Essays by Dr K.Loganathan
[ 11. The Metaphysics of Creativity;
12. Noting the presence of BEING; 13.
How do I come to know BEING is, that God is?; 14. Being with BEING; 15. I am This and That and This ...: The "tat twam asi" ]
The Metaphysics of Creativity
The body is that with which I WRITE both verbal and nonverbal TEXTS. I create them, utilizing forces most often unconscious. Where the TEXTS are deep and profound , I touch upon GROUNDS that normally remain INACCESSIBLE. Accessing the distant and deep and putting the accessed into words and symbols constitute an act of CREATIVITY, an act that makes me a genius in the eyes of the ordinary. But only when I appropriate the TEXTS thus produced , only when I UNDERSTAND them that I really incorporate them as part of myself.
My UNDERSTANDING gets transformed and through that I get transformed too. I am NO MORE the person I was. Understanding the texts I produced is actually understanding myself, concretizing the POSSIBILITIES that I am ;SEEING myself as the one who has actualized some possibilities that hitherto were simply floating, if at all. That which I actualize, is actualy transforming the mere possibilities that float like the formless clouds in the sky into concrete objects in the world---- poetry, scriptures, novels, monuments, institutions etc., and these tell me what I am really capable of. The purely caattiyam , the possible becomes a 'mey', a truth, a reality.They become, through my agency PORUL- a thing of the world, a thing that is real and no more simply an idea.
In thus realizing some possiblities as my own now, I also learn that they reveal to me my Being- in- the -World which is always an issue with me , a painful issue for the philosophic mind. My productions, things that acquire a reality solely because of me, TELL something about me, to me as well as to the world that acquaints itself with my textual productions. It becomes then part of the History, of a tradition. They give substance and shape to a tradition.
But what my texts tell can be understood only painfully, the deeper the text, the more SYMBOLIC it is the more difficult the process of understanding. And more PERMANENCE for the text! The metaphysical understanding, the most profound understanding of Human Existence, is NOT easy to appropriate and therefore always those who venture are very few. Not only that . Only the most profoundly DISTURBED by an easiness born of recognition of ignorance within , would venture into it as way of acquiring a cure for their existential anguish, mental disturbance , philosophical uneasiness of a profound kind.
A man quite happy and contented with ordinary gifts of life cannot be a metaphysical genious.
Self-understanding cannot issue forth in detached and empty meditations. When metaphysical thinking is NOT prompted by deep understanding-related disturbances, that make the person withdraw from the world, sit in solitude and wonder , there can be only a show of meditation but not real meditation. In genuine mediations, there is an attempt to UNDERSTAND texts, produced by oneself or otherwise, not the shallow chatter-like texts but those that are metaphysically enigmatic and challenging.
The first step is to SEE one's own productions -- both verbal and nonverbal-- as TEXTS, and for this one has to lift up oneself from the naivety of everyday involvement, the existential involvement that drowns one in the mundane and earthly; the sensorial that entertains but does not inform. And this is NOT that easy. For the average person there must be sensorial stimulations of all kinds and all the times. He cannot stand the senses being numb and dull . Only those who can do this effortlessly can be genuinely meditative, access the hitherto unaccessed depths and through that become genuinely creative.
The detaching of oneself from the imprisonment of everyday experience, , the natural, and as expounded by Thirumular, is a precondition for gaining a profound understanding , clear and certain, i.e. the axiomatic TRUTHS, the pirimaaNaas of Meykandar. The pre interrogative naive understanding is confused, cloudy and full of painful uncertainties. In contrast to this the post TEXT interrogative explorations that really accesses Depths are clear , certain and well founded so that BELIEVE in them remains unsubverted.
In the West, Descartes begins such TEXT-interrogations, the founding of Metaphysics as the most profound Hermeneutic Science. However because he was NOT clear and subsequent Western history of Cartesian Meditations obscured further the Hermeneutical orientations, the whole of Metaphysics becomes trivialized and empty of existential import. Even the heroic attempts of Husserl to rescue the tradition of Cartesian meditations through phenomenology ended up at a dead end because of the ABSENCE of hermeneutic orientation.
This is where Dravidian philosophical tradition becomes something vital for world civilization, a tradition that has not been given the place it rightly deserves . For at least from the days of Tolkaappiyam(3rd cent B.C) despite being assailed by the positivisms of Buddhism, Janinism and idealisms of Vedanta, it remained steadfastly Hermeneutical whenever it asserted its originality. All the greatest books in Tamil philosophy: Tholkaappiyam, ThirukkuRaL, Thirumanthiram, Thiruvaymozi, Sivanjanaabotham Sicanjana Siddhiyar etc. more or less retain this hermeneutic orientation; the most rigorous and profound being undoubtedly the Sivanjanabotham of Meykandar.
India became dravidianized at first through Nyaya that was a development of Tolkaappiyam and later by Bakthi movement that gave rise to different schools of Vedanta but now not acknowledged by the historians of Indian Philosophy who appear not to be able to see beyond the Vedas and Vedantas.
Hermeneutics and Metaphysics -12
Noting the presence of BEING
One of the most ridiculous notions in Indian circles is that divine knowledge is only for the priviliged few especially the Brahmanah whose Dharma is Brahmavidya or whatever and becuase of which they deserve an honourable place in the social hierarchy. But is this ture?
I am not a Brhamanah at all but rather the son of a small businessman and many of whose relatives remain the poor rubber tappers. Because of this, is divine wisdom Brahmavidya denied to me? Even if it not denied, do I have to study the Vedas sitting in front of Vedic Rishi with folded arms?
Certainly not. Despite by birth and despite the fact I don't study the Vedas I am NOT denied the Absolute Illuminations. But how is that possible?
When one tears oneself away from the naive and natural existence and manages to stand OUTSIDE it and manage to see it as a whole, an understanding of the world constituted as for him emerges. Since it SEEN as such , it becomes also a TEXT, with the duality of structure--- the Surface (appearance etc) Deep (reality etc) Here nobody can help except myself : I have to DISCONSTRUCT the naivity in which I lived and wrest out by Being from being caught fiendishly by that naivity.
And this possiblity is something I have in my bosom and it has nothing to do at all either with my birth or my familiarity with Vedas Agamas and such other scriptures. I can memorise the Vedas and other scriptures and recite with impeccable intonation contours tones cadences and what not. All these are useless unless I disconstruct my naivity and liberate myself from the naive naturalness. And certainly I can do this without knowing a single word from the Vedas as thousands have done in the world.
Now seeing the world as a TEXT is an important departure in the metaphysical journey. For it is at this point that the Presence and Truth of BEING begins to be grasped. For if the world is a TEXT then there must the WRITER, the Author as the Deep Structure element of the World as Text. BEING is not just simply the Brahman, the resplent principle from which emerges all and into which everything is resolved back.
BEING as the Writer of the World as TEXT and who continues to WRITE unfailingly and because of which we have the vast drama that we call the cosmos , that we call existence , is the Nimitta KaaraNan, the Agentive Cause, THAT because of which the world is and is as it is.
And because of this we also understnad BEING as pancakrittiyan, HE who is the source of the Universal Praxis of production maintainance annihilation and all as a way of Disclosing Himself and which is opposed to Concealing.
Now this metaphysical understnading is also vital for understanding myself. For when I understand BEING as the Agent of the Universal Praxis, it also follows that I am NOT that BEING for I am toally incapable of this Universal Praxis. I am a limited person, a microscopic miscule in the vast universe, finite, imperfect delimited and so forth. I can approprite the Universal Praxis as such and excute various kinds actions as for myself but I am NOT the source of these praxis -- they are already there as something beyond me and becausse of which I am what I am -- a miserable creature researching into this and that and exulting in the little lights of illuminations that I occasionally experience.
In the light of this how are to understnad the Mahavaakkiyas such as " Aham Brahmam asmi" etc?
BEING plays a game with me : He leads me to think that I am Brahmam itself inorder to transfom my humble and extremely delimited self into a radiant being, acquire a way of Being -in-the -World in which my understanding is absolutely CLEAR and Universal , where I understnad everything translucently, i.e without any opacity.
It is because of an ACT of BEING that I can articulate "aham Brahman asmi" etc.
So has said Meykandar in the 13th cent. itself, the greatest philosopher of India but hardly known even in India. Is it because he was a nonbrahmin and wrote in Tamil?
Hermeneutics and Metaphysics -13
How do I come to know BEING is, that God is?
Let us hold onto rather firmly firmly to the disconstruction from my naivete engrossment with the natural and through that gaining a vision of the world as a TEXT , the most inclusive one at that. It is a vision that has been lurking in my bosom and now through hermeneutic efforts of my own I have made it shine forth and determine my vision , how I see the world. It is NOT an invention or a construction of my own. I cannot simply invent or construct visions. I have not learned it from the Vedas or the Agamas or any other scripture, for visions cannot be learned this way. It has been there all along within me as the cuukkumam, the unrealized and now become a tuulam, the manifest.
In this I see that it is entirely out of my own efforts that I accomplish this. My studies of philosophical and religious literature and so forth may just help but do not by themselves bring it about. I have to REFLECT metaphysically and spend tremendous amount of psychic energy to gain this vision. It is a heroic effort of a kind .
In this I notice that I must have a metaphysical courage, the courage to continuously free myself from all fishing nets of traditional thinking that would like to capture myself and imprison me in their traditional lores and through that give me an identity -- a man of this gotra , of his caste, of this sect, of this religion, of this idealogy, of this symbolic marks and thousands of such others . I can know them but must NOT allow them trap myself and imprison me. I must FREE myself from them and become PURE in order to gain this vision and be in it. When i succumbe to their pulls I become dirtied, a man operating various kinds of prejudices.
They want to cheat themselves by the largeness of the number of adherents as if that constitutes the criteria of TRUTH without realizing that TRUTH has nothing to do with number, there may be TRUTH but not owned even by a single individual.
And when I can gain this vision and get engrossed in it, then I notice that its points beyond itself to a DEEP STRUCTURE, just as the face of my beloved would go beyond itself and point towards her heart. There is the being of BEING as that which enpresents the World as such. The BEING here is not Heideggerian Being , the way of being of the the humans, existence, the Da-Sein ( if I have understood it properly) but rather the metaphysical substance that remains the Causative Ground for all that is, exists or has being, the Civam where " ci ' means being-there-as such, thrusting itself out as -there out of an absence of presence, being covered up from showing itself as there.
With this understanding firmly established, the WORLD ceases to be pure physical and becomes immensely spiritual. And along with it , I cease to be a materialist or even a Marxist or a secularist of whatever kind. The BEING being-there is a TRUTH that I cannot deny it. I have not been deluded into it as I gained this understanding all by myself through disconstructive efforts of my own. The World as a TEXT is a vision that I can gain again and again , get engrossed in it and through that SEE the presence of BEING, BEING being-there as the world and as responsible for all that transpires there.
And in this I notice that I am NOT the maker of myself, of what I am --- I am shaped constituted formed etc, i.e there is an authorship for my being in the world as such and such. My little authorship is itself a miniscule of a large authorship; I am an author only because BEING is an AUTHOR. Thus in my being-there-in the -world , there is already being-there of BEING but somehow concealed from me untill I effect all these disconstructions and gain these visions!
Hence I am moved to say : I exist , therefore BEING is. (Ta. naan
vaazkinReen, athanaal iRaivan irukkinRaan)
But in saying thus, am I reasoning something like Descartes: Cogito ergo sum?
No, it does not appeas to be so. I am NOT reasoning at all. The presence of BEING slowly DAWNS in my understanding as I hold on o the vision that the WORLD is a TEXT. The presence of BEING is adisclosure , a revelation, a showing up for me to see and which may not necessarily happen. Nevertheless when it happens, it happens and when I see this aspect of it , I am moved to say it is an aruL of BEING, a gift, a blessing that for some reason or other BEING sees I deserve.
And that is what I articulate in a formulaic manner : I exist , therefore BEING is. In my existence and in the intricate dramas that unfold there , the presence of BEING is cognised.
I cannot from henceforth, be but a THEIST, one who sees BEING as God in order to maintain myself forever in His presence, wants to be continuosly a recipient of HIS Grace, the AruL.
Hermeneutics and Metaphysics -14
In my hermeneutic explorations of the metaphysical dimensions of my own self , an odyssy of a sort, an important mile-stone is my understanding and formulation :
Hence I am moved to say : I exist , therefore BEING is. (Ta. naan vaazkinReen, athanaal iRaivan irukkinRaan)
Hence with this accomplishment I notice that I become the TWICE born, the true Brahmanah and NOT the brahmanah who has stolen this credit just by virtue of being the scion of someone who has accomplished this in his gotra deep in the past, if at all, but now the only credit he has is just being born in that lineage but without the necessary disconstructive achievements that would put him in the vision of BEING. Such a brahmin fools himself and fools the world, he has only the external trappings of a Brahmanah but not the inner substance.
If he has it , he wouldn't call himself a Brahmanah any away. In the face of that Vision it becomes supremely IRRELEVANT.
But among the False Brahmins , I who have become the genuinely twice born and hence the true Brahmanah WILL NOT be recognised as such! My birth certificate would not qualify me for that!
But however it does not worry me , I just laugh at their folly, the
miserable games they play and the twistings and turnings they
give to history just to reinforce their own ego for they LACK
the genuine metaphysical achievements that would provide an inner
satiation that would not force them to seek out such vacuous
enjoyments, the pleasures from the mithiyak njanam! From virtual realities!
But I have a problem : this vison that BEING is , that emerges on seeing the world as TEXT is so so slippery, so so difficult to retain and BE in it, immerse myself in it, become an aazvaar - one who dips in it and merges self with BEING. The practical problems in life -- the bills I have to pay, the needs of children that I have to attend, the funeral of a close relative, the wedding of my friends daughter, wife's demand for this kind of expensive jewellery , a new model of a car to replace the old and thousands and thousands of such demands DISRUPT that vision and make my life meaningless and empty. The vision of the World as TEXT and seeing even in a vague manner BEING there , now I realise, provides me a peace of mind that I cannot get elsewhere, it becomes a SANCTUARY of a peculiar sort, that serves to accomplish the "citta virutti nirootha" : it pulls me back away from the mundane, the naive natural , from the sensorial physical and grounds me in the Metaphysical.
So I do a number of things to RECOVER that vision -- recover only because it is ALREADY in my mind but now put aside and hence in a way lost. To recover this I indulge in a certain kind PRAXIS, the Sariyai -- that of listening to the sacred hymns, the recital of mantras, the Buddhists chants from a Chinese temple, the Theevaram songs sung with the appropriate melodies and what not. I put away my research interests and study some scriptures that are productions of people who enjoyed this vision . I find that the hymns Appar Sambantar Sundarar and so forth move me tremendously and all because I UNDERSTAND what they are trying to say, I can transpose myself into their state of Being and through that recover also my lost vision.
But I find that even this is very demanding -- intellectually . It is NOT always possible for me to reflect penetratingly into the subtle nuances innuendos implicatures and the various other semantic and semilogical birds that break through the linguistic cage.
So I trod down to the TEMPLE nearby, a CONCRETE TEXT, that which exibits BEING in so many plastic forms, all extremely symbolic . The clangs of the bells, the aromas of the flowers, the recital of the mantras, the so many colourful out-of-the-world mythical figures and what not, WORK on me , on my UNCONSCIOUS and driving away the mundane desires , intall the divine and hence transpose my Being into the metaphysical ground.
Each archetypal presence is NOT a different God but the SAME BEING presentating himself in so many different ways.
I feel the same even when I sit silently in a vast mosque that encloses Pure Space , as the Sitambaram , as I did in a famous Mosque in Lahore.
When a irresponsible Muslim tells me that I am a Kafir because I worship the deities in the temple , and that too because Alcoran says so , that what I worship are Satanic forces , I again laugh at his folly
I may laugh at it away , but I notice that there others who become VIOLENT in being told as such and accused of being a kafir.
But the phenomena is the same as that which happens when a miserable caste brahmin claims the diginities of the twice born sloley by virtue of the fact that he happens to be a scion of someone who might have accomplished this long long ago in his gotra (if at all)
And when such arrogant brahmins and other high caste nonbrahmins in their metaphysical VACUITY deny even ACCESS to the temple to me so that I can regerate that vision of BEING that has slipped out , and all because I am a Dalit, then I protest against the whole society very vehemently.
I may chose to build my own temple away from the control of these miserable high caste idiots.
I may become a MARXIST just to demand equal rights for all. I may even become a Muslim of a Christian or a Buddhist just as a way of registering my protest in the most ostentatious manner. I may even become a Naxalite and just simply exterminate these venomous serpents of society who deny the rights that are naturally mine.
But fortunately for me , no one has ever denied access to the temple, to the study of whatever scriptures I want . So I continue as a scholar but firm on OBJECTIVITY for the simple reason that it makes one feel PURE, and happy. This objectivity in research, the desire to be in TRUTH and NOT in fabricated virtual worlds, the various kinds of mythiyak njanam seems to be a GROUND of happiness itself.
Hermeneutics and Metaphysics -15
I am This and That and This ...: The "tat twam asi"
So let me continue with my reflections undetered by the noise of the False Brahmins, knowing well that I cannot expect more than these from them and having also experienced something worse in the hands of others especially the religious fanatics of all shades for whom metaphysical reflections are monkey tricks , useless mental acrobatics. But in the History of Metaphysics this is NOT new. The early Alwars and Nayanmars were Pey 's and Buuthams ( ghosts and gobblings) . Perhaps I am also one in the eyes of the naive and the false Brahmins. So let it be. Nothing is lost by this.
I exist therefore BEING is.
This is a fundamental achievement of my own, an accomplishment through a massive disconstructive effort , an act whereby I have extricated myself from the purely physical and natural and allowed the metaphysical and the supernatural open up itself in the horizon of my understanding. And with it, I notice now, my understanding as to what EXISTENCE is also changes , and changes for the better.
The undiferentiated naive notion of existence becomes differentiated into TWO basic types: Being-only-with-the -World (BWW) and Being-only-with -BEING (BWB) . My existence can be purely physical with purely materialistic concerns and where I disallow , as a crass dialectic materialist or the rationalist of the recent Dravidian variety or the ancient Carvakas of a kind, anything that smells nonphysical, anything beyond the reaches of the five senses; or it can be purely mataphysical where , I , like a Advaita Vedanti, would consider the physical and natural world a dream-reality, somehow there and about which I cannot speak anything, anirvacana, and somehow there through a mayasakthi, a power that escapes my comprehension.
But I notice that I am BOTH, I am, as Thirumular said long ago "Cat-acat Anma" a thinking being capable of BOTH. I notice that I background or foreground alternatively in my understanding these possiblities to be. When I push BWW to the background then , only then, I foreground BWB. And I shuttle between these two unable to be fully in one of these but always BWB pulling me unto itself as if a magnet , the Kaantap Pasaasam of Meykandar. There is strange fascination for BWB within me and I succumb to it even when the world calls me crazy.
And now I look at this state of Being of myself and the fact that now I have gained a more differentiated understanding of EXISTENCE. I have been saying that all these have become realities because of my own disconstructive efforts. But how then I disconstruct in such a way that I gain an understanding of existence that is true and more differentiated?
I could disconstruct only because in my vision there is a THAT that I want to be, fuse with the THAT so that it ceases to dangle in my mental horizon provinding me a goal, calling unto itself and inviting me to be that. And with this I notice that right from the beginning my understanding has been PROJECTIVE , in the Heidegerian sense, future oriented with the three ektases of time or temporality -- the future and hence the present and hence the past. There are thousands and thousands of these 'thats ' and "thises" that infect my understanding and configure me as one restless and always trying to be this or that, accomplish this and that. Thus my understanding has been structured by Tat Twan Asi, Thou art That. It is a result of such 'thats' in my understanding that I can be disconstructive at all.
Understanding is projective and here I agree with Heidegger but I find that I have to part company with him when he says that the Da-Sein moves from itself to itself by itself. For if the dynamics of my growth in understanding were to be this sort, I would understand only the Da-Sein (whatever it is ) and NOT the presence of BEING. My understanding MOVES but moves in the direction of BEING, I am projective only because I am PULLED out of my closedness , delimitedness , atomicity etc by BEING. And this I realise and formulate it in terms of the makavaakkiyam "tat twam asi", perhaps in a sense quite different from the Upanisadic sense but somehow akin to that.
And when I reflect further I notice that I am TEMPORAL when my state of Being is of the sort "tat twam asi" and this temporality is INTENTIONAL-TEMPORALITY (IT), the KuRippuk kaalam of Tolkaapiyar and different from the PHYSICAL-TEMPORALITY (PT) of the astronomers. And furthermore I notice that I am purely in IT when I exist as BWB and purely in PT when I exist in BWW and hence because of my inherent duality, cat-acat anma nature of myself I am both IT and PT , a being oscillating between these two states of Being.
But because BWW can be discontructed and made to recede to the background but NOT BWB, I also learn that IT is more fundamental and that it is only because I am IT that I am PT. I cannot measure out TIME using the regular motions of the planets or the immensely regular photonic expulsions of the subatomic particles unless I am already in IT. I am in essence INTENTIONAL, my understanding is configured by Tat Twam Asi and hence something founded by throwing me into IT.
My existence is founded by being thrown to be in TIME in the forms IT and PT in which IT in more fundamental and which cannot be disconstructed as can PT be. There is something peculiar and fundamental about IT and the INTENSIONALITY that underlies it.
But does that mean I cannot disconstruct from IT also? That I cannot free myself from INTENTIONALITY as a fabrique of my understanding?
Now understanding that is temporal in both these senses is acattu, as the Saivas are fond of saying, it is nonabsolute in the sense that it can be displaced sublated and backgrounded i.e disconstructed. This means my fundamental intentional way of BEING can also be discontructed.
At that point what happens to Tat Twam Asi? Does it still hold?
We shall attend to this next.