Skip to main content


Nāth or Nātha (Skt., ‘Lord’). A medieval yoga tradition of India, influenced by Tantrism, Śaivism, and Buddhism. The tradition traces its origin to Matsyendranāth, one of the eighty-four siddhas, who is regarded as its adiguru, and his pupil Gorakhnāth (c.1200 CE). Originating in N. and NE India, the tradition became pan-Indian, tending to adopt the religious forms of a particular region. Thus most Nāths follow Śaiva practices, though in W. India Nāths tend towards Vaiṣṇavism, and in Nepal towards Buddhism.

The aim of Nāth yoga is liberation in this life (jīvanmukti) which is attained in a perfected or divine body (siddha/divya deha). The practice of developing the body (kāyā sādhanā) under the guidance of a guru, involves a long process of purification, Haṭha, and Kuṇḍalinī yoga which creates a ripe (pakva) body out of an unripe (apakva) one.

An oral tradition of songs in the vernaculars, especially Bengali and Hindī, praises the Nāth saints, and a written literature in Skt. describes yoga practice. Gorakhnāth is credited with writing the Haṭha Yoga, now lost, and the Gorakṣa Sataka. Other important texts of the Nāths are the Śiva Saṃhitā, the Gheranda Saṃhitā, the Haṭhayogapradīpika, and the Siddha Siddhānta Paddhati, which deal with yoga and the attaining of perfection in a perfected body.

The Nāth tradition still exists in India and has influenced other forms of Hinduism such as the Sant tradition, the Sahajīyās, and Indian alchemy (rasayāna).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Nāth." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . 16 Jun. 2019 <>.

"Nāth." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . (June 16, 2019).

"Nāth." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved June 16, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.