Archive for ‘False Values’

December 19, 2014

The Delusion Of Social And Species Division (1)

The delusion of social and species division is a central doctrine of Suddha Sanmargam.

It is implied by Ramalingam’s emphasis on the falsity and illegitimacy (Tamil:பொய்) of social divisions, among human beings, based on caste, class, race, clan, tribe, custom, gender, religion, nationality, and so forth, and species division, presupposed by speciesism, between human and non-human beings, based on biological differences.

The delusion of social and species division is also implied by the great moral and spiritual ideal of Suddha Sanmargam: the realization of soul-kinship with all sentient beings.

Recall that, in the previous post, I made a distinction between difference and division and characterized a division in terms of relations of opposition, discrimination, and antagonism, relations stemming from the emphasis on, and the exacerbation of, differences at the expense of shared features, inclusive of common needs and interests.

A division is, therefore, a fertile breeding ground of hatred and cruelty.

In its very nature, the division of the self and the other, with its attendant occlusion of the common ground and interest of the self and the other, leads to self-aggrandizement at the expense of the other. Inhumanity toward the other follows predictably.

Why is it a delusion to believe in the legitimacy of social divisions among human beings and species division between human and non-human beings?

It is a delusion because it is a false belief leading to pathology of thought, feeling, attitude, and action.

Here is why the belief in the legitimacy of social and species division is false.

Two entities X and Y are different if one has properties which the other lacks or possesses in lesser or greater degree.

However, this does not justify a division between X and Y, a relation of division characterized by opposition, discrimination, and antagonism.

The reason is that the differences do not imply the absence of similarities, or shared features, inclusive of common needs and interests, regardless of their degree, between X and Y.

Hence, difference does not imply an absence of common ground between X and Y based on their common needs and interests .

Therefore, the belief that there is necessarily a division between X and Y, because of the differences in their attributes, is false.

In other words, it is illogical, and, therefore, irrational to think that social and species divisions are implied by the existence of differences among human beings, or between human and non-human sentient beings.

For instance, X and Y may be different in that X, a human, has an advanced ability to communicate by means of language, whereas Y, a dog, has a limited capacity to communicate due to lack of language.

However, this difference in their level of ability to communicate does not abrogate the fact that the need and capacity to communicate is a similarity, or a shared property, between a human and a dog.

Hence, the fact that humans have language ability and dogs lack that ability does not show the absence of a shared or common need to communicate.

It follows that there is no basis for discriminatory treatment of dogs in respect of their need to communicate, among other needs.

Therefore, it would be morally wrong to deprive dogs of their capacity for communication, or to significantly restrict, or diminish, that capacity.

Thus, despite their differences, both human and non-human beings have needs and interests in common, e.g., need for sustenance, need for habitation, need for movement in an adequate amount of physical space, need for physical safety, etc., and, therefore, it is morally wrong to discriminate between human and non-human beings in respect of these common needs and interests.

Balaam and the Ass, by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1626. “After Balaam starts punishing the donkey for refusing to move, it is miraculously given the power to speak to Balaam (Numbers 22:28), and it complains about Balaam’s treatment. At this point, Balaam is allowed to see the angel, who informs him that the donkey is the only reason the angel did not kill Balaam. Balaam immediately repents, but is told to go on.” (Source: Wikipedia)

As I pointed out earlier, hatred and cruelty follow in the wake of the delusive belief in divisions among human beings and between human and non-human beings.

The delusive belief  in the division of human and non-human beings has led to pathological indifference, or cruelty, toward non-human beings.

As Jeffrey Masson points out in his book When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals, the French philosopher Descartes’ belief  in the division of humans and animals, hinging on the delusion that animals are machines bereft of the capacity to feel pain, led to the perpetration of pathological cruelty on animals:

(they) administered beatings to dogs with perfect indifference and made fun of those who pitied the creatures…They said the animals were clocks; that the cries they emitted when struck were only the noise of a little spring that had been touched, but that the whole body was without feeling.  They nailed the poor animals up on boards by their four paws to vivisect them to see the circulation of the blood, which was a great subject of controversy.”

A victim of the barbaric “bullfighting”!






The great English artist William Hogarth (1697 – 1764) showed in his series of engravings titled “The Four Stages of Cruelty” (1751) that the pathological cruelty toward animals, which stems from the species division of humans and animals and its attendant occlusion of their common needs and interests, is inexorably extended to other humans and inevitably recoils on the perpetrator.

William Hogarth, Painter and his Pug, 1745

William Hogarth, Painter and his Pug, Self-portrait, 1745

Hogarth commented to a bookseller, one Mr. Sewell, that:

“there is no part of my works of which I am so proud, and in which I now feel so happy, as in the series of The Four Stages of Cruelty because I believe the publication of theme has checked the diabolical spirit of barbarity to the brute creation which, I am sorry to say, was once so prevalent in this country.”  (European Magazine, June 1801)

Hogarth’s series may also be viewed as a portrayal of the karma of cruelty to animals.

“The First Stage of Cruelty” (1751) by William Hogarth. In the first print Hogarth introduces Tom Nero, whose name may have been inspired by the Roman Emperor of the same name…Conspicuous in the centre of the plate, he is shown being assisted by other boys to insert an arrow into a dog’s rectum, a torture apparently inspired by a devil punishing a sinner in Jacques Callot’s Temptation of St. Anthony. A more tender-hearted boy, perhaps the dog’s owner, pleads with Nero to stop tormenting the frightened animal, even offering food in an attempt to appease him. The other boys carry out equally barbaric acts: the two boys at the top of the steps are burning the eyes out of a bird with a hot needle heated by the link-boy’s torch; the boys in the foreground are throwing at a cock (perhaps an allusion to a nationalistic enmity towards the French, and a suggestion that the action takes place on Shrove Tuesday, the traditional day for cock-shying); another boy ties a bone to a dog’s tail—tempting, but out of reach; a pair of fighting cats are hung by their tails and taunted by a jeering group of boys; in the bottom left-hand corner a dog is set on a cat; and in the rear of the picture another cat tied to two bladders is thrown from a high window. (Source: Wikipedia)

While various Scenes of sportive Woe,
The Infant Race employ,
And tortur’d Victims bleeding shew,
The Tyrant in the Boy.

Behold! a Youth of gentler Heart,
To spare the Creature’s pain,
O take, he cries—take all my Tart,
But Tears and Tart are vain.

Learn from this fair Example—You
Whom savage Sports delight,
How Cruelty disgusts the view,
While Pity charms the sight.

The Second Stage of Cruelty” William Hogarth (1751). “In the second plate, the scene is Thavies Inn Gate (sometimes ironically written as Thieves Inn Gate), one of the Inns of Chancery which housed associations of lawyers in London. Tom Nero has grown up and become a hackney coachman, and the recreational cruelty of the schoolboy has turned into the professional cruelty of a man at work. Tom’s horse, worn out from years of mistreatment and overloading, has collapsed, breaking its leg and upsetting the carriage. Disregarding the animal’s pain, Tom has beaten it so furiously that he has put its eye out. In a satirical aside, Hogarth shows four corpulent barristers struggling to climb out of the carriage in a ludicrous state. They are probably caricatures of eminent jurists, but Hogarth did not reveal the subjects’ names, and they have not been identified. Elsewhere in the scene, other acts of cruelty against animals take place: a drover beats a lamb to death, an ass is driven on by force despite being overloaded, and an enraged bull tosses one of its tormentors. The cruelty has also advanced to include abuse of people. A dray crushes a playing boy while the drayman sleeps, oblivious to the boy’s injury and the beer spilling from his barrels. Posters in the background advertise a cockfight and a boxing match as further evidence of the brutal entertainments favoured by the subjects of the image. According to Werner Busch, the composition alludes to Rembrandt’s painting, Balaam’s Ass (1626). (Source: Wikipedia)

The generous Steed in hoary Age,
Subdu’d by Labour lies;
And mourns a cruel Master’s rage,
While Nature Strength denies.

The tender Lamb o’er drove and faint,
Amidst expiring Throws;
Bleats forth it’s innocent complaint
And dies beneath the Blows.

Inhuman Wretch! say whence proceeds
This coward Cruelty?
What Int’rest springs from barb’rous deeds?
What Joy from Misery?

The Third Stage Of Cruelty” William Hogarth (1751). “By the time of the third plate, Tom Nero has progressed from the mistreatment of animals to theft and murder. Having encouraged his pregnant lover, Ann Gill, to rob and leave her mistress, he murders the girl when she meets him. The murder is shown to be particularly brutal: her neck, wrist, and index finger are almost severed. Various features in the print are meant to intensify the feelings of dread: the murder takes place in a graveyard, said to be St Pancras but suggested by John Ireland to resemble Marylebone; an owl and a bat fly around the scene; the moon shines down on the crime; the clock strikes one for the end of the witching hour. The composition of the image may allude to Anthony van Dyck’s The Arrest of Christ. A lone Good Samaritan appears again: among the snarling faces of Tom’s accusers, a single face looks to the heavens in pity.” (Source: Wikipedia)

To lawless Love when once betray’d.
Soon Crime to Crime succeeds:
At length beguil’d to Theft, the Maid
By her Beguiler bleeds.

Yet learn, seducing Man! nor Night,
With all its sable Cloud,
can screen the guilty Deed from sight;
Foul Murder cries aloud.

The gaping Wounds and bloodstain’d steel,
Now shock his trembling Soul:
But Oh! what Pangs his Breast must feel,
When Death his Knell shall toll.

“The Fourth Stage Of Cruelty” William Hogarth (1751). “Having been tried and found guilty of murder, Nero has now been hanged and his body taken for the ignominious process of public dissection. The year after the prints were issued, the Murder Act 1752 would ensure that the bodies of murderers could be delivered to the surgeons so they could be “dissected and anatomised”. A tattoo on his arm identifies Tom Nero, and the rope still around his neck shows his method of execution. The dissectors, their hearts hardened after years of working with cadavers, are shown to have as much feeling for the body as Nero had for his victims; his eye is put out just as his horse’s was, and a dog feeds on his heart, taking a poetic revenge for the torture inflicted on one of its kind in the first plate. Nero’s face appears contorted in agony and although this depiction is not realistic, Hogarth meant it to heighten the fear for the audience. Just as his murdered mistress’s finger pointed to Nero’s destiny in Cruelty in Perfection, in this print Nero’s finger points to the boiled bones being prepared for display, indicating his ultimate fate.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Behold the Villain’s dire disgrace!
Not Death itself can end.
He finds no peaceful Burial-Place,
His breathless Corse, no friend.

Torn from the Root, that wicked Tongue,
Which daily swore and curst!
Those Eyeballs from their Sockets wrung,
That glow’d with lawless Lust!

His Heart expos’d to prying Eyes,
To Pity has no claim;
But, dreadful! from his Bones shall rise,
His Monument of Shame.

August 1, 2014

Soul-Kinship And The Scourge of Division

Anti-Arab graffiti left by JDL on a Palestinian Girls’s school in Hebron,West Bank

எங்குல மெம்மின மென்பதொண் ணூற்றா
றங்குல மென்றரு ளருட்பெருஞ் ஜோதி (Agaval, 219-220).

“My caste!”, “my clan!”, “my race!”, “my community!”

They clamor!

But enlighten us that

They refer only to the same living body in its standard length,

Arutperunjothi, OmniLight of Superme Compassion!   (Trans. Thill Raghu)

Ramalingam’s ethic of compassion is designed to awaken and develop our innate and dormant sense of soul-kinship with all sentient beings.

Compassion is possible only because of the reality of soul-kinship and a soul’s intuitive discernment of it. But the cultivation of compassion also brings about a flowering and realization of this innate and dormant sense of soul-kinship, a central goal of moral and spiritual development on the path of Suddha Sanmargam.

Thus, a full awareness or realization of the truth of soul-kinship, and its expression in our attitudes and actions, is the objective of the practice of the ethic of compassion for sentient beings on the path of Suddha Sanmargam.

We have seen that Ramalingam affirms the reality of plurality and diversity of sentient beings.

The affirmation of the reality of plurality and diversity of sentient beings is a metaphysical presupposition of his ethic of compassion.

If a view V presupposes a claim C, then C is necessarily consistent with V.

Therefore, this affirmation of the reality of plurality and diversity of sentient beings or souls is also consistent with Ramalingam’s emphasis on soul-kinship.

Kinship-in-diversity and unity-in-diversity are the central truths, respectively, of his ethics and metaphysics.

Diversity does not abrogate the reality of biological kinship in a human family. In just the same way, diversity does not abrogate the reality of soul-kinship in the vast family of sentient beings.

However, divisions undermine the sense of kinship in a family and threaten its unity. In the same way, divisions also undermine the sense of soul-kinship with sentient beings.

What is a division?

A division implies a relation constituted by dichotomy, or opposition, and discord. Hence, divisions imply conflict.

If divisions undermine our sense of soul-kinship, they will also undermine our ability to feel empathy and compassion. This paves the way to the perpetration of all sorts of injustices and cruelties on other sentient beings. Hence, we must carefully consider the nature of division and the means of overcoming it.

Difference or diversity is not a sufficient condition of division. In other words, difference or diversity does not necessarily imply division.

A human family is a good example. All the individuals who constitute a human family have different physical and mental characteristics, but these differences do not necessarily undermine the sense of kinship in that family. If the mere fact of differences in physical and mental characteristics were sufficient to undermine the sense of kinship in a family, then there would be no families at all!

In certain conditions, however, differences become divisions and undermine the sense of kinship in a family. Hence, we should focus on the analysis of conditions in which differences become divisions and undermine the sense of soul-kinship, the basis of compassion.

The mere fact of difference or diversity is not necessarily the problem. However, the emphasis on differences or diversity at the expense of the truth of the common or shared nature and predicament of human beings, and the sense of soul-kinship with other human beings, is certainly responsible for the prevalence of unjust and inhumane division, exclusion, and discrimination in human society.

This emphasis on the differences between the self and the other, and at the expense of the truth of soul-kinship between the self and the other, also takes the form of an identity which is divisive and exclusive e.g., caste, ethnic, race, gender, species, national, class, religious, political identities, etc.

Divisions are opposed to the truth of soul-kinship among sentient beings. Hence, divisions are false.

The human condition is rife with social divisions based on various sorts of differences: physical differences or differences pertaining to the physical body, differences of beliefs and values, differences of geographical or regional origin, differences of communal affiliation such as caste or ethnicity, differences of language, differences of sexual orientation, differences of social and/or economic status, etc.

These sorts of differences become hardened or encrusted into divisions when they are emphasized or given importance at the expense of the common ground or shared elements or features of human beings and their conditions of embodied existence.

The differences then become the basis for unjust and inhumane exclusion and discriminatory treatment. Such unjust and inhumane exclusion and discriminatory treatment springs from, and in turn contributes to, the further obscuration of a sense of soul-kinship and the waning of compassion. And this waning of compassion leads to a proliferation of unjust and inhumane exclusionary and discriminatory acts and practices.

In the absence of compassion, all sorts of injustices and cruelties will be perpetrated on other sentient beings, and moral order itself, constituted by the prevalence of patterns of ethical conduct, will collapse.

Ramalingam holds that compassion is the linchpin of moral order in all the worlds. Hence, that which undermines compassion also undermines moral order in the world. Since divisions undermine compassion, they also undermine moral order.

Hence, the effective means to prevent or alleviate the cancer of division in human society lies in the abolition of all unjust and inhumane division, exclusion, and discriminatory treatment based on any kind or type of difference among human beings.

This can be achieved only if we discern and emphasize the common ground of human beings, and, indeed, of all sentient beings, and do not countenance differences at the expense of this common ground.

Ramalingam has strongly condemned this tendency to create divisions among human beings on the basis of religion, sectarianism, caste, clan or ancestry, national origin, race, gender, and creed. He has also condemned the killing of animals and the destruction of plant life on the basis of speciesism, or the division between human and non-human living beings. These divisions only strengthen the ignorance of soul-kinship and lead to the waning of compassion.

There are shared universals of physical, biological, and spiritual nature underlying the differences among sentient beings.

In Ramalingam’s view, these sociocultural divisions based on caste, ethnicity, race, etc., obscure the reality of the common physical, biological, and spiritual predicament of human beings.

Addressing the divisions of race, caste, and community among human beings, Ramalingam petitions Arutperumjothi to enlighten the ignorant perpetrators of these divisions that they are merely labels attached to the physical body. 

எங்குல மெம்மின மென்பதொண் ணூற்றா
றங்குல மென்றரு ளருட்பெருஞ் ஜோதி (219-220).

“My caste!”, “my clan!”, “my race!”, “my community!”

They clamor!

But enlighten us that

They refer only to the same living body in its standard length,

Arutperumjothi, OmniLight of Supreme Compassion!   (Trans. Thill Raghu)

This verse also implies that the body is the common denominator or ground underlying the divisions of race, caste, tribe, community, etc. In other words, all these social divisions obscure the fact that the divided human beings share the same form of body and the vicissitudes of change which assail it.

Ascriptions of caste, race, etc., do not belong to the fundamental constituents and nature of the body possessed in common by both the so-called higher and lower castes, races, tribes, clans, nations, communities, etc. They also do not pertain to the soul or individual consciousness which is the real subject and agent.

It follows that social and cultural divisions of caste, race, tribe, clan, religion, etc., are false. They are not inherent in nature, the human body, or the soul.

In other words, nothing in the essential nature of the body or the soul of human beings can possibly show that they belong exclusively to any caste, tribe, clan, race, or religion, and that they are superior or inferior by virtue of this sort of identity.

Rather, these divisions are only maintained and perpetuated by false beliefs, irrational attitudes, and wrong conduct.

There is no “white blood” or “black blood”, only false notions of white blood or black blood. 

There is no “Brahmin blood” or “Shudra blood”, only false notions of Brahmin blood or Shudra blood.

There is no “Jewish blood” or “Arab blood”.

There is  just human blood!

In the same way, there is literally no “Hindu soul” or “Muslim soul”, “Jewish soul” or “Arab soul”. 

There are only ignorant divisions of human beings into Hindus and Muslims, Jews and Arabs, and so forth, based on a lack of discernment of the common features of their bodies, souls, and embodied predicament!

August 19, 2013

ARUTPERUMJOTHI: The Destroyer Of Skepticism And Phlegm!

The Doubting Thomas by Caravaggio

ஐயமுந் திரிபு மறுத்தென துடம்பினுள்
ஐயமு நீக்கிய வருட்பெருஞ் ஜோதி.


Doubt, distortion, and perversion of thought were extirpated,

And, in my body,

Phlegm was eliminated by

Arutperumjothi!” (Trans. Thill Raghu)

By “skepticism”, I mean philosophical skepticism, the philosophical view that knowledge is impossible, and that, therefore, we cannot be certain about any claim.

Philosophical skepticism, consequently, celebrates and glorifies doubt, intellectual vacillation, uncertainty, and the display of virtuosity in attacking and rejecting any truth-claim.

It is also very peculiar that philosophical skeptics uncritically assume that doubting is an intrinsically valuable practice. Hence, the endless and wearisome disquisitions, short or long, issuing forth from the philosophical skeptics, on the glory and rapture of being stuck forever in the swamps of doubt and uncertainty!

But, given the fact that philosophical skepticism is an exercise in intellectual and moral perversion,  we should seriously consider whether philosophical skepticism is a form of mental, moral, and spiritual disease which wreaks havoc in the mind in ways analogous to the havoc wrought by phlegm in the body.

Philosophical skepticism is a form of intellectual perversion because it deliberately denies the necessary conditions of its own formulation and assertion.

It denies that we can know anything and yet the very assertion of this skeptical position presupposes a knowledge of the meaning of the words and the corresponding concepts used in formulating the skeptical view or position. Otherwise, the skeptic must confess that he does not know what he is asserting or doubting!

Doubt implies an object of doubt, something which is subject to doubt. If the skeptic acknowledges that he knows what the object of his doubt is, e.g., a general or specific claim or thesis, then he is hoisted on the petard of inconsistency since he is saying both that he cannot know anything and that he also knows what he is doubting.

In Ludwig Wittgenstein’s parlance (His late work On Certainty sounds the death knell of philosophical skepticism!), we could say: Whereof you can doubt meaningfully, thereof you must know something.

Every act of doubting presupposes items of knowledge exempted from doubt. Doubting is meaningful only in the context, and against the backdrop, of knowledge. And this knowledge is often expressed in actions, in doing.

Let us consider one of the many peculiar assumptions of the philosophical skeptic, and of those who laud a skeptical stance toward anything and everything, the assumption that a doubt is intrinsically valuable. This false value (judgment) is at the root of the disease of skepticism.

The assumption is clearly absurd. It is analogous to the claim that an assertion is intrinsically valuable, or that a belief is intrinsically valuable, or that a denial is intrinsically valuable, and so on.

These are all absurd claims because, obviously,  the value of any assertion, belief, or denial is dependent on the content or object of the given assertion, belief, or denial, and the grounds or reasons for doing so. There is nothing intrinsically valuable about the denial that we need to breathe in order to live, or in the assertion that we can live merely on air, or in a belief in unicorns.

In just the same way, it is absurd to hold that a doubt is intrinsically valuable. Whether or not a doubt is valuable depends on the context, the content or object  of doubt, and the grounds for the doubt. There is nothing of value in someone expressing correctly,  in English, a doubt concerning his or her ability to say anything at all in English.

It is also equally absurd to express doubts on the “reliability of perception per se” or “reliability of inference per se” and so forth.

Although it is meaningful in certain  contexts to raise doubts about whether what we are seeing actually exists, whether our perception is veridical, and so forth, it makes no sense to doubt the “reliability of perception” for the simple and obvious reason that if perception were not, on the whole, reliable, the “doubting Thomas” would not even exist to vaunt his prowess in doubting everything! The very existence or survival of the doubter is testimony to the reliability of perception!

Further, there is a gross non sequitur and incoherence in the skeptical denial of the reliability of perception.

The skeptical denial of the reliability of perception invokes cases in which we turn out to be mistaken in thinking that our perceptions are veridical or correspond to reality, e.g., seeing that a stick is bent in water, seeing a mirage of an oasis in the middle of a desert, etc. But it is a gross non sequitur to infer from such cases that perception itself is unreliable as a means of knowledge.

This is because our judgments on the unreliability of our perceptions in these cases invoke and depend on the reliability of our perceptions in other cases!

We say that it is only an appearance that the stick is bent in water because we see that it is not bent when we take it out of water and we have no good grounds to doubt that such perceptions are veridical. We also reason inductively based on past perceptions that a stick cannot be bent merely by immersing it in a stagnant pool of water and that, therefore, it is an optical illusion that the stick looks bent when it is immersed in water.

Above all, we presuppose that our perception of the existence of the stick is veridical! If we do not presuppose that our perception of the existence of the stick is veridical, we cannot meaningfully raise any questions about the status of our perceptions of the appearance of the stick when it is immersed in water!

We judge the sight of an oasis in the middle of a desert to be an optical illusion only because we depend on the reliability of our perception when we get close to the location of the apparent oasis and see nothing there. Again, we also reason inductively based on past perceptions,  our own perceptions and/or that of other individuals, of the absence of oases on approach to their apparent location, that such phenomena are optical illusions.

“Illusion” is  a contrast concept and phenomenon and makes sense only in contrast to reality. If everything were an illusion, we would not even have a concept of illusion. Therefore, the judgment that a given perception is an optical illusion presupposes that we know that some perceptions are veridical or correspond to reality.

Thus, it is a non sequitur to conclude from any case of optical illusion that perception is unreliable as a means of knowledge.

Given that claims of optical illusion presuppose that there are veridical perceptions, or perceptions which correspond to reality, it is an instance of gross incoherence to argue that cases of optical illusions show that perception is unreliable.

And, God forbid, should the “doubting Thomas” go to a philosophy conference to celebrate the virtue of doubting the reliability of perception per se, the very act is testimony not only to the “reliability of perception”, but his reliance on perception!

If the skeptic is not stupid, then he already knows all these obvious truths. In that case, the pretense and insincerity involved in striking his absurd pose of ignorance or uncertainty concerning the necessary conditions of asserting coherently the very position of philosophical skepticism is certainly a form of moral perversion.

In short, philosophical skepticism is a form of intellectual and moral perversion. If perversion is a form of pathology, a disease, then it follows that philosophical skepticism is a form of intellectual and moral pathology.

Ramalingam discerned and expressed all this truth with crystalline clarity  in his magnum opus Arutperumjothi Agaval.

The Agaval verse quoted at the start of this post uses the Tamil word “ஐயம்” twice. In its first occurrence, it refers to doubt, uncertainty, and skepticism. It is conjoined with the word “திரிபு” which means “perversion and distortion”, e.g., divergence from truth, distortion, or misrepresentation, or modification of truth.

ஐயமுந் திரிபு மறுத்தென துடம்பினுள்

Doubt, distortion, and perversion of thought were extirpated,

In its second occurrence at the start of the second line, the same word “ஐயம்”  now refers to Phlegm, a deadly disease of the body:

ஐயமு நீக்கிய வருட்பெருஞ் ஜோதி.

And, in my body, phlegm was eliminated by


His reference to doubt, distortion, perversion of thought, and phlegm in a single verse shows that he viewed doubt, distortion, and perversion of thought as intellectual or mental diseases analogous to the diseases of phlegm in the body,  the former clogging the “respiratory” channels of the mind, as it were, in just the way the latter clogs the vital respiratory channels in the body.

Phlegm makes it difficult for us to breathe well, to take in the vital nourishment of air. Skepticism or persistent doubt makes it difficult for us to fully experience and understand reality, truth, and value. Phlegm destroys physical health. Skepticism or persistent doubt destroys intellectual, moral, and spiritual health and undermines one’s chances of attaining enlightenment and liberation.

The wondrous compassionate action of Arutperumjothi destroyed not only the diseases of skepticism and perversion of thought, including doubts and distortions pertaining to the reality of Arutperumjothi and its compassionate action, in Ramalingam’s mind, but also the diseases of phlegm in his body. No wonder that Ramalingam praises Arutperumjothi as the medicine which cures all ills.

Let us, therefore, seek to render ourselves receptive (no mean task since it involves the obliteration of all falsehood and cruelty in the self or soul) to this wondrous compassionate action of Arutperumjothi so that we too may be free from the diseases of skepticism, doubt, distortion and perversion of thought, and phlegm endemic to our embodied existence!

Refraining from vain indulgence in philosophical skepticism is the first step in this journey toward achieving a state of crystalline clarity of perception and enjoyment of the boundless reality and bliss of Arutperumjothi!


March 3, 2013

“Buddhist” Monks of Sri Lanka In Defense of War Crimes!

Sri Lankan Buddhist monks protest against UN human rights resolution proposed by US

These Sri Lankan “Buddhist” monks are exactly like the monks of the “Zen Buddhist” establishment in Japan who supported Japanese militarism, and its heinous war crimes against civilian populations in Asia in WWII, e.g., the well-documented Nanjing atrocities by the War Criminal Japanese Imperial Army, and offered specious appeals to “Zen Buddhist” doctrines to justify that militarism and its heinous war crimes.

Nanjing (China) Massacre victims of the War Criminal Japanese Imperial Army on the shore of the Yangtze River with a Japanese soldier standing nearby.

These ignorant and hypocritical Sri Lankan “Buddhist” monks, like their Japanese “Zen Buddhist” monk counterparts in WWII, have forgotten that the ethical principles of “Buddha Dhamma” take priority over irrational forms of patriotism and nationalism.

They have also conveniently and fatally forgotten the Buddhist emphasis on the relentless wheel of “Kamma” in accordance with whose turnings those who committed or supported war crimes will inevitably reap the consequences of their deeds in just the way the war criminal Japanese military establishment did in WWII.

Sri Lankan Buddhist monks protest against UN human rights resolution proposed by US
By Associated Press, The Washington Post
14 March 2012
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Hundreds of Buddhist monks on Wednesday marched in Sri Lanka’s capital to urge the United States to withdraw its support for a proposed U.N. rights body resolution on alleged abuses during the country’s civil war.
The monks blocked traffic on a main road as they marched from a Buddhist temple to the U.S. Embassy. Five were allowed to enter the building and deliver a letter that called on the U.S. not to “inconvenience and embarrass” Sri Lanka.
( Gemunu Amarasinghe / Associated Press ) – Buddhist monks, supporters of the government, march towards the U.S. Embassy, to urge the United States to withdraw its support for a proposed U.N. Human Rights Council resolution on alleged abuses during the country’s civil war, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Wednesday, March 14, 2012. The U.N. rights body in Geneva is expected to vote next week on the resolution, which calls on Sri Lanka to investigate allegations of abuses by both government troops and ethnic rebels in the final months of the war in 2009.
Sri Lanka’s government has organized protests against the proposed resolution, which calls on Sri Lanka to investigate allegations of abuses by both government troops and ethnic Tamil rebels in the final months of the war in 2009. The U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva is expected to vote on it next week.
According to a U.N. report, tens of thousands of ethnic Tamil civilians may have been killed in the final months of the 25-year civil war. It said most of the deaths occurred due to shell fire by government forces.
The government has rejected the report and its own reconciliation commission has cleared the military of deliberately targeting civilians.
The United States says that commission did not address some of the main abuse allegations and has introduced the draft resolution in the U.N. rights council calling for them to be investigated.
Meanwhile, India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said Wednesday that his country hopes its Sri Lankan neighbor “acts decisively and with vision” toward reconciliation with minority Tamils by continuing power sharing talks.
The Indian government has been under pressure from lawmakers, largely from the southern state of Tamil Nadu, home to some 60 million Tamils, to support the proposed resolution at the rights council.
Krishna however said that a decision will be taken only after the resolution is tabled and discussed.
India was a strong backer of Sri Lanka’s military campaign to defeat Tamil Tiger rebels after a failed military intervention in 1987.
Copyright 2012 The Washington Post