Monday, May 18, 2015

THE NATH SAMPRADAYA

Tantra

 The forerunners of the Nāths practiced variants of Kaula Tantrism , all of which are effectively extinct today except for the Daksināmnāya (“Southern”) stream known as → Śrīvidyā, on whose practices Nāth tantric ritual is based today. The chief goddess of current Nāth yogī ritual Paddhatis is the same as that of Śrīvidyā: Bālāsundarī or Tripurāsundarī (Yogī Vilāsnāth, 2010). The Paddhatis describe a variety of mantras and → mandalas for ritual use. The most important rite is the secret śankhadhāl, in which Bālāsundarī (as Yogmāyā) is propitiated using various substances, including cannabis, which appear to be tamer versions of sexual fluids used in similar rites practiced by householder castes connected with the Nāths (Khan, 1994). The śankhadhāl is a key part of Nāth yogīs’ funeral rites (Bouillier, 1986, 155).