Summary of my online talk on the International conference on Global Contribution of the Nath Panth on March 21st 2021. The Nath Tradition on Foreign Land.

Guruji ko Adesh! Adesh to all the great devotees of our Tradition! Blessings from Guru Gorakhnath to all those who have a genuine interest in our unique Tradition, which is highly important for India and beyond!

I’ll try to be concise and cover the requested topics in 20 minutes. First and foremost, it is a promotion of the Natha Tradition in the West, which I feel the need to pay special attention to. Undoubtedly, this subject is not an easy one as it involves many different areas of our lives. 

It has been 35 years since I started practicing yoga and 15 years since I began promoting the Natha Tradition in the West, and I have faced many challenges in the process. The first point I would like to make is a cultural one. Westerners, trying to take the easy way, attempt to take something from such a complex phenomenon as the Natha Sampradaya without taking into account the environment in which it was formed. My Guru said that the tradition is like a potion made from various ‘aushadhi’ (plants) put together. We can’t say that it is the same as it was before, but we can’t say that the ‘plants’ are not there either. For many centuries, the Natha tradition has existed in the cultures of the Vedas, Puranas, Tantras, of the many various Sampradayas (Shramana, Shaiva, Shakta, Vaishnava, Buddhist, Jaina and others). We know that India has been partly influenced by Abrahamic Traditions as well, even though they may look very ambiguous in India. And I have found that very few people in the West are interested in all that, which makes it difficult for westerners, including those in the Natha Tradition, to understand the realities of India. We also know very well that western Indology would not be funded by Western governments if it did not show eastern doctrines in a diminished way in comparison to what they consider traditional. Moreover, India’s colonial past is also reflected in the fact that many Indian leaders show a lack of sovereignty. Probably some of my Indian friends think that this would be good for western followers of the Natha Sampradaya. However we do not come to India to join the globalised yoga movement that has flooded the West. Many of my students want to communicate on the themes of yoga which is traditional for sincere Indians who love their country and their culture. Now the world has changed and yoga has become so superficial, that it is very difficult even to call it ‘yoga’ anymore. To tell you the truth, sometimes I am embarrassed to call what I see with that term. But it is not just about yoga, today we face a world where corporations are trying to suppress everything natural in humans. And I think we all know what I am talking about. There is a lot of low-quality food in the world, something that harms people’s health is passed off as a medicine – they are trying to take us away from nature. But yoga is oriented on a natural state of a human being. We live in a world of very aggressive media and now more than ever we need to learn to empty our minds. I am not saying that we don’t need modern technologies at all, but the way I see it, it is good when they are utilised as our tools but not the other way around. So I would like the western followers of the Tradition and those who live in India to think about it. I have sincerely embraced the way of yoga, the way of Shiva, and I wish that the great history, the great guidelines of this tradition would not fade into oblivion. It is very important for us to keep our values sincere and pure.

The role of suṣumṇā in the mantra realisation

Looking through the Bengali text, the Bṛhattantrasāra, written by Guru Kṛṣṇānandāgamavāgīśa, I found an interesting point regarding the mantra practice, where the Gautamīya-tantra is quoted. We know that there is a classical practice of puraścaraṇa in the form of japa, homatarpaṇamārjana and brāhmaṇa bhojana. However, it speaks of a certain “exception”, which, in my opinion, is a transitional moment of sādhanā, “joining” in itself the goals of vāmācāra and yoga of the Nāthas (vajrolī). I decided to share this piece of text with you, maybe it will give someone an additional understanding of the tantra and Nātha yoga practice.

गौतमीये
पशुभावे स्थिता मन्त्राः प्रोक्ता वर्णास्तु  केवलाः 
सौषुम्ने  ध्वन्युच्चरिता  प्रभुत्वं प्राप्नुवन्ति ते
मन्त्राक्षराणि चिच्छक्तौ प्रोतानि परिभावयेत्
तामेव परमव्योम्नि परमामृतबृंहिते
दर्शयत्यात्मसद्भावं पूजाहोमादिभिर्व्विनेति
मूलमन्त्रं प्राणबुद्ध्या सुषुम्नामूलदेशके
मन्त्रार्थं तस्य चैतन्यं जीवं ध्यात्वा पुनः पुनः

In the Gautamīya Tantra:

The mantras practiced in the paśu bhava are recited only at the letter level. The Suṣumṇā-related, practiced sounds are overflowing with power. During jāpa, the mantrāksharas should be fully connected to the power of consciousness. That (mantra) in the highest space is nourished by the highest bliss. Pūjā, homa and etc. are not required for this type of practice, practice the main mantra* through the power of consciousness in the root area (the base) of suṣumṇā (genitals). Practice meditation over and over again with that mantra essence, the consciousness of a living being.

Mūlamantra (the root mantra) is the main mantra of a Deity. For example, Śiva’s mantra is oṃ namaḥ śivāya, Gaṇeśa’s mantra is oṃ gaṃ gaṇapataye namaḥ, etc.