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Gorakh Bodh Of Gorakhnath

Gorakh Bodh, also known as Gorakhabodha, is a composition containing the religious teachings of Gorakhnath. It is a religious work in Hindi language. The full time of the book is Machindra (Matsyendra) Gorakh Bodh. Some believe that the original form of Gorakh Bodh might belong to the 11th century CE. Handed down through oral tradition, it has undergone changes in language and diction. The work is of special significance in the sect of Nath Yogis.

Gorakh Bodh is in the form of dialogue between a teacher and a disciple runs 127 verses. At the opening of the book, Gorakhnath addresses Matsyendranath thus: “My Lord, you are a spiritual teacher, you have conquered the flesh and are in full control of the senses. I am your disciple. I wish to ask a question. Kindly answer it. Do not let it anger you. It is a true teacher alone who can answer his disciple’s questions satisfactorily.”

The he puts his question: “My Lord how should a disciple newly initiated in the sect of yogis live?”

To which Matsyendranath replies: “O avadhuta, it is right and proper for a new disciple to give up passion, anger, greed and resist worldly attractions. He should live under a tree by the wayside or in a market, should eat very little, sleep for the shortest duration, and contemplate the image of the Eternal Being.”

The series of questions includes, here and there, questions on the pervasive mysteries of life and the universe. For instance, Gorakhnath asks – “My Lord, if there were night, how would the day come into existence? Where does the night vanish as daylight radiates? Where does light reside when the lamp is extinguished? Where would life dwell if the body were not in existence?”

The teacher replies: “O avadhuta, if the night did not occur, then the day (according to the natural laws of creation) would spontaneously come about, and the night would naturally disappear as the light of the day spreads. When the lamp is extinguished, its light is merged in eternity. If the body did not exist, life would dwell in the void.” Thus many fundamental questions are raised throughout Gorak Bodha, which is of special significance for understanding the principles and practices of the Natha sect.