When this news became known into their village, all around became pleased about happened and heartedly greeted their decision. In such way, the prophetic words told by the yogi to Sabalā became fulfilled, and they got their boy before one year has passed. It is believed that this child was no one else, but the Guru Goraksh Nāth himself, who by his yogic powers has accepted this embodied form. This event has taken place approximately around the year 1707 A.D., and the boy who was later going to become famous as the Siddh Baba Mastā Nāth, was given name Mastā, which means ‘delighted’ or ‘fully satisfied’.


Later on, even from the early years of his life, the Siddh Baba Mastanāth has become famous for the performance of different miracles and there exist lot of stories connected with his childhood. Day by day, Mastā slowly grow up, spending his time in games with his friends, the boys of the village. When he became enough grown up for it, he was given responsibility of taking care of cattle as cowherd, for it was the usual custom of the village boys of that time. On learning this, some of his friends have become sad, because they were going to lose their best companion for games. When they revealed their sorrow to him, he told them with smile that nothing was going to change for them, and he would continue daily participate in their games as before. Since the moment he has accepted his new duty, he has been daily taking his cattle in the nearby jungle for grazing. Since morning until evening, the boy Mastā along with some other village boys to whom was assigned the same duty, used to sit in the shadows of trees, spending their time in games and at the same time watching for their cattle. They were obliged to stay with cows all day long, until late evening, when they were returning to their homes. One day, Sabalā has noticed that at the same time when Mastā was supposed to be in jungle with his cows, he was playing with his friends on playground, in the same way as it was before. The thought that Mastā has left his cows in jungle without any protection, came into Sabalā’s mind, but he decided to maintain his patience, and so he did not scold the boy at the spot. But when he saw that the same situation was repeating daily, he started losing his patience. When one evening Mastā has returned to his home with his cattle, Sabalā has told him that his irresponsibility was not good. However, Mastā denied all his accusations and told him that he was spending day long with the cattle, and that this fact was well known to other cowherds. When other cowherd boys were asked about the matter, they conformed the words of Mastā, and told to Sabalā that the boy was with them all day long. Not knowing to whom to believe, to his own eyes or to the saying of the cowherd boys, Sabalā being much puzzled by the whole matter, decided to check out the situation by himself in one of coming days. Next day, he went to the place in jungle, where Mastā with other cowherds were supposed to take care of their cows. On reaching there, he saw his son sitting amongst other cowherd boys in the close proximity of his cattle. Immediately afterwards, Sabalā has returned to the village by the shortest possible way, and there he saw Mastā playing with his friends on the playground. To see this was quite unexpected for him, for he knew that it was impossible for Mastā to reach there at such short period of time. Then Sabalā returned to the jungle once more, to the same place where he left Mastā, just few minutes ago. When he reached there, he again saw him sitting there amongst other cowherd boys, in the same way as he left him. Once more Sabalā went to the village, and there he again saw his son playing with his friends. Sabalā being puzzled by such development of the situation more and more, repeated his going and coming few more times, but each time he saw the same picture; it appeared to him that Mastā was simultaneously in the two different places, as in the village, so in the jungle. When Sabalā have told about this situation to other villagers, they decided to check the matter together. First, they went to the playground where they saw Mastā playing amongst other boys. Immediately after it, they rushed into the jungle, only to discover the seen, which was even more strange then they expected. There they saw Mastā sleeping under a tree, with a big snake sitting on one of its branches. The snake has expanded its hood in such way that it was protecting the boy’s face from the direct sunlight. On seeing coming people, the snake went away, and the boy became awakened, by the rays of sun striking into his eyes and by the noise produced by the approaching villagers. After coming near the boy, the people spoke with him for while, and then returned to the village, where they saw him again on the playground amongst other boys. After this, they have told to Sabalā that there was no any doubt of the fact that there were two boys: one of them was playing on the playground and other was sitting in the jungle with cows. At the same time, they conformed that the both of them were one and the same person, the son of Sabalā Mastā; how it was possible, this they could not explain. The same villagers have revealed to Sabalā that since the moment Mastā has entered his house, the life of his family seemingly has changed for better; in the light of these facts, they suggested him that his boy was not an ordinary child, but probably some realized Siddha Yogi. Since that day, the name of Mastā was on the lips of everybody in the village. The villagers were saying that the person whom snake protecs from the sun with its spread hood, could become either an emperor or a Great Siddha Yogi. Later their words came true, and Mastā became famous as the one of the greatest yogis of the Nāth Sampradaya.

Causing Rain

Once, when Mastā was around 12 years old, he has caused rain to appear by his will, in order to feed his cattle with water. This miracle has happened at the time of the hottest season of year, when rains not happen for prolonged period of time, and all water places in jungle become dry. One day, some cowherd boys have told Mastā that they have to go back to the village, to feed their cows with water there; otherwise, their cows could become seek. On hearing this, Mastā has told them not to go there, but wait until he would satisfy the thirst of their cows there only. The boys were well aware of the fact that all water pounds situated in the jungle were dried up, and there was no any water left in them, therefore they tried to persuade Mastā to go along with them to the village. On hearing their argumentation, Mastā refused to go there again and in his turn tried to stop the boys from going. When all cowherd boys, excluding Mastā, were on half-way to the village, the sky which was without any signs of the coming rain just few minutes ago, became suddenly filled with darkening clouds, and soon heavy rain has started. In matter of minutes, all water pounds in jungle became fully filled with water, so that the cattle of Mastā and other boys could have water supply in abundance for many more days. The cowherd boys have told about this event to the people of the village, who on hearing this story became even more established in their faith that Mastā was not an ordinary boy, but some Great Siddha Yogi.

Endless Milk

At some other occasion, it happened that one day all cowherd boys were absorbed in game, which lasted day long, and by the evening, they became strongly troubled with thirst. The water suitable for drinking was not available near by, and they started filling very badly duty this reason. On seeing their problem, Mastā has taken an empty basket and milked milk of one cow into it. Then he fed all of the boys with milk from the same bucket, and everyone has drunk it in to satisfy their thirst. After some time, some marriage procession was passing close to the place where the boys were staying, and Mastā invited all people coming along with it, to have milk from the same bucket. The wonder, which took place after that, was that even after many people from the same procession, have drunk it in abundance, milk in the same bucket remained on the same level and apparently was not going to finish. All people in the marriage party became greatly astonished to see this miracle happening in front of their eyes. On seeing it, they became strongly convinced that Mastā was no one else, but some Great Siddha Yogi in his past life. The people of the marriage procession have became so much impressed by this miracle that they have asked the address of Mastā, in order that on their way back, they may come to his house and worship the place where he was living. When other cowherd boys have returned to the village and told the villagers about happened, nobody has taken their story seriously, considering it a usual childish play of imagination. However, when few days after this, the people from the marriage procession came to the village and conformed the story told them by the cowherd boys, the people of the village became once more astonished to see the new demonstration of the extraordinary powers of the boy Mastā. The people from the marriage procession came to the Sabalā’s house and congratulated him on having such an extraordinary son. In the evening of the same day, when Mastā has returned to his home as usually, Sabalā has told him that from that day, he would not go any more to the jungle for the grazing of cows, and that some other person would be arranged for this purpose. Since that day, the boy Mastā continued to live in the house of Sabalā being free from all responsibilities.

Strange Nights

In the same village Kaṁsareṭī, there was living a Brahmin named Manmīt Miśra. He was pious person and was always absorbed in the worship of God. Even at the nighttime he was not sleeping as other people used to do, but was engaged in the recitation of the names of God. One night, close to midnight, he saw near Sabalā’s house numerous yogis sitting besides their fireplaces (Dhunas). He also saw Mastā walking amongst them, and appearing as the leader of them. Manmīt Miśra’s heart has become delighted on seeing this congregation of yogis, and since that day, he continued to see the same seen in the course of few more nights. One day, at the daytime, he went to the Sabalā’s house and asked Sabalā to introduce him to those yogis, which were daily visiting his house at midnight. On hearing his words, Sabalā expressed his misunderstanding of the matter and told him that there were not any yogis at his house, not before, not now. Manmīt Miśra did not tell him anything more and after that, he quietly returned to own house, where he started waiting for the coming night. At midnight, when he looked from his house towards the house of Sabla, he again saw there yogis sitting near their fire places, as it was happening before. At that occasion, Manmīt Miśra quietly awakened his neighbors and showed them the seen. Everybody was able to see the same seen as Manmīt Miśra was seeing. After some time, the neighbors returned to their houses and when the morning has came, they came to Sabalā, and described him what they have seen around his house at the last night. Even after learning from few different people about the strange events happening around his house, Sabalā was still unable to believe in this. On the same night, he himself went to the house of Manmīt Miśra, in order to see what was going on around his own house. From there, close to the midnight, he was able to see the same yogis sitting besides their fire places in close proximity to his house. Also he saw that Mastā was amongst them as one of them. When Sabalā advanced towards his house, he noticed that the vision seen by him from the house of Manmīt Miśra has disappeared when he came near. Nothing was left there, neither yogis, neither the remains of their fires, nor Mastā; all was as usual. In the next morning, he asked Mastā what he knew about happened at night. Mastā answered him that he was only a child and that he did not know anything about those yogis. Nevertheless, Sabalā became very concerned about the happened, for he saw everything with his own eyes, and he could not find any satisfactory explanation for those night events. He now became fully convinced that his son Mastā was some Great Yogi in his past life, who did not wanted to reveal his real personality before the appointed time came.

Searching for Guru

By then, Mastā was about twelve years old, but his behavior was strange for a child of his age. When he was given new closes to wear, after some time he used to take them off, and preferred to roam around half-naked. Sabalā was much worried by the situation, so he asked an advice from some other people of the village about the possible solution for the future of his boy. After reconsidering the numerous miraculous deeds performed by Mastā, villagers have told to Sabalā that probably his son was not an ordinary child, but some great Siddha yogi in his previous life. Therefore, they advised him to offer Mastā to some Sadhu or Yogi, as the best possible solution for the situation. Since that moment, Sabalā along with Mastā and some other villagers were continuously going from one village to other in search for some appropriate Sadhu, who would agree to accept the child as his disciple. After visiting numerous neighbor villages, they were still unable to find any suitable yogi with the good reputation, who was ready to accept the responsibility of taking care of the child. When all their numerous attempts to find guru for Mastā ended in vain, they came back to their own village along with the boy.

Meeting with Guru ji

One day, the Nātha Yogi of the Ai Panth, Narmāī (nāth) jī by name, who used to visit the village Kaṁsareṭī frequently from time to time, came there again. He stopped outside the township under some big tree, where he made his fireplace (Dhūnī). He was not an ordinary beggar, whose only care was to feed his stomach, but very famous Sādhu of the whole areas around the village. In his previous visits, he has earned respect of the villagers by his good behavior, wisdom, patience and the power of renunciation. On hearing about his coming, Sabalā with his wife and the son Mastā rushed to the place where Narmāī jī was staying. On coming there, Sabalā devotionally bowed his head to the feet of Baba ji, placed Mastā in front of him and asked, if he would accept the boy as his disciple. At first, the Siddh Baba Narmāī jī was reluctant to accept his offer, by saying that he could not accept such big responsibility, which would compromise his personal freedom and worship. He told to Sabalā that the acceptance of such young disciple places big responsibility on the shoulders of guru, and if he would accept the boy, he would not be remaining as free as he was before. On hearing his answer, the boy Mastā also prostrated with his head to the feet of Narmāī Nāth jī, in attempt to persuade him to take him as his disciple. He told to the yogi that he would be his faithful and obedient disciple, and that he sees it as the only way of own salvation. On seeing such faith and determination of the child, Narmāī jī slowly became convinced to accept him. However, he put forth condition that he would accept Mastā as his permanent disciple only after thoroughly testing his behavior. Since that moment, Mastā started staying with the Yogi and was accompanying him in all his travels, wherever he went. After some time, Narmāī jī has become convinced that the boy was fit to become a Nath Yogi, therefore he selected the most auspicious date for the ceremony of initiation him into the Nātha Sampradaya. In the appointed day, the head of Mastā was made clean shaved, so that only scalp lock (coṭī) was left on its top. Then Narmāī jī has cut of his scalp lock (coṭī) and told him that his new name was now Mastāī (nāth). Also, in accordance with the proper customs of the Natha Saqmpradaya, the boy was given his Guru Mantra, the Sacred Thread of the Natha Yogis called janeū and the closes (vastra) of bagva color. This ceremony of the first formal initiation of the boy Masta into the Natha Sampradaya, after which he became an aughaṛ yogi of the Natha Order, took place around the year 1715 A.D.

Life as the Natha Yogi

There is not much information available about the early years of the Natha Yogi Mastāī, which he spent with his Guru Narmāī jī. All we know that he was an obedient disciple, which was an ideal example of the service of a disciple to his Guru. The first major appearance of Baba ji amongst the Yogis of the Natha Sampradaya, as it has been described in his biography, took place at the big gathering (bandara) of the Natha Yogis in the place known as Pehvā of the modern Haryana State. The modern city Pehvā is an ancient place of pilgrimage on the banks of remains of the bed of river Sarasvati. There only, the Siddh Baba Mastāī, after demonstrating his numerous magical powers and the spiritual authority, was honored by all Yogis of the Twelve Panths of the Natha Sampradaya as the embodied manifestation of the Guru Goraksh Nath. One of the wonders, which he performed in Pehvā in front of the numerous Yogis of the Natha Sampradaya, was the manifestation of the sacred thread of Nathas (janeū) on his neck and other was the appearance of earrings in the lobes of his ears, the both of these miracles were accomplished by his yogic powers. Being prior to it an aughaṛ or the yogi of the Natha Sampradaya, whose ears were not split yet, he at once manifested the couple of earrings in the lobes of both his ears, and in such way has became darśanī or fully initiated Natha Yogi. The Yogis of the Twelve Panths, being convinced by these and by other miracles performed by him there, have recognized and worshiped him as the Great Siddha Yogi of their order. Even today, all Natha Yogis in their daily worship mention his name amongst the other names of the Great Natha Siddhas of the Natha Sampradaya. Because it was not proper for the yogi of one sub sect of the Natha Sampradaya to be worshipped by all Natha Yogis of the Twelve Panths, from that moment his name has been changed from ‘Masta Āī’, which was the name customary for the yogis of Āī Panth to which he belonged, to Siddh Bābā Masta Nāth. This condition was caused by the fact that the same Āī Panth had been started by the direct disciple of the Guru Gorakh Nath, Vimala Devi; so how could the yogi accepted as the Guru of all Nathas, trace his spiritual descend from the lineage of his own disciples? In such way, this changing of the ending of his name has been carried on to signify the fact that he was the Nath in true sense of its meaning, and therefore the Lord of all Natha Yogis. Since that moment, the Āī sub sect of the Nathas has became divided into two branches, one of which was of the original Āī Panth and other was of the direct spiritual descendants of the Bābā Masta Nāth. While the yogis of the older branch of Āī Panth have retained their custom to use ‘Āī’ at the end of their names, which continues up to the present time, the followers of the Bābā Masta Nāth, stared use the word ‘Nāth’ as the last part of their names, to signify their spiritual descend (parampara) from him.

Baba Masta Nath and Shah Alam II

Once, Bābā Mastanāth along with few of his disciples went on visit to Delhi. On arriving there, they stopped at some place situated near the modern Panckuiyā Marg (the Road of five wells), where Bābā Mastanāth has started his Dhūnī. Very soon, the news about coming of the famous Natha Yogi became spread in all areas around, and many people started flowing to the place of his staying, to pay homage to him. At that time, the ruler of Delhi was the Shah Alam (Śah Ālam) II (1728–1806 A.D.), whose princely name was Ali Gauhar, and who has became the eighteenth Mughal Emperor of India in the year 1759 A.D. On learning about the presence of such famous yogi as Bābā Mastanāth in his capital, the Shah Alam II, has became much exited, so that he desired to visit the Baba ji personally, hoping to obtain his blessings. He told to the members of his court that he was pleased by coming into his city of such distinguished Natha Yogi, and expressed his wish to meet him in person. After this, the council of Shah’s advisers, on which were discussed all advantages and disadvantages of the probable meeting of the king with the yogi, has taken place. One of the Shah’s close advisers, his spiritual preceptor Kājī, has suggested to him that because Baba Mastanāth was always remaining naked, it was not proper for the emperor to meet the yogi. The advice was reasonable, and therefore Shah Alam II has been discouraged from the accomplishment of his plan. He canceled his personal visit to the yogi, but decided to honor him by sending some royal presents with one of his officials. The Shah told to his messenger to deliver to Baba ji his personal greetings, along with few golden coins and two very expensive shawls of high quality (dushala). When messenger has arrived at the place where Baba ji was staying, he found him sitting besides of his burning Dhūnī. The officer respectfully offered the gifts send by the king to the feet of Baba jī and told him that the ruler of the Mughal Empire, the Shah Alam II, has sent them as the sign of the royal honor. The Baba Mastanāth, without answering anything, picked both shawls with his fire tongs and placed them into the flame of his Dhūnī. Within few moments, they were reduced to ash by fire, in front of eyes of the king’s messenger. When the messenger returned to the royal palace and told to the Shah Alam II about happened, the emperor became greatly offended by the whole matter, which was taken by him as the sign of the personal disrespect. He wanted to punish the yogi immediately, but being scared of his probable magical powers, he decided to test him first. In the morning of the next day, the Shah summoned in his court his senior police officer and told him to go to Baba Mastanāth and ask him diplomatically to return those shawls for their replacement. He further instructed him that in case if yogi would be unable to accomplish this demand, he should arrest him immediately and bring to his court for punishment. After that, the officer went to the Dhūnī of Baba ji and politely told him that those two shawls, which were send to him the day before, were of not enough good quality, and that now Shah wanted them back in order to replace them. The Baba Mastanāth has understood that the Shah Alam II wanted to test his powers, and see if he could miraculously return those shawls, which knew, were burned down in the fire of Baba’s Dhūnī one day ago. He also understood well the trap set for him by the Shah, in case if he would be unable to accomplish this task. Without much delay, the Baba Mastanāth picked up his fire tongs (chimṭa) and started taking one by one, the burning coals from the flame of his fireplace. The moment he was putting one of them on the ground, it was transformed into beautiful shawl. He continued to do this for some time, and soon around him were lying heaps of shawls of incredible quality; each of them was more beautiful then others. When he has finished this job, he told to the messenger of the Shah Alam II to choose by himself, which of those shawls were the shawls he was looking for. He added that many other great kings have sent him all of those shawls as the signs of their honor, and that he has forgotten which of them were belonging to the Shah Alam II. The king’s officer became greatly exited on seeing this miracle happened in front of his eyes, so that he prostrated on the ground with his head to the feet of Baba jī, asking for forgiveness. When Baba Mastanāth, pardoned him and told him not worry and stand up, the officer asked from Baba ji, who he was in reality. On this, Baba Mastanāth has told him that he was no one else, but the Guru Goraksh Nāth himself, and that he came to Delhi to give something to Shah Alam II. ‘However,’ he added, ‘it was very unfortunate for the Shah that he instead of obtaining his blessings with humility started performing his deceitful tests.’ The Baba Mastanath also has told to the officer to inform the Shah that being a yogi, who is the king of kings (maharaja), he did not need anything of the material world. Therefore, let the Shah not trying to please him any more by sending his treacherous gifts. ‘In reality’, he has told, ‘your emperor (bād śāh) is as poisonous as a snake, and he do not understand the value of real things. Therefore, as the deeds performed by him, so would be his reward.’ ‘Indeed, your Shah is very unfortunate person, who missed his good opportunity,’ he added. After this, the officer left for the palace with two shawls randomly selected by him from amongst others, and on reaching there, he narrated to the Emperor the whole story. By then, the Shah Alam II has become convinced in the supernatural abilities of the yogi, but it was too late to change anything.

Soon afterwards, the Baba Mastanāth has called all his disciples who were accompanying him together, and told them to blow their Nadis (whistles of the sacred thread) from the opposite side and say, ‘let nether Rām, nor Khudā be here.’ All of them deed as they were instructed, besides the yogi Kīrtanāth, who did not obey the order (adesha) of the Guru ji. The other disciples have informed the Baba Mastanāth about his act of disobedience. On learning this, he summoned Kīrtanāth and asked him about the reasons for not obeying his order. Kīrtanāth has answered him that if both Rām and Khudā would not be there, then who will be ruler in Delhi? On this, the Baba Mastanāth has told him that very soon there will be ruling a third power in Delhi, which will be neither of Hindu, nor of Muslim origin. Soon after this, Baba Mastanāth has left Delhi and advanced towards Cittaurgaḍh, spreading the message of yoga in all places visited by the way.

Note: From historical accounts, it is known that the Shah Alam II has become the ruler of Delhi in the year 1772 A.D. Although his formal ascend to the throne of the Mughal Empire took place as early as the year 1759 A.D., duty internal conflicts within the empire, he was unable to secure the control of Delhi, prior the above-mentioned date. Therefore, the visit of Baba Mastanāth, which took place when the Shah Alam II was already established at the throne of Delhi, took place at some date, which occurred after the year 1772 A.D. Also, it is known that from the year 1778 A.D., the Mughal Empire under the rule of Shah Alam I,I suffered continuous decline, which was caused by his poor judgment and indecisiveness. It is common saying in India that at time preceding misfortunes, correct judgment disappears first (vinasha kale buddhi brashta). Or in other words of ancient wisdom, ‘before destruction, the heart of man is proud, but before honor is humility. Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.’

Culminating the continuous weakening of the military and political powers of the Mughal Empire, in the year 1788 A.D., the ruffian of a noble descent Ghulam Qadir, has captivated the Shah Alam II along with the members of his family in their royal palace in Delhi. A drunkard, Ghulam Qadir behaved with gross brutality to the emperor and his family. Being unable to find the royal treasure, Ghulam Qadir personally tortured the Shah Alam II, in his attempts to locate it. During those tortures, which lasted for ten weeks, Ghulam Qadir made Shah Alam II blind on both of his eyes. Three servants and two water-carriers, who tried to help the bleeding emperor, were beheaded and according to one account, Ghulam Qadir was continuously pulling the beard of the elderly Mughal Emperor. After ten horrible weeks spent in such manner, loyal subjects and allies of Shah Alam II, fought their way into Delhi and released him. One of important consequences of those events was that an official edict banning cow slaughter was proclaimed in the Mughal Empire.

After the Battle of Delhi, on 14 September 1803, British troops entered Delhi and Shah Alam II, a blind old man, seated under a tattered canopy, came under British protection. The Mughal Emperor no longer had the military power to enforce his will, his power was so depleted by the end of his reign that it led to a saying 'the kingdom of Shah Alam is from Delhi to Palam'. The Palam Village was then a close suburb of Delhi, situated not far away from the Panckuiyā Marg. In this way, the prophetic words of the Siddh Baba Masta Nath came out to be true, and the Shah Alam II suffered great defeat and humiliation at the last few decades of his life. In addition, as it was predicted or predestined by the Baba ji, Delhi came under the factual rule of the third power, which was the British Empire. As it was predicted by the Baba Masta Nath, that rule was neither of Hindu, nor of Muslim, but of Christian origin. In such way, the Siddh Baba Masta Nath has diminished the pride of Shah Alam II and of other contemporary kings, who personally encountered Baba ji, and the authority of the Divine Power was established as the superior of the authority of ‘the earthy powers’.

The Baba Mastanāth and the Raja Surat Singh

At the time of Baba Mastanāth, at the area of the modern Rajasthan State of India, there was a kingdom of Bikaner (Bīkāner), having its capital situated at the city with the same name. The king of that kingdom was the Raja (king) Gaj Singh (Rājā Gaj Siṇh), who was a pious person, ruling his country with great concern for his subjects. As result of his righteous rule, which lasted for 41 year, the people of the kingdom were living happily and peacefully. On becoming old, the Raja Gaj Singh has renounced his throne in the favor of one of his sons named Surat Singh (Sūrat Siṇh), and soon after it, left his body. After some time, when the performance of all necessary rites was completed, the prince Surat Singh was crowned as the new king of the Bikaner State. In accordance with the historical records, this event has taken place around the year 1788 A.D. On the coronation of the new king, there was announced a grand festival, in order to celebrate this event all over his kingdom. Many gifts were distributed amongst the subjects of the kingdom and sadhus, and numerous charitable activities were taking place in all parts of the kingdom. As the part of this celebration, the Raja Surat Singh has invited all Sadhus and Brahmins of the neighborhood areas to his capital for the grand feast. He ordered his servants to feed all of those who came there generously and leave no one of them without being rewarded with gifts. To conduct this event, there was selected a big open place situated at the place called Nīmḍī Garden of the Bīkāner city. In close proximity to the spot of the feast, many kinds of delicious food were continuously cooked and then distributed amongst public, and in such way, the feast continued for many days without interruption.

Around the same time, it happened that Baba Mastanath was passing near the Bikaner city, along with few of his disciples. On the way, they meet a group of wondering minstrels, who informed them about the feast and invited them to come there. After learning about the feast from them, the Baba Mastanath, accompanied by his disciples, have started towards the Bikaner intending to attend this event. On the way, the Baba ji has told to his disciple Rūpnāth to pick up a huge bone of camel’s leg, lying by the side of the road they were passing by, and carry it on his shoulder. Being obedient to his Guru, the disciple did accordingly, without any hesitation and without asking any further questions. In a little while, they have reached the spot at the Nīmḍī Garden, where the feast was taking place. Preparations for it were going there in full strength, and different kinds of food were cooked in numerous huge pots. In one of those pots, there was cooked a sweet Indian dish called halvā. On coming close to it, the Baba Mastanath has told to Rūpnāth to place the bone he was caring on his shoulder into that pot, what was immediately done. This action has created much uproar around them, and many Brahmins and Sadhus on seeing this abnormal action, started abusing them. Without paying attention to their reproaches, Baba Masthanath proceeded towards the jungle situated near by, where he selected a place to stop and started his dhuni. Very soon, the news about this event has reached the Raja Surat Singh, who became greatly upset and infuriated duty this reason. Immediately afterwards, the king has pronounced his order to his officials, telling them that whoever has done this, be he sadhu or whoever, he should be found and punished immediately. Then the king instructed his guards to find out the person who did this, and after taking him into custody bring in front of him. The guards of the king’s police started enquiring from public about the sadhu, who has thrown the bone into the pot, and in such way, they reached to the spot where Baba Mastanath was sitting besides of his Dhuni. When the royal guards have approached the yogi, and started coming close to him with intend to arrest, suddenly they saw at the place where he was sitting a moment ago, a terrible lion instead of him. In panic, they have run away to save they lives, and when they looked back from some distance, they saw that the lion has disappeared, and the Baba ji was sitting on his place again. Thinking that he performed this vision to scare them away, they again started advance towards him, but when they come near, they saw the same terrible lion instead of the yogi. Being terrified, they have to run away once more, and this order of evens was repeating few more times. At last, the tired guards have accepted they inability to fetch Baba ji to the royal court, and so they returned to the palace without him. On coming there, they narrated the whole story to the king, who being puzzled by this event, ordered one of his ministers personally inquire this matter. Not like the royal guards, the minister of the raja was a wise man, and he understood well that Baba Mastanāth was not a simple Sādhu, but some Great Siddha Yogi, who did his apparent misbehavior with some concealed purpose not evident to others. Therefore, he decorated a big silver platter with many offerings, such as fruits, flowers and coins, and went to the place where yogi was sitting as a faithful devote. On coming there, he placed the platter to the feet of Baba Mastanāth and devotedly paid homage to him. Then he greeted him and told him that he and Raja were happy to welcome him in the Kingdom of Bikaner. On seeing the striking appearance of the Baba ji, the minister became more and more convinced that the yogi in front of him was not an ordinary person, but some Great Siddha. After spending some time with Baba ji and taking leave, the minister returned to Raja Surat Singh and told him that the yogi whom he met was a realized Siddha Yogi, and that after seeing him, he was filled with blissful peace and happiness beyond description. Being impressed by his account, the Raja Surat Sing decided to go to Baba ji’s place himself, to have a sight of him (darshana). He ordered to arrange many gifts for the Baba Masta Nath, amongst which were different precious stones, golden coins, flowers and fruits, and being accompanied by few of his guards, went to the place of Baba ji. On reaching him, he devotedly bowed down his head and offered his presents to the feet of Baba Masta Nath. Being pleased by his polite behavior at this time, Baba ji asked him about the reasons of his visit. On this, the Raja Surat Sing has answered that he came there only with the purpose to have sight of him (darshana). Then king added that beside this, he also had one question in his mind, the question about the reasons of throwing the camel’s bone into the pot with halva. On hearing the answer of the king, Baba Masta Nath has smiled and told him, ’you have made very good arrangements of food for Brahamins and Sadhus, but not provided them with money reward (dakṣiṇā), what must be done. Therefore, I have made an arrangement for this purpose also. Go an check up the pot with halva, and see what has happened to that bone.’ Then Maharaja Surat Sing went to the place where food was cooked and ordered to take the bone out of the pot. When this has been done, to the wonder of all collected there, they found that it turned into massive peace of gold, having the shape of the same camel’s bone. The Raja Surat Sing has become very happy on seeing this miracle. Soon after this event has taken place, the news about it has become widespread all over the city and around it, so that every body there was speaking about it. The people of Bikaner started flowing to the place of Baba ji in hundreds to have his sight and blessings.

Note: From the Indian history, we know that the Raja Surat Singh was ruling the State of Bikaner from the year 1788 to 1828 A.D. Since the meeting of the Baba Masta Nath with the king took place at the first year of his reign, we can define its date as occurring around the year 1788 A.D. In addition, we can learn from some historical sources that the begging period of the Rule of the Raja Surat Singh was somewhat troublesome for the king, so that he was performing lot of charitable activity, such as distribution of food and wealth amongst his subjects, in order to secure their positive disposition.

Baba Mast Nath ji ke Chile

This article would not be complete without mentioning of few direct disciples of the Siddh Baba Mast Nath, which also recognized as the Great Siddhas by the Natha Yogis. As it already was mentioned above, because of the personal appearance of the Baba Mast Nath, the Āī sub sect of the Natha Yogis has became divided into two branches, one of which was the original Āī Panth and other was the lineage of his direct spiritual descendants. In its turn, the new branch of Āī Panth has become divided into two (or sometimes three) more subdivisions, the first of which was called ‘Rijala’or Scepter-Holders and the second ‘Nage Piro’ or Naked Adepts. While the yogis of Rijala lineage trace their descend from the direct disciple of Baba ji, Totā Nāth, the yogis of Nage Piro recognize his other two disciples, tapasvi yogis Raṇpat Nāth and Mandhātā Nāth as their spiritual predecessors.


The yogi Totā Nāth, because of his remarkable abilities, has been selected amongst all other disciples of Baba ji as the first Mahant of the Asthal Bohar Maṭh, following the demise of his Guru. Therefore, the followers of his lineage are known as Rijala or ‘the Royal Yogis’, who mostly specialized in taking care of the Establishments (Mathas) of the Natha Sampradaya. The yogi Totā Nāth credited by the Natha Yogis with performance of numerous miracles and recognized as realized Siddha Yogi.

Nage Piro

The yogis Raṇpat-Mandhātā, also known as Nage Piro or naked adepts, have become famous for the severity of their penances. Being ordered by their Guru Baba Masta Nath, both of them have spent twelve years of their lives as kalesri. During this period, they were standing continuously without sitting even for single moment. It is said that at the hottest season of year, they were conducting their penance while staying under open sky in the excruciating heat of the Sun, and in cold season, they were continuing their worship being submersed up to their breasts in freezing cold water of Devālaya Tālāb (lake), situated near Asthal Bohar Maṭh. The both of them ended their lives by taking living samadhis, which means that they were buried in the ground while they were still alive. The both of them are recognized by the Natha Yogis as the Great Yogis, who became Siddhas and acquired supernatural powers (siddhi) during their lifetime. Following their example, the yogis of the Nage Piro subdivision of Āī Panth, which also known as Chota Darga, emphasize the life of extreme penance (tapas) as their ideal.

Further reading:

1) Kokcandra Śāstrī, editing and translation into Hindi, 1998. Asthal Bohar Maṭh ka Saṁkṣipt Itihās, published by Mahant Cāndnāth Yogī, Asthal Bohar Maṭh, Rohtak Hariyāṇa.

2) Doctor Shrimati Saubhagyavati Nandal, 1999. Śrī Mastanāth Caritam, published by Mahant Cāndnāth Yogī, Asthal Bohar Maṭh, Rohtak Hariyāṇa.

3) Siddh Śrī Śankar Nāth Yogī, 1969, Śrī Mastanāth Carit, published by Dehathi Pustak Bhandar, Delhi.

4) Blog about the Siddh Baba Mast Nath and the Asthal Bohar Maṭh