Ādinātha literally means ‘the Primeval Lord’.
The Nātha tradition which originated in Bengal and the followers of which are found in some parts of modern-day North India consider the Supreme Being as elusive and intangible and as manifested in the universe created out of him. It designates Him as ‘Ādinātha.’
Following in the footsteps of the Rgveda and the opening verse of Manusamhitā, the Nātha tradition describes the beginning of creation as starting from a bubble or an egg which appeared as a result of the impulse for creation in the infinite void and all-encompassing darkness. The egg hatched and out of it emerged ‘Ādinātha’ the primeval God. From his sweat was produced his spouse Ketakā or Manasā who in turn created Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva. Further creation proceeded out of them.
Other references to Ādinātha include
- The first of the nine Nātha gurus
- The first tirthankara of Jain tradition
- Rgveda 10.129
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore