Religion Compass: A Survey of Current Researches on India’s Nāth Yogīs

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Abstract

The Nāth or Kānphaṭā Yogīs belong to a Hindu Shaiva ascetic and monastic tradition which had a lot of influence on the religious and literary landscape of precolonial India and is still counted among the important sectarian movements of modern India. This survey offers a brief overview of scholarship on three key areas: first, the relationship to Yoga and the link with Gorakhnāth as the supposed author of Sanskrit treatises on Haṭha Yoga; second, the interpretation of the vernacular literature of the Nāth Yogīs, their legends, their strong relationship to power and their convergence with the bhakti milieu; and third, the Nāth Yogīs as constituting a modern sectarian organization, and recent developments relating to their organisation and rituals.

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