Agamic Psychology Sociology and Metaphysics
K.Loganathan, Universiti Sains Malaysia
One could see the intellectual history of the world very broadly as dominated by two traditions: the Indic and the Semitic. Through Judaism, Christianity Islam and Communism the Semitic tradition has affected not only the Middle East but also the West. It has shaped directly or indirectly the intellectual temper of the West and hence its philosophy, science and politics. The Indic tradition is represented by Vedism, Buddhism, Jainism and the bakti-dominated traditions of Saivism, Saktism and Vaishnavism. This tradition is deeply rooted in the Indian soil and has spread across the seas towards South East Asia and the Far East. It has bequeathed a characteristic attitude towards life, to-wards meaning and change that has remained rather stable despite different kinds of political upheavals.
One could characterize the Semitic societies as tending towards collectivization, the press towards the loss of individuality in a collective identity with the concept of growth and development as the growth and development of the collective entity and not the individual. In a similar vein we can view the Indic type of Societies as pressing towards individuation, the breaking of the tribal into individual with the concept of growth and development as personal or individual.
These two distinct psychic tendencies obviously would have generated different value systems, philosophies, epistemologies and also, it would appear, different psychological sciences. In a remarkably penetrative and perceptive study of the irrational foundations of human nature Otto Rank 6bserves:
"Psychology is not an objective instrument, like a telescope or microscope, which can be applied for purposes of observation to the reactions of individuals or groups of people; it is not a science beyond or above the civilization it presumes to explain. On the contrary, these psychological theories themselves have to be explained as a part of the whole social system and understood as expression of a certain type representing one particular layer of it" (Beyond Psychology 1941, page 27)
Western psychologies, he notes, are 'inspirational' by which he means a psychology that aims at influencing people, changing them, modifying them towards a preconceived ideal and so forth. Since men are not alike and actually unequal, the psychologies serve to explain away the differences and thus make them appear equal and force them to become equal or alike. As opposed to this control orientated psychologies, he notes, 'there operates another realistic psychology as a spontaneous expression of the people; not the psychology we create by which to change, but the one which creates change - in others as well as in ourselves - spontaneously (Ibid page 31).
The psychology that we have termed Agamic, is a self-transformational psychology, a psychological system designed to bring about a spontaneous growth of an individual from a lowly person that he is into a divine, spiritual being. This it purports to achieve through a technology that is individualistic and which facilitates Saktinipatam, the flooding of the inner-most recesses of the psyches with Arul, a natural force under the control of a Supreme Power and which spiritualizes the individual through eliminating the psychic constraints that condition his existence as a finite being.
Could it be then this Agamic psychology is the realistic psychology or at least the most eloquent, refined and elaborate that we have among the psychologies with this realistic bend? It appears to be so (at least to me) and the burden of this brief essay is to indicate in what sense it is. The psychic tendencies that are collectivizing and individuating that find expressions in the Semitic and Indic type of cultures respectively, must have originated from a common core of tendencies through some processes of selection and transmission. It is unlikely that such powerful psychic tendencies would have been eliminated completely in favor of one at the expense of the other. But what is likely to have happened is that ore would have been valued highly and promoted while the other devalued and discouraged. The collectivizing societies would have barriers set up to prevent individuation tendencies, while the individuating societies likewise would have value systems, traditions and norms for discouraging collectivizing tendencies. These promotional and suppressive tendencies would be the value systems of the cultures and clearly in view of the contrasting, in fact, contradictory tendencies, the value systems too will be contradictory. One' clear illustration of this basic difference is with respect to social differences and inequality. While Indic societies are founded on the acceptance of this, the Semitics are not They aver that all men are equal and if found to be different then the differences must be accidental, caused by some extraneous factors on the removal of which the differences will also be eliminated.
The historical roots of these differentiations are not very clear. The existence of yoga cult and Siva worship in the Indus civilization even in the third millennium B.C clearly shows that the Indic society was already in existence with its distinctive characteristics even as early as that. I have shown elsewhere (K. Loganatha Mutharayan, 1983 a) that the Pre-Aryan India was essentially Dravidian and that Dravidian cultures were in existence not only in the Indus but also in Elam and Sumeria. I have also shown that the historical South Indian civilization was composite, founded by two streams of Dravidians - the descen dents of Harappans who came to be known as Velirs and the descendents of Sumrians who gave the Tamil identity to the extreme South and founded the Sangkam tradition in the literary culture.
Sumerian literature, which has many similarities with the classical Sangkam tradition, clearly reveals a society already very Indic or more specifically Dravidian. The Kes Temple Hymns reveal the centrality of the Temple in the religious life of the people and the hymns, lamentations and petitionary prayers clearly are personal. For example in the deeply religious and philosophical Exaltations to Inanna of the high priestess Enhuduanna, we see the Supreme Power in its destructive aspect that in the later day Tarnil literature came to be known as KoRRavai, addressed individually with the plea for its interference in the sociopolitical process that had landed Enhuduanna in the prison or exile . She recites her me's ( Ta. Mey: truth, reality, tattuva) ardently and as a result of it, Inanna interferes and restores to her the former glory. The general temper of the religious poetry in Paripatal as well as the later day bakti hymns are intensely personal an aspect already well formed in Enhuduanna's hymn. The belief that there are Intelligent Powers behind the socio-political and natural processes of which the person is an element, and that there are means such as prayers, worship, recitation of names, the me's and so forth for soliciting the help of these Intelligent Powers for the achievement of personal ends clearly foreshadows the essentials of individuating society and simultaneously the rudiments of Agamic psychology.
In order to see the real sources of the Indic and Semitic type of psychic specializations, and the reason for their existence, we have to make recourse to anthropological and sociological studies of primitive societies and similar studies focusing on some archaic customs and traditions among the more advanced societies. In this connection, the brilliant insights of Otto Rank on the origins of the irrational in man and its historical rami-fications provide a framework that is immensely satisfactory. The perpetual struggle of Indian man for attaining mukti -a liberation from the endless cycle of births and deaths, and that of the Semitic for social justice, equality and likeness against a hierarchical difference among individuals, can be seen as two different expressions of a single tendency, as observed by Otto Rank, that of eterna-lising the temporal and ephemeral earthly existence by living on a super-natural plan (ibid page 60). Both are aware of the individual differences in terms of social privileges, abilities and power, personalities and development. The Indian accepts this as a fact of empirical reality and tries to rest his quest for eternal existence by seeking out the causes of these differences and the means for removing these differences so that ultimately all individuals could attain the state of eternal existence. The Semitic mind, on the other hand, denies reality to these differences and seeks to explain them in terms of aberrations, extraneous evil influences and so forth upon what are intrinsically alike and equal pri-mitive selves. With these assumptions begin attempts to eradicate the evil influences either through war, battle or revolu-tions and keep at bay any attempt to depart from the norm through pro-selytization; propaganda and other coercive means. What we have in the Semitic culture then is a universalization of tribalism with ethnic and geographical limitations removed. It etemalises through expansive homogenisation, arresting change and preventing any departure from the accepted norms that account for the uniformity.
Western culture is deeply Semitic in its basic tendencies, a state of affairs that came to be as a result of Christianity and the persistent influence of the Jewish mind throughout its intellectual history. Though the present culture that is vastly influential throughout the world is a product of secularization processes of the recent past, it retains the Semitic in its mental make-up in disguished forms. In political philosophy it appears as the basic principle of democracy. - the equality of individuals and the 'sanctity' of individual rights. The concept of fran-chise assumes equal discretionary powers among all men but in actual political conduct eschews it through noting and acting on the basis that diff-erent men are swayed by different things in the exercise of their franchise.
While science began in the West in opposition to the dogmatic claims of the Christian theologians, it seeks to define truth in terms of inter-subjective confirmation, again a collectivity of individuals who are supposed to be equal insofar as the scientific abilities go. The consensus among equals is equated with objectivity and in this way a 'conversion rite' is performed for acceptance into the fold. The Messiah is displaced and a community of scientists instituted instead. The valid statement becomes, as noted by Popper (1969), something that is irrefutable, irrefutability being now raised to the level of purificatory rites that win recognition by the scientific community. As I have discussed the matter in greater detail elsewhere (K. Loganatha Mutharayan, 1983 b), the idea that an exceptional individual could have valid knowledge of a kind the verification of which requires deep seated personal developments of the individual who is seeking to verify the claims and which could be on an indi-vidual basis, is something foreign to this scientific temper.
While scientific activity defined as such maybe the way for learning the non-reactive physical nature, an aspect that was not clearly noted and established in the Indic cultures, the extension of the same methodology to the psychological or human sciences is certainly misplaced. For real psychology is transformational, developmental with values involved. It is a dis-cipline that is concerned with ways and means of expanding human consciousness, increasing human knowledge and raising the spiritual dimensions of man i.e. value transforming. What is lost in ex-tending the methodological principles of' the physical sciences to the psychological, is the growth dimension, the developmental perspective so inherent to psychology. The methodology adopted per force reduces the psyche to a nonentity or at most to something inconse-quential so that the person can be studied almost as if he is an automaton, a pure physical system. The control and curing mentality prevails and these tendencies are remnants of proselytizing obsessions and the presumption that the insights of a Messiah have the power to redeem the whole world. The non-rational, the spontaneously unfolding elements in the psychic constitutions are termed unconscious, either personal as in the psychoanalytic tradition of Freud, or collective or racial as in the analytical psychology of Jung, and given the role of explaining the non-mechanical spontan-eity of changes and development in tile human personality.
While the position of the Collective Unconscious is problematic and rather ambiguous, the personal Unconscious of Freud is rather negative. Its contents are the repressed desires and so forth which, to the extent they escape the awareness of the individual, serve as the root causes of psychological ailments. As I have already pointed out earlier, in Agamic psychology, beyond the different types of karma which are the sources of both the good and evil, there is Para-aparan, the Transcendental Collective Conscious (TCC), which is seen as the source' of everything good and positive ,an Intelligent-Conscious-Power without any constraints or blemishes, forever acting in the form of 'play' for bringing about the personal development of each psyche. (K.Loganatha Mutharayan, (1983)), The TCC is the source of Arul which corre-sponds to the Greek agape and which is instrumental for the upward progress, the transformation of a person from a lowly being into a divine type. Agamic psychology, by centering on these notions becomes a psychology of personal development, upward movement and as-cendance into the spiritual. It becomes simultaneously a science which organises systematically what are noted as 'spon-taneous' growth through a systematic study of actions, processes, techniques and so forth and their effect on increasing the flow of Arul into the person. This focus on action and its evaluation in terms of Arul defines its logic and epistemology and consequently its sociology and philosophy. The contents of 'Tattuva Prakasam', a massive treatise of Tattuva-prakasar, a disciple of Cirrampala Natikal (14th cent) and the most probable author of 'Tukalaru Potak Kattalai', abundantly make it clear, as do the texts of Vagisar, Meykandar, Arunandi and a host of others, the utilisation of an entirely different approach to epistemology and psychology. The treatise as a whole classifies behaviour or, more appropri-ately, the actions of men, what people do, and for this purpose a taxonomy multi-plicatively derived from four basic notions of cariyai, kriyai, yokam and jnanam are used. What is interesting here is the actions singled out for the specific study are a particular type, viz., those that are conductive for the ascendance of the individual into the spiritual dimensions. The cariyai are the lowest with jnanam the highest in terms of the onward progress of the individual and the actions that are appropriate for each stage of development. The taxonomy is then inherently hierarchical and correlates with the stages of ascendance of the individuals. Interestingly enough, philosophical thinking is included in the category of jnanatil-jnanam i.e. a form of intellectual activity at a high level of development which, nevertheless, one has to transcend to attain mukti, the ultimate state of Being in the developmental progress.
The logical principles as discussed in the above text as well as in 'Pasu Pathi Pasap Panuval' of Maraijnana Sambantar and earlier in Sivajnana Sidhdhi of Arunandi, classify knowledge into perceptual, infe-rential and the agamic. Under the perceptual are included not only the sensory (vayir katci), the cognitive (manatakkatci), the self-perceptual (tanvetanaikatci) but also the transpersonal or yogic which is a higher kind of seeing contingent upon a high level of personal development. The inferential are the rational considerations that lead us to consider the existence of the unknown, the imperceptible or the concealed at a particular point of time. The agamic is what is disclosed through exceptional individuals of what is beyond the normal ken of man; it is the aspect of awareness that permeates scriptural texts, establishing their identity and distinctness.
With respect to the concept of pramana, the criteria for right knowledge, Saiva Siddhanta has something important to offer. There is nothing in the processes of knowing that would tell us whether the knowledge obtained thus is right or not - the means of knowledge do not simultaneously reveal the criteria of right knowledge. The perceptual is a correct perception of the perceived if it is not accompanied by uncertainty and is non-illusory. But indubitability and non-illusory are not aspects revealed through the perceptual processes themselves. They are subjective elements in the perceptual processes and therefore non-absolute. Similarly in the rational operations or reasoning we are able to differentiate the fallacious from the valid, but are unable to point out absolutely the grounds of validity or fallaciousness. We have to fall back upon the subjective again. This aspect is most clear in the agamic type of knowledge where validity of knowledge is wholly dependent upon the quality of the revealing subjective self. It is for this reason that the Siddhanta philosophers claim that the ultimate measure' of knowledge is citsakti, a power within the subjective self of man himself.
Another aspect of Saiva Siddhanta epistemology, as first noted and clearly articulated by Meykandar, is also highly relevant here. Knowledge is absolute (sat) or relational or rational (asat). Every rational knowledge is non-absolute (arivinal arinta yavum asattu-Siddhiyar).
The rational processes that underlie the creation of conceptual categories and cognising reality in terms of that, are ultimately expressions of the subjective needs of the individual i.e. instrumental. When the needs change or are eliminated from the rationalising subject, so would the categories and hence the whole knowledge. In contrast to this is absolute knowledge which is trans-rational. It is beyond the categorical, trans-conceptual or alogical. It is what a subjective self knows or apprehends outside the processes of need-based or desire-prompted reasonings. Since it is not coloured by the idiosyncracies of the subjective self, it is unchangeable, eternal or absolute.
This classification of knowledge of a subjective self into rational and trans-rational also enables Meykandar to view the psyche as sat-asat- i.e. a knowing being with a capacity to know the absolute and the relational, the eternal and the transitory, the immortal and the mortal - an aspect that is currently emerging in some psychological dis-ciplines and quite well articulated by Otto Rank, Earnest Cassirer and many others.
The epistemological foundation of the duality inherent in the psychic tendencies along with the characterisation that seeking and attaining the absolute knowledge and being comple-tely dominated by it is the ultimate goal of existence sets the framework for the development of agamic psychology. The goal is then the attainment of eternal existence without any of the tendencies to descend into phenomenal existence. Since this is possible only by 'purifying' the psyche of the category generating needs of various kinds, it becomes simultaneously growth oriented, with growth being measured in terms of spontaneous non-occurrence of self-based desires i.e. degrees of altruism and universalism. This internal subjective growth terminates not in the elimination of the subjective self or the annihilation of the knowing subject but rather in un-conditional altruism and universalism of the self through processes that eliminate the constraints within that generate self-interest and delimit the consciousness of the psyche. The attainment of eternal existence, immortality, is the accom-plishment of a single psyche through its own efforts. It is that which enjoys it and not the community or tribe from which it attained this liberation. The community benefits and so does every community, for the liberated psyche is uncondi-tionally universalistic in its concern and efforts. Through a loving disposition towards all, it rejects none on whatever grounds, and accepts all whatever the difference.
This concept of mukti, the existence of psyche in eternality, is quite well explained by the unknown author of Jnanamirtha Kattalai and contrasted and defended against other concepts of mukti in the Indic cultures. (K.Loganatha Mutharayan, 1983 b). Buddhism loses the psyche in Nirvana through reducing the psyche to a stream of consciousness. Advaita Vedanta loses it to Brahman, for the atman on attaining mukti, which is conceptualised as escaping from a pre-disposition to be misled by maya, it is no more and we have only the Brahman. The other kinds of muktis are seen as limited, not ultimate i.e. paramamukti, for they are seen to rest upon some self-needs or other elevated to the status of a supreme need or goal. What perspective or principle has led to this 'existential' concept of mukti?
It is not very difficult to seek, for it is so central to the whole of Saiva Siddhanta. And it is this: creatures do not behave or simply respond but act with the intention to accomplish something that they are in need of. This line of thinking in Saiva Siddhanta has been discussed in suffi-cient detail in the introduction to the English translation of Jnanamirta Kattalai. A brief resume is sufficient for the purposes here.
Even the most casual observation of human (and animal) behaviour indicates that they act for a variety of reasons. But this observation alone is not sufficient to infer existence of an agent who intends and acts, for even non-intelligent things can act and bring about changes on themselves or something else. An act becomes intentional or that of an intelligent agent when the observational aspects of the act reveal the exercise of Intelligence and Power in the execution of it. Such aspects as the initiation of acts and the manner in which it is contextually incongruent, the emergent quality of it in a sequence of events, the persistence or repetition of the act over a temporal stretch against prohibitive contextual conditions, the readability of a plan in the sequence of actions and so forth are the kinds of things that lead us to believe in the existence of the psyches in creatures as the intelligent agents of the acts, including the cognitive.
This observation alone is not sufficient to establish the reality of innumerable individual psyches, a reality that has to be established to found and justify the individualistic dimensions of Agamic Psychology. The attainment of mukti is not Collective: it is an individual who attains and 'enjoys' it. Agamic psychology is a psychology of individuation, the detach-ing of an individual from all projective identifications and re-establishing contact with others through an unconditional universalism and altruism. Clearly such a psychology is impossible unless there are distinct individuals who retain their identity eternally. The psychology of individuation rests on the assumption of the indestructible individuality of the psyches and their eternity.
The presence of Intelligence and Power in the actions of different individuals and creatures could be explained, as it has been for example by Siva-prakasar (17th cent) in his Siddhanta Sihaamani, as reflections in a physical substratum of a single universal Intelligence-Power or Brahman. The observable individual differences are attri-buted to the contributions of the physi-calistic elements in which Brahman gets reflected. The individual selves then are purely reflections of a single Brahman and hence not ultimately distinct entities with an eternal reality of their own. This theoretical explanation has been rejec-ted in Siddhanta on a number of grounds.
First and foremost is the difficulty it points out in accounting for the moral dimensions of human thought and action. Where does this divisive and profoundly disturbing moral sense of an individual come from? It could not be emanating from Brahman for Brahman as the pure Intelligence-Power will not hold within itself this divisive and non-eternal psychic capacity within itself. On attain-ing liberation the moral divisiveness disappears from the psychic constitution - the psyches function subsequently on an unconditional universalism and altruism and hence non-evaluatively. If it is an aspect of existence in eternity then clearly it is this amoral aspect that is true of Brahman. The moral sense is an element in the psychic functioning of an unlibe-rated psyche and hence on at least this ground alone the psyche has to be dis-tinguished materially and categorically from Brahman.
The attribution of moral evaluation to Brahman will make it also impossible for a psyche to attain a state of amorality, a transcendence above the restrictive and divisive moralistic functioning. This then would also mean the denial of mukti in the sense of attaining eternal existence without any trace of egocentrism. Another possibility to avoid this conclusion is to attribute moralism to the influences of the gunas of the physical substratum. This explanation is inherently unsatisfactory, for the link of moral values with actions of intentionality which is psychical and this being an important component in moral evaluations certainly becomes problematic in this physicalistic explanation. The moral sense is psychi-cal, it is an aspect of the psychic cons-titution. While psychical growth or development is an ascendance towards an unconditional universalism, it is simultaneously moral development as well leading to moral transcendence in the terminal state.
The need to acknowledge the existence of what B.F.Skinner caricatured mockingly as the 'miniscule of man' is emerging strongly in a number of recent developments in psychology and socio-logy. George Herbert Mead (1910) argues for 'the presupposition of selves as already in existence before the peculiar phase of consciousness can arise which psychology studies' (ibid page 18). While consciousness is always consciousness of something, it is equally also something that belongs to a self. Psychology has to presuppose selves as the precondition of consciousness in individuals just as it has to presuppose nervous systems and vascular changes (ibid page 19).
Interestingly enough, Mead also argues for a plurality of selves from his analysis of the origin of meanings in gestural acts. Gestures are truncated acts, inhibited movements and serve as stimulations for the conduct of other individuals. Meaning does not appear as long as an individual provides an appropriate response to the gesture. It emerges however when an image of response arises in reflective conscious-ness, in imaging the consequences of the act." To cry out in fear is an immediate instinctive act, but to scream with an image of another individual turning an attentive ear, taking on a sympathetic expression and an attitude of coming to help, is at least a favourable condition for the development of a consciousness of meaning" (ibid page 22). Meaning is then consciousness of attitude, and if it is so, then consciousness of meaning arises only when some gesture that is part of an inhibited act itself calls up the image of the gesture of another individual. The consciousness of another self is then a presupposition of the meaning of every gestural act. The admissibility of the concept of purposive, meaningful act as valid in human behaviour means the presupposition of the existence of plura-lity of selves.
From the perspective of the centrality of meanings and actions in the description of human behaviour Gauld & Shotter (1977) also argue for the impossibility of designing a machine, perhaps a complex kind of computer, that would simulate human behaviour and thus provide a novel kind of mechanical model for explaining it. Human behaviour is concept or rule-governed. An entity must possess concepts or rules for acting and a machines, no matter how complex and subtle, could never be that sort of thing in principle. For "an agent invests his actions with 'meaning' in the relevant sense only when he carries them out as actions of such a kind of description, when he conceives them as having a place with some project or scheme of things already though perhaps dimly, envisaged by him (ibid page 22). Conceptual capacities, characteristic of the 'creative' or emergent character of human behaviour is again a capacity that cannot be translated into mechanical terms. No machine can be programmed into possessing conceptual capacities. "They can be manifested behaviourally in ways which diversify and multiply without limit, and which elude complete codification into a machine table" (ibid page38).
To have an intention is to possess criteria of fulfilment and from this understanding of intention, actions can be seen as what are undertaken to effect changes satisfying the criteria. This is the meaning of actions, the purpose, goal or what the agent hopes to achieve by initiating that action. Such an agent, clearly, has to be a self and since intentions, purposes, hopes, fears and so forth are individual, clearly we have to presuppose a multiplicity of distinct selves in viewing behaviour along these lines.
The concept of self-initiated actions, effected for bringing about changes to fulfil some criteria one has in mind, has emerged in the guise of 'voluntary be-haviour' within the psychological studies of behaviour under the 'control and choice' paradigm. Man, it would appear, has re-emerged as a 'rational animal' (with a soul?) with a capacity to exercise intelligent control upon his environment that is constrained or delimited but not determined by external factors. After a penetrating analysis of the concept of operant behaviour, Hugh M.Lacey (1979, page 12) concludes that the identification of goal-directed behaviours with beha-viours fully explicable in terms of the principles of operant conditioning is untenable and that it is more appropriate to equate it with voluntary behaviour. The first member in an operant behaviour could then be a voluntary behaviour and in addition to that there could be unique voluntary behaviours.
A remarkable consequence of this analysis is the importance of the subj-ective self in the explanation of what constitute rewards or punishments. In-stead of being definitional, they can be explained in terms of the intentions, goals, hopes and so forth of the agents. A consequence would constitute a reward if desired by him; a punishment if disliked or avoided by him. They are things that enter into the rational considerations of the agents and influence or modify their behaviour. Since such goals, intentions, hopes and desires are individual, again we have to conclude that there are in-dividual selves each pursuing its own inde-pendent goals constrained by a number of factors peculiar to itself.
The individuality of selves, even if granted, does not resolve the problem of the need to presuppose a unique entity, Brahman or a supreme Consciousness -Intelligence - Power as the agent, the origin of intelligent causation of the cosmic processes in which the develop-mental changes of individuals or their aberrations constitute only an item. A number of arguments have been adduced within Saiva Siddhanta tradition to sub-stantiate it. It must be noticed that for maintaining the stance of psychological development as essentially a moral ascendance that brings about individuation and in that process a hierarchical diff-erence among individuals, the presupposition of an absolutely amoral, pure, totally autonomous supreme Consciousness - Intelligence - Power is just as important as the infinity of independent, indestructible selves. At the absence of this, development would have to be explained in terms of ecological and sociological terms with a consequent loss of any valid means of establishing a hierarchical difference except perhaps in terms of power and material wealth.
One line of argument is similar to the kinds of considerations that were put forward for concluding the reality of an individual intelligence power, an intelli-gent agent when we characterise beha-viour as the execution of an act. The teleological framework can be brought to bear upon the cosmological processes as a whole. When we can correctly view the cosmic processes, including the births, existences, deaths and the evolutionary development or modifications creatures manifest, in terms of products or conse-quences of actions, then we can use the same sorts of arguments for the reality of Para-aparan. If the kind of conceptual framework that avoids the reduction of the human into a machine, is equally valid for the cosmic process as a whole, then clearly Para-aparan would be just as real as the individual psyches. The problem then reduces to the empirical question of what kind of process is the evolutionary progress of the creatures. To the extent we can accept emergent evolutionism of the Bergsonian type, to that extent we should also grant the reality of Para-aparan. however hidden it may be for ordinary perception.
Some psychological considerations of such cosmic and universal processes, however, lead us to a greater subjective certainty on the reality of Para-aparan. We have already seen that a psyche is sat-and-asat i.e. it has deep seated psychic tendencies that lead it to mortality and immortality, descending into a cycle of births and deaths and escaping into a condition of eternal existence without any proneness to being born again. The press towards satisfying the need for existing in eternity constitutes what Maslow has termed metaneeds and what the Tamil Siddhas have called Nadies or psychotropisms the most fundamental being Guru Nadi. These psychotropisms and particularly the Guru Nadi underly the religious pattern of social existence and the metaphysical mode of philosophical thinking. In Saiva Siddhanta the moral sense of man and along with it the concept of psychical growth and development is grounded in this duality. The actions that are conducive towards attaining this liberation are the morally good, those that promote enslavery, continued chaining or regression into something worse is the morally evil. Moral sense is directive, it is within the individual to direct and promote his ascendance into the eternal i.e live propelled by the psychotropism of the Guru Nadi.
It is clear then morality has its roots in the individual psyches for only such limited selves will need a 'guide' towards their own liberation. The Paraaparan provides the highest and the most positive polarity for the psyches. An intuitive knowledge of Para-aparan, in the shape of knowledge of eternal existence, provides that consciousness, that specific knowledge that forms the ground of moral evaluations. As Arunandi has already indicated in his 'Irupa lrupatu' (K. Loganatha Mutharayan, 1982) no perceptual criteria for the morally good or evil can be given. Any attempt to do so only serves to mislead or distort our intuition about moral values. The puzzles are removed only when we realise that the moral sense is transpersonal, and have their roots in the metaphysical needs of man, in the fact that there is such a thing as existence in atemporical eternity and it is possible to attain that state of Being through actions of various sorts.
The reality of moral sense in man and its metaphysical and transpersonal character indicate that man is aware in some sense, in some form of Para-aparan -the pure, eternal, Consciousness -Intelligence-Power that is within all. This perceptual awareness or a preunderstanding (Ta. Munnarivu) forms the ground of man's religious behaviour, metaphysical speculations, political reforms, great artistic achievements - in short, anything that is of permanent value, the extraordinary. In Agamic Psychology these are comprehended within the taxonomical classifications of cariyai, kriyai, yogam and jnanam.
The discussions we have conducted so far allow us to see why the Siddhanta philosophers have throughout their history insisted upon the reality of innumerable and distinct selves and an absolutely different qualitatively distinct Para-aparan, the foundation of what is good, great and noble. The relationship between these two is always of the I-Thou type, even in the limiting case of the attainment of liberation. However, the reality of these categories of objects are, in themselves, not sufficient to establish a rationale for Agamic Psychology- the psychology of individuation. If psychological growth is seen as the attainment of individual autonomy, an inner freedom, if efforts of the discipline are directed at facilitating this, clearly we have to know the nature of psychic bondage, enslavery, what pulls the selves towards earthly existence and so forth. It is in conjunction with such investigations that the Siddhanta philosophers have proposed a third category of objects - Malam or Deep Limiting Factors (DLF). An understanding of the existence of these as already there with the psyches makes us understand better the motivational dynamics of the creatures.
We must begin again with what Meykandar has noted in his characterisation of selves as sat-asat. From the epistemological angle, the selves are seen capable of knowledge of the absolutes, the timeless eternities and their converse, the relational and temporal. From the psychological angle this predisposition is seen as an infection or pollution of the psyches with what is termed iruvinai i.e. the nalvinai and tivinai. 'Siddhanta Marabu' one of the prose compositions of the early eighteenth century, defines 'vinai' as a very deep and basic need or desire. It is a psychological predisposition for insatiable desires of all sorts, a psychic hollowness that urges on the psyches to fill it with this and that. It is nalvinai if directed at eternities, immortality; tivinai when directed at anything that is not conducive to attaining the ultimate liberation. Psychological distresses and miseries, moral guilt and so forth are ultimately then rooted in this tivinai, understood thus.
However this is not the end of the matter. For with the admission of the indestructibility of the psyches, that they have been and will be there always, it is possible to consider a state of existence of the psyches prior to being infected with iruvinai. Since consciousness of existence in eternity and temporality is not possible without some consciousness however rudimentary, it follows that the existence prior to this infection is existence in complete darkness, ignorance or uncons-ciousness. This unconscious is not the personal unconscious of Freud or even the Collective Unconscious of Jung. It is a total absence of consciousness, a complete darkness which is taken as the original, primeval state of existence of the psyches. Phenomenal existence and the acquisition of experience and knowledge is a means of removing this uncons-ciousness in the innermost being, at the deepest level. Psychological existence is permeated through and through with unconsciousness or IGNORANCE and all that creatures do is an attempt to remove this deeply disturbing Darkness within.
Now the characteristics of this un-consciousness, its obstinacy, permeability and tenacity have led the Siddhanta philosophers to attribute it to a non-intelligent obscurant called anu or anavam. It is just as permanent and indestructible as the selves themselves or even Para-aparan. It is universal as well for no matter where the psyches are, there we see anu in operation. It is non-intelligent for it causes absence of consciousness and not knowledge or awareness. For this reason anu becomes a malam (lit:darkness) and functionally a deep seated obstruent - a Deep Limiting Factor (DLF). Because of its primitivity and tenacity it is also termed a mulamalam -the primordial DLF.
A psyche becomes conscious of its own unconsciousness or inner Darkness through a process of negative derivation on the onset of even the smallest light of consciousness. Since neither psyches themselves nor anu could initiate this consciousness with which begins phenomenal existence, we must attribute this to Para-aparan. the Consciousness-Intelligence-Power. The power thus exercised is Arul. The meaning of this term also communicates love and affection connotatively indicating that the reason for Para-aparan to exercise this power is pure love or selfless affection.
This knowledge then provides the goals for the psycho-technology of Agamic Psychology - to investigate what kinds actions, procedures or techniques and so forth that would bring about a great exercise of Arul on the part of Para-aparan so that one succeeds in elimina-ting the Unconsciousness that surrounds and engulfs whatever consciousness there is. Such a science or effort becomes simultaneously a moral effort, a technology for facilitating moral development For we have seen that with the onset of consciousness, the pull towards liberation and another away from it simultaneously come into operation in the form of psychotropisms pulling in the opposite directions. Since the actions towards liberation are termed nalvinai and it is identified with reaching and homogenising with Para--aparan, the actions that do not promote it i.e. tivinai could be identified with actions in the direction of greater unconscious-ness. The morally evil then leads to a reduction in whatever consciousness that has already been secured by the agent. Guilt and other psychological distresses that arise when something evil is done, then become symptomatic of the reduction in consciousness that has been occasioned by the action. Such feelings become the means by which psyches become aware of the moral value of actions they effect.
This accumulation of augmentations and reductions in consciousness through actions that are right or wrong, is termed Karma malam i.e. a DLF of Karma. The term is derived from the Tamil root 'kar' meaning 'to do' and indicates the acquired nature of this constraint through the intermediary of actions. It is termed a secondary deep constraint for the same reason. The Siddhanta philosophers also note that this karma is transmitted phylogenetically i.e. the stuff of phylogenetic memory. It is a part of the constitution of the psyche that is retained by it at the point of death in the form of puriyadda tekam i.e a body mantric complexes. For this same reason it is also seen as the 'seed' of the psycho-physical form a psyche assumes in a particular birth. It is also seen as the causal basis of the 'natural' maturational processes that unfold in the course of the life-run of the psyche. The component of this purva karma that determines the species characteristics, the racial and personal characteristics, both biological and psychological is the Pra-artha Karma while the 'hidden' that unfolds at different developmental stages is the sanjitha karma.
If the theory of karma, which is the agamic psychologist's answer to the perplexing question of what is innate and what is not, stopped at these two types of karma, then it would make the psychical and biological existence of the creatures completely deterministic - prisoners of their own past actions. This would make progress or psychological growth, in the sense explained earlier, rather impossible. It will rule out voluntary actions and hence lack the power to explain the bulk of human behaviour. What enables them to avoid this dilemma is the concept of akamiya karma - karma acquired as a result of intentional, pur-posive actions. The psyches in being constrained by the past augmentations and reductions in consciousness never lose their capacity for intentional actions. The roots of desires are deeper and intentional actions do not cease, and they never lose the capacity for this as long as the root desires remain unsatiated. This root desire is nothing but the longing for liberation, immortality conceived of as existence in atemporal eternities. Clearly as long as there is biological existence, there is this capacity of the individuals. The akamiya karma, is then the accumulated karma through the purposive actions since birth. The personal unconscious of Freud, will turn out in Agamic Psychology, as the loss of reduction in consciousness brought about by the morally evil purposive actions since birth. The Collective Unconscious of Jung, will be distinct from this and probably would correspond to the loss of reduction in consciousness that is part of the purvakarma.
The reduction in consciousness is a loss and when one is aware that one is the cause of it, clearly that could be a causal basis of psychological distress and traumas. When one, however, becomes aware of the larger, more comprehensive knowledge that this is how things are and that such are the outcomes of the ceaseless efforts of the psyches to attain liberation, one can learn to accept oneself as one is and acquiese with one's present dispositions. It must be noted that such a change is only therapeutic and not anything near what we have termed psychological growth which is a transformation into a qualitatively better, higher self. The therapeutic cure, a return to a normality understood as acceptance of oneself as one actually is, is a pre-condition for self ascendance; it is not growth itself or even a substitute for it. The conflation of the two that is so dominant in Western psychological thinking is a product of the elimination of the idea of psychological ascendance and hence along with it the possibility of a hierarchical difference among the individuals. This again, we have already seen and as has been ably shown by Otto Rank, is an attitude ultimately derived from the collectivising cultural patterns of the Semites who have perpetuated the dogma of equality of individuals as the unquestionable fact of human existence.
We have considered two kinds of constraints, anu and karma. Both are related to the intrinsic desires of the psyches for liberation on the one hand and enslavement on the other. Yet these two are not sufficient to give an adequate description of human behaviour and thereby the direction for individual psychology of Agamism. Desires alone are not sufficient for effecting an action. A body is needed, a material situation is needed along with organs for effecting the action and processing the success of the actions. These lead us to the biological, ecological and physical bodies and the special relationship they have with the psyches. The birth as a biological being could not be realised without a desire for the physical or material in the most general sense. The psyches enslave themselves to physicality in the interest of a biological realisation as an entity in some place or other. This tendency or constraint within the psychic functioning is termed maya malam -the DLF related to the material aspects of existence. The biological, ecological and even cultural aspects of human psychology are ultimately traced to this dimension of psychic needs by the Siddhanta philosophers. It is a bondage to physicality, a biological extension of some deep seated psychic needs to acquire the psychophysical utensils for action. Sexuality is one aspect of it, the greed for material wealth and the tendencies to 'hoard' material goods is another. Clearly it is as ramifications of these desires that we have the socio-logical aspects of human existence. The biological and the economic pushes within create the social self of the psyches leading to the formation of family, society, tribe, race, nation and such other socio--political units. When sexuality and greed are eliminated as powerful drives within, as it happens for example in truly religious kind of persons, the selves become simultaneously humane and universal in outlook - they are asexual and transcend racial, national and such other socio-political differences that divide men in so many different ways in their expression of love and affection. An individual who has individuated or well on the way towards that, is altruistic and affectionate towards all including the lower non-human creatures. He transcends the inner cravings that enslave him towards biophysical and socio-political expressions and by virtue of this feat he becomes truly universal and compassionate.
There are very important differences between the theory of desires outlined here and that of Freud, Jung, Adler and so many other psychologists. The Saiva Siddhanta theory clearly is non-reductionistic and also truly phenomenological. We have also, perhaps as the adherents of this school maintain, the ultimate differentiation, viveka, in the sense of reducing or eliminating every shade of projective thinking, the conflation of one with another.
One of the most important differences between this and all the other Western psychological explanations, should be, at least briefly, mentioned here.
Agamic Psychology, as outlined above, ultimately derives the psycho-logical nature of man (also other creatures) from the basic impulse towards liberation, an inner and ultimate autonomy and freedom that is the substance of religious life and meta-physical endeavours. This craving is opposed very deeply by an obstruent that ceaselessly and impersonally tries to block off and reduce consciousness, preventing the full expansion of it which is a pre-requisite for that supreme autonomy. Life and worldly existence come into being as an expression of this struggle; this supreme effort becomes the meaning of phenomenal existence. In this struggle the actions we do become enormously important for they are the instruments, the tools that have the capacity to transform the creatures and bring about the ascendance that is so deeply desired. Our ethical values come into existence as a result of this capacity actions have. We evaluate the facilitative actions as good and the opposite as evil. The moral sense guides the creatures in the choice of actions so that eventually they succeed in attaining liberation. The desire of the creatures to effect actions for this purpose is the foundation of' sexuality and materiality. The need to effect actions in the interest of self-transformation into a higher kind of self, gives rise to biological needs and hence socio-political systems.
The centrality of actions in Agamic psychology now becomes clear. Actions are good or evil in the sense of facilitative or not facilitative towards attaining this ultimate autonomy. But we are deeply ignorant of what actions are good and what are not. This ignorance, and the acceptance of it, establishes the goal for agamic psychology - the goal of finding out in an objective and rational manner the nature of actions in relation to the effect they have on the consciousness of man that is a prerequisite for attaining the supreme goal in life- the attainment of that supreme autonomy. Two aspects of Western traditions and culture, can be identified as the probable factors that have prevented the birth of this form of psychology in the West. One is the concept of knowledge the Greeks have bequeathed to European civilisation. Episteme is defined as something that can be couched in a universalistic kind of language, a law-like statement which is either necessarily true or empirically the case. The statements that are necessarily true, and mathematical statements are cited as examples of them, are deductive or at least reducible to the status of elements of an axiomatic system. The empirically true must be beyond refutation by a community of people, i.e., inter-subjectively irrefutable as Popper would put it. Such a concept of episteme, clearly cuts off knowledge from actions, actions are made irrelevant in the concept of what is episteme and what is not. And along with it the intimate linkage between knowledge and ethics. Artificial problems emerge and the Western philosophers, for the last two millenniums at least, have expended considerable energy and ingenuity within the tangles they themselves have created not knowing that they have done so.
The messianic attitude towards knowledge the Semitic culture has bequeathed to the West prevented the acceptance of the fact that, even the most spiritual among men are not free from errors about what is right and what is not; what actions are good and what are evil. This dogmatic attitude gave birth to ideologies with claims that they are revelations and hence beyond dispute and doubt. When contrary ideologies emerge, this dogmatism and claim of supernatural origins, prevent a scientific and rational approach to resolving conflicts. Battles and wars hot and cold, become the means for eliminating ideological differences. The absence of genuine humility, heeding to the possibility that all men of flesh and blood, however great in their spirituality could be wrong in some ways prevents a bend towards investigating and seeking out for oneself through one's own experience the validity of the claims. The religious men of the West, in their ignorance and arrogance, have kept at bay the extension of the scientific way of looking at their knowledge claims thus contributing towards antagonisms and suspicions, a bad taste in the mouth so to speak, about anything that smacks spiritual among so many men of science in the West. When such men encounter the Eastern intellectual traditions, where there is a total lack of this dogmatic arrogance, their own limited intellectual tools and concept of knowledge, lead them to brand it as 'mystical' thereby implying irrational or unscientific and hence fail to note the essential scientific nature and the inherent rationality of these traditions. In this interpretation, they are also helped somewhat by some irresponsible 'mystics' from the East, who, as a result of their own intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy hide behind the so called 'mysticism' for securing the reverence and admiration that they need so badly. It is to the eternal credit of the Dravidian people of India that the best among them were uncompromisingly rational and hermeneutical throughout their history, forever accepting new philosophies and ideas and subjecting them to a penetrative intellectual scrutiny that would reveal what is true and what is false in them. The Saiva Siddhanta tradition is certainly, one of the finest intellectual achievements of the world by a group of people who have avoided, very early in their cultural history, the messianic attitude of the Semites and the misplaced intellectualism of the Greeks. In Agamic psychology, the psychological system in this tradition, perhaps we have the essentials of the true psychology of man, a possibility that all psychologists should consider very carefully and seriously.
The Metaphysical and the Sociological Dimensions
In the discussions above, it was obvious that the psychology of man could not be considered independent of cosmological or metaphysical views. The reality of innumerable selves existing indepen-dently and indestructibly, the primeaval state as one of darkness caused by a consciousness-blocking stuff called anavam, the emergence of consciousness in the selves as a result of an act of benevolence of a supreme Consciousness-Intelligence-Power and so forth are clearly metaphysical notions. The theory of tattvas, so extensively discussed in numerous Saiva Siddhanta texts such as Sivaprakasam Tirunerivillakam and so forth is a more detailed consideration of such metaphysical analytics.
We shall now consider some sociological implications of the above views, which are not unfortunately that extensively discussed in the classic texts of the school.
We have seen that social life emerges as a result of what is termed maya malam - a deep desire for physical manifestation - birth in the world - and acquisitiveness which in turn is a result of the need to effect actions for attaining liberation. This elucidation along with the concept of psychological growth as outlined above give us the foundation for evolving the sociological theory.
1. It is clear that the meaning of existence is the attainment of that supreme inner autonomy, purity and unconditional universalism. This under-standing gives us the overriding goal, purpose for the control and regulation of behaviour at the sociopolitical and personal level. The best possible knowledge with respect to such matters must be utilised in the promulgation of the rules and laws of the country that effectively control and regulate human behaviour. The actions, whether individual or collective, that are to the best of our knowledge conducive towards attaining this freedom or at least hold the possibility of being facilitative directly or indirectly must be supported and encouraged. What are known to be not so, must be actively discouraged.
2. Since there is no absolute knowledge in such matters and even the best among men, no matter how spiri-tually elevated they are, could be mistaken, those in power should always be open minded about such matters. The socio-political regulations must be seen as a sadana - an instrument, a tool, a means- that is being tried out. Where it is seen to fail, it must be replaced with better alternatives without any dogmatism or attachment to it. This is the meaning of rationality or objectivity in the social sciences. All socio-political managements are experimentations of a sort and there is no end to this sort of activity.
3. It is most desirable for power to reside in the hands of those who are the most developed among men spiritually. But usually it seems to be the case that the spiritually inclined lack the political will and those with an abundance of political will normally are not great in spirituality. Individuals who combine both are rare indeed. Under such circumstances, the socio-political regulation is best done through an active co-operation between these two types of individuals. Both are imperfect, and acting alone individually will not bring the best that is possible.
4. We cannot rule out the possibility that there is a hierarchical difference among individuals. But this difference cannot arise purely as a result of birth. Spiritual maturity is psychological and not, strictly speaking, biological. The spiritual growth of a self must be measured on an individual basis and not on the basis of lineage or upbringing. We must generate objective means for identifying spirituality and give due credence and respect to persons identified thus. Such persons must be given social recognition so that they would serve as models, as means for the general public to acquire knowledge of what is right and what is not.
5. It is the inalienable right of every individual to be free to struggle towards his own liberation. This means maximum freedom for action - individual and collective- that is socially possible under the circumstances. Such freedom must be curbed only when the whole community is threatened or when the actions are known quite positively as evil or as one that undermine the social network that sustains this pattern of life of the community.
6. The freedom that the agamic society grants each individual also means equality of access to all forms of knowledge, skills and so forth that the community has accumulated collectively. There should be no privileged classes of people in the matters that pertain to the spiritual upliftment of man. There should be no barter or business transactions in the matters that are genuinely spiritual. The knowledge of actions that are good, is the common wealth of the community and must be made available to all without fear or favour.
7. The objective of giving out punishments to an erring individual is reformatory - that of informing him of the consequences of his own actions which are, to the best knowledge of the society, not conducive towards bringing him closer to liberation. Death penalties must be avoided as far as possible for death deprives an individual an opportunity to act and learn and thereby progress a bit closer towards liberation. However, since death is only a postponement, it can be given in the extreme cases where by such a measure many others are saved. The most important principle in all such matters is not knowledge of laws and rules, but rather the principle of love, unconditional universal love. The laws and rules are always imperfect as they are attempts of imperfect men to regulate social behaviour. The unconditional universal love is the subjective condition that reveals the meaning of justice and of what is good and desirable. The chances of being erroneous are reduced when punishments pronounced on the founda-tion of this kind of subjective state.
8 A large range of actions are made impossible for men and women for lack of bodily and mental health and material wealth. It is the duty of the state to ensure that the people are not starving, enjoy good physical and mental health and so forth that are preconditions for effecting any actions. The state must generate sufficient wealth to provide the facilities that would enable the people to attain these preconditons and maintain themselves in that conditon continuously. Enough of the economic wealth of the state should also be made available to everyone for each to do what he thinks is the best for his own good.
9. It is fair also for the wealth of the nation to be spent on the acquisition of new knowledge, in particular of the scientific and metaphysical type. Such new knowledge reduces the hold of unconsciousness in the psychic consti-tution of the individuals and therefore is to be valued highly in the interest of facilitating the personal growth of each and every individual in the society.
10. Since culture is the shared consciousness of individuals with respect to what is right and wrong, the existence of distinct cultures indicates that our consciousness of values is imperfect. It is always possible then, for members of one culture to learn from another and thereby grow a bit closer towards the ultimate. This openness of attitude should define the manner in which one state or cultural group relates itself to another state or cultural entity. Where mutual intelligibility is lacking and a foreign culture threatens the survival of the essentials of existing culture, to the extent that such a situation is deemed unhealthy for universal good, to that extent punitive measures must be taken always keeping in mind the need for all humanity to reach the state of unconditional universal love.
Such pronouncements as the above that are implicit even in such ancient texts as Thirukural, are not ten commandrnents, directly revealed by the All Mighty and therefore unquestionable. These are at most recommendations, the most rational policies for the socio--political regulation of a society. They are not principles for controlling the behaviour of men so that they would shape up into a form that some powerful individuals in society have dreamed up. They are, on the contrary, principles derived by a deep and objective study of human behaviour and the meaning of human existence as revealed by the natural processes in the world.
Certainly we have derived some ought's from some if's and the Humean kind of thinkers would strongly object to such procedures and perhaps condemn them as illogical or irrational. We must remind ourselves here how the Greek episteme has bewitched the Western minds distorting their intellectual quests and leading them astray in subtle ways. Where knowledge is seen as only that which can be put in the form of a universal statement that is either necessarily true or empirically the case, clearly a net of such epistemies will not catch the human fish. When we look at human behaviour without any preconceptions, it becomes obvious that people act for some purpose or other and that such things as these constitute the meaning of actions. All knowledge is instrumental and hence as Meykandar has observed, asat - relational or non-absolute. Epistemic behaviour is non-terminable behaviour as long as no transcendence is effected. Absolute knowledge is not even the limiting case of instrumental knowledge. - it is trans-instrumental.
(A slightly revised version of paper originally published in Tamil Civilization of Tamil University, Tanjore, March 1984)
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