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Natha Cult and Mahanad: A Study in Syncretism

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Item Code: BAF645
Publisher: B.R. Publishing Corporation
Author: P.K. Bandyopadhyay
Language: English
Edition: 2023
ISBN: 9788170187158
Pages: 112 (Throughout B/w Illustrations)
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 280 gm
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Shipped to 153 countries
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Book Description
About The Book

It was G.W. Briggs who, in 1938, first wrote about Gorakhnath and the Kanphata Yogis. The present volume should make an important addition to the study of the Nathas.

At one time, the Natha Cult was an 'obscure religious cult'. Now it is considered to be a significant phenomenon in the socio- cultural scenario of India. Though divergent views have been expressed by different scholars about the origin and propagation of this cult, the author of this book, Dr. P.K. Bandyopadhyay takes the view that it was the mingling of the Salvite tradition (Tantra) and the local cult of Dharmaraj in Bengal (Mahanad) during the days of Pala- Sena, that led to the emergence of the Natha Cult. 'Nada Sadhana' or search for the 'Anahata' sound is the essence of the philosophy of the Natha Yogis.

About the Author

Born on January 20, 1949, Dr. P.K. Bandyopadhyay, has keen interest in social anthropology, and as such associates himself with the North-East India Council for Social Science Research (Shillong) as its life member and the Institute of Social Research & Applied Anthropology (Calcutta) as its member. He is also a member of the Indian Society of Authors, New Delhi.

Dr. Bandyopadhyay started his career with teaching English literature in colleges under the University of North Bengal, but then joined Indian Information Service and worked in the various media units of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Currently, he is posted as Commissioner for Departmental Inquiries in the Central Vigilance Commission.

Dr. Bandyopadhyay specialises in the study of North-East India has made significant contribution to books like The Tribes of North-East India', 'Electoral Politics in North-East India', Land Relations in North-East India', and Linguistic Situation in North East India. Independently, he authored 'Leadership Among the Mizos - An Emerging Dimension' and 'Mass Media and Leadership-A study of Print Media in Mizoram'.


I must say a few words about the project to write a treatise on Mahānād and the Natha cult. I spent a substantial part of my childhood in the sylvan environment of Mahanad with lush green paddy fields of autumnal grandeur, a place where sweet fragrance of the Akashmallika flowers is wafted in the air. The image of the place lay deeply embedded in the innermost recesses of my heart. The other factor is my grandfather, Dr. Pravash Chandra Bandyopadhyay, a Homoeo-physician of repute, writer, historian and linguist. He wrote two pioneering volumes on the history of Mahānād in Bengali, entitled 'Mahanad Ba Bängālar Gupta Itihas' (Mahānād or unwritten History of Bengal) in 1335 B.S. and 1338 B.S. respectively. Since then much water has flown down the Vasishtha-Ganga. A lot of information has enriched our knowledge on the history of Bengal. Systematic studies on Bengal were published. The books written by Sir Jadunath Sarkar and Dr. RC Majumdar may be cited as some of the shining examples. I had been nurturing a fond desire for almost two decades to evaluate the place of Mahanad in the light of the available historical data. With all my official pre-occupations I could hardly get any time to undertake the present study and thus realise my dream. However, as they say, when God wills, the work is done. Despite long delay my project has finally taken some shape. In addition to the historical profile of Mahanad, a large ground has been covered on various facets of the Natha cult - its genesis, growth, philosophy, and the contribution of Gorakhnath. I have used both the spellings-Gorakshanath and Gorakhnath, in the book. It is needless to say that I have adopted a multi-disciplinary approach. Plutarch's model of syncretism was taken as the theoretical framework. A mass of historical data, archaeological information, literary evidence, folklore and myths have been studied. I have carried out extensive field visits to Mahānād and a number of centres of the Natha cult in the country. The book is the culmination of all these efforts. I now leave it to the scholars and the lay alike to judge the worth of my work, if any.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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