Time-Space and the Mystic Experience
In the January Hibbert Journal, Sir Richard Tute (whose previous article on Time-Space and Consciousness was strongly recommended to our readers in The Theosophical Forum for December, 1939) carries his argument farther in support of the spiritual importance of the modern scientific concept of Space-Time. He shows that while it does not resemble the ordinary conditions of living in our "three-dimensional universe" it is far greater and more inclusive. He considers that the ultimate constituents of the universe are lives (1) "personalities," living in Space-Time and projecting themselves under certain conditions into ordinary Time and Space. He approaches Dr. Strömberg's argument regarding the "fine-structure of space" from another angle.
Working on this line Sir Richard Tute relates these "personalities" with the scientific concept of Space-Time, which he shows is similar to the direct experience familiar to the great Mystics. Science then is trying to establish the existence of a state in which survival of the human soul not only can, but must take place, and is thus rendering true religion a great service, though unconsciously! Space-Time is, of course, very different from "ordinary" space or time, but it is precisely the state which is called the Mystic experience, perhaps samâdhi in India; "ecstasy'; the illumination mentioned by Plotinus; the "third heaven" known to St. Paul, etc. It is infinitely more real than the three dimensional world in which we think we live but which is only one aspect of something that includes "many mansions." Students should realize that H. P. Blavatsky gives much teaching in regard to Time-Space in The Secret Doctrine which illuminates the whole subject, especially in the second volume on pages 382 and 612. She shows how different aspects of Time and Space are contained in Oriental writings in allegories of the doings of gods, heroes, etc. Many surprises are awaiting Western scholars in a more enlightened age than this, and the time is coming when it will be fully recognized that H. P. Blavatsky's admiration and reverence for the scientific knowledge as well as spiritual wisdom of the ancients was not exaggerated in the least. It is the glorious task of the Theosophical Movement to hasten this prospect for the benefit of humanity.
In regard to the illusion of Time caused by our limitations, the Mahatma K. H., speaking of the links between "men — the temporarily isolated fragments of the universal soul — and the cosmic soul," says: I feel even irritated at having to use these three clumsy words — past, present and future. Miserable concepts of the objective phases of the subjective whole, they are about as ill adapted for the purpose as an axe for fine carving. — The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, p. 29
"Signs and Portents in the Heavens"
During the winter months the evening sky has presented a very unusual appearance which has attracted wide attention and which will not recur for many years. On February 29 the spectacle was specially interesting. All the planets were above the horizon soon after sunset, and the brightest ones, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and Mars were lined up in a row across the western sky in the above order. Uranus, Pluto and Neptune came next but few people saw them as they need optical aid to become visible. In striking contrast to this brilliant planetary display, the morning sky was denuded of planets.
Interesting and beautiful as it was, this alinement was not claimed to have any special significance. Next year, however, a planetary position, or, more correctly, a series of planetary conjunctions, will occur which are regarded with considerable anxiety by astrologers. The phenomenon will not be so spectacular as the recent display, in fact the most remarkable conjunction will not be visible at all because the sun will be in the way. Behind the sun and in the line of sight from the earth the planets Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus will be situated; the moon will be in the same line but on the opposite side of the earth and therefore visible in its full phase.
This remarkable alinement takes place on May 11, 1941, and a similar one is said not to have occurred for about five thousand years. According to the astrologers it is particularly threatening because it takes place in the sign of Taurus, a "fixed sign." In addition to this striking aspect, a number of other interesting conjunctions take place in Taurus from 1940 to 1943. On three occasions, August 8, October 20, 1940, and February 15, 1941, Jupiter will be in conjunction with Saturn, and Uranus will be twice in conjunction with Mars and once with Saturn.
Astrology tells us that the stars do not compel but merely impel. In at least one recent sensational and widely proclaimed prediction — the misfortunes and final loss of the liner Queen Mary within five years of launching — the stars certainly did not use much impulsion, for that ship has had no serious troubles and at time of writing is safe in New York harbor though the five years are well past! The element of uncertainty in such predictions is very great, although it can hardly be denied that a striking success is occasionally attained. It would be interesting to study the heavens at the dates of launching of, say, 10,000 ships, astrologically considered and to compare the horoscopes with the actual fate of each ship after a reasonable period of time. Has this ever been attempted on a large scale? Such an experiment, if successful in showing a real connexion between the two, would be a powerful weapon to use against the scientific skeptics!
We are responsible only for presenting the main facts about the unusual celestial events mentioned above. Such highly significant phenomena (according to the astrologers) are so exceedingly rare that they seem worth recording "without prejudice," as the lawyers say, in these pages. Bailly, the celebrated French astronomer of the eighteenth century, who considered that Hindu astronomy was the parent of that of the Egyptians, Greeks, etc., calculated that the Hindu record of another remarkable conjunction of planets at the exact opening of the epoch of Kali-Yuga, the Black Age (3102 b. c), was correct. On that date, Jupiter and Mercury were in perfect conjunction, Mars and Saturn, quite close. The first 5000 years of Kali-Yuga ended in a. d. 1898.
It is curious that the beginning of Kali-Yuga, according to the Hindus, was so close to the "commencing or zero date" (3373 b. c.) of the Maya astronomical calculations, which practically coincides with the Chinese starting-point of ecliptic measurements mentioned in The Theosophical Forum for March, 1940.
1. The Buddha said: "To the eye of flesh, plants and trees appear to be gross matter, but to the eye of a Buddha they are composed of minute spiritual particles. Grass, trees, countries, the earth itself, all these shall enter into enlightenment." (return to text)