Sadhana Practices of Nath Sampraday

In Natha Sampradaya the sadhana practice is presented by a mantra-yoga, hatha yoga, laya yoga and raja yoga, as well as аshtanga yoga (Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi) and shadanga yoga (steps from Asana up to Samadhi, excepting Yama and Niyama). Dr. Swami Hardas, who invented Swami Hardas Life System also includes some simple Sadhanas for well-being. However, to know and understand the traditional Sadhana of Natha Sampradaya and its benefits, one must read this article and practice not all but at least one Sadhana on daily basis.

Definition of Sadhana

Hindu or Buddhist spiritual training through which an individual worships a formed image as a mediate step to the worship of a formless deity or principle.
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Sadhana Practice: Meditative Step

Diksha initiation 

The Natha Sampradaya is an initiatory Guru-shishya tradition. Membership in the Sampradaya is always conferred by initiation (Diksha). The Natha initiation itself is conducted inside a formal ceremony in which some portion of the awareness and spiritual energy (shakti) of the Guru is transmitted to the shishya (student).

Bhakti – The Devotion to Guru

Path of the Devotion

Natha lineage is the Path of the Devotion to Guru, established by the examples of the lives of Gorakshanatha and his Guru Macchindranātha. When one attempts to come in direct touch with Divine (Daivam), all attempts of cheating and negotiation are of no use.

The total surrender of oneself to it is the only alternative and the only method. To get everything, one has to give up everything, all personal attachments, aspirations, and ambitions. In practice, this means total surrendering to the Divine will and dedicating own life for the God’s sake. Maharishi Patanjali has emphasized this important aspect of Yoga in his Yoga Sutra:

Samādhi-siddhir-īśvarapraṇidhānāt | YS.2 || 45|| The Ultimate State is attained by Offering life to God. (Yoga Sutra 2.45)

An embodiment of the Divine

This short aphorism reflected both: the essence and the ultimate end of Yoga. When the devoted spiritual seekers become ready for their spiritual journey, God Himself accepts the form of a Guru to guide them.

It is through Guru that God reveals Himself to an adept and guides him on the path of yoga. In one famous mantra, Guru saluted as to be same as the main Gods of the Hindu pantheon: Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Rudra, Ishvara, Sadashiva, Maheśvara (Śiva) or Mahadeva and as the embodiment of the Eternal Lord. 

Gurur brahmā gururviṣṇur gururdevo maheśvaraḥ |guruḥ sākṣhāt paraṁ brahma tasmai śri guruve namaḥ ||

Unshakable faith and devotion

The Sadhana of Nāthas centered around the unshakable faith and devotion toward Shree Guru. ‘My commitment is the ability of Sri Guru’, says the famous aphorism of the Nāthas. The Bhagavan Krishna tells in Bhagavad-Gita:

Daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī mama māyā duratyayāmām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te | BG 7.14

It is almost impossible to transcend my Divine illusion (Māyā) consisting of the three modes of ignorance (Gunās). Only those who have totally surrendered themselves to Me can cross over it.

Worship and meditation

In lesson five of the Siddha Siddhānta Paddhati, Sri Guru Gorakshanatha after mentioning the huge list of all possible yogic practices, all kinds of worship and meditation, make a concluding statement that the state of Parama Pada can not be attained through them.

Nānantopayayatnebhyaḥ prāpyate parama padam 5 || 59 ||

He adds that all of those practices are centered around the conception of the body, and gives the advice to forsake them as means to be established in the true Yoga state:

Etāni sādhanāni sarvāṇi daihikāni parityajya paramapade’daihike sthīyate siddhapuruṣairiti SSP 5 || 60 ||

Gorakshanatha says that it is only through compassion of the Shree Guru that one can attain liberation and be established in this state:

Gurudṛkpātanāt prāyo dṛḍhānāṁ satyavādināṁ sā sthitirjāyate SSP 5 || 61 ||

Patience and sincere disciples

Establishment in that State can be achieved by patience and sincere disciples only through the grace of the Guru. 5.61

Kathanācchaktipāta dvāyadvāpadavalokanāt | prasādātsvaguroḥ samyak prāpyate paramaṁ padam | SSP 5 || 62 ||

Ataeva śivenoktam |na guroradhikaṁ na guroradhikaṁ na guroradhikaṁ na guroradhikaṁ śivaśāsanataḥ śivaśāsanataḥ śivaśāsanataḥ śivaśāsanataḥ| SSP 5 || 63 ||

This is the saying of Lord Shiva:‘Nothing and nobody are greater than Guru, more than Guru, higher than Guru, and bigger than Guru. This is the order of Śhiva, order of Śhiva, order of Śhiva’. SSP 5.63

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Initiation Process: Bhakti Devotion To Guru

The Guru Mantra

At the first stage of the initiation into the Siddha tradition, the Guru Mantra (magical spell) is given to the yogi by his Guru. This custom is not a peculiarity of the Nātha sect alone, but common amongst all other ascetic traditions of India and of Vajrayāna Buddhism.

Translated from Sanskrit, the word mantra means ‘to control mind’. This allows stopping all activity of the mind and at the same time preserve awareness of the practitioner, at once taking him beyond all his limitations and difficulties to the higher spiritual realms. The Guru Mantra plays a prominent role in the process of raising the Divine Power, known as Kundalini Shakti. 

Nathas and Tantra

The Natha Yogis do not adopt any written work having the word Tantra in its name, as canonical or officially accepted by their lineage; they are not followers of any of the written Tantras. However, it does not mean that they totally disregard practices, which can be classified as Tantric.

In accordance with the Monier Williams Sanskrit dictionary, another name for Tantra is Kundalika (Kuṇḍalikā)-Math. If we accept the definition of the word tantra in this light, then Nathas can be qualified as Tantric adepts per se, because the conception of the rising Kundalini plays a prominent role in their teaching.

Shaktipata (Śaktipāta)

Sā kuṇḍalinī prabuddhā aprabuddhā ceti dvidhā | aprabuddheti tatra piṇḍa cetanā rūpā svabhāvena nānā cintā vyāpārodyama prapaṣcarūpā kuṭila svabhāvā kuṇḍalinī ravyātā saiva yogināṁ tattadvilasita vikārāṇāṁ nivāraṇodyamasva rūpā kuṇḍalinyūrdhvagāminī prasiddhā bhavati SSP 4|| 14 ||

Divine Energy

In accordance with Śri Guru Gorakṣhanātha, the Divine Power exists in her two states, one is dormant (as sleeping) and the other is awakened. When she remains asleep, she appears as a coiled serpent who sleeps at the Mūlādhāra chakra situated at the base of the spine.

After she became awakened by the yogic techniques, she moves up through the middle channel Sushumna (Suṣumṇa) to the Sahasrāra chakra, which is her final destination. In the process of her journey, she is passing through chakras and becomes united with her consort Shiva on each level of her journey. 


She is the power responsible for the appearance of this world as real, with all its phenomena, cosmic and physical laws, and countless objects. Without her, this world would not exist, but as a side effect of her activity, she keeps people in ignorance of their own true nature.

After she becomes awakened, she turns into her own opposite, from Māyā, the power of illusion pushing into ignorance, she becomes Yoga Māyā, the power of yogic transformation delivered from it. Then she is known as the Great Goddess Kundalini, who takes yogi beyond all his limitations. Once she became awakened, she makes her appearance as a yogi, and takes care of his salvation, taking him by so-called ‘the Short path’ also known as Śhaktipāta. 

Obey the Divine orders (Adesh)

Yogi, who has offered his limited personality for the sake of the Divine part of self, has to pass through the fire of purification. It is the Goddess, who creates situations and temptations in the mind of a yogi, and it is she, who mercifully delivers him from them. She sees far ahead in the future and knows better what is beneficial for him. In his turn, the yogi should always obey the Divine orders (Adesh) and be sincere on the Path he once selected.

The Kuṇḍalinī is not only the flawless Goddess of Yoga, but also the zealous protector of the occult knowledge, and those who are trying to enter the Temple of God as thieves, or insincere get hurt. It is should be mentioned that the path of Śhaktipāta as it is very extreme, and the practices resulting in the complete awakening of Kundalini (Himavanti) must not be attempted by anyone without a proper Natha Guru.

Obedience | Worldwide Mission Fellowship
Obeying Divine Orders (Adesh)

Sadhana practices

Mantra yoga

Sadhaka realizes a mantra given by his Guru and its siddhi by practicing the mantra yoga.

Hatha yoga

Following methods enter into hatha yoga:

  • Sukshma vyayama,
  • Shat karma (cleaning technics such as Netti, Basti, Nauli, Trataka, Kapalabhati),
  • Asana (steady position of a body),
  • Pranayama (the control of vital energy over breathing exercises),
  • Mudra (stamp), and
  • Bandha (muscular lock).

These methods inter-direct a stream of prana in the central Sushumna channel and contribute to the awakening of sleeping spiritual power (Kundalini Shakti) which rises upwards on the central channel and joins with supreme consciousness (Shiva). This union of spiritual energy and consciousness is called Hatha yoga. There are many definitions of the term “hatha yoga” in classical Nathas’ texts, some of them include:

  • Surya- Chandra,
  • Prana- Аpana,
  • Dakshina-Vama,
  • Yamuna-Ganga,
  • Ida -Pingala,
  • Shiva-Shakti,
  • Kula-Akula,
  • Dvayta -Advaita, etc.

The ultimate goal of hatha yoga is realized by total unity of contrasts and attainment of ideal balance (samarasya).

Laya yoga

It is the practice of Nada аnusandhana. According to Nathas’ texts, the highest practice of laya yoga is a concentration on a Nada sound by means of consciousness, resulting in cleanliness and dissolving vibrations of the mind (mano-laya).

Gradually one’s mind dissolves into the Nada sound. The sound is nothing but Kundalini Shakti, which appears within chakras as Matrika (Sanskrit sounds).

Laya Yoga: Meditation on Internal Sounds
Laya Yoga

Raja yoga

The Raja yoga is intended for the achievement state of deep trance (Samadhi). Raja yoga is a method of working with a consciousness that plays a fundamental role in yoga.

Ten Yamas

  1. Ahimsa – nonviolence.
  2. Satya – devotion to truth in actions, speech, and thoughts.
  3. Asteya – non-stealing.
  4. Brahmacharya – the control over all sensual bents and following to Brahma.
  5. Kshama – forgiveness for defects and others’ faults.
  6. Dhriti – patience and stableness under any situation.
  7. Daya – compassion for all people and other creatures and helping those who are in trouble.
  8. Arjava – the simplicity of life.
  9. Mitahara – strict regulation of nutrition.
  10. Shaucha – clarification of body and mind.

Ten Niyamas

  1. Tapas – asceticism.
  2. Santosha – satisfaction that is.
  3. Astikaya – belief in the sacred scripture, the Guru, and all enlightened saints.
  4. Dana – the donation.
  5. Ishvara-pujana – devoted worship to deity.
  6. Siddhanta-vakya-shravana – regular hearing (study) scripture, especially yoga-shastras, comprehending and understanding of the truths opened in it by spiritual experience of enlightened Gurus.
  7. Hri – to be conscience and aspire to correct one’s faults.
  8. Mati – development of fineness of intellect and deep comprehension.
  9. Japa – the recitation of a divine name so often and continuously, as far as possible, mentally and aloud with deep devotion.
  10. Homa – an offering of food, drink, and subjects that are valuable for worshippers of a deity.


Asana is a steady posture of a body in which a yogin can control prana, mind, and feelings. There is a great variety of Asanas, but all of them lead to qualitative mastering Siddhasana, Padmasana, etc. positions for obtaining Dhyana quite easily.


Prana-ayama or prolongation, increase in abilities of vital energy (prana). The results of pranayama are attained through breath control. There are about ten basic methods of pranayama.


It is the control of senses through the mind control, as the mind (manas) is considered as one of the perception organs (indriya). The consciousness goes to the Absolute from the limited objects by means of pratyahara.


Dharana is a direction of a spiritual concentration on an object.


Dhyana is perception. There are many kinds of dhyana, all of which are described in Nathas’ texts: Sthula-dhyana, Sukshma-dhyana, Joti-dhyana, etc.


This is a state of a deep trance when borders between object, subject, and their correlation (sambandha) disappear. There are many kinds of this state:

  • Savikalpa-samadhi,
  • Nirvikalpa-samadhi,
  • Dhyana yoga-samadhi,
  • Laya yoga-samadhi,
  • Nada yoga-samadhi,
  • Raja yoga-samadhi,
  • Rasananda-samadhi,
  • Bhaktyoga-samadhi,
  • Mahabhava-samadhi,
  • Jada-samadhi, etc.

Benefits of practicing Sadhana

God’s grace.

Initially, Sadhana may appear difficult to do but it doesn’t have to be. God has given us multiple options. We can choose our posture, sitting down or even lying down. The idea is to be able to do sadhana not how, because being able to do regular sadhana qualifies us for God’s grace.

Mental health

I begin with the great benefit of being free from negative emotions. Of course, this happens gradually only but one can never underestimate this boon. One is freed from debilitating fears related to one’s body, near and dear ones, material possessions, etc. 

One can sleep better as anxiety will not affect that much. Living in the material world in material bodies, it is impossible to be completely rid of anxiety, but it becomes manageable. And the mental faculty of such practitioners remains sound till the end of life. What a boon this is when mental health is becoming a very serious problem worldwide.

Realization of spiritual truths

One realizes spiritual truths. Personally, I have been very fortunate in this regard. We learn about what we need to do to get all that God has to offer like guidance, help, Shakti/Bala, security, peace, happiness, support, etc. All we need to do is take God’s shelter in all respects. 

Physical health

Connected with God, physical health becomes a beneficiary, because one comes under Lord’s care. Even family members, ie the near and dear ones, get the ripple effect. One tolerates better. Remember no one is exempt from suffering.

If someone comes to God’s consciousness, somehow, anyhow, God will give the strength to be able to continue to do so. Steady sadhana will ensure it. I can vouch for it. Faith will become stronger steadily.


Because of the above, I am confident that you have learned in-depth about sadhana, definition, Diksha, guru, mantra, nathas, shaktipata, hatha yoga, dhyana, pranayama, sadhana benefits, etc. Now, that you have become self-sufficient, hence it’s the right time to use your acquired knowledge for gaining numerous benefits for well-being.

After reading this article, how would you rate it? Would you please let me know your precious thoughts? 

Frequently asked questions

Before posting your query, kindly go through them:

What is the definition of Sadhana?

Hindu or Buddhist spiritual training through which an individual worships a formed image as a mediate step to the worship of a formless deity or principle.
Who is empowered to give Guru Mantra?

At the first stage of the initiation into the Siddha tradition, the Guru Mantra (magical spell) is given to the yogi by his Guru. This custom is not a peculiarity of the Nātha sect alone, but common amongst all other ascetic traditions of India and of Vajrayāna Buddhism.


What is Samadhi?

This is a state of a deep trance when borders between object, subject, and their correlation (sambandha) disappear.

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