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.
VIOLENCE AND METAPHYSICS
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
BEING and CONCEALMENT
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
LOVE AND OVERCOMING CONCEALMENT.
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.
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.