Shri Shri 108 Gorakhnath Ji

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Original artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1996-2006. Translations are © Mike Magee 1996-2006.

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Shri Vilakshan Avadhoot

Life and teachings of Paramhans Shri Amrit Nath Ji Maharaj
Price: Rs 501, hardback 832 pages

This is a most remarkable book, now translated into English. It contains unusual and rare information about a line of Natha saints at the Amrit Nath ashram, in Fatehpur (Sekhavati), Rajasthan, as well as a sound insight into the spiritual teachings and yoga of the pan-Indian Natha sampradaya.

There is much more information about this ashram at its web site, here, as well as an English translation of the Shri Gorakhnath Chalisa. You can buy the book at the site.

The translation into English of this large book is through the initiative of the current mahant of this ashram, Shri Narhari Nath Ji Maharaj, and the translator has done a fine job. I've been privileged to stay at this ashram several times now, at the current Mahant's invitation - the last time I was there he kindly gave me the book now under review.

The Amrit Nath ashram is named after Shri Amrit Nathji, whose samadhi, along with other Natha saints, is part of the current and now greatly expanded building. On a previous visit to the ashram, the current Mahant was kind enough to take me on a tour of other Nath ashrams in the district, affiliated to the Mannath line of sadhus. There are ashrams of these Nathas at Jhunjhunu, Bisau, Butiya, Barbas, Fatehpur and other locations. Many of these ashrams are very ancient. At them are many samadhis (tombs) of Natha saints who have achieved liberation whilst living. The Amritnath Ashram itself is a haven of peace, self sufficient in food, and full of trees, plants and flowers.

The Natha sampradaya is still held in very high esteem by devotees - in line with ancient traditions, this ashram quietly carries out service to its local community, beset as it often is by drought and the other vicissitudes of simple rural life out in the wilds of Rajasthan.

As well as including a complete biography of Shri Amrit Nathji, the book also contains biographies of other mahants at the ashram, including Shri Jyoti Nath Ji, Shri Subha Nath Ji, Shri Hanuman Nath Ji and Shri Narhari Nath Ji, who sits on the gaddi now.

As well as biographical material, this book also contains valuable information about the yoga of the Natha sampradaya, including the cakras, Kundalini, diet, the four states jagrat, svapna, sushupti and turiya and other rare information. Of interest to readers of these web pages will be the relationship between the six (seven) chakras and the number of breaths taken by human beings in a day and night, as well as general rules about conduct, how to live your life, and the like. Shri Amrit Nathji himself was born on March 21st, 1852 and became a Natha at the age of 30, at first roaming about and then establishing himself at Fatehpur, Sekhavati district, where the current ashram is still located.

This 832 page book will be of great value to students of the Natha sampradaya, as well as of being of great practical assistance in learning of the yoga practised by this ancient line of saints. As well as a wealth of material, this book is illustrated in colour, and includes a glossary of yogic terms as well as a general glossary.

Artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1996-2006. Translations are © Mike Magee 1996-2006. Questions or comments to mike.magee@btinternet.com

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