Guru Gorakshnath is a supreme form of Lord Shiva and Vishnu(Hari-Har) as both Shiva and Vishnu are one and same.He is Popularly known as "Shambhujati". The meaning of "Shambhujati" is the only form of Lord Shiva where his consort is not "Adi Shakti - Mata Parvati (Goddess Kali)" while his consort is "Soham". Soham is his "Yog" capabilities and the doctrine that he teaches to his disciples.
There is no strong evidences available from history which can tell you when he was born and when he died. This is because he is supreme form of Lord Shiva and Vishnu(Hari-Har) and therefore neither has birth nor death. He appears occasionally in different times to accomplish specific goals only. He is popularly known as "Shambhujati Guru Gorakshnath". He lives even today in places inaccessible to all human beings.
In "Shankara Digvijaya" manuscript we find a conversation between "Adi Shankracharya" and his disciple "Padmapada". Here "Padmapada" mentions Guru Gorakshnath as a "Great Yogi of Ancient times" who rescued his master "Machindernath" from illusions of royal pleasure at "Triya Rajya"[chapter 9, verse 79-88]. "Shankracharya" entered his last samadhi at a very young age of 32 about 2000 years ago. If Guru Gorakshnath is a yogi of yore for "Shankracharya" himself how much ancient he must be. Yogi "Gambhirnath" says that Asana(seat) of Guru Gorakshnath was established in "Treta Yuga" at the time of Lord Rama on earth! That must be at least 12000 years ago or much more. Hence calling him yogi of 11th century is completely incorrect. Infact he has appeared to different disciples all throughout these years.
In Treta Yuga both Lord parshuram (Incarnation of Lord Vishnu) and Lord Rama (Incarnation of Lord Vishnu) were his disciples.Lord Rama is also founder of "Ram Ke Panth"and his Guru is Guru Gorakshnath. In Treta Yuga when Lord Parshuram kept his Axe down after testing the Divinity of Lord Rama he went to forest to mediate. He was suffering the guilt of Making the earth devoid of Kshatryias. So to Get peace he started travelling and meeting sages who adviced him to go to Guru Gorakshnath. Thus Parshuram traveled to Kaligarh Mountain and met Guru Gorakshnath.
One also needs to understand Both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are one and same. Guru Gorakshnath is the only form of Lord Shiva where you see both Lord Shiva and Vishnu . He looks like Lord Shiva but has all the characters of Lord Vishnu making him "Hari-Har". Thus he is a pure Vaishnav.
Guru Gorakshnath formed 9 Naths and 84 Siddhas as disciples from his Yogic powers to spread doctoring through out the world. He also formed 12 panths in the begening of the universe. All his direct disciples and disciples of his disciples beling to the category of one of these 12 panths only. Each panth is known by its founder a direct disciple of Guru Gorakshnath. For example the "Vairag Panth" its founder is Bharatharinath (Raja Bharathari) and his Guru Gorakshnath. Guru Gorakshnath is the founder of Hath Yog and Nath Sect.
Though people call his guru as Guru Machindernath who learned directly from Shiva and Guru Machindernath requested Shiva to help him spread the Yoga knowledge along with Lord Datteraya. Hence Shiva himself came down on earth as Guru Gorakshnath and became disciple of Guru Machindernath to teach people how a disciple should be.
There are a number of stories published him but no one can tell when Guru Gorakshnath was borne and died. Since no one can tell his mother and father, as he is immortal. All incarnations of Lord Vishnu had gone back and mearged back with Lord Vishnu. They are not any more in human form. Only and only Guru Gorakshnath is there till the end of universe in human form. He is Sada Shiva(Hari-Har) the Para Brahma.
There is no difference between Sada Shiva and Param Vishnu. Both are the highest form. That's why they are often referred as "Hari-har". The human form of Hari-Har is Shambhujati Guru Gorakshnath.
The Gurkhas of Nepal take their name from this saint. Gorkha, a historical district of Nepal, is named after him because it was the place where he appeared for first time in this universe. There is a cave with his paduka (footprints) and an idol of him. Every year on the day of Baisakh Purnima there is a great celebration in Gorkha at his cave, called Rot Mahotsav; it has been celebrated for the last seven hundred years. Gorakhpur, the district headquarters of Gorakhpur District, is believed to derive its name from Guru Gorakhnath.
Baba Balaknath And Guru Gorakshnath
Balaknath was a great Bhakta of Universal Mother. When Lord Kartikey left the home as per the Legend. Mother Parvati used to come down to the earth to meet her son Lord Kartikey. Mother Parvati requested him to come back to home. He agreed,but said I will take birth on the earth for my Bhakta's/Devotees. On this, Lord Kartikey requested Mother Parvati to find a guru for him when he takes birth on the earth. Mother Parvati suggested him Guru Gorakhnath. Mother Parvati said Gorakhnath is a yogic manifestation of Shiva himself. Hence there was no duel between the Guru Gorakhnath and Balaknath. Lord Kartikey was incarnated as Balaknath and simply accepted Guru Gorakhnath as his Guru is listed in the list of 84 Maha Siddhas as per the Nath tradition, founded by Shambhujati Guru Gorakhnath. This information can be checked and verified at any Nath math and temples in India and across the world.
In Tamil Siddhar tradition
Korakka Siddhar (தமிழ்: கோரக்கர்) (Devanagari: गोरख्खर्) is one among the 18 Siddhars and also known as Goraknath amongst Navanathar. Agattiyar and Bogar were his gurus. His Jeeva samadhi temple is in Vadukupoigainallur of Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu. According to one account, he spent a portion of his growing-up years in the Velliangiri Mountains in Coimbatore.
Other sanctums related with Korakkar are Perur, Thiruchendur and Triconamalli. Korakkar caves are found in Chaturagiri and Kolli Hills. Like other siddhas, Korakkar has written songs on Medicine, Philosophy, and Alchemy.
Another important aspect of Korakkar was that he was given the duty of safeguarding the secrets of Alchemy. This authority was said to be given by his guru Agathiyar. It was said that a student of Alchemy must worship Korakkar first and seek his grace if he was to excel in the field of Alchemy.
West Bengal/ Assam/ Tripura
The Bengali Community located in these states and neighbouring country of Bangladesh have a sizable number of Yogi Brahmins(Also called Rudraja Brahmins/ Yogi Nath) who have taken their name from this saint.
Romola Butalia, an Indian writer of Yoga history, lists the works attributed to Gorakshanath as follows: "Guru Gorakhnath is thought to have authored several books including the Goraksha Samhita, Goraksha Gita, Siddha Siddhanta Paddhati, Yoga Martanada, Yoga Siddhanta Paddhati, Yoga-Bija, Yoga Chintamani. He is believed to be the founder of the Nath Sampradaya and it is stated that the nine Naths and 84 Siddhas are all human forms created as yogic manifestations to spread the message of yoga and meditation to the world. It is they who reveal samadhi to mankind."
- Adityanath (2005). Gorakshanath. Retrieved Mar. 7, 2006.
- Briggs, G.W. (1938). Gorakhnath and the Kanphata Yogis. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 0-8426-0549-5
- Butalia, Romola Butalia (2003). In the Presence of the Masters. Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 81-208-1947-0
- Dhallapiccola, Anna. Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend. ISBN 0-500-51088-1
- Mahendranath, Shri Gurudev. Notes on Pagan India. Retrieved Mar. 7, 2006.