THEOSOPHY, Vol. 22, No. 7, May, 1934
(Pages 297-301; Size: 16K)
WHAT IS THE ATOM?
SOME SECRET DOCTRINE STATEMENTS(NOTE.--In February a number of quotations on the "Monad," with volume and page references to The Secret Doctrine, were published in THEOSOPHY. These were arranged, as nearly as possible, in the order of their sequence of treatment of the subject. [Note: The Editors are referring to this What is the Monad? article, which is one of hundreds that are listed in the "Collated" articles section, and where this article that you are now reading is listed in; and any others that they mention below, that will be coming, are probably also on the list in this section.--Compiler.] Throughout The Secret Doctrine, the references to "Gods, Monads, and Atoms" are very numerous. This month we append a series of extracts on the "atoms" of Science and of Occultism. Other similar series will follow in due course. It should be borne in mind by all students of The Secret Doctrine, that the language employed, the terms used, to convey her Teachings, are those familiarized by the various Scriptures, the theories of Science, the systems of many different Philosophers and Mystics. All these, according to the Theosophy of H. P. Blavatsky, are but echoes, more or less distorted, of one primeval Wisdom-Religion. It is, therefore, of prime importance that the student should endeavor at all times to distinguish in what particular meaning the various words are used, as well as to note the meaning she puts into these many and often bewildering terms. This can be done by the serious student who will base his efforts at comprehension on her oft-repeated declaration that Theosophy is not any system of religion, science, philosophy, or combination of them, but that the Wisdom religion is altogether sui generis. To those who wish to derive the utmost of practical benefit from these statements of The Secret Doctrine, a simple method is suggested: Let them mark in their copies in pencil opposite each quotation, the volume and page of all the other quotations -- and they will have their own "ready reference" for repeated study.--EDITORS THEOSOPHY.)THE Occultists, who trace every atom in the universe, whether an aggregate or single, to One Unity, or Universal Life; who do not recognize that anything in Nature can be inorganic; who know of no such thing as dead matter -- the Occultists are consistent with their doctrine of Spirit and Soul when speaking of memory in every atom, of will and sensation. (II, 672.)
The atom [is] the most metaphysical object in creation. (I, 485.)
No one has ever seen, smelt, heard, touched or tasted an "atom." 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. (I, 513.)
No atom is ever "created," for the atoms are eternal within the bosom of the One Atom -- "the atom of atoms." (I, 582.)
When the adept or alchemist adds that, though matter is eternal, for it is PRADHANA, yet atoms are born at every new manvantara, or reconstruction of the universe, it is no such contradiction as a materialist, who believes in nothing beyond the atom, might think. There is a difference between manifested and unmanifested matter, between pradhana, the beginningless and endless cause, and prakriti, or the manifested effect. (I, 545.)
Every atom in the Universe has the potentiality of self-consciousness in it, and is, like the Monads of Leibnitz, a Universe in itself, and for itself. It is an atom and an angel. (I, 107.)
Enshrined in their virgin, pristine state within the bosom of the Eternal Mother, every atom born beyond the threshold of her realm is doomed to incessant differentiation. ... Were a truly learned Occultist-alchemist to write the "Life and Adventures of an Atom" he would secure thereby the eternal scorn of the modern chemist, perchance also his subsequent gratitude. (I, 143-4.)
It is on the doctrine of the illusive nature of matter, and the infinite divisibility of the atom, that the whole science of Occultism is built. (I, 520.)
The Universe ... manifests periodically, for purposes 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 merits and efforts that plane where it re-becomes the one unconditional ALL. (I, 268.)
There is but one indivisible and absolute Omniscience and Intelligence in the Universe, and this thrills throughout every atom and infinitesimal point of the whole finite Kosmos which hath no bounds, and which people call SPACE, considered independently of anything contained in it. (I, 277.)
Absolute Life cannot produce an inorganic atom whether single or complex. (I, 258.)
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. "The very atoms," says Tyndall, "seem instinct with a desire for life." Whence, then, we would ask, comes the tendency "to run into organic form"? Is it in any way explicable except according to the teachings of Occult Science? (I, 248-249.)
Where ... do Haeckel's "complex functions" of his scientific "nerve-cells" land him? Once more right into the Occult and mystic teachings of the Kabala about the descent of souls as conscious and unconscious atoms; among the Pythagorean MONAD and the monads of Leibnitz -- and the "gods, monads, and atoms" of our esoteric teaching. (II, 671.)
The Doctrine teaches that, in order to become a divine, fully conscious god, -- aye, even the highest -- the Spiritual primeval INTELLIGENCES must pass through the human stage. And when we say human, this does not apply merely to our terrestrial humanity, but to the mortals that inhabit any world, i.e., to those Intelligences that have reached the appropriate equilibrium between matter and spirit. ... Each Entity must have won for itself the right of becoming divine, through self-experience. Hegel, the great German thinker, must have known or sensed intuitionally this truth when saying, as he did, that the Unconscious evolved the Universe only "in the hope of attaining clear self-consciousness," of becoming, in other words, MAN; for this is also the secret meaning of the usual Puranic phrase about Brahma being constantly "moved by the desire to create." This explains also the hidden Kabalistic meaning of the saying: "The Breath becomes a stone; the stone, a plant; the plant, an animal; the animal, a man; the man, a spirit; and the spirit, a god." (I, 106-7.)
"Every form on earth, and every speck (atom) in Space strives in its efforts towards self-formation to follow the model placed for it in the "HEAVENLY MAN." Its (the atom's) involution and evolution, its external and internal 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 Earth." (I, 183.)
The radical unity of the ultimate essence of each constituent part of the 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. (I, 120.)
"Every atom becomes a visible complex unit (a molecule), and once attracted into the sphere of terrestrial activity, the Monadic Essence, passing through the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms, becomes man." "God, Monad, and Atom are the correspondences of Spirit, Mind and Body in man." In their septenary aggregation they are the "Heavenly Man"; thus, terrestrial man is the provisional reflection of the Heavenly. (I, 619.)
The collective aggregation of these atoms forms thus 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. (II, 672.)
When the Occultist speaks of "Elements," it is because he knows what he is talking about. When he says "Man" and Elements, he means neither "man" in his present physiological and anthropological form, nor the elemental atoms, those hypothetical conceptions, the entitative abstractions of matter in its highly attenuated state, as existing at present in scientific minds; nor, again, the compound Elements of antiquity. In Occultism the word Element means "rudiment" in every case. ... With regard to "Element," when the term is used metaphysically, it means, in distinction to the mortal, the incipient divine man; and, in its physical usage, inchoate matter in its first undifferentiated condition, or in the laya state, which is the eternal and the normal condition of substance, differentiating only periodically, and is during that differentiation in an abnormal state -- in other words, a transitory illusion of the senses.
As to the "elemental atoms," so called, the Occultists refer to them by that name with a meaning analogous to that which is given by the Hindu to Brahma when he calls him ANU, the "Atom." Every elemental atom is ... 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. It requires a metaphysician -- and an Eastern metaphysician -- to understand our meaning. All those atom-Souls are differentiations from the ONE, and in the same relation to it as the divine Soul -- the Buddhi -- to its informing and inseparable Spirit, or Atman. (I, 566-567.)
The ancient Initiates, who were followed more or less closely by all profane antiquity, meant by the term "ATOM," a Soul, a Genius or Angel, the first-born of the ever-concealed CAUSE of all causes; and in this sense their teachings become comprehensible. ... It is not they who would have ever conceived, or dreamt that monstrous contrasted progeny, the nightmare of our modern civilized Race; namely -- inanimate material, self-guiding atoms, on the one hand, and an extra-Cosmic God on the other. (I, 569.)
To become complete and comprehensible, a cosmogonical theory has to start with a primordial Substance diffused throughout boundless Space, of an intellectual and divine Nature. ... It is easy for an astronomer, if endowed with an imaginative faculty, to build a theory of the emergence of the universe out of chaos, by simply applying to it the principles of mechanics. But such a universe will always prove, with respect to its scientific human creator, a Frankenstein's monster; it will lead him into endless perplexities. The application of the mechanical laws only can never carry the speculator beyond the objective world; nor will it unveil to men the origin or final destiny of Kosmos. Occultism does not deny the certainty of the mechanical origin of the Universe; it only claims the absolute necessity of mechanicians of some sort behind those Elements (or within) -- a dogma with us. It is not the fortuitous assistance of the atoms of Lucretius, who himself knew better, that built the Kosmos and all in it. Nature herself contradicts such a theory. (I, 594.)
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:
THE DEVELOPMENT OF WORLDS
Born in the unfathomable depths of Space, out of the homogeneous Element called the World-Soul, every nucleus of Cosmic matter, suddenly launched into being, begins life under the most hostile circumstances. Through a series of countless ages, it has to conquer for itself a place in the infinitudes. It circles round and round between denser and already fixed bodies, moving by jerks, and pulling towards some given point or centre that attracts it, trying to avoid, like a ship drawn into a channel dotted with reefs and sunken rocks, other bodies that draw and repel it in turn; many perish, their mass disintegrating through stronger masses, and, when born within a system, chiefly within the insatiable stomachs of various Suns. ... Those which move slower and are propelled into an elliptic course are doomed to annihilation sooner or later. Others moving in parabolic curves generally escape destruction, owing to their velocity.--S.D. I, pp. 203-04.
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