Who is suitable for Membership in the International Naths Order?
The International Nath Order is a group of individuals brought together by a sincere interest in meditation, spiritual development and study of the precepts handed down through history in the Nath tradition. As such, there are various levels of association based on an individual’s own commitment and understanding. The question of membership is perhaps too simple. Rather the question might be how active a participation in experimental Yoga is an individual ready to demonstrate? A person demonstrates such quality by harnessing their intuition and imagination in the service of both personal spiritual development as well as group enhancement of magickal and spiritual goals. The measure of success depends upon the intensity of involvement in both personal work and group experience. Spiritual progress is aided by a willingness to harmonize your work on yourself using Nath principles while actively participating with other seekers doing Group Work and experiments. Such association offers rewards which are beyond the common use of a word like “membership.” Truly, the whole is greater than the parts. Do you wish to become a part of the Greater Work?
Does the International Naths Order expect money from interested persons?
Many seekers have the worry of being exploited for monetary gain by organizations espousing spiritual teachings. The goal of the International Nath Order is not to build golden palaces or amplify the attachments to materialism that daily living already encourages. The important point of attention is the need of the organization to be supported by both personal and collective sacrifice. This support may take several levels of involvement such as personal contributions of time, material and yes, money.
Much work involves the relationship between service and reciprocity. This linkage to the work may take various forms. Yet some demonstrable personal offering is the primal link, without which the reciprocal benefits of group action cannot be achieved. It is through tangible outward signs of working, that a person gains a link on things: a connection. Financial offerings to cover the monetary needs of the organization are gladly accepted, the size of the offering being a personal consideration. It is not an “obligatory” connection, but a very real connection which should be viewed just as seriously as your individual spiritual work, commitments of time and materials.
What is MAGIKOS?
MAGIKOS: Magick and Gramarye Initiate Knights of Shambhala. MAGIKOS is comprised of only those initiates of the International Nath Order who have demonstrated and attained a high level of spiritual awareness and magick power. The membership and works of MAGIKOS remain concealed to outsiders. Any initiate of the INO may petition for membership in MAGIKOS. Upon registering their interest, they will be guided and progress monitored for potential future election into MAGIKOS.
Questions about the goals, beliefs & practices of the INO
Do the teachings of the Naths come from an ancient oral tradition?
Some of our teachings have undoubtedly been handed down through a spoken tradition extending back into time, while other ideas are more recent and have been written. The important distinction to make, is that in the Nath tradition the written word is in itself not sufficient to express the many aspects of our path. While many of our guidelines and principles have been written down, not all experience is expressible in words. Participation in direct experience illuminate the core teachings as no words can. The International Nath Order not only offers the gems of ancient spiritual wisdom, but extends that wisdom with modern expression and experiment in Magick.
Is the goal of the Nath yogi the liberation of the soul from the earth plane?
This is but one of several goals of the Nath yogi. Shri Gurudev Mahendranath writes, “Our aims in life are to enjoy peace, freedom, and happiness in this life but also to avoid rebirth onto this earth plane. All this depends not on divine benevolence but on the way we ourselves think and act.” The emphasis is on a continuum of spiritual practices designed to reduce and eventually erase the influences of past conditioning termed The Five Kleshas (obstructions)—ego, ignorance, repulsion, attachment, and clinging to life. Methods of removing these obstructions can lead to benefits experienced in this life, such as improved insight, tranquility and naturalness.
Could you say a bit more about the aims and goals of the Naths?
In The Magick Path of Tantra, Shri Gurudev Mahendranath wrote,
“The Nath Tantriks value the development of the three super-psychic faculties of Insight, Intuition, and Imagination… These three super-faculties or master powers also enable them to create their own texts, mantras, and rituals, all having utility and being in harmony with Cosmic Law. The faculties of Insight, Intuition, and Imagination are primary building blocks on which we build our occult world and magick way of life.
Of course, our way of life has many physical aspects, but our minds still determine the success or pleasure of an act. Our life should have a plan and purpose, since most people blunder their way through life and generate misery for themselves and for others too. Our aims in life are to enjoy peace, freedom, and happiness in this life, but also to avoid rebirth onto this Earth plane. All this depends not on divine benevolence, but on the way we ourselves think and act.”
What is Tantra?
This is a large and mysterious subject, much misunderstood in the West. Space does not permit an exhaustive answer here, however such an important concept deserves some attention, albeit incomplete. The term Tantra is used variously both as meaning a written treatise on occult lore or Magick, and also referring to an ancient pagan science of spiritual attainment. Important to Tantra are practices used to catalyze the realization and experience of the connection between the individual Microcosm and the divine Macrocosm. Tantrik science is not exclusively sexual practices. Indeed, vital attitudes and guidelines of our path must extend into all aspects of life experience. The Nath Tantrik regards sexuality and its expression as a divine offering or sacrament. The exploration and experimental use of this divine energy can be put into focus by the powers of concentration developed by the Nath Tantrik in meditation. In such a context, Tantrik sexual expression can be a powerful catalyst for the attainment of true spiritual Yoga (union) with the Macrocosm or Cosmic Spirit. In the large sense, Tantra utilizes any technique that awakens the flow of spiritual energy through the yogi’s body/mind/spiritual energy centers. It is this experimental, pragmatic and essentially amoral outlook which has caused confusion and fear in the minds of puritanical and dogmatic religious persons. Tantra may be viewed as a way of life, in which the yogi scientist uses any effective tools at hand to break the illusion of maya.
“Tantra develops in the three aspects of higher thinking—Insight, Intuition, Imagination. By these developed in meditation, the mind awakens to understanding and union with the Cosmic Purusha and rebirth on the Earth Dimension is no more. “- H.H. Shri Gurudev Mahendranath.
Do Naths believe in God?
As a tradition, the INO does not have a paternalistic monotheistic dogma. We use the concept of the Cosmic Spirit. Within this broad concept are many variations of qualities or degrees of manifestation which we link to the names of an endless variety of gods and goddesses. You are free to think of your own word for your personal link to the Cosmic Spirit.
Questions about initiation and transmission
What is the Initiation?
Initiation is when a qualified guide of the International Nath Order transmits something of their own consciousness into the spirit of the initiate. Thus the initiation is a spiritual seed which the initiate may cultivate. This is an opportunity which if nurtured may lead to attainment, but if left unattended will remain dormant. Knowing that you are actually on a road with a connection to the Goal is a great aid to navigating. The On Ramp is not the destination. How many of the curious have a closet full of maps, yet have never traveled? The spark of spiritual transmission during the initiation is a manifestation of an unbroken spirit link with many Nath Sages and Saints of the past, currently offered by those who now tend the flame.
The Nath initiation is conducted inside a formal ceremony in which some portion of the awareness and spiritual energy (Shakti) of the Natha is transmitted to the Neophyte. The Neophyte, now a Nath, is generally also given a new name to support their Nath identity. This transmission or “touch” of the guru is symbolically fixed by the application of ash to several parts of the body.
In The Phantastikos, Shri Gurudev Mahendranath wrote,
“The passage of wisdom and knowledge through the generations required the mystic magick phenomenon of initiation, which is valid to this day in the initiation transmission from naked guru to naked novice by touch, mark, and mantra. In this simple rite, the initiator passes something of himself to the one initiated. This initiation is the start of the transformation of the new Natha. It must not be overlooked that this initiation has been passed on in one unbroken line for thousands of years. Once you receive the Nath initiation, it is yours throughout life. No one can take it from you, and you yourself can never renounce it. This is the most permanent thing in an impermanent life.”
Initiation and transmission are important, and those who wish to receive it can do so only from a properly qualified Initiator of the International Nath Order. Initiation is given into the International Nath Order only after a suitable period of study and acquaintance with the Order. Only after the aspirant has acquainted him or herself with the guidelines, concepts, and their personal guide within the Order, is initiation possible. Initiation is given only in person. This situation may require that the aspirant travel and present themselves in person to receive the initiation transmission.
The initial contact period is essential, and intended not only to give clarity to the aspirant, but to also allow them sufficient contact with their guide within the Order. This gives the aspirant the information and experience they need to decide for themselves whether or not the International Nath Order is something they are sincerely interested in, and able to integrate into their lives.
Initiation is not a prerequisite for communication with a guide within the Order. In fact, only a few go on to take initiation. Since everyone who comes in contact with the International Nath Order enters at a different level of development, there is no fixed program except the study of the basic manuscripts, and the translation of these concepts into a practical course for spiritual development and higher attainment.
After initiation, the Nath or Devi is free to continue their personal spiritual work in any way they find progressive. If the Nath or Devi finds by personal experience that they wish to continue contact with their guide and others in the International Nath Order, they are encouraged to do so.
Who can conduct initiations into the International Nath Order?
An Initiator in the International Nath Order is a Nath or Devi who has been issued a Charter to Initiate by MAGIKOS. Only Naths and Devis possessing such a charter are able to initiate a new candidate into the INO.
If you do wish to communicate, we would encourage you to provide us with as much background material on yourself as you care to give, especially regarding spiritual practices or affiliations, but also personal information (lifestyle, job, interests, etc.). Please attach a photograph of yourself, and please let us know where you currently live. We also request your time, date, and place of birth. This information is optional, but would help us to know you more quickly, and make it easier for us to respond to your specific situation. In email format, we can address whatever items you care to bring up, and hopefully help bring a level of clarity and progress into your participation in the International Nath Order.
Also, if you use Facebook, it would be a good idea to first join the International Nath Order Facebook Group, at www.facebook.com/groups/nathorder/ and ask whatever questions you may have about the INO before contacting the initiators list. That is the best place to get information and pose questions so that you can determine for yourself whether initiation into the INO is right for you before formally requesting it.
Will any oaths be required of me during my initiation?
No. The INO initiation does not require the taking of any oaths. The taking of oaths, as a self determined personal decision, is encouraged within the INO. Of course, this personal decision needs to be followed through on by practical action. At the same time, the requirement of oaths by any second party would be counter to the spirit of personal choice which has always informed the INO.
Does the process of instruction in the Nath path have rules?
“The Nath Order has no rules, superstitions or dogmas. Even after receiving initiation into the Nath Order people are not bound to accept anything they wish to disbelieve and cannot harmonize with their own thinking. Teachings in the Nath Order are only guidelines to assist you to develop your own thinking, the transmutation of “think” on to a higher level.” –The Magick Path of Tantra, by Shri Gurudev Mahendranath.
It should be noted, that one who does not act on wise advice, is twice a fool: for important lessons must be repeated until they are mastered. Persons are free to make as many mistakes as they wish, and live with the results. Critical thinking starts with critical listening.
Do Naths use austerities in their spiritual practice?
Some Naths do so, as a personal variation to their practice. Austerities have been used in many traditions as a technique to reduce the ego and body attachments. Austerities are like medical treatment—no one medicine for every patient. These can be quite useful tools, but must be tailored to individual needs. It should be noted that there has been no special emphasis on austerities in the Nath tradition, nor has there been any prohibition on such practices. Whenever practical, alternative methods to minimize the body/ego attachment are used instead of direct mortification of the body from fasting, special diets, etc. We see that these extreme practices may possibly increase “attachments-to-the-practice” in some yogis, yet may still function as a valid vehicle for other yogis of different temperament.