Nath Sampraday and Yogi Adityanath

Nath Sampraday (नाथ संप्रदाय) is a Hindu religious creed. This Sampraday is originated in the Middle ages, shows a synthesis of the traditions of BuddhismShaivism, and Yoga. It is a Nath Sampraday based on the cultivation method of Hatha Yoga. Lord Shiva is the first Guru and adoration of this Sampraday. Apart from this, there were many gurus in this Sampraday, of which Guru Macchindranath / Matsyendranath and Guru Gorakshanath are the most famous. Guru Gorakshanath explained the disintegration of Nath Sampraday and Yoga. As per the collected knowledge, the founder of Nath Sampraday is considered to be Gorakshanath. In India, the Nath Sampraday is known by the names SanyasiYogi, Jogi, Nath, Avadhoot, Kaul, Kalbelia, Upadhyaya, etc. Some of the gurus from Nath Sampraday had disciples even from Muslims, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhism. Siddha Spirituality of Swami Hardas Life System also agrees and accepts the concept of Nath Sampraday.

Meaning of Nath

The Sanskrit word nāth नाथ literally means “lord, protector, master“. The related Sanskrit term Adi Nath means first or original Lord and is a synonym for Shiva, the founder of the Nāthas. Initiation into the Nāth Sampraday includes receiving a name ending in -nath, -Yogi, or -Jogi.

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Adi Nath: Founder of Nath Sampraday

Meaning of Sampraday

Sampraday, in Indian origin religions, can be translated as ‘tradition’, ‘spiritual lineage’, ‘sect’, or ‘religious system’. To ensure continuity and transmission of dharma, various Sampradayas have the Guru-Shishya parampara in which parampara or lineage of successive Gurus (masters) and Shishyas (disciples) serves as a spiritual channel and provides a reliable network of relationships that lends stability to a religious identity. Shramana is a vedic term for seeker or Shishya.

Identification with and followership of Sampradayas is not static, as Sampradayas allow flexibility where one can leave one Sampradaya and enter another or practice religious syncretism by simultaneously following more than one Sampradaya. Samparda is a Punjabi language term, used in Sikhism, for Sampradayas.

Chief Guru of Nath Sampraday

Adiguru Adiyogi Adinath is the almighty Lord Mahadev Sadashiv. (Hindu deity).
Maharishi Macchindranath 8th or 9th-century yogic Siddhas, famous for “tantra” traditions and unconventional experiments.
Mahayogi Gorakshanath  Appeared in the 10th or 11th century, founder of the monastic Natha Sampraday noted for systematic yoga techniques, organization, author of Hatha Yoga texts, and ideas of Nirguna bhakti.
Jalandharnath 12th century Siddha, originally from Jalandhar (Punjab), is famous in Rajasthan and Punjab region.
Kanifnath 14th-century Siddhas, originally from Bengal, initiated a separate sub-tradition within the Nath Sampraday.
Chowranginath The son of King Devpal of Bengal, famous in the Punjab region in the northwest, a pilgrimage site related to him is in Sialkot (now in Pakistan).
Charpatinath Living in the Himalayan caves in the Chamba region of Himachal Pradesh. He propounded Avadhoot and told us that one should increase one’s inner powers as external practices do not make any difference to us.
Bhartarinath King and scholar of Ujjain who left his kingdom to become a Yogi.
Gopichandnath The son of the queen of Bengal who had given up her kingdom.
Ramnath Siddha of the 13th century, famous in central Nepal and Punjab, is revered in both Nath and Sufi Sampradayas in northern India.
Dharmanath Siddha of the 15th century, famous in Gujarat, founded a monastery in the Kutch region.. According to legends, he made the Kutch region livable.
Mastnath Siddha of the 18th century founded a monastery in Haryana.
Navnath Guru's
Chief Gurus of Nath Sampraday

Nath Sampraday lifestyle

Nath sages and saints are Parivrajakas. They wear unstitched clothes of saffron color. These Yogis keep a thread made of black wool around their neck, which is called ‘Sile’. He holds a horn in his neck. Both of these are called ‘Singi Seeli’. He has tongs in one hand, Kamandal in the other hand, coils in both ears, and a waistband in his waist. They are hairless. Nathpanthi roams around singing hymns and earns their living by begging. In the last stage of age, they stay at one place and perform Akhand Dhuni. Some Nath seekers go to the caves of the Himalayas.

Cultivation method

They address Shiva by the name ‘Alakh‘ (Alaksha). They use the word ‘Adesh‘ or Aadish for greeting. The words Alakh and Aadesh mean Pranava or ‘Supreme Purusha‘. Nath sages and saints give special emphasis on Hatha Yoga.

Guru Parampara of Nath Sampraday

First ten Nath of Nath Sampraday

The first known ten Naths are Adinath, Anandinath, Karalanath, Vikralanath, Mahakal Nath, Kaal Bhairav ​​Nath, Batuk Nath, Bhootnath, Veernath, and Srikanthnath. Adinath had twelve disciples, which are in this order:

  • Nagarjuna,
  • Jad Bharat,
  • Harishchandra,
  • Satyanath,
  • Charpatinath,
  • Avadhanath,
  • Vairagyanath,
  • Kantadharinath,
  • Jalandharnath, and
  • Malayarjunatha.

Eighty-four Siddhas and Navnath

In the 8th century, the Vajrayana tradition of Buddhism became prevalent with 84 Siddhas. All of them were also Naths. 

Names of Eighty-four Siddhas

Minanatha, Gorakshanatha, Chauranginatha, Chamarinatha, Tantipa, Halipa, Kedaripa, Dhongapa, Daripa, Virupa, Kapali, Kamari, Kanha,Kanakhala, Mekhala, Unmana, Kandali, Dhovi, Jalandhara, Tongi, Mavaha, Nagarjuna, Dauli, Bhishala, Achiti, Champaka, Dhentasa, Bhumbhari, Bakali, Tuji, Charpati, Bhade, Chandana, Kamari, Karavat, Dharmapapatanga, Bhadra, Patalibhadra, Palihiha, Bhanu, Mina, Nirdaya, Savara, Santi, Bhartrihari, Bhishana, Bhati, Gaganap, Gamara, Menura, Kumari, Jivana, Aghosadhava, Girivara, Siyari, Nagavali, Bibhavat, Saranga, Vivikadhaja, Magaradhwaja, Achita, Bichita, Nechaka, Chatala, Nachana, Bhilo, Pahila, Pasala, Kamalakangari, Chipila, Govinda, Bhima, Bhairava, Bhadra, Bhamari, Bhurukuti, andLokesh.

Names of Navnath in Nath Sampraday

1. Macchindranath
2. Gorakshanath
3. Jalandharnath
4. Nagnath
5. Bhartarinath
6. Charpatinath
7. Kanifnath
8. Gahininath
9. Revan Nath

In addition, there are:

1. Adinath 2. Meenanath 3. Gorakhnath 4. Khaparnath 5. Satnath 6.Balaknath 7. Golak Nath 8.Birupakshanath 9. Bhartrihari Nath 10.Ainath 11.Kherchi Nath 12.Ramchandranath.

Omkar Nath, Uday Nath, Santosh Nath, Achal Nath, Gajabeli Nath, Gyan Nath, Chowringhee Nath, Macchindranath, and Guru Gorakshanath. It is possible that these are other names of suitable Naths. Baba Shilanath, Dadadhuni Wale, Goga Nath, Pandharinath and Shri Swami Samarth, Gajanan Maharaj, Sai Baba are also considered to be of Nath Sampraday. Lord Bhairavnath is also considered the forerunner of the Nath Sampraday. And in particular, they are also called Yogis and Jogis. Lord of Gods, Mahadev or, Shiva himself has given the name of Jogi to Navnath

गुरु गोरखनाथ जयंती 2021 : नाथ परंपरा के संतों के नाम जानिए
Navnath of Nath Sampraday

Nath Sampraday – Sanyas Diksha

Adoptable by anyone

There has been no discrimination of any kind in the Nath Sampraday. This Sampraday can be adopted in any caste, varna, and age. Sanyasi means renouncing the evils like lust, anger, attachment, greed, etc., leaving attachment from the whole world and Samadhi in Shiva devotion. It is said to be absorbed. In ancient times, even kings and emperors used to leave their royal lessons and take Sanyas so that they used to leave the rest of their life, leaving worldly troubles and leading a simple life like Sadhus.

Initiation of Nath Sampraday after 7 to 12 years of rigorous penance

After adopting the Nath Sampraday, the Sannyasi was initiated only after 7 to 12 years of rigorous penance. In special circumstances, initiation can be given at any time according to the Guru. Before or after initiation, the person receiving initiation has to follow strict rules throughout his life. He can never get a position in the court of a king and can never eat food in any royal court or in the royal family. However, he can definitely get alms from the royal court of the king and has to wear unstitched saffron clothes.

Worldly attachments to be renounced

With every breath, the word Aadesh has to be changed in the mind, and any other Nath has to be greeted with the word Aadesh. A sannyasi can cure someone’s disease with Yoga and herbs, but in return, he can take only grains or saffron clothes in alms from the patient or his family. He cannot take or store any kind of jewelry, currency, etc. in lieu of curing the disease. Worldly attachments have to be renounced, after giving initiation, the Sannyasis, jogis, are molested in both the ears of Baba, and the Kundals are put in them by the Guru, which cannot be taken out after wearing them.

Without a coil, no one can be called a Yogi, Jogi, or Baba. Such a sanyasi cannot be considered a Sanyasi, but he would not have been initiated by the guru. That is why he is considered a semi-sannyasi.

History of Nath Sampraday

Adinath – The founder of Nath Sampraday

The founding of the Nath Sampraday is believed to be Adinath by Lord Shiva. Macchindranath gained knowledge from Adinath Shiva. Gorakshanath became the disciple of Macchindranath. The twelve-panthi path promoted by Gorakshanath became famous as the Nath Sampraday. The seekers of this sect add the word Nath in front of their names. He is also known as Gorakshanathi because of his ear-piercing, Darshani because of wearing a darshan kundal, and a follower of Gorakshanath.

The necessity of Nath Sampraday

There was a great upheaval in society during Gorakhnath‘s time. Muslims were arriving. Buddhist practice was moving towards mantra-tantra, sorcery. The supremacy of Brahmanism had been established, yet there was a substantial sect of Buddhists, Shaktas, and Shaivas who did not recognize the primacy of Brahmanism and the Vedas. Many such paths were organized in the Yoga way of Gorakshanath. Among these sects, Muslim Jogis were more.

Unlimited influence of Nath Sampraday

Nath’s presence and influence have never been limited to Hinduism, nor has its membership ever been limited to Hindus. Some of the original nine (Navnaths) are worshipped as Bodhisattvas in Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhism. Some such as Chaurangi (aka Pooran Bhagat,) and Rasalu are venerated by Sikhs and revered as Pirs by Muslims.

The census of 1901 quoted by Briggs (1938), counted 43,139 Muslim Yogis and Nath faquirs in India. Not long ago, the most important of Gorakhmaths was not the Gorakhpur one, but the first Century BC Gorakh Tilla, in what is now the Jhelum district of Pakistan. Even “the greatest witch” of subaltern India, Luna (aka Nona) Jogan, was in truth a powerful female Nath of Ismaili faith. Many folk-magical Shabar Mantras of the order invoke her as one of the magic’s enforcers.

Many of the women members are widows. However, the Nath vow of celibacy applies only to Mathadharis (Math residents) and not to Gharbaris (householders). There exist several family lineages, ethnic and tribal communities, and also sub-castes that identify themselves as being of the order.

The mystical technique of Nath Sampraday

The primary mystical technique of the Naths is Hatha Yoga. It is a variant of Patanjali’s original eight-limbed system, but more ‘adamant’ on gaining ‘total control of breath, seed, and thought.’ The Nath Yogi is to be relentless in the pursuit of this goal, which in modern lingo amounts to gaining voluntary control of the autonomic nervous system. Once such control is gained, the Yogi can raise his/her dormant Kundalini Shakti at will, and its union with Shiva in the crown of head completes the Yog. The Kundals (earrings) of the Naths are worn as symbols of this ultimate aim and it is on this account that they are also called ‘Kanphatas’.

Other Sampradayas

However, members and techniques from other ‘Ugra’ Sanatan as well as Sufi sects are also found within the order, and some of the great Hatha Yogis have also been great Aughads, Tantriks, and Faquirs. Naturally, the adamant, dangerous Sadhana of the Shaiva-Shaktas has been problematic for the genteel, safe n’ slow bhakti-loving Vaishnavs from ancient times, all the way to Bose vs Gandhi. Even Tulsidas laments in Uttar Kaand: Gorakh jagayo jog, bhakti bhagayo log.

The way of Gorakshanath

Revolt against Brahmanism, and exorcism

Gorakshanath revolted against Brahmanism, exorcism in the Buddhist tradition, and the distortions in Sahajayana. He laid the foundation of Hindu-Muslim unity and opposed high and low, discrimination, pomp, and show. This is the reason that a large number of untouchable castes who were alienated from Sanatan Dharma joined the Nath Sampraday. Among the Nathpanthis, the rebels against the Varnashrama system were the most. People from both Hindu and Muslim religions joined the Nath Sampraday in large numbers.

Historic socio-political impact

It is remarkable for a historical figure to have had a historic socio-political impact across countries and centuries, and yet have a history record no agreed-upon date, place, or even era of his birth or death. Gorakshanath has been variously placed in the 15th century, 11th century, 9th century, 5th century, also in fifth century BC and in ‘the 10th century of the Vikrami Samvat’ by Hazari Prasad Dwivedi (1966).

Several other ‘greats’, including the saints Tukaram, Dnyaneshwar, and as per some accounts, even Shirdi’s Sai Baba was also an adept of the Nath (and Aghor) order. 

Existence in Satyug, Tretayug, Dvaparyug, and ongoing Kaliyug

The tradition holds that like Shiva himself, Gorakshanath was never born, but always was and always will be. He is said to have resided at Peshawar in the Satyug, at Gorakhpur in Tretayug, and at Dwarka in Dvaparyug. In this ongoing Kaliyug, he is believed to live at Gorakhmandi in Kathiawar. As per legend, even Hanuman failed to beat him at wrestling, and Gorakshanath once defeated Goddess Kali herself in occult combat, in Calcutta at that, and won from her a promise to stop accepting human sacrifice in her name.

Nanak and Kabir have written of meeting him, as have generations of Hindu kings and Muslim emperors. The Dabistan even speaks of Mohammed having met him. The Mohammed Bodh of Vilasnath is a uniquely Nath invocation of Allah and his Prophet.


It was with the establishment of Gorakhpanth within the larger, diffuse order, that the Naths became formally socio-politicized. The general Nath ethic, as the name indicates, had always been ‘to protect.’ It was Gorakshanath’s vision, leadership, and drive that consolidated them into an era-spanning Indic socio-political force, for the specific purpose of protecting Indic ethos against erosion and hostilities.

Gorakshanath – the greatest leader of his times

It is for this reason that Hazari Prasad Dwivedi, in his treatise, Nath Sampraday, says of Gorakshanath, “He was the greatest leader of his times.” His panth has not only survived time but thrived amidst time’s multifarious trials and tribulations across millennia. Much more importantly, in the person of Adityanath Yogi, it finds itself yet again in a position of leadership to bring about tremendous socio-political change that will have the potential to change India itself.

14" Mahayogi Gorakshanath, The Avadhoota In Brass | Handmade | Made In India | Exotic India Art
Unique Idol of Guru Gorakshanath Made in Bronze Metal

Yogi Mahasabha of Nath Sampraday at Prayagraj

Yogi Mahasabha Gorakshanath’s arena has been built in Sector 14 of the Kumbh Mela area. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is also associated with this sect. More than 50 small camps have been built in this area spread over 9 bighas. In which there is accommodation for about 500 people. Followers of twelve sects of Nath Sampraday belonging to the country and abroad are reaching here.

The people of Russia, Germany, England are also associated with this sect spread from Assam to Afghanistan.

Yogi Adityanath

Yogi Adityanath joined Nath Sampraday leaving home and living the life of a saint in Gorakshpeeth. Later he was made Gorakshpeethadhishwar. After entering politics, he was also a five-time MP from Gorakhpur parliamentary seat. Yogi was made the Chief Minister after the massive victory of BJP in UP in 2017. Since then, people all over the country are showing special interest in knowing and understanding this sect.

Yogi Adityanath and why the media loves to hate him
Yogi Adityanath in the Temple of Guru Gorkshanath

Frequently asked questions

Before posting your query, kindly go through them:

What is the meaning of ‘Nath’?

The Sanskrit word nāth नाथ literally means “lord, protector, master“.

How does Gorakshanath exist in all the Yugas?

The tradition holds that like Shiva himself, Gorakshanath was never born, but always was and always will be. He is said to have resided at Peshawar in the Satyug, at Gorakhpur in Tretayug, and at Dwarka in Dvaparyug. In this ongoing Kaliyug, he is believed to live at Gorakhmandi in Kathiawar.


What is the lifestyle of Nath Sampraday?

Nath sages and saints are Parivrajakas. They wear unstitched clothes of saffron color. He holds a horn in his neck. He has tongs in one hand, Kamandal in the other hand, coils in both ears, and a waistband in his waist. They are hairless. Nathpanthi roams around singing hymns and earns their living by begging. In the last stage of age, they stay at one place and perform Akhand Dhuni. Some Nath seekers go to the caves of the Himalayas.



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  1. अलख निरंजन, नाथ सम्प्रदाय के बारे में आपका ज्ञान उल्लेखनीय है। नाथ भक्तों तक यह ज्ञान पहुंचाने के लिए आपको धन्यवाद।
    नाथ सम्प्रदाय के प्रमुख योगी अष्टांगयोग का अनुसरण करते हैं, ऐसा सुना है। क्या आप अष्टांगयोग के बारे में जानकारी प्रस्तुत करने का प्रयास कर सकते हैं?

    1. Sure, Vishal. I will surely try my best to publish an article about Ashtangyog, which would benefit our valuable readers. However, thanks for your valuable words, which encourage me to write about Navnath and their glory. Please take care and stay safe!!

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