The Gorakhbodh

Questions from Gorakhnath to guru Matsyendranath (Macchendra Nath), and his answers.

Matsyendra Nath, The Guru of Gorakh Nath, on a seat of a fishGorakh: -- O Lord (Svami), you are the Master Teacher (Satguru Gosain), and I am but a disciple: may I put a question, which you would kindly reply to and resent not? To start with, what ideal (lacch) should the disciple put before him? Do tell me for you are the true Teacher.

Macchendra: -- Let the unattached (awadhu, avadhuta) live at the monastery (hat) or be on the road, resting in the shadow of the trees; he should renounce desire, cruelty, greed, delusion, and the illusion of Samsar (Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha and Samsar ki Maya); he should hold converse (gosht) with himself and contemplate the Endless (Ananta); he should sleep little and eat little. In the beginning the disciple should live thus. Thus speaks Macchendra. [2]

Gorakh: What should he see, what contemplate, and what treat as the essence (sar); with what should he shave his head and with the knowledge of what should he try to cross (the ocean of Samsar)?

Macchendra: He should see himself, contemplate the Endless (Ananta), and fix upon Reality as the essence; he should shave his head with (or after receiving) the word of the teacher (Guru ka Shabda), and should cross over with the aid of Divine knowledge (Brahma Gyana). [4]

Gorakh: What is the teaching (upadesh) of the Guru's order or doctrine (Ades)? Where does the void (Sunya) reside? Who is the Guru of the word (Shabda)?

Macchendra: The most wonderful (anupam) is the teaching of the Guru (Ades); the void (Sunya) resides within us and Realisation (parcha or parichaya) is the Guru of the word (shabda). [6]

Gorakh: What is the form (rupa) of the mind (mana)? What is the appearance (akar) of the vital breath (pavana)? What is the direction (disa) of the ten and through which door can the control be effected?

Macchendra: The void (sunya) is the fore of the mind; the appearance of vital breath (pavan) is invisibility (nirakar); the direction of the ten is unsayable (alekh) and control lies through the tenth door. [8]

Gorakh: Which is the root (mula) and which the branch (bela)? Who is the Guru and who the disciple; with what essence (tatt) can one go about alone?

Macchendra: Mind is the root and vital breath is the branch; the word (shabda) is the Guru and attention (surat or surta) is the disciple. With the essence called deliverance (nirbana tat) Gorakhnath wanders about, himself in himself. [10]

Gorakh: What is the seed (biraja) and what the field (khetra)? What is direct hearing (satvan)? What is true vision? What is Joga and what is the method (Jugti)? What is liberation (mocch)? And what is salvation (mukti)?

Macchendra: The word (Mantra) is the seed; perception (mati) is the womb or land; and attention (surti) is direct hearing, and discrimination (nirti) is true vision; the ocean (Uram) is Joga and the earth (Dhuram) is the method; light (joti) is liberation and the refulgence (Juala) is salvation. [12]

Gorakh: Which is the tree without a trunk, and which is the parrot without wings? Which is the dam (palu) without a shore (tir), and who died without death (kal)?

Macchendra: Vital breath (pavana) is the tree without a trunk; mind is the parrot (sua) without wings; constancy (dhiraj) is the dam without a shore; sleep is dying without death. [14]

Gorakh: In what house (ghar) is moon (chanda) and in what is the sun (sur)? In what house does Time play music (Tur, a musical instrument)? Where do the five elements (tat) have equipoise (sam rahai)?

Macchendra: The moon in the mind; the sun in the vital breath; in the void (sunya) Time plays on the musical instrument (tura) and in the house of knowledge the five elements reside in equipoise (sam). [16]

Gorakh: What is the New Moon (amavas) and what manifests (pariba)? Which or where is the great elixir (maha rasa) and whereto with it do we mount? At what place does the mind reside in the state of self-transcendence (unmani)?

Macchendra: The sun (ravi) should be treated as the darkest night; the moon should be made manifest; the great elixir of the lower (ardh) should be taken to the upper (urdh); in the heaven within us (gagan) the mind resides in self-transcendence. [18]

Gorakh: What destroys the bad word (kusabda) and where does the good word (susabda) reside? On what side (mukha) does the vital breath of twelve fingerbreadths reside?

Macchendra: The good word swallows or catches the bad word and itself resides within (nirantar); the vital breath of twelve fingerbreadths is controlled (rahai) through the word of the Guru. [20]

Gorakh: Who is the Adiguru? Who is the husband of the earth (dhartri)? What is the home of knowledge (gyana)? Which is the door (duvar) of the void (sunn)?

Macchendra: The eternal beginningless (anadi) is the Adiguru; heaven (anbar) is the husband of earth; Awake-awareness (Chetan) is the home of knowledge, and realisation (parcha) is the door of the void. [22]

Gorakh: Through the realisation (parchai) of what is the attachment with the Illusion (maya moha) broken; how can the residence of the moon (Sisihar) be pierced; how is the dam (bandha) applied and how can the body (kandha) be made immortal (ajar var)?

Macchendra: When realisation (parchai) comes to the mind, attachment to the world ceases; with the control of the working of vital breath the moon (sisihar) is destroyed; the acquisition of real knowledge (gyana) applies the dam and the realisation of the teacher (Guru parchai) gives us immortality. [24]

Gorakh: Where do mind, vital breath, the word (shabda) and the moon reside?

Macchendra: The mind resides in the heart (hirdai); vital breath resides in the navel; the word (shabda) resides in the will (ruci); the moon resides in the heaven (gagan). [25]

Gorakh: If there had been no heart (hirda) where would the mind have rested, composed? Had there been no navel where, would have vital breath rested unmoved? Had there been no form (rupa) where would have the word (Shabda} resided? Without a heaven where would have the moon been?

Without the navel, the air would have resided in the formless (Nirakar); without will, the word (shabda) would have resided (rahata) in the unmanifest (Akula); without the heaven, the moon would have resided in desire (abhika).

Gorakh: Had there been no night, where would the day have come from? Without the day, where would the night merge? When the lamp is extinguished, where does light dwell?

Macchendra: Without night, the day would have merged into Sahaj; had there been no day, the night would have passed into (Sahaj); on the extinguishing of the lamp, the light passes into the omnipresent (nirantar); had there been no vital breath, then the body of vital breath (pran purus) would have resided in the void. [30]

Gorakh: Who is the creator of the body (kaya); wherefrom has light (tej) been created? What is the mouth (?muha or muda?) of Divine knowledge (Brahma Gyana)? How can the Unseeable be seen?

Macchendra: The Absolute (Brahma) is the creator of the body (kaya); out of truth (sat) has effulgence (tej) been created; the void is the mouth (muda or muha) of Divine knowledge (Brahma Gyana); and through the Sadguru and the disciple realisation my the unseeable be made visible. [ 32]

Gorakh: How many lakhs (hundreds of thousands) of moons are there in the body?. How does fragrance reside in the flower? Where does the ghee hide in the milk? How does the soul (jiva) conceal itself in the body?

Macchendra: There are two lakhs of moons in the body; fragrance is the conscious(ness) (chetan) in the flower; the ghee is immanent in the milk; the soul (jiva) is the all- pervasiveness in the body. [34]

Gorakh: Had there been no body where would the sun and the moon have resided? Had there been no flower, where would the fragrance have been? Had there been no milk where would the ghee have been? Had there been no body, where would the spirit have been?

Macchendra: Without the body, the sun and the moon would have been omnipresent; without the flower, fragrance would have dwelt in the (Anhad); without the milk, the ghee (ghiv or ghee) would have resided in the void; without the body, the spirit would have been in the Supreme Void (Param Sunn). [36]

Gorakh: Where do the moon and the sun dwell, where the essence, the root of the word (nad) and the vital power (bind)? Where does the Hamsa (swan) mount up for drinking water? To what place (ghar) do you bring the reversed power (ulti shakti) to rest?

Macchendra: The moon resides in the upper (urdha) and the sun in the lower (ardha); the essence, the nad(a) and bind(u) dwells in the heart; to the heaven goes the swan (hans) for drinking water, and the reversed power (Shakti) reverts to the Self, its real, original home. [38]

Gorakh: Where does nad(a) rise; where does it acquire equipoise (sam); how is it made to stand still, and where is it finally merged?

Macchendra: Nad(a) rises from the Unconditioned (Avigata); gains equipoise in the void; you can stop it through the vital breath and it vanishes, unites with the Formless (Niranjana). [40]

Gorakh: If the nad(a) sounds not, if the power acts not, if the heaven is not there to draw our hope, were there neither nad(a) nor bind(u), then where would the man of vital breath (Prana Purusha) reside?

Macchendra: Nad(a) sounds, bind(u) moves; the heaven (gagan) attracts desire; but were there neither nad(a) nor bind(u) then breath would reside in the omnipresent (nirantar). [42]

Gorakh: When form dissolves and the Formless remains, when water becomes air, when there is neither sun nor moon, where does the Hamsa dwell?

Macchendra: The Sahaja hans(a) resides after the play in the Person of the void (Sunn hans); when the form becomes Formless then the spirit (hans) resides in the Supreme light (Param Joti). [44]

Gorakh: What is the root (mula) of the rootless (Amul)? Where does the root reside? Who is the Guru of the goal (pada)?

Macchendra: The void is the root of the rootless; the root resides in the omnipresent (Nirankar); the Guru of the goal is liberation (Nirban). [46]

Gorakh: Where does the vital breath (prana) rise? Wherefrom does the mind come? How is the speech (vacha) born and where does it dissolve (viliyate)?

Macchendra: The birth of the mind is from the Formless (Avagat), the vital breath from the mind, and speech from the breath; speech is dissolved in the mind. [48]

Gorakh: Which is the lake and which the lotus? How can we ward off Kal(time or death)? How can we reach the Unseeable, Unreachable (Agochar) world?

Macchendra: Mind is the lake and air is the lotus; by becoming upwards-faced (Urdh-mukhi) you can ward off Kal; through knowing the lower and the upper one my become one with the Unknowable (Agochar liv lahai). [50]

Gorakh: Which is the difficult, and which the easy; what is union (sandh), and through what nerve centre (chakra) can the moon be made stable? How can the conscious mind attain to self-transcendence?

Macchendra: The Pure (Anila) and the Stainless (Vimal) are the difficult and easy forms of union (sandh); the dam is to be applied above the chaki nerve-centre (chakra); the always-awake can attain to self-transcendence (unmani). [52]

Gorakh: How came about birth? How did the first consciousness begin (ad ki surat)? How was I born?

Macchendra: As oil is in the sesame seed, as fire is in the wood, as fragrance in the flower, so too resides the spirit (devata) in the body (deh). [54]

Gorakh: What drives ahead the conch-like (sankhini)? Where does the elixir in the arched vein (banka nala) go? As the breather goes to sleep, where does the vital breath (prana) in the body (pinda) side?

Macchendra: True spontaneity (sahaj subhai) can drive the conch-like (sankhini); the arched vein (banka nala) resides in the navel; as the breather goes to sleep; the vital breath in the body resides in its own shadow or resides undivided (api chhaya or aparchhinna). [56]

Gorakh: At what nerve centre (chakra) is the moon stabilised? At what nerve centre (chakra) is the union or penetration (sandh) applied? What nerve centre (chakra) controls (niredha) the vital air? What centre (chakra) imparts knowledge (pramodh) to the mind? At what centre (chakra) should attention (dhyana) he centred (dhariye)? At what centre (chakra) should one rest?

Macchendra: The higher (Urdh chakra), the lower (Ardh chakra), the Pashchima (west) centre, the heart centre, the throat (kantha) centre the Gyana (Agya) chakra.

Gorakh: Which is the garden, the town and the mandal? In which city is the Guru? If I forget it, how am I to cross over?

Macchendra: Whoso gives up speech has achieved the void of the manifoldness (maya sunn): in contemplating that, one rises above good and evil; by an understanding of Shiva and Shakti, one may attain to self-transcendence (unmani). [60]

Gorakh: By what stalk of the lotus (nala) can the liquid (Siva) be drawn up? How does the soul (jiva) drink it? How can one residing in the womb of the mother, drink the elixir?

Macchendra: It is collected through the Shankhini Nadi; the soul (jiva) resides in the Sushumna nadi; while residing in the womb of the mother he drinks it through the banka nala. [62]

Gorakh: What is the house (graha) and what the habitation; in what womb does he remain for ten months? Through what mouth does he drink water and through what mouth, milk? In what direction was the body born?

Macchendra: The Pure, the Formless (Anil) is the house (graha) and the Unconditioned (avagat), the habitation (has); in the womb of the Beyond (Atit) he remains for ten months; through mind he has water and through vital air (pavan) he drinks elixir or milk (amrit); in the direction of Omkar the body takes birth.

Gorakh: In what void (sunn) is he born? In what void (sunn) is he absorbed?

Macchendra: He is born in the Sahaja Void and the Satguru gave him instruction at the void of nearness (Samip Sunn); he then got absorbed in the void of unattachment (Atit Sunn). He then explains to you the essence of the supreme void (Param Sunna). [88]

Gorakh: How can one attain to Samadhi? How can one get rid of the disturbing factors (upadhi)? How can one enter the fourth (Turiya) state? How can one make one's body (kandh) changeless and deathless?

Macchendra: The young person (bala) enters Samadhi through the mind; he gets rid of the disturbances through the vital breath (pavan); he acquires the fourth state (Turiya) through attention (surat) or realisation (Gyana) and through obeying, turning to, the Guru (Guru mukh) he attains to immortality. [68]

Gorakh: Who sleeps, who wakes, who goes to the ten directions? Wherefrom does the vital breath arise? How does it bring sound from the lips, throat and the palate (talika or taluka)?

Macchendra: The mind, or the absorbed (liv) sleeps; the vital breath or the conscious (chetan) awakes; imagination (kalpana) goes out to the ten directions. From the navel the air arises, it rises and produces sounds from the lips, throat and the palate (taluka). [70]

Gorakh: What is the conscious? What is the essence (sar)? What is sleep and what is death? By realising what (parchai) does one sustain the elements (tat)?

Macchendra: The light (Joti) is conscious; fearlessness is the awakened essence. Waking is birth and sleeping is death; the five elements dwell in light. [72]

Gorakh: Who speaks, who sleeps; in what form does he seek himself? In what form does he remain the same through the ages?

Macchendra: Word (shabda) speaks; attention (surat) sleeps; he seeks himself in an Unseeable (adekh) form and in the Form without Form he remains the same through ages. [ 74 ]

Gorakh: How does the mind acquire virtues? How does the vital air come and go? How does the fountain (nihjar) rise from the moon and how does Time or Death (kal) go to sleep?

Macchendra: In the heart (hirdai) the mind acquires the many virtues; in the navel the vital air starts its coming and going (Avagavan); contemplating itself (apmukhi) he makes the fountain play; contemplating itself Time or Death goes to sleep. [76]

Gorakh: At which void (sunn) does light reverse; from which void does speech arise; which void is the essence of the three worlds; through which void can one cross over?

Macchendra: The void of eagerness, the void of fearlessness, the void of self-mastery, and the void of detachment. (Urga, Anbhai, Prabhu, Atit). [78]

Gorakh: Where does hunger arise and where food? Where is sleep born and where death?

Macchendra: From desire (mansa) arose hunger and from hunger, food; from food sleep and from sleep, death. [80]

Gorakh: At which lotus does the Hamsa (hans) inhale and exhale (sas, usas); at which lotus does Hamsa rest; at what lotus does he perform worship (puja) and at what lotus does he see the Unseeable (Alakh)?

Macchendra: The navel lotus, the heart lotus, the centre (madh) lotus, the lotus Beyond (Achint). [82]

Gorakh: What is truth? Do tell me, please, O Guru Pandit. What is the condition or direction of the mind and the breath? How can one swim across (the ocean of Samsar) with their help?

Macchendra: Progression from mere seeing, to divine or spiritual perception (dibya drisht); from knowledge (gyana) towards realisation (vigyma); the teacher and the pupil have the same body; if realisation (parcha) comes, then there will he no straying or return. [84]

Gorakh: Wherefrom do inhalation and exhalation arise? Where does the Param Hans reside? At what place does the mind reside constantly stable?

Macchendra: They rise from the lower (Ardh); at the higher (Urdh) the Supreme Swan (Param hans) resides; in the Sahaja Void the mind is ever in equipoise. In the realisation of the word (Shabda parchai) the mind remains in equipoise. [86]

Gorakh: How should one come, how go; how to collect oneself and remain absorbed; how can one stabilise one's mind and one's body?

Macchendra: He should come and go in the void and in the void (sunn) he should collect himself and remain absorbed; in the Sahaja Void the body and the mind remain unchanged. [ 88 ]

Gorakh: Where does Shiva reside and where Shakti? Where resides vital breath (prana) and where the embodied being ( Jiva) ? At what place can one have the realisation of them?

Macchendra: At the lower (Ardh) resides Shakti and at the higher (Urdh) Shiva; inside resides vital breath (prana) and further inside the embodied being (Jiva); by going still further in, one may attain to a realisation of them. [90]

Gorakh: How should one sit and how walk, how speak and how meet; how should one deal with one ' s body?

Macchendra: He should sit, walk, speak and meet awake and aware (surat mukh); with his attention and discrimination (surat or nirat) thus handled, he should live fearlessly. [92]

Gorakh: What is the word (shabda); what is attention (supat); what is discrimination (nirat)? What is the dam? How can one remain stable amidst duality?

Macchendra: The Beginningless, the Soundless (Anahad) is the word; right awareness is attention (surat); independence (niralanb) is discrimination (nirat); let him apply the check; he will then live as Unity amidst Duality. [94]

Gorakh: Who can tread a path without feet? Who can see without eyes? Who can hear without ears? Who can speak without words?

Macchendra: Contemplation (vichar) can tread without feet; discrimination (nirat) can see without eyes; attention (supat) can hear without ears; the Soundless (Anhad) can speak without words. [96]

Gorakh: Which posture (asan)? What knowledge (gyana)? How should the young disciple (bala) meditate (dhyan)? By what means can he enjoy the bliss of the Unconditioned Being (Avagata)?

Macchendra: Contentment (santokh) is the posture (asana); contemplation is the knowledge (gyana); he should try to rise above his physical being in (or for) his meditation; through carrying out the behest of the Guru he can have the joy of the Unconditioned Being (Avagata). [98]

Gorakh: How to have contentment and contemplation and meditation that goes beyond the physical? How can I bend my mind to them?

Macchendra: Contentment comes from fearlessness (nirbhai); thinking from avoidance of attachment or realisation (anbhai); he should meditate within his body to rise above the body; by turning to the Teacher (Guru) one can bend one's mind to them. [100]

Gorakh: What is the cleansing (Dhoti)? What is conduct (Achar)? Through what recitation (Japa) does the mind come to rid itself of restless thoughts (Vikaras)? How can one become unattached and fearless?

Macchendra: Meditation is purification; right thinking, discrimination leads to right action; through the Ajapa Japa ( = Ha Sa) the mind rids itself of restless thoughts; by becoming unattached one can become fearless. [ 102]

Gorakh: Who is the Omkar and who is the Self (ap); who is the mother and who is the father? How can the river (darya) enter the mind?

Macchendra: The word (Shabda) is the One (Omkar); light (Joti) is the Self; the void (Sunn, Surat) is the mother and consciousness (Chit or Chaitan) is the father; steadiness (nishchai -- without anxiety) causes the river to flow in the mind. [ 104 ]

Gorakh: How can one carry out true living (rahini) and how can one carry on meditation? Where is the immortal elixir? How can one drink it? How can one keep the body for ever?

Macchendra: By turning to the higher (Urdha) or the mind, you can attain right living; by turning to Shakti you can achieve right meditation; by turning to the heaven within (gagan) you can have the elixir of immortality (Amirasa) and by turning to conscious activity (chit) you can drink it. By relinquishing desire, one can gain the immortal body (bidehi rahai). [106]

Gorakh: How should one come and go; how can one defeat death? How can one reside in light?

Macchendra: One should turn to Sahaja; one should go by turning to Shakti; by becoming wingless one can eat away death; one can always reside in light by being without breath (niswasa). [ 108]

Gorakh: What is body, what is breath; what Person (purukh) should I meditate upon? At what place does mind transcend Time?

Macchendra: Air is the body and the mind is the breath (force); we should meditate on the Supreme Person (Param Purukh). In Samadhi the mind goes beyond the reach of Time. [110]

Gorakh: Which is the key and which is the lock; who is old and who is young (bala)? Where does mind remain awakened (chetan)?

Macchendra: The wordless (nih-shabda) is the key and the word (shabda) is the lock; the unconscious one (achet) is old; the conscious one is young; mind in self- transcendence (unman) is ever aware (chetan). [112]

Gorakh: Who is the practitioner (sadhak) and who the perfected (Siddh)? What is illusion and what is magic? How can one drive away deception from one's mind?

Macchendra: Attention is the practitioner and the word is the adept; "I am" is the illusion (Maya) and "he is" is the magic (riddh). To destroy deception or duality one should reside within. [114]

Gorakh: Which is the mould, and which is the calx of tin? Which is the ornament and how may it be beautified? How should self-transcendence (unmani) reside changeless with that?

Macchendra: Knowledge (gyana) is the mould; vital breath is the calx (beng); light is the ornament which makes it beautiful; self-transcendence (unmani) should reside with That steadfastly, unchangingly. [116]

Gorakh: Which is the temple and who is the god (deva); how to worship it? How should one reside there with the five unholy ones?

Macchendra: The void is the temple; mind is the god; one should serve Him by being within (nirantar); with the five one should reside in self- transcendence (Unman). [ 118]

Gorakh: Which is the temple, which the door; which is the image and who is the Unfathomable (Apar)? By what method of worship can the mind transcend itself (Unman rahai)?

Macchendra: The void is the temple; Shabda is the door; Light is the image; the Flame (Jvala) is the Unfathomable (Apar); through turning to the form of the Formless (Arupa) or to the Guru one can reside self-transcendent, or fathom the secrets. [120]

Gorakh: Which is the lamp and which is the light? What is the wick wherein the oil resides? How can the lamp be made inextinguishable?

Macchendra: Knowledge (Gyana) is the lamp; the word (shabda) is the light (prakash); contentment (santokh -- santosha) is the wick in which the oil resides; one should destroy duality and be without partiality (akhandit). [122]

Gorakh: What goes slow and what goes fast? Who revolves and what is the find? In what place can one be fearless?

Macchendra: Steadiness of mind (dhiraj) goes slow; restless thought (vikara) goes fast; surat (attention) revolves (phurti) and truth (sar) is the find. [124]

Gorakh: Who is a Yogi? How should he live in equipoise? Who is an enjoyer (Bhogi) and how should he acquire? How does pain rise out of pleasure and how can one patiently suffer pain?

Macchendra: Mind is the Jogi; let him live in self-transcendence; the great elixir will come to him and he will enjoy all pleasures; in that elixir is the indivisible (akhandit) pain; the word (shabda) of the Guru secures the patience to suffer it. [126]

Gorakh: Which is the self (Atma), what comes and goes? Which is the self, what is absorbed in the void? What is the self, what stays changeless in the three worlds? By knowing whom can one become one of the fifty-two heroes (bavan bir)?

Macchendra: The self of vital breath (pavan atma) comes and goes; the mind-self is absorbed in the void; the knowledge-self resides unchanged in the three worlds; by knowing (parchai) the Guru one becomes one of the fifty-two heroes. [128]

Gorakh: What is the life (Jiva) of the mind? What is the support (besas) of that life (jiva)? What is the basis of that support? What is the form of the Brahma?

Macchendra: The life (jiva) of the mind is the vital air and the support of the embodied being (jiva) is the void; the basis (adhar) of that support (besas) is the form of Brahma (= Absolute); and the form of the Brahma is unthinkable (Achintya). [130]

Gorakh: Through which centre can one make one's body immortal? Through which centre can one attain to the Unknowable dam (Agochar bandh)? Through which centre can the Hamsa be liberated (Hans nirodh)? Through which centre can the mind be instructed? Which centre gives pleasure? Which centre brings on the Samadhi?

Macchendra: The anus (Mula) centre; the penis (Guda) centre; the navel (Nabhi) centre; the heart centre; the throat centre and the head (Nilata) centre. He who knows the meaning of these six chakras, he is the Cause, he the Deva. [132]

He is a Yogi who controls (sadhita) the mind and the vital air (pavana); he is not stained by evil. He is not seized of merit. [133]