Campbell Library Other Material:
Research Paper by Michael English



One of the aims of The Campbell Theosophical Research Library is to encourage quality research into any aspects of the theosophical movement and its philosophy. To this end it sponsored a Research Project where participants were asked to select topics from specific areas. It was envisaged that entries of an acceptable standard could be published.

In response to the request for submissions, Michael English, a member of the Perth Branch of The Theosophical Society in Australia, submitted the following paper - The Birth of a Universe. The Campbell Theosophical Research Library is very pleased to be able to make this paper available to those interested in the exploration of theosophical concepts.

March 2001



The Birth of a Universe

by



Michael English





Some suggestions as to how the physical universe came into existence: attempting a speculative alignment between the perspective of modern science and certain theosophical concepts



Introduction

There are many differing viewpoints as to how the physical universe that we inhabit came into existence. Opinions vary greatly from the causal creativity of an omnipotent deity to the natural processes inherent in nature. Furthermore, there is a range of esoteric traditions that vary in expression from highly metaphoric to symbolically explicit. Where does theosophy find its place among these expressions? This article sets out to put forward suggestions on this matter, and in particular, attempts a somewhat speculative alignment between the perspective of modern science and certain theosophical concepts. I do not pretend to have any ultimate answers, but rather, would like to open our minds to such matters. It is up to the reader to discriminate either in favour or against such suggestions. Thus, this article attempts to give an overview of modern science's generally accepted theories and compare them to certain propositions from theosophical writers. Furthermore, the main thrust of the article is to postulate how the emergence of the various hierarchical planes of theosophy, i.e., the physical, astral and so on, may be described scientifically.



Science and Theosophy



Throughout the ages, humankind has attempted to produce an adequate description of the birth of our universe. Some descriptions have been mythical, some allegorical, and others profoundly mystical, but over recent centuries the description has become evermore scientific and empirical. The current viewpoint, known as the 'hot big bang model', has established a prominent place among the teachings of most, if not all, western universities. To the scientific fraternity, the big bang theory stands as a 20th century revolution.



The 20th century has also been marked by another revolution, a stream of esoteric knowledge that also deals with the origins of our universe. The specific time chosen for the (re)release of this knowledge (known as theosophy divine wisdom) was carefully selected by certain enlightened beings - the Mahatmas. At the initial stages, the Mahatmas contracted direct agents, such as Madame H. P. Blavatsky, to give back to the world the information that had slipped from view. This was soon supported and developed by many insightful writers such as: W. Q. Judge, Col. H. S. Olcott, Dr. A. Besant, Bishop C. W. Leadbeater, A. Bailey, C. S. Jinarajadasa and many more.



It can sometimes seem that there are certain irreconcilable differences between the viewpoint of modern science and that of theosophy when dealing with concepts such as the birth of the universe. As contemporary thinkers and theosophists, how do we reconcile the sometimes perplexing differences between these two streams of thought? I would suggest that a very significant difficulty is often that of semantics. Modern science predominately describes the origins and evolution of one universe (although, more and more, other universes are being speculated on, as we shall see). Contrary to this, the theosophical application of the term universe, or universes, seems to be used in a much more generic sense and with relative application. This, unfortunately, leaves much room for ambiguity and confusion between the two systems of thought.



This article, therefore, sets out to reconcile some of the discrepancies between modern science and theosophy in relation to the birth of our physical universe, and establish some possible correspondences between the two systems.



Modern Science



For modern science, the birth of this physical universe is understood in terms of Albert Einstein's 'general relativity'. General relativity deals with the relationship of space and time in the presence of mass (matter). In fact, in relativity, the three dimensions of space and one dimension of time, are treated as a four dimensional continuum, usually referred to as 'space/time'. As it turns out, space/time "is a field of geometrical distortion, a curvature or warping" (Davies & Brown, 1988, p. 16), not just a flat uninvolved background. To understand this, it is easiest to imagine a description in two dimensions. If the sun were sitting on a large trampoline mat (two dimensional - length and breadth), it would naturally sink the mat in the middle, and any other body moving on the mat, such as the earth, would simply follow the curvature caused by the mass of the sun. So mass actually curves the space/time fabric, which subsequently affects the motion of any other bodies (planets and moons) in the vicinity.



With concepts such as these in hand, general relativity has been proven and observed as extremely accurate in all its predictions and, therefore, heavily relied on to explain our physical universe - even the origin of our universe. Subsequently, general relativity appears to predict that the universe was initially bound in an infinitesimal region, which, as Greene (1999) describes, then emerged some 15 billion or so years ago as an enormously energetic explosion.



There are some quite abstract concepts to grasp in relation to this. Firstly, at the very instant of the big bang, it did not explode into the pre-existing static space and time, but rather, the big bang was the creation of space and time, or, the space/time fabric. This situation arises because we know only of spatial and temporal (time) dimensions as the measurement between any two objects or events. At that creative instant, called the big bang, everything was considered as a space/time singularity - a singular event, or as Greene (1999, p. 346) states, "all locations we now see as separate were the same location" and therefore no measurement of dimensionality would have been possible.



The space/time singularity is usually postulated by looking at the dynamic structure of the universe today, and reversing its motion. That is, in every direction the objects we view in the heavens are rapidly moving away from each other, so they must have originated from a dense central region. It is not, however, that the billions of visible galaxies are moving away through space, rather, the fabric of space itself is still expanding from the initial big bang singularity. If we calculate the reversal of this expansion we see today, it appears that everything compresses into one singular point of infinite density at the beginning of time - time as we know it. So, from our common-sense notion, it seems that prior to the big bang the space and time that are familiar to our physical sensory perception did not exist. This does not necessarily preclude the existence of other conceptualisations of space/time - as we shall see later.



Esoteric Cosmogonies



How do these concepts compare with the esoteric cosmogonies? As indicated before, there is the difficulty of semantics to make allowance for. Modern science has firmly established what it is referring to by a 'universe', but do we really understand what the esoteric literature is referring to by the term 'universe'? Yet again, as indicated previously, I believe the application of 'universe' in esoteric and theosophical literature is a generic term - and relates to various hierarchical levels of being. For example, Besant (1915, p. 3) deals with the esoteric foundations of a universe, which she describes as having seven major modifications, and asserts, "we have thus the seven planes of a universe, a solar system." In this case, Besant seems to imply that a universe and a solar system are one and the same thing. This is confusing because modern science deems a solar system as the same, or similar to our local star (the sun) and its nine planets with numerous moons. Nevertheless, modern science's solar system is absolutely distinct from its description of a universe, containing billions of galaxies, each containing billions of stars. So perhaps the esoteric solar system, in this case, is referring to a system containing many solar units (suns), and therefore, collectively, a vast solar system.



This is just one example of semantics out of many that could be raised, however, to deal with such matters is not the sole intention of this article. In this article, whether I am referring to modern science or esoteric cosmogony, the physical universe is the collective of all the stars and galaxies that are a result of the big bang.



Returning to the concepts of esoteric cosmogony, there is the unfolding of seven planes, which, as Blavatsky (1979, p. 139) describes, begins at the highest(1) transcendental level with an abstract "One Life", or one form of existence, which then proceeds to modify as a septenary scale of objective manifestation. It is very tempting to equate the aforementioned 'one form of existence' with the space/time singularity of modern science. However, after much deliberation, I believe this also to be quite misleading. A comprehensive description of the full septenary division of nature is also beyond the scope of this article, but in brief, Besant (1915, pp. 2-3) asserts that the primary unfolding of the two highest planes, results in them displaying characteristics of a purely divine nature. The next two planes that unfold from, and within, the first two (remember, all the planes are interconnected and interpenetrating), can be considered as having characteristics of a purely spiritual nature, but the lower three are more familiar to our discerning faculties.



As the spiritual planes continue to unfold and modify (or in scientific terms, perform a phase transition, a process similar to water becoming ice under different thermal conditions), aspects of spiritual essence then display characteristics of mental substance(2). This is followed by a further descending transition, mental essence becoming that of emotional substance (this being the 'astral plane'). The final transition is when aspects of astral essence modify to display characteristics of physical substance. This final transition from the 'astral plane' to the 'physical plane', I believe, is the birth of the physical universe as described by modern science's 'hot big bang model'. So the unfolding life-wave, or One Life, modifies through seven planes as it is descending to full objective manifestation, and it is speculated herein that the final modification between the astral and physical planes is the birth of our physical universe described as the big bang.



It is important to keep in mind at this stage, that the unfolding of the differing planes as described above, is the formulation of the protean substance-to-be, and the spatial and temporal dimensions that will be the fields of evolution. There are, of course, no material beings such as humans at this stage - only the development of the differing grades of substance, subtle to gross, that will make it possible at a much later stage, for intelligent composite beings to evolve. However, for our purposes, the greatest difficulty of this early epoch is how to conceptualise the transition from the astral to the physical plane. As described before, modern science hypothesises that the universe initially emerged from a space/time singularity some 15 billion years ago. That is, everything we see today, all the stars and galaxies, were originally compressed into a region smaller than a sub-atomic particle. For most people, common-sense presents itself at this stage and refutes any such notion, how could a planet be squeezed into such a small area, let alone the entire universe? However, how does a giant oak tree emerge from one small acorn? How does one small idea have the potential and ability to pervade the whole world? One minute seed, whether it be a cell, acorn or idea, has an innate potential for multiplication, manifesting as pattern and process beyond our common-sense expectations.



If the incipient universe were no bigger than a sub-atomic particle, many scientists believe it must then function as a sub-atomic particle at that stage. However, sub-atomic particles are strange entities that do not function in the same black and white way in which we see the world. Further to this, the word 'particle' can conjure a misleading image of the sub-atomic world. Whenever modern science is dealing with a system smaller than an atom, that system is described in terms of a non-deterministic 'quantum(3) event'. That is to say, at this level things can magically change, depending on how you look at them. This is because, as Capra (1992, pp. 70-71) describes, "at the sub-atomic level, matter does not exist with any certainty at definite places, but rather shows 'tendencies to exist', and atomic events do not occur with any certainty at definite times and in definite ways, but rather show 'tendencies to occur'." This shy and tentative nature within the quantum world is why quantum events are deemed as being undetermined until observed. Capra continues to assert that these quantum events are formalised as "probability waves…and these patterns, ultimately, do not represent probabilities of things, [italics added] but rather probabilities of interconnections." So, at the moment of observation of a quantum system, there is a connection between observer and observed, and that is when a probability becomes an actuality. The outcome of this mysterious microcosmic quantum world seems to imply that there are some immense difficulties in trying to conceptualise the early physical universe by our current macrocosmic common-sense view of space and time. Unfortunately, the concepts of quantum theory do not inherently align themselves with the concepts of general relativity, so there is much work to be done as yet. However, I will confine this article to discussing the birth of the universe from the relativistic point of view of a space/time singularity.



Reconciliation



So, perhaps this is the best place to attempt some form of reconciliation between modern science and esoteric cosmogony. Is there evidence of a phenomenon such as a space/time singularity within theosophical literature? I believe so. However, firstly we need to know a little more about singularities. Currently, in modern science, there are two conditions that give rise to a space/time singularity, as already discussed - at the big bang, and also in areas of gravitational collapse, or 'black holes'. In fact, the study of black holes actually assists astrophysicists in understanding the birth of the universe, for, as Gribbin (1992, p. 102) asserts, "the expansion of the Universe out of the Big Bang is, in fact, the mirror image, as far as the equations of the general theory [of relativity] are concerned, of the collapse of a dense star into a black hole." A black hole forms when a star collapses under its own gravitational pull. For example, Davies (1994, p.69) describes how Einstein's general relativity connects gravity with the geometry of curved space/time, so the greater the gravitational pull - the greater the curvature of space/time, and in the case of the central region of a black hole the space/time curvature has become infinite or, a singularity. Davies also asserts that at the singularity, "space/time stops" and this constitutes the end of the physical universe as we know it. Thus, some of the concepts associated with a space/time singularity are: no differentiation (also described as 'absolute symmetry'), infinities of curvature and density, and the absence of spatial dimensions. Let us now compare this to esoteric cosmogony.



Blavatsky (1979, p. 138) indicates that the seven unfolding planes of nature, discussed previously, are a condition that arises from seven invisible points (one for each plane). These are termed "Laya centres" and from these "zero points" the scale of differentiation begins for each specific plane. Blavatsky also indicates that they have nothing to do with our conception of dimension and that they are associated with infinity, by stating that there "is neither a locality nor can it be measured by distance, but that it exists in the absoluteness of infinity" (1979, p. 131).



The above are some striking comparisons between esoteric cosmogony and modern science, particularly when we consider that these similarities are found when dealing with the same concept - the birth of the universe. So, it may be pertinent to analyse the two systems with more detail.



So, as indicated previously, Blavatsky (1979, pp. 138-139) describes the seven-fold manifestation of the cosmos descending from highest to lowest, and reading this in conjunction with Besant's (1915) interpretation, the final descending transition is from the astral plane to the physical. Blavatsky asserts that these transitions appear through the "laya centres", and these are "the seven Zero points…[which] indicate a point [italics added] at which…the scale of reckoning of differentiation begins." Comparatively, in modern science, Hawking (1988, p. 50) describes the big bang singularity as a time when the distance between all spatial phenomena must have been zero, and "such a point [italics added] is an example of what mathematicians call a singularity." Smoot (1993, p. 115) supports this in saying, "strange as it seems, this point would have zero size and infinite density." Thus, both Blavatsky and modern scientists are describing a transition point of zero size and infinite in nature. Furthermore, if the comparison is credible, the big bang singularity, like a laya centre, must be the moment where, as Blavatsky asserts, the scale of differentiation begins. In relation to Einstein's general relativity, Boslough (1984, p. 43) describes "a beginning in which all matter was concentrated in a single point, and that there was a Big Bang in which this point emerged and exploded, creating our universe, space and time." Thus, the big bang singularity is the point at which space, time and matter differentiate, just as is the case with a laya centre. However, what caused the big bang?



The standard big bang model, as discussed above, calculates the physical universe back to the earliest times mathematically possible; back to when time equals 10-43 seconds. At that stage the universe was only a hundred-millionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second old, and when attempting to go beyond this point, physicists find that "the laws of physics break down and the universe is effectively beyond mathematical description" (Smoot, 1993, p. 115). For some physicists, this means that 'nothing' existed prior to the big bang. Davies (1996, p. 31) is adamant about this point, asserting, "I am describing an origin in which space itself comes into existence at the big bang and expands from nothing to form a larger and larger volume." He continues, "I must stress that the speck from which space emerges is not located in anything. It is not an object surrounded by emptiness. It is the origin of space itself, infinitely compressed." However, there are various viewpoints on this matter with some physicists hypothesising a form of pre-space, or quantum foam, or yet again, fields of potential. In modern science there is not a conclusive answer on this to date.



In contrast to this, esoteric cosmogony would seem to imply that the big bang (assuming the big bang singularity and a laya centre are synonymous) is just the transition point from the astral plane down to the physical. In other words, there was a form of existence, prior to our physical conceptualisation of space and time, prior to the big bang and, therefore, of a subtle, nonphysical basis. To comprehend this, we firstly need to know something about the 'astral plane'. Esoteric cosmogony speaks of each of the seven planes being built out of differing grades of matter, which obviously, is nothing like physical matter (similar to the previous situation of 'quantum' particles actually being packets of energy) except on the physical plane. In fact, the use of the word 'matter' in association with planes higher than the physical is another example of misleading semantics, because we naturally associate matter with something tangible. Substituting the word 'energy' for 'matter' is a step in the right direction, but still not totally correct in the case of esoteric cosmogony, but this would require further consideration outside the space constraints of this article. However, for the purpose herein, let us say that the astral plane is built of a subtle energy that is not so much quantifiable, but rather, is qualitative. Besant (1915, p. 307) refers to the qualitative nature of astral matter (energy) by stating, "its essential nature of giving motor-impulses, surrounded by matter which arouses sensation [italics added], answers by impelling energy, and this energy, aroused through and acting through astral matter, is Desire." This, in part, is why many theosophical writers refer to the astral plane as the plane of emotions when in conjunction with the animal or human kingdoms. Although, as far as modern science is concerned, this in itself proves nothing about the epoch before the big bang. To give credence to theosophical principles such as the astral plane, it is of great benefit to bring them within the confines of scientific paradigms.



To scientifically describe the descending astral plane, we need to discover a subtle form of energy, a higher frequency of energy. Our modern understanding of energy (i.e., electro-magnetic radiation) very much relies on Einstein's predecessor to general relativity - special relativity. At first, it was perceived that special relativity dictated an upper speed limit to things in our universe, that is, nothing could surpass the speed of light in a vacuum, which is very close to 3 ´ 108m/sec., or 300,000km/sec., (Physics, 1965, p. 102). However, it has since been discovered "that there is nothing in Einstein's theory to prevent bizarre objects from already existing on the other side of the light barrier" (Peat, 1988, p. 65). These "bizarre objects" are referred to as 'tachyons' and Peat continues to say, "tachyons can be thought of as particles in a mirror world [italics added], reflected by the speed of light." Modern science describes the manifestation of particles (or packets of energy) in terms of 'quantum field theories' which describe each type of particle as a manifestation of its associated field. For example, a particle of light is known as a 'photon' and this is the quantum particle of the electro-magnetic field. Therefore, can the astral plane be considered as a more energetic quantum field with its own subsequent quantum particles? (astral matter). Theosophical writers may, therefore, be correct in referring to matter (as packets of subtle energy) relative to these higher subtle planes.



Some contemporary thinkers like Professor W. Tiller (cited in Gerber, 1988, p. 147) do, in fact, suggest that tachyons are the quantum particle of what he calls the "magneto-electric" field. This now gives us the necessary information for a scientific description of the so called 'matter' of the astral plane. In more detail, the shapes and sizes of things in our macrocosmic world seem fixed with very little room for variation. We generally consider that a ruler measuring one metre always remains a fixed length - one metre - no matter where it is. However, Einstein's 'special relativity' proves that this is not necessarily so, the dimensions of space and time actually dilate relative to their motion as seen by another observer in their own frame of reference. Without a thorough and somewhat technical description of special relativity, this may seem a bit bizarre, but it is proven beyond doubt and is a standard concept in modern physics. We are totally unaware of this dilation, mainly because any dilation of space and time only becomes apparent at velocities close to the speed of light. However, there is an extended version of Einstein's famous relativistic equation, E = MC2, which actually calculates the amount of dilation relative to velocity. As Gerber (1988, pp. 143-148) states, this extended relativistic equation is known as the "Einstein-Lorentz Transformation" (ELT).



Any solution of the ELT is dependent on a variable within the equation, the variable being that of velocity. For example, if you are asked to calculate at what time a vehicle is going to arrive at a certain destination, and you already know the time of departure and distance to be traveled, the solution will vary depending on the speed of travel, or - velocity. In relation to the ELT, if the velocity of the system in question is less than the speed of light, then the said system is in a "positive space/time, otherwise known as the physical space/time universe" (Gerber, 1988, pp. 146-147). Positive space/time is the world of cars, trees, mountains and all other physical phenomena. However, if the velocity variable of the system in question is greater than the speed of light, this leads physicists to results known as 'imaginary numbers' (a mathematical term), which Tiller describes as in "the domain of negative space/time". Thus, the pre-big bang condition may have been 'faster than light' energy in "negative space/time". Yet again, this is intriguing in comparison to Blavatsky's (1979, p. 148) writings, which state, "we have said that Laya is what Science may call the Zero-point or line; the realm of absolute negativeness" [italics added]. Therefore, I am arguing that the astral plane is a 'faster than light' condition (Tiller's "negative space/time", or Blavatsky's "realm of absolute negativeness") which modifies through a singularity or laya centre to become the physical universe/plane.



So, perhaps, the physical universe of modern science did not just fortuitously appear out of nowhere and nothing as Davies asserts, but rather, it may be a devolutionary phase transition from negative space/time - a transcendental subtle realm (or, astral plane). As mentioned earlier, modern science has spent most of this century working out the nuts and bolts of this one physical universe, which in itself has been a difficult enough task. However, there is now growing speculation about the possibility of other connected universes, and most of these are derived from the theoretical study of black holes (remembering, apart from the big bang, black holes are the other phenomena associated with space/time singularities, which, herein, are being compared to a 'laya centre'). I raise this issue not to suggest that we may somehow navigate through a black hole and appear in the astral plane, but rather, I am using the study of modern astronomical phenomena to assist our understanding of any pre-big bang connectivity to another realm such as the astral plane. There are quite a few theoretical models for black holes, but one of particular interest to the subject at hand is known as a Kerr rotating black hole (Gribbin, 1992, p. 174). In relation to this model, Gribbin states that the equations predict "a region of negative space" in the central region, which is not a 'point-like' singularity, but rather, a "ring singularity" due to the rotation. If the comparison of singularities to laya centres, or negative space/time to the astral plane, is a reasonable assertion, this again raises another interesting correlation, for Blavatsky (1979, p. 131) introduces the concept of a 'ring' when dealing with laya centres also, "the ring [italics added] Pass-Not is neither a locality nor can it be measured by distance."



Furthermore, ring singularities provide the mechanism for so called 'other universes' to be connected to our universe. That is, "connections through hyperspace to other regions of space/time - other universes" (Gribbin, 1992, p. 177). Such connections require specific conditions, but they are possible through the equations of general relativity.



Returning to the Kerr model cited above, because of the intrinsic nature of negative space/time, Gribbin (1992, p. 174) asserts, "in the region of space/time beyond the ring, the gravity of the black hole repels both matter and light away from itself, so that it acts like…[a] white hole." Whereas a black hole collapses matter inward to a singularity, a white hole would pour matter out from a singularity and therefore there are similarities between the big bang and a white hole (Gribbin, 1992, p. 253). Further to this, Gribbin (1992, p. 133) states that the white hole solutions to the equations come "complete with an entire extra universe". So, could there have been an "extra universe" connected to the big bang singularity, and is this in any way similar to the "realm of absolute negativeness", or astral plane postulated by Blavatsky? If so, then the term 'plane' in theosophical writings has overtones of equivalence to the term 'universe' in modern science. The 'physical plane' is the physical universe, the 'astral plane' is the tachyonic negative space/time universe, and so on. The next consideration, in the birth of our physical universe, is to understand the process of transition from the astral to physical, or negative to positive space/time.





Transition



When considering how Blavatsky's life-wave descends creating the seven planes of Nature, it is tempting to think that astral, or tachyonic matter, would simply be losing energy until the point of solidifying into physical matter. A comparative analogy to this line of thinking would be to consider heated steam gradually losing thermal energy (temperature) to the point of crystallising into water then ice (analogously becoming more solid or physical). However, this is not correct. Because of the reverse nature of negative space/time, a tachyon actually requires more and more energy to slow down! Just as it is impossible, in the laws of special relativity, to accelerate a normal particle of matter up to the speed of light and beyond, it is also seemingly impossible to slow tachyonic matter down below the speed of light. This would, therefore, seem to exclude the descent of the matter of the astral plane down to the physical in line with theosophical principles. However, we are constantly creating matter (as energy) travelling at light speed every time, for example, we turn a light switch on, which leads some people to think we can actually accelerate things to light speed. The difference in this case is because any matter travelling at light speed (photons and neutrinos) is born at that speed - not accelerated up to light speed. This is another outcome of E=MC2 which states the equivalence of energy and matter. This famous relativistic equation tells us that light is convertible into mass, known to happen, for example, when light passes in the vicinity of a heavy nucleus, becoming an electron/positron pair, or particle and its antiparticle (Gerber, 1988, p. 58). This is an instantaneous conversion of light into matter, not a slowing down. Conversely, particles can interact in such a way to instantaneously create energy, and perhaps not only energetic light-speed photons, but faster than light tachyons.



In fact, Rembielinski (cited in Chown, 1997, p. 19) suggests that tachyonic particles have been generated in experimental nuclear reactions. He states, "electron-neutrinos emitted during the beta decay of tritium and muon-neutrinos emitted in the decay of elementary particles known as charged pions have an 'imaginary' mass." An imaginary number is the product of the square root of a negative number, and this is characteristic of the tachyonic matter of Tiller's negative space/time, or astral plane. So, the conversion of astral matter to that of physical matter would be an instantaneous phase transition. Rembielinski (cited in Chown, 1997, p. 19) asserts that tachyonic neutrinos could undergo a "three-body decay, emitting a heavy particle that splits into a neutrino-antineutrino pair." If assertions such as these are in fact true, then we are beginning to deal 'scientifically' with properties that fit the theosophical description of the descending planes of nature. In particular, this may be considered the final transition of the astral plane to the physical, or the instantaneous decay of negative space/time matter into positive space/time matter. Yet again, if there is any validity to these concepts, we should therefore also look towards occult science for a possible description of the nature of negative space/time.



Summary



Thus, the objective of this article has been to bring about some common ground between the perspectives of modern science and some theosophical principles. As set out earlier, theosophy proposes that there is the unfoldment of seven main planes of existence, from the divine, to the spiritual, to the mental, to the astral and finally, the physical. Conversion from one plane to the next is via the laya centres, which are stated to be beyond our conception of dimensionality and represent the absoluteness of infinity and negativeness.



In contrast, modern science postulates the physical universe emerging from a space/time singularity, or a dimensionless region of infinite density. Currently, there are the foundations to postulate this as the transition from a region of negative space/time to that of positive space/time via the big bang singularity.



The ideas expressed herein, can only serve as an introduction and, at best, a broad overview of an immensely rich and complex topic. Therefore, I present these ideas to the reader as speculations of possible interest. I also realise that for those unfamiliar to modern science the article may be somewhat technical, and for those more versed in science, it may be somewhat inadequate. But regardless, the purpose is to promote interest and investigation into theosophical principles.





References



Besant, A. (1915). A Study in Consciousness. London and Benares: Theosophical Publishing Society.



Blavatsky, H. P. (1979). The Secret Doctrine. vol. 1, pp. 1-696. (7th ed.). Adyar: Theosophical Publishing House. (Originally published 1888)



Boslough, J. (1984) Beyond the black hole: Stephen Hawking's universe. Great Britain: William Collins.



Capra, F. (1992) The tao of physics. (3rd ed.) London: HarperCollins Publishers



Chown, M. (1997, August 16). Speed freaks. New Scientist, 19.



Davies, P. C. W. (1994) The edge of infinity: Beyond the black hole. England: Penguin Books.



Davies, P. C. W. (1996, April 27). The day time began. New Scientist, 30-35.



Davies, P. C. W. and Brown, J. R. (eds.) (1988) Superstrings: The theory of everything. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



Gerber, R. (1988) Vibrational medicine: new choices for healing ourselves. Santa Fe: Bear & Company.



Greene, B. R. (1999) The elegant universe: Superstrings, hidden dimensions, and the quest for the ultimate theory. London: Jonathan Cape.



Gribbin, J. (1992) In search of the edge of time: Black holes, white holes, wormholes. London: Penguin Group.



Hawking, S. W. (1988) A brief history of time: From the big bang to black holes. Great Britain: Bantam Press.



Peat, David F. (1988) Superstrings: and the search for the theory of everything. Chicago: Contemporary Books.



Physics (2nd ed.) (1965) Boston: D.C. Heath and Company



Smoot, G. and Davidson, K. (1993) Wrinkles in time. London: Little, Brown and Company.





1. 1 When describing the planes of nature as 'higher' and 'lower', this is not meant in a spatially stratified sense of one above the other, rather, they are all interpenetrating and should be regarded more in the way of higher and lower frequencies which can all occupy the same spatial location.

2. 2 This is further complicated by the fact that each 'plane' has seven 'sub-planes'. The highest sub-plane of a plane is composed of fundamental constituents, which combine and compound to form the substance of the lower sub-planes. Further to this, the word substance is not implied in a material sense except on the physical plane, but this will be discussed later.

3. 3 Quantum refers to a discrete 'packet' of energy, or a specific quantity of energy that, through interaction, then defines the particle in question. So, at this level things should not be thought in terms of a tiny grain of sand, but rather, as a discrete amount of energy displaying certain properties.