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Natha Literature Review

Some notes on books, papers or theses which deal with the Nathas -with notes where I’ve either read, or at the very least, glanced through them.

Goraknath and Medieval Hindu Mysticism – Mohan Singh (Lahore, Oriental College, 1937)
One of the earliest modern studies of the Naths. The author translates several texts, including the Gorakh Bodh – a dialogue between Goraknath and Matsyendranath.

Goraknath and the Kanphata Yogis – George Weston Briggs (Calcutta, 1938; reprinted by Motilal)
Probably the most well-known book on the Naths. Includes a translation of the Goraksa Sataka as well as a wealth of information on practices, stories, etc.

The philosophy of Jnanadeva: as gleaned from the Amrtanubhava – B. P. Bahirat (first edn 1956)
Examines the life and work of the thirteenth century saint Jnanadeva of Maharashtra

Philosophy of Goraknath – A.K. Banerjea (Gorakhpur, 1962)
Very dry, as I recall.

Kabir – Charlotte Vaudeville (Clarendon Press, 1974)
Draws attention to Nath influences on the great poet.

Rajputana Agency 1832-1858 – V.J. Vashishtha (Aalekh Publishers, Jaipur, 1978)
Covers British relationships with the Rajputana states during this period – gives the British view of the Naths and Man Singh.

The Attainment of Immortality: from Nathas in India to Buddhists in Tibet – Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Journal of Indian Philosophy, 30, 515-533, 2002.

The Fate of the Householder Nath – Daniel Gold, Anne Grodzins Gold, History of Religions Vol.24 No.2, (Nov 1984) pp113-132.

The Nepalese State and Goraknathi Yogis: The Case of the Former Kingdoms of Dang Valley: 18-19th Centuries – Veronique Bouillier (Contributions to Nepalese Studies, Vol.20, No.1, January 1993)
Exploring the connection between Nath Yogis, Monastic centres and king-making in Nepal

Songs on Yoga: Texts and Teachings of the Maharastrian Naths – Catharina Kiehnle (Franz Steiner Verlag, 1997)
Analyses Nath oral traditions transmitted through song.

The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India – David Gordon White (Univ. Chicago Press, 1998)
Exhaustive (literally!) exploration of Tantric Alchemy.

Nath Yogis as Established Alternatives: Householders and Ascetics Today – Daniel Gold, (Journal of Asian and African Studies 1999)
Fascinating study of contemporary Nathas in Rajasthan – see article on Natha History

The Politics and Aesthetics of Citation: Nath Painting in Jodhpur, 1803 – 1843 – Debra Lynn Diamond, Ph.D Thesis, Columbia 2000
Debra Diamond was one of the scholars who organised the Garden and Cosmos exhibition.

Kiss of the Yogini: “Tantric Sex” in its South Asian Contexts – David Gordon White (Univ. Chicago Press, 2003)
See Gauri’s review

Masters of Magical Powers: The Nath Siddhas in the light of esoteric notions – Gordan Djurdjevic, Ph.D Thesis, University of British Columbia, 2005
Examines apects of Natha doctrine and practices from the perspective of academic approaches to Western Esotericism (i.e. Faivre). Includes a translation of the Gorakh Bani – The Sayings of Gorakh.

The socially involved renunciate: Guru Nanak’s Discourse to the Nāth yogis – K.E. Nayar, and J.S. Sandhu, State University of New York, 2007
Examines the Siddh Gost – the discourse between Guru Nanak and Nath yogis.

Leave Everything and Sing to God: The Performance of Devotional Asceticism by Female Sadhus of Rajasthan – Antoinette DeNapoli, Ph.D Thesis, Emory University, 2009
Ethnographic study of female sadhus belonging to the Nath or Dasanami orders.

Sinister Yogis – David Gordon White (Univ. Chicago Press, 2009)
Just out!