THEOSOPHY, Vol. 25, No. 10, August, 1937
(Pages 450-454; Size: 16K)
(Number 73 of a 103-part series)
SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINEIn order to avoid creating new misconceptions, let it be stated that among the three secret orbs (or star-angels) neither Uranus nor Neptune entered; not only because they were unknown under these names to the ancient Sages, but because they, as all other planets, however many there may be, are the gods and guardians of other septenary chains of globes within our systems.IT is clear to all studious theosophists that Neptune, Uranus, and doubtless the recently discovered Pluto, do not belong to the occult Solar System, not only from such passages as the above, but from many significant omissions of description as to their constitution and function. The interrelations between the sun and planets, and between planets, are necessarily under fixed law, no more haphazard than the valences binding together the atoms of a molecule.
Nor do the two last discovered great planets depend entirely on the Sun like the rest of the planets. Otherwise, how explain the fact that Neptune receives 900 times less light than our Earth, and Uranus 390 times less, and that their satellites show a peculiarity of inverse rotation found in no other planets of the Solar System. At any rate, what we say applies to Uranus, though recently the fact begins again to be disputed.
This subject will, of course, be considered mere vagary by all those who confuse the universal order of being with their own systems of classification. Here, however, simple facts from Occult teachings are stated, to be either accepted or rejected, as the case may be. There are details which, on account of their great metaphysical abstractions, cannot be entered upon. Hence, we merely state that only seven of our planets are as intimately related to our globe, as the Sun is to all the bodies subject to him in his system. Of these bodies the poor little number of primary and secondary planets known to astronomy, looks wretched enough, in truth. Therefore, it stands to reason that there are a great number of planets, small and large, that have not been discovered yet, but of the existence of which ancient astronomers -- all of them initiated adepts -- must have certainly been aware. But, as their relation to the gods was sacred, it had to remain arcane, as also the names of various other planets and stars. (The Secret Doctrine, 1888, I, 575-6.)
There is, then, the problem of the true relationship between the outer three planets (so far discovered) and the planetary system as such; and the question of whether there is physical evidence of peculiarities in the status of these planets.
All scientific theories of the constitution of the solar system involve certain primary ideas, namely--1. The rotation of the sun;The above is a symmetrical and satisfying description of a perfect mechanical system. But --it is a description of the solar system as it ought to be (to fit the prevailing theories) rather than of actual fact. This "ideal" is violated by one of the "planets" in the following ways:
2. The revolution of all the planets about the sun in the same direction as the earth's rotation;
3. Rotation of the planets in the same direction as the earth;
4. Revolution of the satellites about their planets in the same direction (with few exceptions) that the planets rotate on their axes;
5. That the orbital planes of the planets are nearly coincident with the plane of the solar equator.1. The rotation of Uranus is retrograde, contrary to the rest of the known rotations.Mechanically, therefore, Uranus and its moons present the perfect picture of a little solar system whose motions are all in the opposite direction from ours.
2. The rotation of Uranus' four moons is also retrograde.
3. The orbits of Uranus' moons are at a sharp angle (82 degrees) with the orbital plane of the planets.
4. The plane of Uranus' equator is also 82 degrees and coincides with the plane of its moons.
The case of Neptune is equally strange. It has one satellite with retrograde rotation; its own rotation has rather recently been determined, approximately, as between twelve and eighteen hours, with an equatorial inclination of 29 degrees. The satellite is inclined 37 degrees. We are informed that the direction of rotation of the planet has not been established. The retrograde motion of the satellite, however, and the sharp inclination of both, suggest conditions like those in the case of Uranus. It may be considered logical to suppose that a foreign element is involved (and with this most astronomers will agree) when any of the following elements are present:1. Any retrograde motion.The last condition is not on so secure a footing as the others because no physical reason for Bode's Law has ever been discovered. Its observed application, however, is too regular to be accounted for by "accident" or "coincidence." The following is a comparison of the positions of the planets as ascertained by observation, with their positions as estimated by Bode's Law:
2. Any undue inclination of a primary to the ecliptic.
3. Any large disco-ordination between the inclinations of primary and satellite.
4. Any marked divergence from Bode's Law.
PLANET POSITION BY
Vulcan .... (Existence doubted) Mercury 0.4 0.387 Venus 0.7 0.723 Earth 1.0 1.000 Mars 1.6 1.524 Asteroids (average) 2.8 2.75 Jupiter 5.2 5.203 Saturn 10.0 9.539 Uranus 19.6 19.191 Neptune 38.8 30.071 Pluto 77.2 41.25
Thus the Law breaks down badly with Neptune and completely with Pluto. On the other hand, Uranus, which otherwise looks most like a foundling in the Solar System, conforms quite closely to the Law.
Neptune presents a very strange peculiarity. It has a variation in brightness of about an eight-hour period. A former supposition, now exploded, was that this might be due to the fact that one side is darker than the other, an equivalent period of rotation causing the appearance. But if it is assumed that a periodic phenomenon of similar nature on two suns is inversely proportional in its time to the radius and density of the respective suns (a reasonable assumption under the laws of physics) and the bright period of Neptune equated to the eleven-year solar cycle of the sun, we find the ratio to be about 14,000 to 19,600 -- a sufficient likeness of quantity to indicate similar phenomena. If this is the case, Neptune may be a tiny sun in partial Pralaya. There is another point in favor of this and indicating the same for Uranus as well: the albedo or reflecting power of Saturn is the highest in the system proper; it is equalled by Uranus, and surpassed by Neptune, with 0.73. White paper is about 0.70. If Neptune and Uranus should themselves shed some light of solar quality, this would be consistent. Moreover, neither Neptune nor Uranus have any known surface marking.
Let us then tabulate the evidence indicating that these bodies may both be small suns in obscuration:
URANUS NEPTUNE Direction of rotation Yes (Unknown) Inclination with ecliptic Yes Yes Bode's Law No Yes Light variation No Yes Albedo Yes Yes Symmetry of system Yes No
The last item refers to the fact noted above, that Uranus has a large number of moons rotating with it and in the plane of its equator. On the other hand, it is possible that more Neptunian moons may be discovered, which would alter the case. We may hope for more facts when the great Mount Palomar telescope is put in service; including, perhaps, some undiscovered planets. The conformity of Uranus to Bode's Law is not positive evidence against its being a sun, and the lack of variation in brightness of this body may be due to a deep pralayic condition. Note that its brightness is less than that of Neptune.
Granting that suns can exist as small as these bodies -- Dr. G. P. Kuiper of Mount Wilson Observatory reports one only 4,000 miles in diameter(1) -- and that a wandering system can easily be captured, the evidence here assembled becomes extremely suggestive.
Theosophists are not (or are assumed not to be) sectarians, and so must feel, as did H. P. Blavatsky, a keen interest in modern research and hypothesis in every field of human inquiry. For special as well as for common reasons they follow sympathetically the efforts of astronomers. Astronomy was once one of the "Sacred Sciences" of the Mystery Schools of remote antiquity. Egyptian, Babylonian, and above all, ancient Hindu astronomers, have left still extant remains and records, confirmed in many particulars by modern research. In other respects these old observations deal with cycles so enormous as to be beyond credence by our learned observers, and so are rejected a priori.
An extremely provocative question may be raised: Lacking all modern instruments, means of exchanging information, and other facilities our civilization provides for such research, How did these ancients secure the exact knowledge we have so far verified?
They must have enjoyed means and methods unknown to us. And another profitable "observation" may be suggested for consideration! Perhaps modern astronomy may stand in relation to the ancient Science about as modern "astrology" does to the mathematical actuarial calculations of these same ancients. Maybe the "Horoscopes" of these Ancients included "observations" as coldly and scientifically compiled as the Report of a Certified Public Accountant.
Another "observation" to be borne in mind is this: Being concerned with the Mysteries, ancient records of all kinds, not only their Scriptures, being for profane eyes and ears, contain only what the Initiates chose in their Wisdom to reveal, whether for the use of the era in which they lived, or as muniments for later followers, esoteric as well as exoteric -- so that the chain of continuity might be recoverable.
H. P. Blavatsky called attention to the past for the sake of the present and future generations. In doing so, she calculatedly strewed her writings with "hints" for the intuitive-minded. Along with the quotation taken as a text, then, the reader may be reminded that of the seven planets supposedly belonging to our solar system, three are under other laws than any known to modern astronomy. The same as to certain comets, and as to the meteoric swarm. They are "in our solar system but not of it," say the Occult teachings.
Finally, there may be something worth thinking over in this single phrase of H.P.B.'s, tucked away in a forgotten article:The sun, which is the centre of our system, is the centre of other systems too,...
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:
Sir Isaac Newton held to the Pythagorean corpuscular theory, and was also inclined to admit its consequences; which made the Count de Maistre hope, at one time, that Newton would ultimately lead Science back to the recognition of the fact that Forces and the Celestial bodies were propelled and guided by Intelligences (Soirees, vol. ii.). But de Maistre counted without his host. The innermost thoughts and ideas of Newton were perverted, and of his great mathematical learning, only the mere physical husk was turned to account. Had poor Sir Isaac foreseen to what use his successors and followers would apply his "gravity," that pious and religious man would surely have quietly eaten his apple, and never breathed a word about any mechanical ideas connected with its fall.
--H. P. BLAVATSKY
SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE
(Part I of II)
(Part 74 of a 103-part series)
Back to the
"Science and The Secret Doctrine"
series complete list of articles.
Back to the full listing containing all of the
"Additional Categories of Articles".
ONE (1) FOOTNOTE LISTED BELOW:
(1) United Press, January 8, 1936.
Back to text.