Showing posts with label Nathpanthi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nathpanthi. Show all posts

Hinduism - Who Are The Nathpanthi?


Renunciant ascetic society formed by the sage Gorakhnath.

The Nathpanthis are also known as jogis (due to their emphasis on yoga), Gorakhnathis (due to their founder's name), Kanphatas (due to the signature earrings placed in the split cartilage of both ears), Gosains ("master of the senses"), and simply as Naths ("lord") due to the characteristic suffix taken as part of their names during ascetic initiation.

Although the Nathpanthis are an ancient institution with a lengthy history in northern India, their historical record is scant.

The group has no centralized administration; its concentration on yoga has resulted in an inner practice rather than a focus on temples or other tangible artifacts.

Despite the fact that the Nathpanthis are Shiva worshippers (bhakta), they are distinct from the Shaiva Sanyasis.

The Naths' spiritual practice has always emphasized the mastery of the subtle body as a path to ultimate soul freedom.

The Naths believe that liberation is bodily immortality, rather than the more commonly acknowledged escape from the cycle of transmigration.

The subtle body is a physiological system that is thought to exist on a separate level than coarse matter yet is related to the material body.

It is shown as a collection of six psychic centers (chakras) running approximately down the spine, with two divine principles, Shiva (consciousness) and Shakti (power), residing above and below these centers (power).

The seeker aspires to unite these two principles at the summit of the head, thereby changing the gross body's perishable parts into immortality.

The Nathpanthis' dominant metaphor for discussing this process is the merger of the sun and the moon.

The sun, which is associated with Shakti, represents change and destruction, while the moon, which is associated with Shiva, represents stability and immortality.

In certain circumstances, the union of the sun and the moon is stated in highly abstract terms; for example, "ha" refers to the sun and "tha" refers to the moon in the description of hatha yoga.

Other abstract definitions of this process refer to achieving vital wind (prana) balance or yogic unity in the subtle body.

In other circumstances, such as in the practice of vajroli mudra, this oneness is symbolized in tangible ways.

This sexual practice involves urethral suction, often known as the "fountain-pen method," in which a man sucks his sperm back into his body after ejaculating into his female partner.

Through interaction with the woman's uterine blood, the sperm has been purified.

The Nathpanthis have been influential on many northern Indian bhakti poet-saints, including Kabir, as well as as an ascetic society in their own right.

Internal religion has always been emphasized in their religious practice, with individual fulfillment viewed much more significant than societal obligations or institutionalized worship.

Gorakhnath and the Kanphata Yogis, by George Weston Briggs, is the most comprehensive source on Gorakhnath and his disciples.

~Kiran Atma

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