According to the legends, a baby boy was born in a very small village near the river Ganga banks in the early tenth century. The baby was born in an inauspicious time due to which the parents decided to get rid of the baby and threw him into the river Ganga. The baby drowned into the river, and immediately, a giant fish swallowed the baby, thinking of the baby as food—post which the fish swam into the river’s deep waters to rest.Embed from Getty Images
At this particular region on the river bed, a beautiful event was taking place. Lord Shiva had decided to teach his wife, Goddess Parvathi, the knowledge of Hatha Yoga. Since this knowledge had to be a closely guarded secret, Lord Shiva created a vacuum in a giant air dome to prevent anyone from listening to their conversation.
The baby boy came across all this knowledge since he was listening to their conversation.
The baby boy lived inside the fish for twelve long years, practicing yoga and meditating, following the guidelines he heard from Lord Shiva. The fishermen caught this giant fish one day, and this boy emerged from the fish, fully realized and liberated. This boy came to be known as Matsyendranath since he came out of a fish or Matsya. Matsyendranath would later write down the techniques of Yoga, which went on to be known as Hatha Yoga and Matsyendranath was the very first Hatha Yogi.
Matsyendranath traveled the length and breadth of India or Bharath, living the life of a sage. Once while traveling, Sage Matsyendranath reached a village called Chandragiri. Matsyendranath had grown tired because of walking and went to a small hut nearby, asking for food and water. The hut belonged to a married couple, who happily offered the tiered sage with food and water. Sage Matsyendranath became very happy with the couple’s services and asked the couple to ask for a boon.
The couple told Sage Matsyendranath that they were childless even after being married for years. After hearing this Sage Matsyendranath offered the women some Ash or Vibhuti and asked the women to consume the ash and left their place. Unfortunately, an older woman, who noticed all this from a distance, advised the woman not to consume the ash, as she suspected the ash to be laced with occult mantras. Fearing any kind of negativity, the woman disposed of the ash onto a pile of cow dung nearby.
Sage Matsyendranath visited the couple after twelve years and asked to see the child. The woman recognized Sage Matsyendranath and apologized to him for her actions. Upon learning what had happened, Sage Matsyendranath asked the woman to show the place where she had disposed of the ash. The woman pointed towards a pile of cow dung nearby.
Sage Matsyendranath went near the pile of cow dung and chanted the Om mantra at the pile of cow dung, and a twelve-year-old boy emerged from the pile of cow dung. Sage Matsyendranath named the boy Gorakhnath since he emerged from the pile of cow dung.
Gorakhnath instantly asked Sage Matsyendranath to accept him as his disciple and left with Sage Matsyendranath. Gorakhnath became a very accomplished yogi under the guidance of Sage Matsyendranath.
However, Gorakhnath was very fiercely dedicated to his guru and could not control his anger when anyone questioned his guru’s credibility and would resort to physical violence on the other person.
Sage Matsyendranath noticed this fierce dedication of Gorakhnath and asked him to travel to the Himalayas and practice yoga and meditation with rigid austerity and self-discipline for Fourteen years.
Gorakhnath sat in the caves of the Himalayas practicing yoga with utmost discipline. With his dedication, Gorakhnath had acquired an immense amount of knowledge in Yoa and the occult.
After living in the Himalayas for fourteen years, Gorakhnath started his journey to meet his guru and reached the mountains at the beginning of Western Ghats. These mountains were named after Gorakhnath and are known as Gorakhnath mountains even today. Upon reaching the cave, where Sage Matsyendranath lived, Gorakhnath noticed a yogi sitting outside the cave entrance. The yogi stopped Gorakhnath from entering the cave. Gorakhnath became furious upon being prevented from meeting his Guru and pushed the yogi aside and entered the cave, only to find an empty cave. Gorakhnath asked the yogi about Sage Matsyendranath, but the yogi refused to reveal any information as advised by Sage Matsyendranath himself.
Gorakhnath then used the power of the occult and forced the yogi to reveal all the information. Gorakhnath traveled to that particular location to meet his Guru. Still, upon reaching the location, he came across another yogi, who passed on the message that Sage Matsyendranath had sent for Gorakhnath. The yogi informed Gorakhnath that because he had misused his power of the occult to divine into the mind of another human being, he must travel back to the Himalayas and practice meditation for another Fourteen years.
Upon realizing his mistake, Gorakhnath asked if there was any other way for him to shorten the period. Gorakhnath learned that if a person meditates sitting on an impossible challenging posture, he would be able to cut down the period into half, which would be seven years in this case.Embed from Getty Images
Gorakhnath traveled back to the Himalayas and meditated rigorously for seven years in a challenging posture. This posture came to be known as Gorakhnath asana or Gorakhasana. Gorakhnath was able to meditate and perform all the austerities only due to his fierce dedication towards his Guru Matsyendranath.
Guru Gorakhnath traveled across the Indian subcontinent after the passing away of Sage Matsyendranath, establishing and spreading yoga and meditation knowledge. Thus, establishing the Yogic Culture in India.