Nāth Siddhas

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Followers of a North Indian Śaiva Siddha tradition made up of groups of largely itinerant Tantric practitioners, including the Kānphaṭa yogīs and the Gorakhnāthīs. They are popularly referred to as ‘Yogis’ or ‘Jogis’. Their legendary founders are Matsyendra(nāth) and his pupil Gorakhnāth, second and third of the Nine Nāths—the yogic masters who are conventionally identified as the originators of the tradition's lineages. The Nāth sampradāya probably emerged in the late 12th or early 13th century ce, and was subsequently divided into twelve panths (‘paths’). It has had considerable popular appeal, and the Siddhas themselves have usually been from the lower castes. They are renowned as masters of haṭha yoga and alchemy, and as the possessors of this-worldly supernatural powers (siddhis). In all these instances their principal aim is to achieve immortality within, and through, a perfected (siddha) physical body.

Subjects: Hinduism.

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