It is not often that you come across a person of miraculous abilities. But in Tiruvannamalai, the land of Shiva, miracles are everywhere. Rather, life itself is a miracle. It is then not about the place, but rather this feeling within or just this awareness, which makes everything one. There are no two, there is no other. Mouna Swami of Tiruvannamalai is one such example- a person who is not a person. A living Siddha! (in Sanskrit, Siddha means ‘the perfected one’)
The mind will always do its thing and pop up questions as to how a siddha should be and analyse things but being a siddha is about a state of being. In that moment of siddhi (perfection), everyone and everything is a siddha, there is truly only one. There is just this consciousness, awareness, bliss (Sat Chit Ananda).
Visiting Mouna Swami- Sri Mouna Swami Peetam
Having visited Mouna Swami multiple times over the last two years, I’m seeing the transition of the external surroundings from a quaint little hut to a grander ashram. Where a handful of people could sit, now tens or maybe a hundred people can sit. But the energy remains the same. If one is in the zone, the zone is the same. This post is a tiny glimpse or rather an invitation to have darshan of Mouna Swami.
Mouna Swami sits there, like the constant awareness, staring into nothingness, staring into everything. For the first time readers, Mouna Swami sits in front of his altar (for some it can just look like a wall), 24*7. He doesn’t lie down, he just gets up for a few minutes in the evening when he faces the audience and gives darshan. This is also the time when he probably eats a few morsels of food and takes care of his bodily functions. Otherwise, throughout the day and night, the man sits. Ash covered, hair (jata) braided till his knees. Stillness. Pure silence.
He doesn’t sit in a tight straight yogic posture or any such way but he is effortless. He’s leaning onto a wooden support, always in yoga. I didn’t know much about his story but thanks to Nico and Shambhu’s Magic House Podcast with Kristina (Mouna Swamy’s devotee), a little practical information was made known. Mouna Swami used to be engaged with selling milk in probably Chennai but always had a longing for God. He left the worldly life and served a guru for 10 years post which he came to Tiruvannamalai. He spent a few years in sadhana around Arunachala Shiva and later went into silence and slowly gained popularity as the Mouna Swami of Tiruvannamalai. He’s probably been in silence for more than 15 years now.
All these practical details would be debatable and don’t really matter. What matters is the spirit of the man, the spirit of Advaita vedanta, the spirit of Shiva, the spirit of Arunachala. It’s just tremendously inspiring for a sadhak to sit in the presence of a sage who is constantly absorbed in the Self. People say that maybe he lies down in the night, maybe he walks, but all that is again irrelevant. Visit the ashram any day, any time and one finds him there. Constantly absorbed. And it percolates through the environment around him.
Our job as devotees is to be absorbed in the Self, constantly looking within and stay in the silence of the heart. Tiruvannamalai is a special place, extremely conducive for sadhana and if it calls a person, one has to come. As the great Sri Ramana Maharshi said, “At the end, everyone has to come to Arunachala!”
With that, I’d leave this as an invitation to visit Mouna Swami’s Ashram on Girivallam Road after Niruthi Lingam (Google Maps) and bask in the divine atmosphere. There’s a very powerful Adimudi Jeev Samadhi besides Mouna Swami’s Ashram as well where one can sit and meditate. There is also Nithyananda Ashram on the other side (yes, don’t get your mind thinking too much) which makes up for the entirety of experience, in very practical terms 🙂
Prayers and blessings, Om Namah Shivaya!
Also read: Tiruvannamalai – A Spiritual Travel Guide