THEOSOPHY, Vol. 51, No. 12, October, 1963
(Pages 348-350; Size: 9K)

THE POSITION OF ASTRONOMY(1)

IT is true that on the whole Astronomy has achieved triumphs more brilliant than those of most other sciences. But if it has done much in the direction of satisfying man's straining and thirsting mind and his noble aspirations for knowledge, physical as to most of its particulars, it has ever laughed at his puny efforts to wrest the great secrets of Infinitude by the help of only mechanical apparatus.

While the spectroscope has shown the probable similarity of terrestrial and sidereal substance, the chemical actions peculiar to the variously progressed orbs of space have not been detached, nor proven to be identical with those observed on our own planet. In this particular, Esoteric Psychology may be useful. But who of the men of science would consent to confront it with their own handiwork? Who of them would recognize the superiority and greater trustworthiness of the Adept's knowledge over their own hypotheses? For in their case they can claim the mathematical correctness of their deductive reasonings based on the alleged unerring precision of the modern instruments; while the Adepts can claim but their knowledge of the ultimate nature of the materials they have worked with for ages, resulting in the phenomena produced.

However much it may be urged that a deductive argument, besides being an incomplete syllogistic form, may often be in conflict with fact, that their major propositions may not always be correct, although the predicates of their conclusions seem correctly drawn, spectrum analysis will not be acknowledged as inferior to purely spiritual research. Nor, before developing his sixth sense, will the man of science concede the error of his theories as to the solar spectrum, unless he abjures to some degree at least his marked weakness for conditional and disjunctive syllogisms ending in dilemmas. At present the "Adepts" do not see any help for it.

The sequence of martyrs to the great universal truths has never been once broken, and the long list of known and unknown sufferers, headed with the name Galileo, now closes with that of Zöllner. Is the world of science aware of the real cause of Zöllner's premature death? When the fourth dimension of space becomes a scientific reality like the fourth state of matter, he may have a statue raised to him by grateful posterity. But this will neither recall him to life, nor will it obliterate the days and months of mental agony that harassed the soul of this intuitional, far-seeing, modest genius, made even after his death to receive the donkey's kick of misrepresentation and to be publicly charged with lunacy.

While the astronomer has achieved marvels in the elucidation of the visible relations of the orbs of space, he has learnt nothing of their inner constitution. His science has led him no farther towards a reading of that inner mystery than has that of the geologist, who can tell us only of the earth's superficial layers, and that of the physiologist, who has until now been able to deal only with man's outer shell, or Sthula Sarira. Occultists have asserted, and go on asserting daily the fallacy of judging the essence by its outward manifestations, the ultimate nature of the life-principle by the circulation of the blood, mind by the grey matter of the brain, and the physical constitution of sun, stars and comets by our terrestrial chemistry and the matter of our own planet. Verily and indeed, no microscopes, spectroscopes, telescopes, photo-meters, or other physical apparatus can ever be focussed on either the macro- or micro-cosmical highest principles, nor will the mayavi-rupa of either yield its mystery to physical inquiry.

The methods of spiritual research and psychological observation are the only efficient agencies to employ; we have to proceed by analogy in everything. Yet the candid men of science must very soon find out that it is not sufficient to examine a few stars -- a handful of sand, as it were, from the margin of the shoreless, cosmic ocean -- to conclude that these stars are the same as all the other stars, our earth included. That, because they have attained to a certain very great telescopic power, and gauged an area enclosed in the smallest of spaces when compared with what remains, they have, therefore, concurrently perfected the survey of all that exists within even that limited space. For, in truth, they have done nothing of the kind. They have had only a superficial glance at that which is made visible to them under the present conditions, with the limited power of their vision. And even though it were helped by telescopes of a hundred-fold stronger power, the case would not alter. No physical instrument will ever help astronomy to scan distances of the immensity of which that of Sirius, situated at the trifle of 130-odd trillions of miles away from the outer boundary of the spherical area, or even that of Capella, with its extra trifle of 295 trillion miles still farther away [according to exoteric Western astronomy], can give them, as they themselves are well aware, the faintest idea.

For, though an Adept is unable to cross bodily (i.e., in his astral shape) the limits of the solar system, yet he knows that, far stretching beyond the telescopic power of detection, there are systems upon systems, the smallest of which would, when compared with the system of Sirius, make the latter seem like an atom of dust imbedded in the great Shamo desert!

The eye of the astronomer, who thinks he also knows of the existence of such systems, has never rested upon them. It has never caught of them even that spectral glimpse, fanciful and hazy as the incoherent vision in a slumbering mind that he has occasionally had of other systems, and yet he verily believes he has gauged INFINITUDE! And yet these immeasurably distant worlds are brought as clear and near to the spiritual eye of the astral astronomer as a neighboring bed of daisies may be to the eye of the botanist.


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:

NON-MATERIALISTIC SCIENCE

Whereas it is very difficult to arouse public interest in the static, descriptive, and analytical aspects of science, the popular response is likely to be rapid and intense when the subject of discussion deals with the dynamic aspects of creation and of life. The emotional involvement would become even greater if science would find it possible to consider within its province the study of man not merely as a machine or as one animal among so many others, but as a sensitive, imaginative, and ethical being who remembers the past, and who lives emotionally in the future. Scientists can study man only if they are willing to recognize, not only in the abstract but as an objective fact, that his behavior is determined by historical factors and by nonmaterialistic, "unnatural" goals. 


--RENÉ DUBOS

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(1) NOTE.--A student's collation from the works of H. P. Blavatsky.
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