The Navnath (Template:Sanskrit,Nepali,Hindi,lang-mr,), also spelt as Navanatha and Nao Nath, are the nine Hindu saints, Masters or Naths on whom the Navnath Sampradaya, the lineage of the nine gurus is based. They are worshipped collectively as well as individually.
The nine teachers collectively known as Navnaths are consider the representative of great teachers in this tradition or parampara:
- Matsyendranath Or Macchchindranath
- Gorakhnath or Gorakshnath
- Jalandharnath or Jalandernath also known as Jan Peer
- Gahininath also known as Gaibi Peer
- Bhartrinath or Bhartarinath or Raja Bhartari
- Naganath or Nageshnath
The unique spiritual attainments of this legendary figure are mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana, the Mahabharata and also in some later Upanishads. Others hold that it is an offshoot of the Hatha Yoga. Whatever be its origin, the teachings of the Nath Sampradaya have, over the centuries, become labyrinthine in complexity and have assumed different forms in different parts of India. Some Gurus of the Sampradaya lay stress on bhakti, devotion; others on jnana, knowledge; still others on yoga, the union with the ultimate. In the fourteenth century we find Svatmarama Svami, the great Hathayogin, bemoaning ‘the darkness arising out of multiplicity of opinions’ to displel which he lit the lamp of his famous work Hathayogapradipika. According to some learned commentators, the Nath Gurus propound that the entire creation is born out of nada (sound), the divine principle, and bindu (light), the physical principle and the Supreme Reality from which these two principles emanate is Shiva. Liberation according to them is merging of the soul into Shiva through the process of laya, dissolution of the human ego, the sense of I-ness. In the day-to-day instructions to their devotees, however, the Nath Gurus seldom refer to the metaphysics discovered by the scholars in their teachings. In fact their approach is totally non-metaphysical, simple and direct. While the chanting of sacred hyms and devotional songs as well as the worship of the idols is a traditional feature of the sect, its teaching emphasises that the Supreme Reality can be realised only within the heart.
There is a book on these 9 great souls called "navnath pothi". It has 40 chapters. This book narrates Navnaths births, their lives, their great deeds and stories related to them. As the navnath are strongly worshiped in Maharashtra, the book is written in Marathi. It is believed that reading it in a specific manner is beneficial to human mind, soul and body.
The recent noted teachers of Inchegeri branch of this tradition, based on Advaita Vedanta, have been: Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897-1981), Sri Ranjit Maharaj (1913-2000), and their guru, Sri Siddharameshwar (1888-1936) and preceding him was 'Bhausaheb Maharaj' (1843-1914) who founded the Math in Inchegeri. Today, the Navnath Parampara is one of the most well known advaitic parampara in the world.
- I Am That, Talks with Sri Nisargadatta, Transcribed and edited by Maurice Frydman. 1973. ISBN 0893860220.
- Nectar of Immortality, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj Discourses on the Eternal, Edited by Robert Powell. 1987. ISBN 8120817338.
- Berntsen, Maxine; Zelliot, Eleanor (1988). The Experience of Hinduism: Essays on Religion in Maharashtra. Albany, N.Y: State University of New York Press. pp. 338. ISBN 0-88706-662-3.
- I Am That, by Nisargadatta Maharaj, chapter 97, Part II, Page 271
- Sri Ranjit Maharaj profile
- Lineage of Navnath Sampradaya
- Lineages at advait.org
- Lineages in Navnath Parampara
- Biographic details of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
- The formation of the Inchegari branch of Navnath Sampradaya
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