Dear Dr Kannan,
Thank-you very much and it is certainly nice to hear from you again. I shall attempt again to explain the view of Meykandar with which I am in agreement. He provides philosophic clarity to the Funadamental Ontology that was first articulated by Thirumular in terms of "Pathiyinaip pool pasu paasam anathi" ie. the psychic entities, the pasus and the paasaas i.e. that which binds and finitises the anmas are just as uncreated and eternal as BEING. The crucial term "un-aathi" means " have no origination" exactly in the sense in which BEING or God is uncreated. The rest of my observations I give below your comments.
At 05:21 AM 12-10-99 PDT, you wrote:
Apropos your mail on Meykandar & Child development, I ask the following questions for my own understanding and probably of others. I would like to participate more when time permits in the near future. You say :
this sutra Meykandar argues that the psychic entity is NOT to be confused with the various cognitive mechanisms that furnishes the various states of consciousness of adult mental life, a notion that is abhorent to the Western psychologists to this day and which a lot of the Asian educationists buy rather blindly, I think.
Do you mean to say that the "psychic" entity
is exclusive of human body-mind continuum? If so, is this "psychic" entity
is universal or belongs to any one individual and expresses itself as time
demands. What is the difference between brain, thought, mind and this "psychic"
entity. A clarification by way of working defition is important for further
understanding. I guess you might have given answers to such questions in
your extensive study somewhere, however, I believe it won't tire us by
going through it once again.
This is a fasicinating field as this enquiry have divided the Indian religious world into two large sections, the one who believes in "metaphysical" and the other into "existential". As you are aware the Saiva, Vaishnava and Advaita schools belong to metaphysical interpretation and the various schools of Buddism to existential interpretation.
It is really interesting that Meykandar & other scholars of the past gave their understanding in poetic form. Poem by itself being 'metaphorical" gives the right choice to understand the truth not by mere intellectual domain but by using the"entire being". I suppose that gives every one of us to see the truth through our own eyes.
First of all I am not sure whether
the Sutra style of writing can be called poetical though the VeNba metre
can be. I consider the sutra style as very scientific, hermeneutic scientific
in fact. Where there is a profound insight into a deep kind of TRUTH,
the understanding comes out with a sutra style of articulation. Meykandar
is peculiar in this for he is the most rigorous among the njaanies
who does this. All others use metrical structures also used in poetry.
But any way we shall look into it later , a fascinating question
Now let me come to the issue of the independent existence of the psychic entities. In the Third Sutra Meykandar provides seven different arguments and I have translated the whole lot in my Metaphysica Universalis available in the Dravidian Philosophy Campus. That which really convinced me was the last argument.
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kalaiaathi maN antham
kaaNil avai maayai
wilaiyaiyaavaam, thiipameepool -- alaiyaamal
njaanaththai munnuNarwthu waadil athuthanuvaam
thanaththin veeRaakum thaan
I translated this as follows: When we examine the evolutes of protomatter from kalai to earth, it is clear that they are subject to flux and are fleeting just like a flame. But there is something in the body which because of a pre-understanding it has, it continuosly strives towards absolute illumination despite the vicisitiudes of the bodily frame. Hence that which seeks this illuminaion unceasingly cannot be any of the material evolutes and machine-like organs of the body.
The thanu, the bodily frame is only a "thaanam", an abode , a temporary location but something without which the aama can't see and be conscious.
Here the most important notion is
that of pre-understanding of Absolute illumnation that all of us
have and because of which we strive intellectually and non-intellectually.
This absolute Understanding is the Meynjaanam which meykandar mentions
as "anRee uLLathu", it NOT NEW , it is already there but only vagued grasped.
That which has this pre-understanding cannot be any of the cognitive utensils
or mental mechanisms. For it is this preunderstanding that
underlies the presence of TEMPORALITY, the kuRippukkaalam, that mode of
time consciousness that is pasychological and is related to states of "awaiting
for the yet to come. " This form of time consciousness is inherent to the
psychic entities and it is only because of this that they can reckon world
time , the suttukkaalam, in terms of the physical processes, the movements
of the sun , moon etc.
This Temporal mode of time consciousness is ultimately related to existence of Absolute Understanding only as a pre-understandung, something only vaguley understood. Thispre-understanding survives the bodily death and therfore that which has this understading also survives bodily destruction. The temporality ceases only the meynjaanam is totally grasped and at which point temporality is no more. This is waht is called Mukti, Moksa, Nirvana etc..
The sixth argument of Meyakandar in
the same sutra claims distinct anmas in distinct bodies and he brings the
pedagogical processes to convince us of this truth. I provide that part
3.6 AaRaam atikaraNam (The Sixth Thesis)
ini (vevveeRaai udalkaLil) aanmaa uLatu enRatu
avan aRintaangku aRivan enRu aRivikka,
aRintu upateesiyaai niRpatu uLataakalin
atuvee av vaanmaavaam enRatu.
Assertion: Now, there are different psyches in different bodies.
Reason: As there are pedagogical processes where on being instructed there is learning.
Comment: A person instructs another
using pedagogical processes appropriate to that person. The person thus
instructed learns and
stands desirous of further instructions. That which learns thus is the psyche.
1. Ordinary existence is full of the
pedagogical processes in various ways - formal, informal and so forth.
One has to learn in order
to acquire knowledge and just because one learns thus and acquires knowledge it does not follow that everybody also acquires it at
the same time. Hence the different bodies are inhabited by different psyches possibly also different in the knowledge they have.
2. The argument can be taken to be
directed against panpsychism - the view that there is only one psyche -
paraanma - inhabiting the
different bodies. The social existence in which there is the pedagogical is brought in to clarify this misunderstanding.
3. uNarttal: to inform, alert , sensitize
etc. aRivittal: to instruct, teach, let know etc. upadesi: derived from
philosophical discourses that are morally uplifting etc. An upadesi is one who is a recipient of such discourses. These terms are used
to cover a wide variety of pedagogical processes that exist in social existence.
edutuk kaaddu 3.6.1
aRintum aRivatee yaayum, aRiyaatatu
aRintataiyum viddu angku adangki - aRintatu
eetu aRiyum anRaakum meykaNdaan onRin
atu atu taan enum aham
There is relearning what has already
been learned because of deep and sustained interests. There is also antipathy
what one does not know, towards retaining what one has learned and realizing that one is so. The interest and disinterest towards
learning something appears to be directed towards the attainment of Truths, to be one who knows the TRUTH. Each person in this
journey appears to proceed holding onto a projected image (or persona) as that oneself is.
1. The self-image, the self-understanding
one has determines the interests that sustain one’s pedagogic activities
- why one shows
sustained interest in learning, relearning something while another is not at all so, not interested even in learning. These varying and
contradictory dispositions cannot be that of the same entity but rather different ones.
2. The primary purpose of all learning,
it is noted, is the attainment of TRUTH. The term ‘MeykaNdaan onRin’ means
to be one
who knows the TRUTH. Interest and disinterest alternates, waxes and wanes but nevertheless it is a directed affair, a directed
activity which ultimately aims at the attainment of TRUTH.
3. The differences in the disposition
to learn is explained in terms of self-image that one has and is retained
as what one wants to be.
Each person has a persona, what kind of person one wants to be and this ultimately is that which determines his psychodynamics.
Here we must note that the psychic entities cannot enjoy any form of understanding, consciousness, knowledge etc outside the peadagogical. The whole of existence is pedagogical and an an anmaa LEARNS thoroghout its existence taught directly or indirectly by BEING and because of which HE is known as MahaGuru.
The remaining questions can be answered in terms of these two.
I shall attend to the rest later as
this is already heavy.
Thanks for your interest.