THEOSOPHY, Vol. 19, No. 7, May, 1931
(Pages 321-324; Size: 13K)
(Number 30 of a 103-part series)

SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE

XXVIII

(Part II)

BEFORE proceeding to the phenomena of the Great Dissolution, let us dip a little deeper into the constitution of this entity once held to be the ultimate particle of matter. According to modern science, it is a little solar system, containing a very heavy center, corresponding to the sun. This is surrounded by the "planets" -- electrons of much lighter weight. According to one theory, the electrons vibrate in stationary positions; according to another, they circle the center with incredible rapidity. Each theory was created to explain its own set of phenomena, and both of them together fail to cover all the ground.

Prof. Jakob Kunz gives a resumé of the development of the modern theories containing descriptions of the hypothetical atom, which should be studied.(10) It not only demonstrates the folly of looking for pictures of reality in scientific theory, by showing how contradictory bases can be made to yield the same results; but also introduces a new hypothesis of which but few scientists have yet taken cognition, and which may well be fated to displace the old -- the "wave-mechanics" of Schrödinger.(11)

This theory is an astonishing approach to Secret Doctrine physics. Under it, the action of the electron is trans-phenomenal; each electron is spread through the whole space of the atom, and is not in a fixed orbit. The radiative motion which was formerly ascribed to the travel of the electrons, and especially to their changes from one orbit to another, are with this theory thought to be caused by a pulsation throughout the atomic sphere.

Thus the atom vanishes as a concrete physical and mechanical form, and resolves into a complex of vibrations entering time and space from regions unknown; vibrations of a substance equally unknown. The theory is non-committal as to whether the atom rotates; but upon analogy, since no other sphere suspended in space fails to rotate, it is logical to suppose that it does, agreeably with the Secret Doctrine teaching of vortical motion. For the picture of a sphere supplied with pulsations from out of space, which emerge into the physical world, is precisely that of a vortex connecting the material plane with -- something else. The atom then becomes a compound of entitative vibrations, lying together "like thoughts in one brain," deriving their life from the unknown. This appears to be as perfect a conception as can be comprehended by those who limit themselves to a study of "the physical basis of life."

Upon inaugurating an active period, says the Secret Doctrine, an expansion of this Divine essence from without inwardly and within outwardly, occurs in obedience to eternal and immutable law, and the phenomenal or visible universe is the ultimate result of the long chain of cosmical forces thus progressively set in motion. In like manner, when the passive condition is resumed, a contraction of the Divine essence takes place, and the previous work of creation is gradually and progressively undone. (S.D. I, 62).

The expansion "from within without" of the Mother, called elsewhere the "Waters of Space," "Universal Matrix," etc., does not allude to an expansion from a small center or focus, but, without reference to size or limitation or area, means the development of limitless subjectivity into as limitless objectivity.... It implies that this expansion, not being an increase in size -- for infinite extension admits of no enlargement -- was a change of condition. (S.D. I, 62).

According to Schrödinger, the quality which gives the atom objectivity is electric density; this density depends upon the aforementioned vibration, and so, in the words of The Secret Doctrine:
...he (Fohat) is that Occult, electric, vital power, which, under the Will of the Creative Logos, unites and brings together all forms, giving them the first impulse which becomes in time law.... Fohat is transformed into that force which brings together the elemental atoms and makes them aggregate and combine.... In his secondary aspect, Fohat is the Solar Energy, the electric vital fluid ... or -- Electricity. (S.D. I, 109-112). (Comm. St. V.)
Dr. C. J. Davisson, of the Bell Telephone Laboratory, found by experiment that a beam of "electrons" acts like X-rays; he infers that "some sort of wave motion is associated with the motion of a beam of electrons."(12)

Had Dr. Davisson been familiar with the Schrödinger theory, he would not have been perplexed.

Now, what scientific evidence have we, of the physical phenomena following upon that "contraction of the Divine essence," and the "undoing of the previous work of creation"? It is evident that all the qualities of matter -- mass, adhesion, cohesion -- must depend upon the characteristics of those internal vibrations; there is nothing else to which to attribute them. If those vibrations quiet down -- then matter loses its cohesion, and the Universe must begin to slow down and disintegrate in all its parts, while matter gradually resolves itself into its own unknowable essence. Does science recognize this at last? The answer is decidedly in the affirmative; the corollary of the creation of matter was too obvious for Dr. Millikan to overlook, and he announces his suspicion that all matter is capable of radioactive disintegration, "though evidence in most cases is lacking."(13) Nevertheless some years ago, Prof. Gustave Le Bon, in his remarkable volumes L'Evolution des Forces and L'Evolution de la Matière, demonstrated the actuality of that universal breaking down -- which is nothing more nor less than Nitya Pralaya.(14)

Dr. R. D. Kleeman deduces from chemistry experiments that dark bodies in interstellar space, finally reach absolute zero and explode.

Dr. Max Wolff, previously quoted, and an article in Science, August 26, 1927, are in exact agreement. Dr. Wolff considers that stars thus exploding may retain a nucleus and in time evolve again. This, of course, is as near the Theosophical teaching as anything expressible in terms of physics can well be.

His mistake is that he believes a long time must be devoted to the ruin of the solar system: we are told that it occurs in the twinkling of an eye but not without many preliminary warnings. Another error is the supposition that the earth will fall into the sun. The sun itself is first to disintegrate in the solar pralaya.(15)
At Pralaya, the Doctrine teaches, the solar center becomes sevenfold intensified, and all compounded things perish, by returning to the primordial condition.

What of our present state? A very curious tabulation has been made by M. E. J. Cheury de Bray, of the Astronomical Society of France. A summary of the results of measurements of the speed of light since 1849, indicates that it is decreasing at the rate of four kilometers per year. At this rate, in about 75,000 years our part of the Universe would become lightless, and, since the existence of light is synonymous with all existence, completely disintegrated. M. de Bray considers that if this is substantiated by further observation, "accepted ideas in theoretical physics ... are due for a revolutionary upsetting."(16)

But this has no immediate concern; the cycles have many ages of rises and falls to run before the Great Dissolution. What concerns us now is that Science has in its purview at last the whole of the physical Manvantara, from the dawn of matter to Maha Pralaya; and it has arrived at this point over the road pointed out:

The spectra of the resolvable and irresolvable nebulae are shown to be entirely different, the spectra of the latter showing their physical state to be that of glowing gas or vapour. The bright lines of one nebula reveal the existence of hydrogen in it, and of other material substances known and unknown. The same in the atmospheres of the Sun and stars. This leads to the direct inference that a star is formed by the condensation of a nebula; hence that even the metals themselves on earth are formed owing to the condensation of hydrogen or some other primitive matter, some ancestral cousin to "helium," perhaps, or some yet unknown stuff? This does not clash with the occult teachings. And this is the problem that chemistry is trying to solve; and it must succeed sooner or later in the task, accepting nolens volens, when it does, the esoteric teaching. But when this does happen, it will kill the nebular theory as it now stands. (S.D. I, 595-6.)
Let us then close with a description of Pralaya which, once myth and superstition, has become scientific:
...air blends itself with ether (Akâsa); the Bhutadi (the origin, or rather the cause, of the primary element) devours the ether and is (itself) destroyed by Mahat (the Great, the Universal mind), which along with all these is seized upon by Prakriti and disappears. The Prakriti is essentially the same, whether discrete or indiscrete; only that which is discrete is finally absorbed by and lost in the indiscrete. PUMS (Spirit) also, which is one, pure, imperishable, eternal, all-pervading, is a portion of that Supreme spirit which is all things. That Spirit (Sarvesa) which is other than (embodied) Spirit, and in which there are no attributes of name, species (nâman and jati, or rupa, hence body rather than species), or the like -- remains as the sole existence (SATTÂ) ... Prakriti and Purusha both resolving finally into SUPREME SPIRIT.... (S.D. I, 373, Vishnu Purâna.)
And then the Universe rests in dreamless slumber until the far-distant dawn of a new day.

Next article:
SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE
XXVIII (Part III of III)
(Part 31 of a 103-part series)

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SEVEN (7) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:

(10) Scientific Monthly, Nov., 1927.
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(11) Also see Dr. Paul R. Heyl, Scientific Monthly, Jan., 1928.
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(12) Science News-Letter, Dec. 31, 1927.
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(13) Science, Jan. 20, 1928.
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(14) See Theosophical Glossary.
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(15) A Master's Letter, July 10, 1882.
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(16) Science, Sept. 30, 1927.
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