The Theosophical Forum – April 1937

COSMIC PHYSIOLOGY — J. W. A. Croiset van Uchelen

(In the following article a short, popular resume has been given of the work by G E Sutchffe, published under the title The New Astronomy and Cosmic Physiology, in an attempt to familiarize the reader with these fascinating researches and with the works to be published later on from his manuscripts, dealing with these subjects in a more detailed manner. The portions in smaller type, unless otherwise indicated, are from Sutchffe's book, though not quoted verbatim)

The Western and Eastern outlook upon the origin and history of our Universe are widely at variance, and it is only recently that attempts have been made to reconcile the instrumental efficiency of the West, with the consciousness efficiency of the East, and to apply this combination to the great problem of physics. Briefly and crudely the outlook of Western science was that after an eternity of time had elapsed, the expanse of space was filled with a nebulous mass of matter, consisting probably of the higher elements known to chemistry, upon which the force of gravity began to operate, eventually resulting in a system of stars — one of the stars, although quite ordinary in its general characteristics, in one respect being "a freak," namely the one on which we happen to live! Of course this presentation will be regarded as a reductio ad absurdum, but it does accentuate correctly the points of difference between the conclusions of so-called pure physics and those we shall attempt to deduct from the new scientific presentation, under the name of New Astronomy and Cosmic Physiology, the main difference being, that in Cosmic Physiology the life-element is dominant and all-pervading, as contrasted with the formulations presented by Astronomy so far, albeit a change of concepts is in progress. Nevertheless, up to less than a decade ago, physicists considered that the material forces of nature were determinate; that is to say, given the forces, then from the laws of physics the future results, or the working out of these forces, could be predicted. When life is present this is not the case. The physical forces operating on a dog could possibly be defined, but we could not determine from these when the dog would wag its tail, for this event would be governed, not by physical, but by life-forces.

More recently, however, some scientists have stated that the result of forces for individual atoms, or groups of atoms, was indeterminate. Hence in the case of the atom we were placed in the same difficulty as in the wagging of the dog's tail. In other words there was a hiatus, or gap, in Nature which could possibly be filled by life-forces. In fact we had made room for the Divine Immanence in the physical Universe. It was evidently conceivable that this universe was worked, not by physical forces alone, but by a combination of physical and living forces, since every atom of matter, under all conditions, contains an element of life.

The new discoveries, since the end of the last century, seemed to confirm the Eastern concepts, to the same degree as they disturbed the Western, which encouraged some scientists and investigators to imbibe the Eastern thoughts more fully. The new concept upon which they based their investigations may be expressed as follows: Every object, small or great, a human being, an atom, or a planet, is the center of two concentric spheres. One of these spheres is expanding from the center, and the other condensing into it. To put it in another form, the ocean of space is swallowing the drop, but the drop is also swallowing the ocean of space. The first of these propositions is well known to physicists, for a source of light is the center of an expanding sphere, the wavefront being the periphery.

In the case of light we are dealing with an object at high temperature procuring radiations of a wavelength within the visible spectrum, but objects at lower temperature do the same thing, only the wavelengths being in the infrared region are not visible. It is one of the known facts of optics.

It is the converse fact, the sphere contracting into the object having the light-source at the circumference — in addition to being the center of an expanding sphere — that is new to the West, despite the fact that the null effect of the Michelson and Morley experiment gave an unaccepted testimony. For if it was correct that there is only one ether-medium, as Western Science held — contrary to Eastern science which teaches that every planetary body has its own ether — then the M. & M. experiment would have demonstrated this. But it failed, and continues to do so, however carefully and repeatedly it is tried. The logical conclusion therefore is that the earth carries about its own ether, so that the earth is the center of two spheres, one expanding, the other contracting, according to the concept taught in the East. Nevertheless the physicists for the time being have rejected this idea and they gave us instead the theory of relativity of Einstein fame.

As we know, Einstein's theory, confirmed by observation, states that when a light ray, from a star to the earth, passes near the sun's surface, the sun's attraction causes the line to be curved, the curvature being twice that which follows from Newton's gravity law. This as we now can see is not due to a defect in Newton's law, but to a defect in the current radiation theory, as the physicist has only taken into account the expanding sphere but had not yet recognised the corresponding sphere of contraction to account for this phenomenon.

Cosmic Physiology was to be aided by still another revolution in scientific thought due to Heisenberg, who in 1925 put forward his new theory. He laid down the fundamental idea that only such things as are directly open to observation should enter into the mathematical formulae, to be left uncontaminated by obstructing theories. All one needed to do was to insert the observed facts into the mathematical mill and grind out the truth. The effect was tested by other forms of mathematics. Bohr, Einstein, Eddington and others entered the field and the conclusions arrived at were mutually confirmatory. One of the results of this process was the discovery by de Broglie and others that a ray of light, or electromagnetic radiation, consists of a sheath and a core, these lines of force being constituted somewhat like an Atlantic cable in which current passes along the sheath and returns along the core, or vice versa (these velocities being related to each other and to the velocity of the electron). Another phenomenon which had gradually emerged was the existence of what are termed sub-ethers. Now these sub-ethers are the vascular and nervous system of the cosmos which bind it into an organic whole. And this part of Schrodinger's work is therefore as important to the New Astronomy as was Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood to physiology.

Obviously the circulation of the blood is not concerned with gravity, but with life phenomena. And just as Astronomy is concerned with the force of gravity, so is Cosmic Physiology concerned with the phenomena of life.

Schrodinger has discovered the blood; later discoveries will disclose the laws of its circulation.

The function of the blood is to renew and revivify the cells of the body; the function of the vascular system of the Cosmos is to renew and revivify the atoms of matter.

Eddington speaks of these vibrations of the sub-ethers (1) as a million times faster than the vibrations of visible light. He points out that of course the individual ripples are beyond the scope of our gross experience; what we do take cognisance of is a "disturbed area" caused by the convergence and coalescence of the waves. We then recognise this disturbed area as a material particle, an electron, for instance.

It should be noted that the above result, first disclosed by the new mathematics, has since been abundantly confirmed by experiment.

The essential feature of this new aspect of our material universe is that matter — which appears to us as the very imbodiment of continuous existence — is not so in reality, but that each atom of which it is composed, is a phase in a cycle of changes. In another phase it is a lightwave or some other form of electromagnetic wave.

To give an idea of what is meant, let us take a piece of ice, melt it into water, and evaporate it into steam, then reverse the process again by condensing the steam into water and freezing the water into ice. We have then arrived at the same point at which we started. These processes constitute one cycle of what Dr. Whitehead calls "a vibratory organic deformation" (See Science and the Modern World). We could follow these processes because they were slowly performed, but if we could drive the matter through this cycle millions of times per second, our consciousness could not perceive the intervals between the cycles. Consciousness, in other words, carries us over the small time intervals — it shows us the phases, but not the intervals between them. Therefore, in the case just mentioned, we should see the ice, the steam and the water as continually existing, while in reality there is no such concreteness — but merely the illusion created by our senses.

Now the existence of the sub-ethers, as explained by Eddington, and the unceasing disappearance and re-appearance of the particles of matter, has been taught in the East from remote antiquity. It constitutes the main theme of a Sanskrit work called the Pranava Vada [?]. Eastern schools explain that of these sub-ethers there are seven, the plane of our gross experience, as it was termed by Eddington, being the lowest and numbered 1. In other words, the higher the number, the greater the vibratory frequency and velocity, and the greater the energy. The mass units of the planes are different, and the higher the plane number, the less the mass unit. It must be realized however that the matters of these seven planes are interpenetrating.

This presentation of the sub-ethers in itself, is of the greatest importance as we can see, for in the process of transformations through the planes, if the particle which is the physical plane of the cycle is a constituent of a solid body, its position is fixed — but as the phases in the higher planes may be fluid (and generally are fluid), there is no necessity that the constituents of the particle in one cycle shall be the same as in the succeeding cycles. They may be equal in quality but not the identical substance.

To illustrate this, let us take the example of a steam engine — each turn of a condensing engine uses a quantity of water, which is transformed into steam and back into water again. But the water and steam of one cycle need not be the same as in succeeding cycles though the quantities may be equal and in practice we know they are not identical.

This then permits a process of circulation which is not perceptible on the physical plane.

It also again draws our attention to the functions of the double spheres of which the heavenly bodies are the centers. The supplies of the cyclic transformations may be taken in from the contracting sphere, and delivered back to the expanding sphere. In fact these cyclic transformations may be regarded as the causes of the contracting and expanding spheres, each electromagnetic vibration being a beat of the atomic heart which keeps in circulation the Cosmic Life-blood.

The first thing for the researchers in the field of New Astronomy and Cosmic Physiology to do, was to prove that the Eastern methods of approach rest upon a scientific basis; and it is on the strength of the various discoveries by Western scientists, discussed heretofore, that they pointed to the logic of this procedure as employed by them in their efforts to link the Western studies of the matter and force side of nature with the Eastern studies of the life and consciousness side.

It has already been pointed out that the tremendously rapid, successive phases of vibration appear continuous, that is: when the atoms of the brain undergo such transformations we have sensation — feeling, and thought as an apparent continuity and combined unity; whereas in reality continuity is the attribute of consciousness. The human consciousness then, is a combination of sensation, feeling, and thought, the life aspects of the vibratory processes of the three lowest planes of our system. These aspects moreover are proportioned differently in different individuals. For instance: one person, when out in the street, will observe most of what is happening around him; another will notice only what is necessary for his progress along the street, his thoughts being centered on some business problem, etc. The power to vary the constituents of consciousness is a function of another aspect, known as Will. (According to Eastern teaching it is situated in plane 5, the dominating plane of the system). And by development of this Will the accentuation or subordination of other aspects of consciousness can be purposely regulated.

This is not so strange as it may sound, for a similar procedure is well known to physicists. An ordinary photograph of the sun is the result of the action on the film of ordinary lightwaves. But by selecting a particular light-frequency, say a line of hydrogen, or calcium, the physicist will get a photograph of a different sun, one composed of hydrogen, or calcium only. In this respect he operates by the same methods as does an Eastern pupil on the constituents of consciousness. That is, the Eastern pupil gradually acquires the power to make his consciousness monochromatic, which means focussed on one plane at the time, whether this plane is 1 or 2 or 3.

The ordinary physical plane universe as said before is in reality a variable combination of these three, and is largely a function of our moods.

We may illustrate this by pointing to the widely different universe in which a happy bridal pair lives, and that of a bankrupt director, undergoing a cross-examination in court.

The West makes many instruments which come to the aid of consciousness, but leaves consciousness itself in its ordinary state of limitation. The East trains the consciousness to make adjustments and thus become a receiving set for a greatly increased range of electromagnetic vibrations. Why not combine these methods, demanded these researchers, who, having formulated a working basis, formed a group among whom one possessed this monochromatic vision, mostly of a magnetic type? That is to say, whereas ordinary vision is the effect on consciousness of a short range of electromagnetic waves, magnetic vision is the effect on consciousness of magnetic waves. Such waves are not reflected by metallic substances, but penetrate the interior.

The researchers began their work with the observation of the forces in the interior of a bar magnet, which was finally replaced with one in the shape of an ellipsoid, because it was discovered that a solar system was a magnet in the ellipsoidal form. In fact, it was found that Nature's units were all magnets, whether they be atoms, planets, suns, or systems. So far however the observations, although useful, did not permit a checking up by others than the observer. This difficulty was overcome when the observations were applied to the solar-system, as the results could be checked against the facts recorded in the Nautical Almanac.

For instance: on the days for observation a clock-chart was erected with the heliocentric positions of the planets on that particular day, and the observer would be requested to give, from inspection by means of his developed vision, the angular position of the planets and their relative distance from the sun. Thus, when a planet was observed at an angle of let us say 90 degrees behind the sun, the observer would say. I see a planet near 3 o'clock at a distance from the sun, greater or less than the distance of the earth, as the case might be. In this way, the reliability of the observations would be frequently checked before others were recorded.

These tests of reliability nevertheless could not be considered sufficient, unless facts could be established which might be tested by anyone. Such facts might consist in the discovery of unknown planets if their positions and character could be indicated, afterwards to be verified by astronomers in the ordinary, telescopic way.

Now the astonishing thing is that indeed four such planets have been discovered. The procedure was less intricate than may be suspected. The observations had revealed that between the sun and a planet there is a broad ribbon of magnetism, in which magnetic substances circulated between the sun and the planet. It is a double stream, one flowing from sun to planet, and the other from planet to sun. These lines of force are as the veins and arteries for the flowing life of Nature, the vascular network so to speak which establishes and maintains the life of the Cosmos.

Confining our attention to the earth and the sun, and tracing this double circulation, we will begin at the sun's center from where the stream begins as the apex of a cone, with its base at the sun's surface. At this surface it forms itself into a magnetic stream of force, moving along the line from sun to earth. When it reaches the earth, it embraces the lighted hemisphere of the earth, and dips down to the earth's center. Here is also the apex of a cone with its base at the earth's surface, which forms the beginning of the return stream of magnetism. When it arrives at the sun, it embraces the solar hemisphere facing the earth, and passes through the sun's mass to its center. Thus, there is a complete circuit, which appears to have the properties of an electric current.

This current, when passing through the earth's crust to the center, has an intensity proportionate to the magnetism. Hence, between the poles and the center, the current is greater than between the tropical portions and the center. This on balance, constitutes a current, entering at the pole of the earth, and emerging near the magnetic equator.

Now we know that an electric current entering at the pole of a magnet, and emerging at the magnetic equator, causes the magnet to revolve around its magnetic axis. We have here then a known cause for the axial rotation of the earth! It is only one instance out of many of the remarkable fruitfulness of these researches.

It is obvious that with the broad beam of magnetism between the sun and each planet, any planet can be found by noting the directions of these beams in the neighborhood of the sun, and then tracing out the beam to its other terminus, the planet. This can be done with equal ease whether the planet is known or unknown. And it is in this manner that four new planets have been discovered, two of which have physical bodies and are thus available for telescopic vision; one other is only just beginning to develop a physical body and is composed of matter in the sub-planes higher than the gaseous. One planet, at a distance of 50 astronomical units has been determined at a longitude of somewhere between 228 degrees and 230 degrees. For those who think of longitude in terms of signs, the planet is in 19 degrees of Scorpio.

The other planet, to which the name Osiris has been given, is likewise extra-Neptunian (at a distance of about 70 astronomical units).

The third planet, Horus, cannot be seen by ordinary electromagnetic vision. It is still in the infant stage; its physical matter being super-gaseous, its volume is very large, though its mass may only be small. It lies in the asteroidal region between Mars and Jupiter, its longitude being estimated at about 100 degrees, or say 10 degrees Cancer.

Some of the observations had disclosed the fact that there were twelve funnels issuing from the sun, and since eleven of these had planetary beams attached to them, it seemed probable that there would turn out to be twelve planets in all. On May 28th, 1929, this remaining planet was discovered very close to the sun, its longitude being about 6 degrees. The existence of this planet, Vulcan, was believed in for many years on the authority of Leverrier (the discoverer of Neptune), but as the planet has not been observed, except as a dark spot crossing the sun's surface, its existence had ceased to be believed in, and modern works on Astronomy rarely mention it. The reason why the planet has not been observed is, that the planet is not physical and does not reflect light within the range of the spectrum. The reason for its invisibility in the telescope is however different from that of the planet Horus in the asteroidal regions. The planet Horus cannot be seen, because it is super-physical, and its radiations are in the ultra-violet; but Vulcan is sub-physical, and its radiations are far down in the infra-red.

But although Vulcan cannot be seen from its own radiations, it has the power to obstruct the radiations when it crosses the sun's surface during transits, and such observed transits can be compared with the calculated positions.

With the discovery of Vulcan the solar system and its members may be regarded as complete, and this is indicated by the fact that these researches have made it possible to find a mathematical expression which links together the masses and distances of the sun and the planets.

One of the first conclusions that can be drawn from the geometrical series, obtained in this manner, is that the accidental method of planet forming, deducted by physicists, cannot be the true one.

If we consider that the density of distribution of stars in space has been compared to that of twenty tennis balls roaming the whole interior of the earth, then it is obvious that the accident that gave birth to the solar system may be compared to the casual approach of two of these balls within a few yards of each other! As Eddington pointed out:

The data are too vague to give any definite estimate of the odds against this occurrence, but I should judge that not one in a hundred millions of stars can have undergone this experience in the right stage and conditions to result in the formation of a system of planets.

It becomes evident therefore that the constituent parts and the forces of our solar system are as accurately adjusted to each other as are the constituents and forces of a living cell. In other words the solar system, physically interpreted, becomes a dynamo with all its parts adjusted for a particular kind of work.

You may say that as theosophists, or astrologers, we already accepted this truth. However, to afford a practical application of this knowledge the scientist must be supplied with proof, and these researches will give the greatest impulse offered thus far, toward such recognition by Western science. The mathematical deductions therefore are of the greatest importance, and imply that the electric charge on the electron and on hydrogen exists on all planes in an increasing ratio. As long ago as 1881 Sir Joseph Thomson showed the possibility that all mass might be of electromagnetic origin, which theory has now been confirmed. Again I spare you the mathematical computations, but they are there to read for anyone who wishes to go deeper into the subject. They prove the numerical value of the common ratio B, called the Master Key to the intimate processes of Nature, also showing the connecting link between different orders of rays — a key, not to the old physics, but to the physics which emerged since 1925 from the new quantum theory. But the principal feature of the New Astronomy, as here presented, is the proof that our solar system is a living unit from which no part can be removed without destroying the whole. The real foundation of the science is the life which thrills through the whole of Nature.

Before I conclude, a few words more. You may wonder why this science of astrology-astronomy and cosmic physiology should so greatly interest a doctor of the healing arts. The answer is that all true sciences are inter-related. In my own work I treat to a great extent with the very color-rays which form the spectrum of the sun; that is: by means of spectroscopically attuned color waves, calculated to coincide with the vibratory frequencies of the cells of the body, according to the science of Spectrochromometry, developed by Dinshah. We know that without the sun's radiation all life on earth would be extinct, that the rainbow — the token of the covenant between God and man, as it is called in Genesis — shows forth the colors of its spectrum, and also that the very action of the elements depends upon their dominant color emanations. Therefore, if instead of the crude chemicals, the code-colors be used, the resulting fundamentals would prove to be the same.

Light, and consequently color, as these researches reaffirm, is in fact the greatest power known, and the application in Natural Therapeutics is but a logical consequence. Light is in the core of an atom, as in the heart of a solar system. And the recent discovery proving it possible to take pictures of internal body-tissues, without an outside light-source, offered a physical proof of this solar light-radiation within man as it is absorbed in the protoplasm of the animal.

The discoveries of our researchers go on to show that Light becomes Matter, and matter reverts to Light.

The atom, as we have seen, is not an entity, it is, as physicists have shown, but one phase in a cycle of several organic transformations. Instead of being a physical unit, like a little charged battery, discharging itself until in the end it dies, it is the terminus of a line of force, the other terminus being in the body of the sun. Hence every planetary atom has a corresponding atom in the sun, between which there is a constant flux of energy, flowing in both directions. Thus the atom in its center has the sun, a center of light from which radiates the power which makes it a material particle. Every star, every planet is just the same.

I am fortunate that I can give you a further short quotation from the as yet unpublished manuscript of our researchers, for the author, Mr. Sutcliffe, passed away shortly after the manuscript was finished, leaving its future publication in the hands of Colonel Wilde, in England. This quotation is as follows:

All light is a manifestation of the sun. . . . Light is immanent throughout the solar system; local lights are manifestations of the Immanence. This is true of the planets themselves, as also of the smallest light on a planet — even of the glowworm's phosphorescence — all is solar light. The sun therefore, is our starting point; the local source will lead us always back to the Sun. . . . Space is Light Ineffable. . . . And that is but a stepping stone from Manifest to Absolute. The Absolute is Light beyond all Light, and therefore Darkness in finite worlds. Creation is the release of Light and all of the Solar day marks the self-limiting of transcendent Light, which is the Solar Lord. The purpose of creation is but to produce reflectors, from which transcendent light may shine. The Solar system is a mirror; the Sun a lens. The Cosmos and the Universe are evolving groups of worlds set to reflect cosmic and universal light, each in its appropriate hue flashing forth the signal age by age; all speaking in the cosmic code; each writing its own message which is a statement of its own place amid the wheeling systems . . . its contribution to the cosmic whole.

How, physicists and astronomers have scoffed, could the stars, so far off, have any influence? The question is, can we remove the element of space to the satisfaction of scientifically trained Western minds? The new astronomy has pointed the way, and more.

Instead of being a physical unit, we have seen the atom revealed as the terminus of a line of force, every planetary atom having its corresponding atom in the sun. The link between the molecular energy and radiant energy is not made at the planetary end of the line of force, but at the color end, where all the planets are in juxtaposition. Planetary action therefore is independent of distance. It is not again a question of their gravitational pull upon each other across space, but the vascular interchange of energy within the body of the sun.

The old astronomy has failed to give us what the new astronomy reveals, namely a Solar system which is a living organism, a Universe which at every point is pervaded with life.

— — —

It is interesting after the foregoing to note the return of modern science to the old traditions of mankind. For as Louis Elbe, in his "La vie future devant la sagesse antique et la science moderne" has pointed out: All the monuments of antiquity may be regarded as hymns in honor of the sun, the creative and regenerative power which is the source of all life on earth. The monoliths of the Celts, the obelisks of the Egyptians, often adorned with solar disc, are emblems of the sun's rays, the spreading of which is figured by the pyramids. In the Greek temple again we see a rendering of the solar drama:

The eternal God, or Sun, is represented by a radiant disc (acroterium), surmounting the pyramidal pediment of the temple. Heaven is figured in the bas-reliefs ornamenting the pediment, while lower down, in the architrave, we have the line of separation between heaven and earth. Lower still — in the metopes and triglyphs — we see the lightning rending the clouds, in order to bring down fertilizing rain and carry the "creative germ" down the temple-columns to the soil.

The constant action of the sun's divinity is affirmed wherever its light penetrates:

It surrounds with a living atmosphere the beings which he created and transmits to them special germs containing life in themselves; it is constantly emitting these animated "spheroids" which permeate living bodies, while these latter radiate spheroids in their turn which go back to the common center.

Thus we have a similar conception: Life is maintained by an invisible series of inspirations and expirations, by an uninterrupted exchange of cosmic radiations sent to us by the sun.


1. The Nature of the Physical World. (return to text)

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