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Chapter 9: The Play of Being

The interrogations are over. Existence and its meaning is now fully understood. Everything is DIVINE PLAY and the individuals do not have any autonomy at all though led to believe so on the way. The truth is what Appar has already said : aattuvuiththaal yaar oruvar aataathaarE:   Who can resist playing, if played by BEING itself ? In the face of this GAME one is powerless, cannot do anything except pray and tolerate the pains and sufferings and plead that it be over as soon as possible. But the GAME is not actually to hurt and punish the individual but rather to DEVELOP him further so that he would be PURER and  CLOSER to BEING. It is an act of GRACE, of destroying Ego and thereby allowing the presence of BEING more visible  and radiant in the personality of the person. This is what really is happening BEHIND the phenomenal events and which remains for the most part HIDDEN from view,  remains a MYSTERY, covered-up so that the individual is lost without gripping what is really happening and why so. Now in this chapter, Arunandi summarizes the essentials of this PLAY of BEING as he understands, the DANCE of SIVA, of BEING and how this understanding destroys what can be called Existential Nihilism, a profound distrust of anything metaphysical.

  ¡ ǣ


kOlang koNta aaRu uNaraathE
nyaalang kaavalan yaanenak koLIip
poyyai meyyenap pukanRu vaiyaththu
Otaap pUtkai n-aati n-aataa
en uL karan-thu en pin van-tharuLi,

Out of supreme ignorance of how Thou hast assumed the form of the world itself, I have assumed that I am responsible for this world and have acted thus. I have articulated the FALSE as TRUTH and searched in vain not THEE but rather the appearances that are elusive like the imaginary chariots that are not of any use and which do not benefit me. But despite this foolishness of mine, Thou hast been within me in the background while foregrounding me  as an Ego but where necessary, disclosing Thyself in FORMS that are most appropriate and supremely instructive.

Notes: Otaap pUtkai: the physical world of appearances that are in continuous flux, and irreal like  imaginary chariots that do not run on the roads.. En pin van-tharuLi: disclosing the presence not directly but indirectly standing there in the unconscious.


ennaiyum thannaiyum aRivinRi iyaRRi

Thou hast played a game in which neither Thy presence nor my agency were clearly understood; i.e. Thou hast played a GAME rather in the realms of the unconscious;


ennathu yaanenum akan-thaiyung kaNtu

Because of Thy concealment, I began to act egoistically   claiming  I am the agent and that the things of the experiential world belong to me and hence are mine etc;

¡¢ ¡ ¡

yaavayin yaavaiyum yaangkaNunj chenRu
pukkuzip pukkup peyarththuzip peyarn-thu

And now I realize that no matter what, where and how, I have entered and accessed realms of Being, existed there and when necessitated, extricated myself from all these dwellings, all under Thy dictates and indirect instigations;

Ţ¡ Ţ

mikka pOkam vithiyaal viLaiththittu

And instructed me through such a PLAY most excellently and in a thoroughly just and rational manner so that now I am full of profound and true understanding of existence, experiencing the most blissful and excellent tastes:

Notes: mikka pOkam: can mean both the most excellent and blissful experiences as well as deep and profound illuminations that are immensely satisfying

¡ǡ â¡

Ƣ ɡ

en paNiyaaLaay enaip piriyaathE
Oti mILkene aatal paarththittu
en vazi n-inRanan en-thai yannO;

Oh Thou my dear FATHER! In this manner Thou hast stooped even to serve my humble self without ever abandoning me despite my follies, watching me like a kind Father over His children who venture , in their  ignorance, hither and thither, waiting patiently for their  HOME COMING after all those foolish adventures;

Notes: Oti mIlkena: to venture in foolishness into egoistic adventures and return after learning the falsity and vainness of these  misconceived maneuvers.

¢ Ш


aruLmika vutaimaiyin aruL thuRai van-thu
poruL mika aruLthalum poyppakai yaathalung
kaikoNt koLLenak katal ulakaRiya
meykaNta thEvan enappeyar virIith;

Because thou art GRACE itself, Thou hast come to dwell in the GRACE-SPACE, and in order  to establish the TRUE meaning and destroy the FALSE, thou hast descended in the person of Meykanda ThEvan for the whole vast  world to know and understand Thee and thy TRUTH;

Notes: poruL mika aruLthal: here of course not the worldly wealth but rather the redeeming wisdom; poyppakai aathal: becoming the foe of the false , illusory, constructive  and the imaginary.


thannut karan-thu thaan munnaakth
thannathun- thaanumaay ennai inRaakkith;

And having concealed Thyself within myself and later slowly emerged to the fore and making everything Thine and Thee by making my ego humble and ineffective;

Notes: ennai inRaakkal: here not the destruction of anma as it is in Vedanta but only the destruction of the ego, the I-ness and Mine-ness

thannaiyum ennaiyum than-thu;

And through this amazing PLAY ,leading me to understand truly what I am and what Thou art;

Notes: tharuthal: lit. giving but here of course providing a true understanding, an understanding that is genuine and authentic and absolutely valid so that there is apodictic certainty.


째 է

... thanathu
cheyyaamaiyum en cheyal inmaiyum
emmaan kaatti eythal
ammaa enakkE athichayan-th tharumE

And finally the TRUTH emerges  that without Thee  acting without really acting as such, my agency is overcome so that the actions that appear to be effected  by me are not really mine. This understanding too, comes to me as Thy GRACE, a fact that is amazing in itself. I stand totally astonished in the face of this wonderful illumination

Notes: ceyyaaami: not acting or doing in the ordinary instrumental sense and hence acting without really acting; cey inmai: the loss for self willed , purposive actions, actions that are instrumental, For-Self-Itself.


1) Having reached the end of his penetrating and incisive inquiry where his philosophic curiosity is  finally overcome and an understanding of TRUTH has burst upon himself and which remains beyond any disconstructive moves, Arunandi recalls now the PLAY of BEING that serves as the deepest TRUTH about existence. This TRUTH bursts upon his understanding providing a CLARITY so that his understanding shines  like the clear blue sky lighted up by the brilliant sun. The Truth is that this vast universe as a reality there and the numerous WORLDS, true and false, that configure existence as such and everything that transpires there, is an immense PLAY of BEING,  the magnificent DANCE of SIVA, a play not only for the most part UNCONSCIOUS  but also uncanny, bewildering and spellbinding. It is macrocosmic as well as microcosmic, gigantic extending over the whole cosmos as well as atomic, and which includes as something in between, the events in the life of the anmas that is existence, the concern of human beings like us. While universes are generated and destroyed effortlessly in an astounding rhythm, simultaneously there is loving attention, like that of a Father over his children, to the minute details  of the existential struggles of the lowly creatures, which are insignificant in comparison to the vast universes of such awesome splendor. Because of the GAME that nobody can resist, the egotism of the anmas is finally wounded and destroyed; the anma ceases to be a monad and becomes a SONAD - totally demonadized, departicularized, purified of all the delimiting prejudices and made  totally integral, self-contained, universal  and beyond good ad evil. The understanding that one is PLAYED DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY by BEING itself and everything that transpires as one's own actions, is not in fact so but only one is led to THINK so, relieves the individual from all moral anguish  and guilt. The TRUTH is that there is no escaping from being played by BEING, everything done, every experience enjoyed, every illuminations accessed, all are the GIFTS of BEING. This is the meaning the phrase that begins with <yaavayin yaavaiyum----  >, an articulation that does not provoke any further challenges and dulls the metaphysically inquisitive person with the immense INNER RADIANCE it provides.

2) The anma finally comes HOME, attains the vItu pERu,  after millenniums of evolutionary struggles, having existed a countless forms of existences , from the most humble to the most sublime. During all these struggles and particularly the human  that are  metaphysical or religious, the egoity is finally gets destroyed, is finally overcome  with Being of the human, giving way to the dominance of BEING. The selfness is lost, the individual as a  separate personality loses its ground  and in its place we have the DOMINANT PRESENCE OF BEING ITSELF . However the  individual  is not lost at all, the self  remains now as the backgrounded, that which remains in the shadows and which allows continuously in its Being only the presence of BEING and NOT itself. It becomes an iron ball deep in the furnace that becomes the fire of the furnace itself. The self is NOT effaced but only subdued.  This is meaning of the crucial phrase< thannut karanthu thaan munnaaki, thannathun- thaanumaai ennai inRaaki, thannaiyum ennaiyum than-thu, ȡ츢, >  The self given to understand what it is in itself, when it is shown that on its own, it is absolutely NOTHING and everything that it enjoys is a GIFT but which it does not understand because of its egotism. The Duality of existence and because of which exists the moral struggles, is there because of the forgetfulness of ARUL, that nothing is one's own, everything being a GIFT of BEING who is LOVE itself. The anma which under ordinary circumstances is a sonadic-monad, loses its monadism in the ethical struggles the are faced in the existential adventures and becomes purely sonadic, an anma that having overcome it's pacuviyalbu shines forth with its SIVAVIYALBU.  Such an anma, as Meykandar has observed,  becomes like  one of the distant stars that is subdued and made almost invisible but not absent, in the brilliance of the sun of the daylight sky. BEING finally triumphs by foregrounding Itself ( thaan munnaaki, ɡ), transmuting everything personal into the transpersonal or universal ( thannathu thaanumaai, ) and in this way destroying totally and irrevocably egoity ( ennai inRaakki, ȡ츢). The meaning of cosmic existence is the DEATH OF EGOITY which is different from self annihilation. The self stays as indestructible but it ceases to be assertive and instrumental, do things for its own benefits . It ceases to be phenomenal, something that traps the anma to an endless chain of existential repetitions, to being born again and again endlessly, an interminable sequence of births and deaths. It overcomes this historicity, temporal existence by submitting, of course with enormous resistance, to BEING completely  and through that suffering the death of Egoity and hence transcending the conditions of HUMAN PRAXIS and merging with DIVINE PRAXIS. Everything individual is given up to the total regulation of BEING Itself. It is at this point that genuine understanding of self and BEING emerges and provides the absolute illumination that has been the presupposition of all the hermeneutic struggles of so many births. (thannaiyum ennaiyum than-thu, ). It is only in the wake of genuine understanding of BEING that authentic understanding of self itself emerges reflexively, like the shape of the face reflexively with the use of the mirror. In seeing BEING as it is in itself, the self is also seen as it is in itself in a reflexive manner.

3) And this final attainment has been made possible only by the PLAY of BEING, unconscious, uncanny, bewildering but at the same time PEDAGOGICAL. Not only the anmas have been provided with a bodily apparatus with several doors of perception, physical and mental worlds of various kinds but over and above all these provisions there is the PLAY always and everywhere, a play in which the anmas are caught inescapably right from the beginning and because of which they LEARN, i.e. destroy IGNORANCE, an inner darkness or blindness intrinsic to them, something they are already with along with  understanding. The PLAY is also uncanny for the anmas have been led to SEE everything SHOWN as real and true and hence in  a way trapped into the physical world as if nothing else is real and the agency in praxis assumed as  its own agency. BEING conceals HIMSELF and because of this the anmas act as if they are the shapers of their own destiny  (njaalang kaavalan yaanenak koLIi, ¡ ǣ ) and totally responsible for whatever transpires around.

4) Under certain circumstances, as a prelude towards the destruction of the Ego, BEING abandons the anmas and  the blindness that this abandonment  re-establishes or makes the anmas ATTACH (Ta.paRRu) themselves to the physical reality and the phenomenal world as if that's the sole reality and hence the target of all the psychic discharges. Wars are waged, revolutions unleashed, ideologies implanted through coercive means, dogmas defended by ingenuity rather than by the notion of truth, cultic religions flourish with intend to convert others into their fold. But as CONCEALMENT of Thirobavam of BEING, is slowly uplifted and the presence of PLAY and BEING as that which PLAYS, the real mover of everything, is disclosed, it dawns gradually that what appeared  so solid and real, is in fact just an appearance, not false but something woven only to be dismantled and woven again. Everything is dismantable, disconstructible , destroyable  and hence not something that can be cherished and clinged onto as the absolute, the unchangeable and permanent. Only the PLAY is permanent and the PLAYER, the BEING,  and nothing else that is produced in the course of the PLAY including this vast  universe. The human existence, after all, is one of the GAMES of BEING ; one is being PLAYED by the PLAY and it is sheer foolishness to think  otherwise and suffer in terms of guilt and anguish. However as one realizes the TRUTH of this, the human will becomes slowly undermined and a sort of NIHILISM comes to prevail as a preparation for  the DEATH OF HUMAN WILL and the birth of DIVINE WILL. ( Thanathu ceyyaamai, en ceyal inmai, ¡ )

5) When the resistance to give up self will is overcome and DIVINE WILL is allowed to pervade the whole of self and hence the whole of behaviour,  only then it will be realized how KIND AND GRACEFUL, BEING has been all along, even before Its presence was  dimly apprehended. Serving as a humble servant ( eR paNiyaaLaay, ¡ǡ), BEING allowed being this and that  tirelessly and generously so that everything is allowed to be experienced within  a FATHERLY supervision so that some of these moves are seen as wrong and some others the right, some notions false and others true. The anmas are led to LEARN, understand for themselves what is good and what is not, so that there is no coercion of whatever kind in the learning that is brought about. In all such odyssey-like adventures, bold  fearless and uncontrolled, BEING stands along with and standing as the GURU or GUIDE informs and where necessary creates contextual pressures so that the anmas freedom is not misused and they FALL into ever waiting arms of the ANANVA MALAM, the DARK FORCE that brings about death and death-like miseries. The arresting phrase <Oti mIlkena aatal paarththittu, > shows Being doesn't restrict, imprison within dogmas, ideologies,  cultic religions and all such human inventions. HE allows even wrong moves, certainly within fatherly supervision, as a pedagogical strategy so that the EVIL and WRONG are known and understood as such EXPERIENTIALLY.  This direct and experiential understanding is that which is truly educative, all others being secondary and not convincing because of that. BEING is bent on providing this kind of education and in the interest of which the cultural and cultic castles are continuously destroyed and evaporated. SIVA is the BEING who destroys all the castles in the air even built of strong metals. BEING sees without seeing, the childlike games the anmas play in their domestic and political life, the earnestness with which such games are played without really knowing that they are constituted as such by BEING itself. When the person is  sufficiently mature and can face the death of his own ego, the TRUTH is disclosed by the removal of thirobavam, the concealment.


1) At this juncture , it is necessary to distinguish between Metaphysical Nihilism and Existential Nihilism. The former was dealt with adequately in the first chapter itself wherein absolute hetereology was overcome with the notion of Paramukti that articulates a ONENESS of the anmas with BEING without however the dissolution of the anma into a non-entity. The anma reaches a ONENESS IN UNDERSTANDING and therefore the SAME as BEING in the ultimate state of Paramukti. Now however we are dealing not with the nihilism the impossibility of Paramukti  poses but with Existential Nihilism, which is the notion that without the agency of the anmas, directly of indirectly, there is no action, a notion that denies the distinction between human praxis and divine praxis. There is distrust that whatever one does, it is not really one's doing but rather some other powers that remain for the most part hidden, concealed and unconscious. The distrust that one is made to play a PLAY that already pre-exists and that it is extra-personal, is that which breeds Existential Nihilism which is overcome finally and genuine BAKTI is made to emerge to condition existence. Such a nihilism results when the HUMAN WILL is wounded, the Ego is battered when it dawns that it is trapped in a maze from which there is no escape. Every move provides or opens up a world of a kind that is essentially a mental fabrication and it will be so as long as the WILL TO THINK survives. Thinking traps the anma and one is condemned to a world of thought constructions as long as one insists on thinking. Existential Nihilism results when the trapping character of thinking and its inauthenticity is realized. The ego is wounded beyond measure when it realizes that it is TOTALLY HELPLESS , that it is dependent directly or indirectly on the GRACE of BEING for whatever it experiences and enjoys. In itself it is thoroughly a destitute, has NOTHING that is it's own. The confidence of the Ego, that it can on its own plan and determine its own destiny, is undermined and shattered. A bewilderment and a state of disbelieve sets in inducing the existential nihilism that we are talking about. But however, when the thorough HELPLESNESS in the face of personal crises whether  political or domestic, is lived through, there emerges an understanding of the LIVING PRESENCE  of BEING that overcomes this distrust and doubt.  When the anmas exist unfalteringly in this Nihilism, events in life that are configured by forces beyond one control and regulation, there begins  seeing for oneself  the presence of BEING in the intimate details of one's own life. The expected and planned do not materialize or at least hold the possibility of becoming real. Events that  affect  a person profoundly, HAPPEN and the destiny over which one is made to be passive, thrown into state of  total helplessness, makes him raise his arms in the direction of BEING and PRAY for His Grace. With this begins the life of genuine BAKTI that is dealt with in the next chapter. During this period of transformation, there takes place a PURIFICATION, the absolution of all individuating prejudices so that egoity dies and the anma is reborn as a totally universalized being, radiating in its Being only BEING and nothing  else. This direct and non-interpretive and hence non-hermeneutical understanding of BEING in the Being of oneself and hence as part of lived experience, destroys the existential nihilism and in its wake genuine BAKTI begins to flourish.

2) Another source of existential nihilism is being depossessed of everything that the anma has appropriated as its own, what it deserves to have as for itself in virtue of its instrumental actions- properties, friendship, loving and intimate human relationships, social prestige and respect, social and political identities, cultic religions, cultural and ethinic identities and what not . All of a sudden as if  by magic and in a totally unpredictable manner, everything is removed, allowed to evaporate into thin air throwing the person into poverty and destitute, a social outcaste an infamous and monstrous individual, throughly despicable. The person is again knocked down by BEING, is made to realize that whatever he has been enjoying so far is a GIFT of BEING and NOT something that belongs him  as his right. The most cherished and intimate relationship that touches the EROS itself is alienated and made absent, shaking the very foundation of social existence. The political glory in which one was shining resplendently is no more, all of sudden one is made to fall and lose every political clout one has built up very painfully over the years. The good health that one has been enjoying is all of a sudden nomore, one is down with cancer. In the course of such PLAYS OF DEPRIVATION it slowly dawns that NOTHING in the world can be taken for granted, everything holds the possibility of slipping away between the fingers. When sufficient philosophic maturity has been attained, the anmas are shown the TRUTH and because of which, with a spirit of detachment, they see the phenomenal world as a world of MAYA, a magical reality , bewildering and magnificent but nevertheless a simply a SHOW, a stage play designed to educate the anmas. < thannathu thaanathumaay ennai inRaaki>: when BEING reappropriates what are rightfully HIS, I have NOTHING as my own. It is this NOTHINGNESS as  my own, that shatters the existential foundations of ordinary political and domestic existence that introduces a disbelieve, a distrust when  the  TRUTH is not fully grasped.  *I am NOTHING at all * is an existential nihilism of a kind, * Everything is BEING* is the TRUTH that destroys this nihilism.

3) * I am but I am absolutely NOTHING* is true existential nihilism. Everything is disowned, thrown out, discarded; every particularizing identity is negated so that one becomes autonomous and truly FREE. Simultaneously one becomes ahistorical and atemporal so that traditions   cease to be binding. Installing NOTHINGNESS of this kind that is so disturbing and from which we tend to recoil most often, is genuine EXISTENTIAL NIHILISM, a state of Being as NOTHING in oneself. It is an act of purification, of absolution--- washing away everything that serve to provide a personal identity, a particular personality,   and a personal essence. But as one establishes oneself firmly and in an unflinching manner so that one is absolutely PURE, BEING discloses Himself by casting the screen (Thirai) behind which He has been concealing Himself   for so long. With this disclosure the nihilism also disappears and an unshakable ABSOLUTISM, the believe in the presence of BEING in the  most certain terms comes to prevail and the life of genuine Bakti begins. The understanding becomes transphenomenal, atemporal, ahistorical and the seeing itself SEEING without really SEEING i.e. seeing that is not thetic, or as Meykandar would put it, <n-Okkaathu n-Okkal, 측 >, seeing without the  <cuttu>, the that-ness. The seeing ceases to be seeing because being SHOWN,  both coincide so that there is NO INTERPRETATION at all. The things are seen as to what they are in themselves , ding-in-sich as Kant would put it, because seeing ceases to be hermeneutical or interpretive. The understanding, because of this, is absolutistic and always in TRUTH, a truth that  remains unsupplantable and indisplaceable. The anma continues to be but its Being is completely overshadowed by BEING, an attainment of the highest possibility that has been there all along in the depths in its long evolutionary history but at long last now realized as an existential TRUTH.

4) It emerges now that EXISTENCE is similar to  a stage PLAY, a GAME or a DANCE with systematic movements with different kinds rhythms and patterns with rules of their own.  The movements are not haphazard , wild and without any ordaining principle. But this understanding of existence can emerge when the esthetical is bought together with the hermeneutic scientific that subsumes the positivistic. The esthetical, that under the dominance of BINDU opens up the worlds to be explored and be familiar with but it is the NATHAM dominated rational thrusts that seeks to UNDERSTAND through hermeneutic scientific kind of inquiries that finally brings about illuminations and hence the destruction of IGNORANCE. The DANCE  is the Bindu and Natham that metaphorically is understood as the DANCE of SIVA and SAKTI. When the eyes begin to see everything that transpires in the world and in the personal history as the DANCE of SIVA-SAKTI, one also begins to see the living presence of BEING everywhere.
In this ETHICS more important than epistemology for  understanding TRUTH. But what comes as distinct of SAIVA SIDDHANTA is that even ethics transcended and reigning presence of ARUL  is noted as that which rules everything. As KaraikkaLl Ammaiyar asserted in the 5th cent. itself < aruLE ulakelaam aaLvippathu, է Ħġ Ţ> : it is aruL that rules the world, so it is. While epistemology is overcome when the notion of PLAY or DANCE is instituted as central for understanding EXISTENCE, ethics becomes the primary intuition that guides self-development but gives way to the notion of aruL when ethics itself is transcended. Ethics aims at the destruction of  I-ness and mine-ness and hence the presence of EGO and along with it the appropriation of UNIVERSAL PRAXIS into HUMAN PRAXIS. When the ethical conflict that issues with such concerns is transcended and all the finitising prejudices overcome, there emerges the dominance of aruL, PURE LOVE in a manner that remains difficult to efface: <thutaippathillaa aruL thoonRital. Шġ Ȣ>: non effacing dominance of GRACE in the being of the anma. Such a universal and PURE LOVE, disalienates the self so that it is thoroughly one with all, the SAME as all and thoroughly UNIVERSAL. This aruL dominated PURE LOVE is not an ethical value, the supremely good or noble but rather an uncalculating spontaneity that transcends all values and judgements. Such a LOVE, the SIVA-ANPU is not even the niskama karma of Bagavath Githa; it is beyond that as no thinking as such is involved. It is trans-ethical spontaneity that  does not see an OTHER and hence as different.  There is NO ethical calculation of whatever kind but only purre spontaneity.