[In view of the recent landings on Mars of Viking I and II as well as other interplanetary ventures, interest has been heightened as to the structure and characteristics of the sun and its family of planets. Nearly a hundred years ago, in the early 1880s, two Englishmen living in India entered into correspondence with two Eastern adepts signing themselves K.H. and M.: A. O. Hume, C.B., in Her Majesty's Service in Simla, and A. P. Sinnett, editor of The Pioneer, then leading Anglo-Indian newspaper at Allahabad. These letters covered a wide range of subjects, from the inner nature of man and the rigors of discipleship, to radiant energy, the fundamental unity of matter and spirit and the genesis of solar and planetary worlds. Mr. Sinnett preserved the letters addressed to him as well as copies of some written to Mr. Hume, and the entire collection in his possession at death was published in 1923 by A. Trevor Barker as The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett. The original letters are housed in the British Museum.
We have made a selection from this correspondence of two questions asked by Sinnett (p. 146), and K.H.'s answers (pp. 167-8) which were received in October 1882 at Simla. Also included are comments made around 1940 by G. de Purucker at a study-group where these particular questions were being discussed. These later appeared in Studies in Occult Philosophy (pp. 318-23). We reproduce the three items together as of interest to readers. — Ed.]
A. P. Sinnett — Is Jupiter a hot and still partially luminous body and to what cause, as solar energy has probably nothing to do with the matter, are the violent disturbances of Jupiter's atmosphere due?
K.H. — It is — so far; but is fast changing. Your science has a theory, I believe, that if the earth were suddenly placed in extremely cold regions — for instance where it would exchange places with Jupiter — all our seas and rivers would be suddenly transformed into solid mountains; the air, — or rather a portion of the aeriform substances which compose it — would be metamorphosed from their state of invisible fluid owing to the absence of heat into liquids (which now exist on Jupiter, but of which men have no idea on earth). Realize, or try to imagine the reverse condition, and it will be that of Jupiter at the present moment.
The whole of our system is imperceptibly shifting its position in space. The relative distance between planets remaining ever the same, and being in no wise affected by the displacement of the whole system; and the distance between the latter and the stars and other suns being so incommensurable as to produce but little if any perceptible change for centuries and millenniums to come; — no astronomer will perceive it telescopically, until Jupiter and some other planets, whose little luminous points hide now from our sight millions upon millions of stars (all but some 5000 or 6000) — will suddenly let us have a peep at a few of the Raja-Suns they are now hiding. There is such a king-star right behind Jupiter, that no mortal physical eye has ever seen during this, our Round. Could it be so perceived it would appear, through the best telescope with a power of multiplying its diameter ten thousand times, still a dimensionless point, thrown into the shadow by the brightness of any planet; nevertheless — this world is thousands of times larger than Jupiter. The violent disturbance of its atmosphere and even its red spot that so intrigues science lately, are due — (1) to that shifting and (2) to the influence of that Raja-Star. In its present position in space imperceptibly small though it be — the metallic substances of which it is mainly composed are expanding and gradually transforming themselves into aeriform fluids — the state of our own earth and its six sister globes before the first Round — and becoming part of its atmosphere. Draw your inferences and deductions from this. . . .
A. P. Sinnett — Is there any truth in the new Siemens theory of solar combustion, — i.e., that the sun in its passage through space gathers in at the poles combustible gas (which is diffused through all space in a highly attenuated condition), and throws it off again at the equator after the intense heat of that region has again dispersed the elements which combustion temporarily united?
K.H. — I am afraid not much, since our Sun is but a reflection. The only great truth uttered by Siemens is that inter-stellar space is filled with highly attenuated matter, such as may be put in air vacuum tubes, and which stretches from planet to planet and from star to star. But this truth has no bearing upon his main facts. The sun gives all and takes back nothing from its system. The sun gathers nothing "at the poles" — which are always free even from the famous " red flames" at all times, not only during the eclipses. How is it that with their powerful telescopes they have failed to perceive any such "gathering" since their glasses show them even the "superlatively fleecy clouds" on the photosphere? Nothing can reach the sun from without the boundaries of its own system in the shape of such gross matter as "attenuated gases." Every bit of matter in all its seven states is necessary to the vitality of the various and numberless systems — worlds in formation, suns awakening anew to life, etc., and they have none to spare even for their best neighbours and next of kin. They are mothers, not step-mothers, and would not take away one crumb from the nutrition of their children. The latest theory of radiant energy which shows that there is no such thing in nature, properly speaking, as chemical light, or heat ray is the only approximately correct one. For indeed, there is but one thing — radiant energy which is inexhaustible and knows neither increase nor decrease and will go on with its self-generating work to the end of the Solar manvantara [life period]. The absorption of Solar Forces by the earth is tremendous; yet it is, or may be demonstrated that the latter receives hardly 25 per cent. of the chemical power of its rays, for these are despoiled of 75 per cent. during their vertical passage through the atmosphere at the moment they reach the outer boundary "of the aerial ocean." And even those rays lose about 20 per cent. in illuminating and caloric power — we are told. What with such a waste must then be the recuperative power of our Father-Mother Sun? Yes; call it "Radiant Energy" if you will: we call it Life — all-pervading, omnipresent life, ever at work in its great laboratory — the SUN.
G. de Purucker — The sun is the great beating heart and brain of our system, the ultimate fountain and source of all the energy in the solar system as a whole. But with regard to this particular matter of heat and cold, it is the planets which keep themselves warm by their own vitality just as the human body does. It is not the sun which gives me my vital heat. The body creates its own vital heat. Of course if I go out in the sun and I feel the sun's rays pouring on my bare head, my head will be heated just as a plant will or a stone or anything else that is exposed to the sun's rays. But this is not heat coming from the sun, or very little in any case, perhaps twenty-five percent.
What is actually taking place is that an enormous efflux of electric and magnetic power flows from the sun and sets in vibration whatever this electric power falls upon. It is just exactly as every electrician knows: if you pass an electric current through a length of wire filament you encounter a resistance, which makes the particles in the wire through which the electric current passes, and which possesses this high resisting power, to glow with heat. It is not the electricity which carries heat and deposits it there. Electricity is neither hot nor cold. It is the power of the electricity meeting this resistance, which throws the molecules and atoms of this resisting medium into intense vibration, more rapid than that of billions and quadrillions of vibrations in a human second, and therefore heats it. Electricity is not itself hot. Just so with the sun. The sun is neither hot nor cold as we understand heat and cold. It is an enormous body of force, forces, which include electricity and magnetism and consciousness and life and intelligence and other things.
No, what makes Jupiter so hot is its own vital power. What produces this vital power in a heated body? You could ask the same question about our earth. What makes the earth warm or cold? The vital power of the earth — call it magnetism if you wish — interacting and reacting with the magnetic continent above our heads*: give and take, electric, electromagnetic or magnetic action and interaction. Just so does my own vital heat make my own body warm. If we had to trust to exterior heat to keep us alive and had no interior natural native vital heat of our own, if we went twenty feet from a fire we would freeze up in half an hour or in quarter of an hour. But such things do not occur.
[*This is a direct reference to an earlier comment by K.H. concerning magnetic conditions and atmospheric phenomena:
"Earth's magnetic attraction of meteoric dust, and the direct influence of the latter upon the sudden changes of temperature especially in the matter of heat and cold, is not a settled question to the present day, I believe. . . . I wonder how Science has not hitherto understood that every atmospheric change and disturbance was due to the combined magnetism of the two great masses between which our atmosphere is compressed! I call this meteoric dust a 'mass' for it is really one. High above our earth's surface the air is impregnated and space filled with magnetic, or meteoric dust, which does not even belong to our solar system." — pp. 161-2
It is of interest to note that the discovery of the two Van Allen Belts, a part of the earth's magnetosphere, occurred in 1958, 76 years after K.H.'s answer to Mr. Sinnett. — Ed.]
So it is with Jupiter. When planets are young, very young, they are enormously hotter than when they grow old. So it is even with the human being in a small degree. The hottest little dynamo that I have ever known is a baby. When boyhood is reached, your heat diminishes. When you reach manhood it grows still less: you are not then burning up in a constant fevered heat as a baby is. The teaching in the book [The Mahatma Letters] shows us clearly. The Master says: Imagine if all our oceans were turned into ice and all our atmospheric fluids were turned into liquids; then, he says, just imagine the reverse process, and you will have some idea of what it is like on Jupiter, which means, so hot there that what would be our oceans are turned to gases and what we call metals, stones and such things are turned to fluids. Just the reverse process. And it is strange enough that that was originally the idea of science.
The part played by these meteoric continents is enormous. . . . Now Mars is in obscuration, consequently the meteoric veil surrounding globe D of the Mars-chain is very thin. When the life-waves begin to come into Mars again, as they will before many millions of years have passed, Mars also will begin again to be re-covered with what scientists call heavy clouds, which are really veils of meteoric dust. Attracted psycho-vital-magnetically by the tremendously vital power of the planets which they surround, these meteoric continents perform somewhat the same function with regard to the planets that the human aura does for us. The meteoric veils are composed of dust, the effluvia rising up from the earth partly, but mainly and more largely from interplanetary and interstellar cosmic dust: the refuse, the sweat, the detritus, of other manvantaras, karmically drawn back, as life-atoms are drawn back to the reincarnating man.
Then there is the matter of the sun's north and south poles spoken of in this letter. Now there is one point here that needs clearing. I do not remember the Master's exact words, but it is much to the effect that the sun does not take anything from anything else, nor does it give away anything of its own. A perfectly true statement when it is understood. But do not forget this other perfectly true statement, infinitely more important: that nothing exists unto itself alone. Everything helps everything else. Everything lives for everything else. No accident anywhere. And this is a cosmic statement . . . of universal brotherhood. The Master means this: that the sun is not vampirized — in the sense that the word vampirize has. Nor is it a spendthrift, wasting and dissipating its vital power by pouring it out needlessly through ages, as our modern science teaches it does, to be wasted in the abysmal deeps of pluperfectly frigid spaces.
The solar system is a closed system in the sense that a human body is a closed system. Agreed that every human body is builded by life-atoms from all other human bodies; but so far as itself goes it is an entity, an individual with its own vital power, feeding itself, having naught to spare to give of vital power to other bodies unless given as a gift. And likewise not vampirizing, in the normal cases, other bodies. Vampirizing and giving of gifts happen, but these are not the normal state of things. Every atom is a closed system in that sense. Yet every atom is connected with every other atom in infinite space, feeding infinite space and infinite space feeding it.
So then, the sun does not vampirize other suns, nor has it any vitality to spare for other suns. It has all it can do to feed its own orbs, the planets and other bodies within its kingdom. . . .
Therefore, what happens is this: the sun follows the same cosmic law that every planet does. It is the heart of its kingdom and likewise the brain of its kingdom. If you look upon it as the heart for an instant, it receives the influxes of the rivers of lives, the circulations of the solar system, in its north pole. They pass through the heart of the sun, are cleansed and washed and leave at the south pole of the sun. Precisely as our earth and every other planet have each its receptor at the north pole, and its ejector or vent at the south pole.
Why, even the ancient Greeks taught this. Do you remember Aeolus and the cave of the winds? The cave of the winds was the earth, and the winds were the winds of the spirit, the circulations of the universe figurated as winds: a cave of which the north gate was made of horn through which the gods descend — and through which they ascend also, but mainly descend. And the south gate of the earth, or of the cave of the winds, was made of ivory, signifying the elephants of the south, as the horn does the tusks of the animals of the north. And out of the south gate go the hordes of men. So said the ancients. Why, the occult teaching is simply expressed here without a veil.
In other words, the earth feeds itself physically, magnetically, psychically, spiritually, through the north pole. The currents sweep through the earth — every word here is worth a volume — and leave by the south pole. So it is with the sun. That is the way the sun feeds its family: just as the heart feeds the body. It sends out its blood through the south pole, as it were, and after the circulation around the body has taken place, it receives it in again at the north pole. Fascinating subject!
So be careful how you read and construe. Don't let a single statement given by the Master as an answer to a very limited and specific question cover all the horizon of your thought regarding other things. In other words use your common sense. . . .
All the laws of nature, so called, are but the play of conscious and semi-conscious forces. Therefore by their utter consistency and invariability they are called by us the laws of nature. These forces of nature are fluids emanating from great cosmic hearts beating, hearts sending the lifeblood, each one of its own especial and particular essence, force, spirit, to the farthest reaches that it can contain. We live not only in the presence of divinities, but are in very truth their children. We are builded of them and from them. . . . Electricity, or magnetism, its alter ego, for instance, is but the fluid efflux from a cosmic entity, a being of our own solar system in our case, because we are in this solar system. Heat likewise — all the real forces of nature are such. What is gravity? Just the same. We call it love. Some day when science will have learned that gravity is bipolar as electricity and magnetism are, we may perhaps see returning the wisdom of the old Greek Empedocles who taught in his day that the universe is held in its courses and in its plans of beauty and harmony because of the two great cosmic powers, love and hate as they translate it — attraction and repulsion.
(From Sunrise magazine, October, 1976. Copyright © 1976 by Theosophical University Press)