[Agamism 17: Becoming an Adiyaar is the Social Ideal; Agamism 18: Love Violence and NonViolence; Agamism 19: Irrationalities and wars of Attrition: Agamism 20: The Temple as a Text]
Agamism 16: Only God Can Forgive
George Harrison, from College General Penang, a Catholic Seminary has
raised the important question about the place offorgiving
in Hinduism., if it exists at all. I want to say, yes there is but it is
NOT something like the Catholic confession sessionsbut rather something
that only God can do provided the man aspires for it and does the necessary
penance. And this dimension ofAgamism, I think, is that which
gave rise to Depth Psychology as an important component of Agamic
way of Life, something , Imust mention here, also pan Indian. It
is something you can observe form Kanya Kumari to Kashmir , from
Bombay to Nepal
and of course overseas in Malaysia S.Africa Indonesia and many other countries.
The underlying theme appears to be : God is immensely LIVING, HE is WITH YOU in an non alienable way and will FORGIVEyou if you do the appropriate penance that are in a way of the Tiikkai-type, that which purifies. Thus one function of religiousrituals is that of SELF PURIFICATION and for which purpose temples are there. The temples serve to CLEANSE the soul andhelp thereby to PREVENT the committing of further evil and ignoble actions, the Paavam. So it would appear that not only there is forgiving but also UPLIFTING so that such situations do not arise in the future.
The Beginnings of Psychotherapy in Lahamasism
In the Sixth Kes Hymn, there are references to the institutions of court
houses located in the temple gates and where the guiltyare punished
in various ways including executing by beheading with sword specially
kept there for this. However what is verysignificant is that, along with
this, there were primitive kind of psychotherapy and hence the recognition
that there were probablypeople who did the wrong things because possessed
by the evil spirits or some kind psychological maladjustment and hence
notreally guilty. There is a kind of literature in Sumerian called
ErSemma which are mantra recitals to ward of the evil spirits that
cause various kinds of diseases and mental ailments. It appears to me that it is aspect that has grown and now have become partof Temple culture and hence the practical Hinduism. The line is given below:
97. gi-gun-na-bi la-ha-ma ki-us-sa which I take to mean: The Lahama (priest) drives away (ki-us-sa) the dark qualities (gi-gun-na) of the people.
The term "us-sa' (Ta. ooccu) is still in use in terms of uccaadanam, the art of exorcising , one of the eight putties that lead to theattainment of eight siddies.
The term "gi-u-na" can also be read as "mi-u-na", the dark qualities
and hence conceptually an archaic form of the notionTamasa KuNam that plays
a central role in Samkhya metaphysics as we can see in numerous texts
including Bagavath Gita. Thesame term can also be read as "kai-kuNam" and
in which case we can link it with Tolkaappiyar's KaikkiLai, the form
of behaviorthat are low mean and immoral, that which must be avoided.
Thirumular on Psychotherapy
Such notions that gain great depth beginning with Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and Tirumular's Tirumantiram, as the following versefrom Tirumantiram, would show.
taazvilar pinnum muyalvar aruntavam
aazvinai yaaza avarkkee aRanj ceyyum
aazvinai niikki aruvinai tannodum
poozvinai tiirkkum apponulakamee
Roughly translated : If one persists in performing the penance without being discouraged, then the righteousness in nature willassist them for the submergence of the Karmic deposits that are already there in the deepest recesses of the mind ( aazvinai) Andfurthermore as one persists in this, these karmic deposits will be expelled (niikki) and through that also the karmas that createpains and miseries (poozvinai). Thus cleansed the person will enter the Golden World, i.e. the World of Undying happiness.
There is a linkage here between doing something lowly or evil,
elucidating karmic deposits that are lodged in the deep recesses ofthe
mind and EXPELLING them through the practice of penance that are largely
of the righteous-type, the ethically sound,morally acceptable, the aRam.
Thus it is realized that people do the wrong things and through that gain
karmas that bring aboutpains and miseries. And here the "punishments" are
penance that are in the form of doing the Right, the aRam. The aruL
orengracing processes of BEING, emerges in the form of facilitating
the expulsion of the pain producing evil karmas and hence
effecting tiikkai, purification.
Meykandar's Theory of Actions.
Over and above the popular form of karma theory that has induced a kind of fatalism ( What can be done against the Karma?What can be done against one's destiny ? etc.) there is an interesting theory of actions that is mentioned by Meykandar in terms ofeliciting the AruL, the engracing processes already there as opposed to the disgracing. The Tenth Sutra of CB contains this idea:
avanee taanee yaakiya an neRi
eekan aaki iRaipaNi niRka
malamaayai tannodu valvinai inRee.
Existence constituted by the self living as SAME AS BEING is authentic existence. And when one pursues it, being alwaysOne-With-BEING and doing only those dictated by BEING, not only we escape the worldly attachments but also the karma sodifficult to disengage otherwise.
Now I have elaborated this theory by some deeper considerations ( available in Azivil uNmai, in Tamil ). There are FOURdifferent types of actions: UzaRci VinaikaL , KazaRci VinaikaL, Uuzcci VinaikaL, Malarcci VinanaikaL and opposed to all thesethe Viizcci VinaikaL.
The Viizcci VinaikaL are those which cause the FALL and hence
the unethical, evil etc. The UzaRci VinaikaL are those thatthrows us
into the physical world endlessly , being born again and again
endlessly. The KazaRci VinaikaL are those that help usto LIBERATE us from
the various attachments and that too through gaining metaphysical illuminations.
The Uuzci VinaikaL arethe developmental, that which enable us to ACCESS
higher existential worlds and through that become the twice
born etc. The Malarcci VinaikaL are those Pancakrittiyas of BEING but done
by a person in complete consonance and agreement (ottup
pootal) with BEING. The Malarcci VinaikaL are also called the Civacceyal by the Saivas and Kaingkariyam by the SriVaishnavas
Everyone can do these higher actions and thereby AVOID doing the viizcci-type and because the Malarcci type are the praxis ofBEING himself, they will be the true prayacittaas, actions that one does by way of gaining the Forgiveness of BEING
Agamism 17: Becoming an Adiyar is the Social Ideal
The Bakthi revolt around the 5th to 9th cent. in Tamil Nadu is
the most momentous event in the cultural history of India , the fullimpact
of which is not still well known. It was a movement of ordinary people
where to be ordinary was extolled as the ideal. Andthis arose as a counter
revolution to the Buddhist monkish order , the AdikaL of the Jains and
Brahmanah of Brahmanism. TheAdiyars are ordinary people from all walks
of life and who distinguished themselves as people in service
to God whom theyunderstood as Civa. The highest virtue that any person
can attain is to become the one whose actions promote Civanjnaanam
hence becoming one whose actions are Civacceyal, the Praxis of BEING Himself -- Panjca Kirittiyam itself but localized as thatof a person. The person ACTS but his actions are NOT that of the individual Ego but that of BEING.
I just finished translating the Thiruth ThoNdath Thokai of Sundarar and which gave rise , a few centuries later to the epic ofCeekkizaar, the Periya PuraNam unique in that the heroes sung are ordinary people who lived as exemplars of the genuinelyreligious and who are understood as those who have vanquished their own Ego, the "I-ness" and "mine-ness" philosophicallyunderstood as those who destroyed Pacuttuvam and enjoy by virtue of that Civattuvam.
This ideal is NOT only the Social ideal of the Saivas but is articulated as the Universal Ideal with the understanding that there hasbeen, and will be such individuals throughout the world even though they may not call themselves as such.
The Universality of Adiyar.
In one of the most Powerful and moving articulations of Sundarar, where
his understanding breaks lose from all narrowchaunisms -- racialism,
casteism, religioism and so forth -- is the following:
pattaraay paNivaarkaL ellaarukkum adiyeen
paramanaiyee paaduvaar adiyaarukkum adiyeen
cittattai civanpaalee vaithtaarkkum adiyeen
tiruvaaruurp piRantaarkaL ellaarukkum adiyeen
muppootum tirumeeni tiiNduvaarkku adiyeen
muzuniiRu puuciya munivarukkum adiyeen
appaalum adic caarntaar adiyaarkkum adiyeen
aaruuran aaruuril ammaanuk kaaLee
I am in service to all those in loving devotion to BEING no matter
where they are and to what religion they belong to; I am inservice
also to those who sing the praises of only BEING and not kings gurus
and lowly archetypes; I am also in service to thosewho really keep always
BEING in their deepest mind despite being involved in mundane tasks;
I am in service to all those whoare born in cities of sacred
soil where the sacred hold sway; I am in service to all those who are blessed
with the gift of being able to touch the Divine Idols throughout the day
(by way helping worship); I am in service to the illustrious philosophic
individualswho with the desire to be absolutely pure wear the sacred ashes
on the body as well as the heart; I am also in service to all thosegreat
individuals the past and present here and everywhere who have attained
the Divine Feet by genuine service to BEING; I ,who is in eternal
bondage to the BEING of Uncanny World who has disclosed Himself as
Great One in Aruur.
Thus the Adiyaar articulated here is NOT a Brahmanah (though the caste Brahmin can also become one) who always insists onhis caste credentials and studies in Vedas as pre-requisite for understanding the highest Knowledge. The "pattaraay paNivaar "and "paraarmanaiyeep paaduvar" are certainly not just Brahmins but people who are infused with genuine devotion to God andbecause of which they sing the praise of BEING only and hence NOT the Gurus Kings Prophets Messiahs and what not. In other words they are people who have extricated themselves from all mental slaveries that lock up an individual to a certain identity --religious, ethnic, linguistic, professional, ideological, cultic and what not -- and become truly FREE, free in the Metaphysical senseand devoted solely to BEING, the Paraman, the absolutely transcendental. Such are the individuals who live as "NamaarkkumKudi Allom". i.e. no one is subject to anyone as thundered by Appar, the most powerful revolutionary of the Tamil world and perhaps also the whole of India.
The " ellaarkkum" means all and hence with this Sundarar breaks lose from geographical and cultural confines and looks at thevast world , the past present and future and hence thoroughly Universal.
The Bakthi also means a disposition full of LOVE and hence the ABSENCE
of a mentality of rejection and negation. The Pattarswill NOT reject anyone
as unworthy of Divine Grace for the LOVE that permeates their personality
will plant SOCIAL CARE asan important component of their personality
and this will act against the mentality of rejection and ridiculing and
putting downanother person because of his caste education profession etc.
The LOVE for God is LOVE for people and all creatures, for Godis
LOVE and anyone incapable of Love and Social Care as such cannot understand
the essence of God and hence cannot also
become a genuine Baktha.
Keeping in Heart BEING
The Adiyars are also NOT recluses and social dropouts but people thick
in life and who lead an active social life. But they aredifferent
from the average in that in no matter what they do they have forever
mind BEING; they keep BEING in their deepest reaches of the
mind, the Cittam so that no matter what they do there is implicit
judgment with reference to the presence ofBEING . Whatever
done must not such that it diminishes the presence of BEING in their being.
Installing the BEING in the cittam provides a VALUELESS framework
with respect to which what must be avoided and what must not are
decided upon. And
this is NOT functioning in society in accordance with rules and laws promulgated by the Vedas , Bible Alcoran and what not. It iskeeping the SOURCE of these scriptures and being in TRUTH that transcends scriptural embodiments. It also means being intouch always with the ahistorical and absolutely transcendent Principle and being FREE of value systems that are historical, that arose , even as divine disclosures , but within a historical situation.
Trying to be Pure
Another notion that gets articulated here and connected with the above is that of "muzu niiRu puucum munivar". The munivars arethe illuminated individuals and whose concern remains being PURE both in body and soul. As such they, unlike the Jain andBuddhist monks whose despised the body and spend most of the time abusing it , killing it in slow measures are people who care for the body and keep it pure.
The sacred ash, the ThiruniiRu , symbolically stands for purity, that of absolving all the defilements within. The ash remains still thesame ash even after being burnt again and again and hence stands symbolically for that which has reached the final state ofPurity. The "muzu niiRu puucutal" means wearing it both on the body as well in the mind. The body has to be kept clean and well for it stands the instrument for understanding BEING and can be raised , as Thirumular has said, the abode of the gods and hencea temple.
Wearing the NiiRu at heart means mindful of Purity in thoughts and actions. Whatever one desires, thinks and effect actions toattain them must NOT be IMPURE, that which will dirty the soul with increasing the presence aNavam Kanmam and Maayai, the Mummalam.
In other words the Adiyars are not the hypocritical and false , those who DISPLAY in their garb and adornments sanctity but are not at heart.
Agamism 18: Love Violence and Nonviolence.
As an aftermath of the inhuman terrorist attacks and noting the presence of terrorism as a fabric of human culture at the momentthere is much talk about nonviolence and its importance. While undoubtedly in recent history it was Gandhi who articulated it andapplied it in politics, it must be noted that for those who are familiar with the bakthi revolt more than seventeen centuries ago, the nonviolence is NOT new and that it was not only philosophically well articulated but also applied for political and social reforms at least by THREE notable sons of India -- Appar Sambantar and Sundarar who in their own way brought back into the Saiva fold the Jain kings of Pallava Pandiya nd Chera kingdoms. The movement was social as well as political and sought to bring about unity among all by raising the status of all into that of Adiyars, people in LOVE with BEING and in that also in love with each other The most remarkable thing here was that NONVIOLENCE was practiced along VIOLENCE of a kind and given its metaphysical foundation -- LOVE as ruled by aruL, the GRACE of BEING.
This has been an important ingredient of Tamil culture from those ancient days. During the 19th cent. it was given also another kind of metaphysical explanation by ArutpiRakaasa VaLLalaar in his essay: Jiiva KaaruNya Ozukkam wherein he says that deep deep down , at the lowest level of all the souls there lurks the capacity to be LOVE itself hence capable of Jiva KaruNya Ozukkam, behavior that shows nothing else but LOVE unto all.
But why does he say that this capacity lies buried deep deep down and NOT at the surface level itself?
The surface self or the worldly self is an EGO-SELF, that which lives
FOR-ITSELF and only minimally FOR-OTHERS. The selfFOR-ITSELF is an acquisitive
self and one of the things that it seeks to acquire is POWER unto itself
and becomeTYRANNICAL and IRRATIONAL when it falls fully for it. This is
the FALL that breeds violence and destruction and while Gita attributes
this to the dominance of Tamasa Guna, a notion taken from the ancient
Samkya, Saiva Siddhanta attributes it to aaNavam, the primordial and uncreated
Satanic force within all that can do nothing else but annihilate
and destroy. The egotism itself is a product of this and when the person
FALLS i.e. does actions in the direction of the inner pull of this aaNavam,
augments the presence of this Dark Stuff within and becomes irrational , fiendish and Satanic. The first thing that such a person would do is to expunge from whatever under his control ithe rational discourse for it is that which serves as the antidote for his fiendish irrationality.
The dominance of such individuals lead to wars, terrorist attacks, wanton destruction of properties -- in short the transformation of the world into a desolate desert landscape where no vegetation grows. At the face of this faceless and immensely destructive and meaningless terrorism, the human beings realize that it is beyond their will and capacities to put an end to it and bring back fertility and prosperity. It is also at this point that BEING discloses HImself as the WARLORD and the world itself as a war arsenal to rescue the innocents. At least this is the way Sambantar sees the matter as shown in the following verse:
cadaiyaar punaludaiyaanoru cari koovaNamudaiyaan
padaiyaar mazuvudaiyaan pala puutappadai yudaiyaan
madamaanvizi umaimaatu idam udaiyaan enai udaiyaan
vidaiyar kodiyudaiyaan idam viizimmizalaiyee
The BEING who resides in this temple of Tiruviizimizalai who also has me as his humble servant has disclosed Himself inthe following archetypal forms (to instruct me about His essence). He appears with the Ganges filling his tuft to disclose that He is behind the luxuriance and abundance that we see in the world and in contrast to that as the mendicant wearing only the loin cloth to show that He is capable of installing asceticism in the mind so that the worldly desires are sundered. He also shows Himself as the manifest world where also as the WARLORD where the basic elements that constitute the cosmos are kept as His war arsenal showing that he can wage wars with the evil powers through floods, earthquakes, storms prolonged dry spells and so forth. He is also the lord of the army of warrior gods who wield the axes to chop of the heads of the evil doers if need to be. Strangely He is not only such a warlord but also the supreme lover who keeps as His left half the ever young and voluptuous Umai and because of it enjoying supreme youthful virility as indicated by the flag that carries the BULL as His symbol.
BEING becomes the brave WARLORD using the basic elements of the world itself as his weapons along with the devas as hissoldiers to wage wars against the Satanic forces that have become mad with irrational desires for Power.
But this vision of BEING as the WARLORD also discloses as the hidden component that BEING is LOVE and that HE becoming a HERO who is able to battle with and defeat the Satanic forces is actually an expression of LOVE. BEING forever is a LOVING God and NEVER an angry God and even HIS acts of destruction are acts of LOVE rather than hatred. BEING is incapable of hatred.
What is important here is that BEING is VIOLENT , destructive and paradoxically enough as an expression of LOVE and NOT as an expression of suppression and repression. BEING is always LIBERATING and hence not at all enslaving even towards a particluar creed that compels worship of a certain kind. BEING is ABOVE all religions.
Those who understand this aspect of BEING, that HE is LOVE and only because of that HE is violent and that to be NEAR him one has to be also full of LOVE for all, become the ADIYARS, the most important sociological concept to emerge from the Bakthi revolution.
Interestingly enough this idea also emerges in the same Patikam of Sambantar where occurs the above verse.
vammin adiyiir naaN malriddut tozutuyya
umman anbinoodu em anbu ceytu iican uRai kooyil
mummenRu icai muraL vaNdukaL koNdu ticaiyellaam
vimmum pozil cuuz taN vayal viizimmizalaiyee
Oh Lovers of BEING ! With only love that you show towards me and
the love that I show towards you conditioning ourexistence, let us approach
the Deity who pervades the temple in Viizimmizalai, encircled by cool fields
where aboundbees humming away like mantras. Let us also worship the
BEING who resides as iican in this temple only with freshblossoms and hence
without any other cruel rituals where animals are sacrificed.
Here he most important phrase is "umman anbinoodu em anbu" which means a mode of existence in which theLOVE that people show towards each other becomes that primordial sentiment that founds the peaceful social existence. ThisLOVE unites the community and raises them into that of "adiyaar", a notion that became the central sociologicalcontribution that can even meet the modern challenges from Marxism and so forth. For the notion of Adiyaar is alsodirected towards social equality in which all kinds of differences including that of caste of so forth are made IRRELEVANT and something UNIMPORTANT even if it exists. Absolute social equality is an impossibility -- there cannot be any society without some kind of hierarchical differences -- in terms abilities aptitudes tastes skills and so forth.
The destruction of one kind of equality only causes the emergence of another. However the individuals , despite being socially different , can RAISE themselves to the level of adiyaar where only LOVE that one shows other individuals matters. This LOVE is also an equalizer for a person whose existence is conditioned by LOVE FOR ALL will be forgetful of the differences that prevail among the people.
The Adiyars though violant in a way but are also NON-VIOLENT in another important way -- they do NOT aim at wanton destruction as an expression of EGOTISM but rather battle vigorously AGAINST the oppressive and tyrannical forces and hence for there to be MORE FREEDOM in the world.
Agamism 19: Irrationalities and Wars of Attrition
It is only in Indian culture that to this day mythologies are seen as something meaningful. They are understood even by ordinary individuals and related to the historical events that happen around and made sense. . This also appears to be an important ingredient of Bakthi, a loving devotion t BEING in whatever archetypal form chosen to be revered and worshipped. The mythical, as an aspect of the METAPHORICAL thinking, reaches a layer of human thinking that is bottom-most , much below the rational and ethical and thereby something closest to the unconscious layers of the human mind. While in this way it goes well along with depth psychologies of the West but does not , I think, with the semitic religions especially Islam which in its popular version is abhorrent towards it. And which is very unfortunate.
Bakthi literature abounds with such thinking and also the mythical and in which the majesty of BEING and His infinite POWER are acknowledged and extolled.
A study of these mythical themes makes it clear that in the dialectics of REASON and FEELINGS , when the feeling dimensionsbecome intense subverting the rational, the mind becomes IRRATIONAL manifesting itself as intense HATRED and ANGER. With these devlopments bloodbath is sure to follow for then a man becomes an ASURA with irrational mobs as his battalion, ready to destroy the world through wars, civil disturbances , terrorism and what not. The ASURA is a person who either HATES or is ANGRY with the world at large and in which he not only becomes blinded but also succeeds in blinding many others and sway the feelings and make them boil with the same hatred and anger. With this strength they begin their wars of attrition upon the whole of humanity or at least that portion of the humanity that becomes their target.
In Indian mythologies we see so many different types of Asuras , all
with different characters but alike in being the enemy ofGod and who are
eventually defeated and vanquished but only to reappear in a different
guise. In the following verse of Appar, we have one Asura, the Tarakan,
understood here as the one with " aziyaata koopam" i.e. possessed of an
ANGER that cannot be
niidiuyar viNNum maNNum neduveelai kunRodu
ulakeezum engkum naliyac
cuudiya kaiyaraaki imaiyoor kanagkaL
tutiyooti ninRu tozalum
oodia taarakan tan udalam piLantum
oziyaata koopam oziya
aadiya maanadattem analaadiya paatam
avaiyaam namakkor caraNee
The vast sky and the earth that spreads wide and tall, all the mountains that stand like sharp spears and all the worldswere conquered by Taarakan, the Great Asura and brought great destruction that caused infinite sufferings all over.The Devas, unable to fight back and subdue and acknowledging their own inability finally surrendered themselves toCiva and approached him with raised hands , praising also while worshipping. Seeing this the BEING cut to piecesthe very body of that Asura and danced the dance of Fire to remove the irremovable anger. This BEING who iscapable of the dance of FIRE has become my recluse because of all these.
Has this mythology some relevance to the current world situation where we have seen the worst kind terrorists attacks ? I thinkso.
The issue of terrorism that brings about infinite sufferings is NOT something new. It has been a feature of historicalprocesses from very ancient times. The world has seen many political tyrants inhuman and blood thirsty and without adrop of mercy in their heart , have swayed the credulous masses and through wars battles and terrorism of all kinds have caused great misery to the people in general. And this in the name of race religion language and what not.
The root cause of it all is intense anger , the "oziyaa koopam", something akin to intense hatred that has been seen as the powerful poison that kills people and the antidote of which is LOVE. But here it is the ANGER that swells in theheart and which burns intensively and makes even an ordinary person a tyrant, he who destroys everything as an expression of intense and unpacifiable inner anger.
Such an anger can arise for a number of reasons but the root cause of it all is the egotism that one nurtures. Such intense angers that makes one terrorize the world at large arise only because one feels intensely hurt for some reason or other and feeling very deeply humiliated, wants the avenge the humiliation by striking back at the agent of such a humiliation and sometimes even the faceless world at large. Such angers arise because of EGO, the aaNavac Cerukku and once a person is caught by this kind of anger he becomes BLIND , and in this blindness also beyond REASON. It is at this point that he becomes possessed by the Asuras such as the Tarakan here, a phenomenon akin to being possessed by the devils and ghosts.
When anger swells to immeasurable proportions all human attempts at pacifying will fail. The general public , good hearted , the one possessed by the devas only then learn a lesson -- that against such monstrous beasts they are helpless, that they CANNOT do anything to change the tyrannies and terrorism . It is at this point also they become genuinely religious and acknowledge that BEING is the MOST POWERFUL and once we pray and invoke HIS kindness HE would certainly come to the rescue.
But how does BEING help? What kind of rescue doe He provide?
There will be wars in which the terrorists will attack each other kill each other and the blood that flows becomes thatwhich pacifies. The anger of Asuras, the tyrannical individuals is pacified or cooled only by rivers of blood, the sacrifice of millions. The ordinary simple sacrifices are not sufficient.
The world has seen wars after wars right from the beginning -- the tribal wars, national wars, world wars , guerilla fighting, terrorists attacks and what not . The intensely angry cannot settle the differences through discussions debates and rational discourses. The have to fight it out to settle the differences and pacify themselves if they are still alive at the end of it all by drinking the blood of the innocents that flow like rivers.
This appears the strategy of BEING to deal with such individuals , described here metaphorically as the dance of FIRE.
Satyam Eva Jayate
This Upanisadic expression becomes the True Makavaakkya when, against the background of the meanings of such mythologies,we look towards a solution, a solution where it will NOT be necessary for BEING to dance the Dance of FIRE. The simple reason is that TRUTH is the ONLY thing that makes a person SUBMIT himself without, and it is very important here, humiliating and hurting his EGO. When one submits to TRUTH, and always it is TRUTH that demands submission , one does NOT feel slighted and the ego hurt.
And this provides the solution too. Irrationalities only give to irrationalities and such conflicts -- wars and what not -- then becomes inevitable. However when the whole world is organized as for TRUTH, where the whole of cultural dynamics enshrines the seeking and being in TRUTH as its most important fabric, we can see that we can create a cultural climate where Asura-like individuals may NOT arise among the people.
Hinduism has been successful , though not wholly but to a reasonable extend , in preventing the growth of Asuras, the intensely fanatical individuals who think nothing of killing millions of innocents. And this largely because it never restrained the QUESTIONING frame of mind. In fact it has instituted this as in integral part of its religious culture. NOTHING remains indiscontructible and this only because it is well understood that TRUTH is only thing that will remain indisconstructible andnothing else.
And it is also well understood that Satyam Eva Jayatee: Only TRUTH triumphs in the end.
Agamism 20 : The Temple as a TEXT
Thank you very much for the questions . The questions themselves contain in a way the answers . But let me elaborate on themas I feel that this concept is very important and despite being very ancient also of current relevance. I think the future of the worldis such that the animosity that is characteristic of inter religious situation and the penchant for converting people of one religion or no religion to one that one fancies will be a past , become something like the tribalism of primitive tribes from which we have risen above , at least in most of the cases. I am not perturbed by the current turbulence and insanity, in fact I take it as a sign that the times of tribalistic religions are over and that the whole of humanity will be inheritors of all the religious traditions so that such terms as Hinduism Christianity Islam Buddhism and so forth will become quite meaningless or will notbe so emotinally charged as they are at the moment. The fixation of the human mind towards a particular religion will be over and it will be open up itself to benefit by the insights of all religions . In this I also think that religion will becomes personalized and individualized and hence without the need for acharyas, fathers mullahs pandarams and what not . People in general will be interested in having direct communion with God or gods and in that they will not be fanatical at all.
Hermeneutics and the Temple.
One of the crucial notions that will become of great importance in our
future deliberations on the meaning of religion is that of Temple as TEXT
and the hermeneutics it implies. When we look at everything from the point
of view of Hermeneutics, i.e. the need to UNDERSTAND existence, everything
-- the tree over there, the rocks here , the meandering rivers, snow clad
hills etc. all will be seen TEXTS in the sense that we LEARN something
in beholding them. They TEACH us something provided we are willing to LEARN.
In Chinese ART, where NATURE is depicted as it is , where nature is allowed
to be what it is in the
paintings, is a case in point. There the EGO of man is NOT allowed to interfere and distort nature. The VIOLENCE of man's EGO is NOT permitted to devastate nature and transform it to a shape where like Picasso's paintings the grotesque in man is allowed to manifest itself. The EGO , especially the beastly side of it, is kept under control and NATURE allowed to be as it is.
This is central also in AGAMISM where the God and gods are allowed to be whatever they are and man subdued, just simply UNDERSTANDS them , understand the PLAY of BEING . And also in complete trust and LOVE allows being played by BEING. As Appar said : aadduvitaal aaroruvar aadaataaree? If played by BEING, who can refuse to be played?
The recognition of the TEMPLE as a TEXT is born out from this attitude : be OPEN to the gods and their Play. The temple as TEXT embodies this notion and it become a place where we can witness the game the divine forces play to keep the world going in the right direction. This allows us to answer the question about temple worship. Well if temple is text then temple worship has to be the READING of the TEXT. The mantras recited, the arcanas practiced , the observations of the various rituals festivals and so forth , in short the various acts of WORSHIP are in fact ways of READING the TEMPLE as TEXT.
What Kind of Text is the Temple?
From the point of view of hermeneutics, everything is a text and human
understanding itself is TEXTUAL, no matter how hard ittries, it cannot
escape from its textuality . But then the TEMPLE in being a text has to
be something special , something thatmakes it an integral part of what
we call the religious dimensions of existence. And it is here that we have
to bring in the distinction between the physics and metaphysics and
understand the temple as texts of the metaphysical world. In Sumerian times
itself the temple was considered as something lowered down by AN, the present
day aaNdavan of the Tamils, meaning God or
BEING. The temple is NOT the product of the human mind but rather a presentation of the metaphysical realms, something emerging from the DEPTHS and standing there as a TEXT whose contents are the elements of the metaphysical world or the world of the UNCONSCIOUS or more appropriately the CONCEALED WORLD, the MaRaip PoruL.
How to understand this?
We can bring in the notion of DREAMS to explain this. The dreams are NOT products of human thinking for they are had whileone is asleep and when all the intellectual efforts are put to sleep. The dreams EMERGE from the depths , they are disclosures of kind which are experienced by the dreaming subject . Not only that -- bulk of the dreams have a MESSAGE and the dreamer quite often has to INTERPRET the dreams in order to UNDERSTAND and grasp the message. The dreams are TEXTUAL and are fabricated by mental processes beyond the control of the person. They are THRUST upon the individuals as a way of helping them out provided they interprets them and understands them. What is most relevant for us here is that while they constitute a kind of experience they are NOT fabricated by the human mind but rather projected into the mind for the person to experience something that is NOT normally available to him. Thus in a way the person is inducted into the metaphysical realms through being made to experience dreams and dream-like experiences.
Temple is something like a dream -- a projection from the Depths, from the metaphysical realms and thus a presentation in which a person is made experience the Depths, the concealed realms , just as real as the physical but normally beyond the reach of the senses.
Thus temple worship is akin to dream interpretation exercises -- we interpret the deities rituals and what not as a way of understanding the Depths and where lurks the forces that shape our destiny, the secrets of our daily life. And when temples remain faithful to the way they are disclosed and where they are built the way they are disclosed , then they become RELIABLE for understanding the metaphysical realms.
Temple worship is a hermeneutic journey into the Depths, into the metaphysical
realms. And there is a DANGER here whichmust be understood. For the Temples
can FASCINATE the mind and imprison it -- imprison to the worship of
particular deity and make the mind fanatical through a mental fixation.
A person has to FIGHT against this possibility and it is here that I notice
the relevance of Polytheism and its ability to combat mental fixation towards
a particular deity or even a religion. The worship of DIFFERENT deities
with the understanding that all the deities are equally to be respected
and worshipped, serves in addition to
acknowledging the TRUTH about the WAYS of BEING, also keeps the mind FREE of fixations and hence fluid and sane.
The understanding that BEING presents Himself in a countless number of FORMS , though in Himself ONE., ensures theOPENNESS that also serves the TRANSCENDENCE towards higher and higher metaphysical realms.
The person is made to move from deity to deity , from temple to temple and in this mental pilgrimage, made also to enjoy a metaphysical journey that does not trap the mind and make it fanatical.
And when the mind thus cultured looks at the world religions, it will also see all the world religions as different deities, differenttemples and thus refuse to be imprisoned by any one of them. It will accept all without however being fanatically attached to oneparticular religion and thus seek to convert the whole world to a particular religion and wage even wars to succeed in it, comewhat may and even end up in barbaric terrorists attacks when one fails in that desire to convert. Fanaticism is ultimately anexpression of human EGO and this what temple worship will not foster.
Dear Dr. Loga/Any One Intrested,
I, Michael Teng, from College General, will like to
ask a few questions regarding Temple worship.
a) Temples in Malaysia are built for worship. What
kind of worship do the worshippers give? Deities? What
type? or Anything?
b) Can temples as you refer in the class session as
Text, can you please elaborate more of it?
c) How significant is temple to these Hindus
worshippers? Do temple signify Hinduism(H) or gives
other meaning to its(H) existence?
d)Is H a movement of the mind or the practice of the
people who believe that there is a 'Transcendence' out
above who is looking and taking care of them?
e) Can any one embrace Hinduism and yet practise other
forms of religion? like Christianity, Islam or even
Judaism, just to name a few?
f) Why are there many figurines in temples? And what
does each signify?
I 'm sorry for the disorganise way or asking the above
questions but whatever comes to my thoughts I just
ask. Pls supply my a glossary, separately, if you were
to use some terminology that I need to understand.
Thank you, Hope for a reply.