INTRODUCTION TO SIVAJNAANA BOOTAM
1.0 PHILOSOPHY AS METAPHYSICS AND METAPHYSICS AS HERMENEUTIC SCIENCE
It will not be an exaggeration to say that Meykandar’s Civajnaana Bootam, a philosophic classic that emerged as the critique of the different idealistic and positivistic schools of thought of the Buddhists and Vedanties, is the most profound philosophic treatise that has emerged not only in the Indian soil but also possibly in the whole world. It is genuinely a Metaphysica Universalis, a philosophical statement of the most primordial in man and because of that the most universal. It delineates and articulates what constitutes the existence of every man, no matter to what culture, religion and nation he belongs to. It is not an argument for Vedism, Buddhism, Agamism or any other cultural tradition of a narrow kind. It is not a romantic going back to a previous, presumably a glorious past and treating that as authoritative and justifying those beliefs presumed to be it’s essence. On the contrary it is a courageous venturing into the most fundamental in all men, an exercise in expounding what makes human existence what it is in fact. It expounds TRUTHS that all thinking men could agree upon provided they dare to tear themselves away from the cultural and philosophic prejudices that condition even their philosophic quests. For anyone incapable of raising themselves to this level of universality, this text will remain a closed book, forever incomprehensible as Meykandar himself asserts in the preface.
The universality of aim is combined in this text with a rationality of approach. What we have in this text is Metaphysics transformed into the most universal, the most comprehensive hermeneutic science, i.e a science proper suited to inquire in a thoroughly rational manner the hidden mysterious surrounding human behaviour. The introduction of this magnificent philosophic classic which is simultaneously the most rigorous text in hermeneutic science is timely in the present world context where hermeneutics is emerging again as a methodology most suited to the study of human behaviour.
The vast, monolithic and towering citadels of the positive sciences are crumbling down slowly but surely under the attack of some brilliant hermeneutic philosophers - Dilthey, Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer, Ricouer, Derrida - just to name a few. Despite many counter attacks to arrest this rebellion, new concepts of science along with their own methodologies are bursting through the limited and restrictive horizons of the positive sciences and making impressive inroads into the realms of the respectable in academic life. Many practical researchers in the social sciences, unlike the philosophers, are trying to formulate in less airy veins, the rational structure of these sciences to varying degrees of success. Deetz (1973), Gauld & Shotter (1977), Parker (1985) and many others have attempted to work out the guiding rational principles of what have begun to be called Hermeneutic Sciences or interpretive social sciences. More recently Silverman (1993) and many others see this debate as between qualitative and quantitative methodologies, argue in favour of qualitative, interpretive studies of data and work out guidelines to ensure rationality. In the vein of Ricouer and many other hermeneutic philosophers, Deetz for example, argues that hermeneutic sciences are concerned with understanding a phenomena, where to understand is to literally stand-under and to do so is to explicate a particular behaviour’s implicative structure of possibilities (Deetz, 1973, p. 155, italics mine). Something similar can be found in the philosophic rumblings of many other hermeneuts as well.
While those wedded to the positive sciences, adhere to the received models of scientific research, which have been astonishingly successful in the realms of the physical, continue with their conjectures and refutations (Popper,1963 ), there are now a variety of hermeneuts on the scene who have worked out methodologies distinct from the conjectural and constructinistic models where hypothesis testing reigns supreme. We have the ethnomethodology (Gartinkel, 1967), Conversation Analysis (Scheggloff & sacks, 1973 etc), Discourse Analysis (Coulthard & Montgomery, 1981; Hoey 1983 etc), Hermeneutic Analysis of Discourse (K. Loganathan Mutharayan, 1993) and so forth.
It is here that Dravidian philosophic tradition from which emerged Civajnaana Bootam can meet the above new developments in the West. It appears that right from ancient times the Dravidian folks were essentially hermeneuts and all their great achievements - Tolkappiyam, Tirukkural, Tirumantiram and many others that have withstood the test of time - were essentially treatizes with hermeneutics as their own methodology, the principles of which were already clearly formulated in Marapiyal, an independent text but which has come down to us as an appendix to Tolkappiyam, dated around the 3rd century B.C.
But recent researches in Sumero-Tamil indicates that the hermeneutic orientation of the Dravidian folks were very ancient and also something that took firm roots in their mind very early indeed.
Just to cite an example, we have the following lines from `Enmerkar and the Lord of Arratta,’ a Sumerian text belonging to the third millennium B.C. (Cohen, 1973).
503. en-kul-abaki-a-ke im-e su bi-in-ra inim dub-gin bi-in-gub
(The lord of Kulaba patted clay and wrote the mesage like on a present-day tablet )
504. u-bi-ta inim im-ma gub-bu nu-ub-ta-gal-la
(Formerly, the writing of messages on clay was not established-)
505. i-ne-se utu u-de-a ur he-en-na-nam-ma-am
(Now, with Utu’s bringing forth the day, verify this was so)
Anyone familiar with classical Tamil will recognize the Tamil character of these Sumerian lines. Such words as `innanam’, `aam’, `utu’ `utiyam’ and so forth are still in use. But what is pertinent is the poet’s assertion in 505 which should in fact be translated as:
Now, with inner sun bringing forth illuminations, verily this was so.
The poet seeks to understand the origins of the birth of a new competence, a new kind of behaviour - the ability of man to write down speech, an ability that never existed before. There is an emergence of a new talent, a new technical competency. How has this competency come to prevail as a fact in the world? He raises this questions and answers it himself: because the inner sun has arisen within, destroying the ignorance with which human understanding was surrounded; and because of the clarity thus attained, new ways of SEEING that has become possible, a new human competency has become a historical reality - a reality that never was but now is.
Such an understanding of human behaviour in Sumerian times itself appears to have been extended to the whole of Reality for the enormously philosophical `Exaltations of Inanna’ of Ehudu anna, (Itallo & Van Dijk, 1963) a woman head priestess of a Temple, an exordium composed towards the close of the 3rd millennium B.C. begins with these arresting lines:
1. Nin me sar-ra u dalla-e-a
(Lady of all the me’s resplendent light)
2. mi-zi me-lam gur-ru ki-aga an-uras-a
(Righteous woman clothed in radiance beloved of Heaven and Earth)
The word `me’ (Ta. mey,moy) that remains untranslated may be equated with competencies, abilities or powers (Ta. Sakti). The Godhead described here as Mother is said to be clothed in radiance, resplendent light AND the POWER of all earthly powers or competencies. The whole world is now understood, like the competency to write,as a GIFT of that POWER that illumines, that lights up and brings forth not only ordinary human competencies but whatever in the world.
Dravidian anthropology, a scientific research into origins of the whole range of human behaviour, taking language as a clue to reach the inner essences constitutes the central achievement of Tolkappiyam, itself a accumulation of researches into human behaviour possibly reaching the Sumero-Tamil past. And when after examining the whole range of human behaviour of the Tamil world known to him and ventures to say something general, in the vein of anthoropolical universals, one of the most fascinating and historically most influential is the following occuring as a Sutra in KaLaviyal:
onRee veeRee enru iru paalvayin
onRi uyarnta paalatu aaNaiyin
otta kizavanum kizattiyum kaaNba
mikkoon aayinum kadivarai inRee
Among people who exist socially, as associated or dissociated,On account of the decree of the Brilliant,that remains ever one-with all, a man and woman suited to each other will meet and in this if the man excels somehow there will be no obstacles (to their union)
Here too, the mystery surrounding love behaviour that leads to marriage and hence the institution of family is inquired into and an understanding is reached, again relating it to the BRILLIANT LIGHT that seems to regulate even the social world. We can cite more but sufficient has been said just to show that hermeneutic sciences were the kind of sciences that the Dravidian folks developed and excelled in and hence the relevance of their researches to the modern world that is becoming increasingly more hermeneutic.
But there is another distinctiveness of the Dravidian Hermeneutic Sciences which may account for the emergence of Civajnaana Bootam in the Tamil mind that had kept alive this ancient hermeneutic spirit in their higher culture.
Attempts to found the hermeneutic sciences and explicate their rational foundations such as that of Deetz et al, appear to be inadequate in an important way. They appear to have failed to accomodate in their reflections the enormous importance of Temporal Analytics, the immense relevance of the notion of TIME, of TEMPORALITY in hermeneutic investigations and how it is related to Ontology, an investigation into the meaning of Being that Heidegger has articulated in his Being & Time and later writings and thereby brought back the whole of Western Philosophy to existential analytics from which it has strayed from the times of Plato and Aristotle. What we have in Meykandar’s Civajnaana Bootam, is this Temporal analytics of understanding, and answering the question of meaning of Being with taking Temporality as KuRippu kaalam and physical Time as vinainilai kaalam, all on the basis of analysis of the syntactic structure of language both in speech and written discourse (Vazakku and CeyyuL). Tirumuular (7th century A.D.) goes further and articulates for the first time that human understanding is cat-acat i.e. something Temporal AND Atemporal and hence man is unique in that in his understanding he comprehends both the temporical and atemporical, the historical and ahistorical, the worldly and the heavenly and so forth.
The hermeneutics that had such ancient origins but which comes to be articulated as such for the first time in Marapiyal, we shall term Pedagogic Hermeneutics for reasons that will become clear later. What we want to mention here is that Civajnaana Bootam has not only Pedagogic Hermeneutics as its methodological foundations but also that it is the most rigorous text with a LOGIC consistent with this methodology. And therefore it is NOT simply a philosophical text in which a man erects a vast conceptual system purely by efforts of his imagination but rather a hermeneutic scientific TEXT that articulates TRUTHS and nothing else but TRUTHS. It does not simply present a picture, a model, a magnificent magical castle of words but rather explicates with scientific astuteness what existence is. It demands by this merit assent and compliance and not mere indulgence by anyone who reads it. It seeks to light up, illumine any man in search of answers for the most basic questions in life taking Temporality as its clue to answering them. And unlike of the works of Heidegger, it does not remain unfinished. It not only raises the fundamental questions but also answers them adequately indicating thereby how one OUGHT to live, what authentic existence is - the primordial question of all metaphysics.
Thirumular, Meykandar and many others belonging to the philosophic tradition of Saiva Siddhanta, have to combat not only the positivism of the brilliant Buddhist logicians such as Dignaga, Dharmakirti and so forth but also the idealism of Gaudapada, Sankara and numerous other Vedantic philosophers who reinterpreted the Upanisadic mahavakiyas along monistic and idealistic lines thereby generating a suspicion and distrust for the worldly. The situation is not unlike that in the West now that has occassioned the emergence of Hermeneutics as a force to counter the excessive claims of idealism, positivism, neopositivism and so forth. The project of Unified Science (Russel, Whitehead, Carnap etc), an attempt to include within the language of the physical sciences also the psychological and social is essentially reductionistic. It is man’s ego at its most arrogant excess trying to comprehend the whole of nature, including the psychical within constructs emerging from his own mind, tested of course for its descriptive validity and objectivity in the realms of the physical. The attempt to reduce the whole of existence into something explicable in terms of a set of universal laws, in the vein of Euclidean geometry, an impulse that has characterised the West from the times of Greeks, becomes the monstrous ambition of the neopositivists and which along with its birth also has necessitated the birth of Hermeneutics as a science in which a man does not impose his own conceptual constructions but rather lets things speak for themselves, allowed to disclose themselves as to what they are from within themselves, as Heidegger has put it. In such an attitude towards philosophical activity - remaining OPEN to receive whatever disclosures, illuminations comes to be available and understanding existence through such disclosures - Heidegger not only meets the Taoism of Lao Tzu but also the Metaphysica Universalis of Meykandar. There is a breathtaking convergence of thought among these philosphical giants, with Meykandar however going somewhat deeper than others with a penetration and rigour peculiarly his own, as the TEXT made available in English now would amply testify it.
This attempt is also quite distinct from a recent attempt of Otto Apel (1972, 1980) to comprehend both the positive and hermeneutic sciences within a philosophic framework that he calls Cognitive-Anthropology. For here too the Temporal Analytics that unifies Heidegger and Meykandar appears to be absent. Another peculiarity of Meykandar must also be mentioned here. What he takes for hermeneutic analysis to unravel the fundamental metaphysical questions is what he calls `cuddaRivu’ or `cuddu uNarvu’, understanding that is finite, temporical-spatial, always with an Other, directed always towards something that stands as an Other and hence always the-tic. Though he does not, like Heidegger raise the question of the meaning of Being directly, nevertheless in taking `finite understanding’ as that which ought to be interrogated, he is already analysing what Heidegger calls Dasein, Being-in-the-world of man. But Meykandar’s direction of enquiry takes a route quite different from that of Heidegger and because of which he appears to succeed in areas where Heidegger still appears cloudy, uncertain, ambiguous and supremely indecisive particularly in Fundamental Ontology.
While for Heidegger it appears that understanding is projective and there is SEEING only because there is projection and interpretation, for Meykandar there is SEEING only because there is SHOWING. Man sees only because something is SHOWN and he is not only equipped to see in the most general sense but also LED TO SEE. This view of seeing because of some showing by forces that remain for the most part concealed, and the pedagogical nature of this showing makes the hermeneutics of Meykandar, Pedagogic Hermeneutics as we have already mentioned earlier. The World and the various processes there are for pedagogical purposes, to inform the creatures, to instruct them ,to illumine them and thereby destroy the ignorance in which they are already in. Now if understanding is finite - temporal, historical, thetic, particularistic etc - it is so only because the seeing of man is delimited. And this inherent finititude of understanding cannot be overcome unless the circumscribed nature of the seeing itself is overcome. And to overcome that and SEE in the most comprehensive manner, without an Other and hence non-interpretively is the possibility that provides the FOR-WHICH existence is, the MOKSA that the Indian philosophies have laboured for so long. Each way of SEEING and hence understanding the world precipitates a philosophical system for which reason it is termed a `darsana’ - a seeing. Understanding proceeds by gaining visions after visions and when we look at the movement of these darsanas, we can note a hidden and a deeper undercurrent underlying it. Only when the deepest of these undercurrents agitating the human mind making it produce philosophies, religions and cultures are unearthed that we really understand man, his existence. Such an understanding is what is furnished by Meykandar and for which reason his philosophy is termed Siddhanta - the end point in philosophical inquiry, the attainment of Metaphysica Universalis, the limiting point of all philosophical enterprises. It is not a darsana among darsanas, a religion among religions, a cult among cults but rather something that penetrates to the deepest undercurrents that fashions all these mental products and thereby make them intelligible. In terms of this Siddhanta we do not repudiate merely by criticizing other philosophies - we LEARN to see where such a philosophy belongs to in the world of philosophies and hence SEE them for what they in fact are. It is philosophy of philosophies that speaks from the point of `camaya-atiitam’, a point of transcendence of all religions and philosophies and hence Metaphysica Universalis in the true sense of the word.
In view of the enormous importance of these notions for understanding this text, we provide below a more detailed account of its essences, delineating simultaneously the LOGIC that constitutes its rationality with references to the Western philosophers where relevant.
2.0 The Genesis of Research Problems and their Methodological Implications.
One of the things that Meykandar makes abundantly clear and which constitutes his most significant contribution to world philosophy is that as long as the seeing of man remains cloistered to physicalistic and refuses to open itself for the hermeneutic, man will fail to encounter not only the psychical but also the spiritual, the world of the archetypes. He will be lost in the infinities of the spatio-temporal, cannot encounter the totalities and through that reach the metaphysical grounds where live the archetypes - the gods. The man who refuses to see beyond the physicalistic condemns himself to an existence where there is no escaping from births and deaths and hence existence that is essentially nihilistic.
This methodological concern is not unrelated to the current debates between the positivists and hermeneuts, even though not all hermeneuts can be said to move along Heidegger let alone Meykandar. However when we examine the research activities of both these two groups of researchers, it appears that in their conception of the problem itself, the methodology appropriate to solving it is already implicit. The hermeneuts are in fact formulating research methodologies appropriate to solving problems that are distinctive and BEYOND the research of the positivists. The positivists have a WAY OF SEEING and hence a way of Being within which numerous problems that are worth researching are NOT SIGHTED and even when sighted gets grossly DISTORTED by their methodological prejudices that sustain their positivistic orientations or ways of seeing and hence Being. We cannot overcome this conflict unless we unearth the GENESIS of research problems themselves and how unknown to the researchers themselves orient them methodologically. Otto Apel notes that there is a living engagement in life and all knowledge arises from this engagement, that every theory-formation be it positivistic or hermeneutic is primarily knowledge through reflection. The form of knowledge developed has as its apriori a type of living engagement in the form of a specific cognitive interest. It is this interest, the form and structure of it that determines the methodology (Apel, 1980. pp 49). This notion of cognitive interest, against the background of the existential analytics of Heidegger and Meykandar, appears to be too cognitive. It tends to exclude the emotional and the feeling oriented crises in life that are also instrumental for personal metamophorses, as research worthy. Furthermore such a way of seeing of the genesis of research problems does not seem to explicate the methodology with Temporal Analytics that has emerged as central in the hermeneutic sciences. So instead of talking of a living cognitive-anthropological involvement with life, we shall say existential involvement with life and note research problems not arising because of some specific cognitive-interact but something deeper that we shall call ENIGMAS that emerge and grips the researcher compelling him to undertake a research to liberate himself from that enigma. The enigma that grips and forces him to search, to investigate is not simply a problem, a cognitive dissonance, a psychological maladjustment, a pathological condition and so forth; it is something deeper and for which men are prepared to sacrifice enormously. The enigmas are existential and touches the very heart of his way of Being in the world and which because of it, holds the possibility of changing it, transforming it.
2.1. THE ONTIC-ENIGMAS AND THE POSITIVE SCIENCES
Now we have to draw a distinction between what can be called (adapting Heidegger here) ontic and onto-enigmas. The existential enigmas are ontical or ontological in their very genesis and where ontical they give rise to the positive sciences and where ontological to the hermeneutic. The ontical look or way of Seeing (Ta. poRiliyak kaatci) presupposes a way of Being in which we do not have TEMPORALITY in the foreground of understanding but rather the WORLD-TIME mode of time consciousness. The researcher, possibly unknown to himself, comports himself to the world as PHYSICAL with events occuring within a spatiotemporal framework that makes referentiality (Ta. cuddu) possible and hence intersubjective agreements in terms of identity of reference. As distinct from this are onto-enigmas where the way of Being and hence Seeing is not ontical but rather ontological where Temporality takes over as the constitutive element of understanding along with causing the absence of referentiality that presupposes the existence of an objective spatiotemporal structure common to all. The ontological looks inwards towards the ways of Being itself, locating problems not in the impersonal spatiotemporal flux of events or a universe of numbers the behaviour of which are consistent with a set of universal laws, but rather in the very Being of man and hence in his own Existence as such. The onto-enigmas demand looking into himself, unearth the hidden elements that unknown to him constitute what he is as a being. These are more in the nature of personal crises, possible arising because of the demolition of his fundamental beliefs and hence now demanding a reconstruction, a rebuilding, a renewal. The ontical in making the world purely physical, purely objective, purely mathematical - a universe of numbers, totally impersonal, totally out-there as a thing and so forth, also allows an INSTRUMENTAL GAZE and the enigma itself seen as a Technological problem and hence requiring instrumental interventions to solve it. Thus surfaces the possibility of experimental investigations, the use of an array of instruments for gaining a variety of quantitative data with the experimentation itself understood as a way of testing a hypothesis and theory as the set of basic concepts from which the hypothesis is derived. As Popper has pointed out experimental testing have is in fact an attempt to refute a hypothesis or conjecture. Since an array of instruments are used the data is in fact readings of meter-like instruments and which imperative the use of sophisticated statistical analysis, quantitative manipulations and so forth. The formulation of hypothesis or conjectures presupposes theories, a kind of technical register, a language-game (as Wittgenstein would put it) which continues to be modified, deconstructed, sometimes even thrown out with instituting totally new ones and so forth accounting for the shifts in paradigm that Kuhn has noted. The overall goal, the hidden motivation in all such adventures remains the formulation of a Universal Law or Laws in terms of which every event in the world be explained as instantiations of these laws ; understanding these laws means understanding everything. Armed with these laws, it becomes also possible to PREDICT every event in the future in the spatiotemporal flux of the quantitative universe so that ultimately there is nothing mystical or mysterious in Nature. Nature becomes an open book with REASON having destroyed every mystery in it. The neopositivistic aim of Unified Science has aspirations such as these. The success at this sort of explanatory attempts, furnishes scientific knowledge of an objective kind so that in future (and there is always a future) when such events are encountered, they cease to be problematic, fail to be mysterious, inexplicable, a surpise and so forth.
Each theoretical articulation is a new language-game, a new technical register, a re-description now with technically more precise definitions of concepts that are also descriptively more adequate, with greater validity. The individual researcher remains, in all these efforts of technical re-description, a PURE SUBJECT, simply one who investigates and in that bared all that is personal and individual. He has to submit himself completely seeing the world or at least a particular slice of it within the constituting of seeing by the technical register, theoretical framework. As long as the person remains locked up within this kind of seeing, and continues his researches without faltering or wavering in that stance, there is the development of more and more inclusive registers which has as its projection a future in which there is the formulation of the Universal Register, a technical language that would serve to explain all. Such a possibility remains the IDEAL, that towards which the positive sciences moving, and would attain if allowed to progress unimpeded.
Now the problem with this ontic kind of seeing, the projective ideals that sustains this way of seeing and gives the normative criteria for decision making in research is that there is a BLINDNESS that accompanies it, a blindness in which the peculiarly HUMAN are not sighted and hence the human essences beyond its grasp, its understanding. There is a REDUCTION, instead of seeing what it is in itself; the human is reduced to a mechanical reality, a THING that is only an instance of a set of universal laws and hence something that like other physical realities totally manipulable, controllable, shapeable and so forth oblivious to any ethical constraints. It is here more than elsewhere that the limitedness of ontic seeing, its partiality and hidden dangers to cultural developments become abundantly clear. The hermeneutic philosophers, and Meykandar is certainly one of them, have for centuries voiced their protests against this dehumanization of man and along with it the human and social sciences. Though in India the technological sciences did not develop to the level they did in the West, positivism based only ontic seeing was not lacking. Most of the Buddhists logicians and Vedantic philosophers propounded darsanas in which the human was denied any significant essence, reduced to an insubstantiality or to Brahman, PURE LIGHT. The philosophies that sustained the humanistic traditions of the Tamils, at least from the days of Tolkappiyam culminates in Civajnaana Bootam of Meykandar, as the most profound text in hermeneutic science in which the human is understood as it is for what it is as a reality.
2.2 The Onto-enigmas and the Hermeneutic Sciences
Positivism in India, which shares with that in the West taking seeing as consisting of only the ontic seeing, is challenged by Meykandar: he affirms that not all seeing is ontical, there are ways of seeing other than this and that a true understanding of Existence is impossible unless we learn to see in ways other than the ontical. The first sutra begins with this protest and develops further and further ways of seeing deeper and deeper. For along with the above ontic-enigmas, there are also onto-enigmas that also arise from the existential engagement with life and with a structure of its own. Such enigmas arise usually when a person encounters a resistance to his understanding that throws him to a Temporal Mode of Being, a mode of Being in which he awaits for something that is a not-yet, till he resolves and overcomes that resistance. Such a Temporal way of Being, we shall call Situational-Temporality, to distinguish it from Fundamental Temporality that arises only within an understanding that comprehends the World-as-a-Whole. Such Situational Temporal ways of Being continuously emerge in our personal and social existence. When a friend all of a sudden becomes a foe, the happy mood is lost and replaced with that of melancholy, the loving wife becomes a devastating enemy, coherent and peaceful coexistence gives way to discontent and disarray and situations similar to these the onto-enigmas emerge gripping the researcher, throwing him to a way of seeing that is not ontical but ontological.
The peculiarity of the onto-enigmas is that the person gripped with it realizes the existence of a certain IGNORANCE , a certain DARKNESS in the understanding because of which onto-enigmas exists as an enigma for him. The onto-enigmas exists as an enigma for him. The onto-enigmas highlights or discloses for the researcher the existence of a BLIND SPOT in HIS OWN UNDERSTANDING, which also impels him to remove it, to eradicate it by demolishing that ignorance. In this manner when this exposure of ignorance orientates him ontologically i.e. towards a Way of Being in which there is an awaiting for a way of Being that is a NOT YET but which is a strong possibility, a way of Being that he CAN BE but NOT YET, we have the genesis of an onto-enigma and which would result in hermeneutic scientific efforts to resolve if its character remains undistorted. The recognition of the presence of a DARK SPOT in one’s own understanding is constitutive of onto-enigmas and as long as this essence is kept there without transforming it to the ontical, it calls for improving one’s own understanding so that with regard to the phenomena in question, one stands under it, one gains a vision, an illumination that removes the initial blind spot, the patch of darkness in understanding. The avoidance of transforming it to the ontical and remaining steadfast within the ontological and seeking to resolve the enigma by a restructuring of one’s own understanding and hence by self transformation brings about hermeneutic sciences as opposed to the positivistic.
The notion that hermeneutic sciences are concerned with overcoming resistance to under-standing a phenomena by self-transformation towards standing-under it, that Deetz and others have articulated and which we are articulating here within however, the notion of onto-enigma, needs to be re-examined more thoroughly and carefully to wrest out some hidden notions in it without which the spirit of Metaphysica Universalis of Meykandar cannot be grasped at all.
The self-transportation from a state of NOT under-standing towards a standing-under is an ontological movement that results from activities that do not consist of instrumental interventions but rather interpretive in nature or as we shall call ontopretive, consisting with pedagogic Hermeneutics that we are proposing. But these interpretive (or ontopretive) movements as belonging to ontology - as belonging to the question of what are really there? - are in fact attempts to SIGHT a phenomenon, a reality that remains hidden, buried in the underground of consciousness, lurking in the Depths, remains somehow covered up, disguised camouflaged and so forth. The investigatory or ontopretive activities are in fact archeoductive, an ontological seeking to see what is there in the Depths, beneath the surface and because of which the onto-enigma exists as such. Thus the ontological seeking begins with casting the problem as multi-layered or polylevelic with at least two levels of structure for every phenomena: Surface Structure (S.S) and Deep Structure (D.S) which interact and continue to be present simultaneously. Every phenomena is seen inherently hierarchical in structure, with at least TWO levels of structure. The onto-enigmas arise and are constituted as hermeneutical when an element in the S.S of a phenomenon resists understanding in the sense that one cannot locate and be with an element in the D.S. of the same phenomenon that founds it. When a person has not YET sighted that element of that D.S that founds the problematic in the S.S., he is thrown to a state of Situational-Intentionality, that of wanting to sight which also institutes Situational-Temporality, a way of Being as NOT YET but with a future possibility of a distinct kind as immensely available.
With this grasp of the meaning of hermeneutic sciences, we can also see its link with the notion of TEXT and why the hermeneuts are so much preoccupied with this notion and enshrine it as central in the Hermeneutic Sciences.
The notions of S.S and D.S that the ontological inquiries presuppose can be made sense only in relation to the notion of TEXT for it is only TEXTS and TEXT ANALOGUES that can have such DOUBLE structures or even possibly more. There is a level of structure within which the onto-enigma is allowed to emerge and another level as underlying that which has elements within its sighting which would eliminate the enigma, the blind spot in understanding. The onto-enigma is accessed first at the phenomenological or S.S. level where sighting is no problem, a level that locates the original emergence of the problem. It is within a TEXTUAL presentation of a phenomena, and within the S.S. elements of the phenomena considered as a TEXT, where the enigma is allowed to emerge as it is from within itself, unaffected by the interpretive or manipulative tendencies of the researcher. For example accurate transcriptions of conversations, letters written to friends, doodling and spontaneously drawn sketches as in some psychoanalytic studies, the erection of monumental structures, inspired poetry, writings in the form of essays, autobiographies, the private speech of young children and so forth are TEXTS which when obtained within a phenomenological attitude, an attitude of openness, of letting-something-be as it chooses to disclose itself, can serve the emergence of onto-enigmas. (more details on this in the next section)
The TEXTS with respect to their S.S - that which is visible for everyone without occasioning serious disagreements and even if they arise, resolvable purely with reference to the factical structure of the text - is the objective presentation of the PROBLEM or ENIGMA in the hermeneutic sciences. The enigma that invites hermeneutical efforts, is allowed to present itself as it is, from within itself so that all researchers are able to SEE it and on SEEING so come to be thrown into an ontological Mode of Being, constituted by Temporality of time consciousness. A researcher thus gripped by an onto-enigma assumes a way of Being in which he awaits a FUTURE Way of Being which at the moment remains only a possibility but which is also a necessity to FREE him from that enigma. The researcher thus freed, stands-under the enigma, has now an understanding that FREES him from being caught by such enigmas again. He is also made FREE to be caught by other enigmas either related or unrelated to the solved.
Thus the origins of hermeneutic problems and the attainment of solutions, the resolution of onto-enigmas are not simply objective exercises, a mental acrobatics of complicated statistics and so forth but rather something that transforms the possibilities of Being of the researcher himself so that he is no more the same person he was before, earlier on. The researcher who has solved an onto-enigma now understands a phenomena and through that has liberated himself from being thrown into some situational temporalities by some surface structures of textual presentations of phenomena. He has conquered them waylaid them, broken their mystery and thereby freed himself from being temporally affected by them.
The concept of MOKSA articulated in this book is directly related to the above notion of freeing oneself from temporalities by understanding a phenomena that can be sources of onto-enigmas. The more a researcher battles with such onto-enigmas and emerges victorious, the more AUTONOMOUS he becomes. Progressively he becomes less and less onto-enigmatic and thereby less and less prone to being thrown into the intentional, Temporal Ways of Being. He masters existence and lives unaffected by the diverse phenomena surrounding his existence, sometimes even constituting it. By standing UNDER them, he LIBERATES himself from them. Such a way of living is said to be authentic existence by Meykandar. As a person persists in such authentic existence, the onto-enigmas become progressively deeper touching upon the universalistic at the deepest level, at which point the person becomes a mey jnaani, the genuinely philosophic, a description of which is available in the fourth part of this book.
But this is not the only relevance of the above analysis for introducing the book. We shall now point others and how without the presupposition of the analysis of ontic-onto enigmas we have given, the book will be quite unintelligible.
2.3 Metatexts and metametatext
The above analysis allows us to draw a distinction between a TEXT and what can be called a METATEXT, a text about a text. When certain elements in the S.S. of a text generates an onto-enigma, and it is solved by sighting an element of D.S. that serves to understand it, the understanding becomes illumined, a region of Darkness in understanding gets lighted up so that the darkness or ignorance is no more there. The improved understanding attained, the illuminations reached allow the person to linguisticalize the understanding thus reached. Such an articulation which is explicatory in nature about certain features in the TEXT about a primary TEXT which is in the nature of the given. Such a metatext, it should be noted, can in turn become a primary TEXT thus inviting a deeper hermeneutic exercises or archeoductive movements of understanding. Thus the progress in hermeneutic sciences can become progressively deeper and deeper ultimately reaching a GROUND LEVEL beyond which the hermeneutic inquiries cannot be pushed.
We can represent these notions diagrammatically as below:
In this way of looking at the complicated movements of human understanding, as exemplified throughout the world, there are the positive and hermeneutic sciences each going about in its own way but both aspiring to a LIMIT, an IDEAL. The positivists dream of formulating a Universal Register, a logical syntax that would function as the language of a Unified and Universal Science, thoroughly rational and totally universal. The Hermeneuts on the other hands (as it has happened in India where the hermeneutic sciences have been in vogue from ancient times) have as an ideal of Absolute Understanding that confers absolute autonomy to whoever possess it with Universal Metatext or metametatext as that which articulates it. Such a text that embodies the deepest and the most comprehensive understanding ever possible for man is genuinely the Siddhanta, the final in the matter of human understanding.
'Civajnaana Bootam’ is a meta metatext and hence a universal metatext in the above sense, a text that understands the whole of Existence in its primordiality and hence universality and because of which the contents are appropriately Metaphysica Universalis. It does not seek to found a school of thought vis. a vis others; it does not seek to found a new religion in opposition to others on the basis of some mystical illumination, a divine message the author is privileged with and so forth. It goes beyond all these human frailties to the bottom most level of the human mind where exists the genuinely universal in man and articulates them in a rational manner, as should any scientific text be it positivistic or hermeneutic. In thus being and including within its scope all philosophies, religions, ideologies and sciences and seeking to illumine all these passions of man, it stands not only outstanding but unique.
The text is also metaphysical in nature because of its ontological orientations, the seeking to go beyond the S.S and locate elements in the D.S. that would explain the structural peculiarities in the S.S. The researchers within the ontical do not do this - they remain locked up within the universe of numbers seeking to discover universal laws. What we have in Civajnaana Bootam is the development of metaphysics as a specifics of hermeneutic science that serve to explain in a rational manner the meaning of human existence as a whole, that takes into account the vast range of its cultural accomplishments.
We shall take up this issue again in later parts as everything relevant to the issue cannot be articulated at this juncture without developing the theme a bit further.
2.4 Hermeneutics and Metaphysics
A comprehensive view of human understanding, the way it moves or made to move is both ontical and ontological. The ontical gaze is tied to the physical, the historical in which the understanding developed remains spatio-temporal and referential in nature. The time consciousness is World-Time, a linear ordered endless progression of movements any slice of which is infinitely divisible like the set of real numbers in arithmetic. The spatial intuition remains directional - `here’s and `there’s’, space infected with ticai, directions. The ontological on the other hand stands on the S.S. back looks towards the D.S having whatever in its visage a TEXT with such duality of structure. And because of it is Temporical, oriented towards a Future State of Being which it is NOT right now but which remains a distinct possibility for itself to be.
In this two ways of seeing and hence Being, the ontological is more fundamental as it makes understand the Temporicality of Being, of understanding, of how TIME has become a fabric of human understanding. The ontical accommodates the competency to see the events in the world in terms of TIME but remains ignorant of the origins of this competency. It exploits a competency purely as a given, as intuitive without seeking to unravel the mystery surrounding this competency.
Only within the Modes of Being that are distinctly ontological or strictly hermeneutical in our sense that one can understand the presence of Time reckoning competency in man and unravel the mystery surrounding the intuition of Time as such. A man is thrown towards an ontological Mode of Being that is simultaneously Temporical only when he encounters a TEXT the surface structures of which disclose an enigma - something he does not understand, something that escapes his comprehension. Such onto-enigmas, as already pointed out earlier disclose the presence of a DARKNESS in his own understanding which has to be dispelled, removed. It is this recognition of the presence of ignorance in his OWN understanding that throws him to the temporical, ontological mode of Being. And from this it follows that should there be no such ignorance within, such temporal modes of Being will not arise and the individual will not ever be Temporical! Such an understanding as this in which there is no ignorance whatsoever and because of which the individual is absolutely autonomous, totally liberated, forever outside the temporal modes of Being is what is called Civajnaanam, absolute illumination, the main theme of the present book.
It is clear that it is only within the ontological, the state of Being outside Time is thinkable, timelessness understandable. And because of this also that of Timeness, understanding having temporicality with which it has deal with in every one of its efforts. More specifically it points out that it is the PRESENCE OF DARKNESS in understanding, the dark patches in understanding that is directly related to man being temporical in his existence.
Meykandar calls every form of understanding that is temporical cudduNarvu and the understanding itself acataRivu and the understanding that is not so, cudduNarvu inRi niRRal, is cataRivu - absolutistic understanding.
The importance of the distinction between the ontical and the ontological should be reasonably clear now. Timeness cannot be absolved from understanding as long as the seeing remains fixated to the ontical - within the ontical, Time can be infinitely divided and understood as an incessant flow of momentary particulars as did the Buddhist logicians Dignatha, Dharmakirti and so forth and as is being done currently by the logical positivists but it cannot be absolved, eliminated overcome disengaged and so forth. This possibility is thinkable and attainable only within the ontological, the attainment of this state of Being articulated as MOKSA, attaining absolute illumination that makes the attainment of this releasement possible. And MOKSA in this sense and because of it, is articulated now as the MEANING OF EXISTENCE, that FOR-WHICH existence is. This also allows Meykandar to explicate the meaning of Authentic Existence: it is now that which resolutely seeks the attainment of this MOKSA, chooses only those ways of Being genuine to it and avoids all others that are detrimental to it. Where the possibility of MOKSA is firmly entrenched and the whole of existence comes to be organized as for attaining MOKSA, we have the authentic existence, the theme of the fourth and final part of this celebrated text. However the most important of the above distinction for philosophy as much is that metaphysics, in the true sense of the word, is impossible within the ontical and is eminently possible only within the ontological. Any philosophy that claims to be metaphysics but which does not go beyond spatio-temporal intuitions are false metaphysics, exercises in human imaginations rather than articulations of TRUTHS. This observation is that with which Meykandar begins his text and draws a distinction in the first sutra itself and elaborates in the arguments in the commentary appended to it.
Metaphysics is possible only within the ontological for only here that totalities can be posited and transgressed and hence reach Grounds that are genuinely meta-physical, the BEYOND the PHYSIS, taking `physis’ in the original Greek sense of originary emergence, a notion akin to `puuttal’ or `toonRal’ in Tamil. For having noted the presence of Temporality because of Darkness in understanding one can project regressively towards a primordial condition of absolute DARKNESS as much as progressively to a condition of absolute illumination, that we have already noted above. Existence can now be understood as something that has emerged from a primordial originary condition of absolute Darkness and which is heading towards a state of absolute illumination. Existence is inherently kinetic, dynamic - there is inherent to it a movement with a direction of its own, that is towards MOKSA. However it is only in our regressive projections towards the originary that we are in a position to SIGHT the genuine metaphysical Realities. The entities that are anaati, uncreated, unoriginated which creates originates fabricates everything that constitute what the world is, existence is. The metaphysical realities unsightable within the ontical for within that seeing no matter how venturesome we become, no matter how imaginative we become we cannot go beyond the infinities limitlessness backwards and forwards, upwards and downwards. There is always timeness and therefore always the beyond, the after, described in privative terms as limit-less, in-finite, im-mortal begining-less and so forth.
Within the ontological, and through a regressive projection within it we can reach a condition of TOTAL DARKNESS, a condition of NO APPEARANCES whatsoever, not an Emptiness, a Nothingness but only a DARKNESS, a DARKNESS that hides within its womb everything in a state of unmanifestation. This is the condition that is termed `ilayippu’ by Meykandar, a condition by seeking to understand which has given the Metaphysica Universalis of the text he has written. If in this regressive projection we encounter a condition of absolute DARKNESS, a condition where all the appearances are resolved to a limiting point of undifferentiatedness or unmanifestation then there must be a stuff that causes this Darkness, the ANAVAM, the ANTIBEING and another that violates this and makes appearances possible BEING i.e. an entity without which there can be ways of Being of entities as such and because of which it is known as SIVAN - that confers Being as such. It should be noted here that we are distinguishing carefully the Being of an entity and its appearances, its phenomenal presentations. While Being does not show something beyond itself, and in this Meykandar would agree with Heidegger, the phenomenal presence of an entity without which the Being cannot be known beyond itself to a reality that serves as the Causal Ground for its appearances and which is SIVAN, the BEING. All phenomenal presentations are subject to the historical flux - the muuvinaimai, because of which temporality is realized experientially. An entity has Being in the same sense that it is there, it is not a nothingness even as unmanifest in the primordial condition of total darkness. But this entity cannot appear, come into historical circulation, assume flux-prone series of appearance on its OWN. It requires the GRACE of a BEING that can violate the ANTIBEING that forever throws the Being of entities as unmanifest, in the womb of Darkness with no appearances whatsoever. The phenomenological presentations, the appearances is termed tooRRam and because of which an entity is understood as an existent, uLatu. For an entity that has Being, require the GRACE of BEING to be existent.
Now this BEING is also described as `antam-aati’ and `sangkaara kaaraNanaay uLLa mutal", central notions in Saiva Siddhanta, without understanding which the whole text will be unintelligible. It is also necessary here to understanding the distinction between Being and appearance or phenomenality.
BEING and ANTIBEING are in combat with BEING as the POWER always regulating the presentations of ANTIBEING itself. The appearances of the entities cannot be reduced to state of no appearances unless ANTIBEING is allowed to pervade the entities. This allowing, speaking here of course metaphorically, of the prevalence of MALAM, the ANTIBEING, is `done’ by BEING and on account of which BEING is cangkaara kaaraNanan, that which is instrumental for the dissolution of the world. But the entities escape from this state of no appearance and begin to have appearances, then it has to be because of BEING and no other as there is nothing else that can violate the hold of MALAM and provide it with presentational forms. Thus BEING is antam-aati that which is instrumental for the dissolution of the world and simultaneously its emergence, appearance.
While these points are argued for rather elaborately though the statements are rather cryptic, there is another point which needs to wrested from the above arguments.
The notion that Being of entities does not show, disclose something behind them is articulated in Saiva Siddhanta by the term anaati - that which requires nothing else besides itself for its Being. The Being of entities is nonoriginary, they ARE and because of which they can get into the phenomenal circulation. BEING and ANTIBEING are such entities - unaati - they are there and in being-there they do not point over their shoulders to another as their GROUND. And to this category of metaphysical realities, are to be included innumerable psychic entities, the pacus.
The reasons are quite obvious. The phenomenal presence of psychic entities resists any reduction to the physicalistic, to the ontical ways of seeing. Their essence emerges as distinct and irreducible and which is available only within the ontological seeing, ways of seeing in which what are seen are TEXTS, and hence always with a DUALITY of structure. When a person or even for that matter any living creature is seen as a TEXT, the presence of a psychic entity as the D.S. of that creature can be noted and their reality understood. The psychic entities are there in the world as resisting any reduction to the physicalistic. And if that is so, then certainly there must be at the metaphysical level with a Being of their own, as entities already there though certainly as unmanifest. Thus in addition to BEING, MALAM, we now discover that innumerable psychic entities are present as metaphysical realities and which altogether fabricate what we call the phenomenal reality, existence, the world and so forth. The central principle at work here and in terms of which the metaphysics is being articulated is known in the Indian Philosophical circles as `Sat karya Vada’ which can be formulated here as: only entities with Being can appear as phenomenal realities. Pati, the BEING; paacam here the ANTIBEING and pacu, the innumerable psychic entities have Being and hence not only anaati but also those which fabricate the phenomenal reality as such. This metaphysical understanding was first announced by Thirumular around the 6th century AD and which is recovered by Meykandar as a philosophical TRUTH, something axiomatic in the philosophical excursions of the mind, in the first sutra itself by the assumptions of the distinctions between the ontical and ontological movements of human understanding.
2.5. The metaphysical Essence of Man and his Ethicality
Before we go on to discuss other themes by way of introducing the essences of this philosophically profound text, another important implication of the distinction between the ontical and ontological and it bears on human essence must be drawn out to make the text as a whole and more particular the second sutra intelligible. It is here that Meykandar overcomes the Advaita Vedanta of Adi Sankara and numerous others wherein they have attempted to dilineate the mahavakya `Aham Brahman asmi’ and so forth in their own ways but most often monistically.
Among entities that are metaphysically real, there are the psychical and non-psychical and among the psychical the human and non-human, distinctions fundamental and which are carried over into the syntactic structure of languages. Now the human beings are distinctive among the psychical because only they are linguistical and on account of which they are singled out as `uyar tinai’, in Tamil grammar and contrasted with the rest that are `akRinai’. In the Dravidian philosophical tradition, it was also known at least from the days of Tolkappiyam (3rd century B.C.) that the linguisticality of human understanding is simultaneously with time-ness, that man has an understanding of Time, and that his understanding of Time splits to World-Time and Temporality. The syntactic structure of language, the fundamental division of sentences into Noun Phrases and Verb Phrases (Peyarccol and Vinaiccol) is possible only on the basis of time consciousness with Verb Phrases having time notions implicated either in morphology or others and divisible into the tensical or world-time and temporal or the intentional time (vinai nilai kaalam and kuRRippu kaalam). Linguisticality of man is contemporaneous with time-ness and hence the moment he transcends temporicality - the proness to reckon in terms of Time - he ceases to be also linguistical in the ordinary sense. However this does not mean communications ceases - he communicates translinguistically, through the so called mudras, of which mounam - Deep Silence - is the most significant.
Man is linguistical and he is so because he has an understanding of Time. In this observation we have outlined provisionally the human essence, where he differs from others and establishes himself as distinct. This also means that he is ontico-ontological hence always in search of knowledge, of understanding, always a researcher. When we look a bit deeper into this without ever forgetting the ontico-ontological thrusts of this researches, we notice that his understanding is essentially FINITE and all these researchers are for destroying this FINITITUDE. While this may be missed within the ontical, it cannot be within the ontological, as researches within that mode of seeing are for destroying an IGNORANCE and on the destruction of which there is hermeneutic releasement, a local definitisation. As more and more hermeneutic journeys in the ontological distinctions are taken, more and more ignorance destroyed more and more releasement attainments. If term that which destroys the inner darkness, the ignorance the LUMENS than we can see that hermeneutic journeys illumine the person, make him less and less ignorant. It is for this reason that such a movement of understanding is termed LEARNING as there is destruction of ignorance, reduction of its scope than in researching along the ontico-ontological directions LEARNS and through that gains LUMENS that help him to destroy the inner darkness.
When we look at LEARNING as such along these lines, we can see that it has emerged from a condition of TOTAL DARKNESS and tends towards a state of Absolute Illumination, absolute clarity. There is a DIRECTION to this learning, it is already there as constitutive of the human understanding itself serving as an inner constraint, emerging at the critical moments in the decision processes that determine what ought to be pursued and what ought not. Man is not FREE in his researches, it as if there is hidden hand always guiding him. He is taken along in his hermeneutic journey to a location of absolute illumination, though by forces that remain hidden, concealed. Thus in the existence of man, there is already at work a direction giving force or PULL that take him along a WAY already prescribed as that which he OUGHT to take.
Thus the Being of man is peculiar in that there is already a DIRECTION, a WAY that he for his own good better not transgress. There is then an ETHICAL constraint that accompanies all his ontico-ontological adventures, a constraint that exists till the point of MOKSA, absolute illumination, a point where learning as such also ceases to be. Thus man is already ETHICAL in his Existence, in his Being-in-the-World. This is another level of clarity in our investigations into the essence of man. Man is not a creature with an understanding of Time, not only a creature concerned with Learning but also immensely ethical, with ethical principles that ensure that he does not transgress the WAY, the direction of movement already prescribed as something that he OUGHT NOT transgress.
Now when we push further into this essence, noting that it is in the direction of absolute illumination, then we note that man in his Being-in-the-World has already within himself an understanding of BEING for it is BEING and nothing else among the metaphysical realities that is RADIANCE itself, PURE LIGHT, absolute illumination, the Brahman, the resplendent LIGHT that understands everything as they in themselves are. Thus the Being-in-the-World of man is peculiar in that there is already an understanding that is directed towards fusing with BEING, being-in-absolute-oneness with BEING. This is the state that we have described as Being - [Being], which is formulaic for the notion: Being-in-the-World as such. Man in his Existence is not free to do whatever he likes - there is already a DIRECTION, a DECREE at work and because of which he is thrown to ethicality, to moral principles, to the elicitations of Karmic traces through the actions that he effects and over which he has authority. The manner of presence of BEING in the Being of man which he recognizes by the ethical constitution of his own self, is that which is described as advaita, the SAMENESS when Not-Other of BEING with the Being of man. It is that quality that distinguishes man from the beast, and makes him essentially spiritual to the extent he recognizes it and foregrounds it in his Being-in-the-World.
In the wake of this understanding, it is possible now to explain the notions of Karma and maayaa malam that are central to the metaphysics outlined in this book and which are understood along with the ANTIBEING as paacam - chains that bind man to the earthly, to a worldly circulation of births and deaths.
2.6 The chains of Karma and Worldly Cares
The notion that there is a direction in the ontico-ontological efforts of man, that there is WAY that he ought not transgress in his existential adventures, that there is Decree constraining man to a PATH ( that Meykandar calls aaNai in sutra 2) is an insight understanding, an illumination which in its wakes raises a number of further questions. The basic question is of course why it should be like this. What necessitates the need for a guidance, constraining of activities and so forth.
One immediate answer is that man CAN deviate from the WAY, he can FALL outside it and go astray, deviate from the RIGHT route and Fall prey to the evil forces and so forth. Such a proneness to FALL, which is already in man is termed maaya malam is Saiva Siddhanta, the cost of the evil, immoral, beastly in man. Over and above the PULLS that sets him on the WAY, there exists PULLS that cause him leave that and fall outside. This pull that acts contrary to that BEING, the most AUSPICIOUS is the ANTIBEING, the MALAM, literally the DARK. Man is already in the DARK, that is his primordial originary condition. But this PULL is a pull that becomes operative only when he is pulled outside it and put on the WAY, the way of absolute illumination, total clarity. But a weaker manifestation of it is CARES for the earthly, to the physicalistic, materialistic and so forth. There comes to prevail a BLINDNESS with respect to the ethical essences, spiritual and genuinely philosophic possibilities. Gripped by the earthly CARES which is ultimately a weakened form of the pull of ANAVAM, the ANTIBEING, the supreme finitizer, the atomizer of existence, man backgrounds the higher possibilities of Being-in-the-World which are in fact Being-one-with-BEING and foregrounds Being-one-with-the-World, the earthly, the mundane, the common, the non-philosophic. This maaya malam makes him attach him to the physicalistic, the tangible, the sensorial and causes him to the ontical to the total exclusion of the ontological. There comes to prevail an inner resistance against anything unconscious, mystical, mysterious or in the Depths, a prejudice of a deep seated against anything intangible, anything upon which the hands cannot be laid, anything that cannot be grasped by the senses and their instrumental extensions.
The PULL of BEING that put man on the WAY, not only makes him ethical but also ontological, genuinely hermeneutical in his researches. It OPENS up his eyes, his vision to the nonphysical in nature, the psychical and what lies within it viz. the spiritual.
Now another set of questions that emerges in the wake of our insights into the notion of the WAY, the presence of a DECREE and so forth, pertains to its structure. If the WAY is the way towards MOKSA, which is the end of the WAY and beyond which NOTHING is conceivable, and in fact which there is only NOTHINGNESS, there the question arises: what is the relationship between Death which is phenomenal and Being on the WAY? Does Death put an end to the journey or does it not? It is in the wake of such questions that Meykandar articulates the notion of punar uRpatti, repeated resurrections and hence the notion of existential repetitions and along with it the notion of Karma as that element of reality that regulates it. If MOKSA is the END of the WAY, then till moksa existence must then be resurrection of the anma, the psychic entity so that it gets another birth, another opportunity to live. The Being of the psychic entity can never be destroyed and it is beyond the reach of death which is purely phenomenal. Even moksa does not touch the Being of the entity, it continues to BE as ever even on attaining moksa. What comes to an end in Moksa is not Being but EXISTENCE - Being-in-the -World as such. The psychic entity that has attained moksa, has come to the end of the WAY, does not cease to BE but ceases to EXIST, a distinction of utmost importance, a distinction that puts Saiva Siddhanta at variance with the Advaita Vedanta of Adi Sankara and a host of others. The anma does not become Brahman at Moksa, it does not cease to BE an entity of its own, it Being remain unaffected by the attainment of MOKSA. What ceases however is Existence, Being-in-the-World, being put into an existential circulation with an endless repetition of births and deaths.
Meykandar develops these themes in a masterly fashion throughout the text and hence we shall contend here with pointing the essences. But it should be indicated here how the notion of Karma is highly relevant. If Existence persists till the point of MOKSA, and it is sequence of birth and deaths with a possibility of evolving into the higher and closer to MOKSA, there is a mechanism at work that sustains this journey, maintains the continuity, ensures evolutionary changes when justified. Karma or mula karma is said to be this mechanism already available as there in the world, a metaphysical reality of its own. There is an intimate relationship between the bodily endowments a psyche gets at its birth and the actions effected. While instrumental facilities of a bodily frame - both physical and mental - and an environment appropriate to it makes possible the effectuation of actions, it is the kind of actions effected that ensures evolution and hence nearing MOKSA or a falling away from it. Actions that are facilitative in this sense are PuNNiyam, the right, the good while those not so are Paavam, the evil, immoral and so forth. The morally sanctionable actions elucidate Karmic traces that ensures not only being within the WAY but also progress in it. The morally objectionable elucidate traces that cause the FALL, departures and deviations from the WAY, the neRi, falling towards the pull of ANTIBEING, the DARK.
Thus in this analysis, Karma though it enchains an anma to Existence, but one kind of it, that elucidated by the effectuation of PuNNiyam type of actions, the morally right is that which will take it closer to Moksa and hence enormously important. And because of this Siddhanta, unlike Vedanta and other forms idealism, emphasizes the enormous importance of ethical principles in existence, the need to live a morally unobjectionable life. Existing should be abhorred, should not be thought as a snare, as a trap but rather a challenge, tricky at times but which contains within it the WAY and mechanisms that would ensure one being in the WAY and progressing in that pilgrimage journey.
Meykandar attends to these problems in the sutra and the sutras in the final part, payaniyal. We hope sufficient has been said by way of introduction to follow Meykandar in many other deeper things he says in the texts proper about these.
We have drawn out the several implications for metaphysics of the notion that human understanding moves along ontico-ontological lines and that both directions of movements must be taken into account in any philosophical inquiry about human understanding, existence, the meaning of Being and so forth. Given the truth of this duality of the hermeneutic efforts, it would follow that the kinds of metaphysics that is outlined by Meykandar is in fact a TRUTH, and hence something that demands compliance. However, the truth of this way of functioning of the human mind itself may be questioned, its reality and facticity may be doubted. In the next part we shall attend to these issues and through that also bring out the kind of LOGIC that is implicit in the structure of the text itself. There is a LOGIC in Civajnaana Bootam which is quite unique and which unfortunately has been misunderstood by many traditional scholars including, we believe, his own students Arunandi who has to his credit the massive Sivajnaana Sittiyar, itself a very elaborate commentary-like elucidation of Civajnaana Bootam itself.
3.0 Logic and Metaphysics
At the moment the scientific ethos throughout the world is constituted by the positive sciences with physics providing the model of a rigorous science. The closer a science approaches physics the more rigorous it is deemed to be. The ontical are singled out as the chief expression of rationality, neglecting the ontological and hence the hermeneutical. Thus it becomes imperative to work out the essences of the hermeneutic sciences, their logic and in what sense it is also an expression of rationality. For within the ontological there can be the irrational as much as it can be within the ontical. Just as the notion of positive science, makes the ontical rational, so would the notion of hermeneutical science that of ontological.
The notion of scientific rigor in the positive sciences is strongly associated with the notions of instruments, their reliability and validity. Each time a hermeneutic science emerges, the positivists bounce upon it with the questions: What are the instruments? How reliable are they? How valid are the measurements, the analysis? and so forth. There is here a presumption, as already pointed out earlier, that anything scientific would mean instrumental interventions and quantitative analysis. The physical sciences are such sciences and when the notion of scientific rigor available here is extended to the human sciences, the same demands are made without realizing that there is a shift in the seeing, from ontical to ontological. When this shift is taken into account, it is clear that there is no scientific rigor but only that it takes a different form that needs to be worked. It is in working out this that we come to see the LOGIC of not only hermeneutics sciences but metaphysics as such. We shall do this by taking up samples of hermeneutic sciences where the notion of scientific rigor emerges most clearly within the framework of ontology and Temporal Analytics from which it cannot be dissociated.
3.1 TEXTS and ontopretations
As we have already noted, the hermeneutic problems are problems already constituted at the genesis itself as onto-enigmas and which always presuppose the existence of TEXT and a particular reading of it. This does not means only the verbal texts and such entities give rise to such enigmas. Every element of experience holds the possibility of being a TEXT or a brute factual data depending on whether the seeing is ontological or ontical. Every ontological seeing sees only TEXTS with their attending duality of structure. TEXTUALITY is not an objective quality of a thing - it belongs to the seeing, where the seeing is ontological, that which is seen is a TEXT. It may be verbal or nonverbal productions of individuals or some kind of presentations made available to an individual the origins of which may be obscure (e.g. dreams). But all such TEXTS, in virtue of being seen as TEXT have a Surface Structure that points beyond itself to a (or indicative of) Deep Structure having elements in it that in fact constitutes the textual character of the Surface Structure of the TEXT. The following are two examples of such TEXTS one verbal, the other nonverbal.
TEXT 1 : (Part of classroom instruction on Language in the primary school, first grade. The text is excerpt of a middle of an ongoing lesson, videotaped and transcribed)
1. Guru: Semua sebut [huu....] 1. T : All say [huu....]
2. SM : huuu.... 2. A.C : huu...
3. G : sekali lagii .... 3. T : Once again ...
4. SM : huuu... 4. A.C: huuu.....
5. G : Baik, Kumpulan A 5. T : Okay, group A
6. K.A: huu .... 6. G.A: huu ...
7. G : Semua dikumpulan B sebut 7. T : All in group B, pronounce it
8. K.B: huu .... 8. G.B: huu...
9. G : Baik,sekarang (sticks pictures 9. T : Okay now ( .... ):
the board): Ini gambar apa? What is this picture?
10. M : Pokok 10. C : Tree
(G) Guru : Teacher (r): Semua murid (SM) All children (A.C), Murid (M) child.
The Text 2 is from Family Portrait Test, similar to New BAUM TEST, species of ACCESS TESTS used in Agamic Psychology (Yoshikawa, K. Loganathan Mutarayan, 1985). A four year old male child who had problems in quantitative competence was asked to draw his mother, his father, himself as now and himself when big (or grown up). The drawings as produced by the child are reproduced below (eye-copies)
Both are Texts in the sense that they have a DUAL Structure, the surface and the deep, the meaningless scratches or scribbles and at the same time significatory or communicative of something. But the onto-enigmas do not emerge just by noting these features; the Texts have to be accessed appropriately so that one is not trapped by the ontic-enigmas (the phonological, syntactical; size, frequency, deletions and omissions etc). In Text 1 the onto-enigma emerges when the repeated occurrence of the discourse-marker `Baik, sekarang’ is noted and we raise the question: Why the repetition precisely in the manner it does in the TEXT? What is IN the teacher that compels him to do? Similarly in Text 2 also. After noting that the drawn figure of mother is larger than father, and that while the mother has arms while the father doesn’t, an onto-enigma emerges when we raise questions such as: What is IN the child that makes him draw or represent his mother and father in the above different ways?
Such questions are what we shall call ontological, questions seeking to locate elements in the deep structures that would account for the observable in the surface structure of the Texts. There is a way of constituting the enigma itself so that instead of ontical, ontological questions are raised. For example in Text 1, when we note that while the utterance pairs (1,2), (3,4), (5,6), (7,8) have a certain completeness or saturatedness characteristic of them and the movement from one pair to the following non-disruptive or connected, at (9) however there is BREAKDOWN or DISRUPTION along with the introduction of something DIFFERENT. There is, in other words, a RECONSTITUTION of the nature of the interactivity itself which once recognized for what it is, gives rise to the ontological questions: Why so? and along with it the emergence of onto-enigmas. In the smooth development of the interactivity this BREAK constitutes a departure and which through that causes the emergence of an onto-enigma. One who sees this and is caught by that onto-enigma, seeks out the elements in the D.S of the text, the elements that are there but hidden from view. Something in the text remains covered up and which he sees now as resisting his standing-under. He sees himself as having a BLINDNESS on account of which something remains unavailable to his SEEING. He initiates now what the hermeneuts have called interpretive movements, investigations into the implicative structures, semiological studies and so forth. But we shall avoid these and use the term onto-pretations (Tamil:utti, sk: ukti) instead for an important reasons. The interpretive movements or translational maneuvers above seems to be processes that do not affect the researcher as a person but only his understanding, which obviously is not the case. The onto-enigmas such as the above also disclose an aspect of his Being, in this case his Being as one who is IGNORANT, who has yet to SEE certain things that are there in the TEXT but which are covered up FROM him. The COVEREDUPNESS is NOT something DONE by the text; but something is so only because he has not yet that COMPETENCY that would enable him to SEE; provides him with that VISION that would allow him to SIGHT it immediately. The onto-pretations are maneuvers that would in fact remove or destroy this BLINDNESS or incompetence. They are, in other words, activities of LEARNING in the authentic sense, activities in which one’s IGNORANCE is reduced, incompetence destroyed. The onto-pretations are educative and pedagogical and hence something quite different from the interpretations.
This destruction of Ignorance or exercise of onto-pretations, it should be noted, proceeds in stages. Since this issue has been dealt with quite extensively elsewhere (K. Loganathan Mutharayan, 1993, 1995), we shall describe here only some of the essentials relevant to the task at hand. The BREAK in continuity, the RECONSTITUTION that becomes available for perception, allows us to see that the teacher at this point is in fact EPISODISING - i.e. constitutes the activities prior to this as now in the past and simultaneously present or introduce some others, distinct from the earlier, as the ongoing. There is, in other words historicizing - constituting some events as now belonging to the past and others as belonging to the present with the implication that there may others yet to appear in the future. The teacher operates within a historical consciousness, with the three ektases of Temporality, the past, the present and the future as it has been noted by Heidegger.
But this is only a preliminary accessing prior to the really satisfying. That in such instructional situations the teacher historicizes and that in that way of Being he episodizes and that at that point we have the assertion of `Baik, sekarang’ are important insights or LUMENS as I have called them elsewhere. When after securing this, we push further our ontological inquiries, we begin to see the presence of a hierarchically organized INTENTIONS - act-specific, episodic, global and so forth. At the point of episodizing, there is the termination of an INTENTION underlying the ongoing kind of activities and the emergence of another at the same point that presents a different sort of activities as the ongoing and the presence of a Deeper Level Intention - the GLOBAL INTENTION - as the ground within which these episodic intentions arise. The sighting of all these hierarchically organized simultaneously present INTENTIONS as the real elements in the Deep Structure that in fact underlies the Surface Structures, provides that STANDING-UNDER that resolves up to a point the onto-enigma that sets the inquiry into motion. Similarly having grasped this and returned to the so called adjacency pairs and note a sense of completeness about them (e.g. in the pairs (1,2), (3,4) etc), we can sight an intention-fusion, the pupil owning up an intention thrown as for him by the teacher, accounting for the completeness we note. A teacher succeeds in teaching by throwing an intention in a manner a child can grasp it and own up as his own and effect an action. When in fact this happens we have such pairs as above, the ACT-TURNS, and when there is failure then only Quasi- Act-Turns.
While intentions are the elements of Deep Structure in the above sequentially organized texts, something different are sighted in text 2 and texts of a similar kind. The onto-enigmas emerge when we note the following features: the figure of mother is larger than that of Father, while the representation of mother has arms that of father doesn’t, and the representations of himself as of now and later are similar to that father in being without arms. When we turn these observations into mere questions of representational competence, cognitive capabilities, perceptual skills and so forth we remain still in the ontical mode of Being and positively scientific. However when we see them as problems related to states of Being of the child that underlies such graphic productions we constitute the problem as onto-enigmatic, something requiring ontological and hence hermeneutic efforts. Such investigations disclose that the child is emotionally closer to the mother than father; a emotional closeness that emerges as Largeness of size in the figure drawn. There is attachment towards mother and simultaneously detachment from father. But however though more detached or distant from father, there is an imitative self-identification with father and not mother. (the absence of arms in both the drawings of father and himself) There is a self-understanding in which the child sees himself as similar to father and not mother.
The problem of the child, inability for quantitative operations, is related to this differential attachment to father and mother and the excessive protectionism of the mother (only mother has arms) towards the child. Further discussions of the issue will take us too far into Agamic Psychology, which is not our intention here. Sufficient has been said to indicate the thrust of hermeneutic sciences. The kinds of movements of understanding of the researcher whereby he SEES now elements in the D.S. - a hierarchy of intentions and intention-fusions in Text 1, differential attachments and ontological or imitative self-identifications in Text 2 are the kinds of movements in understanding strictly within the ontological frame of inquiry.
The gaining of SIGHTS through such onto-pretations, is destructive of his own IGNORANCE, a certain incompetence that is part of his own ways of Being. The hidden-ness, the covered-up-ness, the mystery surrounding the text is no more. The opacity the texts exposed, the resistance to understanding it presented is no more. The researcher has OVERCOME these, has LIBERATED himself from them by going under them and standing there by these onto-pretations (or utties).
3.2 The notion of Agentive Cause and BEING as the Primordial Ground.
The ancient Logos, which meant the expression of rationality, a rational approach to inquiry, has been appropriated by the logical positivists and turned into mathematical logic and so forth where the ancient notion of axioms that meant an illumination has been re-interpreted as a self-evident principle. We have to return to the original sense of logos or at least provide another interpretation of it consistent with the ontological thrusts of hermeneutics to rescue these sciences from being branded as idiosyncratic expletives, only subjective impressions, mere introspective accounts and so forth (Deetz, 1973)
In order to expose how rationality or Logos expresses itself in hermeneutic sciences, we have to re-interpret also another important notion - causality - and describe how it is understood in the hermeneutic sciences where the seeing is firmly ontological.
In the positive sciences the notion of causality is worked out within events, as point-instances of reality parade in a flux or world-states changing continuously and in that requiring different descriptions. The notion of causality is noted within such ontical presumptions - the events are sequential, and a causal connection can be noted between them where an earlier event or events simply or in complex ways serve to make the later events consequences of some kind. Such causation may be direct or indirect, immediate or distant. And furthermore they are said to be relative to each other: an event is a cause only relative to its consequences (see for e.g. Van Dijk, 1980 p.170) A significant feature of this elucidation of the meaning of CAUSE is that they are NOT SIMULTANEOUS - the event in being a cause is NO MORE when the event caused by it becomes available for observation.
We find that such a notion of CAUSALITY is unavailable in the hermeneutic sciences. The CAUSES are elements in the Deep Structure which cause agentively the observable in the Surface Structure that they are SIMULTANEOUSLY present. Hermeneutic Sciences investigates TEXTS and all texts are dual in structure having a Surface Structure and Deep Structure simultaneously. The onto-pretations are NOT movements from events to events but rather from Surface Structure features to the Deep Structure elements that are causally linked to the first.
In the above analysis of Text 1, the onto-enigmatic event in the Surface Structure, the occurrence of Baik, sekarang) is understood in relation to an element B, in the Deep Structure (hierarchically organised intentions). Both A and B are SIMULTANE OUSLY present but NOT without any linkage or connection. There is an invariable concomitance between A and B. But not only that: we can also see that without B being there as the element of Deep Structure, there will NOT BE A as an element of Surface Structure of the text. This kind of causal connection is what we mean by Agentive Causation (nimitta karanam, in Saiva Siddhanta). The onto-pretations do not just furnish an IN-SIGHT into the being there of B in the Deep Structure but also that B is the Agentive cause of A. Thus such onto-pretations furnish knowledge of the kind: A because of B and only because of B. The element A is continually kept in sight, and through onto-pretations the researcher moves to sight B in the Deep Structure that would count as its Agentive Cause. The hierarchically organized intentions of the teacher of Text 1, the differential attachments of the child and his imitative understanding of himself in relation to his father in Text 2 are factors in the Deep Structure that are agentively (in non-anthropomorphic sense) related to the features A in the text’s surface structures that constitute the onto-enigma in the first place.
The notion of agentive cause in a non-anthropomorphic sense, the Agentivity of the cause in a universal sense must be further explored in order to make it more explicit. B, the element of Deep Structure agentively causes A, the features A in the Surface structure of the text, in the sense that it is B that historicizes, brings forth into being-there, enpresents the elements A as realities, as entities in the world. Without B, there would not be being-in-the-world as such for the elements A in the Surface Structure. Without the hierarchically organized intentions, there will be no episodizations in Text 1; without the differential attachments of the child to his parents he would not have represented them in the manner he has done in Text 2. Such notions of causality, we should note, is present in some medical sciences, psychoanalysis and so forth. When the symptoms of a disease, physical or mental are noted, attempts are made to locate the causes. Such causes are those which are `responsible’ for the diseases the removable of which is what `curing’ is.
Now we should also note that, such onto-pretive movements, a search into the agentive causes, can go on further and further making the investigations more involved and deeper. But it cannot go on endlessly however for there comes point where a GROUND is sighted and sighting this and understanding it, the onto-pretations are dulled, the hermeneutic efforts foiled and made unnecessary. We can represent this kind of structure of the hermeneutic inquiries as follows:
(X) ((((A Û B) Û C ) Û D) ...... G )
We can raise many questions after securing this kind of structural relationships between the levels of structure of TEXTS and their relationship with the onto-pretations, kinds of illuminations reached at various levels and so forth. In the Indian tradition where such questions have been raised from ancient times itself, we have such texts as Tattuvaprakasam (~ 16th cent. A.D.) where an attempt is made to answer these questions in terms of the basic concepts of cariyai, kriyai, yokam, jnanam with other categories derived multiplicatively from all being such ontopretations. We shall not repeat it here as it is sufficient to note the relevance of the notion of Agentive Cause, its non-anthropomorphic sense and its close linkage with the notion of onto-pretation . For working that the rational principles of the hermeneutic sciences, the logos of such activities, we have to take into account this notion of Agentive Cause as something distinct from that of physical causation.
The immediate relevance of this notion for us here is that the Pati, the BEING is this GROUND, the Supreme Agentive Cause, the Nimitta karanan, for the World as the Whole, THAT without the Agency of which the world will not have its being-there as such, a notion that Meykandar articulates with penetrating insights in the first sutra itself using Temporality as the clue for wrestling it out. The world as a whole is uLatu, is there as a phenomenal reality because of the BEING-AS-GRACE, BEING as aati, the primordial causal Ground and who is no other than the Agent of the dissolution of the world, BEING as antam, the Sangkaara kaaraNan. The ontopretations that locate the Agentive causes in Deep Structure that would account for the observable features of the surface structure are in fact a species of discovery procedures, that which lights up the Being of entities. They are strictly speaking ontological and where fundamental, metaphysical. The piramaNaviyal, the first part of Metaphysica Generalis of Civajnaana Bootam is in fact such an inquiry where piramaaNa is not a procedure that generates truth in a mechanical manner but ontopretations of a fundamental sort that discloses the Being of metaphysical entities. Thus piramaaNa, derivatively can be considered fundamental illuminations with regard to the Being of entities, the metaphysical realities as such. What Meykandar rediscovers or recovers the insight that in the seventh century itself Thirumular articulated in Thirumanthiram - the notion that Pati, pacu and paacam are such metaphysical realities and hence the metaphysical world is inherently pluralistic, a notion that distinguishes Saiva Siddhanta from other darsanas. This understanding is already in the bosom of every human being but however something that remains concealed, hidden, unlighted, unillumined and so forth. Meykandar through his ontico-ontological turn to philosophy and the exercises of ontopretations of very penetrating and fundamental kind, lights up so to speak, the world of genuine metaphysics and what beings constitute that world.
3.3 The Logic of Communications
The ontopretations that we have discussed is historically a development from the notion of utti in literary hermeneutics made first available in the last sutra of Marapiyal itself. But the utties there, enumerated as 32 in number are both of the learning and instructional type. The latter extensions of these to other more inclusive domains led to the distinction between `tan poruddu anumaanam’ and `piRar poruddu anumaanam,’ a distinction that was first drawn by the Buddhists Logicians around the 5th cent A.D. and which is also by Arunandi in his Civajnaana Cittiyar by way of elucidating the Logic inherent in Civajnaana Bootam. Having shown that the tan poruddu anumaanam are actually ontopretations, the movements of understanding in the ontological directions that discloses for oneself the Being of metaphysical realities, something that has to do oneself, learn by destroying the inner blindness that keeps the Being of metaphysical realities veiled up. We shall now consider the other aspect, logic inherent in the notion of piRar poruddu anumaanam, logic inherent in the communicative behavior.
One difference emerges immediately. The act of communication in the hermeneutic sciences is not simply communication in per se but rather pedagogic in nature. One instructs through the acts of communication and others who listen to it are students, and hence learners. It is within this inherently pedagogical situations that the notions `intersubjective confirmation’, `objectivity’ and so forth must be worked out and logic hidden within it brought out into the open. The researchers constitute a communicative community, where the assertions of one are taken up by others with the idea of incorporating into their language. For this purpose, in the positive sciences, they are tested with the view to refute them; the original assertion remains irrefutable then accepted, at least provisionally, and made part of the scientific register that forms the language of communication. In such a situation, the original assertion of the researcher, what is asserted by him - the scientific discovery - holds the possibility of also being re-discovered by another researcher and being re-asserted. Whatever asserted by a member of the scientific community should hold the possibility of being re-asserted by another. Such possibilities with respect to the scientific assertions or propositions constitutes OBJECTIVITY of the sciences, the non-idiosyncratic character of the claims. What holds the possibility of being asserted by all the members of the community, has to be necessarily objective, something there in the world as a fact.
In such a view of scientific community and communicative associations, there is NO HIERARCHICAL relationships. Any member is just as good as another - though there may be differences in skills, creative or imaginative capabilities and so forth, all are EQUAL in relation to the world that is researched. No one holds a position of personal authority, a special place of authority in the social relationships though are may be more respected than another by the excellence of contributions and so forth. But no matter how great, whatever asserted has to pass the crucible of experimental testing. The weight of scientific stature does not in itself confer the status of truth to what is asserted.
This may be a highly simplified description where a number of important details may be missing. However it is sufficient for our purposes here and note that such a view of scientific community and communicative linkage does not exist in the hermeneutic sciences though of course there is communication and agreement or disagreement among members. Correspondingly the notion of objectivity is also quite different.
While the positivistic scientific community is organized on the basis of asserting and refuting, the hermeneutic scientific community is organized on the basis of showing and seeing: one shows and another tries to see what is thus shown. Where SEEING become the same, where the challenger sees the same as that of shown by the claimer, agreement becomes possible. Otherwise there can be either disagreement or suspension of coming to an agreement. The communicative situation is dialogic though in a sense quite different from that of Gadamer as outlined in his Truth and Method. We shall maintain that it is dialogic in the Indian Guru-Sisya sense i.e. dialogic that is simultaneously pedagogic. The claimer is hierarchically higher in view of having SEEN something that it has not been the privilege of others to see and therefore less developed than the claimer. The challenger is reduced to be a learner, someone requiring the assistance of another to see for himself something that is important that has not been his privilege to SIGHT so far.
The following scheme may help to make the issue clearer:
O.E : onto-enigma constituting movements of understanding
F : fact - the features in Surface Structure that all the emergence of Onto-enigma
L : Lumens - in-sights that are illuminating
MT : Metatexts : texts embodying the LUMENS attained
OP : Onto-Pretations.
The METATEXT here is what is asserted by the hermeneutic researcher and it embodies LUMENS attained by him by exercising a series of onto-pretations. Through this not only has he accessed some elements of the Deep Structures of the text but also destroyed some IGNORANCE within himself. He has become a person more illuminated and thereby liberated than he was before. Because of this he asserts from an elevated position, a position of some limited authority. Whoever challenges him, has to acquire the content of this metatext, i.e. attain the same LUMENS as the claimer possibly by exercising the same onto-pretations or otherwise. Only on attaining the same LUMENS that he can see what the claimer claims. At this point agreement becomes also possible. This explication of mutual agreement is very ancient in the Dravidian hermeneutic tradition and is termed `ottak kaatci’ in Tolkappiyam. It is within this framework that mistakenly a tradition or a religions scripture can be elevated to a position of authority, sometimes even that of absolute authority, a notion inconsistent with Pedagogic Hermeneutics as we shall show later. Such irrational elevations destroys the pedagogical that pertains to such genuinely hermeneutical. It prevents a genuine dialogue in which one shows what he has seen beyond the ordinary and another learns to see the same under instructions which are activities that initiate onto-pretations on the part of the other.
The logic underlying Civajnaana Bootam is logic of this sort. Each sutra is an assertion, an articulation of a fundamental illumination that Meykandar has attained. All others who read his texts and try to understand it become by virtue of it, his students and hence the necessity to LEARN in order to agree or disagree with him. Now Meykandar not only articulates as many mystics in the East but presents arguments that would help the readers to SEE what he has SEEN; i.e. Meykandar shows certain thing by seeing which we may also see for ourselves the AXIOM that the sutra articulates. These arguments have the logical structure of an Assertion (meerkooL), followed by a Reason (eetu) and supplemented with explications which are presentation of theses or sequentially organized so that a cumulative understanding of help would help us to SEE the TRUTHS articulated in the main sutras. The sutras themselves, we should note here, are organized in a sequential manner so that a cumulative understanding as a whole would lead to understanding Metaphysica Universalis, what the text as a whole is about.
Such a pedagogical logic was termed kaaNdikai urai in Marapiyal, a term which is derived from the expression `kaaNdikaa’ meaning "please you see" in ancient Tamil. KaaNdigai urai is a species of commentary in which the leader is led to SEE in steps the fundamental TRUTH articulated in the sutra. it is immensely rational for every Assertion is given a Reason that would justify the rationality of the assertion, a rational connection between the two being explicated by the edutuk kaddu, the udarana or arguments.
But now the question arises: What is the notion of validity, inherent to such a rational procedure? What make the Reasons given valid for agreeing with the Assertions? Along with this, what can be meaning of reliability in the hermeneutic sciences, if it has any application at all?
3.4. The Notions of Reliability and Validity in the Hermeneutic Sciences
We shall recapitulate the central notions briefly here to take up in a meaningful way how the notions of reliability and validity can be interpreted in terms of the essences of hermeneutic sciences. In all hermeneutic sciences we have
TEXTS that are double structured - with Surface Structure and Deep Structure in which some features of the Surface Structure has to be accessed ontogenitically in certain way so that onto-enigmas are allowed to emerge.
We also have
a set of onto-pretaions (or utties) that we now see as activities that would disclose the presence of an element in the Deep Structure that would count as the Agentive cause of that which is seen as an onto-enigma. The enigma is solved by sighting this Deep Structure element that in fact enpresents the hermeneutic problematic.
in the production of METATEXTS and along with it an elevated position to the asserter and who compels a pedagogic situation to emerge among a community of investigators. The metatexts embody LUMENS which are also sought by other hermeneutic researchers.
These are elements in relation to which the notions of reliability and validity have to be worked out. As we have already noted earlier, there are no instruments as such in the hermeneutic sciences and hence the instrumental senses of these notions are quite inappropriate here.
In relation to the central notion of TEXT in the hermeneutic sciences, it makes sense to talk of its reliability but not of validity. A TEXT is only something that is procured without any pre-judgements about its truth possibilities and hence beyond the reach of such notions as validity and so forth.
The TEXT can be reliable or not so, not in the instrumental sense but in the sense that
a) it is attained or procured without doing any violence to its natural emergence, i.e. procured within the phenomenological attitude of letting-it-to-be, of constraining oneself from intruding into emergence of events and distorting it, and
b) it is procured with sufficient richness of textual structure so that it facilitates the accessing of certain Surface Structure features that serve as the LOCUS for the EMERGENCE of the onto-enigma that becomes the hermeneutic problem. For example, a transcript of an interaction that does not accurately capture, say the pauses and their duration may not be reliable in relation to noting some onto-enigmas and solving them.
A text obtained intrusively or manipulatively is not reliable because it is DISTORTED and presents a false `picture’ of the situation. Such texts may mislead the nature of the inquiry, a researcher may chase after ghosts instead of truths. Imaginary and misplaced inquiries may be taken up resulting in discovering things that are inauthentic. Now in relation to the onto-pretations, we cannot talk about either their reliability (as of the instruments in the positive sciences) and validity (as of the accuracy of the instrumental measurements) but instead only their EFFICIENCY. An onto-pretive movement is efficient, in the sense that it in fact locates the causally linked elements in the Deep Structure of the text and thereby eliminate the onto-enigma that necessitates it in the first place. They may practical maneuvers (as in medical dissection) or mental as in the analysis of discourses, drawings and so forth. Whatever they are they issue forth in the production of METATEXTS the quality of which allows us to evaluate as to the efficiency or otherwise of the onto-pretations. Where the METATEXTS are mediocre (note: not easy to define mediocrity), we can surmise the ontopretations and hence LUMENS attained are superficial, lacking in penetration depth and so forth. Some mainly impressionistic accounts and narratives are such metatexts. A metatext of outstanding merits (e.g. Being and Time of Heidegger, the Sivajnaana Bootam of Meykandar etc) is recognized as having analytical acumen, immense depth and hence the exercise of onto-pretations that access very deep structures of the texts. The deeper the reach of the ontopretations the more valuable the METATEXT produced.
Now while the TEXTS are reliable or not so, the onto-pretations efficient or not so, the METATEXT as a whole in addition to being used for an indirect assessments of the onto-pretations, can rightly be said to be valid or not so. It makes immense sense to talk of validity of a METATEXT. For the METATEXTS make claims about TRUTH and thereby invite judgements on the part of other researchers in the community. A valid text must describe only truths and avoid falsities and a metatext, as it is an assertion arising out of seeing Deep Structure elements that are there in TEXTS remaining however hidden or covered-up, what it claims are TRUTHS.
The notion of TRUTH here is quite different from an account of it in the positive sciences and elsewhere. A TRUTH is that which illuminates and hence a paramai, as the Nyaya philosophers in India would describe it, a LUMEN or lumen naturale of the medieval philosophers that illuminates the researcher, destroys a darkness in his understanding. It is also NOT a fanciful construction, an imaginative concoction of the researcher but rather something there in the TEXT though not in Surface Structure but in the Deep Structure and hence not visible for the ordinary seeing.
Hence we can say that a METATEXT is valid provided:
a) it articulates only the elements of Deep Structure that are accessed and are in fact accessible by any other through an ontological investigations of some features of the Surface Structure of the text in question, and
b) avoids the articulation of something spurious, something not substantiable from the TEXT itself.
These qualities come to prevail only when after constituting the onto-enigma, the researcher keeps in SIGHT that enigma resolutely and unfailingly in mind and moves ontopretively to the deeper and deeper layers and uncovers the Agentive Causes that would eliminate the enigma, make him understand the problem. Where the ontological GAZE ceases to be kept firmly, the ontopretations allowed to falter, waver and so forth, we may not have METATEXTS, that are valid. The extraneous element that may thwart genuine ontopretations may be collective prejudices, personal biases, falling prey to fashions, unhealthy social pressures, fear of slander, of public wrath, of departing from tradition and so that Tolkappiyar calls vinai - the binding chains of REASON, of rational inquiry. The game one plays in the exercise of ontopretations that result in valid metatexts is almost a war, a war against the factors that may interfere and destroy the resoluteness with which one has to push the ontological inquiry to its finish.
Valid metatexts, it should also be noted, are also significant cultural achievements, the deeper the TRUTHS the more significant it being. In articulating deep seated truths, in circulating them linguistically, the language that accommodates it also becomes thereby enriched. Valid metatexts, in other words , add to the repertoire of TRUTHS that that language community as a whole possesses and thereby become culturally richer. The metatexts in this way interacts with tradition; reforms it, enriches it, making its texture more differentiated and penetrative. The tradition thus viewed becomes the repository of valid metatextual contributions, the foundation of culture. It is here that we have some resemblance with what Gadamer has called `fusion of horizons,’ the effectivity of history and TRADITION as authoritative in relation to the hermeneutic problems. Knowledge or what we have called here LUMENS are also understood as phronetic- practical wisdom of a sort.
At this juncture, it should be noted that Civajnaana Bootam is not simply one of these metatexts, even a profound kind but something that accommodates them but goes beyond them and by virtue of which it is Universal Metatext of a kind and because of which it is a text in Metaphysica Universalis. The metatexts are productions of hermeneutic sciences and there can be any number of them. But that which accommodate both the ontical and ontological, the positivistic as well as the hermeneutic expressions of sciences and which tries to understand and explain both cannot be either ontical alone or ontological alone. It is beyond both and since it seeks to understand both it is appropriately not just a metatext but rather a Universal Metatext.
Since this issue is immensely relevant to understand Civajnaana Bootam, we shall attend to it briefly in the next section.
4.0 The Limits of Reason and the Emergence of Genuine Metaphysics
4.1. Appropriating the Positive Sciences as Hermeneutics in General
We have seen that valid METATEXTS embody LEARNING of the sort where IGNORANCE of a kind is reduced; that rationality of man expresses itself in pedagogic terms in the hermeneutic sciences. Having got this insight into the nature of human rationality, we shall now have a second look at the positive sciences with the question: Isn’t there LEARNING in the positive sciences and hence they too are in a way hermeneutical?
We must note here that the Being of a person as a pure witnessing subject, in terms of which we have looked at the positive sciences in our account, and the consequent transformation of the world into an impersonal objective Reality, a quantitative universe, does not allow the notion of LEARNING to emerge at all as a way of understanding these scientific activities. That a person learns in doing research in the positive sciences is BACKGROUNDED in order to allow the objective stance to emerge to the FOREGROUND. What is thus backgrounded and thus forgotten must be re-instated to understand properly the essence of the positive sciences.
What is backgrounded can be termed a pure CURIOSITY which is Being-Without-Any-Technological-Interest. This unconcernedness about the technological possibilities implications is the essence of PURE CURIOSITY and it is this that is backgrounded, and personal interest in the study made unavailable for consciousness. Once reinstated, the research ceases to be a mechanical affair, a robotic exercise. The researcher is INVOLVED, passionately at times, to UNRAVEL some mysteries now unfolded by Nature. He recognizes that some aspects of Nature escapes his understanding, that at the face of these features he realizes his own ignorance. It is this recognition of is own Ignorance that makes him a person CURIOUS to know the HIDDEN secrets of that phenomena. Such a way of looking at the practice of the positive sciences is no more ontical but rather ontological. The person recognizes his current state of ignorance, becomes curious as a result of it and undertakes researches to dispel it. What we have here is no more ontic-enigma but rather onto-enigma, an enigma that arises through the recognition of one’s own Ignorance and which thereby throws him to a TEMPORAL MODE of Being. It is this TEMPORICALITY that is submerged or backgrounded when the pure subjective-objective stance is allowed to dominate and TIME itself now seen as PHYSICAL TIME. However through this reinstating it and allowing it to be the founding Way of Being of the researchers in the positive sciences, we appropriate them also as a species of hermeneutic sciences.
All sciences are pedagogic hermeneutic as they bring about learning of different sorts. This much is clear now. But then why the distinction between the positive and hermeneutic sciences in the first place? Why the centuries old battle between the two camps? Why some sciences allow the suppression of the onto-enigma the CURIOSITY while other don’t?
The positive sciences in backgrounding the ontological and raising the ontical, transform the research itself into something, physicalistic or quantitative as opposed to the nonphysical or non-quantitative. The subjective-objective stance, the reconstitution of the subject as a pure witness is possible only within physicalism. In transforming the generally ontological to the ontical, the physicalistic or quantitative seeing is instituted as the only possible ways of seeing. A reduction or refraction is effected in the phenomenology of the perceptual processes so that whatever that is SEEN is only the physical. The psychical and the spiritual are pushed to the background and remain submerged. This explains why measurements are so dominant in the positive sciences and along with it the use of an array of instruments and the application of mathematics, statistical analysis and so forth. Every phenomena is looked at physically, even the human sciences are reduced to physical sciences of a sort remaining systematically blind to the psychical and spiritual. The analysis also becomes essentially quantitative.
Pedagogic Hermeneutics in thus understanding the positive sciences, appropriates it as hermeneutically grounded physical sciences having their own advantages and limitations. The advantages is that we have now in immensely rational form of research into the PHYSICAL, a way of reducing IGNORANCE with regards to the PHYSICALITY of physis, the ever productive world of existence. They provide what we shall call alpha - type of learning, acquisition of knowledge about the essences of the physicality of physis, the kind of knowledge that allows applications in technology. The LIMIT of such sciences is that they are BLIND as to the psychical and the spiritual. Neopositivism can now be seen as that philosophy that remains unaware of this inherent BLINDNESS within which it operates, and extending physicalism even to areas where it is inapplicable.
We overcome this blindness and error by delimiting the scope of such sciences to the physical and introducing simultaneously other sciences that we shall call provisionally the psychological and religious, in which we have the beta-type and gamma-type learning. All phenomena, particularly the human, OUGHT to be researched in relation to these three different types of learning in order to acquire an understanding that is non-reductionistic, comprehensive and full. All these sciences are distinct sciences each unraveling the hidden secrets of Nature, thus thereby standing in complementary relationship to each other.
4.2 The Limits of Rationality
Our appropriation of positive sciences hermeneutically and thus viewing them as a species of hermeneutic sciences, the elucidation of the logical structure of the hermeneutic sciences and thus all sciences, is in fact an elucidation of what human Rationality is, the human exercise of REASON is. Whatever that obstructs the full expression of Rationality such as this are prejudices, in the negative sense, in the sense of vinai of Tolkappiyar. What REASON battles with are these prejudices, the internal deep constraints that obstruct the full expression of REASON in every sphere. The positivist who does not recognize the psychical and spiritual, the dogmatist who does not allow the appropriation of religion as a specifies of spiritual sciences, philosophers who remain trapped in their own metaphysical citadels are prejudiced as they are not OPEN to the prevalence of science in their inquiries.
The full and philosophically satisfying, immensely illuminating founding of these sciences, will require deep explorations into an area of hermeneutics that can be called FUNDAMENTAL PEDAGOGIC HERMEUTICS, within which can be practiced Fundamental Ontology, philosophy as rigorous science, as dreamt by Husserl. This fundamental hermeneutics is not pure phenomenology but rather something that can be accessed only after looking at all sciences as pedagogic hermeneutical, as ontological and raising questions about the presupposition that is there as the primordial layer in all such hermeneutic investigations that become differentiated later as the so many different hermeneutic sciences. We shall not do it here but note that it has been done by Meykandar in this book that we are introducing. His investigations can be reappropriated into ours and through that establish in a sound hermeneutically derived metaphysical basis that all sciences are the alpha, Beta or gamma-type learning and all learning are of these types. These three basic types of learning exhaustively enumerates all learning, there is no learning beyond these. This has the implication that the full exercise of REASON is constituted by these learning and hence the LIMITS OF RATIONALITY as such. The human Rationality exhausts itself when it gives full expression to these three types of learning also formed paaca jnaanam, pacu jnaanan and pati jnaanam in Saiva Siddhanta.
This is an enormously important insight that it allows us to push further and inquire the NONRATIONAL, that which is beyond the reach of human rationality, if any.
To answer this important question, which is hermeneutical itself though of a different order altogether, we have to secure a TEXT relevant to the question or access the one this question itself presupposes. What is presupposed is clearly a HERMENEUTIC WORLD, a world the different regions of which generates all the ontological inquiries, hermeneutic sciences quite exhaustively. It is a WORLD which allows us to LOCATE a region for any hermeneutic and hence any science whatsoever.
At this juncture it is necessary to introduce the distinction between existential understanding (Ta. iruntaRivu) and reflective consciousness (Ta. eNNaRivu) or simply between understanding and consciousness. Understanding, looked at this way, emerges as the GIVEN when a person DWELLS in a region in the Hermeneutic World mentioned above. It is NOT something acquired by his own efforts but something that is presented to him the moment he begins to DWELL in a certain REGION (Ta.. KatraLi) in this immensely vast hermeneutic world which is also the EXISTENTIAL WORLD, that which constitutes what existence is in the first place. What is given thus to a person as he DWELLS in a region constitutes his UNDERSTANDING that he re-presents to himself as a TEXT. The verbal and nonverbal TEXTUAL productions-speech, discourse, writings, artistic productions, architectural monuments, in short his behavior as a whole, his PRAXIS - arise as elements that exteriorize this inner givenness of understanding. These are the things that are researched upon, the sources of the onto ontic enigmas that provide the basic impulses for researches as such.
The enigmas of both kinds set in process reflections upon the TEXTS which manifest themselves as researches. A certain IGNORANCE surfaces to the fore and researches are instituted to remove this Ignorance. Thus what these researchers provide is reflective consciousness or consciousness in general, consciousness that lights up understanding and removes the Darkness, to speak metaphorically, that prevails there. The sciences provide CONSCIOUSNESS or illuminations that remove ignorance that prevails or permeates our understanding. Such reflective clarity becomes the context of scientific assertions (Ta. ceyyul) or metatextual articulations about the primordial TEXT (Ta. valakku) that is a givenness. Here we should note, as was noted by Tolkappiyar two millenniums ago, the ceyyuL or metatextual utterances cannot transgress the vazakku, the TEXTUALLY appropriated given understanding. Such transgressions are illegal, illogical, inconsistent with the rational principles guiding all valid scientific researchers. The METATEXTS cannot articulate MORE THAN what is there, possibly hidden, in the TEXTS themselves. Anything contrary to this, is a violation of REASON, something invalid. Having noted this BOUND to the exercise of reason, the expression of rationality, we should also note that the transportation from one dwelling to another in the Existential World is beyond the resources of the technology that may arise as a result of consciousness gained through such investigatory reflections. Whether physical, psychological or religious, the utties as such cannot reach beyond the dwelling attained as given. The applications of rationality have their LIMITS, they cannot reach BEYOND the dwelling that is appropriated as one’s own.
This enables us to grasp our inability of a fundamental kind - we cannot transport ourselves from one dwelling to another in this EXISTENTIAL WORLD, in the journey that we call existence. There are forces at work beyond our reach that does this job. At the limits of rationality we meet a MYSTERY that is beyond our rational capacities. The dwellings that we have is seen as givenness, a gift. So is also the transportation from one to another. This is the transcendental quality that the Tamils described as ARUL, a GRACE that permeates the whole of existence. There is GRACE in the world working ceaselessly to provide dwellings to the creatures and transport them to another at the point where it becomes appropriate.
The workings of this ARUL is what is described by Heidegger, as the uncanniness of the World, as the TAO by Lao Tzu, the WAY that leads to the one, to the TWO and so forth. This is also that which is rendered poetically and metaphorically as the DANCE OF SIVA, enacted in the assembly by Tillai, the SPACE where everything is originated, the SPACE of this Hermeneutic or Existential World. The Dance or PLAY of BEING which is symbolically tendered as SI-VA-YA-NA-MA is in fact the fire fold universal processes of production, retention and annihilation and through them hiding and disclosing.
4.3. Ethics and Reason
We have secured an important insight to secure an understanding of events in Existence, the historical happenings. All are TEXTS the Surface Structures of which is what we are normally aware, but the Deep Structure of which is a DANCE, a PLAY that we shall call a Deep Play. The events in life are instantiations of this Deep Play; such deep plays enact the drama that we call the events in life, our experiences. Having grasped this we are faced with the problem of determining a DIRECTION for all these deep plays. Do they have one or are they simply haphazard events with no order about them so that as the Radical hermeneuts as Caputo would say `anything goes’ and advocate on that basis an ethics of dissemination, an ethics of letting-be without any restraints and constraints.
However appealing this notion can be, it is not the case in our existence. Even at the deepest level there is always an ETHICS that regulates REASON. But in terms of the global or existential hermeneutics where we have discovered Deep Play as that which underlies the historical occurrences, we can see a DIRECTION and hence a hermeneutic basis for ETHICS.
For transportation of dwellings, in view of the IGNORANCE with which our understanding is permeated along with consciousness, can be in the Direction of greater illumination or consciousness or the converse. The converse constitutes the FALL and man is already fallen in having IGNORANCE as part of him along with consciousness. The FUNDAMENTAL ETHICS emerges when transportation is effected upon dwellings. Where it is in the direction of greater illuminations it is felt GOOD, while in contrary case EVIL. These are feelings fed into the understanding as a guide towards choosing which hermeneutic world he should dwell and which he must avoid. .
Now such ethical feelings in addition to arising at the point of major shifts in dwellings (conversions!) even within a dwelling that are inhabits, there exists ethical feelings particularly in relation to actions. An action issue from inhabiting a sub-region of such dwellings and where it contributes towards the destruction of Ignorance possible within that REGION as a whole, it is felt good, otherwise bad, despicable, evil and what not. Thus the rational exercises of man within dwellings and in among dwellings in the fundamental (or transcendental) sphere of the Hermeneutic World, Ethical feelings emerge unimpaired even in the full exercise of Reason, guiding it in the direction of greater illumination. There is a DIRECTION for the movement of existential understanding and hence consciousness, a direction that is called by Meykandar an aanai, a decree (in the second sutra) in view of its directivity and hence founding what is called iruvinai, the double action of accepting or rejecting that is always manifest itself in choices and judgements.
We should note that within the ontical stance of the positive sciences a sighting of ethics is impossible. The ontical submerges the hermeneutical or ontological and hence the recognition of IGNORANCE as also part of our constitution, the source of our enigmas and hence existence as researchers. But once we recover the pedagogic hermeneutical origins of enigmas and hence the being of Ignorance in us along with Knowledge, the presence of ethical feelings and their regulatory character is also sighted. Reason is NOT autonomous; it is regulated by an ETHICS that has its origins outside it. This is the most implication of Civajnaana Bootam as a whole that is discussed in Sutra 2 and many other places particularly in the final part.
The metaphysics of Civajnaana Bootam, while allowing for flux but also allows for the flux-immune absolutes, transcendental metaphysical realities, entities, substances with a Being of their own that remains unaffected by the flux-prone phenomenological drama. When we penetrate through and go beyond the flux-prone world of experiences, world of continuous differentiation and we see them as a DANCE, a PLAY then we can also note that it is the DANCE of BEING, the PLAY of SIVA, the SIVA NADARAJAH, BEING as the supreme Dancer. SIVA enacts this DRAMA, this PLAY in order to educate us about the necessity to extricate ourselves from that involvement, entanglement. Hence there is already a DIRECTION for our hermeneutic endeavors in the most generate sense: we have to illumine ourselves in order to gain releasement for only understanding something that we can remain unaffected by it. If we understand what we encounter, it ceases to throw into temporality and when we understand Existence as a whole then we gain releasement from the need to exist i.e. Be-in-the-world as such. This does not mean, it should be noted, we cease to BE - Being is indestructible - but only that the phenomenal phases of it are transcended.
This brings us the question of the distinction between cat aRivu and acat aRivu, absolute and non-absolute knowledge that are discussed in the enormously difficult sutras 6 and 7 and which form the basis for articulating the meaning of authentic existence in the second part of the treatise.
4.4. Universal Love and Absolute Illumination
The recognition of a presence of a DIRECTION in our existential understanding and that PROGRESS involves reduction of IGNORANCE as regulated by ETHICS, also point to a possibility of a transcendental limit to this movement. At the level of dwellings and transportations from one to another that is more inclusive and correspondingly a more progressive reduction of IGNORANCE as such, i.e. within the progressive-historical movement of understanding as a whole, we can locate a LIMIT in the form of an absolute reduction of IGNORANCE, a state in which there is absolute illumination, a fully formed consciousness without any shadow of ignorance. This was called by Meykandar `Sivajnaanam’ or `cat-aRivu,’ a consciousness that has been there always as the presupposition of all our hermeneutic inquiries. Since all scientific knowledge both positivistically and hermeneutically and hence rationally constituted understanding, reflectively attained consciousness now submerges into this and fuses with it completely, it is called acat-aRivu, the non-absolutistic understanding or Knowledge. All scientific knowledge is only contributory, open to be reformulated, restructured, and possibly also deconstructed, differentiated and finally transcendended into this cat-aRivu.
Man on this account becomes cat-acat, one who in his understanding has the capacity for both the absolutistic and non-absolutistic understanding, torn always between the two in his existential struggles particularly in his ethical dilemmas. These dilemmas end when he gets transported to the region of absolute illumination, ThiruciRRampalam. Till then man is, in the words of Heidegger a being whose Being is always in question. We must note, at this level of philosophic reflections, that we do not have the effective-historical movement, the fusion of horizons of Gadamer but something more. We should note another aspect of this transcendental dynamics - it tends in the direction of atemporalicality, the dissolution of temporality itself, a notion that gets articulated in Dravidian philosophy by Thirumular (~6tj cen. A.D.) and explored further by Meykandar and many others. Absolute illumination is atemporical and hence the transcendental movement leading towards this has a dynamics and rules of its own. This becomes the highest hermeneutic endeavors of man, the core part of what is truly religious. In the Dravidian circles such an exercise was termed Prasada Yoga, a form of meditative practices concerned with liberation from temporicality.
Meykandar brings to upon these issues profound insights that are to be found nowhere else. In this progress towards atemporicality and hence an ahistorical Mode-of-Being, he distinguishes two stages. The first involves extricating oneself from ANTIBEING the cause of the ontical, the positivistic that underlies the human finitude. The fourth and fifth sutras deal with this matter and we shall mention it only briefly, sufficient to follow his arguments in the text itself. The second source of temporicality emerges in when finitude is overcome but not Alterity - there is temporicality as long as understanding even universalitized continues to understand in terms of an Other, which underlies all SEEING as thus. Absolute illumination involves both these Modes of Being.
The ontical is overcome by the destruction of DARKNESS in understanding which involves more than metaphysical illumination. It is the total destruction of the Unconscious so that understanding does not have any dark patches of Ignorance in relation to the world. And this involves the destruction of Unconscious in stages. What Meykandar maintains is that it is sufficient to access the TRUTH of the Being of metaphysical realities but also must understand their essences that underlies their phenomenological presentations, their ilakkaNam - their essences, how they disclose themselves from within themselves. This involves two stages: that of accessing a realm in which their phenomenal presence and that of bringing their essence into the clarity of rational consciousness. Since ontopretations provide the access, the noting of the Being of the metaphysical realities which in the first instance may be articulated in mythical, metaphorical or symbolic terms, there is another species of hermeneutic activities - we shall call `into-pretations’ - that brings the symbolical and so forth into the realms of non-mythical, non-symbolic purely conceptual rational consciousness. In Hermeneutic texts there is considerable confusion - the word `interpretation’ is used non-discriminately to both onto-pretations and into-pretations. The into-pretations, as used here, is akin demytholising - the transformation of the mythic, symbolic, metaphorical and so forth into conceptual and hence rational language, the final articulation of rational understanding that is totally non-mythical. This is what Meykandar calls `ilaadattee aintu arattai eytal’ in 4.3.2. The "iladataanam" is the region of clarity, of totally clear consciousness. When the wakeful state of vigilance, dream states and such other states of transductive perceptions - the five different states of Being - are brought to the foreground of consciousness, they become transparent, totally conceptual devoid of any mythical, symbolic and metaphorical allusions. The symbolically accessed is now conceptually appropriated. It is this kind of theoretical thrusts within the hermeneutical that has led to the formulation of mantrayana, a topic still peculiarly Indian with Thirumular’s Thirumanthiram still standing as the most outstanding. The essential features of mantrayana as outlined by Thirumular is presupposed in Meykandar in many places throughout the texts particularly in the 4th sutra.
Understanding everything in the world in terms of the language of mantras and hence in terms of the PLAY of BEING, the DANCE of SIVA, departicularizes the mind definitizes the understanding for understanding now becomes thoroughly universal as there is no-one World-Time to reckon with, no more hiddenness or concealments of the working of the phenomenal world.
Now the overcoming of World-Time does not mean yet the overcoming of TIME as such for there now emerges Temporality in its total purity, Temporality that does not translate to World-Time of the physical. There is no hiddenness, concealment as such in the phenomenal world. But however there is MYSTERY, mystery surrounding BEING, the thirobavam as it is termed in agamas. The Thirobava is the concealment of BEING that has been there right from the beginning but remained transfigured into the phenomenal. Now however when understanding has overcome the phenomenal engagements and can see everything in terms of Mantras, in terms of the DANCE, the mystery of BEING presents itself as Other and the psychic entities exists condition by the projection `I am That’ in which `That’ is a presentation of BEING. The existence is no more Being - [BEING], that is Being in which the presence of BEING is understood and because of which one is ethical but rather BEING - [Being] i.e. existing as if BEING itself with forgetfulness of its own Being, a form of existence that is known as Bakti, living in supreme LOVE of BEING. Meykandar maintains that such a form of existence is not only authentic but also the most desirable for it is in the course of such existence that the Alterity of BEING is overcome and temporicality as such. The unflinching unabating, undiminishing LOVE of BEING or BAKTI is that which will about authentic existence in which BEING is no more an Other, the self standing as SAME as BEING without ever BEING becoming an Other. This is attaining moksa, the ultimate END of the immense evolutionary progress of the individual. Meykandar provides a very detailed account of this in the fourth part of this text particularly in the final sutra.
The absolute illumination is not only the supremely clear but also non-interpretive. There is nothing confronting understanding and hence no hermeneutical efforts of whatever kind. Meykandar states this rather clearly `cat etir cuuniyam’ (7th sutra) i.e. there is only Nothingness against absolute illumination. This non-interpretive understanding is understanding something by standing that in itself is, as it is in itself. hence it is unmediated - there is no TEXT as such and hence no interpretive movements, a mode of understanding that has been always the mode of understanding of BEING. Now it should be noted that this is a LIMIT in the evolutionary history of an individual, a psyche and that the psyche continues to BE however without descending into the phenomenal circulation. The history end for a psyche, it is no more historical, it becomes ahistorical. Now this does not mean the end of the DANCE, the PLAY, the presence of the phenomenal reality as such. The world is not teleological as Hegel seems to have claimed but only the history of an individual psyche. The SPIRIT is not entangled in the World Process as are the psychic entities and is not enacting the dramas of life for realizing itself - there is no necessity for it as it is already totally illumined. The World Processes are pedagogical - BEING in the Spirit of a GURU, a TEACHER of magnificent kind stages the World Play to instruct the psychic entities and dispel the darkness with which they entangled. This DANCE is an act of ARUL, unbounded LOVE for BEING is LOVE itself. And this DANCE will go on endlessly as there are innumerable numbers of souls to be redeemed, to be transported to ThiruciRRampalam the Realm of absolute clarity, total unmediated non-interpretive understanding.
It is hoped that sufficient has been said by way of an introduction to this magnificent classic in metaphysics, a text of outstanding merits, a text unfortunately the philosophical world is not sufficiently acquainted with. This somewhat lengthy introduction is deemed necessary not only because the text itself is very concise and cryptic but also notes we have added by way of elucidating the underlying flow of thoughts. Those who want a more detailed discussion may refer to my Tamil commentary to the same TEXT, the basic contents of which I have provided in this translation though in a slightly different format.
The time has come for the Tamil Saivites to bring back Civajnaana Bootam into their philosophical preoccupations and investigate its essentials only in relation to other Indian darsanas but also world philosophies as such. There are striking similarities between the Taoism of Lao Tzu and Saiva Siddhanta, between the philosophy of Heidegger and other Western Hermeneuts and Meykandar. Such comparative studies are hardly entered into by Modern Tamil Saivite philosophers, one of the reasons why Civajnaana Bootam is hardly known to the West.
The Vedanta of Adi Sankara and others have given a wrong impression of what Indian philosophy is and for obviously good reasons. The emphasis on the irreality and nonsubstantiality of the phenomenal reality has for generations past created a negative attitude towards existence, a distaste of a deep sort as a result of which the impulses to investigate it were killed right at the roots. The most important implication of this philosophy - Metaphysica Universalis as the most inclusive hermeneutic science - not only recovers Existence for philosophy but also articulates in an impressive the most universal in man, a sigh of great philosophical maturity in itself.
This maturity is not an accident, there is a historical background underlying the emergence of Civajnaana Bootam in the Tamil soil for as recent studies have indicated and to which we have made some references long long before the Greeks, the Aryans and possibly even the Chinese, the Sumero-Dravidians were already philosophical, were already hermeneutical and who in their culture, unlike the contemporary Egyptians, emphasized pedagogy and for which there were even schools for children, royal academics for scholars and Temples were virtually colleges of a sort. It is inevitable that a tradition that has been scientific in the hermeneutic sense should have attained such depths and universality such as is available in this text.
We conclude this introduction with the hope that the publication of the English translation of this book will enable the world at large to attain insights nowhere else to be attained.