The Fifth Sutra:
On the Phenomenology of BEING
viLampiya uLLattu mey vaay kaN muukku
aLantu aRiyaa aangku avai poolat
taan tam uNarvin tami aruL
kaantang kaNda pacaacattu avaiyee
karruturai: ennutaliRRoo venin, iv vaanmakkaLidattut
tamatu mutal ubakaaram uNarttutal nutaliRRu
THE FIFTH AXIOM
The senses the eyes, nose, mouth, the body and so forth do not perceive and judge unless ordained by the psychic entity the truth of which has already been shown. In an analogous manner the psychic entities remain ignorant of themselves unless they are given to understand themselves by BEING that remains the GROUND of LOVE. The psychical entities attain self-consciousness in being drawn unto BEING irresistibly like pieces of iron are drawn to a magnet.
General Intention: It is intended to make explicit how the psychic entities attain self-consciousness only as a givenness, as a gift from their GROUND, the BEING
1. The key term here is arul, an exact equivalent of which does not exist in English. It is akin to giving without expecting anything in return, an act of supreme munificence. It implies that what is thus given is a gift and not an outcome of ones own actions. It is a givenness beyond strategic attainments.
2. The word ‘tami’ is taken as a variant of ‘tarmi’, meaning that which simply gives in a spirit of supreme benevolence. The difficult term ‘taan tam uNarvu’ should be taken ‘tannin tan uNarvu’ i.e. one’s own self understanding, which is said to be here a givenness.
3. The analogy with sense perception is made to drive in the point that a psychic entity remains ignorant of its own self unless it is led in this direction, that self-understanding remains concealed from itself unless that concealment is violated. The senses in being disclosive of something other than themselves, remain however undisclosive of themselves. In a similar manner while psychic entities see so many worlds, access them, acquaint themselves with them and gain an understanding of them as explained above, but it remains however ignorant of its own essences unless disclosed for it by BEING.
4. The expression ‘tamatu mutal ubakaaram’ emphasizes further that self-understanding is a help, a facilitation that comes from BEING that remains the GROUND of psychic existence. BEING as unbounded LOVE, as supreme munificence itself is being brought out here. BEING is not only fecunditive as the MOTHER, the primordial creatrix of all, but IT is also LOVE itself, that which gives and helps tirelessly. In this sutra is brought out the truth of ‘anbee sivam’, ‘BEING is LOVE,’ a central precept in Saivism that has been articulated at least from the times of Thirumular if not earlier. BEING as such is not simply the austere and uninvolved LIGHT, Brahman, but is also LOVE that uncalculatingly helps every creature irrespective of any differences and gives whatever is necessary spontaneously.
5.1 Mutal atikaraNam (The First Thesis)
iiNdu, ai uNarvukaL aanmaavaal
avaRRinaan aanmaa oRRittuk kaaNin
allatu avai onRaiyum vidayiyaakalaan
Assertion: That which sees through the five types of sense perceptions is the aanmaa (and not the senses)
Reason: Unless the aanmaa SEES standing one with the senses, there are no acts of perception, nothing is sensed.
edutuk kaaddu 5.1.1
aim poRiyai aaNdu angku aracaay uLam niRpa
aim poRikal uLLam aRiyaataam - aim poRiyil
kaaNaateel kaaNaatu, kaaNum uLang kaaNaateel
kaaNaa kaN keeLaa cevi
While anma stands like a king ruling over the five senses, while the senses even during acts of perception, remain ignorant of the anma. However the anma has no other independent ways of perceiving - unless it sees through the senses, there is no seeing at all. Furthermore it is the anma that sees for when it does not, the senses on their own do not perceive: the eyes do not see, the ears do not hear etc.
1. An important distinction is made here between seeing and perceiving. That which sees is the anma and NOT the senses. While the anma is psychical the senses are not. The terms ‘kaaNal’ and ‘vidayittal’ are used to bring out these differences where the former means ‘seeing’ while the latter ‘sensing’ or perceiving. While the senses provide information regarding the elements of the world, it is the anma which is conscious of them as such and such. Consciousness does not belong to the senses; the senses do not sense the consciousness that is ‘enjoyed’ by the psyches and hence remain ‘ignorant’ of it.
2. The anma, it is also pointed out, has NO other independent ways of knowing the world of experience other than through the senses. The bodily embodiment is a necessity for the acquisition of knowledge, of consciousness and hence the destruction of the DARKNESS within. There is here a reinforcement of the theme that the physical body serves like a torch because of which consciousness is generated (see 4.2.1).
3. While transductive perceptual processes may not require the services of the five senses, as already explained in sutra 4, the sensorial experience, that which produces caakkiram, the wakeful vigilance is primordial for existence as such. Here is where we have pristine clarity that can breed apodeitic certainty. This is the ‘ilaadam’ where the contents of the meta-phenomenological experiences have to be brought and hence made contents of absolutely clear consciousness. What are attained through the mythological, mystical and so forth must be related to the sensorial, the empirical. The ‘seeing’ that is outlined here is such an interpretive seeing where the symbolic, metaphorical and so forth give way to the conceptual and perceptual or what is the same, the scientific.
5.2 IraNdaam atikaraNam (The Second Thesis)
Ini, ituvum tamatu mutalaalee uNarum enRatu
Ivvaanmaa tannaalee uNarum intiriyangkaLaip
poolat taanun tannai uNaraatu niRRalaan
Assertion: Now even this anma learns about itself only through the help of BEING, its GROUND
Reason: Like the senses that perceive only when the anma chooses to see and even at that point remains abconscious of the anma, so is the case with the anma itself- it remains abconscious of itself even when it sees.
1. ‘tannai uNaraatu niRRal’: existing abconscious or unconscious of itself. Every ‘seeing’ is seeing something that stands as an Other. Seeing brings along with it alterity and locks the psyche within that. So as long as the anma keeps on seeing this and that, including the realms in the Depths, it remains abconscious of itself, lost in the others. Thus it can ‘see’ itself only when it is shown what it is, in itself to itself, but it requires the help of BEING for such a task. It is only through being shown how one is by BEING that knows everything that one can see that one is thus and thus. One’s ways of Being can be known only by being shown by BEING.
mannu Civan cannitiyin maRRu ulakam ceedittatu
ennum maRaiyin iyal maRantaay - conna Civan
kaNNaa uLam vinaiyaal kaNdaRintu niRkungkaaN
eNNaan Civan acattai iNru
You have forgotten the scriptural utterances to the effect that it is only because of the non-absenting presence of BEING that the world has its existence. The anma exists with BEING showing it, disclosing to it the world and which the anma sees only by effecting some actions. The BEING that shows for the anma to see and thus learn, will not ever disclose untruths under whatever circumstances.
edutuk kaaddu 5.2.2
veyyoon oLiyil odungki viLangkaatu
veyyonai aakaata miin poola - meyyavanil
kaNdu keeddu uNdu uRRu aRiyum aimpulanaik
kaNdu udanaay mannutalaik kaaN
When the sun is supremely brilliant, shining out in full radiance, the stars unable to outshine it become subdued, almost invisible. Thus in order to avoid seeing the impermanent, that which is caught in the flux, one should withdraw one’s own hermeneutic efforts and learn to see the way that is shown by BEING, the way the world is disclosed by BEING itself. One should stand in absolute harmony with BEING so that one sees only that which is shown and the way it is shown by BEING.
edutuk kaaddu 5.2.3
aruL undaam iicaRku atu sakti anRee
aruLum avan inRi illai - aruLinRu
avan anRee illai arutkaNNaar kaNNukku
iravi pool niRkum aran eeyntu
To be giving uncalculatingly is the POWER of BEING intrinsic to ITSELF. And this ARUL does not exist independent of BEING. Without this unbounded fecundity, BEING never is; BEING is supreme benevolence. And for those excellent individuals who have raised themselves to see only what is shown by BEING and the WAY it is shown, BEING stands like the sun dispelling whatever Dark Light that may exist within
1. The psychic entities in having Being, are the ones that see. Being is seeing. The insentient brute things exist but do not see. The capacity to SEE is ultimately related to BEING - it is BEING that provides the eyes, serves as the eyes for the psychic entities to SEE and hence have Being.
2. Here also emerges the concept of TRUTH in Saiva Siddhanta. The psychic entities see only because BEING shows this and that for them to see. And when the seeing deviates from seeing the way it is SHOWN by BEING, we have a deviant understanding, an untruth. However when the seeing is such that it grasps what is shown the way it is shown, then seeing is true to the phenomena. For BEING will not show what is an untruth. Untruth does not exist in BEING.
3. The analogy of the stars being subdued in the brilliance of the Sun is brought in to explain the method of attaining truth. When the human mind submits itself to seeing only as shown, i.e. controls itself from ‘taRpootam’, venturing with its own theoretical and conceptual artifacts to understand the world, ceases from imposing its own categorical constructions, rational measures and so forth but submits itself for the inner light to illuminate itself and disclose for it how things are, TRUTHS are attained, understood. One should see standing in close harmony with BEING who will show the way things are in themselves.
4. BEING is not only absolutely transcendent but also totally immanent. It is only because of immanence that at every point in the existential struggles of an anma, there is something that emerges within its understanding that illuminates TRUTH and through that destroys the presence of the DARK within. BEING is ARUL, always overflowing with gifts, always giving unceasingly and uncalculatingly. It is POWER symbolized as the Female Half, without which BEING never is. BEING is LOVE pure and simple which knows only giving tirelessly.
5. The term ‘iravi pool’ in 5.2.3, refers to the mystical experience of BEING as LIGHT that has been recorded throughout the world and which consists the deepest experience underlying philosophies and religions. But this experience is not for all; it is only for those who have overcome their intellectual arrogance and submitted themselves to seeing only as shown by BEING. Only such arut kaNNaar are given this experience, an experience that enables them to destroy every particularism and rise towards genuine universalism. It is this experience that destroys finitude and enables one to rise to genuine universalism and hence the realms of transcendental phenomenology.