I, Yogi Matsyendranath Maharaj, was born in Bryansk in the former Soviet Union (now the Russian Federation). I practiced martial arts in childhood and I gained my first mystical experience as a result of Qigong practice, my further search led me to Yoga. My close friend, who practiced martial arts and Yoga, advised me to turn to Yoga to find answers to my questions. In the late 80’s, early 90’s I was in active search for yoga practitioners as well as yogic literature and practiced yoga intensively. It was time when the Iron Curtain came down in Russia, so many people became open to everything new and had a greatest interest in Yoga due to the lack of information about it. In that time, the early 90’s, I began to teach Yoga, study various yoga sources and to apply their recommendations to myself with great discipline. I had trained a group of students for several years, teaching at home, but in the late 90’s I began to think about going to India. I did not have enough money to implement this idea, because there was a crisis in Russia at that time, but still I was able to get there, having passed through many vicissitudes. I was living there by collecting alms, like a monk, traveling across the country, studying various traditions and meeting teachers. The experience of living on handouts in the environment where poverty was already rampant, was a good survival school. That experience helped me to learn the language and saved me from schools where people pay money and acquire very little knowledge, as my financial resources were limited.
Travelling to India and meeting with the Guru
I have learned from many teachers, mostly Tantric Gurus, also I met many Natha Yogi Sadhus. Mostly all the yogis were sadhu-sannyasins, however, there were also Nathas-householders, the majority of whom lived in Nepal, but some have been seen in Rajasthan and other Indian States ,. I received a name Matsyendranath at my initiation into the Nath tradition, also under that name I was initiated into Tantrism. After some time in my journey I met my Guru at Gorakhnath Mandir in Gorakhpur. It was Yogi Shri Mithileshnath Maharaj. I was accepted into the Nath Tradition when he gave me an initiation. I had been learning from him regularly, while living in Gorakhpur; and also making conversations with the patriarch of the Nath Tradition Avedyanath (). He passed away recently and Yogi Adityanath has become his successor. He entrusted my Guruji Mithileshnath to lead Devi Patan temple – a well-known Nath Siddha- and Shakti-pith. That place is located in Tulsipur, Uttar Pradesh, which is close to the border with Nepal.
There are also a lot of Gurus, from whom I have learned so much and got the right to teach Tantric sadhana. I am immensely grateful to these teachers: Rameshchandra Sharma (Chidganandanatha), Kedar Raj Subedi and others.
Spreading the Tradition
Prior to becoming the mahant of Devi-Patan, my Guruji blessed me for pracharana the spreading of the Nath Tradition in the West. So I successfully started to spread the Nath Tradition in Russia and other post-Soviet countries (Ukraine, Belarus and Latvia). Also, I have continually conducted satsangs and teachings in France, Spain, Germany, Lithuania, England, Israel, Australia and other countries. For several years now, together with my closest students in France, we are engaged in the project of the spreading knowledge of the Nath Tradition and everything related to it. We developed a 4-year course where people can learn basic Indian languages, primarily Sanskrit and Hindi, and texts describing the methods of Yoga and Tantra.
My life in Australia
I have been living in Australia since 2010, where I hold citizenship. In 2014 I was invited by Fr. John Dupuche for the cooperation and development of the Interreligious Ashram in Warburton, Victoria. Having worked there for a year and a half I returned to NSW, but still I continuously support interreligious dialogue, communicate with Fr. John and discuss Indian scriptures on a regular basis. Living in Australia and practicing sadhana, I teach Yoga, aspects of traditional yogic texts, tantric rituals and philosophy of Yoga and Tantra. Also, I annually give teachings to my followers in Europe, where they invite me to conduct satsangs.
Yoga and Tantra
A question may arise, what is common between the Yogic Nath tradition and Tantric traditions? Is it necessary to study Tantras, Puranas, Vedas and other scriptures in order to be a perfect Yogi? I believe that if we want to follow Traditional Yoga, it is compulsory, because you can follow only by understanding it. That’s why I share everything I know with my students, in order to develop them not only on a body level with asanas, but also on the higher levels of consciousness and soul.