The Theosophical Forum – December 1948


Atoms have been aptly described by modern science as being the building blocks of the Universe, while scientists in their investigations on atomic structure have more closely approached the theosophical concept of "As above, so below" and admitted that structurally an atom is patterned like a miniature solar system. The central nucleus of protons and neutrons have been likened to a central sun or suns around which revolve their accompanying electrons, just as the various planets of a solar system revolve around their central sun; and it is now postulated that the Universe is a dynamic rather than a material one with these protons and electrons considered to be centers of energic forces, with matter and energy being convertible one into the other. Physicists in conducting certain experiments with cosmic rays now believe that they have witnessed the conversion of energy into matter, while the conversion of matter into atomic energy is now common knowledge. Another extremely interesting fact is the theory put forward by Dr. Dirac suggesting that the so-called empty spaces between electrons and their protonic centers are not empty spaces at all but are "thickly populated by an infinite number of ordinary negative electrons packed together in a very regular and uniform way." This theory is very significant and suggests the Theosophical doctrine of the "fulness of the seeming void" with the visible or positive electron but a "bubble" or "hole" whirling through a sea of negative electrons or space. Thus is demonstrated the fact that it is space which is full or solid, and these whirling centers of energy or worlds which are the "holes" in this space. The negative electrons which are visible space may perhaps be worlds in Pralayic rest while the positive or activated ones are the manifested worlds or physical vehicles of the consciousness-centers working in and through them.

But, science, however far advanced in both theory and experimentation, goes only a small part of the way, penetrating only the outer garment of the Universe, declining to agree with occult science that these atoms are but the physical bodies of living entities and should when considered in the light of these ensouling entities be more aptly termed life-atoms or living atoms of space both visible and invisible, being present on every plane of manifested existence, and all pursuing their own appropriate evolutionary journey. Hence the idea that there is life everywhere and that there is no such thing anywhere as inanimate or dead matter. These life-atoms are on every plane of existence in appropriate kind to each particular plane, being life-atoms only relative to their own plane of being, and similarly an ordinary material atom would only be considered so on this particular plane of existence. What would appear as an atom on one plane of manifestation would become as a solar system to some lower or inferior one. An atom therefore is only a term for a condition of manifested existence which is equal to the building block of any one particular hierarchy or plane. One modern scientist (Le-maitre) has drawn a close analogy here by suggesting that the whole Universe originally may have consisted of a single gigantic "super-atom" in which all the matter and energy of the universe was concentrated. With the explosion of this super-atom, he further suggests that there then commenced the beginnings of the Universe as we now know it. This idea is very suggestive of the slumbering Cosmic atom, the "Egg of Brahma" which at the dawn of the new Manvantara burst forth into further manifestation, and finally became the Universal Solar System that it now is. Thus even a Universal Solar System or Egg of Brahma may be pictured as a super-gigantic atom of a Galactic System, and a life-atom in some Parabrahmic Entity. Again it may be that what would represent a Monad in one hierarchy, would represent merely a life-atom to one above it, and so from a certain point of view a Monad is also an atom. G. de P. expresses this fact so poetically when he explains that "Monads are spiritual droplets or atoms of Space, or component drops of the shoreless Ocean of spacial Being."

Thus the terms Gods, Monads, Atoms are all merely relative to this "shoreless Ocean of spacial Being," and all fundamentally of the same structure, and a life-atom on one plane may be a God or a Monad to those far below it, and an atom of material may also be a living body or solar system to some consciousness-center far below the human.

A life-atom is also composed of seven principles with its visible physical vehicle and six others invisible to us even as we ourselves are constructed. Similarly, breaking up the physical atom into its component parts of a central nucleus of protons which can be compared to a central sun and its attendant electrons which are the planetary family of the atomic solar system. These central protons or proton would according to analogy also be sevenfold as are the globes of our solar chain with only the physical globe or proton visible, while the others are invisibly placed on other planes. Similarly with the planetary electrons which would also be septenary, while upon these minute globes or worlds would dwell still more infinitesimal life of an appropriate nature. So then, the story of the atom is also that of the Kosmos, the one being a miniature of the other, and the adventures of a life-atom may well be a duplicate of those of a God only on a correspondingly smaller scale, for one is the reflection of the other, while the aim of all this evolutionary drama is ever the same. It is that of self-directed evolution, acting always as the guiding force and unfolding and expressing that which was in latency in a never ending series of becoming.

It is this shining forth of the innate Swabhavic qualities that creates the different types of elements, of which on our Globe D there are 92 known by science as native to this earth. Recently, however, two more named Neptunium and Plutonium have been manufactured artificially through experimentation in nuclear fission, thus producing 94 known elements. Each element has a different atomic number and a different atomic weight, Uranium being the heaviest or highest atomic number, and also the most unstable structurally, and the one found by modern physicists to be the most suitable for nuclear fission. In terms of Theosophical doctrine, however, this means that this particular element has commenced to disintegrate, thus rendering it more highly radio-active, less material and more energic. When an atom is comparatively young in its evolutionary development, it is still growing and becomes electrically hungry, thus capturing electrons which come within its orbit. When it is maturing and growing older, that is, when it is growing nearer to its evolutionary goal, it commences to shrink and break up, emitting one or more of its electrons as it commences disintegration, and producing what is known chemically as an ionized or mutilated atom. Young atoms are seeking food, and become electrically hungry, well integrated and stable atoms are those which have reached about the middle point of their evolution, while the more unstable ones such as uranium are aging atoms whose life forces are commencing to withdraw and whose structure begins breaking up. It may possibly be that the two new elements which have so recently been artificially manufactured by science, have already disintegrated so far as to have disappeared in their old atomic structure and have been transmuted into some lighter atomic elements. It is really all a process of an atom acquiring more electrons as its ensouling entity involves and clothes itself more and more deeply into matter, and as this entity reaches the point where it again turns towards its spiritual source, it slowly sheds these electrons and breaks up into finer and more ethereal matter. It also follows that what happens to an atom also happens to a human body, a globe or a solar system, and therefore all these various grades of matter are radio-active and chemically subject to this transmutation into finer materials at a certain period in their evolutionary development. Conversely, when spirit is involving itself down into matter, the opposite procedure occurs, and instead of the atoms breaking up into finer materials, they actually add to their structure and become heavier than formerly. This is the period of the downward arc as contrasted with that of the upward arc which our Globe Earth has just commenced traversing, and this is why the atoms of our present heavier elements are now beginning to break up and become radio-active.

Man also is a radio-active entity emitting forth constant streams of life-atoms on all planes of his existence. Indeed it would decidedly surprise the average human being were he to realize the immensely powerful forces of which he is composed in all his various vehicles. But the atoms of his body are so well balanced that he is able to use and inhabit this vehicle without being at all conscious of the fact that he himself is an enormous source of potential atomic energy.

Solar Systems also are radio-active, and so carrying the analogy further and likening our solar system to an atom of space, it may be that when the planets or electrons of one solar system are captured by those of another in a similar manner to which ordinary physical atoms become ionized and their electronic structure altered by other electrically hungry atoms, these planetary captures are then transmuting that solar system into another element even as occurs in the chemical field of physical atoms. Transmutation from one element or condition into another is thus a fundamental law in a Universe of interlocking hierarchies of endless streams of Beings who are eternally becoming. In the chemical laboratories of the Gods are created and transmuted the various Kosmic elements which combine to produce the myriad forms of manifestation, while every transmutation brings the evolving entity or consciousness-center working through these elements a little closer to its divine source. Whether considering an atom of infinitely smaller size than ours or one of infinitely larger or Cosmic proportions, the same fundamental process may be seen at work: first descending down into matter further and becoming heavier in structure, then evolving forth radio-actively in the endeavors of Spirit to release itself from the various matter forms in which it is veiled. Thus the Kosmos may be depicted as an eternal struggle between Spirit and Substance or between force and matter for balance or equilibrium, while out of this continual interaction Consciousness emerges on ever higher levels of Being than before.

 Atoms therefore can be of any size, stretching into infinity in either the exceedingly small or the extremely large, and can act as a connecting link or laya center between any two planes of space both inner and outer. It is through these atomic laya centers that the various streams of consciousness-centers travel from one plane to another during their evolutionary peregrinations. Therefore an atom can both peregrinate and be peregrinated through, for in the realm of pure consciousness size, structure, and place are of no consequence, and it is the ultimate of all living entities or consciousness-centers to divest Nature of her mayavic gown of atomic unreality that they may become self-consciously at one with the Divine Being who called them forth and from whose consciousness they are projected.

Theosophical University Press Online Edition