The Sanskrit term Adinath means first or original Lord, and is therefore a synonym for Shiva, Mahadeva, or Maheshvara, and beyond these mental concepts, the Supreme Absolute Reality as the originator of all things.
The Adinath Sampradaya was a Sadhu sub-sect of the greater Natha Tradition. Followers of this tradition were given Sannyas Diksha, thus renouncing householder life, and thereafter lived as naked Sadhus. Believing that Sadhus should live alone until they had attained the goal, they lived in caves, huts, ruined buildings, or empty houses, and always away from towns and villages.
The last Sadhu holding authentic guru status in the Adinath Sampradaya was Shri Gurudev Mahendranath, who attained Mahasamadhi in 1991. Though he created, and gave Diksha into, a western householder variant of the Natha Tradition, he intentionally terminated the Adinath Sampradaya by refusing to bestow Sannyas Diksha, an initiation required for succession.
This intent is clear from Shri Gurudev's writings. In The Magick Path of Tantra, he wrote,
- "I had decided not to initiate anyone of Indian origin into the Uttara Kaula or the Adinath Sampradayas. As sannyasi or sadhu, there was the danger that after I had entered Mahasamadhi and was unable to deny, that someone might claim that they had been given Sannyas Diksha, and claim authority as guru by succession."
Also, in The Phantastikos:
- "I myself have been an initiate and the final Guru of the Adinaths, one of the many subsects of the Great Natha stream and ancient tradition. With the birth of the International Nath Order, the Indian Adinath sect became defunct, and I myself retired from public life."
- Adityanath (2002). Nath FAQ (http://www.mahendranath.org/faq.mhtml). Retrieved Oct. 20, 2004.
- Mahendranath, Shri Gurudev. The Magick Path of Tantra (http://www.mahendranath.org/magickpath.mhtml). Retrieved Oct. 20, 2004.
- Mahendranath, Shri Gurudev. The Phantastikos (http://www.mahendranath.org/phantastikos.mhtml). Retrieved Oct. 20, 2004.