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Other names Macchindranāth, Mīnanātha
Known for Founder of Nath

Matsyendranātha or Mīnanātha (Nepali: (रातो) मछिन्द्रनाथ (Rāto) Macchindranāth, Newar: बुंग द्यः Buṅga Dyaḥ c. early 10th century CE[1]) was one of the eighty-four mahasiddhas. He was the guru of Gorakshanath, with whom he founded the school of hatha yoga. He is considered the author of the Kaulajñānanirṇaya ("Discussion of the Knowledge Pertaining to the Kaula Tradition"), one of the earliest texts on hatha yoga in Sanskrit.[1] He is revered by both Hindus and Nepalese Buddhists, whom identified him with Vishnu and Lokeśvara, respectively, under the name Macchindranāth.[2][3] Matsyendranatha is an important figure for the origin of the Nath, Hatha and Yogini Kaula traditions of Yoga.[1]

Early life[edit]

Giuseppe Tucci states, on the authority of two Tibetan works - the Siddha Wylie: grub thob and Taranatha's "Possessing the Seven Transmissions" (Wylie: bka' babs bdun ldan) - that Matsyendranāth, who was looked upon in Tibet as an avatar of Avalokiteśvara, was a fisherman from Kamarupa.[4] The statement of Haraprasad Shastri that Mīnanātha was a native of Bengal belonging to the "Nath" or weaver caste is evidently incorrect.[5] Mīnanātha is supposed to have been the author of a work known as the Akulaviratantra and he is mentioned in the Sabaratantra as one of the twenty four Kapalika siddhas.[4]


Matsyendranath had eight disciples. Along with Matsyendranath, they are called the Navnath.[6]

  1. Gorakshanath
  2. Jalandharnath
  3. Kanifnath or Kanhoba
  4. Gahininath
  5. Bhartrinath
  6. Revan Nath
  7. Charpatinath
  8. Naganath

Divinised forms[edit]

Miniature statue of Macchindranāth (Bunga Dyah)

Macchindranāth or Bunga Dyah is a god of rain worshiped by both Hindus and Buddhists in Nepal. Hindus regard him as the reincarnation of Shiva while the Buddhists regard him as the reincarnation of Lokeśvara. The temple of Macchindranāth lies in the southern part of the Patan Durbar Square since 1673.[7]

The Temples of Rato Macchindranath[edit]

The Patan sikhara, known as the Rato Macchindranath Temple, is one of the oldest Matsyendranath temples, dating back from the 16th century.[8] It is one of the famous temples of the Kathmandu Valley. It lies in the southern part of the Patan Durbar Square. Each of the four well crafted wooden doors of this temple is guarded by two lion figures while the four corners of the temple are guarded by khyah, a yeti-like figure.[7] Rato Machchhindranath spends six months of the year in this temple.

The village of Bungamati, regarded as the birthplace of Matsyendranath, is a traditional Newar town located 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from downtown Kathmandu. The temple of Rato Machchhindranath is located in the heart of this village and it is known as his second home.[8]

After the chariot festival, Rato Machchhindranath spends the next six month in this temple.


Legend says that, when Gorakshanath visited Patan, he captured all the rain-showering serpents of Patan and started to meditate after he was disappointed by the locals as they did not grant him any alms on his request. As a result, Patan faced drought for a long time. The king of Patan, on the advice of his advisers, invited Matsyendranath, Gorakshanath's guru, to Patan. When Gorakhnath learned that his teacher was in Patan, he released all the rain showering serpents and went to see him. As soon as the rain showering serpents were set free, Patan again got plenty of rainfall every year. After that day, the locals of Patan worshiped Matsyendranath as the god of rain.[9][10]

Chariot festival[edit]

Rato Macchindranath Chariot at Sundhara, Patan
Showing the vest to the crowds

The most important event connected with the deity is the annual chariot procession known as Bunga Dyah Jatra or Rato Machhindranath Jatra. Each year, the locals of Patan, Lalitpur celebrate the festival in order to show respect to the rain god. This festival is one of the oldest and the longest festival celebrated in Patan and is celebrated in April–May.[9][11]

It is celebrated just before the monsoon season starts so that the city will get plenty rainfall for good growth of crops. During the procession, the image of Bunga Dyah is placed on a tall chariot about 65 feet high and pulled in stages through the streets of Patan for a month.

Before the chariot festival starts the ritual of Mahasnana is conducted in an auspicious hour as indicated by the astrologers about 15 days before the chariot festival. The deity is taken to a platform at Lagankhel which is about 200 meters away from the temple of Machindranath at Ta: bahal Lalitpur. There in front of a huge crowd the god is given a bath with the sacred water mixture of honey, milk and water fetched by the panejus or priests in the four silver kalasa(vessel). The four priests then pour the sacred water or jal from four direction in the platform to the deity and it is believed that from which ever direction 1st the jal touches the deity from the same direction monsoon will start or first rain will be granted.

After the mahasnana the repairs are done to the idol of the deity if required and the new face is painted. After the face painting is over various ritual are performed to the deity like Bareychukegu; Ihi; Bara tyegu as done to a human and at the end Dashakarma vidhi is performed. While these all are going on the temple premises, the chariot or ratha is made at Pulchowk by the Barahi and Yawal clans, amongst which one only does the rope work and other only the wood work. In the construction of the chariot no nails are used to connect the joints of the huge chariot but are only tied with ropes and veds. The only part that uses iron to hold are the four wheels. After the construction is finished the deity is ascended in the divine vehicle i.e. 3 days before the pulling of chariot.

The route of the chariot procession starts at Pulchwok and passes through Gabahal, Sundhara, Lagankhel and ends at Jawalakhel.Previously the festival was called the festival of three states viz. Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur as the deity was brought by the alliance of these three states. So, previously the 1st day of festival was to be carried on by people of Kathmandu then by Bhaktapur and then 3rd by Lalitpur, and on last day all three sister cities come together for Jawalakhel jatra with other nearby city people from Kirtipur and others from the valley.[9]

After the chariot reacher Jawalakhel, this festival concludes with Bhoto Jatra, which literally means "vest festival". During the ceremony, a government official holds up a sacred jewel-studded black vest from the four sides of the chariot so that all the people gathered around can have a look at it.[12]

After the festival, the chariot is dismantled and Rato Machchhindranath is taken to a temple in the nearby village of Bungamati, also known as the second home of the rain god. Rato Machchhindranath spends the next six months in that temple.[13]

Machindranath temples[edit]

  • Toyu (white) Machindranath temple in Kathmandu.
  • Machhindranath temple in kille-Machhindragad Tal: Walwa (Islampur) Dist :Sangli, Maharashtra.
  • Macchendranath Guru Peeth in Sri Guru Parashakthi Kshethra, Madyar, Mangalore.
  • Hyangu (red) Machindranath temple in Patan[14]
  • Vishwayogi Swami Machindranath Mandir, Mitmita, Aurangabad
  • The samadhi place of Machindranath is in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
  • Mayamba Temple (Garbhagiri Pravat as mentioned in Navnath Grantha) at Shri Kshetra Machindranath Devasthan at Sawargaon, Tal: Ashti, District: Beed.
  • Machhindra Nath Mandir, Inside Ambagate, Amravati.
  • Machindra Nath Tapobhumi,Devacho Dongar, Kudal, Maharashtra, Dist Sindhudurg.(This Holy place is mentioned in the 6th Chapter of Navnath Grantha )Lord Shiv Shankar Bholenath & Lord Machindra Nath have both together meditated at this place for three days.

In popular culture[edit]

In the Dasam Granth, Guru Gobind Singh narrated a huge discourse between Matsyendra Nath and Paras Nath on Intuitive (Bibek) and Non Intuitive Mind (Abibek). Parasnatha subdued kings of the world and turned egoistic, and was broken by Matsyendranatha's spiritual preachings. This granth is regarded among Spiritual warriors of Khalsa Panths called Nihang Singhs.[citation needed]

There are a few films about this legend in Indian cinema.


  1. ^ a b c Bhattacharya, edited by Gerald James Larson, Ram Shankar (2008). Yoga : India's philosophy of meditation (1st ed. ed.). Delhi [India]: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. p. 436. ISBN 978-8120833494. 
  2. ^ Bhattacharya, edited by Gerald James Larson, Ram Shankar (2008). Yoga : India's philosophy of meditation (1st ed. ed.). Delhi [India]: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. p. 440. ISBN 978-8120833494. 
  3. ^ Flood, Gavlin (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge University Press. p. 98. ISBN 978-0521438780. 
  4. ^ a b Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal XXVI (1): 133–141. 1930.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Pandit, M. M.; Shastri, H. P. Bauddha Gan O Doha. 
  6. ^ Frydman, Maurice (2012). "Navanath Sampradaya". In Dikshit, Sudhakar S. I Am That: Talks With Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. Acorn Press. ISBN 9780893860462. 
  7. ^ a b Lonely Planet review for Rato Machhendranath Temple. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  8. ^ a b Rato Machhendranath Temple. (2013, 19 Feb). Retrieved from
  9. ^ a b c When does the procession of Rato Machhendranath of Patan take place? (2007, 28 Oct). Retrieved from
  10. ^ Rato machendraNath Festival: Month-long chariot procession over. (2011, 26 June). Retrieved from
  11. ^ Rato Machhendranath Jatra – The Rain God’s Chariot Festival Begins. (2011, 8 May). Retrieved from
  12. ^ "Bhoto Jatra marked amid much fanfare". The Kathmandu Post. 28 June 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 
  13. ^ Rato (Red) Machhendranath. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  14. ^ "Historical Monuments & WHS". Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City Office. Retrieved 2015-03-22. 
  15. ^ Maya Machhindra (1932) at the Internet Movie Database
  16. ^ Maya Machhindra (1939) at the Internet Movie Database
  17. ^ Maya Machhindra (1945) at the Internet Movie Database

Further reading[edit]