Nathism is an obscure and mixed religious cult, founded by matsyendranath, a fisherman from Chandradwip (barisal). He wrote a number of books, five of which have been found in Nepal. Other prominent Nath mystics were Minanath, the father of Matsyendranath, Chauranginath and Jalandhari Pada. Goraksanath was a disciple of Matsyendranath. Jalandhari Pada, also known as Hadipa, was a disciple of Goraksanath and the spiritual guru of King Gopichandra of Mainamati. The Naths practise Hatha-yoga and Kaya Sadhana (culture of the body) with a view to making the body fit, perfect and immutable, thereby attaining an immortal spiritual life. The Naths, who belong to a low or shudra weaving caste of Bengal, are very often called yugis. Besides weaving, they also live by singing. Some of them serve in low-level posts in various government and non-government offices. Many Naths migrated to India after partition.

The Naths follow Hindu marriage customs and rituals. Infant marriage is in vogue among them. Divorce is not formally recognised. A second wife may be taken if the first wife is barren or suffering from an incurable disease. Widows are not allowed to remarry. The Naths bury their dead, but perform some Hindu ceremonies. [Anwarul Karim]

See also nath literature.