Essays by Dr K. Loganathan
[ 41. Karma and living Dharma-1; 42. Karma and living Dharma-2; 43. Karma and living Dharma-3; 44: Sexuality Asceticism and Sprituality; 45. The Alchemical Transmutation of Self]
Hermeneutics and Metaphysics
41 : Karma and Living Dharma -1.
The world needs a philosophy that does not tie itself with any particular religious tradition with their implicit supremacist position that distorts truth rather than illuminate the mind. Hinduism to this day and certainly all other religions remain notoriously distorting . In connection with Hinduism the Brahmin scholars and Aryan minded Indologists seem to be pushing their Vedocentrism and along with it implicitly IndoAryan superiority and so forth and all more as mythologies than historical truths established scientifically. I am not sure at all how such pronouncements help out an average Hindu or for that matter any average person in general to live a life that is meaningful and authentic. Such attempts have created more dissensions than concord among the HINDU people . Thus there is a clamoring for a LIVING DHARMA and in this series of THREE postings I shall venture to say something in the form of a philosophy that anyone can uphold without bothering at all about the Vedas , Brahmanas the Scriptures the Mullahs, the Christian Fathers the Buddhists monks and all such people who claim that they have the WAY and all should follow them. Such claims are fraudulent for they seem to take the mind of ordinary individuals to irrelevancies , away from Bakti and Living Presence of God . A pure kind of living is possible only when we manage to free ourselves from the religions, the matam, a maddness as they say in Tamil
I have outlined this philosophy that can be called Praximatism in my Azivil Unmai ( in Tamil) a massive book of 27 sutras now being published online in Tamil net and Meykandar list. However fortunately for me , the insight has been treated very simply and elegantly by CiRRampala NaadikaL, the 14th century Saiva Philosopher who came in the tradition of Meykandar in his TukaLaRu BOta KaddaLai that now I am in the process of translating into English with notes here and there.
What amazed me was the continuity of this philosophy from the Sumerian days itself . For there we find Sulgi ( 2000 B.C) outlining the same philosophy in his immortal Mutariibiyam ( I shall publish this aspect separately later, the number 40 in this series)).
There is a connection between Karma and Dharma ( Su. gar-u : to do , Ta. kar- to do, Su. nam-tar-ra, Ta. tarumam : the innate givenness)
In this first part the Guru points out that creatures are Karmic i.e. praximatic , have to effect actions to attain whatever they desire. But the important thing is that he is NOT aware of the effect or the OUTCOMES of the actions he effects . However when he thinks back on this aspect - that only by his actions he has attained all that he enjoys now that he is in fact God, the Aham Brahmam Asmi sort of understanding. The Guru disconstructs this by pointing out that by his own actions he CANNOT predetermine his own FUTURE and that it remains the privilege of only BEING to do that.
This TRUTH, it should be noted, is something that any person can gain as a TRUTH and without studying the Vedas and other scriptures and listening to the brahmanas , mullahs, the Church fathers and such 'spiritual' people. It is just simply a plain fact of existence and anyone who analyzes his own behavior can gain it.
Part 1: Man is Ignorant and there is BEING
Without understanding that he is one of limited or finite understanding ( hence full of ignorance) the disciple continues to declare:
Disciple: I am aware that there are many instruments at work in the genesis of my consciousness. I also know that the tatvas the earth and so forth and three malas are insentient. Hence it follows that I am the Supreme Agent ( as nothing else is intelligent)
Guru: Now if there is no other intelligent entity other
than yourself and because of which you claim you are in fact God, then
how come that for so long you have been infected by these binding fetters
( that make you assume a body and so forth)? Why you cast yourself into
knowing only with aid of the utensils , learn by being instructed by others,
suffer joys and miseries in the course of it all?
Notes: The self as Ego does not reflect beyond itself, a kind of transcendental illusion is at work here. The self is led to feel that it is the only intelligent thing as well as the AGENT of all. The Guru begins the disconstruction of this illusion that leads one to declare that " I am God" ( Aham Brahmam Asmi) by pointing out the elements of Fundamental Ontology ALREADY established and that the MALAS infect and make the understanding FINITE or delimited. Self has no reason to cast itself to knowing only with the aid of the various cognitive utensils, learn from others and suffer MISERIES along with joys in earthly existence.
Disciple: But that is not a problem and is not something important. I have to "enjoy" the karmic consequences of my own actions and all these accrue to me because of the actions I have effected.
Guru: How come that you have to experience the outcomes of your own actions?
Disciple: Well, it is like that of a farmer who harvests the products of his own labour in the fields.
Guru: Is it not the case that a farmer who raises crops knows what crops he is planting and roughly when he would reap the harvest and thus enjoy existence along these lines?
Disciple: Yes I can see that.
Guru: But in a similar way , are you aware that you effected such actions in the past life, and as a result of that would inherit a certain kind of physical body now and along with it that you will have certain kinds of experiences as that of yours at a certain point of time?
Disciple: No, I am not aware of such matters.
Guru: Do the karmic deposits themselves know by whom they been elicited ( so that they would attach themselves to the respective anmas)?
Disciple: No they are not capable of that.
Guru: Can TIME itself know such matters and attach the appropriate karmas to an individual?
Disciple: No, it cannot do that.
Guru: But there is enjoying because of the karmas as such.
Disciple: Yes there is.
Guru: Then it follows that there is ANOTHER INTELLIGENT AGENT who does all these.
Notes: The Guru brings in insights already well articulated in Meykanda Sastras. The actions of anmas , their praxis in life elicit ( aarccittal) inscriptions that write in the OUTCOMES of the actions effected and which may be either PuNNiyam or Paavam, ethically Good or Evil but which is UNKNOWN to the anmas. If it is known to them then certainly they can predetermine their own future possibilities , what kind of physical body and existence they would inherit and enjoy. But empirically it is NOT the case. They remain supremely ignorant as well as incapable of such matters. The karmic inscriptions which are probably mantra complexes, being insentient cannot be aware to whom they belong and so forth. They are also not matters that are simply fed into the anmas by TIME in the sense that they are simply historical unfolding. If karmas are simply historical then they become matters that are mechanical and hence something disconnected with the actions a person executes. Thus it follows, so argues the guru, that there is ANOTHER Intelligent Agent , the BEING who does it all.
Hermeneutics and Metaphysics
Karma and Living Dharma -2
The Praximatism, the philosophy implicit in the notion of Karma, has been (mis)interpreted as a kind of FATALISM and also for justifying the caste hierarchies where the Brahmanas , by virtue of BIRTH and NOT by virtue of spiritual attainment have demanded special treatment in society. You can also see this in the manner in which they have twisted and turned the puranic lore and brainwashed the commoners into accepting this notion. . The miserable Brahmans have appropriated for themselves terms such as Aiyer , AnTaN Swami and so forth where as a matter of fact during Cangkam epoch they simply meant venerable individuals and carried no caste meanings at all. The Karma doctrine, unfortunately , allows for such degenerations and justifications. The Bakthi revolt in which the truly spiritual Brahmanas too participated actively presupposed a notion that one can redeem oneself and attain states of spirituality by gaining the aruL of BEING . No one need to be a SLAVE to the Prapta Karma that goes into the genesis of the present biological nature and psychological dispositions. You can ARISE above it and this only by the DINT of ONE'S OWN ACTIONS. And birth and sexuality has nothing to do with that. The history of the Nayanmars and Alwars in the Tamil county at least, constitutes an evidence for that.
There is an understanding of EVOLUTION in Saivism that is quite distinct from the theory of Adaptive Evolution of the WEST. I have called this DISCLOSIVE EVOLUTION and which presupposes the BLESSINGS of BEING as that which facilitates the evolution of creatures into higher species and human beings into higher kind of persons. Briefly stated : our inherited competencies for PRAXIS is limited but however there remains in the world the DIVINE PRAXIS as a possibility for all to attain and enjoy. When we MOVE by developing our competencies so that we become less and less delimited and proximate in our Being in the world as the doer of the Divine Praxis, then only we can FREE ourselves from being configured by the Karmas and thus suffer existential repetition.
This capacity to rise ABOVE eliciting karmas and thus being pushed into
endless existential repetition is ALREADY within us. NO ONE is PRIVILEGED
in this matter.
Part 2: Becoming Free of Karma
Disciple: How can the karma being insentient, become part of my psychic inheritance without my awareness?
Guru: Do you notice that even though a piece of magnet and iron are together in the same hand unless they are appropriately positioned, neither the magnet attracts the iron nor the iron piece gets attracted to the magnet?
Disciple: Yes , they do not ( unless positioned appropriately)
Guru: But when someone places them together appropriately facing each other, then the magnet attracts and iron allows tobe attracted?
Disciple: Yes it is so.
Guru: In the same manner there is SOMEONE who would make you inherit a certain number tools and cognitive utensilsin accordance with the karmas that constitute part your elicitation and also later to disengage them from yourself byproviding the engracing processes ( arutcatti) .
Against the background of insentient elements and karma is insentient as it is simply inscriptions or mantricconfigurations ( like genetic codes of modern science) there is a need to acknowledge the presence of an AGENT ofSupreme Intelligence as that which unites the karmas with the anmas so that the anmas in its rebirth would inherit themotor organs ( the hand, feet , the genitals etc.) and cognitive utensils ( the modules of mind: manam putti akangkaaramand cittam) . This constitutes the EVOLUTIONARY mechanism of Saivism that has been described from the days ofThirumular ( 7th Cent A.D.). It should also noted that the same AGENT also provides the engracing processes that wouldenable the anmas to FREE themselves from these karmas and inherit something HIGHER so that they can EVOLVE into ahigher kind of species with motor organs and cognitive utensils appropriate to that kind species. Thus in Saivism we notice that while EVOLUTION is acknowledged but it seen as something that happens as the GRACE of BEING
Disciple: How does the AGENT help the anmas to free themselves from the karmas?
Guru: Because the Primordial Matter and such other tatvas are insentient, BEING agitates them as the ENERGIA, the PurePhysical Energy; ( and because the anmas are sentient) He awakens them up with COGNISIA, the Power as Consciousness, and assuming the form of Praxia, the Energy of Intentional Actions, helps out the anmas free themselves from the karmas though effecting the actions they call for.
Notes: BEING is always also with Sakthi, the Pure Power normally
understood as the FEMALE rather metaphorically.This Sakti assumes the form
of ENERGIA, the Pure Physical Energy to agitate the physical realms, COGNISIA
to provide the various kinds of CONSCIOUSNESS for the sentient creatures
and PRAXIA that which develops INTENTIONALITY,the desires that result
in ACTIONS. It is stated that the karmas can be made to depart only by
allowing them as fructify as actions.
Disciple: But how are the experiences of pleasures and pains that are elicited by way effecting ethically right and wrongkinds of actions are configured?
Guru: An experience ( that turns out to be a pleasure or pain)
an anma is caused to experience through a sense faculty inconjunction with
one of the basic elements, appropriate that as one's own through the various
modules of the mind, become conscious of it all with the assistance
of the Ego tatvas of Kalai and so forth, become fused with the physical
stuff of experience, and enjoy ( or suffer) that experience through the
actions of Prakiriti that causes the self to immerse and perceive. In the
course of the configuration of experience as such BEING regulates the whole
matter ensuring concordance and consonance with the karmas elicited, measuring
out the various possibilities of experience strictly inaccordance with
the karmas that have been elicited.
Notes: Here we have a theory of EXPERIENCE as such, how it
is CONFIGURED and how in this configuration the theexperience of pleasures
and pains are brought about. In such sensorial experiences there is ABSENCE
of consciousnessof self, the experience-configuring tatvas and BEING who
regulates it all so that the experiences are consistent withethically right
and wrong actions that have been effected. The ethically wrong lead to
the experience of the painful whilethe right to the experience of the pleasant.
There is a JUDGMENT in such matters and this JUDGMENT is a continuosprocess
, not just that happens when the person is dead.
Disciple: How is the MORAL worth of actions effected is measured out (in such configurations of experience)?
Guru: It is akin to throwing a bucket into the vast ocean -- it gets only a bucketful of water and nothing more. The selfremains unconscious of itself, BEING who configures all these experiences and the tatvas that make the experiences areality. Because of this ignorance the anmas become egoistic claiming that one did that, others did that and because ofthis generates desires for things that have NOT materialized, and with strong INTENTIONALITY in this direction, effectego-actions that elicit the karma aakaamiyam that causes to them recirculate in the world. Because of this BEING allowsexistential repetition, being born again again to rid of this kind of karma.
Notes: While the experiential possibilities are vast like an ocean, what actually become the experiential realities for ananma is DELIMITED because, just like a bucket that can contain only what it can accommodate, the body , the organsand the modules of the mind that are inherited DELIMIT the actualities of experience. The karmas and the body andmental utensils it configures, set up an UPPER BOUND for what can actually be experienced and enjoyed. And becausethe presence of the BOUNDS for experience, there are DESIRES in the bosom of the anmas and because of whichemerge INTENTIONAL ACTIONS, the effecting of which elicit the Akaamiya Karma, the form of karma that would pushthem into existential repetition, being born again again.
Hermeneutics and Metaphysics
Karma and Living Dharma -3 (Final)
Saivism describes a Philosophy of Positive Action and not a philosophy of world withdrawal or negation or social avoidance that unfortunately (advaita ) Vedantic thinking or at least the most popular version of it has come to mean for the average individual. This may ultimately the Hinduised versions of Buddhist and Jain advocacy of Asceticism and along with the hatred and denigration of the females. Saivism avoids the women-hating asceticism as well as the philosophy of world-hatred , casting it as Maya and so forth. Remaining faithful to the truth that man is PRAXIMATIC, Karmic, it seeks to UNDERSTAND it all and finally locates it in DIVINE PRAXIS, the Panckrittiyas that are already at work in the world and everything in the world.
It is in our ignorance that we think we are the real agents. There is in fact a CONCEALMENT of BEING and the truth that only HE acts and because of which we imagine that we act and become EGOISTIC with this kind of thinking. However when we become aware of this and break through the concealment, we become humble and bow down in infinite gratitude towards the GRACE of BEING and decide to be led henceforth not by ego values and ego decisions and judgments but by the Grace Itself. According to the Guru of this TEXT, CiRRampala NadikaL, this state of Being is a state of True Freedom ( cutrantiravaaLi), a notion of Freedom vastly different from that articulated in the West and on the basis of which the political life is organized.
The true freedom becomes available when the EGO is destroyed (not the self, for it never be) for it it is that state of Being in the world that serves to avoid the further elicitation of karma and hence the avoidance of being thrown into the existential repetition, phenomenal circulation, the Samsaaram.
To be FREE in this sense is the MEANING of EXISTENCE and it invites that one becomes a Bakta and in genuine LOVE with BEING allow oneself to be guided by BEING only and NOT any other-- scriptures, rishies, acharyas, mullahs, monks , brahmanas and such other pretenders to Divine Wisdom who are interested more in ensalving than freeing the mind of individuals.
Part 3: Bakti and True Freedom
Disciple: How are we to discard and avoid the further elicitation of karma ( i.e. the aakaamiya karma)?
Guru: We must think , on observing the self that is experiencing
, the BEING that facilitates all that and the tatvas that serve to configure
all that we experience now is in fact because of the (Prapta) karma that
we have elicited. We must note that BEING discloses all these to us in
the social context of males and females with whom we coexist and interact.
Having understood (the genesis of experience ) thus, one must become the
Caitanyam, the Pure Consciousness by desiring without really desiring all
these but seeking to immerse oneself in the Grace of BEING and with strong
inclinations only for that and doing whatever necessary with that attitude
firmly entrenched. At that moment BEING who stands as the life breath of
anma, would stand non alien like water and juice, would stand together
like the light and the eyes, and INFORM the anma in a manner that is appropriate
to further lift it up.
At that point your illusion that " I am God" ( aham Brahmam asmi)
will disappear. When you gain a true understanding of yourself, BEING would
withdraw the CONCEALMENT and along with the ENERGIA would interest you
in realizing that BEING is TRUTH just as HE interested you earlier
in the false but making them appear as truths. Because of this act of BEING
the whole vast universe will appear now as a Mirage and become thereby
a falsity. With the universe now appearing as inauthentic only BEING will
appear as the unassailable TRUTH. And because of this the anma will not
be interested in any of the future possibilities in worldly existence and
on account of which it will not also do actions that would elicit
further (aakkaamiya) karma that would throw it into existential repetition.
Thus you must understand the genesis of your actions and seek to be informed
further by the Grace of BEING Himself.
Disciple: Yes , I have understood thus.
Notes. The philosophy of Praximatism, that which notes creatures effect ACTIONS and seek to gain an understanding of it without going astray on the way into some reductionism, finally leads to an understanding of how to liberate oneself from what is called 'samsaaram", the existential repetition, being born again and again into the phenomenal world by assuming a physical body. The body comes equipped for actions with hands feet eyes mouths genitals and what not and all already programmed to effect actions of various kinds -- physical mental and verbal. As long as one operates with INTENTIONALITY , there is NO ESCAPING from being recirculated continuously thus. The intentional actions elicit what are called aakaamiya karma, parts of which that are carried over as the genetic codes and which is called the PraptaKarma. As long as the anma continues with intentional actions the elicitation of such karmas are NOT avoidable.
But how do we avoid them so that one can ESCAPE from this Historicity? This is the question of the disciple as much as those who are metaphysically inclined.
The Guru here provides one of clearest statement of the strategies for
accomplishing this. One must realize that theworldly experiences especially
the social, the natural events in life , the various happenings that make
us happy and unhappy are actually the fructifications of one's own karma,
here the prapta karma and that they are configured as for oneself by BEING
and that too as the consequences of one's own actions. To avoid the further
elicitation of such a Karma, one must become the Caitaniyam, a Pure Witness
of the events that happens to one and with a spirit of genuine detachment
IMMERSE oneself in the GRACE of BEING and allow oneself to be informed
and formed solely by that GRACE. When we do that it would become clear
that self is NOT God ( Brahmam) and that it is whatever it is because of
the grace of BEING. And furthermore at that point BEING would UNCONCEAL
Himself, institute desires only for being with BEING by making the whole
phenomenal world appear IRREAL , a mirage. The world is NOT irreal but
it is MADE to appear so , so that the anmas would NOT desire anything of
the world and would seek only being with BEING and hence assume the attitude
of bakti. It is this way of Being of the anmas, according the Guru here,
that would prevent the further accumulation of aakaamiya karma. This is
the way then to escape the Historicity of existence.
Guru: Thou art the FREE PERSON who has understood the truth that except for the praxis of BEING you have no praxis of your own. Listen a bit more: someone has given you an object with the request that you keep it safely and return it to him later. Agreeing to that you received the object and keeping it safely in your laps you went to deep sleep. While you were asleep thus and unconscious, a thief took that object away from you. Since you are a person who does not know anything unless informed, you did not realize it. The GRACE that normally informs you also left you to rest and recover in accordance with your karma that requires being in states of Transcendental Darkness now and then. When the person returns and asks for the object left in your trust you are unable to tell in your ignorance who took it away from you and when. Do you understand this or don't you?
Disciple: Yes I understand that.
Guru: And therefore you do not see everything on your own accord; the various cognitive utensils are also not under your control. In order to conjoin you with the utensils and generate experiences in accordance with your karma, and to wipe out the traces of such karmas with the engracing processes when the appropriate maturity becomes available; and on account of the excessive presence of the engracing processes that does this , the immense flooding of the anma with the engracing processes and the cleansing that takes place on account of that , it is BEING and nothing else that does all these assuming forms of Grace that are suitable. It is BEING who blesses the anmas with the highest possible state of Being ( caayucciyam) and hence nothing that is attained by the efforts of the anma itself.
Disciple: But other than understanding this can't we witness Being?
Notes: It is pointed out the anmas do not have any praxis of their own and that what they consider as their actions are nothing but a delusion - they are simply LED to feel that way by BEING concealing Himself for that purpose. The analogy of the sleeping man who is unconscious applies here to the whole of existence -- many things happen to us without we being aware of it all. This applies particularly to the removal of the Karmic deposits and writing down new ones that ultimately is the REASON for the change in personality. We change continuously sometimes evolving into the higher and sometimes FALLING and thus degenerating. However there is BEING behind it all and unknown to the anmas, remove the karmas through flooding the anmas with Grace and thus purifying them and enables them to develop as species and as a person by writing new new karmas, if they deserve them by their actions. Ultimately it is BEING and nothing else that is source of human dynamics, evolution and attaining the highest state of BEING.
But this is only an UNDERSTANDING of BEING and not seeing Him really
. When asked about this the Guru explains as follows:
Guru: Earlier when we made you understand your true essence you claimed that you are the Supreme Agent of all. Then when we pointed out that you are not so then you agreed, and also to the fact that the various cognitive utensils are not in your control. With this we managed to witness the state of Caitannyam. And at that point, was there a brilliance shining forth in your understanding?
Disciple: Yes there was a brilliance.
Guru: That is like the intense fragrance of blooming flowers; that illumination will stand informing you as well as your body. And you asked what it is. Well that is witnessing Civanjaanam, the Absolute Illumination. Now did you witness that?
Disciple: Yes I did witness that.
44: Sexuality Asceticism and Sprituality
This essay is in response to the questions raised by Mark and Ms. Prames with regard to sexuality asceticism etc. and religious life. When we look at Saivism from this point of view something quite enigmatic emerges . For Civa is not only the Maha Yogi who singes to ashes antics of Manmatan , the Indian Cupid ,with His Third Eye but also the Kameshvaran and who along with Kamatci provides and rules the sexual bliss among the creatures. It is also noted in PuaraNas ( such as Kanta PuraaNam) that unless Civa stays with sexual thoughts for Parvati, the daughter of the Mountain, the Nin hursag of the Sumerotamils, there will not be sexuality in the world and hence no movement at all. Without the sexual dynamics all the creatures in the world would simply die off without any motivation to live.
But there is a difference , I think , between sexuality that the materialists describe as the SOLE meaning of life and sexuality that transcends this an accommodates it WITHIN LOVE such as that described in the Kamattuop Paal of ThiruvaLLuvar.
In this view LOVE is the most important element and when the physical dimensions of the love viz. sexuality is transmuted then what we have is Bakti, Love unto BEING something akin to human sexual life. The Lokayatas DO NOT have such a concept of sexuality and it is this kind of carnal sexuality that is singed to ashes by Civa and NOT the love based that He Himself exemplifies by the archetypal presentations of Himself as the ammai-appan, the Male and Female together in eternal and joyous embrace. This makes sense for the Third Eye is the metaphysical eye, the eye that provides the transductive perceptions and metaphysical insights, something the Lokayatas never admit and accommodate in their thinking. A life of this Third Eye is NOT inconsistent with LOVE between a man and woman that may also descend to sexual at times. In fact Saivism recommends it for it is this dimension that finally gets transmuted into genuine Bakti, genuine LOVE unto BEING and hence for all mankind.
The Love based sexuality will not tolerate ethnic caste religous and
such other differences and the killing of it in Indian society is
coeval with Varnasrama Dharma, entirely inconsistent with bakti centred
Agamism the elemts of which are also described below.
In the following two verses aruNandi attends to these problems along
with describing the grammar of the genuinely religious life.
kaamam aati kuNangkalaic cukamenRu koNdalanai kaatalaal
tuumam aar azal angki ciitam avintapootu cukantarum
naamam aartaru ciitam vemmai nalintapootu tarunj cukam
ceemaam aakiya inbamaam miku teyva nanneRi ceeravee
Lokayata! Because you cannot see beyond the physical ( and have visions
of the metaphysical) you consider the embrace of women full of lust
and all other attend qualities such as intense anger jealousy greed
egotism superstitious believes and so forth is all the happiness there
is in the world. But this kind of happiness , like that provided
by heat when cold, by the cooling waters when very hot and dry , touches
only the body and not at al the soul. The kind of immense happiness
I talk about, is the psychically healthy and love based and
which becomes available only in the life divine and as the blessings of
padikku nuulkaL civaakamam pacu paacamodu patittiRam
eduttiyambuvatu iican vaarkazal eettidun tozil enRumee
viduttidum poruL kaamam aatikaL veendidum poruL iiNda aruL
mudittu mumalam viddu ninmalanoodu ninRidal muttiyee!
Lokayata! If you want to know the way to be well within the divine life , listen then. The kinds of books you study must be the metaphysical such as the Saivagamas that enunciate the Fundamental Ontology. Having understood them you must continue to expound about the essences about BEING, the anmas and the Binders and thus make people understand the fabrication of human existence. Then having realized that without the Grace of BEING nothing can be accomplished you must assume as your vocation the Praise of the Divine Feet of BEING ( that moves the world tirelessly) . Earning the Grace of BEING as that which you seek out, you must try to free yourself from sexual and such other desires. Having LEARNT and illuminated yourself and thereby freed yourself from the Mummalam, the aaNavam Kanmam and Maayai, live in bakti seeking to be only with BEING , the Absolutely Pure, considering that this is final redemption.
AruNandi does not advocate just a religious kind of life in a general sort of way but rather a way of life quite specific in its recommendations and which constitutes the Saiva way of Life. First of all it is life where the inherent BLINDNESS of the materialists , who are open only to physical , is a state of Being that needs to destroyed in order gain visions into the metaphysical world where other possibilities including for sexual happiness become possible. The Physicalist can see the woman only as a bundle of flesh and not a spiritual entity who can relate with oneself not just in terms of physical but also in terms of LOVE CARE and CONCERN and hence in terms of spiritual companionship. The happiness that becomes available through this kind LOVE is said to ceemam, something psychically healthy for the companionship provides an inner security of untold strength. The lust based sexual happiness is purely physical like the happiness of heat when extremely cold, the cooling of waters when extremely hot and so forth. Thus the materialists condemn themselves to a shallow kind of man-woama relationship and all because they are simply BLIND to other possibilities.
It is here that Arunandi locates the relevance of RELIGIOUS life which is simultaneously a life of excursions into the metaphysical realms. There must be interest in Fundamental Ontology, the central concern of metaphysics and a study of books relevant to that. AruNandi , though mentions only Sivagamas, but himself was one of the greatest scholars in India and for which reason he was known as "Sagalaama Panditar " a scholar who mastered all the Agamas or metaphysical tracts. The metaphysical life is a life of inquiry and should be concerned with Fundamental Ontology, what are there really that fabricates the world as such and human existence as such in the world.
This must be accompanied with a life of EXPOUNDING such matters to others by way illuminating others as well as oneself. This means a life of DIALOGUES discussion arguments debates and so forth where the participants LEARN and become illuminated. Such scholarly engagements are CENTRAL in SAIVA Way of Life for they are the means for gaining the illuminating aruL without which one cannot enjoy the CLARITY that would breed apodictic certainty, the reason for philosophical debates and exchanges. In such exchanges there must due REVERENCE for BEING for without the GRACE of BEING no illumination is possible.
This kind of life is NOT a life where one seeks to CONVERT others into one's religion by way indoctrination propaganda and so forth. Thus the Saiva Way of Life is NOT religious in this perhaps Western or Semitic sense.
It is for the purpose of gaining this aruL that one should abstain from lustful engagements through the practice of penance fasting and so forth. It is here that the ASCETIC practices have a place in life as such for only by acts of denial of demands of the body -- sexual indulgence, food , body comfort etc.-- for these are the means for releasing the soul from the hold of the body, from the hold of the physical. But this should NOT be something permanent for LOVE between a man and woman is the kind of relationship that rejuvenates and refreshes the souls by making possible the flow of kuNdalini not just through purely physical sexual embrace but in a embrace where souls meet and unite and which may not translate always into physical acts of conjugation . There may be physical distance but intimate spiritual union of immense bliss.
It is in the course of such a life that the Icca Sakti , the libidinal
Energia that flows into the person becomes transmuted into the illumination
providing Cognisia ( the Njaana Sakti) as well as the Praxia
( the Kriya Sakti). This kind of life where the libidinal is gained and
transmuted into Cognisia and Praxia should continue till the point of Mukti,
the final liberation which is NOT possible without the necessary metaphysical
illuminations that PURIFIES the soul.
45 : The Alchemical Transmutation of Self
One of the basic questions in Indian Philosophy and Psychology in which the different schools are divided to this day is the issue of the ontological status of self ( as distinct from BEING) at the point of Mukti. Saiva Siddhanta, because of its Fundamental Ontology, a hard won metaphysical clarity , holds that, consistent with the understanding that BEING Selves and the Fetters are unoriginated ( and hence indestructible) , the selves are there at mukti enjoying the Bliss of Absolute Liberation.
Then the objection is raised : if it were so then it must be subsisting with all the cognitive utensils that afford consciousness even of the pure kind. This raises the problem about the identity and individuality of the anma. For if it remains an individual then Being the SAME as BEING is impossible and the ONENESS with BEING at the point of Mukti become an empty notion.
Civanjana VaLLal, a 14th cent. Saiva Philosopher attends to this problem in his eighth meditation, an English translation of which is given below. He brings in the notions of alchemical transmutation of self at the point of Mukti where the past self is backgrounded and hence though there but not in the foreground of consciousness. Incidentally he also gives an interesting explanation of what is an IDOL and its relationship to the stone ( or metal) out of which it is sculptured. Once the stone becomes an IDOL or an ICON, the Murthi comes to be there overcoming the stoness of the stone and thus backgrounding this aspect of it. Thus there is prevalent here a change similar to the alchemical, a transmutation in which the base metals become gold.
He also extends this notion to psuychological transmutations of people as well , that ANYBODY can be thus transmuted to becoming the same as BEING Himself and once that happens, the prehistory becomes backgrounded and hence supremely irrelevant to the fact that currently the person stands as Guru and truly divine.
The Eighth Meditation : Perceiver Perception and the Agentive Cause
The perceiver ( njaaturu) is the anma, the self. The perceptual consciousness ( njaanam) is what is generated out of the ten fold cognitive utensils. The Agent (neeyam) is BEING ( iiccuran) and it is because of this BEING that the anmas become conscious of the perceptual objects generated out of the cognitive utensils. This form of conscious is available even in Mukti, the Absolute Liberation. Now such if a state of Being for the anma is denied, then there will be no selves enjoying the Bliss of Liberation and also the production of scriptures.
Response ( of VaLlal)
Well and good. The state where everything become ABSENT is the natural mukti. Now if you quote the scripture
When I and He are in deep embrace and enjoy the Bliss of Union
I am not there He is not there in fact nobody is there!
Not knowing the true import of these words you say there are no souls and so forth. In such a deep embrace the entities are there without really being there . ( There is only ABSENCE of such consciousness) This is due to a state of forgetfulness such as a man experiences when he enjoys a deep embrace with a woman where even in the jungle he is forgetful even of the tiger and such beasts that come near him.
But if it is asked, how can mukti be attained while still with these bodily cognitive utensils, it should noted that attaining mukti is NOT entering a location such as Kailash Vaikuntam, The Circle of Golden Wall and so forth. The self is the location for attaining mukti. When the cognitive utensils of ordinary perceptions get transformed into that of Transcendental Perception , then we have this state of dying without dying.
Then when an ignorant person becomes the enlightened, where go the ordinary cognitive utensils?
Well they don't go anywhere.
But how? if you ask, then it is just like the principle at work in the story about Devatata:
Those ignorant fools who do not know that the Bliss is within
Search for it all over the world
But if a sculpture transforms a stone ( paadaaNam) into a deity, is there still or is there not the earlier stone? If it is said it is no more, then it must be out of the reach of the hands. Know that it is something like a vile woman ( kuNungki) remaining backgrounded by the chaste woman -- it is there but backgrounded and hence absent at the surface level.
But isn't it present without being thus backgrounded?
The Siddhanta is that , it is not there without thus being backgrounded and this is because there is no meditation over the sculpture as a stone, such sculptures have the capacity to afford Mukti and on the meditations of them the deities appear as there in transductive perceptions.
The transformation ( talked about earlier) must be understood along these lines.
The stories of Vanmiiki, Vashista, Mathankar, Kapila and so forth is the evidence for this. We should not worry about the origins of the rivers, seers, guru and the divine woman. The evidence is as follows:
Like transforming the iron into gold and further
Into the deities that all good people worship, does BEING
Transform the mean persons like me and make them shine forth
As the Absolute BEING itself.
Notes: BEING effects a transformational magic, alchemical in nature, in which, like base metals becoming resplendent gold, the ordinary or even evil individuals are transformed and made to shine forth as divine individuals and where the total past is backgrounded completely. When the stone becomes a Deity through the skills of sculpture, it is in a way no more simply a stone. We become forgetful of that being a stone and attend to it as if it is a deity itself and because of which we manage to gain VISIONS of BEING in some archetypal forms.