Legend of Gorakhnath
Gorakhnath is believed to have lived in the 11th to 12th centuries. He was a disciple of Matsyendranath. Gorakhnath was responsible for expanding the Nath tradition. He is believed to have written many books to spread meditation and yoga.
Important Figure in Hinduism
Gorakhnath traveled far and wide across India and neighbouring places. Accounts of Gorakhnath can be found in Sri Lanka, Baluchistan and Afghanistan. The Nepalese Gurkhas derive their name from Gorakhnath, as does the town Gorakhpur. Osho named Gorakhnath as an important figure in Indian religion along with Krishna, Buddha and Patanjali.
Incarnation of Shiva
Though Matsyendranath was Gorakhnath’s guru, the latter eclipsed the former through his achievements. Gorakhnath wrote books on Laya yoga and how to raise the coiled kundalini power. He is also believed to have invented the Hatha yoga. Many Indian temples are dedicated to Gorakhnath. Many people believe that Gorakhnath was an incarnation of Lord Shiva. He is also highly regarded in Tibetan Buddhist tantra.
Legend of Gorakhnath’s Birth
There is a famous legend regarding the birth of Gorakhnath. His guru Matsyendranath used to beg at houses for alms. At a particular house, the housewife did not have a child. She asked Matsyendranath how to beget a baby. The guru gave her holy ash and asked her to swallow it to get a child. But, the woman threw away the ash onto a dung heap.
After 12 years, Matsyendranath returned to the house and asked the woman how her child was faring. The woman told him she had flung away the ash. Matsyendranath located the dung heap and called out to the boy. A handsome boy emerged, who was Gorakhnath. Matsyendranath took Gorakhnath with him and became his guru. Gorakh thus means “protected by earth”, as it was mother earth who had nurtured Gorakhnath through his early years.