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Gorakh Bani – Information – History

 Gorakh Bani refers to work in Hindi attributed to Gorakhnath (born sometime between 10th and 13th century CE) who reorganized the sect of Nath Yogis. These works, collectively titled Gorakh Bani, are also known as Jogesaribani. The first edition of Gorakh Bani, edited by Pitambar Dutt Bathwal and published by Hindi Sahitya Sammelan Prayag, appeared in Samvat 1999.

Bathwal obtained from various sources manuscripts of forty works ascribed to Gorakhnath. These manuscripts belong to a period later than the 17th – 18th century (Vikram Era). Bathwal admits that since they owe their origin to oral tradition, the original text must have undergone alternations, but he believes that fourteen of these forty manuscripts must have originated in the 11th century. Thirteen of these – Saabdi, Pada, Sisyadarshana, Pranasankali, Narvaibodha, Atmabodha, Abhayamatrayoga, Pandrahtithi, Saptavara, Machondra Gorakh Bodh, Romavali, Jnana Tilaka and Pancamatra – have been included by him in the first section of Gorakh Bani.

There are three appendixes to Gorakhabani. The first appendix contains Gorakh Ganesh Gushti, Gorakh Dutt Gushti (Gyan Deep Bodh), Mahadev Gorakh Gushti, Sistpuran, Dayabodh, and some verses, while the second comprises eight works – Saptavara Navagraha, Vrata Pancagni, Ashtamudra, Caubis Siddhi, Battis Lachan, Astacakra and Raharasi.

According to Bathwal, these writing definitely belong to a much later period and were composed by other saints. There is yet a third appendix which contains a commentary by a hermit of the Niranjani order on 27 verses of Gorakhnath. Acharya Shukla is clearly of the view that the works compiled in Gorakh Bani were composed not by Gorakhnath but by his disciples, as these works have absolutely no admixture of Prakrit or Apabhransh words which, otherwise, must have been there, considering the age that witnessed the advent of Gorakhnath.

Notwithstanding anything, the way these compositions present an interpretation of the nature of Shiva and Shakti, exposition of the importance of the guru, enunciation of the cult of Katha Yoga, illustration of the predominance of maya and the path that leads to emancipation from maya, and an elucidation of a code of conduct for yogis, show that they are fully in consonance with the tenets o the Nath lineage. This may lead one to an inference that though these banis in their language and diction may appear to belong to a later period, they preserve in them the essential nature of the discourse of Gorakhnath. In view of this, the significance of Gorakh Bani remains indisputable.