At one time sharing a more solidary identity as a community, the two groups have diverged in the twentieth century, presenting different models of the alternative religious ideals that Nath tradition
has long offered Hindu society.
In Songs on Yoga, Kiehnle offers a critical edition, apparatus and translation of the Lakhota, or "Sealed Letter," and the Yogapar Abhangamala, or "a collection of songs (abhang) on yoga." Both texts are about the experience and practice of yoga from the perspective of the Maharastrian Nath tradition. In The Conservative Vaisnava, Kiehnle assembles, critically edits, and translates fifty songs attributed to Jnandev in the Jnandev Gatha.
In a thorough introduction to Songs on Yoga, Kiehnle analyzes the problems of authorship, collation, and translation, while she explores the relationship of the broader Nath tradition to its particular manifestation in Maharastra.
Her commentary on the Lakhota should serve as a model and resource for subsequent explorations of the Nath tradition remembered in song.
As the groups continue to diverge in the twentieth century, I will finally argue, they present different models of the alternative religious images long offered in Nath tradition. First, however, I will present the continuities between the two groups and their patterns of interaction.
Householders, in general, like to identify with the sadhus, regarding them as exemplars of Nath tradition. The sadhus, on the other hand, tend to distance themselves from the householders, perceiving them as not real yogis like themselves.
The difference was that he was a born Nath, urbanized for two generations, and liked to visit sadhus from Nath tradition. He would visit them like other middle-class devotees, he said, but approaching them would say "ades, ades," the common greeting used among themselves by Nath householders and sadhus in Rajasthan.
At Shankarai Nath's ashram in Kekri, for example, he and his sadhu disciple talked about the Nath ashram and wayfarers' lodge established at Haridwar - a pilgrimage place important for Hindus generally, but not particularly highlighted in Nath tradition. They had books published by the ashram establishment - written in highly Sanskritized Hindi - that they claimed would tell me the whole story about Nath tradition.
86-87) presents the scholarly opinions on the dates of the early Nath yogis in a larger discussion of early popular Nath tradition (pp.