Romāvalī (Hairline)

This is one of the texts of Gorakshanath, written in a mixture of Hindi and dialects. For this version I used translations from Hindi. Of course, the text requires special verbal explanations of the meaning of the terms and how they all relate to each other. In such texts there are always a lot of symbolic images often used in meditation – the key focus of yoga. I want to draw your attention to the fact that the terms khecarī, bhūcarī, mahāmudrā are found in a variety of sources and in different contexts. Contrary to popular belief that among the Nāthas khecarī-mudrā is the practice of rolling the tongue back, this text confirms that, as in some tantric systems, in Nātha’s practice it may simply be a form of awareness. The same accounts to mahāmudrā, which isn’t described here as Haṭha-yoga technique of stretching one leg, regulating breathing, etc. The mahāmudrā in Buddhism is one of the highest states of consciousness, in this text the term is used in a very similar context. I used for translation a collection of texts published in the Gorakshanath Mandir in Gorakhpur, in addition to this, there are many other texts where you will find the names of mudrās similar to those found in various tantric traditions and their practices. But this is one of the illustrative examples that helps to expand the idea of ​​seemingly “known practices” among “yoga teachers” in the West. Although in India there is a trend to limit variations of practices because of consumerism. But, the true seekers of the authentic state of yoga avoid the limited state and therefor modern artificial paths. For people who are curios and enthusiastic to expand their knowledge, I have translated this text into English.

Romavali (Hairline)

सत पिता रज मात्ता तम करि गाड़ी पाई,
Sattva is the father, rajas is the mother, tamas – decay.

लोह मास तुचा नाड़ी ये चारि धात माता की वोलिये,
Blood, muscles, skin, and veins are said to belong to the mother.

चीरज हाड गृद्र ये तीनि धात पिता की बोलिये,
Semen, bones, bone marrow, these three are said to belong to the father.

ए सप्त घात का शरीर बोलिये ।
These seven joined together are said to be the body.

द्वै हाथ द्वौ पैर छाती लिलाट घाट अष्टांग जोग बोलिये।
Two arms, two legs, two breasts, a torso, and a head, they are said to be the eightfold yoga.

बंद भेद मुद्रा तीन्यू  साधंति ते सिधा बोलिये ।
Bandha, bhedana (piercing), mudrā (symbol of union), it is said that those who know these three are perfect (siddha).

कौंण बंधि बांधिये, कौंण भेद भेदिये, कौंण मुंद्रा मुंदिये ये बोलिये घट भीतरि । ते कौंण कौंण ।
What bandha (connection) should be connected? What bheda (penetration into the hidden) should be pierced? What mudrā (symbol of the Supreme) should be made a symbol of the Supreme?

मन बन्धि बांदिये पवन भेद भेदिये चिंद मुंद्रा सुंदिये।
The mind is a bandha (connecting), it must be bound (by the Supreme); pavan – the life force penetrating within – must be penetrated (by the Supreme); bindu (the essence of creation) is a symbol of the union mudrā, it must be in a symbolic union.

कौंण विमल बिचारै कौंण षिरे कौंण झरै।
Who is pure, who thinks? Who destroys? Who makes it rain?

मन विमल बिचारै सूरज षिरै चंद्र झरै ।
The mind is that pure one who is the basis of thinking, the Sun – who destroys, and the Moon – who sends rain.

हिंद पीर जिंद पीर ए बोलिये घट भीतरि | ते कौंण कौंण ।
Hindu pir (spiritual father), Muslim pir, they are said to be hidden within the body. Who are they?

हिंद पीर बोलिये मन, जिंद पीर बोलिये पवन ।
The Hindu pir (spiritual father) is said to be the mind, the Muslim spiritual father is said to be the pavan (vital force).

षेचरी भूचरी गुपत प्रगट ।  ते कौंण कौंण  ।
Khecarī (moving in the sky) and Bhūcarī (moving on the earth) are hidden and manifested. Who are they?

षेचरी बोलिये मन, भूचरी बोलिये पवन ।
The mind, it must be said, is Khecarī, and the vital wind is Bhūcarī.

गुपत  बोलिये ग्यांन, प्रगट बोलिये सरीर ।
Knowledge, let’s say, is that which is hidden, and the body is that which is manifested.

सरीरारथ परमारथ, गूढारथ । ते कौंण कौंण ।
The truth of the body, the highest truth of the body, the hidden truth, who are they?

सरीरारथ बोलिये सरीर भेद, परमारथ बोलिये प्रांण भेद, गूढारथ बोलिजै विचार ।
The truth of the body, it must be said, – what is realised within the body. The highest truth – what is realised within prāṇa. The hidden truth – what is in the investigation or vicāra.

चारी पीर बोलिजै घट भीतरि । ते कौंण कौंण ।
Please tell about the four masters within the body. Who are they?

मन मच्छिंद्र नाथ, पवन ईश्वर नाथ, चेतना चौरंगी नाथ, ग्यांन  श्री गोरष नाथ,
Mind is Macchindranāth, vital force is Īśvaranāth, intellect is Caurangīnāth, and wisdom is Gorakṣanāth.

चारी तकबीर बोलिजै घट भीतरि। ते कौंण कौंण ।
Tell about four functions within our psychophysics. What are they?

 दृष्टि कहै क्यूं लीजै दीजै, सुरति कहै क्यूं, बोलिये सुणिये, नासका कहै क्यूं सुगन्ध बास परमालादि लीजै, जिभ्या कहै क्यूं  षाटी मीठी षाइये ।
Vision – which receives and projects; memory – which perceives speech and which allows to speak; nose – which catches aromas; tongue – which takes on pleasant tastes.

चारी दिसा बोलिये धन भीतरी । ते कौंण कौंण ।
Please tell about four sides within the body. What are they?

सबद बोलिये उत्तर, पवन बोलिये पछिम I दृष्टि बोलिये दषिण सुरति बोलिये पूरब ।
Speech “sabad”, I must say – the north; life force – west; south is sight, remembrance is east.

चारि आप कला बोलिये घट मीतरि |  ते कौंण कौंण ।
Please tell about the four manifestations within the body. What are they?

ऊरम धूरम जोति ज्वाला |
This is a wave (of vibrations), smoky or atmospheric substance, light and fire.

ऊरम बोलिये मन, धूरम बोलिये पवन, जोति बोलिये नेत्र, ज्वाला बोलिये श्रवन |
The mind, it must be said, is the wave, the atmospheric substance is the life force,
the light is the eyes, hearing is the fire.

चारि षांणी बोलिजै घट मीतरि । ते कौंण कौंण ।
Tell about four forms within the body (evolutionary memory). What are they?

स्वेतरज अंडरज जेरज उदबीरज।
These are birth from sweat, birth from an egg, birth from a womb, and birth from a seed.

सेतरज बोलिये हाड़, जेरज वोलिये बीरज, अंडरज बोलिये नेत्र, उदबीरज बोलिये रोमावाली ।
Bones, it is said, are born from sweat, semen – from the womb,
eyes – from the egg, and hair – from seed.

चारि बांणीं बोलिये घट मीतरि ।ते कौंण कौंण ।
What are the four kinds of speech within the body?

सहज संजम सुपाइ अतीथ |
This is the one that is innate – “sahaja”; the one that is fully assembled – “saṃyama” (often interpreted as control); the speech that is “svayambhū” – manifested itself (anāhata), and transcendental.

सहज बोलिये सरीर, संजम बोलिये पवन, अतीत बोलिये परम पद ।
महा मुद्रा महां अजाच नग्री महां जोगणी स्वयंभू बोलिये ।
The body should be called “sahaja” (innate), the life force should be called “saṃyama”, the Supreme state should be called transcendental. The great symbol is “mahāmudrā”, the great abode without poverty, the great yogini – “svayambhū”.

जे बांणीं षांणी कौ  बिचारैं  ते निराकार बोलिये, ऊँकार  मधे जोति जांणियै
ऊरम धूरम जोति ज्वाला । भेदौ रवि  का चारयूं  कला ।
Those who meditate on these categories of speech should be called unmanifested. You must know that there is light within Omkara. There is a wave (of vibration), atmosphere, light, and fire. Penetrate the four manifestations of the Sun.

मन करि हस्ती बिमल जल पीवै । द्वै  पष चीन्है  तौ सोलह कला जीवै।
बारह कला सूरज, सोलह कला चंद।
The elephant of mind drinks pure water. Comprehend both poles of life in sixteen manifestations (it is likely said about tithi and two pakṣas). Sun has twelve manifestations and Moon has sixteen.

गुरू जिसका लषावै नहीं चेला तिसका अंध ।
बारह  कला सूरज की, ताकौ  गुण घट भीतरि  ब्यापै । ते कौंण कौंण ।
If the Guru shows nothing, then the disciple is blind. Sun has twelve manifestations and they permeate the body. What are they?

चिंता, तरंग , डयम, माया, परग्रहणै, परपंच , हेत , बुधि ।
काम, क्रोध, लोभ; दृष्टि ये बारह कला सूरज की बोलिये ।
Anxiety (various thoughts), fluctuation, involvement in manifestations, capture by the external, phenomenality, motivation, wakefulness, passion, anger, greed, perception of the visible. These are the twelve aspects of Surya.

सोलह कला चंद्रमा की ताकै  गुण घट भीतरी राषैं | ते कौंण कौंण ।
There are also sixteen manifestations of the Moon, permeating the whole body within. What are they?

सांति, नृवर्त, क्षिमा, नृमल, निहचल, ग्यांन, सरूप, पद,
नृबांण, नृबिष, निरंजन, अहार , निद्रा, मैथुन, बाई, अमृंत 
ये सोलह  कला चन्द्रमा  की बोलिये। 
Peace, detachment from mundane, patience, purity, stability, wisdom, perfect form, perfect state, nirvāṇa (silence of worldly aspirations), fearlessness, spotlessness, satiety, rest (sleep), intercourse, breath, elixir. These are the sixteen aspects of Moon.

ए चारि कला सूरज की साधै तो सोलह कला चंद्रमा की पावै।
Those who are masters of the manifestations of Sun, they will attain the sixteen manifestations of Moon.

एती एक रोमावली ग्रंथ जोग कथितं श्री गोरषनाथ ।
Gorakshanath explained the book on yoga called “Romāvalī” (Hairline).

Goddess Bālāsundarī in Śrīvidyā and Nāth Sampradāya

This practise you can see in the Śiva Samhitā:

मूलाधारेस्ति यत्पद्य चतुर्दलसमन्वितम् तन्मध्ये वावभव बीजं विस्फुरन्तं तडित्यथम् || १९० ||
हृदये कामबीजंतु कधूककुसुमप्रभम् आज्ञारविन्दे शक्त्याख्य चन्द्रकोटिसमप्रभम्
बीजत्रयमिदं गोप्यं भुक्तिमुक्तिफलप्रदम् एतन्मन्त्रत्रयं योगी साधयेत्सिद्धिसाधकः || १९१ ||

mūlādhāresti yatpadya caturdalasamanvitam
tanmadhye vāvabhava bījaṃ visphurantaṃ taḍityatham ॥190॥
hṛdaye kāmabījaṃtu kadhūkakusumaprabham
ājñāravinde śaktyākhya candrakoṭisamaprabham
bījatrayamidaṃ gopyaṃ bhuktimuktiphalapradam
etanmantratrayaṃ yogī sādhayetsiddhisādhakaḥ ॥191॥

One needs to contemplate vāgbhava-bīja (in Śrīvidyā, it is bīja aiṃ ऐं) in the center of the four-petalled lotus (mūlādhāra), like the trembling light of lightning (vispurana). In the heart (anāhata-cakra) there is kāmabīja (known as klīṃ क्लीं in Śrīvidyā), it is similar to a bandhuk flower (in India it is associated with passion). In the lotus of the ājñā-cakra, there is śaktibīja (in Śrīvidyā they call it sauḥ सौः), it is like ten million moons (candrakoṭisamaprabha). This secret mantra bestows fruit both in the form of spiritual liberation and enjoyment. A yogin must diligently practice these three mantras.

Based on that, some people conclude that this is not a text of the Nāthas, but rather the vedantic one, belonging to the tradition of Śrīvidyā. But I don’t think so, the text could well belong to Nāthas. Because, one of the initiations in the Nātha-sampradāya, known as upadeśī-dīkṣā, implies the worship of the Goddess Bālāsundarī. To begin with, I will give you Her śabar-mantra with my translation. Pay attention to the description of the Goddess:

सत नमो आदेश | गुरूजी को आदेश | ॐ गुरुजीसों अलिय कलिय तारा त्रिपुरा तोतला |
बायें हाथ पुस्तक दायें हाथ मालाजपो तपो श्री सुन्दरी बालाजीव पिण्ड का तुम रखवाला इतना योगमाया स्वरूप उपदेशी मन्त्र सम्पूर्ण भयाश्री नाथजी गुरुजी को आदेश आदेश आदेश ||

sat namo ādeś | gurūjī ko ādeś | oṃ gurujī | soṃ aliya kaliya tārā tripurā totalā |
bāyeṃ hāth pustak dāyeṃ hāth mālā | japo tapo śrī sundarī bālā, jīv piṇḍ kā tum rakhvālā
itnā yogamāyā svarūp upadeśī mantr sampūrṇ bhayā | śrī nāthjī gurujī ko ādeś ādeś ādeś |

We pay respect to the highest being (truth), let there be its will (ādeś). Let there be the will of Guruji, with all respect to Guruji. Soṃ is the expression of the Goddess of Speech (aliya), Kālī (kaliya), Tārā (tārā), Tripurā (tripurā). She holds a scripture in her left hand, and japa-mala in her right. So (itnā) it was your (tum),Śrī Bālāsundarī (śrī bālā sundarī), in the form of the nature of yoga (yogamāyā svarūp), complete repetition (japa) and spiritual effort (tapas) of the upadeśīmantra (upadeśī mantr sampūrṇ bhayā) in the form of a living soul, located inside the body (jīv piṇḍ kā rakhvālā). Let there be the will (blessing) of the respected Ś Guru Nāth (śrī nāthjī gurujī ko ādeś).

It describes exactly the same image of the Goddess Bālā, which is worshipped in the Tradition of Śrīvidyā. We can argue about the varieties of syllables, the differences between Saṃskṛt mantras and Śabar mantras. But, that is the same as, for instance, we confidently say that Gorakṣagāyatrī is not Gāyatrī, because it does not correspond to the metric size, as there are no 24 syllables in it. Or, to argue about the fact that it is not right to consider the Gāyatrī mantra as so-ham. However, if you thoroughly study the topic of metric sizes, you will see that each metric size has many variations. One chandas can have variations with different numbers of akṣaras. On the other hand, Bālā is not limited to three bījas; there are combinations of six, nine, and even sixteen (ṣoḍaśī). Her bījas are parts of the Mahaṣoḍaśī mantra, inside of which there is the pañcadaśī or ṣoḍaśī (mantra) from kādi, hādi and sādi kūṭakṣaras, with the addition of śrīṃ, and also praṇava Om. In fact, the mantra of Tripura Bhairavī is also derived from the mantra of Bālā, in which bījas ha, sa and ra are added. The former is the essence of the Śrī Yantra, and also the form of Kālī. For that reason, virtually all the main mantras of Śrīvidyā are derived from Bālā. In general, Tripura Sundarī in tantrism is the Goddess of ūrdhvāmnāya, oriented on the ideals of mokṣa, the main goal in yoga.

I propose to analyse the shorter śabar-mantra of Bālā from the Nātha-Sampradāya:

The Nātha-mantra of Yoga Māyā Bālā:

ॐ सों इलीं क्लीं श्रीं सों श्रीं सुन्दरी बाला नमः ॥
oṁ sōṁ Ilīṁ klīṁ śrīṁ sōṁ śrīṁ sundarī bālā namaḥ ॥

These bījas are slightly transformed versions of the triakṣari, as well as of other mantras of Śrīvidyā (śriṃ, oṃ and sohaṃ) derived from it.

The Śrīvidyā mantra of Bālā:

ऐं  क्लीं सौः ॥
aiṁ klīṁ sauḥ ॥

Some are compressed according to the principle of pratyāhāra, some, on the contrary, are expanded. Let’s take a closer look.

The bīja सों soṁ is a combination of सोऽहं so̕haṁ and Parā (Śaktibīja सौः sauḥ. The bīja इलीं ilīṁ is simply a modified ऐं aiṁ (vākbīja), because ऐं aiṁ is nothing more than a sandhyakṣara from + , although there could be short variants of them. We get , then if we again add to it, we get . Just like joining + , we get , with bindu it will be praṇava ओं, and if we further ‘strengthen’ it, we will get , which can be a part of the bīja सौः, called Śaktibīja and sometimes Parābīja. In fact, इलीं could be understood as a compressed form that extends from to – the last akṣara of the Sanskrit alphabet (mātṝkā), with the exception of the first akṣara , from which the entire mātṝkā emerges. The bīja क्लीं klīṁ is the kāmabīja without modifications. This is just a small analysis of the parallels between the Nāth Tradition and the Śrīvidyā-tantra mantras. Of course, I cannot give out all the secrets of the mantras to those who are not dīkṣita. Nevertheless, even from that one can see a lot of connections and parallels of seemingly different traditions. In my opinion, the situation here is about the same as in Vajrayana, when many siddhas could not really separate themselves from Buddhism and from Nāthism at the same time. But after centuries, the paths diverged. Although, there are fewer differences between Śrīvidyā and Nāthism, since both traditions are theistic and have much in common.

Goddess Bālā is directly related to Gorakṣanāth, because she is young, just like Gorakṣanāth (bal-jati). Both deities are symbols of living energy, opened to everything new, without the weight of worldly affairs etc.

One more meaning of the Gorakṣanātha’s name

The name Gorakṣanātha in Sanskrit or its derivative Gorakhnāth in Hindi, if translated literally, will not carry much meaning. It could literally be translated as: rakṣa (a protector) and go (of cows). But, if you meet some Indians, who have heard about Gorakṣanātha and associated him with yoga, most likely they will explain go as senses. Thus, many translate it as “one, who protects the senses or controls the senses,” which is often interpreted as the practice of pratyāhāra, etc. Of course, the control of indriyas, redirection of prāṇa and perception of ātman within oneself are very important in yoga. However, while reading Yāska’s Nirukta and Śrī Aurobindo’s most interesting works, the Secret of the Veda, I found an even deeper meaning of the term goŚrī Aurobindo gives many references to the Rig Veda, where the term go (like the sun rays) refers to the Absolute as a whole. Yāska says in Nirukta:

आदित्योऽपि गौरुच्यते |
ādityo’pi gaurucyate |

The sun is also called ‘go’.

In further explanation, there is a quotation of the hymn from the Yajur Veda (adhyāya 18 / 40) containing suṣumṇa:

सुषुम्णः सूर्यरश्मिश्चन्द्रमा गन्धर्वस्तस्य नक्षत्राण्यप्सरसो भेकुरयो |
suṣumṇaḥ sūryaraśmiścandramā gandharvastasya nakṣatrāṇyapsaraso bhekurayo |

Suṣumṇa, whose moonbeams are like the sun, is gandharva playing with nakṣatras, who are āpsaras.

In the other ślokas of this hymn, gandharva is the wind and his āpsaras are the waters, etc. Different elements are divided into male and female poles through the images of the ganharva and āpsaras.

Interestingly,Yāska connects the rays of suṣumṇa with go, this is also found in other parts of his Nirukta. Aurobindo in his Secret of the Veda, has many references to the Rig Veda as well, where cows can be understood to mean the light of the sun, ātman and Absolute in general. Indeed, if you look in the dictionaries, then go can mean both the sun and the moon, and light as such. Accordingly, Gorakṣanātha can be perceived as one, who unites (yoga) the power of ha (sun) and ṭha (moon) within suṣumṇa. The veneration of Śiva Gorakṣanātha awakens suṣumṇa, unites opposites, He is the patron saint of this path.