Guru Gorakhnath was the greatest and most famous saint of Naath Sampraday (sect). After Shankaracharya there was no other Saint as magnanimous and dignified like Gorakhnath. His followers are found in each and every corner of India. Before the Bhakti-movement, the most powerful religious upheaval was Shri Gorakhnath’s Yogmarg.
According to the traditions of Naath Sampraday, Aadinath is said to be the first Acharya (principal) of Naath Sampraday and it is believed that Aadinath is Lord Shiva himself. Aadinath Bhagvan Shiva had initiated Shri Matsyendranath who is also known as Machindranath. Shri Gorakhnath was the disciple of Swami Machindranath.
Guru Gorakhnath was born in the 10th century of Vikram Samvat (the year of Vikram Era). There are many different opinions regarding his lifetime. Some believe it to be 8th century AD, some believe it to be 9th century while some also believe it to be 11th -12th century AD. Whatever the period of lif
e would be but one thing is sure that he was the greatest religious leader of his time.
There is no specific information about his birthplace. Different scholars have different beliefs about his birth place. It is mentioned in “Yogi Sampradayavishkriti” that he was born in Chandragiri on the banks of river Godavari. There is a granth (religious book) named “Goraksh Sahastranaam” in the Nepal library in which there is a shloka which states that there is a state named Badava in the South direction where as a Prasad of a Mahamantra,
Gorakhnath was born. Great scholars like William Croocks and Giyarsan in their creations have mentioned about a tradition where it is said that Shri Gorakhnath was born in Peshawar in Punjab in Satyug, in Gorakhpur in Treta Yug, Hurmuj near Dwarka in Dwapar Yug and Gorakhmadhi in Kathiawad in Kaliyug. It is believed in Bengal that Gorakhnath was born in Bengal.
Stories in Nepal proclaim that he walked down to Nepal from Punjab. One more opinion is that Guru Gorakhnath had come to Gorakhpur from Tila (Zhelam-Punjab) but Yogis from Nashik believe that he first went to Punjab from Nepal and later went to Nashik. Giyarsan has presumed that Gorakhnath possibly was a native of Western Himalayas and he diverted Nepal from the influence of others and made it a Shaiv state. As far as Gorakhnath’s cast and family is concerned, according to Hajari Prasad Dwivedi he was definitely born in a Brahmin family and grew up in Brahmin atmosphere.
There are many granths (books) in the name of Gorakhnath for which it can be only said that Shri Gorakhnath’s original books with different views are being altered and expanded and are still going on till date. Out of these, few are Gorakhnath’s creation for sure but not all of them are genuine. From the yog-margiya granths inspired by Gorakhnath, it is obvious that Gorakhnath has given a proper form to Yog-marg. On the principles of Shaiv Darshan he has regularized the solutions of Kaya-yog.
The following books in Sanskrit are said to be written by Gorakhnath:
- Amaraughshasanam- isamein gorakhnath ke siddhant sutraroop mein sankalit hain.
- Goraksh Paddhati- This is a collection of two hundred Shlokas. First hundred is famous in the name of “Goraksh Shatak”. It is laso known as “Goraksh Gyan”. The second hundred is known as “Yog-Shashtra”.
- Goraksh Shatak- This seems to be the real creation of Gorakhnath. Two annotations are written on this creation. One is written by Shankar Pandit and the second one is written by Mathuranaath Shukla. This book is also been famous in two other names (1) Gyan Prakash and (2) Gyan Prakash Shatak
- Goraksh Shastra
- Goraksh sanhita- yah pustak kafi mahatvapurn hai.
- Gyanprakash shatak
- Gyan shatak
- Gyanamrit Yog
- Nadi-gyan pradipika
- Shrinath Sutra
- Siddh siddhant-paddhati
Out of these books, many are not written by Gorakhnath himself. They are written by collecting different teachings of Gorakhnath. Apart from these books, there are forty books available in Hindi written by Shri Gorakhnath.
Gorakhnath was a great religious leader of his time. He had a great power to confederate. When he was born, that time Indian religious practice was in a bad state. There was less of pure life, pious mannerism and observing celibacy. He invoked a consciousness for religion in the Indian society and assaulted all wrong activities with great strength. Shri Gorakhnath was a gyan-margi saint. He was not in favour of perplexed gist of devotion. He believed that if Akhand Sachhidanand was real then what was the need of getting impatient in the name of devotion to get him? This way, he was true follower of Gyan-marg depending on pure sense. Under his guidance, crores of followers of Naath Sampraday today are moving ahead on Gyan-marg.Guru Gorakhnath was visibly a strong glorious form. He was a form of visible God.