THEOSOPHY, Vol. 42, No. 3, January, 1954
(Pages 104-111; Size: 22K)

THE ATOM--TEMPLE OF JIVA(1)

The Monads (Jivas) are the Souls of the Atoms. Both are the fabric in which the Chohans (Dhyanis, gods) clothe themselves when a form is needed. 

--The Secret Doctrine

The forces in a nucleus are extremely strong -- much stronger than those which hold the electrons in an atom -- and these are already stronger than the forces between atoms which give the materials their tensile strength. 

--Atomic Physics
MODERN physics, while borrowing from the ancients their atomic theory, forgot one point, the most important of the doctrine; hence they got only the husks and will never be able to get at the kernel. They left behind, in the adoption of physical atoms, the suggestive fact that from Anaxagoras down to Epicurus, the Roman Lucretius, and finally even to Galileo, all these philosophers believed more or less in animated atoms, not in invisible specks of so-called "brute" matter.

The real atom does not exist on the material plane, it is beyond space and time. "No one has ever seen, smelt, heard, touched or tasted an 'atom'!" In its eternal state the atom is invisible even to the eye of an Archangel; and becomes visible to the latter only periodically, during the life cycle. The atom belongs wholly to the domain of metaphysics. It is an entified abstraction -- at any rate for physical Science -- and has nought to do with physics, strictly speaking, as it can never be brought to the test of retort or balance. Infinite divisibility of atoms resolves matter into simple centres of force, i.e., precludes the possibility of conceiving matter an objective substance. Each atom has seven planes of being or existence, we are taught; and each plane is governed by its specific laws of evolution and absorption. It requires a metaphysician -- and an Eastern metaphysician -- to understand our meaning.

The Secret Doctrine teaches the progressive development of everything, worlds as well as atoms; and this stupendous development has neither conceivable beginning nor imaginable end. The old Initiates knew of no miraculous creations but taught the evolution of atoms (on our physical plane) and their first differentiation from laya, into primordial substances beyond the zero line -- there where we place Mulaprakriti, the root-Principle of the world stuff and of all in the world. Matter is destructible in form while the atoms are absolutely indestructible, being the quintessence of Substances. These atoms are the primordial divine units, not the "atoms" of modern Science. The Substance-Principle is latent in every atom of the Universe, and is the Universe itself.

Draw a deep line in your thoughts between the ever-incognizable essence, and the as invisible, yet comprehensible Presence (Mulaprakriti), from beyond and through which vibrates the Sound of the Verbum, and from which evolve the numberless hierarchies of intelligent Egos, of conscious as of semi-conscious, perceptive and apperceptive Beings, whose essence is spiritual Force, whose Substance is the Elementals, and whose Bodies (when needed) are the atoms -- and our doctrine is there. There is pervading the whole universe a single homogeneous resonance, sound or tone, which acts as the awakener or vivifying power. It manifests itself not only as the power which stirs up and animates the particles of the Universe, but also of the evolution and dissolution of man, of the animal and mineral kingdoms, and of solar systems. Says the Rig Veda, "Desire first arose in IT, which was the primal germ of mind, and which Sages, searching with their intellect, have discovered in their heart to be the bond which connects Entity with non-Entity," or Manas with pure Atma-Buddhi.

The first principles of all things contained in the Universe are atoms and ... latent Deity or force. At its first manifestation it becomes WILL -- communicating the first impulse to the atoms. The latter is symbolized by Fohat.

Fohat is the personified electric vital power, the transcendental binding Unity of all Cosmic Energies on all the planes. On the Cosmic plane this influence is present in the constructive power that carries out, in the formation of things -- from the planetary system down to the glow-worm and simple daisy -- the plan of the mind of nature, or in the Divine Thought, with regard to the development and growth of that special thing. The action of Fohat resembles on an immense scale that of a living Force created by WILL. In its totality it represents the action of the Hosts of the creative Dhyan Chohans.
The "Mundane Egg" is the first stage of manifestation, undifferentiated primordial matter, in which the vital creative Germ receives its first spiritual impulse, potentiality becoming potency. The Egg, on whatever plane, means the ever-existing undifferentiated matter which strictly is not matter at all but, as we call it, Atoms. The ray of the "Ever-Darkness" becomes, as it is emitted, a ray of effulgent light, and flashes into the "Germ" -- the point in the Mundane Egg. But the term "Point" must not be understood as applying to any particular point in Space, for a germ exists in the centre of every atom, and these collectively form "the Germ." Or rather, as no atom can be made visible to our physical eye, the collectivity of these forms the noumenon of eternal and indestructible matter. The "Germ" is everywhere -- ubiquitous, subjective, homogeneous. It therefore means all germs, that is to say, unmanifested nature, or the whole creative power which will emanate.

All is life, and every atom of even mineral dust is a life, though beyond our comprehension and perception, because it is outside the range of the laws known to those who reject Occultism. Life precedes form and life survives the last atom of form. Universal life manifests for the purpose of the collective progress of the countless lives, the outbreathings of the One Life; in order that through the Ever-Becoming, every cosmic atom in this infinite Universe, passing from the formless and the intangible, through the mixed natures of the semi-terrestrial, down to matter in full generation, and then back again, reascending at each new period higher and nearer the final goal; that each atom, we say, may reach through individual merit and efforts that plane where it re-becomes the one unconditioned ALL.

Every elemental atom, in search of which more than one chemist has followed the path indicated by the alchemists, is, in the firm belief of the Occultist (when not knowledge) a soul. Not necessarily a disembodied soul, but a jiva, as the Hindus call it -- a centre of potential vitality with latent intelligence in it, and in the case of compound souls -- an intelligent active Existence; from the highest to the lowest order, a form composed of more or less differentiations. The collective aggregation of these atoms forms the Anima Mundi of our solar system, the soul of our little universe, each atom of which is of course a soul, a monad, a little universe endowed with consciousness, hence with memory. The desire for sentient life shows itself in everything, from an atom to a sun, and is a reflection of the Divine Thought propelled into objective existence, into a law that the Universe should exist. Jivatma is the differentiated soul, the life which gives being to the atoms and the universe, the molecule and the man, the animal, plant and mineral.

From the Elemental Vortices inaugurated by the universal mind -- through Anaxagoras down to Galileo, and after them to the speculations of European mystics -- all this is found in the Hindu hymns and Mantras to the "Gods, Monads and Atoms," in their fulness, for they are inseparable. Gods, Monads and Atoms are the correspondences of Spirit, Mind and Body (Atma, Manas, and Sthula Sarira). The gods of the ancients, the monads -- from Pythagoras down to Liebniz -- and the atoms of the present materialistic school (as borrowed by them from the theories of the old Greek Atomists) are only a compound unit, or a graduated unity like the human form, which begins with body and ends with spirit. What is collectively called Monads may be separated into three distinct Hosts, which, counted from the highest planes, are firstly, "Gods," or conscious spiritual Egos, the intelligent architects who work after the plan in the Divine Mind. Then come the elementals, or Monads, who form collectively and unconsciously the grand Universal Mirror of everything connected with their respective realms. Lastly, the atoms, or material molecules, which are informed by their apperceptive monads, just as every cell in the human body.

In their septenary aggregation they are the Heavenly Man. Every form on earth, and every speck (atom) in Space strives in its efforts toward self-formation to follow the model placed for it in the Heavenly Man. The atom's involution and evolution, its external growth and development, have all one and the same object -- man; man, as the highest physical and ultimate form on this earth; the Monad, in its absolute totality and awakened condition -- as the culmination of the divine incarnations on this earth.

The "many" proceed from the One -- the living spiritual germs or centres of force -- each in a septenary form, which first generate, and then give the primary Impulse to the law of evolution and gradual slow development. From these centres, beyond which Esoteric philosophy allows us to perceive the dim metaphysical outlines of the "Seven Sons" of Life and Light, the Seven Logoi of the Hermetic and all other philosophers -- begins the differentiation of the elements which enter into the constitution of our solar system. The seven laya centres are the seven zero points, using the term zero in the same sense that chemists do, to indicate a point at which, in Esotericism, the scale of reckoning of differentiation begins. Laya is that which is not manifested. It is the point at which or from which the primordial substance begins to differentiate and thus gives birth to the universe and all in it. Whatsoever quits the laya state becomes active life. It is drawn into the vortex of MOTION (the alchemical solvent of life); Spirit and Matter are the two poles of the One, which is neither spirit nor matter, both being the absolute life, latent.

It is one of the fundamental dogmas of Esoteric Cosmogony, that during the Kalpas (or aeons) of life, MOTION, which during the periods of Rest "pulsates and thrills through every slumbering atom," reassumes an ever-growing tendency -- from the first awakening of Kosmos to a new "Day" -- to circular movement. The "Deity becomes a Whirlwind." This law of vortical movement in primordial matter is one of the oldest concepts of Greek philosophy, whose first historical Sages were nearly all Initiates of the Mysteries. The Greeks had it from the Egyptians, and the Egyptians from the Chaldeans. Heat (the Breath), attraction and repulsion -- the three great factors of Motion, are the conditions under which the members of all the primitive family of Space are born, developed, and die, to be reborn after a "Night of Brahma," during which eternal matter relapses periodically into its primary undifferentiated state. Centres of force at first, the invisible sparks of primordial atoms differentiate into molecules, and become Suns -- passing gradually into objectivity -- gaseous, radiant, cosmic, the one "Whirlwind" (or Motion) finally giving impulse to the form and the initial motion, regulated and sustained by the never-resting Breaths -- the Dhyan Chohans.

Let it be remembered that Fire, Water and Air, or the Elements of Primary Creation so-called, are not the compound Elements they are on earth, but noumenal homogeneous Elements -- the spirits thereof. FIRE alone is One, on the plane of the One Reality. On the plane of the manifested, hence illusive being, its particles are the fiery lives which live and have their being at the expense of every other life that they consume. Therefore they are named the "DEVOURERS." Every visible thing in this Universe was built by such LIVES, from conscious and divine primordial man down to the unconscious agents that construct matter. From the One Life, formless and uncreate, proceeds the universe of lives. When the Devourers have differentiated the "fire-atoms" by a peculiar process of segmentation, the latter become life-germs, which aggregate according to the laws of cohesion and affinity. Then the life-germs produce lives of another kind, which work on the structure of our globe.

In the first Round, the globe, having been built by the primitive fire-lives, i.e., formed into a sphere -- had no solidity, nor qualifications save a cold brightness, nor form, nor color. It is only toward the end of the first Round that it developed one element (Fire?) which from its inorganic, so to say, or simple essence became now in our Round (the fourth) that fire we know throughout the system. The second Round brings into manifestation the second element -- Air; that element, the pursuit of which would ensure continuous life to him who would use it. From the second Round, Earth -- hitherto a foetus in the matrix of Space -- begins its real existence: it has developed individual sentient life, its second principle. The third Round developed the third principle -- Water. The fourth transformed the gaseous fluids and plastic form of our globe into the hard, crusted, grossly material sphere we are now living on. Earth will reach her true ultimate form -- her body shell -- only toward the end of the manvantara after the seventh Round. Our globe is, so far, in its Kamarupic state -- the astral body of desires and Ahamkara, dark Egotism, the progeny of Mahat, on the lower plane. During the three Rounds to come, Humanity, like the globe on which it lives, will ever be tending to reassume its primeval form, that of a Dhyan Chohanic Host. Man tends to become a God, and then -- GOD, like every other atom in the Universe.

"Who forms Manu (the Man), and who forms his body? The LIFE and the LIVES." Manu stands for the spiritual, heavenly man, the real and non-dying Ego in us, which is the direct emanation of the One Life of the Absolute Deity. As to our outward physical body, the house of the tabernacle of the Soul, the Doctrine teaches a strange lesson; it is only the exact Science of the future that is destined to vindicate the theory fully.

The human tabernacle is built by the countless lives, in the same way as the rocky crust of our earth. Our bodies, as well as those of animals, plants, and stones, are themselves altogether built up of such beings; which, except for the larger species, no microscope can detect. Not only the chemical compounds are the same, but the same infinitesimal lives compose the atoms of the bodies of the mountain and the daisy, of man and the ant, of the elephant, and of the tree which shelters him from the sun. Occultism teaches that the life-atoms of our (Prana) life-principle are never entirely lost when a man dies. Those atoms best impregnated with the life-principle (an independent, eternal, conscious factor) are partially transmuted from father to son by heredity, and partially drawn once more together and become the animating principle of the new body in every new incarnation of the Monads. Because, as the individual Soul is ever the same, so are the atoms of the lower principles (Body, its astral or life double, etc.), drawn as they are by affinity and Karmic law always to the same individuality in a series of various bodies.

The Initiates could teach and thoroughly understand how it is that each Ego is responsible for the use he makes of the atoms in space, and how each man can and does imprint a definite character and direction upon all the atoms used throughout life. Each man has a duty not only to himself but to the atoms in use. He is the great, the highest educator of them. Being each instant in possession of some, and likewise ever throwing them off, he should so live that they gain a fresh impulse to the higher life of man as compared with the brute. This impression and impulsion given by us either confers an affinity for human bodies and brains, or for that which, corresponding to brutal lives and base passions, belongs to the lower kingdoms.

The expression employed by Science, "inorganic substance," means simply that the latent life slumbering in the molecules of so-called inert matter is incognizable. Modern Chemistry, owing to observation and discovery has been unconsciously forced to adopt and recognize (in its periodic tables, etc.) the same ratio of progression and order in the evolution of chemical atoms -- as Occultism does both for its Dhyanis and Atoms; analogy being the first law. The very first group of the Rupa Angels is quaternary, an element being added to each in descending order. So are the atoms, adopting the phraseology of Chemistry, monatomic, diatomic, and tetratomic, progressing downwards. On the astral plane, the chemical elements have as correspondents only the four lowest orders of the scale of Angelic Beings -- the three higher principles in the atom, or rather molecule or chemical element, being perceptible only to the eye of the Initiate.

The atom may be compared to (and is for the Occultist) the seventh principle of a molecule. The physical or chemical molecule is composed of an infinity of finer molecules and these in their turn of innumerable and still finer molecules. Take, for instance, a molecule of iron and so resolve it that it becomes non-molecular; it is then at once transformed into one of its seven principles, viz., its astral body; the seventh of these is the atom. This is occult alchemy, not modern chemistry.

If Chemistry desired to find itself on the right path, it would have to correct its tabulated arrangements by that of the Occultists -- which it may refuse to do. In Esoteric Philosophy, every physical particle corresponds to and depends on its higher noumenon -- the Being to whose essence it belongs; and above as below, the Spiritual evolves from the Divine, the psycho-mental from the Spiritual -- tainted from its lower plane by the astral -- the whole animate and (seemingly) inanimate Nature evolving on parallel lines, and drawing its attributes from above as well as below. Each particle, whether you call it organic or inorganic, is a life. Every atom and molecule in this Universe is both life-giving and death-giving to that form, inasmuch as it builds -- by aggregation -- universes and the ephemeral vehicles ready to receive the transmigrating soul, and as eternally destroys and changes the forms and expels those souls from their temporary abodes.


COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:

Physics, upon which all the other sciences must necessarily build, introduces the modern man to new and bewildering, if not contradictory concepts. He hears of a finite but unlimited universe, of wrinkled and twisted space-time. He is told of electrons and protons constituting the atom, whirling in unimaginable orbits at inconceivable speeds, and before he has accommodated his mind to their fantastic dances they are joined by neutrons and positrons in a system of which the mathematical framework is still more complicated. If he supposes himself to understand the character of energy -- a very foolish supposition on the part of any man -- he must add to it the conception of negative energy. He must enlarge his mind to embrace the possibility of half a dozen geometries, which would have made Euclid stare and gasp; he must attempt to visualise cosmic rays, and "waves of probability". 


--W. MACNEILE DIXON

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