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Sri Mouna Swami Of Chidambaram

Sri Mouna Swami was a great siddha and saint who lived during the first half of 17th century CE at Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu. He lived on the northern bank of the Ayi tank in Chidambaram and was immersed in samadhi for most of the time.

Sri Mouna Swami was steeped in pure bliss. He was the expansive infinity without any attributes. He taught through silence. His best known student was Isanya Jnana Desikar of Tiruvannamalai.

Isanya Desikar who was looking for a Guru was attracted to Mouna Swami. He decided to stay on in Chidambaram in the hope of getting both initiation into sannyasa and upadesa (teachings) from Mouna Swami.

For several months, Isanya Desikar begged for his food and had darshan of Mouna Swami twice a day, but the Swami paid no attention to the daily visitor.

Feeling that the Swami was ignoring him because he was not yet a mature enough, Isanya Desikar decided that he would try to compensate for his lack of maturity and knoweldge by giving Mouna Swami a display of his earnestness.

Isanya Desikar took off all his clothes except for his loincloth and went and stood before Mouna Swami during one of the heavy winter rains. When Mouna Swami saw him standing there, undaunted by the heavy rain and without the least trace of a shiver on his bare body, he took the blanket that was covering his own body and wrapped it around the shoulders of Isanya Desikar.

 Then, to Isanya Desikar’s delight, Mouna Swami gave him the desired initiation and upadesa and afterwards put him into a state of deep meditation.

Isanya Desikar lived for several years with Mouna Swami and by the time he had become a Siddha and a great yogi.

The student (Desikar) composed this stanza to show the greatness of his Guru (Mouna Swami)

  • Ever-perfect one! You have manifested in the world as the one who is steeped in the pure bliss of the experience of the expansive infinity that has no attributes. [You have manifested] as the Self-realised silence and as the embodiment of truth and grace to bring harmony among various beliefs. I, keeping my head at the feet of your devotees, regard you as the Lord himself who dances in space at Chidambaram and who is worshipped by the three worlds…
  • O Guru possessing Supreme Knowledge, known as the silent Guru living on the banks of the Ayi tank, what is the use of studying the scriptures and the many different arts? Of what avail is an extensive study of Vedanta and Siddhanta, expounding their meaning, or following the ways of various religions? It is easy to transcend samsara? Bless me with a supremely blissful absorption in the Self, in which one can see the emergence of your effulgent grace.