Saturday, March 31, 2012


Q: Who is Gorakhnatha?

A: Gorakhnatha (aka Gorakshanatha) Gorakhnath,
the disciple of Matsyendranath, is credited with the
foundation of Laya or Kundalini Yoga and Hatha Yoga.
He is also revered by many of the Natha subsects as their founder.
Such sects are called Kanphata (split ear) after their initiation
rite in which the ear cartilage was cut to allow the insertion of
large wooden rings.

The Gorakhbodh

This is a very obscure text of the Nathas, conducted in the form of
questions from Gorakh (Gorakhnath) to Macchendra (Matsyendranath).
The English translation, from a Hindi text, was published at the
beginning of the century and is out of copyright.
This text is a free transliteration.

Gorakh -- To start with, any suggestions for the beginner?

Macchendra – First of all, relax! Don’t lose your sense of humor!

Abiding unperturbed in the midst of all conditions, begin to
uncover the yearning at the heart of your original innocence –
let that yearning lead you into the unknown of your own being,
discovering here for yourself your own indivisibility.

G What should one see, contemplate, treat as the essence?
With what should one shave their head, and
with what knowledge seek Freedom?

M One should see oneself, lightning
flashing in a dark sky,
contemplate the evanescence of smoke,
recognize essence in a dew drop,
shave their head with the razor of humility, and
seek Freedom by allowing it to reveal itself as
your innate knowledge in its perfect functioning.

G What is the teaching?
Where does Truth reside?
Who is the Guru?

M The most ordinary is the teaching.
Truth is what is.
Guru is awareness itself, in which
all appears, moves, and vanishes.

G What is the form of the mind?
What is the vital breath?
What is the way?

M Emptiness is the form of the mind,
the vital breath is life force,
the way is unspeakable.

G Which is the root and which the branch?
Who is the Guru and who the disciple?
What is essential about going one's own way?

M Mind is the root and vital breath is the branch,
silence is the Guru and attention the disciple.
With the essence called Welcome
one wanders about, greeting
oneself in all sentience,
regarding none of it as
other than oneself.

G What is the seed and what the field?
What is direct hearing?
What is true vision?
What is the method?
What is liberation?
And what is salvation?

M The word is the seed,
perception the field,
attention is direct hearing,
discrimination is true vision,
the ocean and the earth is the method,
being itself is liberation, and so
what need of salvation?

G Which is the tree without a trunk, and
which is the parrot without wings?
Which is the dam without a shore, and
who dies without death?

M Vital breath is the tree without a trunk,
mind is the parrot without wings.
Constancy is the dam without a shore,
sleep is dying without death.

G In what house is moon, the sun?
In what house does Time play music?
Where do the five elements rest?

M The moon in the house of mind, the sun in the vital breath.
Time plays in Emptiness, the five elements rest in Realization.

G Where does the mind reside in the state of self-transcendence?

M Nowhere.

G What destroys ignorance?

M The Fire of Truth consumes ignorance, and
fire goes where there’s fuel.

G Who is the Self?
Who is the husband of the earth?
Where is Home?
What is the doorway to Truth?

M The Self, is.
Bliss is the husband of earth.
Awake-awareness is Home.
Giving up the struggle to know
is the doorway to Truth.

G How does one free oneself from attachment to Illusion?

M Discover the one who would be free.

G Where do mind, vital breath, the word and the moon reside?

M The mind resides in the heart,
vital breath resides in the navel,
the word resides in the will,
the moon resides in the heaven.

G Who is the creator of the body?
Where does light come from?

M Here is the body,
here is the light.

G How does fragrance reside in the flower?
How does the soul conceal itself in the body?

M As fragrance is the consciousness in the flower,
o the soul is the all-pervasiveness in the body.

G Had there been no flower, where would the fragrance have been?
Had there been no body, where would the spirit have been?

M The same place.

G Where do all things rest?

M All rests in the Self, the Real.

G Where does sound arise and dissolve?

M The Unconditioned.

G When form dissolves and the Formless remains, what then?

M The Natural State, the same state in which
you now exist.

G What is the root of the rootless?
Where does the root reside?
Who is the Guru of the goal?

M Emptiness is the root of the rootless.
The root resides in the Now.
The Guru of the goal is mute.

G Where does the vital breath rise?
Where does the mind come from?
How is the speech born and where does it dissolve?

M The birth of the mind is from the Formless,
the vital breath from the mind, speech from the breath –
speech is dissolved in the mind, nothing has happened.

G How can the conscious mind attain to self-transcendence?

M The already-awake can attain to self-transcendence.

G How did the first consciousness begin?
How was I born?

M As oil is in the sesame seed, as fire is in the wood, as fragrance
in the flower, so too the Emptiness Mother is pregnant by
God with all possibilities.

G If I forget it, how am I to cross over?

M By forgetting.

G In what direction was the body born?

M In the direction of Yes the body takes birth.

G How can one attain to Samadhi?
How can one get rid of the disturbing distractions?
How can one enter the fourth (Turiya) state?
How can one make one's body changeless and deathless?

M One enters Samadhi through the mind,
gets rid of the disturbances through the vital breath,
acquires the fourth state (Turiya) through attention,
and through submission to the Sun of Self attains Solarity.

G Who sleeps, who wakes, who goes to the ten directions? Wherefrom
does the vital breath arise?

M The mind sleeps, the vital breath with
consciousness awakes co-mingled, imagination
goes out to the ten directions, nothing has happened.

G What is the conscious? What is the essence?
What is sleep and what is death? How is the body sustained?

M The light is conscious; fearlessness is the awakened
essence. Waking is birth and sleeping is death; the body
dwells in light, where are you?

G Who speaks, who sleeps; in what form does one seek oneself?
In what form does one remain the same through the ages?

M Speaking speaks; attention sleeps; one seeks oneself in
an invisible form and in that form without form one
remains unchanged through the ages.

G How does Time or Death go to sleep?

M Contemplating itself, Time or Death goes to sleep.

G How can one be free?

M Unclench your fists.

G Where does hunger arise and where food?
Where is sleep born and where death?

M From desire arose hunger and from hunger, food;
from food sleep and from sleep, death.

G What is truth? Do tell me, please, O Guru!
What is the condition or direction of the mind and the breath?
How can one achieve liberation with their help?

M From mere seeing to divine or spiritual perception,
from knowledge to ultimate realization,
the teacher and the pupil have the same body.

G How should one come, how go; how to collect oneself and remain
absorbed; how can one stabilize one's mind and one's body?

M One comes and goes nowhere -- in That
collect yourself and remain absorbed; in the Natural State
the body and mind become transparent.

G Where does Shiva reside and where Shakti? Where resides vital
breath and where the embodied being? At what place
can one have the realization of them?

M Shakti resides below and Shiva above, yet are not two;
inside resides vital breath and further inside
the embodied being dwells; by going further still, one may
attain to a glimpse of them, and in that jasmine garden,
dissolve in them.

G How should one sit and how walk, how
speak and how meet; how should
one deal with one 's body?

M He should sit, walk, speak and meet awake and aware;
with his attention and discrimination,
he should live fearlessly.

G What is the word; what is attention; what is
discrimination? How can one remain stable
amidst duality?

M The Beginningless, the Soundless is the word;
consciousness is attention; non-clinging is discrimination;
live as Unity amidst Duality, attached to neither.

G Who can tread a path without feet? Who can see without eyes? Who
can hear without ears? Who can speak without words?

M Contemplation can tread without feet; discrimination
can see without eyes; attention can hear without
ears; the Soundless can speak without words.

G What is the posture? What knowledge? How should the beginner
meditate? By what means can one enjoy the
bliss of the Unconditioned Being?

M Contentment is the posture; contemplation is the
knowledge; try to change nothing in meditation;
 through submission to the Heart one enjoys
Unconditioned Being.

G How to have contentment and contemplation and meditation that goes
beyond the physical? How can I bend my mind to them?

M Contentment comes from fearless non-avoidance;
contemplation from non-identification.
Meditate as the body to transcend the body; by letting
the story of the separate self-sense end,
no mind requires bending.

G How can the river of grace enter the mind?

M Don't worry, be steady –
you swim in it!

G How can one carry out true living and how can one carry on
meditation? Where is the immortal elixir? How can one drink it? How
can one keep the body for ever?

M By turning to the higher mind, you can attain right living;
by turning to Shakti you can achieve right meditation;
by turning to bliss you can have the elixir of immortality,
and by turning to conscious activity you can drink it.
By relinquishing desire, one can gain the immortal body.
But by hearing all of this and simply walking on, you may
become a free being -- imagine that!

G How should one come and go; how can one defeat death
How can one reside in light?

M Realize that which neither comes nor goes –
Your own native state.
Be wingless and eat away death; reside in light by
being nothing other than light.

G What is body, what is breath; what Person should I
meditate upon? At what place does mind transcend Time?

M Consciousness and life force is the body -- inhale, exhale.
Meditate on the Supreme Person. Mind is time.

G Which is the key and which is the lock; who is old and who is
young? Where does mind remain awakened?

M The wordless is the key and the word is the lock;
the unconscious one is old; the conscious one is young;
mind transcended is ever awake.

G Who is the practitioner and who the perfected?
What is illusion and what is magic?
How can one drive away deception
from one's mind?

M Attention is the practitioner and the word is the adept;
"I am" is the illusion (Maya) and "He is" is the magic. To destroy
deception or duality one should allow it to reveal itself as
an innocent example of mistaken identity.

G Which is the temple, which the door; which is the image and who is
the Unfathomable? By what method of worship can the mind
transcend itself?

M Emptiness is the temple; the word is the door; Light is the image;
the Flame is the Unfathomable; all methods are perfect, yet
all methods are fruitless. This is the worship transcending mind.

G Which is the lamp and which is the light? What is the wick wherein
the oil resides? How can the lamp be made inextinguishable?

M Knowledge is the lamp; the word is the light,
contentment is the wick in which the oil resides;
when the light falls from your eyes to the ground,
when the lamp is smashed into mere shards of glass,
what remains is the Inextinguishable.  

G What goes slow and what goes fast? Who revolves and what is the
find? In what place can one be fearless?

M Steadiness of mind goes slow; restless thought goes fast;
interpretations on perception revolve, what was never lost cannot
be found. Be fearless in love.

G Who is a Yogi? How should he live? Who is an enjoyer
and how should he acquire? How does pain rise out of pleasure
and how can one patiently suffer pain?

M Mind is the Yogi; let him live in self-transcendence; the great
elixir will come to him and he will taste the bliss -- in that
elixir is a secret poison; the word of the Guru secures
the patience to suffer it.

G Which is the self, what comes and goes? Which is the self,
what is absorbed in the void? What is the self, what stays
changeless ?

M The self of vital breath comes and goes; the mind-self
is absorbed in the void; the knowledge-self resides unchanged in the
three worlds. All dance together on the stage of Awareness,
nothing happens.

G What is the life of the mind? What is the support of
that life? What is the basis of that support? What is the form
of the Absolute?

M The life of the mind is a play of consciousness, its support is
Emptiness; the basis of that support is the unspeakable
form of the Beloved; yet the form of the Beloved is
the most ordinary and overlooked.


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