Eastern Mysticism and Modern Science
When we hear the terms “Secret Doctrine” the first image that comes into our mind is probably HPB’s book, which she wrote under the guidance of the two Tibetan Adepts KH and Morya. But it cannot be emphasized enough that this very book tells us
(SD I p. 272 ff): The Secret Doctrine is the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages, and its cosmogony alone is the most stupendous and elaborate system … But such is the mysterious power of Occult symbolism, that the facts which have actually occupied countless generations of initiated seers … are all recorded on a few pages of geometrical signs and glyphs …
The system in question is no fancy of one or several isolated individuals … it is the uninterrupted record covering thousands of generations of Seers whose respective experiences were made to test and to verify the traditions passed on orally by one early race to another … by men who have developed and perfected their physical, mental, psychic, and spiritual organisations to the utmost possible degree. No vision of one adept was accepted till it was checked and confirmed by the visions—so obtained as to stand as independent evidence—of other adepts, and by centuries of experiences.
The Maha Chohan, a Sk. term for the chief of a spiritual Hierarchy, or the head of the trans-Himalayan mystics or Adepts to which the Mahatmas KH and Morya belonged, who stood behind the modern theosophical movement wrote, that
“The doctrine we promulgate … must become ultimately triumphant, like every other truth … enforcing it’s theories … with direct inference, deduced from and corroborated by the evidence furnished by
modern exact science”.
The advent of quantum physics at the beginning of the 20th century sent shock-waves through the scientific community, when the perplexing and illusionary nature and behaviour of matter and energy at the atomic and subatomic level started to emerge.
The German Physicist and Nobel Prize Laureate Max Planck (1858 – 1947), originator of the quantum theory of energy, said that:
As a Physicist – that is a man who had devoted his whole life to a wholly prosaic science, the exploration of matter – no one would surly suspect me of being a fantast. And so, having studied the atom, I am telling you that there is no matter as such ! All matter arises and persists only due to a force that causes the atomic particles to vibrate, holding them together in the tiniest of solar systems, the atom. Yet in the whole of the Universe there is no force that is either intelligent or eternal, and we must therefore assume, that behind the force there is a conscious, intelligent Mind or Spirit. This is the very origin of Matter.
This assumption is an important part of the timeless occult sciences, which was already well explained in the Transactions of BL, where HPB confirmed that
(SD I p. 279) the SD admits a Logos or a … Demi-urgos – in the sense implied when we speak of an ‘Architect’ … but that Demiurgos is no personal Deity – e.g. an imperfect extr-cosmic god – but only the aggregate of the Dhyan- Chohans and other forces …
they are dual in their character – being composed of (a) the irrational brute engergy in matter, and (b) the intelligent soul or cosmic consciousness which directs and guides that energy, and which is the Dhyan-Chohanic thought reflecting the Ideation of the Universal Mind.
Trans.BL p. 50: The one impersonal Great Architect of the Universe is MAHAT, the Universal Mind. And Mahat is a symbol, an abstraction, an aspect which assumed a hazy entitative form in the all-materializing conceptions of men.
Trans.BL p. 4: The Divine Mind is, and must be, before differentiation takes place. It is called the divine Ideation, which is eternal in its Potentiality and periodical in its Potency, when it becomes Mahat, Anima Mundi or Universal Soul. But remember that, however you name it, each of these conceptions has its most metaphysical, most material, and also intermediate aspects,
(CW X p. 319) and that Universal Mind is only another Name for the Absolute out of time and Space, it is not an evolution, least of all a “creation”, but simply one of the aspects of the Absolute, which knows no change, which ever was, which is, and will be. (Glossary: (most probably derived from the term Ab-Soo, a Chaldean expression for mystic Space).
(Trans.BL p. 20) The Absolute is dormant latent Mind itself, and cannot be otherwise in true metaphysical perception; it is only It’s shadow which becomes differentiated in the collectivity of the Dhyanis (or AH-HI) or
(SD I p. 38) the Intelligent Forces, which are the vehicle for the manifestation of the divine or universal thought and will, and which give to and enact in Nature her “laws”, they are not personifications of the powers of Nature, as erroneously thought, says HPB. With other words, behind the powers of Nature there is the transcendental force of intelligence that guides them.
Niels Bohr, a Danish physicist and Nobel Prize Laureate, who made fundamental contributions to understanding the atomic structure and quantum theory, said that “Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real. If quantum mechanics has not profoundly shocked you, you have not understood it yet.
For a parallel to the lesson of atomic theory…[we must turn] to those kinds of epistemological problems, with which already thinkers like the Buddha and Lao Tzu have been confronted, he says. (Epistemology is a part of Philosophy that deals with the study of how we know things).
Confronted with the transcendental nature of the atomic and sub-atomic world, several scientists became very aware of a connection with Eastern Mysticism.
Julius Robert Oppenheimer, an American theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley said already in the 1950ies that “The general notions about human understanding…which are illustrated by discoveries in atomic physics, are not in the nature of things wholly unfamiliar, wholly unheard of, or new. Even in our own culture they have a history, and in Buddhist and Hindu thought a more considerable and central place.”
Even the evolutionary biologist and former Prof. at Oxford University Richard Dawkins, well known for his atheistic world-view, who describes evolutionary processes as analogous to a blind watchmaker in his several books, and that reproduction, mutation, and selection are unguided by any designer, had to row back a bit with his opinion.
When he and Michael Shermer, an American science writer, founder of “The Skeptics Society”, launched a scathing attack on Deepak Chopra, Clinical Professor of Medical School at the University of California, San Diego, who became very popular after his appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show in America, because he integrated the teachings of the ancient wisdom tradition as well as Ayurvedic and other alternative medical practices into his approach to healing,
STUART R. HAMEROFF, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Anesthesiology, College of Medicine at the University of Arizona, could not ignore Dawkins and Shermers arrogance any longer and stepped in.
His scientific research involves a theory of consciousness which has developed over the past 20 years together with the eminent British Physicist Sir Roger Penrose, Prof. of Mathematical Physics and Philosopher of science at the Mathematical Institute at Oxford University.
This theory called ‘orchestrated objective reduction’ (‘Orch OR’) describes the pathways in which consciousness arises inside the brain’s neurons, and that they have found evidence, that consciousness can survive death.
In an Open Letter to Dawkins and Shermer he wrote under the heading ‘More Rational Than Thou’ (I have copied the whole letter because it is quite interesting how a spiritually guided scientist can easily disarm a materialist colleague):
Dear Richard and Michael,
I read your lament that some people leave religion for ‘something worse,’ Deepak Chopra’s spirituality. I would say that in the areas of (1) evolution, (2) consciousness and (3) the nature of reality, Deepak’s view is closer to scientific truth than is yours …
Regarding consciousness and the nature of reality, Deepak maintains that inner conscious experience is more real than what appears to us as the material world, and that both consciousness and reality are, at deeper levels, ‘non-local’, interconnected across spatio-temporal boundaries, as occurs at small scales in the quantum world.
Dawkins sticks with materialism, which is suspect, because (1) neuroscience tells us mental constructs don’t match physical reality; that we, to some extent at least, construct reality, and (2) at small scales, matter encounters the quantum world, particles existing non-locally in multiple states and locations simultaneously.
The key question then is whether the brain utilizes quantum mechanisms in consciousness, in which case Deepak’s non-local spirituality is feasible. Indeed, more and more evidence points to quantum biology … If a potato … can utilize quantum coherence, surely our brains might manage it. Indeed coherent vibrations indicating quantum resonances have been detected in microtubules, cylindrical protein polymers which organize cell interiors including brain neurons.
Physicist Sir Roger Penrose and I have proposed quantum computations in microtubules mediate consciousness (the ‘orchestrated objective reduction’,Orch OR model).
Dawkins omits consciousness in his world-view, but lists it as one of three remaining mysteries in evolution, along with the origin of sex, and differentiation. Differentiation relates to ‘how genes influence bodies’, how the same set of genes produces a vast variety of cell types (and it ‘goes wrong’ in cancer and other diseases). Cell division, architecture, morphology and functional maintenance … all depend largely on self-assembly of microtubules, and subsequent encoded transport by motor proteins along their lengths.
So all 3 of Dawkins ‘mysteries’, and Deepak’s non-local spirituality are approachable through quantum biology, specifically of microtubules.
Michael, you trashed Penrose-Hameroff ‘Orch OR’ in “ScientificAmerican” years ago without a clue, and promised to revisit the topic given new evidence. Have you? Moreover your Skeptic Society meetings appear to be devoid of any skeptics to your ideas (invite me, why don’t you?). Talk about preaching to the choir. Richard, I’ve invited you several times to the Tucson consciousness conferences and you don’t even reply. You would learn a lot, and I would tell you how a burst of consciousness caused the Cambrian evolutionary explosion.
(The “Cambrian Explosion” by the way is an important point in the history of life on Earth when most of the major groups of animals first appear in a relatively short period of time, inconsistent with the gradual pace of evolutionary change according to the appearance in fossil records from about 543 million years ago).
Prof. Hameroff closed his letter by stating:
So on my scorecard (evolution, consciousness, reality), its Deepak 3 (points), Dawkins/Shermer 0 (points).
Fellas, get off your pompous high horses.
STUART R. HAMEROFF, Professor Emeritus Department of Anesthesiology, College of Medicine, University of Arizona
Nowadays Richard Dawkins admits:
Dr. Victor Mansfield (1941-2008) was Prof. of Physics and Astronomy at Colgate University in Madison County, New York. His research into quantum physics led him into a deep study of Eastern Mysticism, especially the teachings of Buddhism, where the relation with modern quantum physics became more and more obvious to him.
In his book “Tibetan Buddhism & Modern Physics” he wrote, that although there is genuine divergence (which is the act of moving away in different direction from a common point) between science and Buddhism regarding the universality of objectification (which is the expression of something abstract in a concrete form), both domains claim, that anybody with sufficient talent and motivation could undergo the requisite training and have confirming experience – whether understanding mathematical theory and its connection to laboratory experiment or the attainment of non-conceptual awareness of ultimate truth.
The difference however is, that in Buddhism this attainment requires a transformation of the personality at the most profound level. In science no such transformation of the individual is required. Following the usual route in science through the Ph.D and into contemporary research does require some native talent and much hard work, it does not require moral and spiritual transformation.
CW XII p. 596: “Observe,” confirms the Mahatma Morya, “that the first of the steps of gold which mount towards the Temple of Truth is––A CLEAN LIFE. This means a purity of body, and a still greater purity of mind, heart, and spirit.
How many of them (us) violate one or more of these conditions (of the right Path), and yet expect to be freely taught the highest Wisdom and Sciences, the Wisdom of the gods.
As pure water poured into the scavenger’s bucket is befouled and unfit for use, so is divine Truth when poured into the consciousness of a sensualist – pointed out especially is Gluttony – eating and drinking for the sensual pleasure they give;. . .
“There is a very, VERY ancient maxim, far older than the time of the Romans or the Greeks, more ancient than the Egyptians or Chaldeans. It is a maxim all of them (Theosophists) ought to remember and live accordingly. And it is that a sound and pure mind requires a sound and pure body. Bodily purity every adept takes precautions to keep. . . .
“Though such a person with any of the faults as above declared should fill the world with his charities, and make his name known throughout every nation, he would make no advancement in the practical occult sciences, but be continually slipping backward. The ‘six and ten transcendental virtues.’ the Pâramitâs, are not for full-grown yogis and priests alone, but for all those who would enter the ‘Path” (to enlightenment).
Dr. Fritjof Capra, an Austrian-born American theoretical physicist, is probably one of the best known scientists writing about the parallels between Eastern Mysticism and modern Physics. He is the Founding Director of the Centre for Ecoliteracy at Berkeley University/California (Ecoliteracy is the ability to understand the natural systems that make life on earth possible).
In his book “Uncommon Wisdom” Dr. Capra writes, that Eastern thought has begun to interest a significant number of people, and that meditation is no longer viewed with ridicule or suspicion; that Mysticism is being taken seriously even within the scientific community, and that an increasing number of scientists are aware, that mystical thought provides a consistent and relevant philosophical background to the theories of contemporary scientists.
The first book he wrote about the parallels of Eastern Mysticism with modern physics is called “The Tao of Physics”. At first it was very hard for him to find a publisher. When it actually happened in 1975, this book was an immediate bestseller in the United States, and has since been published in 43 editions in 23 languages and is still in print.
In this book he points out, that the parallels to modern physics with mysticism appear not only in the Vedas of Hinduism, in the I Ching, or in the Buddhist Sutras, but also in the fragments of Heraclitus and in Sufism, which are the mystical teachings of Islam.
He also emphasises, that a page from a journal of modern experimental physics for example will be as mysterious to the uninitiated person as a Tibetan Mandala. Both are records of enquiries into the nature of the Universe.
The Mystic and the Physicist arrive at the same conclusion, one starting from the inner realm, the other from the outer world. The harmony between their views confirms the ancient Indian Wisdom that Brahman, the ultimate reality without, is identical to Atman – the reality within.
(Article “Science and Spirituality”) Their observations take place in realms that are inaccessible to ordinary senses. In modern physics these are the realms of the atomic and sub-atomic world, in mysticism they are non-ordinary states of consciousness, in which the everyday sensory world is transcended.
In both cases, access to these non-ordinary levels of experience is possible only after long years of training within a rigorous discipline, and in both fields the “experts” assert, that their observations often defy expressions in ordinary language.
Twentieth-century physics was the first discipline in which scientists experienced dramatic changes of their basic concepts and ideas – a paradigm shift from the mechanistic world-view of Descartes and Newton to a holistic and systemic conception of reality. Subsequently, the same change of paradigms occurred in the life sciences with the gradual emergence of the systems view of life. It should therefore not come as a surprise that the similarities between the world-views of physicists and Eastern mystics are relevant not only to physics but to science as a whole. If physics leads us today to a world view which is essentially mystical, says Dr. Capra, it returns in a way to the beginning … this time however it is not only based on intuition, but also on experiment of great precision and sophistication, and on a rigorous and consistent mathematical formalism.
But still he says, that while the new physics was developed in the 20th century, the mechanistic Cartesian world-view and the principles of Newtonian physics maintained their strong influence on Western scientific thinking, and that even today many scientists still hold to the mechanistic paradigm although physicists themselves have gone beyond it (a paradigm means the totality of thoughts, perceptions and values, that form a particular vision of reality, by which a society organizes itself).
All scientific theories are approximations to the true nature of reality, and that each theory is valid for a certain range of phenomena.
“Quantum theory thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe. It shows that we cannot decompose the world into independently existing smallest units. As we penetrate into matter, nature does not show us any isolated “building blocks,” but rather appears as a complicated web of relations between the various parts of the whole. These relations always include the observer in an essential way. The human observer constitute the final link in the chain of observational processes, and the properties of any atomic object can be understood only in terms of the objects interaction with the observer.”
When we look at the world around us, he says,we find that we are not thrown into chaos and randomness, but are part of a great order, a grand symphony of life. Every molecule in our body was once a part of previous bodies – living or non-living – and will be a part of future bodies. In this sense, our body will not die but will live on, again and again, because life lives on. Moreover, we share not only life’s molecules, but also its basic principles of organization with the rest of the living world. And since our mind, too, is embodied, our concepts and metaphors are embedded in the web of life together with our bodies and brains. Indeed, we belong to the universe, and this experience of belonging can make our lives profoundly meaningful. (“The science of Spirituality”)
One of the key insights of the systems approach has been the realization, that the network is a pattern that is common to all life. Wherever we see life we see networks. (“The Hidden Connections”).
(SD I p. 83) In the Mandukya Upanishad (one of a series of Hindu sacred treatises written in Sanskrit) it is written, “As a spider throws out and retracts its web, as herbs spring up in the ground . . . so is the Universe derived from the un-decaying one. Brahmâ, as “the germ of unknown Darkness,” is the material from which all evolves and develops “as the web from the spider …”. This is only graphic and true … Brahmâ … is, as a term, derived from the root brih, to increase or expand. Brahmâ “expands” and becomes the Universe woven out of his own substance …
… The expanding and contracting of the Web—i.e., the world stuff or atoms— expresses here the pulsatory movement; for it is the regular contraction and expansion of the infinite and shoreless Ocean of that which we may call the noumenon of matter emanated by Swâbhâvat (a buddhist term for the matrix of the Universe), which causes the universal vibration of atoms. But it is also suggestive of something else. It shows that the ancients were acquainted with … the cause of the first ignition of matter or the world-stuff …
Dr Capra also mentions a discussion he had wi1th Werner Heisenberg, another famous Quantum Physicist and Nobel prize Laureate, who worked closely with Niels Bohr.
In 1929, Heisenberg spent some time in India as the guest of the celebrated Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, with whom he had long conversations about science and Indian philosophy. This introduction to Indian thought brought Heisenberg great comfort. He began to see that the recognition of relativity, interconnectedness, and impermanence as fundamental aspects of physical reality, which had been so difficult for himself and his fellow physicists, was the very basis of the Indian spiritual traditions. “After these conversations with Tagore,” Heisenberg said, “some of the ideas that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense. That was a great help for me.” (Capra,Uncommon Wisdom, 1988, p.43)
The ancient texts of the occult sciences always told the ones who would listen, that
(SD I p. 273 ff) the fundamental Law in the esoteric or divine Wisdom Tradition, the central point from which all emerged, around and toward which all
gravitates … is the One homogeneous divine SUBSTANCE PRINCIPLE, the one radical cause …the central point from which all emerged, around and toward which all gravitates …
It is called “Substance-Principle,” for it becomes “substance” on the plane of the manifested Universe, an illusion; while it remains a “principle” in the beginningless and endless abstract, visible and invisible SPACE. It is the omnipresent Reality: impersonal, because it contains all and everything. Its impersonality is the fundamental conception of the System. It is latent in every atom in the Universe and is the Universe itself …
The Universe is the periodical manifestation of this unknown Absolute Essence … called with everything in it MAYA, because all is temporary therein, from the ephemeral life of a fire-fly to that of the Sun. Compared to the eternal immutability of the ONE, and the changelessness of that Principle, the Universe, with its evanescent ever-changing forms, must be necessarily, in the mind of a philosopher, no better than a will-o’-the-wisp. Yet, the Universe is real enough to the conscious beings in it, which are as unreal as it is itself.
Everything in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms is endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of perception. We men must remember that because we do not perceive any signs—which we can recognise—of consciousness, say, in stones, we have no right to say that no consciousness exists there.
There is no such thing as either “dead” or “blind” matter, as there is no “Blind” or “Unconscious” Law. These find no place among the conceptions of Occult philosophy. The latter never stops at surface appearances, and for it the noumenal essences have more reality than their objective counterparts …
The Universe is worked and guided from within outwards. As above so it is below, as in heaven so on earth; and man — (is) the microcosm and miniature copy of the macrocosm …
ML XV: Parabrahm (the Absolute or impersonal and nameless universal principle in Hindu Philosophy, on which no speculation is possible) plus Maya (its reflection, which is just an illusion as long as it lasts) becomes Iswar the creative principle — a power commonly called God which disappears and dies with the rest when pralaya comes (which is the period of rest and dissolution).
SD I p. XX: Moreover, Esoteric philosophy reconciles all religions, strips every one of its outward, human garments, and shows the root of each to be identical with that of every other great religion. It proves the necessity of an absolute Divine Principle in nature. It denies Deity no more than it does the Sun. Esoteric philosophy has never rejected God in Nature, nor Deity as the absolute and abstract Ens. (Ens is a unit of measurement used especially for estimating the total amount of space that will be required).
(Esoteric Philosophy) only refuses to accept any of the gods of the so-called monotheistic religions, gods created by man in his own image and likeness, a blasphemous and sorry caricature of the Ever Unknowable. Furthermore, the records we mean to place before the reader embrace the esoteric tenets of the whole world since the beginning of our humanity, and Buddhistic occultism occupies therein only its legitimate place, and no more.
ML XXII: “There is a force as limitless as thought, as potent as boundless will, as subtle as the essence of life, so inconceivably awful in its rendering force, as to convulse the universe to its centre, would it but be used as a lever; but this Force is not God, since there are men who have learned the secret of subjecting it to their will when necessary … says the Mahatma KH.
The world of Force is the world of Occultism, and the only one whither the highest Initiate goes to probe the secret of being. Hence no-one but such an Initiate can know anything of these secrets.
Guided by his Guru (or Master of Wisdom) the Chela (or student) first discovers this world, then its laws, then their centrifugal evolutions into the world of matter. To become a perfect Adept takes him long years, but at last he becomes the Master. The hidden things have become patent, and mystery and miracle have fled from his sight forever.
He sees how to guide Force in this direction or that to produce desirable effects. The secret chemical, electric or odic (vital energy) properties of plants, herbs, roots, minerals, animal tissue, are as familiar to him as the feathers of your birds are to you. No change of the etheric vibrations can escape him. He applies his knowledge, and behold a “miracle”.
To show you how exact a science occultism is, let me tell you that the means we avail ourselves of are all laid down for us in a code as old as humanity to the minutest detail … we build our philosophy upon experiment and deduction … says the Mahatma KH.
(SD I p. 272 ff) As we have heard before, ‘The Secret Doctrine’ is the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages … (and that) the mysterious power of Occult symbolism is all recorded on a few pages of geometrical signs and glyphs.
Like in Science and Mathematics, a code or a formula is a system of letters, figures, or symbols used to represent a concise way of expressing information symbolically, especially for the purpose of transferring or sharing a secrecy with others, which seem like a foreign language to somebody who is not initiated into the meaning of these symbols.
Dr. Capra confirms, that the important similarity between the ways of the physicist and the mystic is the fact, that their observations take place in realms that are inaccessible to the ordinary senses. In modern physics, these are the realms of the atomic and subatomic world; in mysticism, they are non-ordinary states of consciousness in which the everyday sensory world is transcended.
In both cases, access to these non-ordinary levels of experience is possible only after long years of training within a rigorous discipline, and in both fields the ‘experts’ assert, that their observations often defy expressions in ordinary language.
Modern science is our best ally, says the Mahatma KH in letter XI
In the Key to Theosophy HPB tells us, that during the last quarter of every hundred years an attempt is made by these Masters, to help with the spiritual progress of Humanity. That towards the close of each century an outpouring of spirituality does take place. Someone or more persons have or will appear in the world as their agents, and that a greater or less amount of occult knowledge and teaching will be given out, and I can see powerful evidence for this fact coming especially from quantum physics, which explains the nature and behaviour of matter and energy at the atomic and subatomic level, and best of all, most of these physicists are not only aware, but also very familiar with the occult teachings of the East, from where they get their inspiration and intuitively recognize the similarities, which they openly admit now.
A good example is CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, with their Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, which is the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, where physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. They use the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter – the fundamental particles.
Inside the accelerator, two high-energy particle beams travel close to the speed of light in opposite directions at a temperature of -271.3°C , colder than outer space, before they are made to collide. In the courtyard of their Institution is a Statue of the Hindu God Shiva.
Why does one of the world’s premier research institutes have a statue of the Hindu God Shiva in its premises?
Unveiled on June 18, 2004, the two-metre-tall statue was a gift from the Government of India. A plaque next to the statue with a quote by Dr. Fritjof Capra, explains its significance where it says: “Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shivas in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our time, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance. The metaphor of the cosmic dance thus unifies ancient mythology, religious art and modern physics.”
Dr. Fritjof Capra further explained in his book “The Tao of Physics”, that the Dance of Shiva symbolises the basis of all existence. At the same time, Shiva reminds us that the manifold forms in the world are not fundamental, but illusory and ever-changing. Modern physics has shown that the rhythm of creation and destruction is not only manifest in the turn of the seasons and in the birth and death of all living creatures, but is also the very essence of inorganic matter.
“According to quantum field theory, the dance of creation and destruction is the basis of the very existence of matter. Modern physics has thus revealed, that every subatomic particle not only performs an energy dance, but also IS an energy dance; a pulsating process of creation and destruction. For the modern physicists then, Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic matter, the basis of all existence and of all natural phenomena.”
In an article called “Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism” Dr. Fritjof Capra writes, that Science and Mysticism are two complementary manifestations of the Human Mind, of its rational and intuitive faculties. The modern Physicist experiences the world through an extreme specialization of the rational mind; the Mystic through an extreme specialization of the intuitive Mind. The two approaches are entirely different and involve more than a certain view of the physical world. However, they are complementary as we have learned to say in Physics. Neither is comprehended in the other, nor can either of them be reduced to the other, but both of them are necessary, supplementing one another for a fuller understanding of the world.
Science does not need Mysticism and Mysticism does not need Science, but MAN needs both. Mystical experience is necessary to understand the deepest nature of things, science is essential for modern life. What we need is not a synthesis but a dynamic interplay between mystical intuition and scientific analysis.
SD I p. 416/417: …Oriental traditions … are as full of allegories about the downfall of Pleroma, says the SD, of the gods and Devas. One and all, they allegorized and explained the FALL as the desire to learn and acquire knowledge—to KNOW. This is the natural sequence of mental evolution, the spiritual becoming transmuted into the material or physical, the … law of descent into materiality and re-ascent into spirituality …
SD I p. 269: The Books of the Vedanta Sk.(derived from two words, veda knowledge and anta end. Vedanta means the culmination of knowledge. It is the ancient Indian philosophy which answers the fundamental questions of life, giving out but the metaphysical aspect of this world-Cosmogony; and their priceless Thesaurus, the Upanishads … require now the additional possession of a Master-key to enable the student to get at their full meaning.
CW IV p. 579 fn: Upa-ni-shad means according to Brahmanical authority, “to conquer ignorance by revealing the secret spiritual knowledge”, and according to Sir Monier Williams (1819 – 1899, who was Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University, from who’s writings HPB quotes) —the title is derived from the root sad with the prepositions upa and ni, and implies “something mystical that underlies or is beneath the surface.”
The Esoteric Teachings remind us, that (CW 8 p. 108) the first necessity for obtaining self-knowledge is to become profoundly conscious of ignorance; to feel with every fibre of the heart that one is ceaselessly self-deceived.
The second requisite is the still deeper conviction that such knowledge—such intuitive and certain knowledge—can be obtained by effort.
The third and most important is an indomitable determination to obtain and face that knowledge.
Self-knowledge of this kind is unattainable by what men usually call “self- analysis.” It is not reached by reasoning or any brain process; for it is the awakening to consciousness of the Divine nature of man.
To obtain this knowledge is a greater achievement than to command the elements or to know the future.
“A COURSE IN MIRACLES” – or ACIM – is a volume of written material arranged as a self-study course designed to bring the student into a consistent state of peace and happiness. The Course was initially scribed and typed up during the years of 1965–1972 by two Professors of Medical Psychology at Columbia University NY: Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford.
In Chapter 21 Part II we can read:
Listen now and try to think if you remember what we will speak of now.
Listen – perhaps you catch a hint of an ancient state not quite forgotten – dim perhaps and yet not altogether unfamiliar, like a song whose name is long forgotten, and the circumstances in which you heard completely unremembered.
Not the whole song has stayed with you, but just a little wisp of melody, attached not to a person or a place or anything particular.
But you remember from just this little part, how lovely was the song, how wonderful the setting where you heard it, and how you loved those who were there and listened with you.
The notes are nothing, yet you have kept them with you, not for themselves, but as a soft reminder of what would make you weep if you remembered how dear it was to you.
You could remember, yet you are afraid, believing you would loose the world you learned since then, and yet you know that nothing in the world you learned is half as dear as this.
Listen and see, if you remember an ancient song you knew so long ago and held more dear than any melody you taught yourself to cherish since.
Beyond the body, beyond the Sun and Stars,
past everything you see and yet somehow familiar,
is an arc of golden light that stretches as you look
into a great and shining circle.
And all the circle fills with light before your eyes.
The edge of the circle disappears,
and what is in it is no longer contained at all.
The Light expands and covers everything, extending to infinity forever shining
and with no break or limit anywhere.
Within it everything is joined in perfect continuity.
Nor is it possible to imagine
that anything could be outside,
for there is nowhere that this light is not.