Hermeneutics and Metaphysics 6-10

 Essays by Dr K.Loganathan

[ 6. The World as TEXT; 7. Violance and Metaphysics; 8 BEING and Concealment; 9.  Love and Overcoming Concealment; 10. The Metaphysics of Sexuality]

 Hermeneutics & Metaphysics -6

The World as Text

Philosophy in the genuine sense of the word or metaphysics as such begins when we take the WHOLE WORLD as a TEXT that needs to be understood.  Because the SEEING the  WORLD AS TEXT  is textual, the Global , Local and Sequential  organizational structures pertain to it.  There is also from the communicative point of view the  Extentional-Intentional structures as integral components of it..  It is this distinction  that in traditional metaphysics, both in the East and the West , that goes by the name of Appearance vs Reality, phenomenal vs noumenal, physical vs metaphysical and so forth.  It is also  with this kind of SEEING presupposed that Meykandar begins his celebrated Civanjanaabotham,  quite unique in this not only in India but also the whole world.   BEING is shown as the Ground of WORLD INTENTIONALITY   where it is shown to exist as the ordaining principle, the ANai , the presence of which is felt by us in our moral struggles.  Our ethical constitution forces us to acknowledge  a transpersonal SOURCE for our ethical essence , that which is ABSOLUTELY PURE and which in turn purifies us.

In this he distingushes himself from the Vedantic where inquiry begins with  " Then therefore  the enquiry into Brahman" which ALREADY presuposses the TRUTH of Brahman,  the reality of which  is one of the central questions of genuine philosophical/metaphysical enquiries.

Meykandar avoids this  by taking the World as TEXT which is COMMON to all  and constitutes THAT which needs to be understood and without anything like Brahman. to begin with at least.

 In Civanjaanabootham the presence of BEING itself is shown by taking the WORLD AS TEXT  and noting the discontructive (sangkaram) processes there. The reader is taken through journey where the eyes are opened  and through unfailing logical reasoning is taken  towards seeing for himself the presence of BEING, the Primordial as that  capable of the  disconstructive-disclosive processes, the cangkaara kaaraNaakiya mutal .

The world  as a whole  has  the WHOLE-PART structure  for anyone to see who, on seeing it,  would NOT dismiss the EXTENTIONAL  as mythiya, an illusion, an incomprehensible magic-like reality etc.  But in addition to this it has also the Athikaara muRaimai, a sequentiality  though at this level it  is also cyclic or repetitive. The whole  world is WITHDRAWN and reissued, terminated and reinitiated, dissolved and disclosed, disconstructed and renewed. And this  episodizing happens at all levels, the Global and Local. The whole world and everything in it, the microscopic and the macroscopic  , the psychical and physical  are NOT FREE of these episodizing-         ------ terminating the ongoing and initiating something else simultaneously as there now and which before was concealed.   A close look at these episodizations disclose the five-fold component processes of : production, sustenance, disconstruction and through these those of REVEALING and HIDING, the Pancakrityas which are also understood as the functions of mantra  ci-va-ya-na-ma. The AGENTIVE CAUSE, Nimitta Kaaranan , of these  episodizing activities is BEING for which reason HE is also known as Pancha kiruttian,  THAT which is the agent of these five fold processes.

Now it is only at this point the difference between Tamil Vaishnavism and Saivism emerges at least in the version of Visistavaita. While Vaishnavism sees and acknowledges the Whole-Part structure of the world  and builds its metaphysics, that which goes under the name of Visistatvaitam, on it,  it FAILS to see  the Sequential Structure, the Athikaara muRaimai, the presence of DYNAMIC MOVEMENT, the Dance that is universally present and which pertains  also to the world as a Whole.   Nammazvaar noted this but his insight here  was NOT developed further by the VaishaNava Acaryas , it would appear. BEING as the world as a whole and thus contains as its bodily parts everything in it is Narayana, the ancient  Purusha  .  Not that it  is false but this Narayana does NOT  DANCE and hence BEING as Narayana is only a  PARTIAL understanding, that which enables us to comprehend the Whole-Part Structure but not  the MOVEMENT based Sequential Structure.

Now it is NOT that , to be fair,  Vaishnavism does  comprehend the Pancakritiyas  -BEING , but it  appears to see it,  within  BEING-IN-the-WORLD, as the functions of the antharyaami.   But however the point of Meykandar is that    to disconstruct the World as a WHOLE , the BEING must be Transcendent to it.  The BEING IN the whole world as only the IMMANENT reality CANNOT disconstruct the whole world as such.

But why this is important?

It  is enormously important for  it is the understanding of BEING as the absolutely transcendental to the whole world  in addition to being immanent, that we begin to UNDERSTAND the presence of ANAVAM as the metaphysical substance underlying the destructive but NOT the productive and BEING as Siva,  HE who  SAVES the psychic entities by exerting his POWER over it.  In failing to transcend the World as a Whole  and remaining  fixed  to being IN it, Visistatvaitam fails to acknowledge the presence of ANaavam and hence works with a Fundamental Ontology that is quite  defective in an important way.

Now Advaita Vedanta by dismissing the whole world as magical, irreal, dream-like , illusory i.e. aarObitham, addhyaasa and so forth  fails to SEE the whole world as a TEXT with a duality of structure.  By wrongly interpreting the Neti, the negation of the Upanisads,  it DOES NOT  SEE  the world as whole that points towards an INTENTIONALITY,  through its EXTENTIONALITY.. the Deep Structure through the Surface Structure features.

These differences are NOT minor. They mean totally different  ways of life and have different kinds of implications not only for the  religious but also the personal and social existence.



Hermeneutics and Metaphysics 7


It is generally  little  known that metaphysical life  is in fact  violent, violence turned inwards against the beastly ANavam that obscures visions  and thereby disallows the souls   from  glowing in TRUTH,  in Pure Light.   Also as the real Satan, with demonic powers  to  pull unto itself and cause self destruction thereby , cause both psychical and physical death as such, it has to be BATTLED with in order to escape from its ghastly pulls.  All severe penances, self mortifications , the denial  of the "pleasures of  the flesh"  are expressions of this violence, directed of course inwards at the level of metaphysical existence. But prior to that it may express itself as social  violence  that we see among the religious along with enormous amount  of self sacrifice  . Only the VIOLENT can sacrifice self  which is in fact KILLING the EGO and offering it to  BEING.

Selflessness is a product of violence of self over itself.

This is kind of violance that all great shapers of civilization :  Mahavira , Buddha , Jesus,  Prophet Mohamed Appar Sambantar  and a host others practiced .  They waged wars physical or intellectual not like a king who  wants to gain  sovereignty  over the lands but rather DESTROY the  hold of ANavam , the Satanic forces and  bring back civilization.

And they  fought all these battles as surrogates to divine powers  that takes control over them and hence transpersonal in their thinking acting.

BEING itself is VIOLENT for it has to BREAK the primeaval DARKNESS spread by ANavam in order to SHED LIGHT.   In the beginning there was DARKNESS, only chaos of Darkness and it has to be violated to make present  Light and hence consciousness.

But this violence is out of LOVE, in order to do GOOD for the infinite number of souls   that remain atomic and TOTALLY blind in the bosom of ANavam  that is BLINDNESS itself. Each violent burst  of BEING , the productive intrusion,  is shedding light, making VISION as such possible for  the souls and because of which they break lose of blindness and atomicity and begin to SEE, of course, in stages.

BEING is violent only because it is LOVE supreme. And this is where it differs from  the violence  that is evil and criminal.  The violence of BEING is the violence of a HERO  who  provides SECURITY through  battling the evil  forces and keeping them at bay .  Without the VIOLENCE of BEING  the creatures are NOT SAFE against  the bestiality of ANavam.  BEING because  HE  is benign also becomes the Rudra and the Terrible Mother Kali  and so forth ,  all to provide security for the creatures  so that they can  sojourn safely  in their metaphysical search.

The destructive and gruesome archetypal presentations -- Rudra, Kali, Durga ,  Narasimma and so forth are also benign like a Hero  who brings and provides security and hence prosperity for the people.

The leader who turns out  to be HERO  is the type of individuals who can provide the right leadership and take the people  in the RIGHT WAY, the TiruneRi.

BEING as the violent throws the creatures into sufferings   that are Tiikkai, burning off the inherent atomisers, the mummalam  by throwing them into the deserts , into the fires. At  physical level, there  is actually  walking over the fire,   sufferings through self denial and social isolation.  At metaphysical level, however  they become intense thinking , meditation and so forth  that breaks through the metaphysical IGNORANCE and secures  a PURER WORLD. The acts of meditation are acts of violence that  removes the dirt within and brings about self purification.

Only those who cannot face and execute INNER VIOLANCE set up certain scriptures as  THE authoritative and REFUSE thereby  to think and effect the metaphysical inner violance.


Hermeneutics and Metaphysics 8


What gives the unique flavour to the  Dravidian Philosophical Tradition is the distinctive Literary Hermeneutics that we find in the end part of Marapiyal  in Tolkaappiyam,  the like of which are not anywhere else as far I know.  It is the extention of this to the field of metaphysics that we find in the early history of Dravidian Philosophy that led to the displacement of the  incomplete  metaphysics of the  Buddhists , Jains ,  Vedanties and others.  What Meykandar does,  certainly to his eternal credit,  is to generalize  the  literary Hermeneutics of Marapiyal  as the methodology of Philosophical Hermeneutics and applying it  NOT only to the scriptural texts but to  the WHOLE WORLD  as a Text.  He generalizes not only the notion  of  utti, the interpretive movements of understanding that illuminates the mind, to make a literary text translucent  but also the notion of TEXT  itself;  it is  generalized to include not only the world as whole but ANYTHING that is encountered by Human Understanding itself .  Human understanding is there as such and such  only because there is SEEING and there is seeing only  because there is a SHOWING  and of   course that which shows is BEING.  And seeing  generates texts  because the showing itself is TEXTUAL. For who else or what else can show in this TEXTUAL manner such that the creatures can SEE? Retain it and begin to understand?

The BEING that SHOWS can show   the most appropriate and relevant  for the creatures only because IT stands nonalien  to the selves;  the BEING is with the selves, along with them and also ABOVE them. For showing requires that BEING sees exactly where the self is and in what condition it is. This cannot happen unless  IT is WITH them and  continuously ALONG with  them. ( onRaay, udanaay). But it has to be ABOVE the selves also in order to SHOW, to project a way on Being as possibility for the self to be,  if it chooses so  (veeRaay) and articulate That I am, i. e. tat twam asi?

God is not dead as Nietshe claimed  but only we are dead to His Presence. may be this is what Niteshe meant in the first -- human thinking having become arid and atomic with its blindness to the  presnce of BEING

But despite all these ways of  the presence of BEING in the  Being of the creatures how is that most of the creatures are largely UNAWARE of BEING as such?

Another way of putting it , why is  there  IGNORANCE called Avidya, anjnjanam and so forth in Indian philosophical tradition? Not simply ignorance that is because of  metaphysical blindness  but even given the capacity for acute thinking, including that of brilliant epistemologists and what  not,  there is not admiting the presnece of BEING and accomodting oneself to  it?

Well we should note here that there is abconsciousness, not preconscious , subconscious , unconscious etc. but rather  ABSENCE of the consciousness of the presence of BEING.  This we note because of CONCEALMENT, the THIROBAVA, a casting a screen  by BEING itself so that the creatures can go on existing as if BEING is NOT THERE. The visions of BEING are blocked  off so that  the creatures are NOT AWARE and go on  living blissfully in their materialism or physicalism, in the IGNORANCE of the presence of BEING.

BEING conceals  Himself  even from the intelligent  only because  such people  lack aruL,  the presence of Grace in their bosom that would make them   LOVE and CARE for  creatures other than himself?herself. BEING wothdraws from loveless  heart  and for which reason  advotes that we should pray for LOVE towards all ( attuvitu anbin tozu)

This is the origin of ATHEISM and the various of logical positivisms ,  and materialistic idealogies the Indian and European, the Godless metaphysics of various kinds.

However this is also an expression of the GRACE of BEING, for Godless metaphysics have a place in the evolution of Human Understanding. The physical has to understood in its PHYSICALITY prior to understanding  the BEING  that is IN it  and transcends it.


Hermeneutics and Metaphysics -9


Man is IGNORANT and this  he has been so from the most ancient times; the earlier we go into human evolution through regression  into his primordiality the more ignorant he is seen to be.  The absolute limit in this  evolutionary regression is a condition of ABSOLUTE DARKNESS, the Sutta Kevalam,  as the Saivas would say.  That which creates this primordial condition AGAINST which he has to FIGHT is the ANavam, the metaphysical stuff; the Black Mass  that does nothing but to destroy everything that surrounds it and comes its way. It is LIGHT HUNGRY,  destroys and dissolves  LIGHT wherever it is and in whatever form it occurs and breeds through that Darkness.  When BEING, that remains transcendent even to this  and sheds light by VIOLATING the hold of ANavam, the human psyche gets EYES TO SEE, no matter how primitive may be the vision. Right at that moment, the psyche becomes PHYSICAL-METAPHYSICAL, bipolar in structure that Tirumular first articulates as "sat-asattu aanmaa" , the psyche that is simultaneously  physical  and metaphysical, that which seeks the absolute as well as the nonabsolute.  The LIGHT draws  the souls through a psychic phototropism of its own, unto BEING making it METAPHYSICAL  and the DARKNESS   breeding  Anavam too attracts  it   through making DEATH desirable  and hence PHYSICAL.

In the bososm of man three is both EROS and THANATOS ,( thanks to FREUD here) always in conflict.;  the question: to be or not to be    always raising its ugly head  creating a crisis  both personal and cultural.

 Suruppak  NeRi (Su.na.ri) of Suruppak,  the Sumerian sage of ancient times  begins his NeRi (na.ri) with the immesely arresting cosmological thoughts   " u-ri-a u sud-ra ri-a    "  which should be understood  as : Ta. uu eria uu suud-ra eri-a : the time when  there was  fire (light) , the time when there was  hot fire balls" and so forth.

The cosmology and in which creature evolution is written begins when   the Darkeness of Emptiness  (Su. gi-ria)  was shattered by  fires  of molten  lava  spilling out , a  notion perhaps suggested to them by the observation of volcanic eruptions  in vicinity they might  have lived ( the Indonesian archipelago,  as I have argued for elsewhere)

When man becomes PHYSICAL and neglects the metaphysical, he becomes  GODLESS and hence beastly, the pure acquisitive economic man who sees everything in terms of economics, measures happiness in terms of economic prosperity like the modern Western man, lost in the desert heat of meaninglessness that he calls postmodernism with its NIHILISM.  Disruption of both personal and social becomes the rule of the day  and AGGRESSION, the desire to KILL becomes the ruling passion.  Modern positive science  is methodical aggression on Nature, robing the treasures buried there  through mindless and violent intrusion. The LAND ceases to be  the SACRED PLACE, the Talam of Gods, a PLACE where divine powers make their presence visible to the physical eyes, a TEMPLE like it was for the ancients and like it is for the primitive people in thier pristine naivety.

However when the notion of SCIENCE  gets liberated from its physicalism  and made HERMENEUTICAL and through that made to recover its originality, it becomes  a tool for recovering the METAPHYSICAL WAY OF being, of living, of Existing.  It allows DISCONSTRUCTION, destroy the ongoing and through that allow the emergence of the higher. Sometimes in this the personal evolutionary ASCENDANCE  where  the  mesmerizing , the spellbinding  magical attractions of the PHYSICAL, the maayasakti  (thanks to Sankara here) of  the purely material ,  is overcome   and the metaphysical GROUND attained.

It is at  this point that CONCEALMENT ( Ta.tirobavam)   as instituted by BEING is recognized as DISTINCT from the DARKNESS   injected by Anavam .   Concealment is positive in its effect. It promotes the noblest sentiments and highest forms of SACRIFICE.

It is concealment that institutes the philosophical quest, the free expression   of search for the deepest where every discovery ushers in  a fundaments shift in paradigm and for which reason the conservatives, particularly in religion , always  try to arrest it for fear of  losing their   well entrenched position

And most importantly , every penetration into the Depths     develops LOVE  and shapes man as  more humane and divine. And  to the measure  LOVE grows and becomes more and more UNIVERSAL ,   to that measure the  transcendent CONCEALMENT is also withdrawn.

Hindu life as dominated by Brahamanism  , submerging the LOVE fostering Bakthi ,  has become loveless life with the mind  caught in the prison of caste and which makes even human interactions  to be  analyzed and regulated in terms of caste distinctions with so many social taboos .

The average  Hindu person at the moment appears  NOT to be able think  beyond caste, free of caste   moorings coming from his birth , as his birth mark.

Where there is no LOVE, where there is no Bakthi,  there appears to be no genuine objectivity also.

This life of LOVE unto BEING in which  the transcendental concealment gets slowly withdrawn is the genuine life of Bakthi, of loving devotion to BEING.  And because the death-bringing  ANavam, always there ever ready to jump back and imprison the mind , is kept at  bay , life is joyful , full of bliss, with love unto  all irrespective of whatever difference that may prevail.

Life with BEING and hence genuine  metaphysical life cannot but be beautiful and full of Happiness,  a life of CONTENTMENT and fulfilment.,  and it must added here, of Service or ToNdu.  It is NOT an accident that the Bakthi revolutionaries are  called TituttoNdar - the noble servants --  and caste disctinctions among them was supremely irrelevant.

All the earthly and physical desires are transmuted  into the transpersonal and universal and hence given the eyes of Grace , the ArutkaN, that does not   see any difference even if it prevails.


Hermeneutics and Metaphysics -10

The Metaphysics of Sexuality

The Sexuality of man and woman remains a fundamental factor of phenomenal existence.  Being born means being born as female or as a male or somewhere in between  with more or less of the feminine  or masculine constituting elements. The sexual attractions on which the world moves  comes to be with these sexual differentiations at birth.   This difference have been examined biologically  psychologically and so forth right from ancient times sometimes  scientifically,  sometimes magically and sometimes even mythically. It has been a topic that has preoccupied man quite extensively and  for quite  a long time. But the mystery still remains and sufficient light has not been thrown into it.  And that despite even modern scientific   studies of such sexual differentiations. There is this  genetical explanation in terms of the DNA structures. There is also the biological , that which looks at organismic  and hormonal differences , how conception occurs a child is  brought into the world etc.  There is also the psychological , how the thinking of man and woman differs and sometimes even how they are related to the hemispherical differentiations and brain specializations.

I am NOT denying the relevance and importance of such studies but certainly feel that the ROCK BOTTOM of such inquiries has NOT been  reached and we can never till we become metaphysical.  Of all the explanations the metaphysical is the most abstract, the deepest, the most profound  and hence the most illuminating. Every earthly phenomena has its own metaphysical explanation which , I must mention here , belongs  to the Hermeneutic Science, in the way I conceive it.  One more important thing about this metaphysical-- it is transcultural and hence universal. The Western man cannot have a metaphysical explanation  different from the Eastern man etc.  The metaphysical explanations are NOT scientific theories  that change according to the times with shifts in paradigms such as Kuhn and many others  have observed.

 The metaphysical level is a level of permanence  and NO CHANGE and hence in a way can be only repetitive, requiring retelling  the SAME OLD STUFF but clothed perhaps differently.

Sexuality has found such a metaphysical explanation and it is found in the Saivism of Tamils, Taoism of the Chinese and in the Analytical Psychology of Jung  and in Islamic alchemy and so forth. They explain it it terms of TWO fundamental metaphysical structures, the Tatvas of Natham and Bindu, Yin and Yang  the Sun and Moon principles and the Animus and Anima.

The meanings may differ slightly but the fundamental similarity remains.  A psyche is born as Male when  there is an IMBALANCE created by the Dominance  of Natham and Suppression of Bindu. A psyche is born a Female and when the converse takes place. And this  suppressing one to let another dominate belongs to the DANCE of BEING, the Civa Nadaraja, the way BEING  plays  with the existence of the psychic entities  and that too in relation to its own karma.  And most important of all , it is this fundamental imbalace that makes the man and woman SEXUAL!

The man lacking Bindu in his innermost psychical structure seeks a Woman as his sexual mate  to neutralize this fundamental imbalance and vice versa for the woman.  The sexual union both at the physical and psychical level discloses the attainment and enjoyment of this neutralization, the androgyneity.  The   androgeneity thus attained, through love and marriage  provides a STABILITY of a kind and hence a piece of mind that releases  the man or woman for further action. Those who have attained it through marriage but later lost it through divorce seek to replace it with another man or woman  at the lower stages  of being just physical but with BEING itself  when they are metaphysical.  BEING appears as WOMAN for such males and MAN for such females and when we talk of Marriage   with BEING,  sexuality becomes Divine Sexuality , a kind of bakthi such as that ANdal, Karaikkaal Peyar Namazvar  Manikkavasakar and a host of others.. The divinely sexual becomes because of this' part of the genuinely religious life.

The enormous importance of this metaphysical insight is that it TELLS us how to OVERCOME sexuality.  We   CANNOT kill sexuality through dietary control such as spiceless tasteless vegetarian diet. We cannot also overcome it through Hatha Yoga or such severe kind of Yoga  practices that  are  stipulated for such purposes.  The sexual man has to LIVE with sexual woman and vice versa  in order to attain the BALANCE  in Natham Bindu composition.   Through such an  UNDERSTANDING,  we also see that it can be overcome when the psych becomes through cohabittance ANDROGYNOUS in itself. Saivism sees BEING itself as Ardhanari,  the Ammaiyappar, a half male and half female  archetype in order to project a psychical possibility that all psyches  can own and finally BE. It is at this point that genuine  asceticism comes to prevail, an asceticism that does  NOT suppress and repress and hence full of inner struggles but rather NATURAL and SPONTANEOUS such as that of VaLLalar.    At this point  or at least at a level of development very close to this, marriage becomes not just unnecessary but rather a burden.

It is NOT an accident that only in genuine religious life that such an androgyneity is attainable . For genuine religious life -- not the cultic and dogmatic-- there is vital and immensely alive and thriving union with BEING and hence  the enjoyment of this  Basic Neutrality.  The metaphysical life is the only life that can saturate the immensely deep sexual craving. Where the culture kills metaphysics through ridicule, misrepresentations  and deliberate dilution of its DEPTHS, we have the emergence of the deviant sexuality, homosexuality  of various kinds.  The solution lies in  metaphysics, a religion that is genuinely metaphysical and hence that which allows the symbolical way of life.