Portrait of Madame Blavatsky resized


No Religion Higher Than Truth

Life and The Atom

Theosophy Magazine
Vol. 25, No. 1. November 1936

The radical unity of the ultimate essence of each constituent part of compounds in Nature — from Star to mineral Atom, from the highest Dhyan Chohan to the smallest infusoria, in the fullest acceptation of the term, and whether applied to the spiritual, intellectual, or physical worlds — this is the one fundamental law in Occult Science. –(S.D. I, 120).

“TWO theories are necessary to explain the universe and the atom,” it is 1) [Footnote: (1) “The Week in Science: Einstein’s Latest Theory. The Scientist offers a Method of Approach to Reconcile the Stars with the Behavior of Electrons in Atoms.” The New York Times, July 7, 1935. ] one “a theory of relativity which,” it is claimed, “explains admirably how the universe is constructed, how space and time should be conceived, how light and hurtling projectiles travel; and on the other hand, a quantum theory which,” it is believed, “explains how light and heat and electricity are emitted by excited atoms and how electrons leap about within the atoms.”

The fact is that these theories are no more than partial descriptions variously amplified and illustrated. They do not “explain” at all, for the simple reason that surface effects alone are dealt with, the underlying causes admittedly having eluded modern research. In nature the behavior of electrons and atoms are already reconciled with that of the stars; it is only in man’s conceptions that any reconciliation need be made. The absolutely upside-down reasoning and false conclusions arrived at in speculations made from erroneous “scientific” imagination applied to fact, show the wrong basis and method of procedure. Separate the two — theories from the facts of observation — and approach the latter in the light of eternal truth that is Theosophy, and order may be seen to emerge out of what before was chaos.

There is relativity throughout the universe, but that does not throw out of court the absoluteness in which it inheres. There are quanta, relatively speaking, in all manifestation, but not as distinctly separate or dissociated elements from the rest or the whole of life. That applies as much to man as it does to the electron or the atom. Else why talk of space, time or motion at all in any way? — or of unity either? — if these are mere intellectual abstractions with no particular or universal application!

Dr. Einstein has made another attempt to formulate a theory which will embrace in a single comprehensive statement the wheelings of the stars, the speeding of light on its course, the attraction of the earth for falling bodies, the lustre of the diamond, the lightness of hydrogen and the millions of manifestations of matter. The quest of such a magic formula is as old as man. 2) [Footnote:(2) Op. cit.]

It is not two theories, nor a third, nor a hundred that are needed, but verily the three fundamental propositions of Theosophy, the Stanzas and their elucidation in The Secret Doctrine that “give an abstract formula which can be applied” — “to all evolution.” It is said to have taken Dr. Einstein some fifteen years to arrive at the essential electro-magnetic nature of all phenomena. A tyro in Theosophy, having become acquainted with the fundamental principles and the nature of astral light and astral matter, “electric and magnetic in essence,” as explained long before Dr. Einstein’s so-called discovery, can learn it in as many weeks. “For twenty years physicists have been trying to break down this duality (relativity and quantum theories) to present us with a single all-inclusive theory.” “Since stars are composed of atoms the need (?) of two theories is an indication that all is not well with physics. Whether he has succeeded in his quest Dr. Einstein does not know as yet. Ultimately the unification that he seeks must come.”

The unification has ever existed in that accumulated Wisdom of the Ages which is the Secret Doctrine –not as a theory, but as a fundamental proposition. “The fundamental Law in that system, the central point from which all emerged, around and toward which all gravitates, and upon which is hung the philosophy of the rest, is the one homogeneous divine Substance-Principle, the one radical cause.” This is not meant to decry any truths arrived at by the scientists; on the contrary, they are valuable aids to the cause of Truth; but simply to show by contrast that “Only those who realise how far Intuition soars above the tardy processes of ratiocinative thought can form the faintest conception of that absolute Wisdom which transcends the ideas of Time and Space.” How much better to proceed, on the basis of the fundamental and eternal truths of Theosophy, to practical observation and experience.

What is this new “Method of Approach to Reconcile the Stars with the Behavior of Electrons in Atoms” that is now offered as a new theory? From what does it come and to what does it lead? It may be well to consider these questions, to compare and contrast the findings of science with the teachings of the ancient Wisdom, to correct possible errors and arrive more nearly at the underlying truths. Referring again to the Times’ exposition:3)[Footnote:(3) Op. cit.]

To understand the nature of the riddle we must consider some of the fundamentals of relativity. And so we begin with the conception of the “field.”
… Nothing material (?) comes out of the magnet. Yet it creates a sphere of influence — a field….

The earth has a gravitational field, just like this magnetic field….

Einstein gave us an entirely new conception of space — one utterly different from the kind we deal with when we measure a room. It is a space which a mass can bend more or less to suit its own shape. An impossibly (?) big body could theoretically wrap space around itself. The conception is one that cannot (?) be grasped if we persist in thinking of space in the accustomed way. Our space is absolute. Einstein’s space is not. It is welded to time and to matter.

Now it follows from this that space (?) must be curved. There can be no (?) straight lines anywhere. When a stone falls to the earth it follows one of the lines of space tension. It can no more help doing so than a ship can help tracing a curved path on the globular earth as it sails from New York to London. So with the planets. They cannot help traveling in curved paths around the earth; for the sun has warped space in such a way that the paths are differently marked out.

With light it is the same. It travels like everything else, in a curved line. Also it has inertia and something resembling weight — a discovery made long before Einstein. Hence it is theoretically possible for an impossibly (?) large star to capture a ray of light and to wrap it around itself, or rather, to make it travel in a closed path around itself….

Gone is the old notion of force; gone is gravitation in the old sense. It is the field that is all important.

Now all these different fields, while they have much in common, are not as yet demonstrably identical. That they have something in common is suggested by the similarity of the laws that apply to them.

Beginning with the conception of the “field” or “sphere of influence” as all important, science in this new theory makes a start in the middle of the third fundamental proposition of Theosophy, does not breathe a word as to any guiding intelligence within, bringing about this or that “in such a way,” hesitatingly admits the second fundamental in a partial way as “similarity of laws,” and leaves out altogether the unavoidable first fundamental proposition — the one absolute Principle in which all finite conceptions, fields, spheres of influence, relativity, quanta, universe, man and atoms included, inhere, live and move and have their being.

The Einstein theory is attractive because there are some grains of truth in it, but it can never in its present limited and distorted form satisfy either the conditions in nature as they are, nor the mind and heart of man. What scientists, philosophers and thinkers need to ponder deeply and profoundly regarding the concepts of Space is the teaching of The Secret Doctrine which shows that “Space is neither a ‘limitless void,’ nor a ‘conditioned fulness,’ but both: being, on the plane of absolute abstraction, the ever-incognisable Deity, which is void only to finite minds, and on that of mayavic perception, the Plenum, the absolute Container of all that is, whether manifested or unmanifested: it is therefore, that ABSOLUTE ALL.”

This fundamental conception leads naturally to that of the duality which pervades the manifested universe — space in the abstract sense unconditioned infinite and eternal, and conditioned or limited space, or even spaces, contained in IT. Alone from the point of view of “the boundless fields of the Unknown” can one rightly contemplate the many and various “fields,” be they electro-magnetic, light, space, motion or any other evolved by the conscious intelligences as their causative agents in the One Spirit or One Life. What is this warping, bending and wrapping of space other than manifestations in and of the plastic substance or essence pervading everything everywhere? Nothing material in the ordinary sense may appear to come from the magnet, yet it creates a sphere of influence — a field — and that is something. The earth is said to have “a gravitational field, just like this magnetic field.” Then gravitational forces must be represented with polarity, so to speak, in that “sphere of influence” about the earth, planets, suns, stars, man or atom, since magnetic and electric fields show positive and negative polarity, forces of attraction and repulsion. Evidently, everything has a field, and is one — with its own sphere of influence derived from its own essence — in turn derived from the one Over-Soul.

That a star should capture, so to speak, a ray of light and “wrap it around itself” or make it travel in a closed path around itself is a very ancient conception, however new to the moderns. The earth does just that to invisible electro-magnetic rays from the Sun, part of which circulate about the earth and show themselves in Auroral and other displays. Even sight was explained by the ancients in this way, as the power of the seer and eye to catch the light from an object. This is more a matter of vibration than of size. Thus ancient conceptions based on facts of observation and not on speculation, may be vindicated in modern sight. And all this is subject to eternal and immutable law inherent in the whole — all in all in the one absoluteness. The conception is unavoidable, else where does one land?

To reconcile the stars above with the behavior of electrons in atoms a new conception of space is offered in the latest theory of Einstein. It is described as “a space of two identical sheets joined by many bridges.”

The conception is one that only (?) the mathematician can grasp. For this double space and these many bridges are purely symbolic. In fact, they are much like the bars and notes printed on a sheet of music. The music does not exist in nature (!). It comes into existence when it is played and thus acquires a fleeting reality.

So with this new conception of Einstein’s. The universe is only a grand hypothesis. 4) [Footnote:(4) Op. cit.]

The materialists may rejoice, and perhaps the Christian “Scientists” along with them. But that does not make a grievous error right. Does this symbolism stand for the various planes of being, none of which are identical save in ultimate essence, through which consciousness pierces up and down? That is the only sense in which it would have depth of meaning as an old analogy long used in Theosophy. To recognize relative Space on the one hand and deny its absoluteness on the other, is no more logical than to behold one face of a coin and deny the other. Naturally the conclusions from false premises would be just as erroneous. But once apprehend the fundamental absoluteness in which all relative, finite and conditioned being inheres, and the rest unfolds itself naturally. Music, like light, electricity, magnetism, heat or anything else, does exist in nature, and it does come into manifested existence when it is played or produced, acquiring thereby a seeming fleeting reality out of and in the one Reality whence it sprang and whither it returns. “Space is neither a ‘limitless void,’ nor a ‘conditioned fulness,’ but both,” as explained. Stars and electrons or atoms, Suns or planets, men and things and all the kingdoms — “the never ending stream of conditioned existence” — sprang from the one “Primeval Spirit.” Into it they return — again re-emerge — and again return. Indeed, it is true.

There is every reason to believe that when at last the macrocosm and the microcosm are embraced in one grand synthesizing formula we shall have to look upon the world with new eyes. Possibly this generation is not ripe for a different orientation in our conception of nature. 5) [Footnote:(5) Op. cit.]

They are so embraced in the Secret Doctrine of the ages, and every true student of it goes through just that experience of having “to look upon the world with new eyes,” the “macrocosm and the microcosm embraced in one grand synthesizing formula” that is no mere mathematical abstraction, however mathematical it may be and is in fact, but also imbued with the spirit of eternal truth. As a most prominent writer and director in matters astronomical has admitted of the scientists as regards the destiny of stars: “but we do not yet know enough about the fundamental laws to work it out clearly.” 6) [Footnote:(6) “Impossible Planets” By Henry Norris Russell, Scientific American, July, 1935.]

It is time that all true students take heart, that others may also learn of the fundamentals underlying “the grand panorama of the ever periodically recurring Law — impressed upon the plastic minds of the first races endowed with Consciousness by those who reflected the same from the Universal Mind.”

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