5 June 2023

Sri Siva Mona Siddhar: Supporter of the Distressed


I have made many posting about Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar on my Arunachala Mystic blog, to read these posts and for information about him and his interaction with devotees check out the links on the left column of this Blog.


Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar Swami

Swamiji's ashram is located off Vettavalam Road about 20 kms from Arunachala but due to winding country lanes is about a 30 km drive from Tiruvannamalai. An ever-increasing number of devotees and pilgrims visit Swamiji at his Ashram to consult with him and receive his blessings. As a result of strenuous tapas Swamiji received siddhis from the Divine that have given him the ability to understand, guide and support those in distress—and also to perform healings.


Sethavarai countryside near Ashram

Swami's Sadhana

Swami was born on October 3rd, 1962 and named Sri Narayanan. He lived a rustic life in a small Tamil village and at 27 years of age agreed to an arranged marriage which resulted in the birth of a girl child.  However his yearning for a spiritual life led him to renounce the world and enter into sannyas. He thereupon went into the forest to perform sadhana and continued to roam about for over 15 years. One day desolate at the meaningless of life he decided to commit suicide by jumping from the summit of Kanjanakiri Mount (near Vellore District).


Sri Siva Mona Siddhar was prevented from this act by the call of a sadhu who had seemingly appeared from nowhere. The sadhu invited him to a nearby Temple to eat and sleep and in the middle of the night, the sadhu disappeared. Swami stayed in Kanchangiri Temple’s Ashram, at the back of which was a Kanni Temple and this is the exact spot where he was bestowed Divine powers by Lord Shiva.


Miracle Bestowed Powers

One day, when his body was in a dire condition, and he felt that there was no hope left, he prayed to Mother Unnamulai Ammal, beseeching, “you give food to the whole World, so why can’t you take care of my needs and feed me?”


Immediately on uttering this prayer, five ladies and five men suddenly appeared in a vision and came to Swami and laid him on the floor. The five ladies sat below the head of the prostrate body, and the five men sat above the head. Each of the five ladies started to remove parts of Swami’s body, bit-by-bit, and made up small packages of the body parts. 


During this whole process Swami felt absolutely no pain. Finally only his head remained. Thereupon the ladies said, “give these small packages, to those that come to meet you, as prasadam.” After this, the five men sitting above him, placed their hands upon Guruji’s head and after a few moments disappeared. At that very moment Guruji’s body reappeared and from that time till this day, Guruji has not had a single problem with his body. 

Merging with a Lingam

Sometime after the incident whilst Swami was in meditation, a Lingam suddenly appeared. In his excitement he tried to lift the Lingam but as it was heavy he wasn’t able to move it even an inch. Upon being unable to move the Lingam, he decided to perform a puja, so stood up in order to perform the ritual; as he stood the Lingam also lifted up to his position, slowly came towards him, and then mingled with him. 


It was at this time that he came to an understanding of the truth of life.  According to his inner guidance Swamiji travelled to Sethavarai and isolated himself in a cave for 58 days. As a result, he received a vision of the Divine and guidance as to his work in this lifetime. An increasing number of devotees and pilgrims visit Swamiji at his Ashram (which has developed around him) to consult with him and receive his blessings.


Ashram and Temple


Now that there is a Temple at Swami's Ashram some devotees arrange pujas to be performed at that place, in order to further bless their prayers.


Temple at Swami's Ashram

Lord Siva Shrine inside Temple

Temple Daily Schedule.

Temple Timings: 6 am—12 noon and 3 pm—7 pm


Special Pujas:

New Moon Day, Full Moon Day, Astami Day, Pradosham

Each month special pujas take place at Pradosham (evenings from 4.30 pm6.00 pm) and at Poornima from 6 am12 noon. The Poornima puja includes Abhishekam, Fire Homam and Anandam.


Swami Darshan and Interviews

Swami Darshan: 9 am—12 noon (sometimes up to 1 pm). Special Darshan can be arranged for afternoon session. Mondays there is no Swami darshan.


Swami giving blessings during Interview

Location and Contact Information:
Sri Siva Jothi Mona Siddhar Dharma Paribalana Trust
Sethavarai, Nallan Pillai Petral Village & Post
Gingee Taluk, Villupuram District, Tamil Nadu
+91 96291 45883 Ashram Manager

3 June 2023

Thursday June 1, 2023: Guru Vrat Pradosham Arunachaleswarar Temple


The below photographs are of Arunachaleswarar Temple Pradosham which was observed on Thursday June 1, 2023.


Pradosham indicates the meeting of the Sun and the Moon in a horizontal line and occurs on the 13th lunar day (Trayodashi) during the waxing and waning phase of moon in the Hindu lunar calendar.


It is believed that worshipping Lord Shiva on this day will relieve the devotee from sin, help overcome opponents and enemies—thus eliminating all danger and will also lead to Moksha. On Pradoshams which fall on Thursdays, devotees also receive Divine blessings through their ancestors.


Among the pujas performed by Lord Shiva devotees, Pradosham puja is considered to be the most auspicious. It is believed that during this period all universal beings and Gods come down to earth and attend the worship.

Large number of devotees in attendance

Readings of Holy Works during the function

Nandi Abhishekam

Procession of the Gods after Puja

31 May 2023

Bhagavan Takes Full Responsibility


The below narrative of Sri Ramana taking full responsibility for both the merits and demerits of a devotee is one of the most moving Bhagavan stories I have read. Sometimes archivists seem so determined to write of a disengaged "perfect" Ramana that his great compassion is hidden. In this narrative there is no hiding place for either the Guru or the devotee—both come out quite beautifully.

Merits and Demerits (Fruits of Karma)


Bhagavan was most tender with people who thought themselves for some reason or other to be miserable sinners and who went to him torn by repentance.

During summer evenings we used to sit in the open space near the well. We would collect in the dining hall for dinner and come back to the well. Suddenly, one day, a visitor started weeping bitterly, "I am a horrible sinner. For a long time, I have been coming to your feet, but there is no change in me. Can I become pure at last? How long am I to wait? When I am here with you I am good for a time, but when I leave this place I become a beast again. You cannot imagine how bad I can be, hardly a human being. Am I to remain a sinner forever?"

Bhagavan answered: "Why do you come to me? What have I to do with you? What is there between us that you should come here and weep and cry in front of me?"

The man started moaning and crying even more, as if his heart were breaking. "All my hopes of salvation are gone. You were my last refuge and you say you have nothing to do with me! To whom shall I turn now? What am I to do? To whom am I to go?"

Bhagavan watched for some time and said, "Am I your guru that I should be responsible for your salvation? Have I ever said that I am your master?"

"If you are not my master, then who is? And who are you, if not my master? You are my guru, you are my guardian angel, you will pity me and release from my sins!"  He started sobbing and crying again.

We all sat silent, overcome with pity. Only Bhagavan looked alert and matter-of-fact.


Bhagavan:  "If I am your guru, what are my fees? Surely you should pay me for my services."

Devotee:  "But you won't take anything," cried the visitor "What can I give you?"

Bhagavan:  "Did I ever say that I don't take anything? And did you ever ask me what you can give me?"

Devotee:  "If you would take, then ask me. There is nothing I would not give you."

Bhagavan:  "All right. Now I am asking. Give me. What will you give me?"

Devotee:  "Take anything, all is yours."

Bhagavan:  "Then give me all the good you have done in this world."

Devotee:  "What good could I have done? I have not a single virtue to my credit."

Bhagavan:  "You have promised to give. Now give. Don't talk of your credit. Just give away all the good you have done in your past."

Devotee:  "Yes, I shall give. But how does one give? Tell me how the giving is done and I shall give."

Bhagavan:  "Say like this: 'All the good I have done in the past I am giving away entirely to my guru. Henceforth I have no merit from it nor have I any concern with it.' Say it with your whole heart."

Devotee:  "All right, Swami, I am giving away to you all the good I have done so far, if I have done any, and all its good effects. I am giving it to you gladly, for you are my master and you are asking me to give it all away to you."

Bhagavan:  "But this is not enough," said Bhagavan sternly.

Devotee:  "I gave you all I have and all you asked me to give. I have nothing more to give."

Bhagavan:  "No, you have. Give me all your sins."

Devotees:  The man looked wildly at Bhagavan, terror-stricken. "You do not know, Swami, what you are asking for. If you knew, you would not ask me. If you take over my sins, your body will rot and burn. You do not know me; you do not know my sins. Please do not ask me for my sins." And he wept bitterly.

Bhagavan:  "I shall look after myself, don't you worry about me," said Bhagavan. "All I want from you is your sins."

For a long time, the bargain would not go through. The man refused to part with his sins. But Bhagavan was adamant.

Bhagavan:  "Either give me your sins along with your merits, or keep both and don't think of me as your master."


In the end the visitor's scruples broke down and he declared:   "Whatever sins I have done, they are no longer mine. All of them and their results, too belong to Ramana."

Bhagavan seemed to be satisfied. "From now on there is no good nor bad in you. You are just pure. Go and do nothing, neither good nor bad. Remain yourself, remain what you are."

A great peace fell over the man and over us all. No one knows what happened to the fortunate visitor, he was never seen in the Ashram again. He might have been in no further need of coming.


Arunachala Ramana, Eternal Ocean of Grace

The Guiding Presence, Book 7, page 337-339


29 May 2023

Sadhana in the Kali Yuga

According to the Vedic scriptures, the current age we are now in, known as the Kali-Yuga, is one of spiritual darkness, violence and hypocrisy. Such Scriptures as the Srimad Bhagavatam teach that during the 432,000 year duration of the Kali Age, humanity will increasingly deteriorate and fall into barbarism. If one looks about the world we are living in, its easy to recognise the amazing accuracy of predictions made thousands of years ago. And yet it is said that because of the difficulties of this Yuga, God has ordained it to be the easiest one in which man can attain liberation. 

Situation of the Kali Yuga 
Humans begin to kill animals for food. They fall under the spell of intoxication. They lose all sexual restraint. Families break up. Women and children are abused and abandoned. Increasingly degraded generations, conceived accidentally in lust and growing up wild, swarm all over the world. Political leadership falls into the hands of unprincipled rogues, criminals and terrorists, who use their power to exploit people. Entire populations are enslaved and put to death. The world teems with fanatics, extremists and spiritual artists, who win huge followings among a people completely dazed by hedonism, as well as by cultural and moral relativism. 

"Religion, truthfulness, cleanliness, tolerance, mercy, physical strength and memory diminish with each passing day."  
[Srimad-Bhagavatam 12.2.1]

Saints and sages of ancient India describe the people of this age as greedy, ill-behaved, and merciless. In this age, says the Srimad-Bhagavatam, merely possessing wealth is considered a sign of good birth, proper behavior, and fine qualities. Law and justice are determined by one's prestige and power. Marriage ceases to exist as a holy union - men and women simply live together on the basis of bodily attraction and verbal agreement, and only for sexual pleasure. 

Women wander from one man to another. Men no longer look after their parents in their old age, and fail to provide for their own children. One's beauty is thought to depend on one's hairstyle. Filling the belly is said to be the only purpose in life. Cows are killed once their milk production drops. Atheism flourishes. Religious observances are performed solely for the sake of reputation. 

Disharmony of the Kali Yuga

The Linga Purana (ch. 40) describes the human race in the Kali-yuga as a vain and stupid people "spurred on by the lowest instincts." They prefer false ideas and do not hesitate to persecute sages. They are tormented by bodily desires. 

Severe droughts and plagues are everywhere. Slovenliness, illness, hunger and fear spread. Nations are continually at war with one another. The number of princes and farmers decline. Heroes are assassinated. The working classes want to claim regal power and enjoy royal wealth. 

Kings become thieves. They take to seizing property, rather than protecting the citizenry. New leaders emerge from the labourer class and begin to persecute religious people, saints, teachers, intellectuals, and philosophers. 

Civilization lacks any kind of Divine guidance. Sacred books are no longer revered. False doctrines and misleading religions spread across the globe. Children are killed in the wombs of their mothers. Women who have relations with several men are numerous. Predatory animals are more violent. The number of cows diminishes. 

The Linga Purana says that in the Kali-Yuga, young women freely abandon their virginity. Women, children, and cows - always protected in an enlightened society - are abused and killed during the iron age. Thieves are numerous and rapes are frequent. There are many beggars, and widespread unemployment. Merchants operate corrupt businesses. Diseases, rates, and foul substances plague the populace. Water is lacking, fruits are scarce. Everyone uses vulgar language. 

Men of the Kali-Yuga seek only money. Only the richest have power. People without money are their slaves. The leaders of the State no longer protect the people, but plunder the citizenry through excessive taxation. Farmers abandon living close to nature. They become unskilled labourers in congested cities. Many dress in rags, or are unemployed, and sleep on the streets. Through the fault of the government, infant mortality rates are high. False gods are worshiped in false ashrams, in which pilgrimages, penances, charities and austerities are all concocted. 

People in this age eat their food without washing beforehand. Monks break their vows of celibacy. Cows are kept alive only for their milk. Water is scarce. Many people watch the skies, praying for rain. No rain comes. The fields become barren. Suffering from famine and poverty, many attempt to migrate to countries where food is more readily available. People are without joy and pleasure. Many commit suicide. Men of small intelligence are influenced by atheistic doctrines. Family, clan and caste are all meaningless. Men are without virtues, purity or decency. 
[Visnu Purana 6.1]. 

Sadhana in the Kali-Yuga 
The Sastras state that the purpose of life is to move closer to God. That the person who has reached death and has not moved closer to God, is said to have led a wasted life. In this current age of Kali Yuga the spiritual process recommended by which one can move closer to God is that of devotional service and chanting the name of God. 

Recitation of the Lord's Mantra

“Punsam ekaha vai sadhya hari bhaktih 
Kalau yuge yuga antarena 
Dharma hi sevitavya narena hi”
[Padma Purana, Svarga Khanda 61.5] 

“In Kali-yuga, a person should accept only one process, that is devotional service. According to what process is decided for a particular yuga, that should be followed by everyone without fail.” 

“Kaler dosha-nidhe rajann 
Asti hy eko maha gunah 
Kirtanad eva krishnasya 
Mukta-sangah param vrajet” 

“Although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: simply by chanting the names of God, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.”
[Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.51] 

[Parts of the above, abridged from India Divine]

26 May 2023

Mahasamadhi of Bench Swami and Comet


Probably as a result of making a posting on this Blog and Website about Tinnai Swami, I received two emails (reproduced below) from an Arunachala devotee from Australia regarding an experience he and a friend had on the day of the Mahasamadhi of Sri Tinnai Swami on December 7, 2003.


Mahasamadhi of Bench Swami and Comet

"I was camped up on the mountain the day before Deepam in 2003. The next day people came up in the afternoon to join us. They told us that in the morning, Bench Swami had Mahasamadhi.

We watched from a ridge on the mountain as the fire was lit on the summit. About 5 to 10 minutes after the Flame was lit myself and my Israeli friend saw a large comet come down out of the sky and into the mountain.

It had a tail that was very long and was breaking off the back of it, the tail went through different colours, red blue, green yellow − immediately I looked at my friend and said 'Bench Swami'.

Since then, I never met anyone else apart from myself and my friend that saw the comet .... I now recently met a German man who had also witnessed the comet from the roof of Sadhu Om".


When I responded to the Arunachala devotee from Australia, he sent the below additional information. 


"The comet that we saw was nothing like a normal shooting star. It was so much bigger − about 50% the size of a full moon in the mid sky.

As it came down, it had a long tail that would break off the main section and it went through a display of colours as it came down − like through the rainbow. Red, yellow, white, blue, green.

We were camped near the cave that Omkar Amma spent time in back in 2002. From looking at the summit of the mountain and the Deepam flame, the comet came down just to our left and disappeared behind the ridge to our left.

It all happened very quick, but at the same time, strangely, very slow, maybe around a second or two at the most.

It happened 10 to 20 minutes after they had lit the flame. Both myself and my Israeli friend saw it from the ridge, and like I said, I recently talked to a friend, who saw it from the top of Sadhu Om’s place.


To those unfamiliar with Sri Tinnai Swami, I am posting below part of a moving narrative by Michael James on the life of this great sadhaka.


"Early in the morning on Deepam Day, 7th December 2003, a little-known devotee left his physical body in Tiruvannamalai, where he had lived for more than 54 years in the supreme state of atma-jnana bestowed upon him by the Grace of Sri Bhagavan.

The reason that he was so little-known, even among fellow devotees, can only be attributed to the divine Will of Sri Bhagavan, which can never be fathomed or explained by our limited human intellects. If at all any semblance of individual will could be attributed to this self-effacing devotee, he appeared to have chosen to live in such circumstances as would shield him from all but the barest minimum of public attention. Those who knew him respected that seeming choice and avoided publicising him in any way. But now that the human form has been cast off, I believe it is not inappropriate that I share with fellow devotees a little of what I know about him.


Sri Tinnai Swami

The devotee I am writing about was in his former life named Ramaswami, but for more than 40 years past he has been known as Sri Tinnai Swami, because he lived on and seldom moved away from the tinnai (masonry bench) in the verandah of the house of the family of the last Sri C.P. Nathan, who gave him food and shelter and attended to his few physical needs.

Sri Tinnai Swami was born in Coimbatore on the 12th December 1912, in a family of lawyers and doctors belonging to the small Telugu Brahmin community of that town. As a young man he was employed for many years as a biochemist in Madras Medical College, during which time he married and had four sons. Until his mid-thirties there was no indication in his outward life of the great inner and outer transformation that was to happen later."


To continue reading about the life of Sri Tinnai Swami, follow this link here:


24 May 2023

Parvathamalai Drone Video


Below is a photograph of Arunachala from the summit of nearby Parvathamalai.


To find out about the history and legends of Parvathamalai visit my website Arunachala Samudra at this link here. But first, please watch this wonderful drone video for a spectacular darshan of Parvathamalai. 




23 May 2023

Arunachala 2023 Girivalam Full Moon: Dates and Timings


Below is an extract from the Skanda Purana Chapter 9, verses 34-50 which explains the significance of Arunachala girivalam.


If anyone regularly circumambulates the Lord in the form of Sonacala, he has no rebirth. He shall certainly attain eternity.


If a person takes even a step by way of circumambulation, the entire earth is sanctified by coming into contact with the dust of his feet.


With palms joined in reverence he should make obeisance in every direction. He should then meditate and eulogize. He should circumambulate slowly without his hand touching anyone else.


Without any agitation, without even hearing the sound of his own steps, the devotee should circumambulate in the manner of a woman walks when delivery is imminent.


The learned devotee should put on a clean dress after bath. He should apply sacred ash over his body and adorn himself with rudraksa beads. Remembering Siva he should take steps slowly.


He should think about the likelihood of collision with thousands of Devas, invisible Siddhas and others of gaseous forms. He should be a true devotee and go ahead slowly putting down his steps along the path.


Or the devotee should circumambulate along with other devotees chanting the names of Siva, singing excellent songs and dancing like Siva.


Or he should, with his mind not dwelling on anything else, listen respectfully to my greatness and circumambulate slowly feeling the thrill of the bliss.


He must offer different kinds of charitable gifts. He must perform meritorious deeds. He should render assistance to supplicants. He should be pious and merciful in a manner he thinks best. Thus he should move around.


In Krtayuga the Linga is fiery. In Treta it is a jewel mountain. In Dwapara one should think about it as golden and in Kaliyuga it is an emerald mountain.


Or he can meditate upon the red crystalline form that is self-luminous. Meditating thus, he will be freed from all sins. He shall go to the city of Siva.


This Linga with the name of Arunachala is the greatest on account of its inscrutability resulting from its state of not being an object of speech and mind and also because of its fiery nature. It is unapproachable. But I become approachable immediately to the person who circumambulates after meditation.



7 December 2022

Deepam 2022: Day 10 — Tuesday 6 December


Bharani Deepam early morning December 6, 2022

Mahadeepam, Dusk December 6, 2022: Temple



Mahadeepam, Dusk December 6, 2022: Arunachala Summit

Temple Lights from Arunachala Summit

16 April 2022

Chitra Pournami 2022: Early morning crowds


The largest Arunachala girivalam crowds are experienced at the time of Karthigai Mahadeepam. However after thatthe second most attended girivalam is held to be that performed at the time of Chithirai Pournami. 

This year Tiruvannamalai District is set to witness up to 2 million devotees for the occasion of Chithirai Pournami. The three photographs posted below are of the early build-up of devotees here to observe this significant occasion.


Devotees near Alankaram Mandapam, in front of East Gate of Temple. Arunachala in background.

Early morning crowds milling around on Car Street

Devotees on the streets of Tiruvannamalai for the occasion of 2022 Chitra Pournami


Significance of 2022 Chitra Pournami


The 2022 Chitra Pournami is being observed at Arunachala on the full moon day of Chithirai (i.e. April-May). This year the full moon falls between April 16-17, 2022. The time of Chitra Pournami is regarded as one in which to satisfy Chitragupta, the chief accountant of Yama, who is believed to record the commissions and omissions by men in order to punish or reward them after their death. 

Chitra Pournami is said to be conducive to human happiness. Further, if the occasion happens to fall on a Thursday, Saturday or Sunday, it is considered specially auspicious and important. 

Chitragupta is the God responsible for tracking people through their lives to determine where they go after they die. He is the son of Lord Brahma, the creator of the Universe. 

In one version of the creation myth of Chitragupta, it is said that Lord Brahma gave the land of the dead over to the god Yama. Yama was confused at the number of dead souls who came to him, and would sometimes send the wrong soul to heaven or to hell. Lord Brahma commanded Yama to keep better track of everyone but Yama explained it was not possible to keep track of life forms in all the three worlds. 

Lord Brahma, determined to solve this problem for Yama, sat in meditation for many thousands of years. Finally he opened his eyes, and a man stood before him with a pen and paper. As Chitragupta was born of Lord Brahma’s body, Brahma declared that his children would forever be known as Kayasthas. As he was first conceived in Brahma’s mind, or "chitra", and then made whole in secrecy, or "gupta", away from the other gods, he was named Chitragupta. 


Chitragupta: Keeper of the Registry


Chitragupta is sometimes also referred to as the first man to use letters. He is known as being meticulous, and tracks with pen and paper every action of every sentient life form, building a record of them over the course of their life so that when they die the fate of their soul can be easily determined. 

At the time of birth and death of an individual, adjustments in his accounts are made, either in the shape of fresh entries or by the removal of certain entries already in existence. The consciousness controlling this adjustment is Yama, the god of death and his accountant Chitragupta stands figuratively for the cosmic ledger of the accounts of jivas’ commissions and omissions—physical, emotional or mental. 

These complete documents are referred to in mystical traditions as the “Akashic” records, and as they contain the actions of each person from birth to death, they can be said to contain every action taken in the Universe. 

Items associated with Chitragupta in his puja include writing paper, pen, ink, honey, betel nut, matches, mustard, sugar, sandalwood and frankincense. A puja is often performed to Chitragupta in reverence of the four virtues he is seen to embody: justice, peace, literacy, and knowledge. Part of the Chitragupta puja also includes writing down how much money you make in your household, and how much you need to make to survive in the following year, while making offerings of turmeric, flowers, and vermilion.