A yogī and a tapasvī at Jwalaji

On a visit to the Nāth maṭh at Jwalaji on the full moon day of 11/11/11, I met a fine bunch of young Nāths, among whom were “Yogī Bābā Anūp Nāth” of Manikaran, and resident of the maṭha Tapsvī Mānav Nāth. The latter is renowned for his practice of an ancient austerity called in Hindi Meghadambara, in which water is poured over the ascetic throughout a long winter night. He also showed me the ancient āsana associated with tapasvīs called vīrāsana (which is mentioned in the Mahābhārata, Manu and the Vaikhānasadharmaśāstra).

Manav Nath Asana LoRes

Then, after making me establish my credentials with a demonstration of my finest āsanas, Anūp Nāth Jī proceeded to smoke a chillum and
show me an amazing sequence of poses marred only by a rather grating “dance” soundtrack. I was surprised, not least because I had thought that there were very few āsana practitioners among the Nāths. When I asked him where he had learnt his practice, he said it had come to him apne-āp, “automatically”, when he was a boy. Apologies for the poor quality - the lighting was low and the camera a point-and-shoot compact.

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