Shri Goraksh Nathji (Shiv Svarup)
Gorakshanathji is a disciple of Matsyendranath, the founder of the Natha tradition and patron saint of yogis. His realization surpassed his Guru’s. Gorakshanath is considered to be Shiva-svarupa (a form of Shiva). He is revered by Nathas more than other Nava Nathas and Devatas.
Gorakshanath is mentioned in elder sources such as Padma Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Skanda Purana, along with Matsyendranath. When Gorakshanath lived is not so important to Nathas, however, it causes a confusion among researches, since Nathas believe that he is an eternal manifestation of Shiva.
According to a legend, Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva came to Gorakshanath to obtain powers to create the World. Gorakshanath used ash (vibhuti) from his akhanda-dhuni and blessed those three gods for the creation, maintenance and destruction of the Manifested Phenomena. Gorakshanath is perceived as Yogesvara, the one who protects the yogis.
Nathas believe that Gorakshanath appears in each Yuga (Epoch) in various parts of Bharata, teaching yoga. According to some Gurus Gorakshanath is Paramatma (Super Soul), hence he is ever present everywhere, and incomprehensible. However, embodied beings are not able to see Him as Paramatma, this is the reason why he appears to ordinary people in his temporal form. Yogis claim that Gorakshanath paved the way to achieve the highest goal of yoga, which is moksha (complete liberation).
Throughout India there is a number of temples dedicated to Gorakshanath, and four cities are named after Him as Gorakhpur.
“Go” means senses, body, or the Universe; “raksha” means a protector, Lord. Thus Gorakshanath is the protector saint of the Manifested Phenomena. Gorakshanath is the founder of Hatha Yoga, he is known to be a great tantric yogi. He founded the Order of Kanphats whose members cut their ears and wear big earrings (darshans or kundals), influenced on the flows of energy in the solar and lunar channels. These channels play a crucial role in the practice of Hatha Yoga.The initiation through cutting the ear cartilage and inserting earrings is conveyed at the highest level of the disciple’s training.
Moreover, Gorakshanath developed methods working with sound vibration, i.e. nada. This practice became the basis of Laya Yoga, and its practice of nadanusandhana. One of the initiations in the Natha tradition is conveyed using the nadi (ritual whistle) and the janeu (black woolen thread) as the symbols of the nadis (channels). These principles of working with sound vibration formed the basis of Shabar Tantra revealed by Matsyendranath, where mantras are created using Sanskrit and other Indian languages. Gorakshanath finalized the Shabar Tantra system, and due to this fact He is considered its protector.