[1. The Meaningful Behavior, 2. The Metaphysical Praxis of existence 3. Being Illuminated and Growing Up as a Person, 4. Growth is Individual 5. One Must teach Oneself ]
1. The Meaningful Behavior
Agamism, as opposed to Brahmanism, fostered the growth of human sciences as hermeneutic sciences by way of opposing authoritarianism in philosophy and religion. Part of the bakthi revolt of the 5th to 7th century India appears to be the return to the natural, to existence after a millennium of false metaphysics of various kinds which petrified the mind by taking it away from existence and hence a proper understanding of existence and hence conducting oneself well in this life itself. And aided by the naturalism of Tolkaappiyar where the psychological intricacies of the mind was explored in great detail by using the natural language as the chief means of accessing it, during the Bakthi period, behavior was analyzed in situ but now the deeper reaches. Thirumular's Tirumantiram embodies numerous excursions in this direction and a detailed study indicates that there were several schools of thought supplementing and complimenting each other.
Having started my academic life from Discourse Analysis as the way to access the mind and understand the dynamics of interactional behavior, it was quite natural for me to resuscitate this ancient tradition and develop a new psychology - Agamic Psychology- using the Access Tests to help out the reaching of the inner mind. This series on Agamic Psychology is designed to recapitulate the psychological thoughts of Thirumular helped out also by my own studies of the human mind by using Access Tests, Dream Analysis and so forth. The relevant articles are available in the Agamic Psychology Campus.
One of the most important aspects of this tradition is that behavior is analyzed not in laboratories but as it occurs in the world, and analysis of it in situ and as such it turns out to be and analysis of existence itself. Behavior is seen as PURPOSIVE and it is also discovered that when it becomes MEANINGFUL then it attains the necessary stability and concentration. So the primary goal appears to be to UNDERSTAND the genesis of MEANINGFUL behavior, how it obtains or does not in the world.
It is in the course of such questions that Thirumular hits upon the idea that there is aruL, the GIFT of BEING and because of which a person enjoys a MEANING for existence and thus attains a stability in behavior. A certain PURPOSIVENESS begins to control behavior and as the person develops meanings after meanings emerge and all because of this aruL and thereby making the person psychologically motivated and stable.
It is recognized that having a MEANING for existence is a result of the VIOLATION of the DARKNESS of the soul where nights and days are already there as given. As aruL violates the darkness and spreads out light in the soul, there comes to be MEANINGS for existence and hence behavior purposive, motivated and stable. At the absence of this MEANING, behavior becomes disorganized for lack of a SENSE for existence a DIRECTION for orgainsing oneself.
One line of psychological thinking of Thirumular develops this theme and thereby allows an understanding of it as it obtains in the world.
More information on the historical aspects below in the notes
irupatamaavatu iravum pakalum
uruvatuvaavatu uyirum udalum
aruLatuvaavatu aRamum tavamum
poruLatu uLninRa pookamataamee
The metaphysical realms are constituted by the ignorance breeding Nights and illuminations fostering Days. As aresult of this conflict and as the power of aruL emerges the anmas with a body and psychic being. And within the existence thus founded there are the right WAYS and various spiritual disciplines as an expression of this aruL. And within these stands aruL also as the MEANING of all, the enjoyment of Absolute Illumination and the joys in attaining it.
In Tol (3rd cent B.C. ) we have the occurrence of the phrase "aruL muntuRutta
anbu poti kiLavi" meaning "languageof LOVE as impelled by aruL" and
subsequent to that we have TiruvaLLuvar (4th cent B.C ?) contrasting
aruLwith poruL, here the economic wealth. He notes that just as worldly
pleasures are impossible without wealth, so is thepleasures of heavenly
world without aruL. In this he connects the gaining of aruL as something
pertaining tometaphysical kinds of existence and thereby implying that
it is not relevant for worldly life. It is this dichotomy that ischallenged
by Kaaraikkaal Peyar who says rather emphatically that aruL is all,
that it rules the whole world, the
physical as well as metaphysical. ( aruLee ulakellaam aaLvippathu)
It is this understanding that is being elaborated further by Thirumular
here. The aruL stands as the DAY that violates the Primordial
Darkness in the metaphysical realms that DISALLOWS any entity to have have
an existence as such. It is as the result of this primordial violation
that the anmas assume a biological body and a psychic essence and thusbecome
entities that LIVE, that have EXISTENCE as such. And also this aruL becomes
within existence theDharma, the aRam, the ethical principles
that guide existence so that the anmas do not deviate from the WAY
various kinds spiritual disciplines of self control so that the anmas can maintain themselves steadily in the WAY.
While the world as a whole may be cyclic and in that not teleological, the human existence is certainly teleological, itis DIRECTED towards a DESTINY and aruL appears as the MEANING of existence, that towards which oneOUGHT to move. Thus existence has already within it an OUGHTNESS and it ought to attain the Absolute illumination, the Civanjanam and enjoy the immense Bliss in attaining it. There is meaning for existence, and thatmeaning, the FOR-WHICH of existence is the attainment of Civanjanam and thereby attaining Mukti.
Studies in Agamic psychology
2: The Metaphysical Praxis
We have seen that Agamic Psychology views the emergence of MEANING as the expression of aruL and that it is that which stabilizes behavior . Such soul gripping meanings EMERGE from the depths in such a way that GROWTH in personality is also brought about them provided a person allows himself to be informed and formed by this aruL.
Now emerges as a higher stage of development in this growth the genuinely metaphysical way of life. As the workings of aruL is noted in one's own existence there comes to be an UNDERSTANDING of the presence of BEING as the source of these outpourings of aruL and at which point the MEANING for existence also changes. The desire for worldly pleasures withdraw themselves and desires for Being-with -BEING becomes that which conditions existence. Existence , because of this transmutation of desires also becomes genuinely RELIGIOUS where the primary motivation is to be forever in the sanniti or presence of BEING no matter how inscrutable BEING itself is.
However BEING can be uncanny but is NOT incomprehensible.
For BEING instructs such individuals about Himself in terms of metaphors
and myths and providing simultaneously also clues for an INTERPRETIVE understanding
of Himself and His World. If BEING does not on His own accord instruct
about Himself, the human beings have NO WAY at all to learn about BEING.
Also this is the divine pedagogy available to all individuals who have
killed their stubborn ego and allow meekly to be informed and formed by
BEING Himself. BEING is not and cannot be prejudiced in favor of one caste
or one group of people though they may imagine so.
Thus the science that is intimately connected with understanding BEING is Hermeneutic Semiotics, the search for the MEANINGS of metaphors and myths and anyone proficient in it can enjoy divine wisdom. As one deciphers and unravels the hidden messages encrypted in such presentations, there comes to be LESS of the DARKNESS ( introduced by aaNavam and this NOT to be confused with the Tamasa guna) and MORE of LIGHT or metaphysical illuminations.
Such Praxis, would constitute , as Thirumular sees, authentic existence, the kind of existence that's most satisfying and as we shall see later would lead to Moksa.
These views are expressed in the verses below.
kandaR kariyan karuttilan natiyun
tiiNdaRkunj caartaRkunj ceeyanaat toonRidum
veendik kidantu viLakkoLiyaal nenjsam
iiNdik kidantu angku iruL aRumaamee
BEING stands rather difficult to witness directly even through
various kinds of transductive perceptions. Also HE isnot someone who appears
within the thought processes that seek to determine HIS essences.
And furthermore HE isalso beyond being touched by in whatever
manner. Even as the abstract indeterminate object HE is so distant that
HE is not someone we can grasp and repose as the firm ground. But
despite all these problems in encountering
BEING , if we persist in seeking HIS GRACE relentlessly, then that will emerge as the LIGHT of AbsoluteIllumination and will plough the mind dispelling the DARKNESS there from beginningless times.
kuRippinin uLLee kuvalayam toonRum
veRuppiruL niingkil vikirtanum niRkunj
ceRippuRu cintaiyaic cikkena naadil
aRippuRu kaadci amararu maamee
The World of BEING is accessed only as the MEANING of the metaphorical,
mythical and such other symbolicelements of life. And as one accesses this
WORLD through appropriate interpretive strategies, and the mind is flooded
with the LIGHT that dispels the metaphysical DARKNESS induced by
aaNavam, then slowly BEING begins to beappear as there. Now we pursue
the inner dynamics of such metaphysical reaches (hermeneutic) scientifically,
then we can witness many other archetypal presentations of BEING that have
remained inaccessible thus far. And as one
continues to witness such DIVINE realities, one also gets transformed into a divine-like being.
The experience of BEING directly as HE is HIMSELF is almost an impossibility and this especially so when suchattempts do not go beyond the sensorial and cognitive. When we function within such constrains BEING wouldappear very distant, impossible even to perceive HIS presence and be secure with the understanding that BEING isthere. No this is NOT possible, He would appear very distant and extremely rare if not something impossible toencounter . However even if as such, if individuals persist relentlessly in seeking HIS GRACE , HIS presence canbe slowly felt by the Inner Radiance that begins to GLOW within the mind dispelling the metaphysical DARKNESS induced by aaNavam that blocks off any ray of light.
Now as this GLOW within increases it will be noticed that the WORLD
of BEING can be accessed through thesemiotics of the mythical metaphorical
and such other symbolic elements that one encounters in existence. Now
as wetake them seriously and inquire after their MEANINGS within hermeneutic
semiotics, there will be more clarities aswell as encounters with
deeper and root archetypes that have remained unaccessed thus
far. Now as one witnesses archetypes after archetypes which are presentations
of BEING out of GRACE and all to ILLUMINATE the souls,
there begin to be less and less of metaphysical darkness and more and more of LIGHT within. This will , like inalchemy where the base metals are transformed into gold, transform the individual from being merely human intosomeone divine in essence.
3. Being Illuminated and Growing up as Person
Western philosophical traditions and hence also theologies and psychologies have focused more nf epistemologies rather than metaphysical illuminations. And there is a fundamental difference for metaphysical illuminations are GIFTS of aruL and NOT just simply intellectual attainments. Furthermore Thirumular and host of others along with him emphasize that the gift of aruL can be enjoyed only by learning to ABANDON the intellectual efforts, the efforts to create theories paradigm and generate a network of concepts to attain a descriptive knowledge of the world. All such knowledge , lacking a finality , will fall off as acattaRivu, something that only appears to be true but something that gets displaced when new paradigms emerge.
Metaphysical illuminations which are spontaneous emergence of LIGHT within, the sunrise in the deep recesses of the self ( as they said in the Sumerian times itself) is peculiar in that it is that which allows the possibility to freeing oneself from TIME in both the physical and psychological variants of it.
When having indulged in it for enough and seeing that one has wasted time in such matters becauae have failed to free oneself from TIME as such, one should abandon oneself to be instructed by BEING Himself for only BEING who is beyond TIME can instruct one on Civanjaanam, that Absolute Understanding that bestows freedom from temporal ways of Being-in-the-World.
Now what is psychological relevance of this?
The intellectual person may be well informed knowledgeable etc. but may not be DEVELOPED in personality . A well informed person may be a walking encyclopedia but because that he may NOT be a well developed person. Personal growth is dependent on WISDOM , viz. metaphysical illuminations one succeeds in gaining and retaining as part of one's understanding. And this is NOT a matter of intellectual efforts but rather a matter of aruL, and hence the gifts of BEING.
The greatness of personality and hence the attainment of various kinds strengths and competencies is a matter of gaining aruL, so argues Thirumular in the following verse.
teerntu aRiyaamaiyin cenRana kaalangkaL
peerntaRivaan engkaL pinjnjakan emmiRai
aarntaRivaar aRivee tuNaiyaamenac
caarntaRivaan peruntanmai vallaanee
Because unconcerned with Absolute Illumination that allows disengaging
oneself from Temporality, existence continueswith time wasted on useless
matters. BEING, though does not have a form of HIS own , however assumes
countlessnumber of archetypal forms and standing within the understanding
of all creatures understands all as it is. And those whowithdraw deep into
themselves and seek to understand everything exactly as shown by BEING
within and thereby begin
to enjoy the Absolute Illumination that begins to glow spontaneously , will attain many rare gifts of BEING and grow tobe one capable of great achievements.
There is Civa njaanam or Absolute Illumination that is peculiar in many ways. It is that which fosters RELEASEMENTand through that genuine psychological growth. Personality , the evolution into a higher kind of human species iscontingent upon the enjoyment of Absolute Illumination. For it is that which allows the escape from TEMPORALITYand hence being a mortal, being born again and again and hence existential repetition. Civanjanam violates at the beginning the aaNava malam, that which makes the mind FINITE through introducing metaphysical IGNORANCE, the Darkness in the soul and because of which it's visions are limited. Such a soul CANNOT SEE the many things that are there in the world . The aaNavam acts like a filter that blocks off from being seen and hence introducing a BLINDNESS.
Having violated aaNavam that is ultimately also the cause of Physical
Time, there remains only Throtakam, BEING concealing Himself and because
of which there is still TIME but in the form of pure Temporality or psychological
time. Civanjanam is also the metaphysical illumination that ultimately
overcomes even this pure temporality and after the existential repetition
also ceases to be a factor of Being-in-the -World. Existence does
not cease and anma continues to
BE but now in the Timeless World that is also understood as the Paradise in the mythologies. Hence this is also the attaining of Moksa.
This kind of spontaneously emerging Illumination is NOT the various
kinds of knowledge we acquire through intellectual efforts of all
kinds. Such knowledge being temporal are acattu, something that would
disappear when another deeper insight begins to be in the intellect. The
Absolute is NOT to be acquired in this manner but rather by being ONE-WITH-BEING
who is WITHIN all. The anma must withdraw into itself and stand firmly
in seeing all only as SHOWN by BEING within. When one persists in this
way of UNDERSTANDING one is led towards the Absolute
Illumination gradually. It is here that we are led to feel the experience of TRUTH. When the anma succeeds in SEEING precisely as SHOWN by BEING, it is given the feedback that it is so by allowing the feeling of TRUTH at that point.
The experience of TRUTHS one after another in this manner is that which
coincides with the increasing GLOW of the Inner Radiance, the Absolute
Illumination. This in turn brings about a CLEANSING of the soul, the getting
rid of all defiling factors that makes a man a beast. With such growth
also comes POWER, the various kinds of sitties and hence such a person
also stands out as extraordinary in the world, becomes the mahatma.
They become the shapers of history
instead of being the weak and powerless victims of it.
4. Growth is Individual
Personality growth is NOT a communal affair though a community may provide the necessary circumstantial conditions. But as long as a person remains a member of a tribe, a caste, a cult or a religious institution and stands BOUND by the identities they impose, one cannot enjoy Absolute Illumination though one may pretend to do so by empty scriptural verbosity and thereby fool one self. Thirumular is quite emphatic here and appears to bring his own personal experiences into it.
The most important phrase here is 'taanee aRiyum" -- the self can understand on its own and by itself provided it battles its own prejudices , the vinaikaL-- the binding chains that fixates the mind. This of course means that a person must be given the maximum FREEDOM of expression so that he would destroy the innate prejudices within that stand as mental block towards seeking TRUTH. Thus we can see that it is this Agamic psychological component that underlies the Freedom of Hinduism , its characteristic OPENNESS and readiness to accommodate differences.
Now another important aspect that gets emphasized by Thirumular over and over gain is the need to cultivate LOVE as an important ingredient of personality and this through flooding the psychic interiority with aruL , the grace of BEING. The loving disposition is NOT natural to human beings. They are basic aggressive and bestial and become human only through becoming spiritual. It is because of the culturing processes that this instinctive bent to kill others is overcome and replaced with an attitude of LOVE that makes possible even embracing strangers overlooking their alienness.
Development must be both aesthetical and intellectual for the proper growth of personality and religion in the true sense of the word not only should cater but should foster both.
taanee yaRiyum vinaikaL azintapin
naanee yaRikilan nanti aRiyungkol
uunee yuruki uNarvai uNarntapin
teenee anaiyan nanteevar piraanee
When the innate prejudices that block off the enjoyment of Absolute Illumination are destroyed by flooding the interior with the Grace of BEING, the soul on its own and without the help of anyone else begins to enjoy it. I did not come to enjoy it through the intellectual efforts of my own. BEING knows that whoever tries hard in this way is bound to fail. But abandoning arid intellectual efforts and if one pursues with the heart melting with genuine LOVE , the Absolute Illumination begins to dawn in the inner horizon. When one begins to enjoy this, BEING , the Lord of all the deities and who graces thus will also be understood as sweet as honey.
Civanjanam, the Absolute Illumination that redeems the soul and makes possible the total releasement from existential repetition, is NOT to be attained through intellectual efforts. No matter how sharp the intellectual acumen is and no matter how great and impressive the analytical skills are, the Civanjaanam will forever remain beyond the reach, always hovering there as in the distant horizon that forever recedes as one approaches it with intellectual equipment. Every intellectual effort constitutes a VINAI, a binding chain, a prejudice and hence something that would BLOCK OFF the emergence of Civanjaanam.
Thirumular claims that he is AWARE that it is NOT by such efforts of his own that he enjoyed Civanjanam and BEING knows it as such.
But what is way then?
Our efforts should be directed at DISSOLVING the innate prejudices that always provide perspectives and points of view and perhaps within various kinds of paradigms to catch existence with a network of concepts. To enjoy Civanjaanam , we have to abandon this tendency and with complete trust in BEING, must allow being carried forth by BEING himself and be brave enough in this sojourn to ABANDON whatever prejudices with which we have understood existence and acquired a certain identity.
BEING, knowing that all human efforts will end up futile, AWAITS for the exhausted soul to come to HIM like the prodigal son and allow to be instructed by HIM and NOT by any other. Thus the soul LEARNS on its own and with BEING only as the Guru who intstructs him from within.
One of the things that happens with such abandonment to BEING is that soul gets flooded with aruL which in turn generates LOVE that makes the heart MELT with KINDNESS or KaruNai. The soul becomes incapable of hatred as such and behavior conditioned by LOVE becomes something that embraces all , totally indifferent to whatever differences that may prevail. There is NO DENIAL of difference for obviously it is a fact of human psychology and sociology . However what comes to prevail is OVERLOOKING all such differences , being INDIFFERENT to them and thus embracing all DESPITE the differences that prevail.
This attitude is important for it is through developing this attitude of UNIVERSAL LOVE that a person becomes like BEING, a similitude --a caaruupiyam -- in terms of dispositional traits. A person understands Civanjaanam by being in the state of being of BEING Himself. It is like an actor understanding a certain character by absorbing himself into that character on stage.
Such a progress in the metaphysical excursions also provides a true understanding of BEING at which point it is realized that BEING is NOT the cruel or gruesome archetypes, the angry and jealous gods but rather LOVE itself and supremely SWEET.
5: One Must Teach Oneself
As we have already mentioned Tirumular begins his psychology with the idea that what needs to be understood is behavior and in that the MEANINGFUL behavior which according to him something that emerges as the Gift , aruL of BEING. This also contains within it the notion that man is praximatic, prone to ACT and NOT just to respond like a machine to various kinds of stimuli from within and without. Man acts and in that sense is essentially praximatic and this praximatism, is that which needs to be understood.
In starting with this orientation he is one with the Marxists who also note the praxism of man. But while the Marxists consider man's praxism only in relation to the social - the economic and political -- Tirumular departs from them in noting it as essentially psychological. And in this he notes the enormous importance of the BODY for certainly man cannot act without a body and the body too would not be there as him in a certain birth unless man is already praximatic in essense. It is this line of thinking and investigating that let him to declare : uun udambu oor aalayam: the physical body is in fact a Temple. The body one inherits and along with it a biological nature, contains the possibility of purifying and tuning it so that it becomes the veritable abode of the divine forces and hence a temple.
This view stands as antithetical to that of the Jains and Buddhists of the bakthi period. Certainly they must realized the enormous importance of the psychological relevance of the body, that it imprisons man with all kinds of desires and hence something that must be tortured , abused and in that NEGATED. But Tirumular sees the impossibility of negating the body in this way and becoming antitethical to the Jains and Buddhists, develops the thesis that the body , if properly nourished and tuned can become veritably a TEMPLE and hence a vehicle for understanding the mysteries of existence, become ILLUMINATED with deep metaphysical insights that only healthy and spiritual kind of body can provide.
Thus he advocates, and so unlike the Acaryas of Brahmanism in this , that each must for himself understand the secrets of his own body, TEACH ONESELF about the mysteries of the body, by extricating oneself from all traditions and such other prejudices that imprison the mind. If one does NOT oneself understand for oneself, then he asks, he would ever understand the mysteries of existence?
There is an important reason for this. Every act of man presupposes a certain kind of subjective condition. While positivistic objectivity such as in modern science turns systematically BLIND to the subjective conditions of even the scientific behavior, the seeking to understand self and through the study of MEANIGFUL behaviour cannot afford this blindness. There is a need to understanding even this subjectivity in order to understand the praximatic essence of man. Anyone who does not become a psychologist in this sense are people who remain bewitched by the external, the non-self and forever ignorant of matters that are important.
naanaRinteen anRee irukkinRatu iicanai
vaanaRintaar aRiyaatu mayangkinar
uunaRintu uLLee uyirkkinRa oNcudarai
taanaRiyaan pinnai yaar aRivaaree
I have understood beyond any shadow of doubt the presence of BEING as ONE who is always there. It isunfortunate that those who are absorbed in the physical realms such as the sky, remain ignorant of His presence intoxicated as they are with the physical. However those who examine the workings of the physical body, will note the presence of the psyche within and the presence of BEING as the life-force there. And if one does not understand the presence of BEING within his soul thus, who else will understand it?
For Tirumular , psychology is NOT an ancillary science that simply tells the personality structure of people , their different motivational dynamics and so forth. In developing what we call Agamic Psychology, the intentions are larger -- that of serving the religious needs of all. Psychology must be practiced as an integral part of religious life that demands the UNDERSTANDING the presence of BEING which has immense significance for regulating one's behavior. The value systems of the believers and nonbelievers are NOT the same and sane and meaningful behavior or praxis comes to prevail only when there is an UNDERSTANDING of the presence of BEING as always there and hence there even now, that BEING is there beyond time and hence nontemporal, the ever present.
Tirumular is also emphatic here as well as in many places that each and every one should strive towards gaining this understanding for himself. Unless one does this, NO ONE ELSE can bring about this understanding for him. Here we see Tirumular's distrust of the so many who go around claiming they are the only ones qualified to instruct others on the truth of BEING by virtue of birth, training, special gifts and what not. No , he says no one else except oneself who can LEARN and be absolutely sure of the presence of BEING.
Each one must become a psychologist and must examine his own body, its functioning and so forth. He would then realize that there is the self there and then the self itself being animated by a life-force that is ultimately a gift of BEING who is present within as the illuminating Light and animating principle.
But the body must be examined as a TEXT with a duality of structure. If one examines it purely as a physical stuff, like the sky and so forth and remain fixated to the physicality of it all, we will remain trapped in the physicalism and hence immensely confused. We shall FAIL to attain that real MEANING for existence that would provide the solid foundation for organizing behavior as a whole, and secure a THAT-FOR-WHICH existence is.
We must become HERMENEUTIC in our efforts to understand the bodily functions, how it is organized in so many different and complex ways. For only then we shall see the presence of the psyche within and presence of BEING as the life-force that really animates the psyche. The body is simply a mass of physical stuff if not for the presence of psyche. In the same mannaer the psyche is NOTHING if not for the animating presence of BEING within it. It is BEING as the Illuminating Light and Animating Principle who gives MEANING to the psyche by working within and thereby help out the psyche to organize and stabilize itself.