By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Matsyendranatha, MatsyendranAtha, Matsyendranaatha
The Nātha sect is one of the more obscure religious sects of Śaivism which gives primary importance to the practice of Haṭhayoga and the attainment of occult powers. The guru-paramparā or the tradition of gurus has a long list of 84 siddhas or perfected beings. In this list, Matsyendranātha or Mīnanātha is shown as the founder and the first teacher. The second founder was Gorakṣanātha or Gorakhnāth.
According to other lists, Ādinātha or Śiva is the first teacher and Matsyendranātha is the second. He is said to have been born out of the womb of a matsya or mīna as a perfected being. This was possible because he accidentally happened to listen to the teachings of Lord Śiva to Pārvatī while he was in the womb of his mother, a fish. Gorakṣanātha or Gorakhnāth was his chief disciple. However, the Bengali tradition treats it the other way making Gorakhnāth the teacher and Matsyendranāth as his chief disciple. Buddhist tradition in Nepal identifies him with Avalokiteśvara Padmapām. In Tibet, he is called Luipā.
- Mīna means fish.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore