by Dr K. Loganathan
[ 6. Experiencing Truth and Mental Cure, 7. Allowing BEING to Form Us,
8. It is All Grace, 9.
It is the Grace of BEING that Provides the Real Sustenance, 10. The Workings of Grace]
6: Experiencing Truth and Mental Cure
It is not an accident that Tirumular in the course of seeking the roots of meaningful behavior by way understanding behavior in general comes to investigations about TRUTH experiences , how there comes to be experience of truth with apodictic certainly as such. In the tradition of hermeneutics of Tolkaappiyam, this was first articulated as understanding freed of prejudices ( vinaiying niingki viLangkiya aRivu). When we raise questions about how this kind of understanding is possible at all, then we reach a metaphysical ground even deeper and it is at this point that we come to note the presence of aruL as that which confers such truth experiences that come along with the feeling that it is the case beyond any doubt , something that was also discovered by Descartes in the West.
The word aruL is perhaps etymologically related to 'sar, sur" and 'uL' and the compound 'sar-uL" may mean a spontaneous flow ( sar > ar) that lights up or illuminates ( uL> oL: light). Thus there is aruL as a factor of the cognitional processes naturally available in the world which by dispelling doubts uncertainties ambiguities and so forth in the mental plane, makes one feel what is experienced is truth and not some kind of falsity. The word for TRUTH in Tamil uNmai is also ultimately derived from 'uL' meaning light, radiance and so forth
However the most fascinating aspect Tirumular's view on this that makes
it immensely relevant for psychology is that this TRUTH EXPERIENCE is also
that which confers both mental and physical well being. This is NOT psychologism
as the positivists would say but rather a statement that notes that the
experience of falsities ambiguities doubts and in the extreme cases illusions
delusions and so forth are unhealthy not only mentally but also physically.
When the soul is 'dirty" not only will it be unhappy with a lot of mental
tortures but there will also be physical ailments perhaps in the
form of psychosomatic diseases.
More in the notes below
aruL engkumaana aLavai aRiyaar
aruLai nukara amutaanatun teeraar
aruL aingkarumattiRku aticuukkam unnaar
aruL engkung kaNNaanatu aar aRivaar.
The ordinary individuals do not seem to know that it is aruL that becomes the measure of TRUTH in all states of consciousness -- the wakeful , dream states and so forth. They also do not seem to appreciate that it is the experiencing of truths that serve as the ambrosia that would grant both good mental and physical health. And furthermore they do not reflect and understand that ultimately it is aruL that remains the source of the the five fold para-praxis that pervades the whole universe. And furthermore they don't seem to be aware also the fact that it is aruL that serves as the eyes for the all the creatures that would enable them to SEE as such and generate consciousness.
Perhaps this is one most powerful verses in the whole corpus of Tirumantiram and historically also one of most influential and which led to the recovery of Hermeneutic Logic as part of the Saiva Siddhanta metaphysics. The concern is the experience of TRUTH and this verse provides an interesting analysis of it within the context of analysis of behavior , behavior as praxis, as actions and within that the source of Meaningful Behavior with which this train of thoughts begin. It was noted that it is aruL that provides a sequence of MEANINGS, the ought that forms the That-For-Which existence is.
Now it is being stated that such MEANINGS that ground and stabilize behavior are in fact TRUTH experiences and that such truth experiences pervade the whole gamut of human experience , the conscious as well as unconscious.
Why this important?
This immediately rules out Naiyaayika position that truths are products of certain procedures applied CONSCIOUSLY by the human intellect and hence something that belongs to the intellectual capabilities of man. This notion is implicit in the Naiyayika claim that " pramaa karaNam piramaaNam" : the piramaaNas are those which genrate truths on being applied. It is in this vein that they claim Pratyaksa ( perception) Anumana ( inference) and Agama ( scriptural texts) are PiramaaNa. But here there is obviously confusing the notion of reliability with VALIDITY. All these ways of gaining consciousness may be reliable but not necessarily VALID for in each one of these ways there can be errors and hence falsities too.
We belief that a certain perception or reasoning or metaphysical understanding is VALID on grounds other than the manner in which they are arrived at. Tirumular maintains here it is the FLOW of aruL in whatever modes of experiences that leads us to exclaim that a certain experience currently being experienced is that of TRUTH and NOT falsity.
The criteria for TRUTH is NOT just logical or epistemological but also PSYCHOLOGICAL. The TRUTH experience in being illuminating, in being destructive of the inner darkness and metaphysical blindness is also MEDICINAL -- it brings about both good mental and physical health. As truths after truths are experienced the HEALTH improves and a person also GROWS in his personality and thereby becomes healthier as a person.
The Para-Praxis are the activities of BEING and which are there everywhere and all the time. It is noted that only those who note and acknowledge the presence of Para-Praxis as such can understand that there is this aruL even as the ground of these activities and hence understand BEING Himself as aruLon, the most munificent and benign.
Then another observation comes along with this. When we take for analysis not sensing but the SEEING and access it as the most primordial act that confers consciousness , it turns out to that at the deepest level it is also an expression of aruL. There cannot be SEEING as such in the world if not for the presence of aruL in the world.
Studies in Agamic Psychology
7. Allowing BEING to Form Us
The new world situation where the national and cultural boundaries are disappearing, demands a philosophy of life that is universal and the Psychology of Thirumular fits in as a suitable candidate to displace the religions and ideologies that have divided people more than united them. We need a Philosophy of Life that is UNIVERSAL and at the same RATIONAL so that an articulation of it becomes acceptable to all whatever their cultural religious or ideological background.
This is provided I think by the Philosophy of Praximatism, the philosophy that begins with the empirical truth that human beings ACT, effect Praxis and that is it only through ACTING that one can ascend the metaphysical ladder and assume personalities that are better and closer to the Divine essence. Though Marxism started with this notion but seems to have gone astray with its atheism or materialism that is NOT warranted within strict Praximatism.
Thirumular articulates this Philosophy as do the most of the brilliant Saiva Philosophers who sought after the UNIVERSAL in man and connected with it with Bakti. In the following verse Thirumular articulates the notion that human personalities are FLUID and CAN BE DEVELOPED continuously provided we allow without any internal resistance to be informed and formed by the ARCHETYPES that are different presentations of BEING. We human beings full of ignorance, do not know what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong and our praxis reflects this. However we can derive comfort from the understanding that BEING is there deep within our interior self guiding us all along possessing us through a series of graded archetypes so that we intuit different meanings ACT consistent with that understanding and LEARN to discard the wrong and evil and retain the good and noble. In this progress is alos written a better understanding of BEING. Without ACTING we cannot our divine essence.
This philosophy demands that we LOOK INTO our OWN UNDERSTANDING to illuminate ourselves the mysteries of existence and which demands as a corollary that we FREE ourselves from the socalled scriptures, messiahs and the religions that are founded by them. At an important point of development they become PRISONS and hence something that must discarded and thrown away as no more relevant and important and look rather at the LIVING PRESENCE of BEING in various archetypal forms. This means we have to throw away the Vedas, Bible , AlKoran and so forth as no more necessary for the further progress in personality and assume the posture of Bakti and allow BEING Himself to guide us further in His own way.
aRivil aNuka aRivathu nalkip
poRivazi yaacai pukuttip puNarntiddu
aRivatu vaakki adiyaruL nalkunj
ceRivodu ninRaar civam aayinaaree.
BEING provides the necessary metaphysical illuminations for those
individuals who seek their understanding itself as that which needs to
be understood. They will realize that BEING does not bless them with
the Absolute Illumination immediately but rather in stages where they are
at first given a body and impelled to inquire into metaphysical matters
through sensorial perceptions in the course of which He discloses
Himself in various archetypal forms thereby allowing the anmas intuit His
Presence and understand Him. Furthermore by impelling further inquiries
through these archetypal forms, discloses HIS Grace continuously
to further illuminate them. Those who live steadfast with this clarity
will finally destroy their Ego and shine forth in existence as BEING
Human beings are PRAXIMATIC, inclined to effect ACTIONS knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally. That which stabilizes behavior , as we have already seen, is MEANINGFUL behavior and we have already seen that the emergence of DIFFERENT KINDS OF MEANINGS is a matter of Grace, the blessings of BEING that never dries up. As a person continues to act in the world, meanings after meanings emerge in a graded manner taking the person higher and higher in cognitive development and so forth.
However such a person , caught up in his Praxism, is ignorant of himself, the various mechanisms made available to him for effecting an action and the presence of BEING as the ONE who provides and regulates all these. Thus a praxic person remains IGNORANT or UNCONSCIOUS of all these and when the knowledge of one's own ignorance of such matters breaks into the consciousness of the person, then he sits back and makes his UNDERSTANDING itself the subject matter of his his search. Thus he becomes at long last genuinely philosophic or metaphysical seeking to understand his own being and presence in the world as such and such . BEING provides the metaphysical illuminations sought after but in stages CONCEALING his OWN Essence till the right sort of philosophic maturity becomes available. He discloses Himself in various archetypal forms that impel further metaphysical reflections about the essence of BEING and in the course He UNCONCEALS Himself in slow measures so that the individuals begin to glow in the TRUTH of BEING.
But why this archetypal presentations and that too in human-like forms?
Those who do not understand the workings of BEING and His strategies would be inclined to say that such archetypes or divinities are fertile imaginations of human beings , their own projections into the Unknown, simply their fictions , mental constructs and so forth. It should be noted that archetypes, as they possess powers beyond the imagination of the individuals, are NOT projections of the feeble human mind bu rather presentations of BEING Himself in a manner that is within the COMPREHENSION of the human mind. The anmas are given a body and for the matured the human frame itself with all the cognitive facilities that come along with it so that they can BEHOLD BEING at least in the human- like archetypes but at the same time INQUIRE further as to the TRUTH of the whole matter. BEING conceals Himself behind these archetypal presentations and draws the attention of the anmas to His HIDDEN PRESENCE so that they would TRANSCEND these archetypes and seek out His FORMLESS ESSENCE.
Not all individuals can do this for it requires a certain maturity to do this -- they must have the INNER COURAGE to liberate themselves from being held a prisoner of such comprehensible archetypes that remain dear to oneself. Any way for those who dare and free themselves from the worship of archetypal form of BEING and ascend further, BEING graces them destroying their Ego and implanting HIMSELF there so that they shine forth as BEING HIMSELF. With this the anmas attain the ultimate mode of behavior for from this moment, their PRAXIS ceases to be human and turns out to be that of BEING HIMSELF.
8.It is All Grace
Agamic Psychology seeks to redeem individuals by promoting the destruction of EGO that forever interferes with genuine objectivity in understanding things. The ego pushes itself inventing concepts constructs theories ideologies and even religions more to satisfy the ego needs than being in Truth. Thirumular is very actually aware of this and notes in many places that to be in TRUTH one has to vanquish the Ego, called also aaNavam in Tamil because it is coeval with the presence of aaNavam , the metaphysical stuff the introduces BLINDNESS and hence ignorance. The only way to redeem oneself from this Ego is to allow the GRACE of BEING to flood the interior and form and inform the anma. This requires becoming genuinely HUMBLE and live in genuine Bakthi.
In the following verse Tirumular appears to relate his own personal experience in this matter and seems to adumbrate the slogan like declaration of Karaikal Peyar : aruLee ulakellaam aaLvipptau - It is Grace that rules the whole world.
One of the most important observations here is that even an understanding of BEING is a matter of Grace, a gift , a blessing of BEING. This understanding that provides a sense of Fulfillment or puuraNam, a satiation of a deep kind that relieves one of all kinds psychological maladies, self-tortures , pains , miseries , virakti or a kind of meaninglessness that drives one to commit suicide etc. turns out to be after a Gift of BEING but only for the deserving. The deserving are NOT the intellectually acute , politically very powerful, religiously worshipped as if God Himself but those like Appar, who have vanquished their Ego and serve people without seeking any publicity ( yaatum cuvadu pataamal)
The meaning of penances yogas studies of religious scriptures metaphysical inquiries and so forth is precisely this -- the backgrounding the Ego and thereby foregrounding the BEING so that anma becomes divine in essence.
The real meaning of religious life is precisely this - that of becoming more and more spiritualised by withdrawing the ego and implanting BEING in the self. . When we succeed in this then we enter what the Saivas call TiruciRRambalam, the Vaishnavas Vaikundam and the Semitic religions the Paradise. It is HERE and all can be in it provided we let the ego vaporize and become NOTHING so that the self , free of the Ego can be BEING itself in its Being, like an iron ball becoming the Fire itself when fully in it. The feelings Bakti , sentiments of the truly religious , arise only when the alienation with the rest of the world and seeking out supremacist positions are sundered through vanquishing the Ego, the real battle of all individuals.
aruLil piRantiddu aruLil vaLarntiddu
aruLil azintu iLaippaaRi maraintiddu
aruLaana aanantattu aaramutu uuddi
aruLaal en nanti akam pukuntanee
Even though I did not attempt in any way BEING entered my Being
on his own accord and because of His Grace. This is how how I understand
this. It is because of the Grace that I have a birth with a body
and other utensils and within this birth I have been impelled to act to
gain GRACE discard the evil and retain the good and thereby develop
as a person. Also it is also because of Grace that there is death where
I am freed from a worn-out body and after resting in some space without
a body resume worldly existence with a new body , rejuvenated in the process.
And throughout all these HE fed me with the ambrosia that helped me
to enjoy the Supreme Bliss and thereby enjoy existence itself.
A thoroughgoing analysis of meaningful behavior where we remain steadfast to the fact that we effect actions and avoid muffling it with some reductionism, indicates that ultimately it is all a matter of the engracing processes of BEING who is GRACE itself. As we persist in seeking out the mysteries surrounding our praxic nature -- that we effect actions and we have a biologically derived body that is pre organized as for that -- we realize that all these are GIFTS of BEING just as much as the world itself. Furthermore Thirumular is astonished that BEING becomes an integral part of his own self and that too as if by magic, without he trying for it. Somehow or other BEING who remains CONCEALED and DISTANT at the beginning becomes intimate and close and finally takes over the self itself destroying the Ego in that possession.
And in this way the PRIMORDIAL meaning for existence and hence our praxis is outlined. We assume a birth only because of the Grace of BEING and that we are impelled by forces that remain concealed and hence unconscious, to effect actions and LEARN through that to avoid and discard the evil but retain the GOOD and thereby DEVELOP as an individual. Without effecting actions of all sorts there is no way in which we can LEARN, avoid the evil and become more and more the good natured .
It turns out that this process of developing or evolving is NOT something that takes within a single life span but rather something that is spread across the EVOLUTIONARY movement of the anmas. It requires countless number of births and deaths to evolve into the higher kind of species and having become human evolve from the bestial into the DIVINE. Thus we have to suffer a countless number of deaths and rebirths and all also because of Grace. It is because of Grace that there is death and in which we are freed of the worn-out body , and assume rebirth in which a new body becomes available, having become rejuvenated meanwhile by resting in the mantra world.
This evolutionary dynamics into the HIGHER is sustained by another strategy
of BEING -- as we develop into the higher of the species, the experience
of BLISS becomes more and more intense as there comes to be the FLOW of
Ambrosia, the Amutu , also as another expression of this GRACE. All anmas
desire to be happy and joyous forever and now we realize that this predisposition
itself is also a matter of Grace, of aruL.
Studies in Agamic Psychology
is the Grace of BEING that Provides the Real Sustenance
Times are troublesome enough with world scene torn apart with strives of all kinds, including the religious. But these strives -- bombings and killings and so forth -- while certainly bestial but appears to be something that the human race has to experience and then learning the folly of it all pass over as something belonging to its savage past. We evolve and the social struggles, no matter how painful they are , have a place in it.
In this verse Tirumular outlines the end outcome of it all within a framework of a Theory of Behavior still beyond the reach of the Western Psychologists including the Depth Psychologists, perhaps all due to the Yoga roots of this stream of Agamic Psychology. For he views behavior not as something determined by various schedules of reinforcement of the genetic codes that activate the different modules of the mind or the suppressed and repressed desires that influence behavior unconsciously and so forth. What Tirumular articulates is that the overall behavior is conditioned by the Metaphysical World ( Cakras) a person manages to ACCESS in his quest, the Deeper and more inclusive this World , the happier and healthier the person is and doing only the good etc. The aggressive beastly existence is overcome only when a person reaches a Deep Level of metaphysical world which is the amutap PeruGkadal, the ocean of ambrosia itself and which may be the same as the PaaRkadal, the Ocean of Milk of Hindu Puranas.
These mythical geographical locations are not to be found in the
physical realms but in the metaphysical realms and are available for vision
only when the Third Eye opens up. For the uninitiated and ignorant all
these will sound not only pure rubbish but also crazy, products of mental
aberrations and so forth. But for those valiant individuals who dare
to plunge into the metaphysical journey -- away from all the religions
and ideologies that arrest and imprison the mind -- and reach very
deep layers of that world, it is immensely rewarding. For they plunge
into the ocean of Kundalini , the Coiled Power and through that manage
to attain states of Being in the world not only in good health youthful
vitality but also in Bliss Supreme.
aruLaal amutap perungkadal aaddi
aruLaal adipunaintu aarvamun tantiddu
aruLaana aanantattu aaramutu uuddi
aruLaal ennanti yakam pukuntaanee
While for the ordinary individuals the Kundalini is fed in a limited manner as if from a pot, but for those valiant individuals who dare to go the WAY of TRUTH, the same Kundalini is fed as if of the vast oceans so that they do not get ever exhausted. And furthermore, the same ambrosia is fed from within in terms of new meanings for actions so that such individuals do not attain a state of not knowing what to do and become idle. Overcome with grace BEING also feeds pleasures after pleasures of various kinds to keep up the motivational dynamics. And in order to do these effectively HE entered my self out of Grace and on His own accord.
The Kundalini, called here the Amutu, the ambrosia, is that which flows on its own accord into the interior of the psychic selves and assumes different forms so that an ACTIVE life can be maintained by the individuals. The more an individual moves in the right direction, the WAY unto BEING, the more of this flow of Kundalini into the self. Its measure increases as BEING is closed on and at a certain point the flow of Kundalini becomes immense described here a flow as if from an Ocean.
This makes the person YOUTHFUL and one with strong legs, the precondition for leading an active life. When the legs become weak so that it becomes almost impossible to walk, old age sets it and along with it senility. This is AVOIDED by the flow of KuNdalini in a large measures so that the psychic energy is recovered and along with it the physical prowess.
One of most important ingredient of sustaining INTEREST in something is the feeling of happiness. If one encounters miseries after miseries, one is demotivated and becomes effectively indolent. But the flow of Kundalini makes it possible the enjoyment of various kinds of pleasures and because of that continuous interest in something or other.
All this happens when we go the RIGHT WAY and such things happens only because BEING enters the self on His accord . Such developments provide the CRITERIA for judging whether one is moving the right way or not. Those who go the wrong way, suffer miseries , early death due diseases and old age and all because BEING is distanced and the ever ready aaNavam makes its ugly presence strongly felt by the individual.
No matter how we cheat ourselves by fantasies, self indoctrination, rationalizations and what not, TRUTH is there objectively and such benefits as outlined here will accrue only to those who go the RIGHT WAY no matter how torturous and difficult it may.
Studies in Agamic Psychology
10. The Workings of Grace
The unsophisticated , ideologically free and naive understanding of behavior is that it is interest related . One finds enjoying something because somehow rather there comes to prevail an interest in that kind of activity or praxis. Tirumular stands resolutely within this naive understanding of behavior and seeks to UNDERSTAND it all by unearthing the forces that configures such dispositions quite often UNKNOWN to the individual. This remaining Unconscious or more appropriately abconscoscious of the forces that configure one's interest and hence behavior becomes the matter for delving deep into one's own depth and seeking to sight these hidden forces and understand self itself. Thus thinking becomes archeoductive -- digging into the archaic depths of one's own and making sense why one behaves thus and so forth. For example we know that as an average person most us are interested in sexual enjoyment and because of which we seek out sexual partners, get married establish a family and so forth. But then when we raise the question as to why we have to be thus like we are puzzled. In the materialist vein we think in terms of the functions of hormones genes and so forth. But the questions do not end there -- we can raise further questions about the production of hormones, the structure of the genes and such other physical processes. At the end of it all we reach the metaphysical ground and note the presence of the sexual dynamics in terms of the functions of the Siva Tatvas Natham and Bindu and the presence of the BEING as the Androgynous Archetype and because of which there is love and sexuality.
And when we raise further questions as to why BEING should present himself
as the Androgynous archetype ( or the Adam and Eve, Siva-sakti etc.)
and implant sexuality then we begin to understand and articulate
the matter as Tirumular does below-- it's all the workings of AruL,
Divine Grace and is meant for the human beings to ACT in various
ways to reduce the IGNORANCE or absence of consciousness or understanding
and hence in effect pedagogic.
paacattil iddatu aruL antap paasattin
neecattai viddatu aruL anta neecattail
kuucaRRa mutti aruL antak kuuddattin
neecattil toonRaa nilai aruLaamee
It is the Grace of BEING that emplaced me in various kinds of worldly attachments so that I would be interested in learning the worldly matters and destroy the inherent Ignorance pertaining to the physical. It is also the workings of AruL or Grace of BEING that freed me from these worldly interests when I had learned what needs to be learned. Thus freed it is also aruL that at that point provided me the final releasement by emplacing me to be with Him forever. And furthermore it is also aruL that in that ONENESS with HIM, my ego with the I-ness and so forth was not allowed to emerge at all and hence a state of Being with self purified of its ego tendencies.
We have to recall that the Agamic Psychology that Tirumular is outlining so brilliantly begins its behavioral analysis by noting that the most important aspect of behavior is that meaningful Praxis, actions that are effected by individuals who see a MEANING in what they do and hence deeply interested in whatever actions they effect.
Tirumular now provides a metaphysical explanation of it all, how such kinds of human praxis comes to be instituted or configured as for the individuals. He reviews his own history and sees that seeking to UNDERSTAND it all, notes the workings of aruL behind it all. His worldly desires, the kinds of INTENTIONALITIES that launched him and find the meaningful only on the worldly praxis -- seeking wealth, sexual happiness, social prestige, political power and so forth was the workings of aruL. Desires to this effect were implanted in him so that he would indulge in various kinds worldly Praxis and in that course LEARN about the worldly and destroy his ignorance pertaining to the worldly matters, the physicalistic. Then he notices a change in his psychodynamics' -- during the course of such a form of existence there comes a point at which his INTEREST changes and he is freed of the earlier worldly interests.
This launching and freeing continues in a manner beyond his control till there comes a moment where he is lifted from the whole range of worldly matters and emplaced in the metaphysical realms and there to be in the company of BEING and slowly to be ONE-WITH-BEING with no relapsing at all from that state of Supreme Bliss and Freedom ( kuucaRRa mutti). This is a HAPPENING outside his own will and again as a result of the workings of aruL.
The matter does not end at that. As Tirumular continues being in this state something else also happens -- his EGO is destroyed completely and his self is allowed to shine forth as an egoless self, without ever relapsing into the former state of I-ness, My-ness etc.
This constitutes the Final state of Being for any psychic entity to persist as a self having killed every tendency for ego-assertion by fully emerging in the aruL of Being.