Gateway to the temple
|Other names||Gorakhnath Mutt|
|Proper name||Gorakshanath Mandir|
|Important festivals||Makar Sakranti|
|History and governance|
The Gorakhnath Math (Gorakhnath Mutt) is a temple of the Nath monastic group in the Nath tradition. The name Gorakhnath derives from the medieval saint, Gorakhnath (c. 11th century), a famous yogi who travelled widely across India and authored a number of texts that form part of the canon of the Nath sampradaya. The Nath tradition was founded by guru Matsyendranath.This math is situated in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh within a large premises.The temple performs various cultural and social activities and serves as the cultural hub of the city.
The population of Gorakhpur is 673,446. It is situated in Uttar Pradesh State of India, alongside of the river Rapti. It is spread until the border of Nepal, and located 273 km East from Lucknow which is the capital of the State. Gorakhpur district and Gorakhpur Division are the administrative quarters.
The Gorakhpur district ta Gorakhnoth Temple, home city takes its name from Gorakhnath, who was a saint of the 'Nath Sampradaya'. A famous shrine called Gorakhnath Mandir was built in his honour at the location where he practised his austerities.
The Gorakhpur region comprises the districts of Kushinagar, Basti, Deoria, Azamgarh, Mau and parts of Nepal tarai. These areas, which may be called the Gorakhpur janapad, were an important centre is of the Hindu Vedic culture.
Gorakhpur was a part of the famous kingdom of Kosala, one of the sixteen mahajanapadas in the 6th century BC. The solar dynasty of kshatriyas, that are believed to have ruled the area, included the God-King Rama. Gorakhpur remained an integral part of the erstwhile empires of Maurya, Shunga, Kushana, Gupta and Harsha dynasties.
Today's Gorakhnath Math, centred at Gorakhpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh (also named after the saint), is a religious institution that runs two Gorakhnath temples, one in Nepal in the district of Gorkha (another word believed to be derived from Baba Gorakhnath), and the other a little south of Gorakhpur. The temple at Gorakhpur is said to contain the samadhi shrine (tomb) and gaddi (prayer seat) of Gorakhnath. These temples constitute the centre of most of the Hindu religious activity in this region.
Thousands of devotees come to these temples on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, when they offer khichdi to Gorakhnath Baba. The King of Nepal also occasionally visits one of these temples during this festival.
The Gorakhnath Math has a significant following in eastern Uttar Pradesh and the Terai regions of Nepal, and also among wider circles across the Nath groups. The monastic order, according to the principles of saint Gorakhnath, does not follow caste conventions as other Hindu religious groups do. Thus, non-Brahmins may serve as priests.
The present Mahant or Chief Priest is Yogi Adityanath. He was appointed Mahant on 14-September-2014. He was preceded by his guru, Mahant Avaidyanath, who died on 12 September 2014, and was given samadhi beside that of his guru Digvijay Nath in the Gorakhnath Temple.
The Gorakhnath Math has been involved in political matters for more than half a century. Mahant Digvijay Nath joined the Congress in 1921 and was arrested for taking an "active part" in the Chauri Chaura incident, thereby putting a brake on Gandhi's non-cooperation movement. He joined the Hindu Mahasabha in 1937 and soon became the head of the party's unit in United Provinces. He strongly opposed Gandhi's non-violent movement. Shortly after independence, he was arrested for inflaming passions against Gandhi that led to his assassination and imprisoned for 9 months. After release, he spearheaded the Ram Janmabhoomi movement of 1949, organising a 9-day long recitation of Ramcharit Manas, at the end of which the idols of Rama and Sita were placed inside the Babri Masjid. The Babri Masjid was locked down as a result, but it led to Digvijay Nath's rise in the Hindu Mahasabha. He was appointed the General Secretary at the national level and won the election for the MP of Gorakhpur in 1967.
His successor, Mahant Avaidyanath got elected as an MLA for Maniram as an independent in 1962, 1967, 1969, 1974 and 1977 and also as an MP from Gorakhpur in 1970 and 1989. Soon after the Sangh Parivar started its own Ram Janmabhoomi movement, he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and got elected as MP of Gorakhpur on a BJP ticket in 1991 and 1996.
Yogi Adityanath has also been active in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and has moulded the Hindutva forces in the region by a combination of alliances cutting across caste lines, and by raising demands for better economic livelihood. Adityanath has been the MP from Gorakhpur since 1998, and has emerged as a major power center in Uttar Pradesh. He founded the Hindu Yuva Vahini (Hindu Youth Force). The group has also been involved in much communal activity, including the Mau riots of October 2005 and the Gorakhpur riots of January 2007. In the General elections of 2007, the Hindu Yuva Vahini was at one point contemplating running for the elections on its own under the Hindu Mahasabha banner, but finally reached a compromise with the BJP. On 18 March 2017, Yogi Adityanath was nominated as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh by the Bharatiya Janata Party. He took oath as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh on 19 March 2017.
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