I want to know if there is any reference to the Nath Sampradaya in Hindu scriptures. I have read about it on many websites, but I find it hard to believe.

I find it illegitimate, especially as in this Sampradaya, it is said there are 16 incarnations who have had zero true contribution to spreading of and clarifying Sanatana Dharma to others, or protecting Hinduism in India, yet they are considered God as Gurus.

  • What sort of ridiculous question it is!? It is one of the foremost important Shaiva sampradaya.😭😭😂😂
    – user29449
    Commented Mar 16 at 15:40
  • who have had zero true contribution to spreading of and clarifying Sanatana Dharma to others- I have read about it on many websites You came to strong conclusion regarding a proper sampradāya, based on what you read from sites, pretty problematic that is.
    – Bingming
    Commented Mar 16 at 15:45
  • @Bingming Sorry, but how can you conclude. I am right in this part of my post, because the person ased on whose book the 16 avatars of Dattatreya are stated, who called himself an incarnation of Dattatreya too, did not have marks of avatars on their palms and feet as per photographs. Also, Shirdi Sai is claimed to be one of these 16, he did not have marks, and he was a Mohammadan who mislead people to convert to Islam, just think from the perspective of any convert in the present era or ask the right people about the conversions he did.
    – RV10
    Commented Mar 18 at 22:52
  • there are some fake people, who claim to be part of the paramparā, that doesn't imply the entire paramparā is like those fake people.
    – Bingming
    Commented Mar 18 at 23:19
  • @Bingming That’s why I asked the question
    – RV10
    Commented Mar 20 at 0:45

2 Answers 2


The Famous Nātha Acharya Matsyendranatha (मत्स्येंद्रनाथ) who is seen as the founder of Natha sampradaya is mentioned in the Skanda purana by the name of Matsyanātha.

Skanda Purana, Nagara Khanda, Chapter 263

In the meantime a great fish, hitherto unknown rose up from the centre of the Milk Ocean on the top of an aerial chariot. It had a mass of refulgence. Making movements with its chest and arms (fins?) it came near the presence (of Lord Śiva). He was without any egotism or pride.

While making a hissing sound, Lord Maheśvara saw that fish and benumbed it through his refulgence. He then spoke these words:

“Who are you stationed will in the belly of a fish? A Deva, Yakṣa or man? How do you live within the body? O Lord, tell me”. Matsya said:

I have been hurled into the belly of a fish in the Milk Ocean by my mother at the instance of my father: “This boy is unworthy of my family.”

He was afraid of the destruction of the whole family. I was a child born in the Yoga (astronomical combination) named Gaṇḍānta. “Such a child cannot perform domestic duties. It will be the destroyer of its own family.”

Thus I was cast off by my sorrowing mother. Though I am of the same family, I was seized by a fish. A great deal of time since then elapsed.

Thanks to your nectar-like words, the great Jñānayoga became known to me. Though you are Amūrta (incorporeal), I know you entirely as being corporeal as well.

O Lord of Devas, grant me permission to come out. O Lord, let me be seen by Bhavānī as Pitṛpa (Protector of Pitṛs?). Hara said:

You are a Brāhmaṇa. You are in the form of my son. You are worthy of being worshipped by this one who speaks. You have been benumbed, O great fish. Come out quickly.

Thereupon, the fish that was undergoing suffering emerged headlong. He came out instantly with a distortion of his face.

He acquired beauty and intellect. His lustre now resembled that of the moon. Once stinking like, a fish, he now possessed divine fragrance.

When the son bowed down, Umā took him on her lap. Hara who was extremely delighted gave him a name.

“This most excellent one among Yogins was born from the belly of a fish. Hence, he will become well-known in the world as Matsyanātha. He shall be endowed with human body which will never be split or cut. He will master Jñānayoga. He shall be devoid of rivalry, Dvandvas (mutually opposed pairs) and ambitions and hopes (Nirāśa). He will be a server of Brāhmaṇas. He will be a living liberated soul in all the fourteen worlds.”

The above chronicle describes his origin story from the belly of a fish and describes him as the master of yoga

  • Bro, if u don't mind, can i know why your previous accounts gets removed so many times (if i am not wrong then).??? Commented Mar 16 at 5:16

Haṭhayogapradīpikā, one of the foremost surviving śāstras of Haṭhayoga, is composed by Svātmārāma, who belonged to the lineage of Nātha Yogins, as stated here.

haṭhavidyāṁ hi matsyendragorakṣādyā vijānate /
svātmārāmo'thavā yogī jānīte tatprasādataḥ //
~ Haṭhayogapradīpikā (1.4)

Matsyendra, Gorakṣa, etc. knew Haṭhavidyā, and by their prasāda, Yogī Svātmārāma also learnt it (Haṭhavidyā) from them.

In the next ślokas, Svātmārama lists many Mahāsiddhas, who knew, practiced and propagated Haṭhavidyā, and from whom Nātha sampradāya descends.

śrīādinātha-matsyendra-śābara-ānandabhairavāḥ /
cauraṅgī-mīna-gorakṣa-virūpākṣa-bileśayāḥ //
manthāno bhairavo yogī siddhirbuddhaśca kanthaḍiḥ /
koraṅṭakaḥ surānandaḥ siddhapādaścha carpaṭiḥ //
kānerī pūjyapādaśca nityanātho nirañjanaḥ /
kapālī bindunāthaśca kākacaṇḍīśvarāhvayaḥ //
allāmaḥ prabhudevaśca ghoḍā colī tiṇtiṇiḥ /
bhānukī nāradevaśca khaṇḍaḥ kāpālikastathā //
ityādayo mahāsiddhā haṭhayogaprabhāvataḥ /
khaṇḍayitvā kāladaṇḍaṁ brahmāṇḍaṁ vicaranti te //
~ Haṭhayogapradīpikā (1.5-9)

Śrī Ādinātha (Śiva), Matsyendra, Śābara, Ānandabhairava, Cauraṅgī, Mīna, Gorakṣa, Virūpākṣa, Bileśaya, Manthāna, Bhairava, Siddhi, Buddha, Kanthaḍi, Koraṅṭaka, Sirānanda, Siddhipāda, Carpaṭi, Kānerī, Pūjyapāda, Nityanātha, Nirañjana, Kapālī, Bindunātha, Kākacaṇḍīśvara, Allāma, Prabhudeva, Ghoḍācolī, Tiṇtiṇi, Bhānukī, Nāradeva, Khaṇḍa, Kāpālika, and many other Mahāsiddhas, having conquered Kāla, roam about the brahmāṇḍa.

That this paramparā has had powerhouses in yoga such as Matsyendranātha, Gorakṣanātha, etc. and progenitor as mahāyogin Śiva himself, is enough to testify its legitimacy and eminence.

In Lalitopākhyāna, Gorakṣa is mentioned as one of the foremost yogins (dwelling in Vāyuloka among siddhas, ṛṣis etc.), who do pavanābyāsa.

tasya cottarakoṇeṣu vāyuloko mahādyutiḥ /
tatra vāyuśarīrāśca sadānandamahodayāḥ //
siddhā divyarṣayaścaiva pavanābhyāsi no'pare /
gorakṣapramukhāścānye yogino yogatatparāḥ //
~ Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa (3.33.67-68)

In the Vāyukoṇa, there's the radiant Vāyuloka, where dwell ānandamaya venerables with vāyuśarīra such as siddhas, divyarṣis, and accomplished yogins who do pavanābhyāsa,
Gorakṣa being pramukha among them (those yogins).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .