The Secret Doctrine Vol I

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The Secret Doctrine Vol I

By H.P. Blavatsky

Scientific and Esoteric Evidence for, and Objections to, the Modern Nebular Theory

Of late, Esoteric Cosmogony has been frequently opposed by the phantom of this theory and its ensuing hypotheses. “Can this most scientific teaching be denied by your Adepts?” it is asked. “Not entirely,” is the reply, “but the admissions of the men of Science themselves kill it; and there remains nothing for the Adepts to deny.”

To make of Science an integral whole necessitates, indeed, the study of spiritual and psychic, as well as of physical, Nature. Otherwise it will ever be like the anatomy of man, discussed of old by the profane from the point of view of his shell-side, and in ignorance of the interior work. Even Plato, the greatest Philosopher of his country, was guilty, before his Initiation, of such statements as that liquids pass into the stomach through the lungs. Without metaphysics, as Mr. H. J. Slack says, real Science is inadmissible.

The nebulæ exist; yet the Nebular Theory is wrong. A nebula exists in a state of entire elemental dissociation. It is gaseous and—something else besides, which can hardly be connected with gases as these are known to Physical Science; and it is self-luminous. But that is all. The sixty-two “coincidences” enumerated by Professor Stephen Alexander,1012 confirming the Nebular Theory, may all be explained by Esoteric Science; though, as this is not an astronomical work, the refutations are not attempted at present. Laplace and Faye come nearer to the correct theory than any; but of the speculations of [pg 644]Laplace there remains little in the present theory beyond its general features.
Nevertheless, says John Stuart Mill:
There is in Laplace's theory nothing hypothetical; it is an example of legitimate reasoning from present effect to its past cause; it assumes nothing more than that objects which really exist obey the laws which are known to be obeyed by all terrestrial objects resembling them.1013
From such an eminent logician as was Mill, this would be valuable, if it could only be proved that “terrestrial objects resembling” celestial objects at such a distance as are the nebulæ, resemble those objects in reality, and not only in appearance.

Another of the fallacies, from the Occult standpoint, embodied in the modern theory as it now stands, is the hypothesis that the Planets were all detached from the Sun; that they are bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh; whereas the Sun and the Planets are only co-uterine brothers, having the same nebular origin, but in a different mode from that postulated by modern Astronomy.
The many objections raised by some opponents of the modern Nebular Theory against the homogeneity of original diffuse Matter, on the ground of the uniformity in the composition of the fixed Stars, do not affect the question of that homogeneity at all, but only the theory itself. Our solar nebula may not be completely homogeneous, or, rather, it may fail to reveal itself as such to the Astronomers, and yet be de facto homogeneous. The Stars do differ in their constituent materials, and even exhibit elements quite unknown on Earth; nevertheless, this does not affect the point that Primeval Matter—Matter as it appeared even in its first differentiation from its laya-condition1014—is yet to this day homogeneous, at immense distances, in the depths of infinitude, and likewise at points not far removed from the outskirts of our Solar System.
Finally, there does not exist one single fact brought forward by the learned objectors against the Nebular Theory (false as it is, and hence, illogically enough, fatal to the hypothesis of the homogeneity of Matter), that can withstand criticism. One error leads to another. A false premiss will naturally lead to a false conclusion, although an inadmissible inference does not necessarily affect the validity of the major proposition of the syllogism. Thus, one may leave every side-issue and inference from the evidence of spectra and lines, as simply [pg 645]provisional for the present, and abandon all matters of detail to Physical Science. The duty of the Occultist lies with the Soul and Spirit of Cosmic Space, not merely with its illusive appearance and behaviour. That of official Physical Science is to analyze and study its shell—the Ultima Thule of the Universe and Man, in the opinion of Materialism.

With the latter, Occultism has nought to do. It is only with the theories of such men of learning as Kepler, Kant, Oersted, and Sir William Herschell, who believed in a Spiritual World, that Occult Cosmogony might treat, and attempt a satisfactory compromise. But the views of those Physicists differed vastly from the latest modern speculations. Kant and Herschell had in their mind's eye speculations upon the origin and the final destiny, as well as upon the present aspect, of the Universe, from a far more philosophical and psychic standpoint; whereas modern Cosmology and Astronomy now repudiate anything like research into the mysteries of Being. The result is what might be expected: complete failure and inextricable contradictions in the thousand and one varieties of so-called Scientific Theories, and in this Theory as in all others.
The nebular hypothesis, involving the theory of the existence of a Primeval Matter, diffused in a nebulous condition, is of no modern date in Astronomy, as everyone knows. Anaximenes, of the Ionian school, had already taught that the sidereal bodies were formed through the progressive condensation of a primordial pregenetic Matter, which had almost a negative weight, and was spread out through Space in an extremely sublimated condition.

Tycho Brahé, who viewed the Milky Way as an ethereal substance, thought the new star that appeared in Cassiopeia, in 1572, had been formed out of that Matter.1015 Kepler believed that the star of 1606 had likewise been formed out of the ethereal substance that fills the universe.1016 He attributed to that same Ether the apparition of a luminous ring round the Moon, during the total eclipse of the Sun observed at Naples in 1605.1017 Still later, in 1714 the existence of a self-luminous Matter was recognized by Halley in the Philosophical Transactions. Finally, the journal of this name published in 1811 the famous hypothesis of the eminent Astronomer, Sir William Herschell, [pg 646]on the transformation of the nebulæ into Stars,1018 and after this the Nebular Theory was accepted by the Royal Academies.
In Five Years of Theosophy, on p. 245, may be read an article headed, “Do the Adepts deny the Nebular Theory?” The answer there given is:

No; they do not deny its general propositions, nor the approximative truth of the scientific hypotheses. They only deny the completeness of the present, as well as the entire error of the many so-called “exploded” old theories, which, during the last century, have followed each other in such rapid succession.

This was asserted at the time to be “an evasive answer.” Such disrespect to official Science, it was argued, must be justified by the replacement of the orthodox speculation by another theory more complete, and having a firmer ground to stand upon. To this there is but one reply: It is useless to give out isolated theories with regard to things embodied in a complete and consecutive system, for, when separated from the main body of the teaching, they would necessarily lose their vital coherence and would thus do no good when studied independently. To be able to appreciate and accept the Occult views on the Nebular Theory, we must study the whole Esoteric cosmogonical system. And the time has hardly arrived for the Astronomers to be asked to accept Fohat and the Divine Builders. Even the undeniably correct surmises of Sir William Herschell, which had nothing “supernatural” in them, as to the Sun's being called a “globe of fire,” perhaps metaphorically, and his early speculations about the nature of that which is now called the Nasmyth Willow-leaf Theory, only caused that most eminent of all Astronomers to be smiled at by other, far less eminent, colleagues, who saw and now see in his ideas purely “imaginative and fanciful theories.” Before the whole Esoteric System could be given out and appreciated by the Astronomers, the latter would have to return to some of those “antiquated ideas,” not only to those of Herschell, but also to the dreams of the oldest Hindû Astronomers, and thus abandon their own theories, which are none the less “fanciful” because they have appeared nearly eighty years later than the one, and many thousands of years later than the others. Foremost of all they would have to repudiate their ideas of the Sun's solidity and incandescence; the Sun “glowing” most undeniably, but not “burning.” Then the Occultists state, with regard to the “willow-leaves,” [pg 647]that those “objects,” as Sir William Herschell called them, are the immediate sources of the solar light and heat. And though the Esoteric Teaching does not regard these as he did—namely, as “organisms” partaking of the nature of life, for the Solar “Beings” will hardly place themselves within telescopic focus—yet it asserts that the whole Universe is full of such “organisms,” conscious and active according to the proximity or distance of their planes to, or from, our plane of consciousness; and finally that the great Astronomer was right while speculating on those supposed “organisms,” in saying that “we do not know that vital action is incompetent to develop at once heat, light, and electricity.” For, at the risk of being laughed at by the whole world of Physicists, the Occultists maintain that all the “Forces” of the Scientists have their origin in the Vital Principle, the One Life collectively of our Solar System—that “Life” being a portion, or rather one of the aspects, of the One Universal LIFE.
We may, therefore—as in the article under consideration, wherein, on the authority of the Adepts, it was maintained that it is “sufficient to make a résumé of what the solar Physicists do not know”—we may, we maintain, define our position with regard to the modern Nebular Theory and its evident incorrectness, by simply pointing out facts diametrically opposed to it in its present form. And to begin with, what does it teach?

Summarizing the aforesaid hypotheses, it becomes plain that Laplace's theory—now made quite unrecognizable, moreover—was an unfortunate one. He postulates in the first place Cosmic Matter, existing in a state of diffuse nebulosity “so fine that its presence could hardly have been suspected.” No attempt is made by him to penetrate into the Arcana of Being, except as regards the immediate evolution of our small Solar System.

Consequently, whether one accepts or rejects his theory in its bearing upon the immediate cosmological problems presented for solution, he can only be said to have thrown back the mystery a little further. To the eternal query: “Whence Matter itself; whence the evolutionary impetus determining its cyclic aggregations and dissolutions; whence the exquisite symmetry and order into which the primeval Atoms arrange and group themselves?” no answer is attempted by Laplace. All we are confronted with, is a sketch of the probable broad principles on which the actual process is assumed to be based. Well, and what is this now celebrated note on the said process? [pg 648]What has he given so wonderfully new and original, that its ground-work, at any rate, should have served as a basis for the modern Nebular Theory? The following is what one gathers from various astronomical works.

Laplace thought that, in consequence of the condensation of the atoms of the primeval nebula, according to the “law” of gravity, the now gaseous, or perhaps, partially liquid mass, acquired a rotatory motion. As the velocity of this rotation increased, it assumed the form of a thin disc; finally, the centrifugal force overpowering that of cohesion, huge rings were detached from the edge of the whirling incandescent masses, and these rings contracted necessarily by gravitation (as accepted) into spheroidal bodies, which would necessarily still continue to preserve the orbit previously occupied by the outer zone from which they were separated.1019 The velocity of the outer edge of each nascent planet, he said, exceeding that of the inner, there results a rotation on its axis. The more dense bodies would be thrown off last; and finally, during the preliminary state of their formation, the newly-segregated orbs in their turn throw off one or more satellites. In formulating the history of the rupture and planetation of rings Laplace says:
Almost always each ring of vapours must have broken up into numerous masses, which, moving with a nearly uniform velocity, must have continued to circulate at the same distance around the sun. These masses must have taken a spheroidal form with a motion of rotation in the same direction as their revolution, since the inner molecules (those nearest the sun) would have less actual velocity than the exterior ones. They must then have formed as many planets in a state of vapour. But, if one of them was sufficiently powerful to unite successively, by its attraction, all the others around its centre, the ring of vapours must have been thus transformed into a single spheroidal mass of vapours circulating around the sun with a rotation in the same direction as its revolution. The latter case has been the more common, but the solar system presents us the first case, in the four small planets which move between Jupiter and Mars.
While few will be found to deny the “magnificent audacity of this hypothesis,” it is impossible not to recognize the insurmountable difficulties with which it is attended. Why, for instance, do we find that the satellites of Neptune and Uranus display a retrograde motion? [pg 649]Why, in spite of its closer proximity to the Sun, is Venus less dense than the Earth? Why, again, is the more distant Uranus denser than Saturn? How is it that there are so many variations in the inclination of their axes and orbits in the supposed progeny of the central orb; that such startling variations in the size of the Planets are noticeable; that the satellites of Jupiter are more dense by ·288 than their primary; that the phenomena of meteoric and cometary systems still remain unaccounted for? To quote the words of a Master:

They [the Adepts] find that the centrifugal theory of Western birth is unable to cover all the ground. That, unaided, it can neither account for every oblate spheroid, nor explain away such evident difficulties as are presented by the relative density of some planets. How, indeed, can any calculation of centrifugal force explain to us, for instance, why Mercury, whose rotation is, we are told, only “about one-third that of the Earth, and its density only about one-fourth greater than the Earth,” should have a polar compression more than ten times greater than the latter? And again, why Jupiter, whose equatorial rotation is said to be “twenty-seven times greater, and its density only about one-fifth that of the Earth” should have its polar compression seventeen times greater than that of the Earth? Or why Saturn, with an equatorial velocity fifty-five times greater than Mercury for centripetal force to contend with, should have its polar compression only three times greater than Mercury's? To crown the above contradictions, we are asked to believe in the Central Forces, as taught by Modern Science, even when told that the equatorial matter of the Sun, with more than four times the centrifugal velocity of the Earth's equatorial surface, and only about one-fourth part of the gravitation of the equatorial matter, has not manifested any tendency to bulge at the solar equator, nor shown the least flattening at the poles of the solar axis. In other and clearer words, the Sun, with only one-fourth of our Earth's density for the centrifugal force to work upon, has no polar compression at all! We find this objection made by more than one astronomer, yet never explained away satisfactorily, so far as the “Adepts” are aware.
Therefore, do they [the Adepts] say, that the great men of Science of the West, knowing ... next to nothing either about cometary matter, centrifugal and centripetal forces, the nature of the nebulæ, or the physical constitution of the Sun, the Stars, or even the Moon, are imprudent to speak so confidently as they do about the “central mass of the Sun,”whirling out into space planets, comets, and what not.... We maintain that it [the Sun] evolves out only the life-principle, the Soul of these [pg 650]bodies, giving and receiving it back, in our little Solar System, as the “Universal Life-Giver” ... in the Infinitude and Eternity; that the Solar System is as much the Microcosm of the One Macrocosm as man is the former when compared with his own little Solar Cosmos.1020

The essential power of all the cosmic and terrestrial Elements to generate within themselves a regular and harmonious series of results, a concatenation of causes and effects, is an irrefutable proof that they are either animated by an Intelligence, ab extrâ or ab intrâ, or conceal such within or behind the “manifested veil.” Occultism does not deny the certainty of the mechanical origin of the Universe; it only claims the absolute necessity of mechanicians of some sort behind or within those Elements—a dogma with us. It is not the fortuitous assistance of the Atoms of Lucretius, as he himself knew well, that built the Kosmos and all in it. Nature herself contradicts such a theory. Celestial Space, containing Matter so attenuated as Ether, cannot be called on, with or without attraction, to explain the common motion of the sidereal hosts. Although the perfect accord of their inter-revolution indicates clearly the presence of a mechanical cause in Nature, Newton, who of all men had most right to trust to his deductions, was nevertheless forced to abandon the idea of ever explaining the original impulse given to the millions of orbs, by merely the laws of known Nature and its material Forces. He recognized fully the limits that separate the action of natural Forces from that of the Intelligences that set the immutable laws in order and action. And if a Newton had to renounce such hope, which of the modern materialistic pigmies has the right of saying: “I know better?”

A cosmogonical theory, to become complete and comprehensible, has to start with a Primordial Substance diffused throughout boundless Space, of an intellectual and divine nature. That Substance must be the Soul and Spirit, the Synthesis and Seventh Principle of the manifested Kosmos, and, to serve as a spiritual Upâdhi to this, there must be the sixth, its vehicle—Primordial Physical Matter, so to speak, though its nature must escape for ever our limited normal senses. It is easy for an Astronomer, if endowed with an imaginative faculty, to build a theory of the emergence of the Universe out of Chaos, by simply applying to it the principles of mechanics. But such a Universe will always prove a Frankenstein's monster with respect to its scientific human creator; it will lead him into endless perplexities. [pg 651]The application of mechanical laws only can never carry the speculator beyond the objective world; nor will it unveil to men the origin and final destiny of Kosmos. This is whither the Nebular Theory has led Science. In sober fact and truth this Theory is twin sister to that of Ether, and both are the offspring of necessity; one is as indispensable to account for the transmission of light, as is the other to explain the problem of the origin of the Solar Systems. The question with Science is, how the same homogeneous Matter1021 could, obeying the laws of Newton, give birth to bodies—Sun, Planets, and their satellites—subject to conditions of identity of motion, and formed of such heterogeneous elements.

Has the Nebular Theory helped to solve the problem, even if applied solely to bodies considered as inanimate and material? We say: most decidedly not. What progress has it made since 1811, when first Sir William Herschell's paper, with its facts based on observation and showing the existence of nebular matter, made the sons of the Royal Society “shout for joy”? Since then a still greater discovery, through spectrum analysis, has permitted the verification and corroboration of Sir William Herschell's conjecture. Laplace demanded some kind of primitive “world-stuff” to prove the idea of progressive world-evolution and growth. Here it is, as offered two millenniums ago.

The “world-stuff,” now called nebulæ, was known from the highest antiquity. Anaxagoras taught that, upon differentiation, the resulting commixture of heterogeneous substances remained motionless and unorganized, until finally the “Mind”—the collective body of Dhyân Chohans, we say—began to work upon, and communicated to, them motion and order.1022 This theory is now taken up, so far as concerns its first portion; the last, that of any “Mind” interfering, being rejected. Spectrum analysis reveals the existence of nebulæ formed entirely of gases and luminous vapours. Is this the primitive nebular Matter? The spectra reveal, it is said, the physical conditions of the Matter which emits cosmic light. The spectra of the resolvable and the irresolvable nebulæ are shown to be entirely different, the spectra of the [pg 652]latter showing their physical state to be that of glowing gas or vapour. The bright lines of one nebula reveal the existence of hydrogen, and of other material substances known and unknown. The same as to the atmospheres of the Sun and Stars. This leads to the direct inference that a Star is formed by the condensation of a nebula; hence that even the metals themselves are formed on earth by the condensation of hydrogen or of some other primitive matter, some ancestral cousin to helium, perhaps, or some yet unknown stuff. This does not clash with the Occult Teachings. And this is the problem that Chemistry is trying to solve; and it must succeed sooner or later in the task, accepting nolens volens, when it does, the Esoteric Teaching. But when this does happen, it will kill the Nebular Theory as it now stands.

Meanwhile Astronomy cannot accept in any way, if it is to be regarded as an exact Science, the present theory of the filiation of Stars—even if Occultism does so in its own way, seeing that it explains this filiation differently—because Astronomy has not one single physical datum to show for it. Astronomy could anticipate Chemistry in proving the existence of the fact, if it could show a planetary nebula exhibiting a spectrum of three or four bright lines, gradually condensing and transforming into a Star, with a spectrum all covered with a number of dark lines. But
The question of the variability of the nebulæ, even as to their form, is yet one of the mysteries of Astronomy. The data of observation possessed so far are of too recent an origin, too uncertain, to permit us to affirm anything.1023

Since its discovery, the magic power of the spectroscope has revealed to its adepts only one single transformation of a Star of this kind; and even that showed directly the reverse of what is needed as proof in favour of the Nebular Theory; for it revealed a Star transforming itself into a planetary nebula. As related in The Observatory,1024 the temporary Star, discovered by J. F. J. Schmidt in the constellation Cygnus, in November, 1876, exhibited a spectrum broken by very brilliant lines. Gradually, the continuous spectrum and most of the lines disappeared, leaving finally one single brilliant line, which appeared to coincide with the green line of the nebula.
Though this metamorphosis is not irreconcileable with the hypothesis of the nebular origin of the Stars, nevertheless this single solitary case rests on no observation whatever, least of all on direct observation. [pg 653]The occurrence may have been due to several other causes. Since Astronomers are inclined to think our Planets are tending toward precipitation into the Sun, why should not that Star have blazed up owing to a collision of such precipitated Planets, or, as many suggest, the appulse of a Comet? Be that as it may, the only known instance of star-transformation since 1811 is not favourable to the Nebular Theory. Moreover, on the question of this Theory, as on all others, Astronomers disagree.
In our own age, and before Laplace ever thought of it, Buffon, being very much struck by the identity of motion in the Planets, was the first to propose the hypothesis that the Planets and their satellites originated in the bosom of the Sun. Forthwith and for this purpose, he invented a special Comet, supposed to have torn out, by a powerful oblique blow, the quantity of matter necessary for their formation. Laplace gave its dues to the “Comet” in his Exposition du Système du Monde.1025 But the idea was seized and even improved upon by a conception of the alternate evolution, from the Sun's central mass, of Planets apparently without weight or influence on the motion of the visible Planets—and as evidently without any more existence than the likeness of Moses in the Moon.

But the modern theory is also a variation on the systems elaborated by Kant and Laplace. The idea of both was that, at the origin of things, all that Matter which now enters into the composition of the planetary bodies was spread over all the space comprized in the Solar System—and even beyond. It was a nebula of extremely small density, and its condensation gradually gave birth, by a mechanism that has hitherto never been explained, to the various bodies of our System. This is the original Nebular Theory, an incomplete yet faithful repetition—a short chapter out of the large volume of universal Esoteric Cosmogony—of the teachings of the Secret Doctrine. And both systems, Kant's and Laplace's, differ greatly from the modern Theory, redundant with conflicting sub-theories and fanciful hypotheses. Say the Teachers:
The essence of cometary matter [and of that which composes the Stars] ... is totally different from any of the chemical or physical characteristics with which the greatest Chemists and Physicists of the earth are familiar.... While the spectroscope has shown the probable similarity[owing to the chemical action of terrestrial light upon the intercepted [pg 654]rays] of terrestrial and sidereal substance, the chemical actions peculiar to the variously progressed orbs of space, have not been detected, nor proven to be identical with those observed on our own planet.1026

Mr. Crookes says almost the same in the fragment quoted from his lecture, Elements and Meta-Elements. C. Wolf, Member of the Institute, Astronomer of the Observatory, Paris, observes:
At the utmost the nebular hypothesis can only show in its favour, with W. Herschell, the existence of planetary nebulæ in various degrees of condensation, and of spiral nebulæ, with nuclei of condensation on the branches and centre.1027But, in fact, the knowledge of the bond that unites the nebulæ to the stars is yet denied to us; and lacking as we do direct observation, we are even debarred from establishing it on the analogy of chemical composition.1028

Even if the men of Science—leaving aside the difficulty arising out of such undeniable variety and heterogeneity of matter in the constitution of nebulæ—did admit, with the Ancients, that the origin of all the visible and invisible heavenly bodies must be sought for in one primordial homogeneous world-stuff, in a kind of Pre-Protyle,1029 it is evident that this would not put an end to their perplexities. Unless they admit also that our actual visible Universe is merely the Sthûla Sharîra, the gross body, of the sevenfold Kosmos, they will have to face another problem; especially if they venture to maintain that its now visible bodies are the result of the condensation of that one and single Primordial Matter. For mere observation shows them that the operations which produced the actual Universe are far more complex than could ever be embraced in that theory.
First of all, there are two distinct classes of “irresolvable” nebulæ, as Science itself teaches.
The telescope is unable to distinguish between these two classes, but the spectroscope can do so, and notices an essential difference between their physical constitutions.
The question of the resolvability of the nebulæ has been often presented in too affirmative a manner and quite contrary to the ideas expressed by the illustrious [pg 655]experimenter with the spectra of these constellations—Mr. Huggins. Every nebula whose spectrum contains only bright lines is gaseous, it is said, and hence is irresolvable; every nebula with a continuous spectrum must end by resolving into stars with an instrument of sufficient power. This assumption is contrary at once to the results obtained, and to spectroscopic theory. The “Lyra” nebula, the “Dumb-bell” nebula, the central region of the nebula of Orion, appear resolvable, and show a spectrum of bright lines; the nebula of Canes Venatici is not resolvable, and gives a continuous spectrum. Because, indeed, the spectroscope informs us of the physical state of the constituent matter of the stars, but affords us no notions of their modes of aggregation. A nebula formed of gaseous globes (or even of nuclei, faintly luminous, surrounded by a powerful atmosphere) would give a spectrum of lines and be still resolvable; such seems to be the state of Huggins' region in the Orion nebula. A nebula formed of solid or fluidic particles in a state of incandescence, a true cloud, will give a continuous spectrum and will be irresolvable.
Some of these nebulæ, Wolf tells us,
Have a spectrum of three or four bright lines, others a continuous spectrum. The first are gaseous, the others formed of a pulverulent matter. The former must constitute a veritable atmosphere: it is among these that the solar nebula of Laplace has to be placed. The latter form an ensemble of particles that may be considered as independent, and the rotation of which obeys the laws of internal weight: such are the nebulæ adopted by Kant and Faye. Observation allows us to place the one as the other at the very origin of the planetary world. But when we try to go beyond and ascend to the primitive chaos which has produced the totality of the heavenly bodies, we have first to account for the actual existence of these two classes of nebulæ. If the primitive chaos were a cold luminous gas,1030 one could understand how the contraction resulting from attraction could have heated it and made it luminous. We have to explain the condensation of this gas to the state of incandescent particles, the presence of which is revealed to us in certain nebulæ by the spectroscope. If the original chaos was composed of such particles, how did certain of their portions pass into the gaseous state, while others have preserved their primitive condition?
Such is the synopsis of the objections and difficulties in the way of the acceptance of the Nebular Theory, brought forward by the French savant, who concludes this interesting argument by declaring that:

The first part of the cosmogonical problem—what is the primitive matter of chaos; and how did that matter give birth to the sun and stars?—thus remains to this day in the domain of romance and of mere imagination.1031
[pg 656]
If this is the last word of Science upon the subject, whither then should we turn in order to learn what the Nebular Theory is supposed to teach? What, in fact, is this theory? What it is, no one seems to know for certain. What it is not—we learn from the erudite author of World-Life. He tells us that it:
i. Is not a theory of the evolution of the Universe. It is primarily a genetic explanation of the phenomena of the solar system, and accessorily a co-ordination in a common conception of the principal phenomena in the stellar and nebular firmament, as far as human vision has been able to penetrate.
ii. It does not regard the comets as involved in that particular evolution which has produced the Solar System. [The Esoteric Doctrine does, because it, too, “recognizes the comets as forms of cosmic existence co-ordinated with earlier stages of nebular evolution”; and it actually assigns to them chiefly the formation of all worlds.]
iii. It does not deny an antecedent history of the luminous fire mist—[the secondarystage of evolution in the Secret Doctrine] [and] ... makes no claim to having reached an absolute beginning. [And even it allows that this] fire mist may have previously existed in a cold, non-luminous and invisible condition.
iv. [And that finally] it does not profess to discover the ORIGIN of things, but only a stadium in material history.... [leaving] the philosopher and the theologian as free as they ever were to seek the origin of the modes of being.1032
But this is not all. Even the greatest philosopher of England—Mr. Herbert Spencer—arrayed himself against this fantastic theory by saying that (a) “The problem of existence is not resolved” by it; (b) the nebular hypothesis “throws no light upon the origin of diffused matter”; and (c) that “the nebular hypothesis (as it now stands) implies a First Cause.”1033
The latter, we are afraid, is more than our modern Physicists have bargained for. Thus, it seems that the poor “hypothesis” can hardly expect to find help or corroboration even in the world of the Metaphysicians.
Considering all this, the Occultists believe they have a right to present their Philosophy, however misunderstood and ostracized it may be at present. And they maintain that this failure of the Scientists to discover the truth is entirely due to their Materialism and their contempt for transcendental Sciences. Yet although the scientific minds in our century are as far from the true and correct doctrine of Evolution as ever, there may be still some hope left for the future, for even now we find another Scientist giving us a faint glimmer of it.

In an article in the Popular Science Review on “Recent Researches in Minute Life,” we find Mr. H. J. Slack, F.C.S., Sec. R.M.S., saying:
There is an evident convergence of all sciences, from physics to chemistry and physiology, toward some doctrine of evolution and development, of which the facts of Darwinism will form part, but what ultimate aspect this doctrine will take, there is little, if any, evidence to show, and perhaps it will not be shaped by the human mind until metaphysical as well as physical inquiries are much more advanced.1034
This is a happy forecast indeed. The day may come, then, when “Natural Selection,” as taught by Mr. Darwin and Mr. Herbert Spencer, will, in its ultimate modification, form only a part of our Eastern doctrine of Evolution, which will be Manu and Kapila Esoterically explained.




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