Nathapanth remained a very powerful religious force in the past for long period pervading every walk of life across whole of India. It made immense impact on the scholars, rulers, religious leaders and others. Many rulers were its followers. One of the most valuable contributions it made was that it created an atmosphere of social and religious harmony in the country. For this it had to pay a great price.
Its geographical spread and reach had been unparalleled. It reached even the remotest corners and inaccessible areas like Bir Bhanghal and Lahul in Himachal Pradesh. It spread even beyond the borders of the country to Tibet following after the Buddhism there. But ultimately this powerful wave also fell to become a part of history. Some communities of the sect can still be seen as a distinct social group retaining some old practices. Some of their practices are still being followed with great reverence by all the sections of the society. In Himachal a good effort is being made to collect the oral literature, much of which concern the Nathas, and publish them.
Tobdan (1944), belonging to Lahul, is a self studied scholar, interested in the study primarily about Lahul, and incidently the areas surrounding it in Himachal Pradesh, in the Western Himalaya on various aspects of their history, language, religious practices, social customs, etc. His first work, 'History and Religions of Lahul', appeared in 1984, after which he has added more than half a dozen works to his credit. His last work 'Exploring Malana' appeared in 2011.Some research papers have appeared in the reputed journals and collected works. He writes in English, Hindi and Bhoti. He is presently associated with the People's Linguistic Survey of India of the Himachal Pradesh section. He is member, governing body, Himachal Pradesh Arts, Culture and Language Academy.
During the course of my study I have received help in different ways from numerous persons like Hira Lal of Sharan, Khub Ram Khushdil and many others. As always, C. Dorje of Archaeological Survey of India had been guiding and helping me as and when I requested. I express my deep gratitude to them all. I am greatly thankful to Shri Rakesh Goel of M/s Kaveri Books for accepting the work for publication and bringing it in an excellent form.
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