Dilaogs on Habits of Mind of Prof Antonio T de Nicholas- Part 2

 

Complied by Dr K. Loganthan , 2004

 

 

 

 

Dialogues on Habits of Mind-11

 

This dialog is becoming increasingly more interesting as it touches upon not only problems of the American Undergraduate university education but also the substance of the whole of university education applicable to all societies that are becoming modernized. It has relevance even to ancient societies like the Indian where innovations are called for.

 

Let me begin this dialog by saying that I am in substantial agreement with our Nitin Bhai when he calls for the introduction of Philosophical courses for: All the disciplines of the univer­sity owe their foundations to philosophy, having been born of its questions or of its answers. This is particularly so when in most of the universities in the East, the first department they close down is the philosophy department, as it happened in Singapore.  I understand that even in the University of Madras that boasts of an Advanced Center for Philosophy (but which was in reality for only Advaita Vedanta) it has become a weak department where only some foreign students are studying Indian Philosophy of a sort.

 

I want to mention some questions the following recommendations  have raised in my mind just for further clarifications on the points mentioned in the passages below:

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Habits of Mind : Antonio T. de Nicholas, pp 59-60

 

 

In order to best serve the needs of education at the under­graduate level, the following changes must occur. Namely, the curriculum of the sciences and the humanities should be geared to exercise the mind of the students and to eventually develop the habits of mind needed to:

 

1. become adept at handling the conceptual operations of science, mathematics, physics, biology;

 

2. become adept at creating and judging the “images” of the humanities, literature, art;

 

3. become versed in reading different interpretations of the same events, literary theory, criticism;

 

4. become familiar with other cultures, their images and nan atives.

 

The university should make sure that the goals of the un­dergraduate education are not mixed or dispensed as if they were delivered to professionals or graduate students. The uni­versity should make sure that the classroom is an exercise in pluralism of inner acts. Also, the departments should accept the responsibility of reducing ideology to a minimum. This responsibility can only be accomplished effectively if classroom hours are not marked to satisfy the needs of the sciences. The humanities have other needs and other ways of occupying the minds of the students that are not to be measured by hours sitting at a desk in a classroom. The humanities should liberate themselves from the tyranny of the sciences in determining the length of class hours that students and teachers should spend together.

 

    The university should seriously consider the present state of affairs regarding philosophy. All the disciplines of the univer­sity owe their foundations to philosophy, having been born of its questions or of its answers. And that means that philosophy alone is normative, being the only discipline completing the full circle of reflection and justification of its own act, unlike the other disciplines, including the sciences. This means that while the university may do all it can to promote its participation in the culture, the university or the sciences cannot say if the society they claim to serve ought to use their discoveries. The discussion of the public domain and of the actual policies of the pphilosophy. This simple truth separates the university from being an institution at the service of truth or of power, and the same applies to teaching policies at the undergraduate level. The physical structure of the disciplines at this level need be less rigidly separated and more interconnected to avoid the abuses of ideology, or the promotion of power for its own sake. Un­dergraduate studies should function more independently from the rest of the university than up to now, when they seem to be a requirement for preparation of future graduate students toward fulfilling their required steps for graduation.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

     The undergraduate education should make the students adepts at creating IMAGES of the humanities and so forth. This is by way of relieving the mind from the tyrannical hold of words and conceptual thinking that seek precise definitions of various kinds and in that intolerant of meanings that sustain themselves and refuse to descend to definitional precision. There are MEANINGS indeterminate, imprecise, global, and ambiguous and so forth and which are usually the case with IMAGES or ICONS that encrypt a variety of meanings into a single figure allowing different individuals see DIFFERENT meanings in the SAME image. The IMAGE way of retaining an understanding, by the very ambiguity and indeterminacy it comes along with, demands the Ego that exults in analytical thinking and seek to press all knowledge in conceptual categories,  be subdued and the person holds the IMAGE in reverence so that the hidden MEANINGS are unfolded gradually and in that way the understanding is illuminated.

 

     Looked at this way this is in fact what I have been calling the Icon Thinking, the Metaphysical Habits of Mind that have sustained the Dravidian culture (and perhaps the whole of Hindu culture) from at least the Sumerian times.

 

    Now our Nitin Bhai in recommending the culture of images, is he also recommending the Icon Thinking to be cultivated along with conceptual thinking of precision demanding Positive Thinking?

 

    Now if it is the case then it is clear that the undergraduates must be prepared adequately even before they enter the universities for such a cultue. But what institutions would develop the Icon Thinking even in childhood?

 

   The Hindus do this with the culture of Temples where images or icons abound and where through various kinds of rituals, these images are also made to be held in great reverence.  The Muslims ( and some Christians) are violently opposed to this. From my youth to this day where I am in the early sixties, the Icon of Siva Nadarajah holds a central place in my thinking and as I continue living thus, I also experience new MEANINGS as already there in that Icon and which come as flashes of INNER LIGHT that enlightens me considerably.

 

 

   Now the second point is:

 

3.   become versed in reading different interpretations of the same events, literary theory, criticism

 

Again I cannot but agree with this. In fact this is the aspect that I learned as an undergraduate student of philosophy in the University of Otago, New Zealand and for which I remain thankful to the Western culture. Perhaps the American situation is different.

 

I want to point out a similarity here with the Methodology of Philosophic Deconstruction that has become well entrenched at least with Saivism of the Tamils. We have the beginnings of it in the Buddhist MaNimekalai where the heroine by way of educating herself in philosophy, LISTENS to all the different schools of thought though just simply dismisses them instead of deconstructing them. However in the Jaina Classic of Nilakeci(c. 9th cent AD) this defect is made good and we have a fully matured application of deconstruction to the various philosophies of the times. Now subsequent to this it becomes entrenched as the very nerve of philosophical studies among the Tamils beginning with Meykandar AruNandi and so forth.

 

Now is our Nitin Bhai, in proposing that students should be exposed to DIFFERENT interpretations and so forth, is also recommending that DECONSTRUTION as the method of Philosophic Thinking be introduced as well?

 

 

 

From: <diotima245@aol.com>

To: <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>; <akandabaratam@yahoogroups.com>; <meykandar@egroups.com>; <ene@egroups.com>; <kalaivani@egroups.com>

Subject: [akandabaratam] Re: [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-11

Date: Wednesday, February 18, 2004 9:27 PM

 

Dear Dr. Loga and friends:

It is indeed a pleasure working with friends. I will try to answer to the

point in Dr. Loga's remarks.

Ikon thinking, the primacy of images, the language of images, etc., are

already included in my book Meditations through the Rg Veda. Dragons, heroes, gods,

sacrifice, movement are different stages of one transit: Asat, Sat, Yajna,

Rta., a plurality of languages to express what is only One, tad ekam. However,

this is our human journey. Furthermore the primacy of images has been confirmed

by modern neurobiology by proving that all perception comes into the right

brain first, and only later the left brain translates it into concepts. So it

should not be a difficult argument to follow. However, all the colonial powers

were controlled by the left brain, that they thought was the supreme and only

brain, and not just a translating instrument, and one of several. The key

question is how does the brain of images work. I am attaching an article on how

images (imagined not fantasized) are made.

 

The second point is deconstruction. It is an essential discipline if we are

to find philosophical space for images, for the other, and for the fixity of

the self in Western culture. In the case of Western culture the main discipline

to learn is how to deconstruct oneself for this is the fix coordinate needed

in Western Academia to talk, direct, think, diagnose, decide etc. In this sense

the West has a lot to learn from the East and from the language of the

mystics.

 

Great conversation. Thanks.

 

OM and SHANTI

Antonio de Nicolas

Nitin Bhai

 

Meditation: The Making of Images

By Antonio T. de Nicolas, PhD

 

Introduction

 

From the Rig Veda to Plato the act of imagining is the secret technology of

the mystics. While most people use fantasy to achieve the results they

fantasize for the sake of the subject, and theologians use concepts to claim knowledge

and revelation, imagining has been always the technology of a few souls, from

East and West, in their effort to repeat the divine act of creation

uncontaminated by human faculties. For this reason and to describe what this technology

is based on I have chosen to write this paper following the clear

descriptions of this act as found in the writings of Ignatius de Loyola and as he used

them in the making of his Spiritual Exercises. The reason for this choice is the

radical need of presenting how images are made, rather than borrowed in

meditation. It is my contention that this tradition of making images in meditation

is present wherever meditation is practiced. It is common in Hinduism, from

the Rig Veda down, in Buddhism, and in Christianity, as well as in other

religions. The aim of such presentation is to show that in religious practice no

image may be borrowed.

 

Meditation

 

Ignatius is convinced that meditation is the road to that inner space that

may be revealed, opened, touched, uncovered by that unique act of creation,

unique to meditation, and by no other creature, object or sensation. Only God, he

believes, owns the human center (Exer. 316, 322, 329, 330).But this center is

covered by a communications system, a natural attitude, a self indulgence,

that impedes human access to it. Ignatius' initiation into this mystery is a

definite effort at breaking down this communication system and building a new one

through which the soul and God may communicate. Since the external

communications system has also, through language and its repetition, through the use of

the faculties and the repetition of this use, sensitized the subject into a

series of body sensations and their habitual comfort, the new system of

communications will aim precisely at destroying, suspending, this habituation. The

exercises start in the human body and end in the transformation of this same human

body. The body is the primary text and primary technology, while the

discourse about the experience is the "secondary text" and "secondary technology."

Through the exercises a new language is given the retreatant, a new memory and a

new imagination. Through this retraining a new will might emerge in harmony

with the Will of God.

 

Language and the Will

 

The first week of the exercises is one of trial and training. It is a time of

testing the will of the retreatant and the body of that will. Not everyone's

body is ready for meditation at the particular time chosen for the exercises.

Ignatius wants to single out those who might continue and those who should

proceed no further. Though the exercises carry so much promise they could also be

dangerous to one's health if not done under the best physical conditions.

Ignatius says of "those with poco suiecto (little temperament, lack of stamina

and preparation) that "they should not proceed any further" (Exer. 18).

This first week is one of violence to the body habits of the retreatant. He

is asked to search for a "place" (Exer. 20) away from the ordinary place to

which he/she is normally accustomed: the cave of Manresa, a lonely room, a

different room from the one usually inhabited, a different house, a monastery in the

country, an unaccustomed place, a place where the retreatant has to invent

new body habits and where outside communications systems do not reach. The

retreatant is also instructed about lights: less in the first and third weeks, more

in the second and fourth (Exer. 79). The retreatant's body is subjected to

new and calculated positions: kneeling, prostrating oneself face down, standing

with the head bent down, pacing, walking, sitting rigidly (Exer. 74, 75, 76,

77) lowering the eyes, raising the eyes, closing out sounds, listening to

special rhythms as the meditation dictates (Exer. 81, 258). The whole body of the

retreatant must be reeducated until it becomes like a repellent to the external

communications system and habits he/she was familiar with. All gestures,

facial expressions, bodily movements, bodily expression must be painstakingly gone

over as if in slow motion so that the body becomes impervious to the outside

and begins to learn the technologies of facing and gathering within.

The will of the retreatant is now used as a surgical knife to cut some

openings into the interior world. The whole attention of the retreatant is now away

from the outer world even if in order to achieve this he/she must cut to

pieces, one by one, the different lived moments of his/her life, the different

moments of a day, of a prayer, of a meditation, of an examination of conscience,

of an act, a look, a thought (Exer. 24, 25, 26, 27, 33, 34, 38, 42, 43). But on

the trail of these acts of the will a language is being formed: "intense pain

and tears," ugliness and evil...of sin" (Exer. 57), compare God's attributes

to yours, wisdom and ignorance, omnipotence and weakness, justice and

inequity, goodness and selfishness (Exer. 59), "esclamacion admirative con crescido

afecto" (shout with amazement and filled with a growing emotion) (Exer. 60);

self-pity, gratitude, amazement, disgust, consolation, desolation (Exer. 62) are

the signs of this language the will has started to create by turning the

entire life and every minute of it into an interior timetable where only the chimes

of eternity are heard. By the time the will becomes habituated to those

exercises there will no longer be room for external and familiar languages. The

clock of the "solitary region" is now running. The interior timetable now

determines one's waking (Exer. 74), the kind of prayer, examinations of conscience

(Exer. 43) and meditations one makes and what conversations one will bring to

the guide of the exercise. The prayer may take various forms; it may be light

and relax the emotions (Exer. 238), or it may focus on the seven deadly sins

(Exer. 244), or on the three powers of the soul (Exer. 246). It may become a

meditation which considers every word pronounced (Exer. 249), or which

concentrates only on those points of meditation "where I felt the most intense spiritual

feeling" (Exer. 62). And, of course, we must not forget, a new diet has to be

included (Exer. 84), and one should sleep with less comfort than one is used

to and cause sensible pain to the body (Exer. 85). Even while going to sleep

there is no stopping this clock; one should prepare oneself for the coming day

by going over the memory-points of the meditation one is going to make in the

morning (Exer. 73). Upon awakening, one should bring to mind what one is about

to meditate on. The clock of the "solitary region" does not allow any external

language to come in; there are no cracks between exercises: "no dando lugar a

unos pensamientos ni a otros" (not to make room for this kind of thoughts or

any other) (Exer. 74).

 

Spiritual exercises, however, do not compare to any army "boot camp."

Ignatius is very sensitive to that: "If the one giving the exercises sees that he who

makes them is in desolation or temptation, he should not be harsh or severe

with him, but rather gentle and soft..." (Exer.17). And if at times Ignatius

recommends acting against natural inclinations (agere contra, do the opposite

Exer. 13, 16), as when one feels like not going the length of a whole hour in

meditation, one should therefore at once decide to go for one hour and a half.

He also makes the exercitant aware that all those things he/she is trained to

do are only means to an end. One should use, therefore, those things only

"tanto... cuanto" (as much as) (Exer. 23) one needs to in order to achieve those

ends. For in the end the exercises are for the soul to get ready to receive the

Will of God, not suggestions from the guide of the exercises, or confessors,

or friends, or enemies: ...it is much better, in searching for the divine Will,

to let Our Creator and Lord communicate Himself to the devoted soul..."

(Exer.15).

 

The exercises of the will and the hint of the language that emerges builds

around the inner space of the retreatant a scaffolding of inner habits ready to

sustain the new emerging body of meditation. But then the drama unfolds. While

the retreatant experiences the excitement of the new, he/she also experiences

the bereavement of the familiar. The retreatant is not guaranteed that the

divinity may enter the solitary space, while the familiar will no longer feel

the same. The retreatant can never anticipate what is about to happen or even if

it will happen. One needs to give up everything and, yet, one cannot

anticipate that the empty spaces are going to be filled. This journey needs raw human

faith, the exercises themselves that keep opening horizons of language, and

memory along with its predictability. The exercise now is memory.

 

Memory and Predictability

 

The origin of Christianity was an experience that had already happened. It

originated outside of time with the Trinity and entered time in the Second

Person of the Trinity through the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption. It

is precisely because of the fact that this experience has already happened that

for every. Christian to know is to remember. Memory makes of Christians

communities and religion; it is the common ground of memories, on which all stand,

that joins them as community. Without memory Christianity could not be

articulated. Christ had already set down the internal law of the community: "Do this

in remembrance of me." (Luke 22, 19) And even when the Father will send, in

Christ's name, the Comforter, the Spirit, He will do it to "bring all things to

your remembrance" (John 14, 25). To be a Christian is primarily to live on

memory, to turn memory around, to store memories, to turn every sign, whatever

its origin, into a memory-point, to articulate those memories so that memory

remains active. Those memories are the remembrance of the Will of God in

operation. They are the memory of a past actively present and therefore, being God's

Will, with a future. It is a memory that predictably organizes the future. But

not without human effort and participation. Strictly speaking, the Spiritual

Exercises are a string of memories, of memory-points. Even the exercises as

written are not to be read for information or edification or content. Each and

every word is slowly and carefully chiseled out so that it becomes a

memory-point for action, or for making memory.

 

The journey of the retreatant's will dividing his/her life into the search

for sins, the day divided into exercises of the will to discover flaws, to

remove flaws, these exercises are primarily exercises in memory: memories that

travel back and forth, up and down, within the perimeters of a human life.

Meditation begins by "bringing to memory" the first sin of the angels (Exer. 50); "by

bringing to memory" the sin of Adam and Eve (Exer. 51); "by bringing to

memory" our sins (Exer. 52), all the sins of my lifetime (Exer. 56), year by year,

place by place, looking at the places I have lived, conversations I have had,

work done (Exer. ibid.); bring to memory to instruct the intellect in it: "so

that the intellect, without meandering, may reason with concentration going

over the reminiscences (memories) of the things contemplated in past

exercises..." (Exer. 64). Ignatius literally means, through the Exercises, "to bring all

things into remembrance." In order to bring all things into remembrance,

however, demands from us certain shifts in technologies. In every case human effort

is needed.

Ignatius de Loyola shared with the other mystics of his time habits of

reading different from ours. Early in his Autobiography (Autobiography 6 and 7) he

lets us know how he used reading in order to fix memory points and visualize

the things the Saints did and that he could also do. With these memories he

would then dream of doing greater things for the service of God. In this manner

Ignatius kept his mind well occupied. Ignatius' knowledge came through the

experience of meditation, not through reasoning out the mysteries of Christianity.

It is true that the Exercises use the three potencies or faculties of the

soul, but it is through memory that they are held together, or by turning all

things into remembrance. The flight of the soul will eventually take place through

imagining.

Turning all things into remembrance is not an easy task, however. The

memories of Christianity are not factual history, are not deeds humans caused on

humans or nature. In order to turn all things into remembrance one must perform a

radical hermeneutical act. How does one remember "the souls in hell" or the

Trinity before Creation, or angels sinning, or how Christ used his five senses,

or even one's own sins without a radical reinterpretation of those cognitive

ciphers in view of the experience that already happened? Those are living

memories to a Christian and therefore recoverable. To recall them is to call them,

and therefore, they may be articulated in language. They are the language in

which imagining takes place. On these memory units imagining will act. This

memory bank is the only security the retreatant has that the system works; it is

the language of Christianity, its communications system. It is in this sense,

of memory in use, that memory acts with an element of predictability in the

system. Memory, by turning back, vivifies the retreatant and guarantees the

future. Memory mediates all human action: it is language and it is divine human

life.

 

Imagining as Individual Dismemberment

 

Language, in order not to be a dead language, must be used, spoken, written

down. Memories would become dead if not activated through acts of imagining.

Contrary to contemporary practices in psychology, where imagining is guided

so that individuals and groups share the same image and are guided in imagining

it, or where archetypal images are the object, goal, and the identity of

imagining, Ignatius, astonishingly enough, leaves the retreatant entirely to

his/her "own abilities" (Exer.18) when guiding him/her in the act of imagining.

Ignatius provides memory points, describes how to imagine, but the images of

imagining are absent from the Exercises . Actual imagining is the retreatant's

exercise. This may be understood because Ignatius cannot draw on any existing

reservoir of images in order to correct mistaken identities. He cannot draw from

any subjective field of images with which the subject may be more or less

familiar, because through some of those images individuals have already

experienced transformations, even creations. Ignatius displaces the retreatant from any

subjective or objective pools of images and vigorously transplants him/her to

an imageless field where the absence of images will force the exercise of

creating them. This kind of imagining is the more powerful because it does not

rest on images anyone ever before created. Neither the exercitant nor the world

has the images of the exercises of imagining. The images to be born are of a

sheer power of imagining which includes not only the act of imagining, but the

act of creating the images.

This strategy of Ignatius is so demanding that it rests more on the actual

technologies of imagining than on any images. Thus his insistence on the

technology of concentration in order to bring out the pure image, the uncontaminated

image, the image in perfect solitude, the original image, the divine image.

The image created in meditation is the only image that will gain currency in

meditation. One cannot borrow it, one must create it. In this creation all other

images are automatically excluded. The whole technology developed in the

Exercises has one aim: the perfect image, for it is in it and through it that God's

signs will appear. The image will turn to language and return to the public

domain.

The pure image, the original image, will penetrate the public domain if first

it penetrates the material body of the retreatant. This material body is

always set facing the scene, the image, to be imagined. But this material body is

a fluid body through imagining: a slave in the Nativity, a knight in the Two

Kingdoms, a sinner facing the Cross; or it may change sizes if compared to

other men, the angels, God (Exer. 58); it may become a vermin worth "many hells"

(Exer. 60); or the temple, image of God, animated by God, sensitized by Him

(Exer. 235).

 

Technically, however, this material fluid body of the retreatant, becomes

dismembered through the act of imagining. Ignatius conceives imagining as an act

of dismembering the senses by running them in isolation, one by one, through

the image being made.

 

The retreatant is placed in front of a scene and asked to make his/her own

"contemplacion viendo el lugar" (contemplation seeing the place). With

exhausting detail, he/she is asked to make up the scene; the road: how long, wide, flat

running through valleys or hills; the cave: how big, small, how high, how

low, how furnished (Exer.112). Imagine hell, the width and depth and length

(Exer. 65), or imagine the synagogue, villages and castles (Exer. 91), or the Three

Divine Persons (Exer.102), or Mary riding a donkey or Joseph pulling an ox

(Exer.110). But for Ignatius the image alone is not the source of signs. The

image on recall is to call it to memory. The actual birth of the signs or the

system of signs does not take place until the retreatant proceeds, through

imagining, to "read" the image through his own dismembered sensorium. The perfect

image, the solitary image, the divine image is set into motion through the

sensuous motion of the retreatant's senses as he or she runs them, one at a time,

through the image. It takes the "reading" of the image by each sense so that it

becomes a mediation of signs. The efficacy of the image is made possible on

condition that the subject be kept elusively absent, as a fixed unity, in the

act of imagining. What he or she is asked to do instead is to lend sight,

sound, smell, touch, movement to the image. The image must be filled through the

reading of each sense on the image. He or she vitalizes the image through his or

her dismembered sensorium. Each sense must read the image separately; each

sense must sensitize the image separately; each sense must read/write its

separate movement on the image separately. What is done through visualization must

be repeated through hearing, smelling, touching, moving. This applies to the

exercises on hell, the Nativity, the Cross, Resurrection, in short, to any

exercises where images are to be imagined.

 

It is the exercise of imagining that makes the appearance of signs and the

articulation of both as a language possible. Images of themselves, do nothing.

The retreatant must exercise them by reading/writing sensation on them. In its

preparatory stage imagining is a technology that if performed in all its

purity will return signs and articulate itself into a language. It will also force

the sensible signs to appear in the act of sensitizing the image of

meditation. As a consequence and because it is an embodied technology, it will also

desensitize the subjects to their original unities and attachments while

sensitizing them to the new and fresh sensations. Imagining, therefore, with its

preliminary organization of daily acts, memories and sensitizing of images, is the

primary technology through which a language/text appears and may be

articulated. Without this primary text written in the human body, this technology of

habituation, signs will not appear nor the language of their articulation. The

primary technology thus is the causal origin of the signs, the diacritical

systems of signs, that are to be read. The reading of those signs will have several

readers: the retreatant, his director or confessor, his spiritual guide,

whoever is trained to read such a text. The reader must know the primary technology

and the primary text and be an expert in reading the signs. He/she must be

able to read them even if he/she is not the author of the primary text or the

reader/writer of the primary technology. It is on this condition that the

primary text and primary technology produce not only a language but also the

possibility of its articulation, either as a private articulation to a spiritual

guide, or as a public articulation for the public domain.

 

Conclusion

 

Though this hermeneutical task is unfinished, it should be suggestive enough

to encourage all those interested in deeper unities than theological

civilities to search for a way of making possible inter-religious communities where

serious, dedicated forms of meditation are made available to all.

Human technologies divide into two groups: one follows the image of the

sinner-Savior model where the individual has hardly any room to do anything on

his/her own, for he/she is always at the mercy of "compliance" with an ethical

code dictated by this model.

On the other hand, there is the Avatara-mystical model, the individual uses

technologies that infuse all his/her brains with knowledge and allows him or

her to embody the human paradigm as it moves along. Heart Ethics is the guide

here, and the training is geared to be able to chose from among the possible

(dharma) facing you, the best, by habit, as Plato and Indic texts proposed before

him and is found in the mystical literature of the Spiritual Exercises of

Ignatius and other mystics.

Before Ignatius wrote his Exercises Indic Tradition had already imprinted the

paradigm in the human species with the practices of the yogas of the Bhagavad

Gita. Krisna moves by the neural pathways of the left brain to gain distance

from Arjuna's trauma, and on to the communities of the right brain practices,

embodying them as he moves to the point when in chapter eleven he shows the

bewildered Arjuna his geometries without the forms Arjuna so loved or feared, or

with the forms already destroyed. Kalo'smi: I am Time, Krisna proclaims, I am

all a man can be, now…And so can you if you learn to make decisions. Of

course, Indic Tradition does not have to deal with the sinner-Savior model for in

this Tradition, from the Rig Veda down, all the gods are "this side of

Creation," as the Rig Veda proclaims, and manas (the mind) is not a faculty but one

more of the senses.

And so, in the end, make sure your exercises correspond to your available

neural connections and brain centers, restrain your fantasy, cancel out your left

brain until you leave meditation and translate whatever happened there into

ordinary prose or poetry or simple power of decision making. There are two

roads, make sure you find the one leading to the technologies of the heart.

Bibliography

de Nicolas, A.T. (1986) Powers of Imagining: Ignatius de Loyola, State

University of

New York Press, Albany N.Y

(1976,8,2003) Meditations Through the Rig Veda, Shambhala, Boulder- London,

Nicolas-Hays, iUniverse.com.

(1990) The Bhagavad Gita, Nicolas-Hays, York Beach, Maine

(1989,1996) St. John of the Cross; Alchemist of the soul. Nicolas-Hays, York

Beach, Maine

(1976) Avatara: The Humanization of Philosophy. Nicolas-Hays, Maine and New

York .

Note: Meditations and Avatara are ready at iUniverse.com and on line.

 

 _______________________________________________________________________________

 

From: "Dr K.Loganathan" <subas@pc.jaring.my>

To: <akandabaratam@yahoogroups.com>; <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>

Subject: Re: [akandabaratam] Re: [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-11

Date: Wednesday, February 18, 2004 9:56 PM

 

 

Dear Prof Antonio

 

Thank-you for an in depth input into Icon Thinking which seems to be quite

universal  but somehow suppressed by both positive sciences and dogmatic

religions including the Indian variety. Perhaps there are also problems

here that we have to take into account. Dravidian culture which has

fostered Icon Thinking can also fail.

 

Let me read this piece more carefully before I raise some questions (if

the need arises)to further the dialogue.

 

Meanwhile it will be nice if the other members also volunteer their views

as the issues are quite general and very important.

 

Loga

 

 

Ignatius de Loyola : Was he a Siva Yogi?

 

        There are spiritual universals and as we dig into the direct spiritual experiences of the great mystics throughout the world, we see a striking commonality despite some differences in the language of description. It also appears these commonalties arise only because they tear themselves away from historical and social determinants, the tradition into which they are born and which prejudices them deeply and delve deep into their own BODY and reaching different brain centers experience BEING uncontaminated by religions and the priestly tales. The following description of Ignatious de Loyala reminded me of the Tamil Sivayogis and Baktas where mutual influences are very unlikely. Both must be taping the same BRAIN LOCATIONS and thus gaining experiences of a novel kind by this INNER voyage, SAY in their own languages something the SAME.

 

        This raises the important question:  Do we require the Padres Mullahs Brahmanahs and so forth for experiencing the true spiritual heights? I do not think we need their services at all and in view of their tendency to ENSLAVE the mind, we must in fact FREE ourselves from them to experience BEING directly as has been the case with the Christian Ignatious and the Saiva VaishNava Baktas of India.

 

Now let us what Prof says below:

 

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

 

Language and the Will

 

The first week of the exercises is one of trial and training. It is a time of

testing the will of the retreatant and the body of that will. Not everyone's

body is ready for meditation at the particular time chosen for the exercises.

Ignatius wants to single out those who might continue and those who should

proceed no further. Though the exercises carry so much promise they could also be

dangerous to one's health if not done under the best physical conditions.

Ignatius says of "those with poco suiecto (little temperament, lack of stamina

and preparation) that "they should not proceed any further" (Exer. 18).

 

This first week is one of violence to the body habits of the retreatant. He

is asked to search for a "place" (Exer. 20) away from the ordinary place to

which he/she is normally accustomed: the cave of Manresa, a lonely room, a

different room from the one usually inhabited, a different house, a monastery in the

country, an unaccustomed place, a place where the retreatant has to invent

new body habits and where outside communications systems do not reach. The

retreatant is also instructed about lights: less in the first and third weeks, more

in the second and fourth (Exer. 79). The retreatant's body is subjected to

new and calculated positions: kneeling, prostrating oneself face down, standing

with the head bent down, pacing, walking, sitting rigidly (Exer. 74, 75, 76,

77) lowering the eyes, raising the eyes, closing out sounds, listening to

special rhythms as the meditation dictates (Exer. 81, 258). The whole body of the

retreatant must be reeducated until it becomes like a repellent to the external

communications system and habits he/she was familiar with. All gestures,

facial expressions, bodily movements, bodily expression must be painstakingly gone

over as if in slow motion so that the body becomes impervious to the outside

and begins to learn the technologies of facing and gathering within.

 

The will of the retreatant is now used as a surgical knife to cut some

openings into the interior world. The whole attention of the retreatant is now away

from the outer world even if in order to achieve this he/she must cut to

pieces, one by one, the different lived moments of his/her life, the different

moments of a day, of a prayer, of a meditation, of an examination of conscience,

of an act, a look, a thought (Exer. 24, 25, 26, 27, 33, 34, 38, 42, 43). But on

the trail of these acts of the will a language is being formed: "intense pain

and tears," ugliness and evil...of sin" (Exer. 57), compare God's attributes

to yours, wisdom and ignorance, omnipotence and weakness, justice and

inequity, goodness and selfishness (Exer. 59), "esclamacion admirative con crescido

afecto" (shout with amazement and filled with a growing emotion) (Exer. 60);

self-pity, gratitude, amazement, disgust, consolation, desolation (Exer. 62) are

the signs of this language the will has started to create by turning the

entire life and every minute of it into an interior timetable where only the chimes

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

 

I just want to point out some parallels with Yoga practices from Sumerian times to the Bakti period just to show that we have is a SPIRITUAL UNIVERSAL and hence equally available to all and all human beings are the SAME in this respect. Turning away from scriptures to the BODY and accessing the deeper parts of the BRAIN seems bring out the UNIVERSAL in religious matters and which has something that was emphasized by the Siddhas Sufis and so forth.

 

Now I just want to cite some parallel accounts from SumeroTamil literature to show that these are very ancient and have been sustained in Tamil Culture and which has given rise to the OPENNESS that is characteristic of it. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras Tirumular’s Third Tantra as well as many Tamil Siddha texts provide many details on these themes attesting a continuity of tradition.

 

My first citation comes from a description of what is obviously the forcing of the body into various Asanas by way accessing some deeper realms of the brain:

 

This is just brief note on Enlil (also called se-ir mal) where some lines are taken from a book "a-ab-ba hu-luh-ha" (Oh Angry Sea!), (Raphael Kurtscher, 1975, Yale Univ. Press) a very scholarly book that also details the distinction between the eme-gir and eme-sal forms of Sumerian language.

In connection with Yoga, we have a clear description of Ta. aRituyil ( Sk Yoganidra)

This notion , interestingly enough exists in Sumerian too, as the following lines would indicate.

5.  a-a (d) mu-ul-lil sipa sag-gig-a ( Father Enlil , Shepherd of the Black-headed)

Ta. ayyaa moo uLLil ciiva caan kaikka ( Father who pervades in the interior of all, the savior who is black)

6. a-a (d) mu-ul-lil i-bi-du ni-te-na ( Father Enlil, the one inspecting for Himself)

Ta. ayyaa moo uLLil imaiyidu nii taanee ( Father who pervades the interior of all, and sees all on his own accord)

7. a-a (d) mu-ul-lil am erin di-di ( Father Enlil, the Warrior Who Leads the Troops)

Ta. ayyaa moo uLLil amaa araN titii

8. a-a (d) mu-ul-lil u-lul-la ku-ku  ( Father enlil, Who Feigns Sleep ( lit. Who Sleeps a False Sleep)

Ta. ayyaa moo uLLil uuzalla kokkoo ( ...)

We should note the following things:

a. Tirumaal is BLACK, i.e. maal and perhaps this is what is being communicated by the phrase 'sag gig-ga" the black head or black person ( sag, sa-an: head , person, gi-g-ga > kringka, kalingka; gi = mi :Ta. mai: black)

b. The notion of False Sleep -  u-lal-la ku-ku , uuzalla kokkoo , along with " inspecting for Himself  or who sees all on his own accord pretty well communicates the notion of the vision of Third Eye, the EYE that does close at all. The term ku-ku ( Ta. kokkoo) is available in the term kokkookam, the science of sexual embrace hence sleeping by wrapping around. Tirumaal does NOT sleep at all, but only PRETENDS to sleep for otherwise he cannot SEE everything as the indweller in all.
 

Now the notion that EnLil pervades the INTERIOR of all (si-ba sag gig-ga> ciiva saan kaikka) and which has given rise to the VaishNava notion that BEING is the indweller in all (Antariyaamin) may the pre-understanding that launched the INWARD GAZE (i-bi-da ni-te-na)

However the following line from the same book clearly outlines the disciplining the body into new postures by way accessing deeper and untapped parts of the brain:

A19 (p.94)

gu-zu ur-ra ba-e-ni-mar-ra si-mah-en ( (You), who placed your neck between your thighs, you are likewise exalted)

Ta. kuuv-juu uur-ra baayinee malla  sii maahyen (“)

Bending and placing the neck (kuuv) between the thighs (uur-ra) is certainly an attempt to break the normal body habits and initiating it into something new. It may be possible that all these postures (projected onto Enlil) are in fact attempts to access the deeper brain parts that would allow the visions into the hidden and concealed and hence ARituyil.

It may be possible that Ignatious de Loyola was rediscovering something that was already discovered by the Sumerians and which the Tamils continued to develop and adumbrate.

 

From: "K. Loganathan" <ulagankmy@yahoo.com>

To: <akandabaratam@yahoogroups.com>; <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>; <meykandar@egroups.com>; <kalaivani@egroups.com>; <ene@egroups.com>

Subject: Re: [akandabaratam] Re: [agamicpsychology] Ignatius de Loyala: Was he a Siva uyogi?

Date: Monday, February 23, 2004 9:07 AM

 

Dear Prof

 

Thank-you very much. Yes the neurobiological turn that is in Ignatious and the SivaYogies from Sumerian times is certainly the philosopher's stone that can unravel the secrets of the metaphysical world. And thank-you very much for pointing out its presence in Ignatious and making it a central theme in your books and writings.

 

I believe that once we succeed in drawing the attention of the scholars to this genuine WAY of metaphysics, the Brahmanism of the Brahmins with their sruties and smrities will be seen as unnecessary for real spiritual quest. The same will aply to Muslims and Christians who hold on to their scriptures as if the sources of absolute truth.

 

Furthermore the neurobiological turn can be seen also as scientific but of course the Hermenutic Scientific .

Let us develop the dialog so that more of such things emerge to the fore and capture the imagination of the scholars.

Loga

diotima245@aol.com wrote:

Dear Loga and friends,

Dr. Loga has found the philosopher's stone in spiritual practice. It is not history and the book that give us truth, but the disciplined development of inner technologies in the body that gives us access to the truth. Meditate more, think less. Let neurobiology speak through the body (the cause is in the effect) and let history be the witness of what is first experienced and the company we need to know we are not alone.

OM and SHANTI

Antonio de Nicolas

In a message dated 2/21/2004 11:41:24 PM Eastern Standard Time, ulagankmy@yahoo.com writes

It may be possible that Ignatious de Loyola was rediscovering something that was already discovered by the Sumerians and which the Tamils continued to develop and adumbrate.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

The  Images of Ignatious

One of the despicable consequences of the worship of words of the religionists and emphasize on Theoretical Thinking of the positive scientists, is the elimination of Icon Thinking and with that enjoying truth-experiences (Ta. MeyyuNarvu) of the most profound kind that also contribute to the evolution of the human personality. But it appears that in the West too Icon Thinking was developed but perhaps only by significant individuals and which did not catch on as central in authentic religious life. We can see this in the architecture of the Church, which does not have Imago Dei where worship, is offered. The same goes for the Mosques of Islam where only Empty Space appears to be worshiped. All these stand in contrast to the typical Hindu Jain and Chinese Temples where idols of gods abound  (I am not sure about Buddhism though Tantric Buddhism seems to be very similar to Hinduism)

In the following passage our Nitin Bhai draws attention to the different ways Ignatious understood and classified the images and about which I want to raise some questions. Here I am NOT against Prof Antonio’s heroic efforts to bring back IMAGINING, in the special sense he uses the word. I fully endorse it and I am inline with his efforts in this direction.  Nevertheless I raise some questions only to clarify some doubts that emerged in my mind on reading such passages.

Imagining as Individual Dismemberment

 

Language, in order not to be a dead language, must be used, spoken, written

down. Memories would become dead if not activated through acts of imagining.

Contrary to contemporary practices in psychology, where imagining is guided

so that individuals and groups share the same image and are guided in imagining

it, or where archetypal images are the object, goal, and the identity of

imagining, Ignatius, astonishingly enough, leaves the retreatant entirely to

his/her "own abilities" (Exer.18) when guiding him/her in the act of imagining.

Ignatius provides memory points, describes how to imagine, but the images of

imagining are absent from the Exercises . Actual imagining is the retreatant's

exercise. This may be understood because Ignatius cannot draw on any existing

reservoir of images in order to correct mistaken identities. He cannot draw from

any subjective field of images with which the subject may be more or less

familiar, because through some of those images individuals have already

experienced transformations, even creations. Ignatius displaces the retreatant from any

subjective or objective pools of images and vigorously transplants him/her to

an imageless field where the absence of images will force the exercise of

creating them. This kind of imagining is the more powerful because it does not

rest on images anyone ever before created. Neither the exercitant nor the world

has the images of the exercises of imagining. The images to be born are of a

sheer power of imagining which includes not only the act of imagining, but the

act of creating the images.

 

This strategy of Ignatius is so demanding that it rests more on the actual

technologies of imagining than on any images. Thus his insistence on the

technology of concentration in order to bring out the pure image, the uncontaminated

image, the image in perfect solitude, the original image, the divine image.

The image created in meditation is the only image that will gain currency in

meditation. One cannot borrow it, one must create it. In this creation all other

images are automatically excluded. The whole technology developed in the

Exercises has one aim: the perfect image, for it is in it and through it that God's

signs will appear. The image will turn to language and return to the public

domain.

 

The pure image, the original image, will penetrate the public domain if first

it penetrates the material body of the retreatant. This material body is

always set facing the scene, the image, to be imagined. But this material body is

a fluid body through imagining: a slave in the Nativity, a knight in the Two

Kingdoms, a sinner facing the Cross; or it may change sizes if compared to

other men, the angels, God (Exer. 58); it may become a vermin worth "many hells"

(Exer. 60); or the temple, image of God, animated by God, sensitized by Him

(Exer. 235).

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

According to Ignatious there are Pure Images, which are original, uncontaminated and are to be had only in prefect solitude.  Where such imagining is guided by some individuals, the imaging process may become contaminated and we have inauthentic images channeling the metaphysical thinking and so forth. One cannot borrow authentic images but have to create them.

Now these observations raise some questions about how icons in fact figure in the religious culture of mankind as well as in Depth Psychology.

First of all this claim seems to go against the notion of Collective Unconscious that Jung proposed because he saw the SAME images in deep dreams, mythologies, folklores so forth across the world. The archetypes that emerge in Deep Dreams also figure in ancient mythologies and some are also substances of folk tales. We can cite the images of Mother Goddess Tree Snake and so forth and which are met with not only in the mythologies but also DREAMS. Since they erupt in dream experiences they CANNOT be fabrications of the human mind and hence have to be the uncontaminated pure images of Ignatious but only that they are encountered in dreams and not during retreats.  Here there is NO technology of concentration etc but only that of sleeping and hence being in a state without any conscious control.

Could it be that even Ignatious was saying the same thing: to concentrate and meditate in splendid isolation is actually a way of allowing a free access of the mind for the Unconscious forces that actually fabricate the images, as it happens in dreams? This actually means we should not allow the ego thinking to interfere with the natural image formation process instituted as already there by BEING and as a way HE communicates with the human beings? BEING may take various Avatars in order to INSTRUCT the person on something deeply metaphysical and shape and meaning will be distorted if the ego thinking of man is allowed to interfere?

Now this raises questions about placing the tavasi, an adept  into an imageless field so that he experiences only Pure or Perfect  Images. This has to be interpreted again as freeing the mind from ego thoughts in order to experience the authentic avatars of BEING, an attitude of Inner Objectivity where only what is revealed or disclosed in held up in mind and exactly  as disclosed.

Now given this, what is wrong if a person is exposed to a traditional field of such Pure Images so that the person is TRANSPORTED into a metaphysical field, the celestial world that can facilitate the experiencing of NEW possibilities?

For example a typical temple going Hindu is exposed to thousands of such Pure Images or Avatars and in which he is in a way guided in his imagining. However it is also a fact that only some images become meaningful to him and hold up his imagination till he LEARNS whatever encrypted within and after which he moves to another image. For example I have seen many who are drawn to the Image of GaNesha in the their youth but later to Lord Siva and so forth.

Certainly this is NOT the same as the devices in modern cognitive psychology where imagining is guided towards an end. However in the Hinduism of Temple culture there is an attempt to guide such metaphysical imaging and I am not sure whether Ignatious de Loyola would be against it.

 

Dear Prof

 

Thank-you so much. When words of agreement come from a great scholar like yourself and where you have the conviction and courage to speak  your own mind, I cannot but congratulate myself in having succeeded again in my thirst for MeykaaNal, seeking out and seeing only truths and nothing else.

 

What has emerged is the need for Inner Objectivity , of making the mind FREE of prejudices  so that it becomes the playground of BEING. This is what Tol means by saying vinaiyin viLaGkiya aRivu, a notion that does real credit to Dravidian philosophical achievements and which has formed my philosophical life.

 

Next the notion 'dismemberment' intrigues me and I hope to have a dialogue with you on this.

 

I am happy to note you have brought in here Rig Vedic notion of Asat and which is better retained in Saiva Siddhanta than in the Vedantic traditions. Perhaps this is the reason why Meykandar refers only to Rig Veda by name and not to any other texts.

 

More to follow soon.

 

Thank-you again for your books.

 

Loga 

diotima245@aol.com wrote:

Dear Dr. Loga and friends:

As usual Dr. Loga has hit the center of the mark!!! All you say is true about Ignatius too.

Images need to be made out of nothing. Thinking is just concepts and a better or worse translation of the image world. The images we encounter on the road are only "memory points" for us to practice "dismemberment," that is, making them anew out of nothing.

The way of the left brain, on the other hand, is a movement in the opposite direction. Substitutes an image (experienced) for a concept (empty of content) and builds a global world based on this operation. While the world of reason proceeds then to destroy reality to build its own castles of conceptual smoke, the imagination works on dismembering oneself by lending its own sensation to the image in the making one sense at a time and in turn the image returns sensation. This is what the Rg Veda calls the Asat, where movement that stopped as movement by becoming a fixed invariant in thought, becomes again dismembered of its forms and fixity and it's set into motion by directing action according to the dharma   of the context facing the witness at every moment. It affects the body, opens the heart and the frontal lobes to make the best decisions within a limited dharmic situation. Theology is the province of the conceptual brain, the blind god (for it has no access to the outside world, but only to the images of the right neocortex).

While it is true that Islam has no images notice it has geometries (as in the Asat); and while Christianity has also no images notice how Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox Church has many and each and all are no more than memory point in this path of decision making. Ignatius would be happier with images in the churches than with books telling us how to act.

I think this is ðhe most fruitful dialogue I have been part of so far.

OM and SHANTI

Antonio de Nicolas

Nitin Bhai

 

From: <diotima245@aol.com>

To: <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>

Subject: Re: [agamicpsychology] The  Images of Ignatious

Date: Friday, February 27, 2004 7:36 PM

 

Dear Sathia and friends:

Great questions.

The so called Abrahamic religions, Islam, Judaism, Christianity are primarily

left neocortex dominant. This means that they prefer reason to emotion, and

reason is based on the written word and the written word is not just a sign but

reality itself. Therefore when they read images in that way the image becomes

an idol, and they believe in one God, not many. It all goes back to Moses

declaring the ten commandments to his people who were worshiping idols while he

was dealing with God and the burning bush. However you have to distinguish

between theological religions and mystical ones within that tradition. So Judaism

and Islam in their exoteric garb as well as Christian Protestantism will

reject images, while Catholics and Orthodox Christians will not, for they use

images only as memory points to be dis-membered and therefore re-membered as the

ground of their religious practice and experience.

Which one is the more effective is redundant in the sense that the left

brain, left neo-cortex , has no access to the outside, the world etc, but only to

the images of the right brain. It gains its autonomy by killing its origin, its

mother. This is a neurobiological fact made evident in neuroscience in the

last twenty years only. It is not a matter of comparison and equality. Rather it

is a matter of getting the facts finally and retraining religious practice,

for the right brain has its own unique technologies as does the left brain. In

other words, there is no other experience than the one created, contained in

the right neo cortex, the left only translates, as Indic texts clearly indicate

and the mystics duplicated. Any attempt to declare the left brain supreme is

sheer imperialism as we know, only that only now we have the facts to back it

up.

OM and Shanti

Antonio de Nicolas

 

 

 

In a message dated 2/27/2004 5:40:00 AM Eastern Standard Time,

ulagankmy@yahoo.com writes:

--- In akandabaratam@yahoogroups.com, "ssathia" <ssathia@h...> wrote:

Dear Dr Loga and Prof Antonio,

 

Can you kindly explain the dislike of iconic representations of BEING

as found in the Abrahamic religions while Hindus seem to thrive on it?

 

Is there any empirical evidence as to which of the approaches is more

effective in realising the Truth?

 

Thank you.

 

Regards,

Sathia

 

From: <diotima245@aol.com>

To: <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>

Subject: Re: [akandabaratam] Fwd: Re: [agamicpsychology] The  Images of Ignatious

Date: Friday, February 27, 2004 10:34 PM

 

Dear Sathia and friends:

As to question one: Yes writing did it and it accounts for the mind/mind

split, that is the left neocortex split into left neocortex and the interpreter

module. See The Heresy of Oedipus by Dr. Maria M. Colavito. Writing is a

technology and the technology became embodied and a substitute system for the real.

As to question two, you are right again. India did not go into the

technologies of the interpreter module till after the colonial powers took over. Indic

texts are mostly right brain dominant and the left brain (manas) is not a

faculty but the sixth sense, as you know, an instrument of translation. However,

you can see in the Indic written texts, the interference of writing with outside

gods like Indra in the Rg Veda and the development of the Mahabharata, the

origins of births, in eggs, sperm, water, metals etc. The Pandavas and Kauravas

are very similar to the house of Cadmus (Oedipus' house).

Why Indic texts remained oral dominant and therefore decision oriented rather

than theology/ideology oriented?

This is your question three: The left brain creates its own loops, from its

logics to invented theories to its logics to language to invented theories and

so on and on. The left  brain has power to calm the right brain, in the case

of trauma or wrong perception by delaying its mechanism of panic, as when

seeing a snake in the garage and turns out it is a rope; but this is when the

brains are aligned and working together. In most cases the left brain acts as an

imperial despot and cancels out the right brain, experience included in exchange

for ideology. The English language is deadly in this game for establishes a

subject, a reason, a

hierarchy of values simply by the force of speech. It is very difficult to

act in the anahamvadin ( not I-speaking, witness) mode when speaking English. It

is easier in Spanish, Italian and the Latin derivates. Or better still it is

better to be bilingual, or multilingual, (your fourth question).

This might explain why the Mediterranean religions (Catholicism, Orthodox

Christianity) are more image bound since they remained oral much longer than the

Northern Europeans.

Remember these people converted in large groups around the year one thousand.

Also many of the groups in the Mediterranean countries were persecuted groups

from Asia and the near East. And they were persecuted because of their right

dominant religions. For these groups memory held them together and in memory

they imagined and recreated Christianity bypassing theology, even when they

always praised the Church in public.

And again you are right. Modern Hindus are as bound to the left brain

technologies as the British were/are just by simply replicating their technologies of

language, reading/writing

English and forgetting mother Sanskrit. However, the difference is also great

since the Hindu might be suffering a lapse in memory, for his/her body will

always remember its own technologies. All it needs is remembering to start

with. How would you otherwise would have been able to intuit all of the above if

you did not have it already in your body, somewhere?

OM and SHANTI

Antonio de Nicolas

 

  

 

 

 

In a message dated 2/27/2004 8:35:34 AM Eastern Standard Time,

ulagankmy@yahoo.com writes:

ssathia <ssathia@hotmail.com> wrote:

To: akandabaratam@yahoogroups.com

From: "ssathia"

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2004 13:26:50 -0000

Subject: [akandabaratam] Fwd: Re: [agamicpsychology] The Images of Ignatious

 

Dear Prof Antonio,

 

Thank you for clarifying.

 

As one door opens, I see many more doors waiting to be opened.

 

1. Firstly, did the emergence of left neocortex have anything to do with

the rise of western preference for logic and experimentation for which the

cause is the relative ease of documentation and learning using alphabet and

numbers? In other words, is writing the "culprit"?

 

2. Conversely, can the lack of widespread documentation of knowledge using

alphabet and numbers within the Indian tradition be attributed to Indians'

traditional preference for imaging as evidenced in iconic representations,

music and great dramas that harness the right brain?

 

3. As we learn in engineering, systems have feedback loops within their

boundary and they can have external influences affecting them. If we

consider the brain as a natural system, and observe that the left brain is

drawing from the right brain, that alone has access to the external world,

there must be a feedback loop from the left to the right brain. I would

venture to infer therefore that there must be mutual influences from the

right to the left and back to the right again. The net effect could be

somewhat like rowing a boat on both sides, with the boat moving in the

direction of resultant force. Only that in the west, it is more to the left

whereas among Indians traditionally it could be more to the right. But even

if that were correct, it appears to be fast becoming old story now, as

today's education follows the western model, with the Indians becoming more

left oriented. Modern scholarship, as led by the West, is strongly left

oriented.

 

4. Coming to Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity, how did they become the

odd men in the crowd?

 

Thank you again.

 

Regards,

Sathia

 

 

 

 

--- In akandabaratam@yahoogroups.com, "K. Loganathan" <ulagankmy@y...> wrote:

>

>

> diotima245@a... wrote:To: agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com

> From: diotima245@a...

> Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2004 06:36:26 EST

> Subject: Re: [agamicpsychology] The Images of Ignatious

>

> Dear Sathia and friends:

> Great questions.

> The so called Abrahamic religions, Islam, Judaism, Christianity are

primarily left neocortex dominant. This means that they prefer reason to

emotion, and reason is based on the written word and the written word is

not just a sign but reality itself. Therefore when they read images in that

way the image becomes an idol, and they believe in one God, not many. It

all goes back to Moses declaring the ten commandments to his people who

were worshiping idols while he was dealing with God and the burning bush.

However you have to distinguish between theological religions and mystical

ones within that tradition. So Judaism and Islam in their exoteric garb as

well as Christian Protestantism will reject images, while Catholics and

Orthodox Christians will not, for they use images only as memory points to

be dis-membered and therefore re-membered as the ground of their religious

practice and experience.

> Which one is the more effective is redundant in the sense that the left

brain, left neo-cortex , has no access to the outside, the world etc, but

only to the images of the right brain. It gains its autonomy by killing its

origin, its mother. This is a neurobiological fact made evident in

neuroscience in the last twenty years only. It is not a matter of

comparison and equality. Rather it is a matter of getting the facts finally

and retraining religious practice, for the right brain has its own unique

technologies as does the left brain. In other words, there is no other

experience than the one created, contained in the right neo cortex, the

left only translates, as Indic texts clearly indicate and the mystics

duplicated. Any attempt to declare the left brain supreme is sheer

imperialism as we know, only that only now we have the facts to back it up.

> OM and Shanti

> Antonio de Nicolas

From: "Vishvesh Obla" <ovishvesh@yahoo.com>

To: <akandabaratam@yahoogroups.com>

Subject: [akandabaratam] Fwd: Re: [agamicpsychology] The  Images of Ignatious

Date: Friday, February 27, 2004 11:58 PM

 

Dear Prof Antonio,

 

Very interesting. 

 

I think we have had two streams of intelligence in human history :

the subjective and the objective.  With the Greek philosophers

started the objective intelligence of our modern age. 

 

Your reference to left and right neo-cortexes leads me to a

different perception of the same issue in terms of psychological

explanation of the mind.  D.H.Lawrence made a very perceptive study

in his 'Fantasia of the Unconcsious', where he associated the two

pairs of plexuses and Ganglions to the two distinct types of

perceptions of the mind, one the spiritual and the other the

mental.  He demonstrates in that book how because of the imbalance

in those four modes of consciousness, our perceptions became

skewed. 

 

vishvesh

 

 

Dismembering Sensorium and Meta-linguistics

 

Dear Prof Antonio and Friends

 

Right from the ancient days we find something interesting in connection with religious life. Thus we have the Sumerian Gilgames advocating a life of control of sensual pleasures as a way of escaping premature death. And in En Hudu Anna's immensely interesting Kes Temple Hymn we have the en-kum-e-ne, those who withdraw their senses meditating in a special room within the temple precincts. You can see such views being advocated in Jainism Buddhism and many other Indic cultural traditions. Certainly it is also very central to the different kinds of yogas that have been developed in India.

 

TiruvaLLuvar (c. 200 cent AD) incorporate this in the Paayiram itself:

 

PoRi vaayil aintu avittaan poy tiir ozukkam, neRi ninRaar niidu vaazvar: Those who follow the WAY where the falsities are uprooted and which is the Way of the One who dismembers the senses five, will also live long in the world.

 

It is interesting that this same view also emerges in Ignatius of Loyola and where interestingly enough the BODY is also brought into perspective. The act of imagining or meditating in pure image-field makes possible the detachment of the body from the senses.

 

>>>>>>>>>>

 

 

Technically, however, this material fluid body of the retreatant, becomes

dismembered through the act of imagining. Ignatius conceives imagining as an act

of dismembering the senses by running them in isolation, one by one, through

the image being made.

 

The retreatant is placed in front of a scene and asked to make his/her own

"contemplacion viendo el lugar" (contemplation seeing the place). With

exhausting detail, he/she is asked to make up the scene; the road: how long, wide, flat

running through valleys or hills; the cave: how big, small, how high, how

low, how furnished (Exer.112). Imagine hell, the width and depth and length

(Exer. 65), or imagine the synagogue, villages and castles (Exer. 91), or the Three

Divine Persons (Exer.102), or Mary riding a donkey or Joseph pulling an ox

(Exer.110). But for Ignatius the image alone is not the source of signs. The

image on recall is to call it to memory. The actual birth of the signs or the

system of signs does not take place until the retreatant proceeds, through

imagining, to "read" the image through his own dismembered sensorium. The perfect

image, the solitary image, the divine image is set into motion through the

sensuous motion of the retreatant's senses as he or she runs them, one at a time,

through the image. It takes the "reading" of the image by each sense so that it

becomes a mediation of signs. The efficacy of the image is made possible on

condition that the subject be kept elusively absent, as a fixed unity, in the

act of imagining. What he or she is asked to do instead is to lend sight,

sound, smell, touch, movement to the image. The image must be filled through the

reading of each sense on the image. He or she vitalizes the image through his or

her dismembered sensorium. Each sense must read the image separately; each

sense must sensitize the image separately; each sense must read/write its

separate movement on the image separately. What is done through visualization must

be repeated through hearing, smelling, touching, moving. This applies to the

exercises on hell, the Nativity, the Cross, Resurrection, in short, to any

exercises where images are to be imagined.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

What catches my attention is the recommendation that the tavasi must “read” the images through his own dismembered sensorium.  What can this mean?

 

Assuming that Ignatius is saying the same thing as Icon Thinking, reading each image in terms of senses can mean only getting at what the image TELLS about the earthly existence, that the MEANING the images communicate is something about EXISTENCE.  The CROSS for example may mean that one must attach oneself to the SivaliGkam that the CROSS represents (if it is the case) or whatever metaphysical MEANING it may hold within itself. The RESURRECTION may be something like in dreams- getting beheaded and growing a new head in its place and which really means dying as the past kind of being and enjoying resurrection as a NEW kind of being, a kind of conversion.

 

And this reminds me of Meykandar’s Iladdatee aintu avattai eytal -enjoying clarity of consciousness with apodictic certainty at the region of the forehead.

 

Images and such other symbols, must not only be gained and held firmly in vision but also be INTERPRETED as to the  EXISTENTIAL meanings they communicate.  Such interpretive exercises, provided done within the field of pure images or “dismemberment sensorium” , as Ignatius would say, will furnish Truths, the Sat that will enter consciousness and hence the body itself and for Meykandar, the forehead region.

 

Now the important questions emerge. Let us recall VaLLulavar’s PoRi vaayil aintu avaittan i.e. the One who causes the dismemberment of the senses five and with that release the anma from being tied to the body. The Buddhists would call this a distinction between Vyavakaarika and Paramartika (if I am not mistaken) though they did not understand the Paramartika as the metaphysical world of mantras that fabricate the images, icons, mythologies, the metaphysical meanings that come along with them  and so forth.  The One, the BEING who dismembers is also BEING as the Pancjakrittiyan, the One who enacts the processes of presencing (sristi) sustaining (titi) and annihilation or destruction (dismemberment? saGkaaram) and all these through the meta-processes of disclosing (aruLal, anukrakam) and concealing (MaRaittal or Tirotakam) Himself. This also means that there are the workings of the mantras si-vaa-ya-ma and the Deep Structure of which is the Logos -Aum.

 

So we can think of field of inquiry, Meta-linguistics where the images, icons, mythologies and their MEANINGS are fabricated by the aksaras, syllables of this meta-language - how the Aum differentiates into the Si-Vaa-Ya-Na-Ma and so forth and configures the images icons the metaphysical geometries (Yantras) and ILLUUMINATE the mind through activating the Panjcakrittiyam.

 

Now it appears to me that a science of Meta-Linguistics is TACIT in the words of Ignatius and he might have IMPLICATED such a science but which did not take off in the Christian World of his time.

 

Am I right in thinking thus? Hope I am.

 

Loga

 

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Memory and Predictability

 

The Historicity of Christianity

 

Dear Prof and Friends

 

I wanted to deal this topic for sometime and I am glad I have found a passage in your post that describes this very succinctly. I have noticed that Saiva Metaphysical Thinking is quite naturalistic and the whole way of thinking can be called Naturalistic Metaphysics. Kallaadanar, in describing the essence of TirukkuRaL says that it does NOT go the way of the theologians (camayak kaNNakar) but goes the way of the Hermeneutic scientists in expounding metaphysics through the study of the natural, the existential world. (ulakaiyal kuuRi poruL ituvenal)

 

This stands in contrast to the NEGATION of the natural as in Advaita and recasting it to a theoretical model of flux of momentary particulars the later depending on the death of the former and so forth in Sautrantika Buddhism. This dismissing the historical or recasting it and transmuting into something non-natural is a form of metaphysical thinking that has given  the global impression that Indian Thinking is otherworldly and so forth and which does not apply to Saiva Siddhanta as it does not apply to the Philosophy of KuRaL.

 

Christianity is HISTORICAL; an event in TIME, in History, the birth and death on the cross of Jesus Christ is the most momentous event and which organizes Christianity itself. This applies to Islam also in a way for here we have Prophet Mohamed (Sal) elevated to the LAST prophet and hence again a HISTORICAL event transmuted as the most significant. Now in the Indic traditions, we have such significant mystical figures particularly in Buddhism and Jainism but there is a difference. Both these Indic religions do not deny the possibility of a chain of Tirtangkaras or Bodhisatvas and what count is NOT the historical of the birth but rather what they SAY through the Agamas and Pidakas.  Advaita Vedanta in seeking, in recent times to elevate the personality of Sankara, the Brahmin, to the status of a Bodhisattva and so forth is entirely inconsistent with their total negation of the historical with the concept of perception as  Aroopitam and Adhyasam and so forth.

 

In contrast to these religions, Saivism is both Historical and Ahistorical and hence while sharing with Christianity the historicity,  it DIFFERS in the ahistorical dimensions.

 

To push further these views let us have a look at the concise description of this essence of Christianity by our Nitin Bhai.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

The origin of Christianity was an experience that had already happened. It

originated outside of time with the Trinity and entered time in the Second

Person of the Trinity through the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption. It

is precisely because of the fact that this experience has already happened that

for every Christian to know is to remember. Memory makes of Christians

communities and religion; it is the common ground of memories, on which all stand,

that joins them as community. Without memory Christianity could not be

articulated. Christ had already set down the internal law of the community: "Do this

in remembrance of me." (Luke 22, 19) And even when the Father will send, in

Christ's name, the Comforter, the Spirit, He will do it to "bring all things to

your remembrance" (John 14, 25). To be a Christian is primarily to live on

memory, to turn memory around, to store memories, to turn every sign, whatever

its origin, into a memory-point, to articulate those memories so that memory

remains active. Those memories are the remembrance of the Will of God in

operation. They are the memory of a past actively present and therefore, being God's

Will, with a future. It is a memory that predictably organizes the future. But

not without human effort and participation. Strictly speaking, the Spiritual

Exercises are a string of memories, of memory-points. Even the exercises as

written are not to be read for information or edification or content. Each and

every word is slowly and carefully chiseled out so that it becomes a

memory-point for action, or for making memory.

 

 

The journey of the retreatant's will dividing his/her life into the search

for sins, the day divided into exercises of the will to discover flaws, to

remove flaws, these exercises are primarily exercises in memory: memories that

travel back and forth, up and down, within the perimeters of a human life.

Meditation begins by "bringing to memory" the first sin of the angels (Exer. 50); "by

bringing to memory" the sin of Adam and Eve (Exer. 51); "by bringing to

memory" our sins (Exer. 52), all the sins of my lifetime (Exer. 56), year by year,

place by place, looking at the places I have lived, conversations I have had,

work done (Exer. ibid.); bring to memory to instruct the intellect in it: "so

that the intellect, without meandering, may reason with concentration going

over the reminiscences (memories) of the things contemplated in past

exercises..." (Exer. 64). Ignatius literally means, through the Exercises, "to bring all

things into remembrance." In order to bring all things into remembrance,

however, demands from us certain shifts in technologies. In every case human effort

is needed.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

The question I want to raise is: Is “Bringing all things into remembrance” the same as “Brining all things into clear consciousness, njaanam,” that Saivism emphasizes? Certainly there is thinking about the sins one has committed, the flaws there are in one’s personality and which are conceived of as becoming Cuttam, Pure in Saivism. But there is a DIFFERENCE I think, an important difference that may constitute why Saivism is one stage above the Semitic religions that are essentially historical.

 

The fact is LEARNING as destruction of IGNORANCE conceived as Paacanjaanam, Pacunjaanam and Patinjaanam, the Alpha Beta and Gamma learning,  are NOT just recalling recollecting remembering and so forth but rather gaining ACCESS into that which has remained hidden, concealed buried in the depths and so forth. It is becoming en-lightened, the DARKNESS within destroyed with flooding it the Light of Metaphysical illuminations so that the UNDERSTANDING becomes fully TRANSLUCENT with no opacity at all.

 

The flaws sins and such other defects are powers of Malam, the Darkness and which is the same as aaNava Malam - that which makes one FINITE delimited, constrained, partially blind and so forth. The Christian ‘sin’ is probably the same Su. sil (> Ta. sin: small) and Akkadian Sihru (> Ta. siRu). This original Sumerian ‘smallness’ of the mind and because of which man does evil, sometimes even unknowingly, seems to have evolved differently in  Christianity and Saivism. While Christianity ties itself to RECALLING a momentous event that has a PURIFYING effect on those who recall thus and let the memory of that event work on one’s understanding, Saivism frees the mind form such memories of historical events and transports the mind into the ahistorical, into the realms of BEING , the Tillai ManRu, the Tilmun of the Sumerians.

 

BEING stands beyond or above TIME and hence beyond Historical Thinking, so says MeykaNdar (kaalattil taakkaatu ninRu). Now if we conceive redemption as Moksa then it follows that unless we gain an understanding that is FREE of time then we cannot enjoy true redemption or Moksa. The problem is remembrance of a past event or events,  while may have some purifying effect upon the one who remembers, but it does NOT free the understanding from temporality and historicity! And hence DOES NOT lead Moksa and hence redemption if it is equated with Moksa.

 

In Saivism. we take off from the historical, the natural and end up with LEARNING  in the Celestial World, the Tillai Ambalam or CiRRambalam,  the TIMELESS and eternal and where  Siva Dances the Dance of BLISS with Sakti. The genuine redemption consists in becoming PURE (beyond and incapable of sins) and reaching a condition of NO learning at al  only because there is NO MORE the Darkness of Ignorance.

 

This view, I think, is still in the depths of Christianity and which it can bring out  easily and incorporate it into the system and with that recast the organizational principles of the Church itself.

 

 

HOME