Dear Dr Kannan,
Thank-you very much for raising questions of fundamental importance that make me think further about my own views. About Vedanta Siddhantam , I shall handle it later as I have to reorganize myself towards that end and probably post it in meykandar egroups/Tamil.net as it is more appropriate there. However here I shall take the issue of adult development , which I believe has a pattern an order , various higher and lower stages of development which are of vital importance. Your remarks are as follows:
What I wanted to speak about is that the deity
given responsibility for each
kaRRaLi or Chakra is certainly a metaphor. We may not project anything from
this, because that can't be a 'fact' on its own right. Nammazvar born now,
could possibly be again a Vaishnava!! There is no real pattern of evolution in
spirituality. We see refinements in philosophy and theology but mysticism is
beyond this. The former depends on the later but not other way round!
There are two questions here. The deities or archetypes ascribed to the KaRRali are simply a metaphoricalor more appropriately, a figurative way of speaking of religious experiences and hence cannot be correlated with observable behavioral patterns and textual productions in the Hermeneutic sense. Another question is about the presence of a pattern of evolution or development which you believe doesn't exist. I beg to differ on both the issues. While the pattern may be complicated from the outside there is overall a reasonably well recognizable pattern of evolution for which now Access Testing provides empirical evidences and therefore something that can be investigated scientifically (in the hermeneutical sense)
To begin with let me quote a passage from a Sufi text, The Rising Places of Faith, by possibly the 13th cent Al-Qunawi who appears to follow the teachings of Al-Arabi and possibly also Jilani:
" Know- may God make you qualified for His wondrous mysteries and give you success in taking illumination from His marvelous lights-- that the human being possesses stages, and in each stage there are specific perceptions, for the perceptions of coming stage are absent from the present stage. For example, the embryo has specific perceptions, and in relation to its perceptions the suckling infant is beyond that of the embryo. Likewise, the stage of the child who can discriminate is related to that of the embryo. Likewise, the stage of the child who can discriminate is related to that of the suckling infant in the same way that the stage of the suckling infant is related to that of the embryo. Then, the stage of the person in control of reason is beyond that of the discriminating child, the stage of being God's friend is beyond that of reason, the stage of prophecy is beyond that of being a friend, AND ABOVE EVERYONE WHO HAS KNOWLEDGE IS ONE WHO KNOWS[12:76]
You should know that it is impossible for the embryo to perceive anything of the child's objects of perception, for the embryo is bound by the constricting limits of the wombs and has not yet reached the open space of the world. And so it is in the other cases as well: Whoever resides in a determined human stage is incapable of grasping the objects of perception of the stages beyond his own.
Take for examples the Mujassima. They are bound by the chains of imitation to the stage of fancy and imagination and its narrow confines. In no sense can they understand the objects of perception of the stage of reason. But if they are released from the bottom of the well of fancy and imagination and attain to the open space of the world of reason, they will come to know where they have been." (Faith and Practice in Islam, by Chittick, 1994 pp47-48)
What is being said is clear: there is description of child development in terms of different cognitive capabilities where the higher kind remains an untapped potential while the lower is being actively used. And there are IMPEDIMENTS of various kinds that prevent a child from the active use of the higher. The GROWTH consists in overcoming these impediments and begin to use the facilities ALREADY THERE!
This well founded stages of developments that presages that of Piaget and parallels that of Agamic Psychology is pressed into service for understanding the various stages of ADULT DEVELOPMENT that are strikingly SIMILAR to those developed in the different schools of Saivism in the Tamil country. I do not see such developmental views being articulated in the VaishNava philosophical literature (that I have studied) I rediscovered such an understanding of Adult Development through Access Testing especially the Baum Test and something that we can investigate EMPIRICALLY and ascertain the truth of such claims for ourselves. Let me outline this very briefly here. The study is ongoing and later I intend to write more about such matters . There are different stages of adult development and they can be hierarchically noted as follows.
1. All the Baums from A to D are natural looking
2. The Baum D begins to be abstract with Mandala features emerging here. Such mandalas are similar to the Yantras that abound in the Siddha literature.
3. Now even Baum C begins to be the mandala type.
4. Now ALL FOUR Baums begin to appear like Yantras or Mandalas of Jung
5. While all four are Mandalas, there begin to be QUALITATIVE differences indicating differences in the degree of Natham and Bindhu (Yin and Yang)
6. All four just simply Clear Light with no figures of whatever kind.
It must also be remembered that each baum is a determinant of certain forms of behavior and serves like a template in computer science, provides facilities for action however within certain confines. In order to act qualitatively differently the TEMPLATE has to be changed. The persons who draw these Baums have an UNDERSTANDING of these but only as METAPHORS. They are actually mantric configurations agitated by Archetypes which are actually presentations of BEING through these mantric configurations and because of which the human mind grasps them as deities. Thus the deities or archetypes come along with these stages of development and hence as higher and lower deities or archetypes. While BEING is ONE, ITS phenomenal presentations are not only different but also higher and lower depending upon the stage of development of the individual.
We must note here that while we may argue about the intermediate stages of developmens, there is one that we all can assent to: the highest of MAUNAM, the Deep Silence and the MOUNI as the one who has attained that stage of development. Such monams are the results of the incapacitation of speech which involves the transcendence of Temporality, the kuRippuk kaalavuNarvu and along with it also the directional spaciality. The mind is ONE WITH BEING and hence devoid of any ego consciousness. This is the highest stage and COMMON to all. Once we accept this then we can see that all other stages of development, no matter how high in spirituality, is BELOW this. We have at least this PATTERN that we all can agree upon provided we think deeply about Temporality and the way to overcome it.
These stages of development has been very extensively investigated by the different schools of Saivism. People are classified into sakalar pralayaakala and vinjnjanakalar in terms of the presence and absence of the metaphysical impediments of mummalam, the PROXIMITY or DISTANCE from BEING described in terms of salokam, samipiyam, sarupiyam and saucciyam. The perceptual developments and personality differences that come along with it have been studied in terms of thasakkiramam, ten stages of development. We also have the classification of religious practices into Sariyai Kriyai Yokam and Njnanm in that order and the psychodynamics of individuals emerging from the Sariyai to Kriyai etc as so magnificently described in the 16th cent. ThaththuvaPirikaasam of one ThaththuvaNathar. I shall take up these matters later and meanwhile let me close this article with another quotation from the above Sufi text:
" Whenever human beings reach any stage, they must consider " faith in the unseen" as their ready cash in relation to the stages beyond them. If not, arrival at the coming stage is impossible. One of the duties deriving from faith in the unseen is that they should make no judgements about the coming stage through deduction. They must consider themselves similar to someone born blind in relation to the perception of colors, because before attaining the sense of sight , any judgement made by such a person concerning colors will be deduction based on smell and hearing. All will be mistaken.
The blind man knows
he has a mother
but he cannot imagine
what she looks like.
Unless human beings are delivered from the stomach of mother nature, leave the womb of mortality , and reach the world of the dominion, they will not be able to understand the stage beyond reason through witnessing and tasting. They can only have faith in the unseen. WHEN YOU WERE EMBRYOS IN YOUR MOTHER'S WOMBS-- THEREFORE HOLD NOT YOURSELVES PURIFIED [3:32]
Heart, how long in this
deceived by this and that?
Just once leave this dark well
and see the world.