The Theosophical Forum – July 1943



Question — What is the real function of Cosmic Rays — I mean from the occult or theosophical standpoint?

G. de P. — With regard to this question: What are the Cosmic Rays, where do they come from, where do they go, what is their function? Do you know, modern science today, and daily more and more so, is using the word "radiation," "radiations" — more and more so, I repeat, with virtually the same significance and purport, with virtually the same attempt to describe facts, that the ancient theologians of pre-Christian days in Greece and Rome, Egypt, Persia and Babylon, and equivalently in other parts of the earth made in using the word "emanation," "emanations." As light radiates or flows forth from a center of energy, a sun, or an electric globe, as it radiates forth, we can replace this word "radiates" with "emanates." Out of a central core flows forth light, call it radiation, call it emanation, it is the same. When you understand something of what the finest thinkers of ultra-modern science mean to say when they use the term "radiation," when you understand something of what they have in mind and attempt to express by that word, you will begin to understand what the ancient theologians of pre-Christian times meant when they used the word "emanation," flowing forth.

Thus a human being, as an instance, radiates or emanates vitality. Constantly radiating, it flows forth from him, and flowing forth from him shows that it is a thing, and this thing is a fluid. Light is a fluid, all these various kinds of rays are fluidic in character; but being fluidic in character this merely means that they are aggregates or concretions of entities, emanated entities, call them monads, call them life-atoms if you will. I wonder if that thought is clear.

Before I go on farther, let me try to illustrate what I think we should understand by the modern scientific effort to designate something which is at one and the same time a wave and a particle. If you follow in thought a bullet from a rifle you will realize that it is at once a particle so to speak, and at the same time accompanied with waves, these waves being the phenomena of its passage through the air. Now imagine a life-atom discharged from an entity. It passes with the speed of light, some atoms with a speed far exceeding that of light, and obviously their passage through substance is accompanied with intense disturbance along the track that the particle follows. Follow my thought? Thus the wave and the particle must accompany each other. The particle produces the wave; without the particle the wave would not be.

Now these Cosmic Rays we can call life-atoms if we wish. In fact, they are that, the life-atoms of the Universe but on a low, because a physical and even inferior to physical, plane. This is shown by their intensely rapid movement; and even the scientists are beginning to recognise this, as they speak of them as "hard" rays: they move so fast that their effect is like that of a projectile. They are "hard," very material.

And again: Where do they come from — these life-atoms of space that are streaming all through interstellar space, and, in so far as our own universe is concerned, throughout our solar universe — streaming through it? Mainly from the active, superlatively active, stomachs of the various suns, pouring forth from the suns of Space in inconceivable floods, or in inconceivable numbers. They make their peregrinations hither and yon as life-atoms of a type or kind, always coming back ultimately, sometime, someway, somewhere, to their father-substance; and meanwhile passing through all other entities as they peregrinate (transmigrate was the old word), wander hither and yon, back and forth.

Indeed, it is thus that the suns feed themselves. Our own sun feeds its own store of vitality from these floods of life-atoms reaching it from outer space, drawn into its own stomach and expelled again through the sun-spots. Why, you remember that even in The Secret Doctrine, H. P. B. openly there speaks of the fact, quoting one of the old records, that the sun was feeding on the refuse of space. Do you remember? As a matter of fact, our own bodies do that — physical body, astral body, mental body, interior sheath of consciousness — they all do just the same thing. They emanate floods of life-atoms, radiate them away and suck in, attract in, those of others. This is just what the sun does; so that these cosmic atoms, or cosmic rays — which are merely names which the scientists have given to them because they do not understand them very well yet, and they seem to be like rays, and they seem to be like particles, but are simply the life-atoms that have flowed forth from the suns of space, and happen to reach us, passing through us — sometime they will leave us and go elsewhere. Just in the same way our globe Earth is being fed and its vitality kept up, its energy sustained, electrical, psychic, physical, and what not, from what it sucks in from outer space, and it in turn emanates forth its own light and fluids. We call them Cosmic Rays, if you wish life-atoms; and thus we see a cosmic give and take, give and take.

But these are not the only life-atoms that there are. There are many, many families of life-atoms that no physical scientific instrument will ever succeed in perceiving, or even apperceiving. They are above, outside, our plane entirely; as for instance, there are purely astral life-atoms, mental life-atoms, spiritual, and divine. But these Cosmic Rays that scientists are now just beginning to gain some knowledge of are cosmic life-atoms of a low, that is of a type even inferior to the physical in the hierarchical sense; very "hard'; "hard rays" they call them, and therefore very dangerous to things that they strike, were they to strike at least in condensed form — such as the X-rays are. But the cosmic rays are even "harder."

Now when I say that our sun (as well as other suns), feeds itself on the refuse and "sweat" of space, on these flowing streams of life-atoms, oceans of them — for space is filled, incomprehensibly full with them, it is an ocean of life — I don't mean that the sun feeds on them to the exclusion of other life-atoms. The sun attracts to itself life-atoms on all planes, some far higher than the physical. But I want to add this. Call it an interesting theory if you like. There is an old, old, and to me very fascinating, legend which has been current in the Orient from time out of mind. It is couched in this form: the gods feed on men. Now I do not mean to frighten anyone here, or to have you think that when your day of dying comes it is going to be that some god is going to make a meal of you! I do not mean anything like that. But why should human beings be the only exceptions to the universal rule'? Man feeds on other things. You know, as a matter of fact, we feed on each other. Every time a group of people sits like this, close together, as you all do, you are feeding each other, changing and exchanging life-atoms, just as we think, changing and exchanging thoughts, and thus it is that arises a phenomenon which every one of us notices, I doubt not, and it is that people who live a great deal together, like husband and wife, grow to resemble each other; and I have even seen that with pets who are with human beings. A master or mistress actually begins to look like the pet. It is the change of life-atoms, and it is not always good either It is not good for the pet, and it is not good for the human being; and there are other reasons, though of course I know among some dear people here it would be my death-sentence to say anything against pets! These would not understand me: "Why, that's horrid, G. de P. What a perfectly horrid man!"

Theosophical University Press Online Edition