Friday, April 10, 2015

Guru Gorakshnath, the eternal sage

Guru Gorakshnath, the eternal sage and traditionally associated with Hatha Yoga (one of the branches of Yogic practices), has been around for thousands of years watching the welfare of humanity. Different legends ascribe different stories about his incarnation and the period of his worldly existence, and they vary greatly.
It is said that seeing Guru Gorakshnath in samadhi, Mata Parvati asked Lord Shiva about the yogi. Lord Shiva stated that it was his own yogic manifestation. He takes incarnation in the form of Goraksha nath to teach & expand the knowledge of yoga whenever people forget about it or whenever yogic beliefs and practices get distorted. Gorakshanath is the founder of the Nath tradition. Goraksh Nath literally means a person who has mastered his indriyas (senses) and has complete control over the five vikritis or negative characteristics in human nature - that is kaam (sexuality), krodh (temper), mad (ego), lobh (greed) and moh (worldly attachment).
By doing so, wants and desires get stabilized, leading to peace and contentment within. He believed that God existed in oneself, the five elements of jal (water), vayu (air), akash (sky), agni (fire) and prithivi (earth), by which the body is made, become a part of the cosmos through meditation and proper conduct.
Guru Gorakshnath Ji had Nav Naths and 84 Siddhas (accomplished beings) as disciples, human forms created by his own yogic powers to spread his message of yoga and meditation to the world. This Nath Sampradaya spread, through the centuries, all over the world.
There are innumerable legends about Guru Gorakshnath, though there are no records of when he was born and where he hails from. He is mentioned with reference to Adi Shankaracharya who lived in the eighth century whereas some believe it to be anytime from 8th century to several centuries later. The Dabistan I Mazahib, the prophet Mohammad is reported as meeting him, Buddha (6th to 7th century), the kings Gopichand and Baratari (8th to 11th century) were disciples, Kabir Das (14th century) mentions Gorakshnath in the Kabir Granthvali and through all the ages. These are the legends where by his existence & references is found in all the ages i.e, Satyuga, TretaYuga,DwaparYuga and Kalyuga. He has traveled widely across the Indian subcontinents, and accounts about him are found in some forms or others several places including Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Punjab, Sind, Uttar Pradesh, Nepal, Assam, Bengal, Maratha, and even Sri Lanka.
No Samadhi (tomb) has ever been found, though the caves where he meditated Goraksh Gufa (now in Nepal), Goraksh Tilla (now in Pakistan), and Girnar, where Guru Gorakshnath's dhooni still exists, (in India) are places of worship.