Ashé Journal, Vol 2, Issue 4, 2003.
Interviewed by Sven Davisson
Sven: So Kapilnath, I understand that Mahendranath appointed you as the
leader of the International Nath Order in 1989. You must have known him very
well. What was he trying to do?
Kapilnath: Well Sven, I did know Shri Mahendranath well. During a period
of about seven years I discussed with him all aspects of his teachings and intentions
regarding his Nath Order, the International Nath Order. Shri Mahendranath is
an interesting subject on many levels. He was not only a westerner
who became the Guru of two ancient eastern sects, but he was also
well acquainted with the spiritual and occult patterns of the West. His background
in spiritual and occult pursuit ranges from his first pagan initiation at age
11 by his great-great-great Aunt Clay the Witch of Rottingdean England,
to his discussions with Aleister Crowley. It was actually Crowley who suggested,
that Shri Mahendranath then known as Mr. Miles; travel to India
to seek further teachings and initiation. What Shri Mahendranath was trying
to do in establishing the International Nath Order, (INO) was to recreate the
lineage of Naths in a pattern of understanding and Attainment, which had all
but vanished in Indian Nath sects. These ancient patterns he reasoned could
only take rebirth in a new and perhaps more open minded land and environment.
S: The connection with Crowley is fascinating from a western occult perspective.
What was the nature of their relationship?
K: Shri Mahendranath met Crowley during the latters widely publicized
court case against Nina Hammet. They developed a rapport based on their mutual
occult interests, discussed and played I understand, more than a few games of
chess. Actually, Mahendranath and I discussed Crowley in some depth. A few of
his revelations regarding Crowley might shine a new light on some of Master
Therions writings. In any case, the important point for this interview,
was the final opinion of Crowley that in order to learn more of the occult patterns
of meditation, magick and Tantrika, Shri Mahendranath should travel to India
to study with qualified Gurus.
S: I notice that you always refer to Shri Mahendranath. Wasnt the
gentlemans last name Miles?
K: Yes it was, but he was given a new name at the time of Initiation.
After reaching India in 1953, Mr. Miles was Initiated into the Adi Nath sect
or Sampradaya as a Sannyasin and given the initiation name, Mahendranath. Towards
the end of his life, Shri Mahendranath requested that as an author he be known
and referred to as Shri Gurudev Mahendranath.
S: Who is Dadaji then?
K: Well, Dadaji could be just about anyone. In India it is a bit like
saying, daddy, granpa, dear uncle, etc.
It is a familiar colloquial term of endearment. Some of Mahendranaths
disciples addressed him as such, but it is not really a proper name, per se.
S: Ok, now we have Shri Mahendranath. What was the Adi-Nath sect all
K: The Adi-Nath sect was one of several streams or sects of the greater
Nath tradition. Fundamentally, the Naths looked toward Lord Shiva as a kind
of prototype. In this sense they were Yogis like Shiva and dressed or even undressed
as such. The Ideal of the Naths was the concept and attainment of
the Avadhoot. This concept of Avadhoot, The Unfettered One is a
subject worthy of an entire volume. It remains inside of Hindu or Sanatana Dharma
as the highest goal of human life and experience. It is the natural Attainment
of Unity between Macrocosm and Microcosmthe radical and natural union
of the individual and Cosmic Spirit, the summation of the higher Yogas. Shri
Mahendranath was initiated into the Adi Nath sect as a sannyasin or world renunciate,
by Shri Lokanath the Avadhoot of UttaraKashi (Uttara Pradesh) India in 1953.
S: Wasnt Shri Mahendranath also the Guru of the Northern Tantriks,
the Uttara Kaulas?
K: Yes, Shri Mahendranath was initiated as a sannyasin into the Uttara
Kaulas by Pagala Baba and became his successor and Guru of the Order, as well
as the Guru of the Adi Nath sect. Shri Mahendranath did not feel that being
the Guru of two distinct sects to be the cause of any conflict in either theory
or practice. In fact, it was his understanding that at an earlier time in history,
the paths of Tantrika and the greater stream of the Naths, including the Avadhoot
tradition were all One. In this regard we must look back to what what was called
the Siddha tradition. The Siddhas (Adepts) are a very ancient phenomena.
They were not usually seen as a sect in as much as each Siddha
or Adept who had attained represented only themselves. While the Siddhas were
also an initiatic tradition, it was the success of a few Siddhas
and their disciples over many generations, which showed and reflected the power
and utility of lineage. It seems that the Naths were a particular offshoot or
manifestation of the Siddha traditon. The word Siddha is intended
to refer to one who has Attained. This in itself reflects the idea
of the prototypical Yogi Wizard of ancient India. The Nath tradition at the
time of Matsendranath, typified a distinct manifestation of the Siddha lineage
which reflected much of what is now thought of as Tantrika, the secret yogas
and also held the ideal of the Avadhoot.
S: Did Shri Mahendranath indicate any reasoning why the more overt aspects
of Tantrika were rejected by most Nath sects?
K: I think it fair to say that the Tantrik aspects referred to, largely
relate to sexual expression or worship, particularly Shiva/Shakti or the he
and she business. One way of explaining this is to remind that initiation into
any Guru sect or initiatic lineage of this type involved the renunciation
of the earth, heaven and celestial regions. In other words, one was only initiated
into a sampradaya such as the Uttara Kaulas or Adi Naths as a sadhu or sannyasin
(world renouncer). An age old requirement of sannyasa was the observance of
brahmacharya. This Sanskrit term actually means, absorbed in Brahmin
or the Divine, (Cosmic Spirit). At some point, this term was given the meaning
celibate. It can only be considered that changes in Indian society
caused this new meaning to catch hold. The upshot of this change was that sadhus,
sannyasins or holy men or woman with consorts were looked at with
very crossed eyes. In other words, normal relations on sexual levels became
forbidden. In this way, overtly Tantrik cults suffered a lot of
bad public relations and went totally underground or were suppressed into oblivion.
Most Nath sects in India today continue only as celibate sadhu orders.
Part of the intention behind the International Nath Order was to put into motion
a form of ancient Nathism which was not bound by the cultural traditions or
superstitions of the land in which it was developed. Instead, the ideal was
to pass along an ancient Guru lineage and focus on the functional elements of
understanding, practice and Attainment that would lead us to success. This was
also intended to make the possibility of participation in an authentic and ancient
initiatic lineage more accessible to those interested.
S: Did Shri Mahendranath pass on the traditions of the Adi Nath and Uttara
K: As discrete and distinct sadhu sects, Shri Mahendranath was the last
and final Guru of both the Adi Nath and Uttara Kaula sects. In other words,
the Adi Nath and Uttara Kaula sects died with him and became defunct. What he
did pass on was the Guru tradition and initiation into the International Nath
Order which was intended to be a non-sannyasin amalgamation of these two ancient
lineages. Shri Mahendranath was very interested in seeing the seed wisdom, initiation
and ancient lineage transplanted in new soil. As such, the INO is in no manner
intended to be a westernized form of any Hindu sect.
In the International Nath Order, English is the primary language and even Sanskrit
is used as little as possible. While India was the birthplace and motherland
of the Naths, it in no way has a patent or exclusive on wisdom or
spiritual progress and Attainment.
S: I had thought that the Adi Nath sect and the Uttara Kaulas still existed
in the West.
K: It was not Shri Mahendranaths wish, will or intention to give
the impression that the Adi Nath sect or the Uttara Kaulas continued after his
death. Shri Mahendranath was the final Guru of both of these sects. I am aware
that a few people claim otherwise, though this claim has been refuted by Shri
Mahendranath since 1985. In an effort to clear up this matter, I wrote what
I believe to be a discrete explanation entitled, The Occult History of
the Nath Order 1984-2003. Actually, the Occult History is
now in its second edition. The first version I wrote in my own words. After
writing it, a number of people loudly suggested that I had made the story up.
So, the current version consists of only an outline in my own words and uses
digital scans of letters I received from Shri Mahendranath to tell the whole
story. You can find the History on my personal web space at www.mahendranath.org.
Frankly Sven, the story isnt pretty and I was loath to write about it.
At the same time, I had received so many requests to explain the situation,
I felt the need to create a document to refer people to. I simply got tired
of telling the same story over and over. Since the second version of the History
no one has publicly questioned its authenticity or brought forward any evidence
that suggests or supports a different version of events.
S: Does this mean that there is now no renunciate tradition inside of
the International Nath Order?
K: Initiates of the INO are free to renounce whatever they feel is important
to renounce. There are however, no vows made at the time of initiation that
require one to renounce anything. Initiates of the INO are encouraged to renounce
the five Kleshas (or Obstructions): Ignorance, Ego, Repulsion, Attachment and
Clinging to Life. Ones success with the renunciation of these few obstructions
has much to do with the individuals progress, both spiritually and inside
the INO. We probably shouldnt forget that the purpose of renunciation,
in any form or formality, was to bring us closer to the Divine.
S: Does the Nath tradition carried forward by Shri Mahendranath maintain
a historical Satguru tradition similar to other sects of Shaivism? If so, how
has this tradition been changed in the movement of the Adi Nath and Uttara Kaula
sects to the West.
K: The idea and reality of lineage and lineage holder remains important.
The Naths have been and remain a Guru-centric initiatic lineage. This means
that something has been passed down and maintained from individual
to individual. What is being passed down has little to do with quaint customs,
the book of holy sayings or even the secret decoder ring. It has
much more to do with the spiritual vibration of a Cosmic Continuum, which includes
the connection with the Spiritual predecessors of the line. This connection
is an unbroken living thing. It is a vital relationship between the past and
the present, the earthly and spiritual realms. I think on functional levels,
little has changed. On human social levels I think that current patterns reflect
a great lessening of formalities and social role playing.
S: Ive visited Shri Mahendranaths website at www.mahendranath.org.
Do you have plans to expand its current content?
K: Yes, we do plan to include practically all of Shri Mahendranaths
writings on the website. As it is, most of the major writings are already up
and available for download in many file formats for personal study and use.
We also have an elist or mailing list. This elist is to announce the publication
of new works and also a forum for people to ask questions and discuss the INO
and the writings of Shri Mahendranath. All of this is offered freely for interested
people. The main idea is to create a webspace where people from all over the
globe can get a chance to know more about the INO from their own computer terminals,
at their own pace and time.
S: What is the initiation into the INO and why is it important?
K: By definition, an initiation is the start of something. In the case
of the INO, it is looked at as a part of a process. The first thing is for the
individual interested in the INO to contact an initiated member of the INO and
begin to develop some rapport with that person. This primary contact is probably
the best way to learn more and a chance to discuss and exchange ideas. If the
individual is still interested in initiation, they must request it from the
person they are in contact with. The Nath who has received the request for initiation
evaluates the persons potential. After the request has been made, at some point,
it is made known whether or not the initiation is going to happen and if so,
when. It is then the responsibility of the person seeking initiation to travel
and meet their Nath correspondent.
The Initiation itself is in the form of a rather simple ritual. The details
of this are discussed with the Candidate prior to Initiation. The main aspect
of the Initiation is a mind/spirit transmission. This transmission is the vital
link and experience of an ancient lineage and Cosmic Continuum. That is, the
Initiation is a link to and with the current Adepts, those of the distant past
and the Cosmic Spirit. The utility of such a link on magickal levels should
not be underestimated. If the new Nath is able to properly align with the agencies
of lineage, present and past, swift progress is likely. Many of the finest exponents
of the INO do not currently reside in a physical body.
S: Who would benefit by contact with the INO?
K: This is very difficult to say really. I would like to say that everyone
could benefit, but this is neither completely true nor practical. I do think
that many people could benefit from a closer look at the core values and teachings
of the INO. At the same time, the INO is not for everyone. While the INO is
extremely simple in all matters, it is also difficult. A host of specific qualities
and karmas are needed to get very far. Nonetheless, the INO remains open to
all who are interested. Where there is a will there is a way.
S: Is the Initiation a form of Kundalini Awakening then?
K: I religiously avoid the term Kundalini. In the broader scope of Tantrika
and the Naths, Kundalini is a rather modern term. It has also been written about
repeatedly in modern times and not all of this information is very useful. Ancient
Naths referred only to the Shakti. This term means in essence, energy
and is not confined in proper understanding to be only an inner energy. The
Shakti is conferred at Initiation and is to be understood as just
as much outer as inner. The point or crux of understanding the distinction is
that it is the limited perceptual mechanism, which creates the condition of
inner and outer. While there are inner processes, no
small part of the goal is to experience and understand the union of microcosm
and macrocosm. In this sense, and as a part of ancient tradition, the term Kundalini
is deprecated in the INO.
S: Can you say a few words about MAGIKOS.
K: Yes, MAGIKOS is the decision making body of the INO. It is comprised
of only the most developed of the INO initiates. Shri Mahendranath instituted
this prior to his mahasamadhi (death). While I remain the current leader of
MAGIKOS and my voice has considerable weight, all decisions made by MAGIKOS
that effect the INO are discussed and then decided by democratic vote. MAGIKOS
remains a secret Order. It has some specific functions outside of the administration
of the INO, but these aspects remain secret as does the identity of its members.
The membership of MAGIKOS includes the influence of spirits of the supreme substance
no longer exclusively inhabiting the earth plane. It is the inner court and
truly spiritual core of the INO.
S: How do you see the future of the INO?
K: I see a concord of delightful men and woman working together in harmony
toward progress and the supreme Awakening. I see a group of powerful Adepts
working to facilitate that this vision unfolds. I think that is enough to say
or see. Thank you for your interest and this interview Sven.
Rebel Satori Press