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Re: Speed of Light in the Sun

Oct 02, 1996 10:35 PM
by Maxim Osinovsky

On Wed, 2 Oct 1996, Eldon B. Tucker wrote:

> I don't think, though, that any thinking that we may have about
> the sun is solely built up from fragmentary and
> partially-misunderstood scientific information and theories. At
> lest in theosophical studies, we have the information available in
> the source teachings, and additional inferences and intuitions
> that we may have based upon our prior studies of the literature.

I believe there is a fundamental difference between scientific
and theosophical ways of thinking about sun or whatever.  Science
proceeds from below upwards (although scientific theories once
created and proved may be applied in the reverse direction),
while in theosophy we are encouraged to move from abstract
principles down to applications.  This creates very unfavorable
conditions for science and theosophy to meet each other somewhere
in the middle--there maybe almost no meeting ground (please see

This may reflect difference between scientific and theosophical
pursuits.  Evidently Mahatmas are not anxious about providing us
with maximum information about the riddles of universe.  HPB,
too, did not care about science per se and did not try to beat
the contemporary science in its own game--she intended to reveal
some fragments of the Ageless Wisdom, and (unfortunately) tried
to demonstrate that the occult science is superior to the
conventional science.  What it might mean is illustrated by the
following passages from Lama Anagarika Govinda's "Foundations of
Tibetan Mysticism" (Part 1, Ch.6):

"What the Buddha could teach in words was only a fraction of what
he taught by his mere presence, his personality and his living
example.  And all these together are only a fraction of his
spiritual experience."

"When <...> the Buddha finally decided to disclose the truth,
<...> he strictly avoided speaking about the ultimate things and
refused to answer any questions concerning the supramundane state
of Realization or similar problems which went beyond the capacity
of the human intellect.  He confined himself to showing the
practical way which led to the solution of all those problems,
and in showing it, he always explained his essential teachings in
a form which corresponded to the capacity of his hearers.  To the
peasant he spoke in terms of agriculture, to artisans in similes
corresponding to their profession, to Brahmins in philosophical
language and in similes related to their conception of the
universe or to their religious practices," etc.

(Is it quite possible that, in a similar way, HPB wrote in
language appealing to an average educated person of the 19th

"Once, when the Enlightened One dwelt in the Simsapa grove, he
picked up a handful of leaves, showed them to his disciples and
told them that just as the leaves in his hand were few in
comparison with the leaves of the entire grove, in the same way
that what he had taught them, constituted only a small fraction
of what he knew, but that he would disclose only as much as was
necessary to his disciples for the attainment of liberation."

> I do think that what we can find out about the physical sun can
> provide us with clues about what goes on in life in a solar globe.
> This is not detailed knowledge, but rather suggestive hints and
> physical symbolism that through the law of correspondences or
> correlations would point to things on other planes.
> Those correspondences may, I think, hint at things about life on
> solar globes that we might not otherwise know, things not spelled
> out for us in the occult literature of the world. This would be
> especially true of newer scientific discoveries, *if correctly
> understood*, which I also agree is important.

While I agree that in general the law of correspondences should
provide clues to understanding of the things spiritual, I am not
so sure about it in this particular case.  If we agree that there
is a good analogy between the microcosm (human being) on the five
(or six) planes ranging from physical one to atmic one and the
macrocosm (the Solar Logos) on five corresponding cosmic planes,
then the physical sun (the 4th and the 3rd etheric subplanes of
the physical plane, or the 4th and thr 3rd sub-subplanes of the
dense physical subplane of the cosmic physical plane) should
provide some analogical clues to the lowest subplane of the
ordinary physical plane as regards the microcosm--not a great
deal, right? especially taking into account that the dense
physical sheath is not considered a principle anymore.

The closest correspondence to the five planes of the human
evolution and even beyond is provided by our BODY in its gross
and subtle aspects, anatomy and physiology of the bogy (known in
rich detail) giving a clue to the constitution of bodies of
Planetary Logoi and the Solar Logos and even to the cosmic
physiology aka astrology, and so forth.

> You mention that the speed of light is always 186,282 miles per
> second, yet has an apparent speed of 140,000 miles per second in
> glass. Could you explain how the "apparent speed" works?

Please see my separate email sent directly to you.

> Instead, we have a model where light reaches the sun, then is
> split up, undergoing a process of continually leaving and coming
> into existence (being absorbed and reemitted). In coming back into
> existence it's direction tends to be randomized. This "churning"
> causes it to become diffuse (scattered in many directions) and to
> have an effective speed through the sun of 1.5 feet/hour.
> There's much symbolism possible in the above paragraph, and I'd
> like to hear if you think there's anything incorrect
> scientifically to it.

I think it's a correct description.

> One visual symbol, although I'm not saying it's necessarily right,
> is the following:
> We have a being of pure light with perfect freedom, moving through
> cosmic spaces. That being approaches and enters a world or realm
> with tremendous "mass" or density. Forced into a series of rapid
> reincarnations, the being, although apparently progressing at
> random from one life to the next, eventually works its way towards
> liberation and return to the free cosmic spaces that the being had
> initially came from.
> This isn't exactly the theosophical model as we're taught it, but
> it's what we'd find symbolized in the physical process of the sun
> that we considered earlier.

I like the way you reason about it, and I believe it to be
fruitful.  The exact analogy may not hold though.  Alice Bailey
wrote that the final liberation (leading to burning out of the
causal body in the case of the human being) is preceded on all
levels of existence by some sort of "radioactive decay," meaning
the inner life escaping the confines of the form.  From this
point of view individual liberation may be analogous to an
explosion of a star when it reaches the stage of a supernova.

> Does it really matter if it's exactly right or not? I don't think
> so. The purpose of symbolic thought is not to arrive at concrete
> answers about the world. It's not a supplement to rational
> thinking, which is important in its own right.
> Symbolic thought allows us to see the world in yet a different
> way.  It's a different and equally important faculty.  And it
> allows us a change to learn about things that we aren't yet,
> because of our intelligence, training, and occult background,
> equipped to know from rational studies and direct personal
> experience.

I respect thinking in symbols, but I would be inclined to
consider it a "necessary evil"--sort of crutches we are forced to
use until we are able to see directly, or a "form corresponding
to our capacities" (see above).  And the direct knowledge is very
detailed and exact as K.H.  wrote somewhere in his letters to

Jesus Christ talked to less developed people in parables, but he
spoke directly to his close disciples (the Twelve).  I
acknowledge I am someone who needs to be spoken to in parables
(i.e.  symbols), so I would be glad to discuss the issue of
analogical and symbolic approach to the Ageless Wisdom in more
detail.  In fact I am trying now to work out some useful
correspondences between constitution and functioning of human
body, occult structure of the solar system, and esoteric

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