THE MYSTIC'S VISION
From A Mystic's Perspective
(last revised: 2-10-24)
From A Mystic’s Perspective
by Swami Abhayananda
Dedicated to the Public Domain 3-12-2018(last revised: 2-10-24)
METAPHYSICS From A Mystic’s Perspective
-Table of Contents-
2. Universal Creation
5. Scientific Theory
8. God’s Grace
The essays, poems, and other writings that make up this little book were not originally composed as parts of a larger work, but were independent pieces written on the spur of the moment according to unique moments of inspiration occurring over the course of several decades. Each short piece first appeared independently on my website, “The Mystic’s Vision” (www.themysticsvision.com). But, since these various writings centered around only a few metaphysical topics, I saw that these short pieces could easily be combined to form a broader treatment of each of those few important metaphysical topics. These metaphysical topics then became the nine chapter-titles of this little book, each chapter containing an expanded treatment of that specific topic. And so, rather than search through all my writings for those that speak to a specific metaphysical topic, you can now easily find those writings that reflect my best thoughts about a particular metaphysical topic simply by searching the chapter headings of this collection.
It is my sincere wish that this collection of combined metaphysical reflections will prove to be a beneficial contribution to your own spiritual understanding. Blessings on you all.
– Swami Abhayananda
Idealism And Materialism
These days, one doesn’t often hear the terms, Idealism or Materialism bandied about, but these two traditionally opposing philosophical worldviews were once topics of heated concern. These two starkly differing views of the nature of reality have been at odds with each other for twenty-five centuries beginning with Pythagorus, Xenophanes, Anaxagorus and Socrates on the idealist side, and Thales, Leucippus, and Democritus on the materialist side. For centuries, idealists held that Mind is the primary reality of which matter is an evolute; materialists held that Matter is the primary reality of which mind is an evolute. Science gathered its forces solidly on the materialist side, while the spiritual philosophers and Mystics stood squarely on the side of idealism. Every mystic who ever lived has declared the idealistic viewpoint, stating that the ultimate reality underlying all phenomena is unquestionably noumenal, i.e., a transcendent Mind. There are no materialists among mystics.
Idealism suggests that the universe is of the nature of an idea; that its substance is thought--the thought of the one eternal Mind. Mysticism, therefore, is an idealist point of view which also asserts the possibility of the direct apperception of the ultimate reality in a rare, profound, and purely introspective experience, wherein an intimate knowledge of the noumenal Source and the nature of the universe and human existence is acquired. This “mystical experience”, say those who have known it, reveals the formless noumenonal Source, the groundless Ground, of all physical and mental phenomena, which is seen to constitute everyone’s original and eternal identity. Such an experience seems to have been first spoken of in the West in ancient Greece among the populace taking part in the “mystery religions” such as the Eleusinian and Orphic mysteries (whence mysticism gets its name); and later formed the basis of the philosophical position of such seers as Socrates and his disciple, Plato, Philo Judaeus, and Plotinus. In the East, mysticism made its appearance in the writings of Lao Tze, the Upanishads, and the early Buddhist texts, and later in the Middle East with the teachings of Hermeticism and the rise of Christianity and Gnosticism, all of whose central figures claimed an intimate, mystical knowledge of the noumenal Source.
The materialism of the early Greeks, such as Leucippus and Democritus, on the other hand, tended to regard all of reality as consisting of small indestructible particulate entities, called atoms, which aggregated together to form all the varied shapes and individual beings that are perceived through the senses. While materialistic science may be said to have originated with the early Greek philosophers cited above, it had to struggle in the West for many centuries against the strictures of religious doctrine, and only began its cultural ascendancy in the West from the sixteenth century onward, influenced by such philosophers as Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume, and Immanuel Kant, and the works and accomplishments of scientists such as Galileo, Isaac Newton, and Johannes Kepler. By the twentieth century, the empirical method, associated with the materialistic viewpoint, had become synonymous with science. From that time forward an emergent ‘scientism’ became the established ‘religion’ of our Western civilization. And, while there were always a few maverick idealists among the ranks of scientists, the vocal majority utterly rejected the slightest hint of mysticism or idealism and held as firm doctrine that the universe came into being and is sustained through “natural,” that is to say, purely material, processes.
Today, however, our understanding has changed; the materialism of the ancients no longer has a role in the modern world. The philosophical position of materialism was once regarded as diametrically opposed to the position of idealism, but today, we have come so far in revising our understanding of the nature and substance of Matter that the positions of materialism and idealism no longer seem so distant from one another. In the 1930’s, as developments in the newly formulated Quantum theory began to reveal some of the more unexpected aspects of Matter, one scientist, by the name of James Jeans, foresaw the coming changes that these developments in physics would bring to our philosophical views, and, understanding that the distinction between materialism and idealism was rapidly diminishing, he wrote in his book, Physics And Philosophy, the following:
“A . . . revolution has occurred in physics in recent years. Its consequences extend far beyond physics, and in particular they affect our general view of the world in which our lives are cast. In a word, they affect philosophy. The philosophy of any period is always largely interwoven with the science of the period, so that any fundamental change in science must produce reactions in philosophy. This is especially so in the present case, where the changes in physics itself are of a distinctly philosophical hue; a direct questioning of nature by experiment has shown the philosophical background hitherto assumed by physics to have been faulty. The necessary emendations have naturally affected the scientific basis of philosophy and, through it, our approach to the philosophical problems of everyday life. Are we, for instance, automata or are we free agents capable of influencing the course of events by our volitions? Is the world material or mental in its ultimate nature? Or is it both? If so, is matter or mind the more fundamental? Is mind a creation of matter or matter a creation of mind? Is the world we perceive in space and time the world of ultimate reality, or is it only a curtain veiling a deeper reality beyond?" 1
And in his book, The Mysterious Universe, Jeans suggested that recent scientific discoveries show that:
the stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality. "The universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter; we are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter― not of course our individual minds, but the Mind in which the atoms (out of which our individual minds have grown) exist as thoughts.” 2
And in his lecture to the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1934, entitled, “The New World Picture of Modern Science”: he said:
"The new physics obviously carries many philosophical implications, but these are not easy to describe in words. They cannot be summed up in the crisp, snappy. sentences beloved of scientific journalism, such as that materialism is dead, or, that matter is no more. The situation is rather that both materialism and matter need to be redefined in the light of our new knowledge. When this has been done, the materialist must decide for himself whether the only kind of materialism which science now permits can be suitably labeled materialism, and whether what remains of matter should be labeled as matter or as something else; it is mainly a question of terminology.
“What remains is in any case very different from the full-blooded matter and the forbidding materialism of the Victorian scientist. His objective and material universe is proven to consist of little more than constructs of our own minds. To this extent, then, modern physics has moved in the direction of philosophic idealism. Mind and matter, if not proved to be of similar nature, are at least found to be ingredients of one single system. There is no longer room for the kind of dualism which has haunted philosophy since the days of Descartes." 3
What then is Matter? We can easily state what it is not: it is not a phenomenal substance made of solid indestructible particles; we know that! But what it is is not so easy to say. ‘Mind’, ‘Matter’, ‘Energy’, ‘Space’—these are names we have given to certain elements of this kaleidoscopic panorama of mental and physical perceptions that we experience; but it is no longer possible to say where one begins and the other ends, for it now appears that there is but one indivisible reality— “one system”, as Sir James Jeans describes it—of which Mind and Matter are both ingredients. Scientists today don’t know what to call it, and simply refer to it as “the universal continuum”. Those of a mystic bent do not hesitate to call it “God”, and to say, “We live in God. He is the only one, and He contains everything. He is alive and consciously awake, and everything moves and acts in unison with His will.”
“Matter”, it turns out, is a misnomer; there is only the one indivisible system, or God—appearing as distinct objects, as quanta, as scientists, as their laboratories, as distant stars, as bursts of celestial light. There is nothing that is not God. He is both Mind and the apparent objects of the world that we once thought of as Matter. Your body too is God; but more importantly, He is the very consciousness that is aware as you! And it is that very awareness that is capable of directly experiencing through His illuminating Grace the clear and amazing truth that all this is God!
The question we now have to ask is: ‘If Matter and Mind are in fact indistinguishable ingredients in one indivisible system, then how does materialism differ from idealism?’ The long-held belief in the opposition of these two positions now appears to have been nothing but a long-held misunderstanding of the nature of Matter. The two positions, if not yet in total agreement, are at least no longer in clear opposition! But does this mean that, since materialism and idealism now seem to be compatible, science and mysticism are therefore also reconcilable?
No. Science and Mysticism are two very narrowly defined and mutually exclusive categories of knowledge. Science deals in tangibly objective sense data and does not comfortably extend to less tangible subjective mental states. The very definition of science limits its focus to only that which may be empirically verified. And that requirement assures that science will probably always tend to have a phenomenal bias and will grant little credence to noumena experienced in a subjective and unverifiable state of awareness.
Science and Mysticism represent knowledge obtained through two radically different methodologies: they can come up with common results, and, although unlikely, can agree on their implications; but they will always remain divergent methods of knowledge-gathering. Science represents the ordering of external observations of phenomena perceived by the senses in the normal waking state; mysticism represents the internal observation of noumena intuitively perceived by the mind in a highly extraordinary, but well documented, contemplative state. They are really two different kinds of knowledge, referred to as science and gnosis. Science is from the Latin scientia (knowledge), derived from scire (to know), and usually denotes the organization of objectively verifiable sense experience. Gnosis is a Greek word, also meaning knowledge, but denoting an inwardly “revealed” knowledge unavailable to empirical science.
The difficulty is that advocates of phenomenally based science not only refuse to acknowledge the validity and relevance of gnosis, but do not even recognize the possibility of its existence. Today, Science is still so steeped in the antiquated materialistic perspective (based on a false understanding of what ‘matter’ is) that scientists and, through their influence, “educated” members of the public, routinely regard all those who hold to an idealistic view as unfortunate misguided members of the superstitious, ignorant and uneducated masses. Those who are labeled as mystics are held in especial disdain and are the subjects of frequent ridicule in our materialist-oriented culture. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, colleges and universities around the nation have been instilling this arrogant prejudice in the youth who flock to them for their one-sided technological educations. One has to wonder if we are not due at this time in our history for a return of the cultural pendulum to a fresh idealism, one that is informed by both science and gnosis.
It seems to me that we are now at a crucial period in our cultural history when the valid findings of science need to be balanced with the equally valid findings of gnosis. The two must be acknowledged as correctives to one another, as coequals in the endeavor to accumulate meaningful and relevant knowledge of our world and the nature of our own existence. It is necessary to make a real attempt to come to terms with these two very different ways of knowing, to bring clarity to the present differences between the worldview which each promulgates, to point out the areas of possible rapprochement, and perhaps light the way to a universally shared recognition of science and gnosis as complementary aspects of knowledge in a greatly expanded vision of the vast potentialities of human experience.
1. Sir James Jeans, Physics And Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, 1942; a full reprint of this book may be found at:
2. Sir James Jeans, The Mysterious Universe, New York, Macmillan Co., 1931, pp. 83-84.
3. Sir James Jeans, from his address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, entitled, The New World Picture of Modern Science. A transcript of this talk may be found at:
Where Consciousness Comes From
For a long time now, the emphasis in Western education has been on physics―on empirical knowledge of physical reality in general and of subatomic matter in particular. This tended to diminish the attention given to the existence of non-material, non-objective aspects of reality, to the extent that such subjective realities as mind, thought, and consciousness were scarcely regarded as existing at all. Today, however, these subjective realities are not only acknowledged but studied and researched as valid subjects of interest. And since consciousness appears in humans to be primary to thought or mind, various branches of science have focused on discovering the origin of consciousness. At first glance, the circumstantial evidence for the appearance of consciousness in simple life-forms would seem to imply the existence of consciousness going back, at least, to the earliest Paleolithic times. However, some contemporary neurobiologists have reached the conclusion that consciousness only came into existence with the advanced evolution of biological forms and is a product (an epiphenomenon) of complex neural activity in the brain; and that, being a manifestation of a material process, consciousness itself is nothing more than a material phenomenon.
There are others, however, who assert the primacy of Consciousness as the source and substance of the universal creative energy of which the entire universe of matter (including brains) is constituted. The strong inferential evidence of an intelligent source for the origin of the cosmos would seem to imply that consciousness prefigured even the Big Bang. This position goes back thousands of years and is reflected in the various religious views that posit a conscious Creator as the originator of the cosmos. It occurs also in the Platonist philosophical tradition as well. That position was later reiterated in the philosophical view of René Descartes (1596-1650), who asserted that mind (spirit) and matter were two separate kinds of existents comprising man—both emanating from God (the divine Mind), but with differing characteristics. This was the basis of the well-known philosophy of Cartesian dualism, which holds that these two categories are inviolably separate and distinct entities: one, the Divine uncreated part of man (the mind or soul); the other, the divinely created form-manifesting part (the body). Though this philosophy offered no essential modification to earlier Platonist thought, it was the product of a careful rational introspection that proved appealing and persuasive to many of its time.
The overwhelming scientific materialism of the nineteenth century found no place, however, for the soul, and presumed to repair the conceptual mind-body split with the belief that all that exists is solely material, including mind; and that such a thing as ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’ does not exist. This seems still to be the position of contemporary materialist science. The scientific thesis (though rarely formally expressed) continues to be that there is no God, no soul, and that mind and consciousness are merely manifestations of the material activities of neurons and synapses in the brain.
In describing the origin of the cosmos, today’s materialist scientists start with the assumption of the a priori existence of a material object called a ‘singularity’, in which an almost infinitely dense amount of mass/energy became somehow crammed into an infinitesimally minute speck of potentiality. Then, due to some random quantum fluctuations, that mass/energy burst its bounds, exploding outwardly to become the expanding universe of space, time, matter and invisible forces. An alternate theory holds that mass/energy spontaneously evolved from empty space, and subsequently burst into manifest existence. These are the main theoretical pictures that current science paints. Scientists of a materialist bent do not even question what produced the supposed singularity, or how and why mass/energy simply appeared from nothing. Furthermore, these materialistically inclined scientists are placed by this theory in the uncomfortable position of being required to explain how conscious life emerged or evolved from the cooled remains of this boiling soup of inanimate primal mass/energy.
Today, in the early part of this twenty-first century, despite the implausibility of their theory of the origin of the universe, scientists—Physicists, Cosmologists, and Neuroscientists—are busily pursuing the assumption that consciousness somehow arose a few million years ago as an ‘epiphenomenon’ of the self-organizing activity of brain cells and neurons; i.e., consciousness just popped out of biological tissue by some as yet unknown process of spontaneous manifestation, and is essentially a phenomenon that arose from the neurological activity of biological matter. Here is a statement of that theory by John Searle, a well-known contemporary professor of philosophy, who states that:
"Consciousness is a biological feature of the human and certain animal brains. It is caused by neurological processes and is as much a part of the natural biological order as any other biological feature." 1
Others, more cautious, simply say that:
"Consciousness indubitably exists, and it is connected to the brain in some intelligible way, but the nature of this connection necessarily eludes us." 2
"I doubt we will ever be able to show that consciousness is a logically necessary accompaniment to any material process, however complex. The most that we can ever hope to show is that, empirically, processes of a certain kind and complexity appear to have it." 3
Nonetheless, over the years leading up to the present, little progress has been made in the attempt to formulate a detailed and satisfactory theory of the material origin of consciousness. In the beginning of a recent book of memoirs (2006) by Nobel prize-winning Neurobiologist, Erich Kandel, a hopeful and promising picture of future progress is offered:
"The new biology of mind . . . posits that consciousness is a biological process that will eventually be explained in terms of molecular signaling pathways used by interacting populations of nerve cells. … The new science of mind attempts to penetrate the mystery of consciousness, including the ultimate mystery: how each person’s brain creates the consciousness of a unique self and the sense of
free will." 4
But then, in the latter part of the book, he admits that:
"Understanding Consciousness is by far the most challenging task confronting science. …Some scientists and philosophers of mind continue to find consciousness so inscrutable that they fear it can never be explained in physical terms." 5
"What we do not understand is ‘the hard problem’ of consciousness—the mystery of how neural activity gives rise to subjective experience." 6
". . . Biological science can readily explain how the properties of a particular type of matter arise from the objective properties of the molecules of which it is made. What science lacks are rules for explaining how subjective properties (consciousness) arise from the properties of objects (interconnected nerve cells)." 7
As I have stated repeatedly in the past, this search of materialistic science is a misguided one, and can only lead to a dead end; for in order to understand how consciousness arises in biological forms one must put first things first: Consciousness does not inexplicably arise from neural activity in the brain; Consciousness is the intrinsic nature of the Divine Mind in which this universe exists, and that very Consciousness is implicit in the entire universal manifestation, being all-pervasive, and therefore naturally becoming evident in the evolutionary development of earth’s biosphere. Once we understand that all forms in the universe are manifestations of the one universal Consciousness, we will then be able to better understand our own nature and understand our intimate relationship to the Consciousness of the universal Mind. The acknowledgement of the universality and divinity of our own conscious Self will eventually require a radical transformation in the thinking of all men and women of science which, though it may take centuries in which to unfold, will usher in a truly golden era of Enlightenment.
Today, we look back on the contemporaries of Copernicus with the advantage of hindsight and wonder how the intelligentsia of that time could possibly have failed to perceive that the earth travels about the sun, and not vice versa. Once the truth is known, the errors of the past seem so obviously unsupportable. Once the light shines, the preceding darkness is clearly recognized. One day, when it is readily recognized and acknowledged that the world of space, time, matter and energy arise from the Divine Consciousness, men will wonder how it could possibly be that once seemingly intelligent people thought that consciousness was an epiphenomenal product of biological matter.
It must one day be universally understood that Consciousness is the primary, the original, reality—beyond time and space, and all manifestation; It is the eternal Ground and Identity of all that exists. It transcends the universe, while constituting its essence—as a dreaming mind transcends its dream-images, while constituting their essence. Consciousness is not contained within matter, nor is it the property of any individual being. It is not produced by any material process; but rather is the underlying Source of all matter and all processes. It is the fundamental nature of Being, the foundation of the phenomenal universe, the Light of the Projector which flashes its images in the space-time dimension which we know as ‘the world’. The projected human images on this screen are unable to perceive that Light, for they are in It and of It. They can only come to know that eternal Consciousness through the gift of a divinely produced revelation by which they will discover that their own consciousness, their soul, is in essence the one Divine Self, the one eternal Consciousness that is the sole Being in all existence.
In that revelation they will realize that the phenomenal universe is made of a primal energy that is radiated or projected by the one Divine Consciousness.8 We may find a clue to this understanding by pondering the nature of our own minds, since, as has often been said, we are images of God. Consider the nature of our dreams: the consciousness of the dream-character is really the consciousness of the dreamer, is it not? And what of the body of the dream-character? Is it not a projected image produced by the dreamer’s mind, and consisting also of consciousness? By analyzing this clear analogy, one may begin to have a notion of how this universe came to be. But, of course, in order to know it fully, one must realize it for oneself; one’s mind must be illumined by the eternal Light itself and drawn into Its hidden depths. To obtain that grace, all men focus their minds on Him through prayer and contemplative longing, and He shines His Light on whom He will.
1. John Searle, professor of philosophy at U.C. Berkeley, quoted by Richard Restak, Mysteries of the Mind, Washington D.C., National Geographic, 2000; pp. 71-72.
2. Colin McGinn, The Mysterious Flame, quoted in R. Restak, Ibid.; p. 85.
3. Jeffrey Satinover, The Quantum Brain, N.Y., John Wiley & Sons, 2001; p. 220.
4. Eric R. Kandel, In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind, N.Y., W.W. Norton & Co., 2006; pp. 9-11.
5. Kandel, Ibid.; p. 377.
6. Kandel, Ibid.; p. 382.
7. Kandel, Ibid.; p. 381.
8. When God revealed Himself to me, I realized that He breathes the universe into existence and withdraws it again in a repeated cycle. In recent years, after this article was originally written in 2006, I have speculated in various writings that some fourteen billion years ago the divine breath of the Creator became manifest in time and space as a burst of high frequency electromagnetic energy, or radiation—at levels of intensity in the gamma range or above—which scientists currently refer to as ‘the Big Bang’. This theory seems to me a likely one—much more likely than the materialist theories of contemporary science—and is explained at length and in detail in several of my later articles, including ‘The Phenomenon of Light’, ‘How God Made The World’, ‘Recent Theological Developments’, and ‘First Light’—all of which may be found in The Mystic’s Vision, Volume One & Two, downloadable at my website: www.themysticsvision.com.
A Theory of Consciousness
Let us discuss consciousness. Over three thousand years ago, sages of Egypt and Israel proclaimed that life and consciousness was inspirated (breathed) into man by God; and that this ‘breath’ or ‘spark’ of God’s Consciousness constituted one’s “soul”. Some others, like Plato and Plotinus, thought that God’s conscious “Soul” was not infused exclusively into man, but into the entire universe, guiding and regulating every aspect of it from within. To this day, these age-old concepts constitute the framework of our theology and the imagery of our religious imagination. Our minds continue even now to operate in these established patterns, utilizing these ancient conceptualizations, to which we have become habituated for so long.
But, as we have already suggested, there is another, perhaps more accurate, way of viewing the permeation of man and matter by God’s conscious Spirit: not by seeing it as an “infusion” or “inspiration”, but rather as the ‘containment’ of the phenomenal universe within the one Mind. Consider how our own individual human consciousness permeates our thoughts and dream-images. Our thoughts and mental images are permeated by our consciousness because these thoughts and images are contained within our minds. May we not conclude that, likewise, the Consciousness of God, the Divine Mind, permeates the universe because the universe is contained within God? After all, where else would a Divine Mind’s creations exist but within Himself? 1
There is one Consciousness. It is the Consciousness of the One Mind. And every object in this phenomenal universe exists within that one conscious Mind, is constituted of that Mind, and partakes of that one Consciousness to the degree that it is capable. The various objects of this manifest universe move and operate, not by individual forces or laws of physics, but in and by that One.2 When the individual mind becomes immersed in that one Consciousness, united with it, one is able to see that: “all things move together of one accord; assent is given throughout the universe to every falling grain.” Who, then, is doing what? In Him we live and move. In Him one Will operates throughout. And we, mere dust motes dancing in His sunbeam, are swallowed and encompassed in His light.
The Divine Mind, which is the source of Consciousness, is beyond time and space, and all manifestation; It is the eternal Identity of all that exists. It transcends the universe, while constituting its essence—as a dreaming mind transcends its dream-images, while constituting their essence. Consciousness is not the property of matter, or of any individual being. It is not produced by any material process; but rather is a Divine stream of Intelligence filling the entire universe. It is the fundamental nature of Being, the foundation of the phenomenal universe, and the light of awareness filling it.
By following our own consciousness back to its Source, we are able to discover the one true Self. 3 That Self is God. He is the one Source of the material universe, and He is the life and awareness pervading it. But, of course, we must come to know Him for ourselves. Our soul/mind must be illumined by the eternal Light itself and drawn into Its hidden depths. We do not come to know God through arguments and proofs, but by grace. And though we may associate grace with this or that religion, it is universal and originates in God. To obtain that grace, all men focus their minds on Him through prayer and contemplative longing, and He shines His Light on whom He will. Those who have received that grace, realize beyond all doubt that their bodies are His light-forms, and that they are animated and made conscious by the all-pervading presence of His living Consciousness.
The personal consciousness that we regard as our “soul” derives its existence and its inherent bliss from the Consciousness of the Divine Mind in whom it exists. But souls do have a semblance of individual existence. While the Divine Mind, the Self, is universal and without characteristics of Its own, It manifests as a multitude of individual psyches, or souls. Each of these individual souls possesses its own unique characteristics and evolves from birth to birth toward the knowledge and awareness of its one true eternal Identity. The individual soul is therefore a pretended, or imagined, identity of the Self, whose only actual and realizable Identity is the one indivisible Mind.
Each individual soul is confined to a body that defines the extent of its individual being in the spatio-temporal universe. We regard what is not within that limitation as “outside” of us and “other” than us. But God has no body or any limit to His extent. There is no “outside” of Him; no “other”. Even if He were to create an outside, it would be within Him. God is an infinite, eternal Mind; He transcends space and time. Space and time are His creations, and they exist within Him. Whatever He creates is within Him. We, and the entire universe, exist within Him. Our own minds are limited; each one has its own perspective and considers itself to be the “subject”; and what is external to it is regarded as the “object”. But in God’s divine Consciousness, subject and object are one. He is unlimited and undivided. His Consciousness pervades everything and everyone.
We must understand that the separation of body and soul, of Matter and Spirit, exists only in the temporal world of appearance. In the Eternal (the Divine Mind), this duality, this separation, does not exist. In the Divine Mind, they are indistinguishable. Like water and ice in a glass, they are separable in appearance though they are one in essence. Those who have ‘seen’ into their own eternal reality have realized that their body and soul, their consciousness and their form, are one living reality in God. The mystic, therefore, while experiencing his identification with the Divine Mind, experiences himself, not simply as Soul, but as an illimitable awareness that is both universal Soul and universal Energy/Matter. In the Divine Mind, the unmanifest Light and the manifested Light together form all that is. Ultimately, they are one, as they both derive from the same One, and are resolved in the same One.
We are made of the Consciousness and Energy of God. His Consciousness manifests as our conscious soul, and His Energy is sent forth as light to establish the material universe at the ‘Big Bang’, ‘Big Burst’, ‘Great Radiance’, or whatever you wish to call it. And the ultimately true Origin, Source, and Father of that field of Consciousness and Energy, is the One. All that exists is His. It is His projection, His exuberant radiance. Nothing else exists but that One. Our sense of ‘I’ too is Him. ‘I’ am the one and only ‘I’ that is. My consciousness is His consciousness. My body, as well as the whole universe, is His manifest form. In other words, I and the Father are one.
If you ask a beam of sunlight, “Who are you?” it will answer, “I am the Sun.” If you ask a wave on the sea, “Who are you?” it will answer, “I am the ocean.” If you ask a soul, “Who are you?” it must answer, “I am the One in all. I am He who alone exists now and forever. I am the light of the one Sun; I am a wave on the one Sea; I am a living breath of the one Life. I am in all that is seen or unseen. I am the One in all.”
Jesus said, “I am the Light that is over all things. I am all: From me all has come forth, and to me all returns. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there. 4
Unfortunately, there are many who believe that this is a truth that applies only to one unique historical figure; but it is a universal truth, a truth for all, and a truth to be realized: I am not merely this body, not just this spark of consciousness, nor merely the entire manifested universe; I am the Source of the universe, and the universe itself. I am both the subject and the object. There is nothing else here but I AM. Listen to what the great Shankaracharya said:
"The fool thinks, ‘I am the body’. The intelligent man thinks, ‘I am an individual soul united with the body’. But the wise man, in the greatness of his knowledge and spiritual discrimination, sees the Self as [the only] reality, and thinks, ‘I am Brahman’." 5
"I am that Brahman, one without a second, the ground of all existences. I make all things manifest. I give form to all things. I am within all things, yet nothing can taint me. I am eternal, pure, unchangeable, absolute.
"I am that Brahman, one without a second. Maya, the many-seeming, is merged in me. I am beyond the grasp of thought, the essence of all things. I am the truth. I am knowledge. I am infinite. I am absolute bliss.
"I am beyond action; [I am] the reality which cannot change. I have neither part nor form. I am absolute. I am eternal. Nothing sustains me, I stand alone. I am one without a second.
"I am the soul of the universe. I am all things, and above all things. I am one without a second. I am pure consciousness, single and universal. I am joy. I am life everlasting." 6
You and I—we are alive in God. Become awake and sense Him—within you, around you, constituting your body and your awareness, the earth, the heavens. This ocean of existence is His. Nothing exists outside of God. To know God is to know one’s Self. It is to know the originating Mind of the Father, the One. It is to know the Source of all existence, the Source of all consciousness, and the Source of all bliss. What will you do with this knowledge? Praise Him in your thoughts, and in your words and in your actions. Find your delight in Him—seeing only Him, loving only Him, praising only Him.
God, being so close, is easily accessible to us.
He is always within the reach of our call,
Always ready to provide succor in our need,
And the light of wisdom in our times of darkness.
Our own soul is the conduit of this accessibility,
This communication, this succor and this wisdom.
In our own soul, when the chattering of the mind is silenced,
And all our attention is focused on His presence,
There He is found in the very qualities of the soul.
For we are rays from His brilliance,
Diminished only by our unwillingness
To manifest His light.
He is the air in our nostrils and the earth under our feet.
He is the light of our eyes and the music in our breast.
He is the bright awareness that lives as you,
And He is the storied tale your living tells.
You dance in His firelight; you float on His sea.
You breathe by His breathing; you move by His joy.
No matter how far you may gaze into the rolling Galaxies cascading above,
No matter what dark or clownish scenes you dream,
Or terrestrial landscapes you cross,
In the depths of the ocean, or on the chilly
And even in the abyss of death and darkness,
You are ever within His close embrace.
You cannot leave Him, nor scamper from His sight.
For you are in Him as a fish is in the ocean
Or a bird is in the sky.
His love surrounds and holds you,
And He sees all through your eyes.
There is one spiritual issue on which science, secular society, and the various religious traditions all agree: the freedom and accountability of the human will. The ancient Jews were keenly aware of the fact that it was man’s free will that allowed for the disobedience of God’s will, as illustrated in their Biblical ‘garden of Eden’ story. Later, Christians declared that God sacrificed His own son on the cross to redeem ‘believers’ from that earlier ‘Fall from grace’. Other spiritual teachers, such as the Buddha, Shankara and Plotinus, also postulate the human ‘will to separateness’ as the instigator of human suffering. Here, for example, is Plotinus’ take on man’s Fall:
What can it be that has brought the souls to forget the Father, God, and, though [they are] members of the Divine and entirely of that world, to ignore at once themselves and It? The evil that has overtaken them has its source in self-will, in the entry into the sphere of process, and in the primal differentiation with the desire for self-ownership. They conceived a pleasure in this freedom and largely indulged their own motion. Thus, they were hurried down the wrong path, and in the end, drifting further and further, they came to lose even the thought of their origin in the Divine. 7
The Jews, Christians, the Buddha, Shankara, Plotinus—all put the blame for human suffering upon the separative will of the individual. And rightly so, no doubt; for in the Divine Itself, there is no suffering. Had the One no hand, then, in the creation of the defiant soul? Must we not wonder if anything at all comes to pass that is not of His doing? The soul’s ability to will freely—had He no hand in that? May it not be that our embodied existence in this spatio-temporal world is also His doing? Is it not possible that this going forth into the school of separate existence is, as the Vedantists assert, His play or sport? And is it not possible that we are sent forth into this material school to prove and improve, to be tested and to evolve in His knowledge, in His joy? It is indeed we who create suffering through ignorance and error; but it is He who comprises the essence of this soul with its capacity for willing, and it is He who fashioned this universal school for the soul’s correcting. Can we imagine that He was ignorant of the outcome?
We are but waves on His infinite ocean; and while the wave’s suffering of separation from the ocean might seem real enough to the wave, it is actually based on illusion. Once the wave realizes its true nature, all suffering disappears. We are in a similar situation: unknowing, we suffer; knowing, we rejoice. It is not existence that constitutes suffering, but existence in delusion. When we awake to our Divine existence, all suffering vanishes. Is this not the message of all who have seen the truth?
All creatures, down to the smallest microbes, and up to the great apes, have the power of will; but only the creature known as man has the ability to know his Source and Ground as Spirit, and strive to overcome his merely fleshly impulses. Is that circumstance only accidental, or is there a purposeful evolution at work here? Man is the culmination of God’s purposes; and only he is able to find within himself the eternal One. It’s true that, in following his own appetites and cravings, man brings himself to know suffering; but even though the expanse presented before him is broad and vast and his opportunities many, experience leads him inexorably to wisdom; the Divine in him leads him eventually to Itself. The soul, being of Divine lineage, cannot long refuse the lure and fragrance of its homeland. By its own power, or rather by the power of the Divine in it, the soul stirs and awakes in its proper time, follows the trail of bliss leading it home, and at last is illumined by the inner light of God to know the One in whom it lives, and from whom it has never been separated.
The separate identity you thought was your own, the body and soul you thought was yours, is in fact God’s. There is no yours. That illusory separate identity, or individual ego, common to all embodied souls, is an extremely subtle and deceptive mirage. It masks the nondual reality, and it is dispelled only by the grace of God. This ego is a veil blinding us to and separating us from the awareness of our true Self, our Godhood; and it is a veil only He, the Divine Mind, can lift.
What is this ego that stands to block our view of eternity? How impossible it is to comprehend! It can’t be grasped or dispelled or even held up to the light of knowledge. It seems that it is an imposed ignorance that automatically accompanies embodiment. In effect, it is our Lord who casts this dust in our eyes, blinding us to our true eternal Self; and He alone has the power to dispel it. No matter how we try to escape the ego’s limiting perspective, we are steadfastly caught in its grip. It separates us out from our limitless being, squeezing us into a narrow individuality, hiding from us God’s face and our own divinity in Him. We can only raise our eyes to Him in love and longing, praying that He will soon return us home once again to His all-inclusive awareness.
God’s Grace cannot be earned or deserved. It is freely given and may descend upon you at any time. It is experienced as an awakening to the Divine presence in yourself and in the world, and it fills your heart with a new love and joy, stirring your mind to a new understanding of the spiritual nature of life. When God’s Grace awakens you, your mind begins to turn gratefully to God, and a physical pleasure, like a chill rising up the spine, occasionally reminds you of His inward presence. In your desire to draw nearer to God in worshipful devotion, you spend long hours in contemplation and prayer. And in the moment when you become completely surrendered in silence to that Divine presence, He may lift from your mind the veil of separation and reveal that you and He are one. In that moment you will know the reality of God’s immediate and all-embracing presence, the untranslatable, inconceivable, gladness of unlimited being that requires no explanation, no concepts, no theories, but clearly and self- evidently is. And you will live the rest of your life in the blissful awareness of the Truth.
1. That we exist in God is not a new idea. In the Bhagavad Gita (written circa 500 B.C.E.), the Lord, Krishna, says, “By Me, in my unmanifested form, are all things in this universe pervaded. All beings exist in Me; I do not exist in them.” (Bhagavad Gita: 9:4); and in the Christian scriptures, the apostle Paul says, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28). The entire universe exists within God. He produces the appearance of universal matter from Himself, within Himself. And while it appears that the Spirit and matter are two substances intermingled, it is all only Himself, and so He remains one Being forever. He empowers the universal appearance within Himself, and the dynamic universe continually evolves to more fully express the glory of His Being.
2. The classical ‘mechanistic’ way of conceiving the universe regarded all the things, particles, and individual beings as separate independent objects and creatures that interacted in accordance with physical ‘laws.’ The illumined way of conceiving of the universe regards every particle, object, and living being as inseparably united in an integral conscious continuum of which all particles, things, and beings are constituted. Everything that once appeared to be random (the propitious outcomes of merely blind forces)— including the quanta that seemed to be governed by laws of probability—is now seen to be acting in mutually harmonious accord within an interdependent Whole conceived and contained within the one Mind. “All things move together of one accord; assent is given throughout the universe to every falling grain.”
3. The most amazing and most wonderful aspect of this new way of seeing the universe is the recognition that every individual mind is a limited version of the one Mind and is capable not only of establishing an open connection to the one Divine Mind, but of actually experiencing its identity with/as that one all-pervasive Mind.
4. Saying of Jesus, from The Gospel of Thomas, 77.
5. Shankaracharya, The Crest-Jewel of Discrimination, trans. by Swami Prabhavananda & Christopher Isherwood, Hollywood, Vedanta Press, 1947, p. 58.
6. Ibid., p. 118.
7. Plotinus, Enneads, V.I.I: “The Three Initial Hypostases”.
IV. Time And Eternity
Newton believed in an absolute time; one which is always the same for everyone in every situation. Einstein demolished that view by showing that the measure of the passage of time is relative to motion—differing by the variation in motion between two perceivers. Cosmologist, Stephen Hawking, further clarified time’s non-absolute status by noting that “time is just a coordinate that labels events in the universe; it does not have any meaning outside the space-time manifold.” 1 Indeed, space and time (space-time) only come into existence along with the birth of the universe. Cosmologists assert that around fourteen billion years ago, an incredibly large amount of energy unaccountably burst on the scene and explosively expanded to produce the mass-energy that constitutes this entire universe. In that instant when that energy let loose as the “Big Bang” and began to expand as the plasma that would become particulate matter, space and time also came into existence. Before that, space-time did not exist. To the question, “What was when space-time was not?”, the answer is, “Eternity”.
Now, from a purely theoretical point of view, Eternity can be a very daunting concept, one which cosmologists usually refrain from considering. But for those of us who have been privileged to experience Eternity directly, it is neither a theory nor a concept. We know, with absolute certainty, that it is the underlying foundation, support, and projecting power upon which this universe of time and space exists. We know that time exists only in the universal manifestation, with a recurrent beginning and end, and that in Eternity there is no such thing as time – no past, no present, no future, no projected universe at all. For Eternity is just another name for the absolute Consciousness that is the Ground and support of the universal projection; and it is the source of the (limited) consciousness which sentient beings experience within themselves. Eternity is the upper reach of Existence, to which the mind may be drawn, if God so wills; and there it is seen that time has no absolute existence but exists only as an elemental byproduct of the universal expansion of space projected upon the one eternal Mind. It is a measure, as spatial location is, of the progression of universal manifestation.
This universal manifestation is superimposed upon Eternity, as a dream is superimposed upon the consciousness of a dreamer. One could say that the temporal universe and Eternity exist in separate dimensions – as the dreamer and his dream-world exist in separate dimensions, levels, or realms of consciousness. Eternity is the highest level of Consciousness; It is experienced by a mind that is intensely and utterly focused and intent upon the Divine. It completely supplants one’s limited individuality, raising one’s awareness to Its own place, and revealing one’s ultimate identity with Itself. This experience of Eternity is very pleasant. It is single, perfect aloneness, blissfully content. It sends forth a new universe in every breath, while in the same alternating breath annihilating the old. It is so simple and unencumbered that it cannot be conveyed in speech. It is the ancient, unnamed God. It occupies its own place, its own dimension, quite sovereign and alone. The temporal array spewed out in each breath offers no distraction or interruption to the sweetness of Its homogeneous peace. It is its own perpetual delight and satisfaction.
The cosmos, quite a different thing, originates from Him, and dissolves in Him; and time derives from Him, though He is utterly beyond time’s reach. The cosmos emanates from the divine Mind just as a dream, emanating from the mind of a dreamer, exists in its own place, depicting a drama, originating, then reaching a culmination, but in no way affecting the dreamer; even though each of the dream characters is, in reality, the dreamer, who, once awakened, returns to the awareness of its true source and Self.
This projected ‘real’ universe of time and extension is nothing more than a dream. We who live within it are all none other than the one Eternal Mind, and on awaking shall once again know our blissfully eternal Self. And even now, in this temporal moment, in this spatial unfoldment of the cosmic dream superimposed upon the eternal Consciousness, we are in truth that one eternal Self, blissfully content, fully awake, in our solitary, timeless, spaceless place on high. And while this imaged time, begun in that first instant of cosmic appearance along with space, marches on, we momentary creatures move to its rhythms without knowing why or whence, yet knowing, by the creator’s grace, our everlasting Self beyond time, while happily singing praise and glory to His name.
1. Stephen Hawking & W. Israel (eds.), 300 Years of Gravitation, Cambridge University Press, 1989; p. 651; quoted in P. Coveney and R. Highfield, The Arrow of Time, N.Y., Ballantine Books, 1991; p. 99.
* * *
2. UNIVERSAL CREATION
I Have But Breathed—Part One
I have but breathed, and everything is rearranged,
and set in order once again.
A million worlds begin and end in every breath,
and in this breathing, all things are sustained.1
“There are many ancient stories by men of early civilizations which tell of the creation of the universe by a great God, who fashioned it by His hands as a human potter might fashion a pot. But these are just the old stories of ancient men that stubbornly persist in today’s world. There are contemporary intelligent people, known as ‘scientists’, who theorize that the matter that makes up this universe somehow existed as the original Source, prior to anything else, and which naturally evolved over time into the far-flung suns, planets, and eventual life-forms. But these learned theorists have got it all backwards: Let’s let God Himself explain: “I am first; I have always existed. I am the great Mind whom you call “God”. And it is my breath of Energy that makes up this material universe. By “Energy”, I mean Light energy. My breath is Light. It is what you call “Gamma radiation”, the most powerful force in the electromagnetic spectrum. That high-frequency Light is my own, and it is by that Light that I have created your world.”
"For a long time now, the belief that the universe is simply a random formation of disparate material wave-particles, arising spontaneously in the void of space-time, is a belief that has captured the imagination of the reasoned men who practice science. But they are mistaken. The Energy that appears as the material wave-particles that constitute this world is neither random nor spontaneous, nor is it produced by natural processes; the world of matter—in fact, everything in the universe—has come from my conscious breath of Light-energy. Periodically, I release an abundance of Light energy, which rapidly transforms into this multiform universe. The last occurrence of this Energy release was around fourteen billion earth-years ago, in what you refer to as ‘the great Radiance’, or ‘the Big Bang’. That Light-Energy exists within Me, and therefore is imbued from the beginning with My own Consciousness. My Consciousness forms and guides the entire evolutionary process of material existence, from the initial gamma radiation to the subsequent production of billions of wave-particles that congregate to become the structured worlds and living forms that are manifested to express my multifaceted being."2
1. This verse is from 'The Song of The Self' which appears in Swami Abhayananda, The Supreme Self, Atma Books, South Fallsburg, N.Y., 1984.
2. It must be noted that not everyone believes that the universe was ‘created’ either by a divine Light or any other means. There are those like Shankaracharya, the 9th century Indian philosopher, and his present-day counterparts, such as Sri Nisargadatta and Ramesh Balsekar, who deny that an objective universe exists, i.e., they deny that there is really a universe that is created by God and perceived by everyone. They believe, rather, that the one Consciousness-Bliss produces in each and every mind the illusion of a universe that does not actually exist anywhere but in the mind. Most of the traditional Upanishadic rishis, as well as the author of The Bhagavad Gita, have a different theory: they hold the opinion that God has created an objective universe through His Power of Creation (variously called Shakti, Maya, Ishvara). And so, the question is: ‘Do we create in our minds an illusory universe of objects that does not really exist, OR has God, the one divine Consciousness, created a universe out of an insubstantial ‘stuff’ that simply appears to us to be substantial?’ Which of these theories of an illusory universe seems to be supported by the observations of science? Scientists, like philosophers, are divided, since it is not possible to know which of these theories is correct, or if either one is correct.
However, while neither the theory of a God-produced ‘objective’ universe made of God’s own substance, or the theory of a God-given human faculty by which a ‘subjective’ universe is produced in our imagination is empirically demonstrable, the fact remains that both of these theories lead ultimately to the same overall conclusion: Both theories assert that the universal appearance is produced by the power of the one Consciousness-Bliss; and that whether we live in an objective universe or a subjective universe, that universe is essentially illusory, and that the one and only permanent reality is the one eternal Consciousness-Bliss, which is our own eternal Identity.
Similarly, there are those who believe in the temporal existence and evolution of individual souls; and there are those who believe that there are no such individual souls, but that it is always only the undivided nondual Consciousness-Bliss alone that we are and misinterpret as a soul. And here again, whether or not individual souls actually exist in the temporal universe is ultimately irrelevant; for in both theories, our only permanent and everlasting reality and Identity is the nondual Consciousness-Bliss, and the existence and evolution of transient individual souls or the non-existence of such individual souls does not alter that ultimate fact.
Nonetheless, the controversy continues: One of the contending advocates, Stanley Sobottka, the late university physicist, was highly enamored of the philosophy espoused by Shankara and more recently by Sri Nisargadatta and his disciple, Ramesh Balsekar, and he embodied that philosophy in his online book, called A Course In Consciousness (www.courseinconsciousness.org).
I Have But Breathed—Part Two
I have but breathed, and everything is rearranged,
and set in order once again.
A million worlds begin and end in every breath,
and in this breathing, all things are sustained.
You may not believe that the (italicized) words above are the words of God; you may not believe that the testimonies of the mystics are true; you may not even believe that there are such things as spiritual or mystical experiences; but you must admit that the idea that the universe originated through the ‘Divine Manifestation’ of Light is still a tremendously appealing theory.
The theory of Divine Manifestation—which, because it is undemonstrable, unverifiable, can never be accepted as ‘science’—holds that the Originator of our universe is a single eternal Mind—conscious, omniscient, and omnipotent—that has the power to emanate a powerful burst of electromagnetic radiation (Light), which It does periodically over the course of billions of years in a manner similar to the alternation of one’s breath—at first expelled, and then withdrawn—in an unending cycle. That Light, a Divine Energy, manifests as electromagnetic radiation of a very high frequency—well into the gamma range 1 —the expansion of which initiates the direction and sequential nature of time, as well as the formation of matter and antimatter wave-particles. As the Light expands and cools, it begins its almost magical transformation from Energy to Matter. The explanation of how and when the particular elements of the universe were formed from that point onward is a matter reserved for the qualified practitioners of empirical physical science.
Light (EM radiation) is the medium by which Spirit fills the universe with Matter. That Light is the transformative “substance” that bridges the gap between the Divine Mind and the phenomenal universe. Light is Energy, and Energy (at its highest frequencies) is transformable into material wave-particles. In its initial abundant profusion, that Light expanded as countless colliding photons that literally transformed into quarks and electrons, which then combined to form protons and neutrons, the atoms that are the building-blocks of the stars and planets which comprise our universe. And yet, despite all our advances in scientific knowledge about electromagnetic energy over the centuries, there is still much about light that remains a great mystery to us. On the other hand, the Source of that Light―the Spirit, the Divine Mind―is wholly unknown; It is not an entity or agency that is even recognized by science to exist.
Science is a method of human enquiry that recognizes only empirical—that is to say, demonstrable—evidence, and Spirit is not demonstrable by any means that register as sense data. Spirit is wholly noumenon; It is not a phenomenon that can be physically demonstrated. This is why science, to be science, is unable to investigate the theory of Divine Manifestation as an explanation for the existence of our world, even though it is clearly the most obvious, the most reasonable, explanation for the origin of matter that has been proposed. Those who practice ‘science’ are precluded by their method of enquiry from acknowledging the role of the Divine Mind in the creation of the universe; and that is why science in the twenty-first century is mired in the embarrassing quandary of having to nominate only material causal agents for the role of “originator” of the Big Bang. What a shame!
For many, however, the theory of Divine Manifestation is a theory of the origin of the universe that provides not only an explanation of the origin of matter, but also the only reasonable explanation for the existence of life and consciousness as universal qualities inherent in the Divine Mind. This theory also accounts for the many apparently fine-tuned conditions in the early universe that provided so presciently for the possibility of the existence of living creatures, and it serves, above all, as a much-needed cultural narrative of foundational understanding, replacing the old well-worn, but long discounted, Creation myths handed down through the ancient scriptural texts. Happily, this theory of the Divine Manifestation of Light is not only a believable explanation of the origin of the universe but is the only reasonable and plausible explanation of how the universe and all life began. It is the one explanation that is able to strengthen the people’s confidence in God’s presence and providence in their lives today.
1. The highest frequency radiation, Gamma radiation, is radiation that reaches a frequency of 10 exahertz, or 1019 Hz, with a wavelength less than 10 picometers, and energies from 400 GeV (billion electron volts) to 10 TeV (trillion electron Volts).
We earthlings tend to associate light with our Sun, but what of the First Light, the light which in the beginning produced all of the suns and planets within the entire universe? That original Light was an energy whose source transcended our present phenomenal universe, since this universe did not yet exist. It was an energy sufficient to produce by its self-conversion to particulate matter the phenomenal appearance of an immense and dynamic universe, a universe made solely of that First Light.
That sudden burst of First Light that signaled ‘the beginning’ nearly fourteen billion years ago was no mere run of the mill lightshow; it was a teeming, roiling rush of the most intensely furious maelstrom of concentrated energy imaginable. The light of a billion hydrogen bombs could not begin to compare with it. Indeed, all of the mass-energy that goes to make up our current universe was contained within that burst of light. It permeates our universe as that original energy, and also as every one of the aggregated material wave-particles into which it converted. That First Light is Itself this vast illusion we call ‘the universe’ and can only be described and explained as the Creative Power of the Divine Being.
Who else could have produced such a powerful and potent force? Does He not deserve to be regarded as the one Divinity, the Creator of the cosmos and all that exists within it? And yet how could it possibly have been done? Only He knows, and it is doubtful that we shall ever be able to comprehend the nature of His abilities and powers. Suffice it to say that a vibratory energy was produced from within Himself that spread as waves which human creatures refer to as ‘electromagnetic (EM) radiation’. This radiation covers a broad spectrum, from the highest measured frequencies to the lowest. The highest frequency radiation is called ‘gamma radiation’, and it is at this highest frequency that EM radiation is capable of converting from radiant energy to mass, i.e., to matter.
The light that spreads as waves of energy can also appear to us as particles (photons), strangely enough. We can measure the frequency of these waves, but we don’t know exactly what it is that’s waving or vibrating. The medium through which these waves of light propagate is also unknown, though we know its constant rate of movement. And yet physicists talk about Light as though they know what it is, pretending that it is explicable according to commonly understood physical principles; but, of course, it is an absolute mystery. And since this light—this electromagnetic radiation—is the foundational reality underlying all phenomena, the fountainhead of all that is manifest as this universe, we are led to acknowledge that our being and the being of the phenomenal universe is also an absolute mystery, despite all our pretenses to the contrary.
And what of life and consciousness? These are undoubtedly the very qualities of God! The infinite expression of life, consciousness, and bliss: that is what God is! And we, His Mind-born creatures, live within Him, and partake of His Being. No need to know much more than that. In Him we live and move; one Mind alone, self-replicated in myriad forms, comprises all. In Him this Light-born show evolves and runs its course, each fragile bubble of awareness the one inseparable Self entire.
And as each fragile bubble of awareness evolves, the desire to know its source and reality increases, until at last each delicate bubble bursts its confines and comes to know its unlimited and deathless Self. No longer contained or separate, but merged into the unlimited Being of the One, it knows itself as the eternally undivided Self of all— the Giver, the recipient, and the gift; Beloved, lover, love; the candle, flame, and eye; the Seer, seen, and sight.
The Phenomenon of Light
According to the standard scientific ‘Big Bang’ model of the origin of the universe, the Big Bang was the explosive expansion of a ‘singularity’, a pre-existent primary state consisting of an ultra-dense concentration of mass-energy in an infinitesimal space.1 Yet those scientists who accept this model have refused to speculate on where, why, and how such an infinitely dense concentration of mass-energy came to be in the first place. That, they say, is beyond the purview of ‘empirical science’; and, of course, it is.
A singularity, I am told, is a mathematical function of the theory of Relativity, and the possibility of its actual existence only derives from its mathematical existence. I have to wonder, however, why physicists have been so ready to accept the idea of a singularity as the prelude to ‘the Big Bang,’ but have been so unwilling to give consideration to the theory of the “creation” or “emanation” by a transcendent Mind of a sudden initial burst of Energy that subsequently resulted in the formation of expanding matter by a process of energy-matter conversion. The answer is that science, by definition, simply does not allow for the possibility of a supernaturally initiated cosmogony! One cannot help but wonder, therefore, if the Big Bang cosmology of contemporary physics is merely an ideational framework constructed to avoid acknowledging the possibility of a supernatural Origin for our universe and ourselves.
Regardless of whether or not it was constructed for that purpose, the singularity theory provides an ideational framework that is currently in disarray, and greatly in doubt even by its originators, with no legitimate alternative to take its place. But let us now depart from science’s flimsy materialistic model and make a bold and adventurous inquiry into the possibility that it might have been (Divine) Energy that started it all, and let’s see where this theory takes us. If we hypothesize that it was the appearance of a sudden flash of Divine Energy that precipitated this expanding universe, we must ask, “What kind of Energy could result in a material universe?” There is an ancient, pre-scientific, tradition in India according to which, the material universe was produced from sound: the pranava, said to be audible as the sound, “Aum”, or “Om”. No one, however, has succeeded in producing matter from this or any other sound, or even formulating a process by which this might be accomplished. Indeed, it appears that sound itself is in all cases produced by matter, not the other way around. However, it is a proven fact that light-energy is transformable to material particles—energy and matter being interchangeable states of the same thing.
We must ask, then, “Mightn’t it have been an immense burst of what we have come to call ‘electromagnetic radiation’ ―in other words, Light--that produced this vast universe of forms?” Light certainly would fit the requirements! And such a beginning would not only provide a confirmation of the account found in many religious documents; it would clearly account for the initial heat and expansion known to have been produced in the earliest stages of the universe’s origin.
Scientists of our contemporary world have not seriously considered this theory, however. The suggestion that the physical cosmos had a ‘supernatural’ origin, places that origin outside the confines of ‘nature’ and therefore firmly outside the consideration of empirical science. Rather than positing a spiritual source, or even a radiant energy source, the immediate instinct of scientists is to suppose that there was an original physical entity that somehow ‘blew up’, scattering matter throughout the length and breadth of space-time. But, just for the purpose of following out the supernaturally produced Light theory to its logical ends, let us imagine for a moment that in the beginning there was a supernaturally produced burst of high-energy light, and examine whether or not the existence of space-time and this material universe could possibly have formed and evolved from that initial Energy burst:
Anyone familiar with the peculiar nature and behavior of light must be profoundly struck by the stubborn incomprehensibility of this unique and elusive ‘stuff’. Many scientists and philosophers over the ages have sought to comprehend the nature of light without success, among them Albert Einstein. Though Einstein made extraordinary discoveries involving light’s invariable speed, its relation to the measurement of time and space, and its corpuscular nature, he was never able to fathom just what this ‘stuff’ called “light” is. In 1917, long after the publication of his Special and General Theories of Relativity, he wrote: “For the rest of my life I will reflect on what light is!”; 2 and thirty-four years later, in 1951, he admitted: “All the fifty years of conscious brooding have brought me no closer to the answer to the question, ‘What are light quanta [photons]?’ Of course, today every rascal thinks he knows the answer, but he is deluding himself.” 3
Why is light so difficult to comprehend? Einstein’s perplexity over the nature of light was based on the recognition that, at the submicroscopic quantum level, the properties of light are inconceivable and incomprehensible. A photon of light is neither wave nor particle, though it can appear in either guise. It is not a substance, but an intangible and indefinable essence that some have likened to a mental rather than a physical reality; and yet all that we perceive as the physical, ‘material’ world is made of it. This ‘stuff’ called light, at its highest frequencies, is miraculously endowed with the ability to transform itself into what we call ‘material’ particles. And, even though we can describe and predict this transformation, it is clearly an a priori capability that can only be described as “miraculous”. In addition, light, by its very nature, expands from its source at a constant and absolute 300,000 metres per second. Space-time is measurable only in relation to this absolute speed of light radiation. So, if the initial appearance of light created space-time, those space-time parameters would have expanded at the rate of 300,000 metres/sec. Space-time, it seems, is merely an effect of light, and as it expanded, that light cooled and transformed itself into material (mass-bearing) particles, and the expansion rate of the material universe decreased accordingly.
Light, or electromagnetic radiation, does not consist of matter; that is, it has no mass, but is an insubstantial, though ubiquitous, form of energy. Nonetheless, in its most energetic states, it is convertible into ‘matter’; and vice versa. This is due to the now well-known interconvertibility of mass and energy, according to Einstein’s formula: E=mc2. For example, when an electron bound to a nucleus makes a “quantum jump” from a higher energy level (orbital) to a lower one, it gives off that same amount of energy in the form of a photon of light. When an electron and a positron (its antiparticle opposite) collide, they both annihilate in a flash of light (photons). When a proton and an antiproton collide, they are both annihilated in a flash of light (photons). Why are mass and energy interconvertible? No one knows. Apparently, these particles and antiparticles are merely returning to their ‘ground’ state. From light they came, and to light they must return.
“Visible light”, as we all know, forms but a small segment of the electrical and magnetic field that extends outwardly from its source in wavular undulations of varying frequencies and wavelengths, called the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. In the vacuum of space, EM radiation travels nearly 300 million meters (186,000 miles) per second, or 670 million miles per hour; and can be variously described and labeled according to its different wavelengths. But, as Albert Einstein has shown, it is also measurable as tiny packets or quanta of energy called photons, measured according to their energy in electron volts (eV). Light can be described either as a wave or a particle, depending on the method used to measure it. And though no one seems able to rationally describe or account for this wave-particle duality, in order to make some verbal sense of it, we say that EM waves are associated with, or complementary to, the light quanta known as photons. Naturally, matter also possesses this characteristic of wave-particle duality, since matter is nothing more than light-energy appearing as (converted to) form and substance.
The entire EM spectrum includes cosmic gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet light, the visible spectrum, infrared, microwaves, radar, FM radio, AM radio, and Direct electrical current, ranging in wavelength from 10-15 (.000000000000001 meter) to indefinitely long. At one end of the EM spectrum, this charged field vibrates as short transverse waves of very high frequency; these are the gamma-rays and x-rays. At the other end of the spectrum, wave lengths can be indefinitely long and the frequencies very low; these are the radio and long-wave radio waves. In between the high and low-frequency waves of this spectrum are varying EM wavelengths such as those of visible light. Visible light is but a small portion of the EM spectrum, consisting of wavelengths from 0.4 to 0.7 micrometers (one millionth of a meter)—i.e., about half the length of a bacterium.
As in all wavular phenomena, the shorter the wavelength, the higher is the wave’s frequency; and the longer the wavelength, the lower is the wave’s frequency. Frequency is measured in units called hertz (abbreviated Hz.), after the nineteenth century German physicist, Heinrich Hertz. One hertz means one oscillation per second. For example, radio waves in AM broadcasting have a wavelength of 300 meters and vibrate at a frequency ranging from 530 kilohertz (530,000 hertz) to 1.6 megahertz (1,600,000 hertz). By contrast, gamma rays, with the extremely short wavelength of
10-15meter, may have the incredible frequency of 300 Ehz (one exahertz=one quintillion  hertz).
Though light is energy, and massless, it can be converted, or transformed, into mass-bearing material particles (according to the formula: E=mc2). In fact, high energy, short-wavelength light (such as gamma radiation) routinely decays spontaneously into particle-antiparticle pairs—and vice versa. When we speak of high-energy light as an EM wave, we speak of it as high-frequency (300 Ehz), short wavelength (10-15 m) radiation; when we speak of it as particulate, or corpuscular, we must regard it as consisting of photons, each photon with an energy in the realm of 1.24 MeV (million electron volts).
Gamma rays, then, are the highest frequency EM waves known, consisting of the highest energy photons, so far discovered. These waves can originate in the nuclei of atoms and may be released by nuclear explosions. They can also be produced in certain laboratory experiments, for example, by certain radioactive materials, or when a particle and an antiparticle annihilate each other. Conversely, gamma rays are capable of decaying spontaneously into particle/antiparticle pairs, such as an electron and a positron. Gamma rays also exist naturally throughout the cosmos, even showing up in the formation of terrestrial lightning bolts. In 1997, astronomers using the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (GRO) satellite, found evidence for a gigantic, diffuse halo of gamma rays around our own Milky Way galaxy that they are currently endeavoring to know more about; and distant cosmic gamma ray bursts appear almost daily to astronomer’s telescopes.
Cosmic gamma ray bursts are brief bursts of high-energy light that come to us from up to 12 billion light-years away (in other words, light that was emanated 12 billion years ago). Astronomers have speculated that they are from distant supernovae, giant collapsing stars in the midst of their death-throes; although researchers could find no supernova associated with a 2006 burst observed by NASA’s Swift satellite. In March of 2008, the same NASA satellite recorded “the brightest explosion ever seen” when a massive star, 7.5 billion light-years away, collapsed to form a black hole, driving powerful gamma ray jets outward. In September of 2009, another gamma ray burst (designated GRB090902B) produced even higher energies—up to 33.4 billion electron volts or about 13 billion times the energy of visible light. 4 Such cosmic gamma ray bursts are so energetic that their brightness is equal to the brightness of all the stars of the entire universe combined. One burst of 10 seconds duration can release more energy than the light emitted by our sun in its entire ten-billion-year lifetime.
As we earlier suggested, it is possible that all the matter in this universe originated from a spectacularly large burst of high-energy light, or electromagnetic radiation; but is such an evolution, from light to matter, possible? Yes, as we have seen, it is. It is possible and highly probable that, in the very earliest moments of the Big Bang, in that unimaginably hot, spreading radiation field, the densely packed, intensely active, high-energy photons, in the process of colliding with one another, transformed into mass-bearing particles and antiparticles. And, while nearly all of the resulting particle/antiparticle pairs created by these collisions would have been annihilated upon contact with each other, as it happens, there was produced an as yet unexplainable disparity or “asymmetry” 5 in the total number of particles over antiparticles; and for that reason, there would still have been one-in-every ten billion particles remaining—in the form of electrons, protons, and neutrons—to constitute the building blocks of the entire material universe.
This fact lends credence to the theory that a sudden burst of (Divine) Energy in the form of an intense field of electromagnetic radiation, and not the explosion of a pre-existent super-dense speck of condensed mass-energy, constituted the origin of our universe. But, of course, such a “Big Burst” theory could be regarded as a scientifically viable alternative to the ‘Big Bang’ theory only as a non-falsifiable speculation, one not subject to experimental confirmation. Both possibilities are equally plausible, and equally unconfirmable. Even the Cosmic Background Microwave Energy that was detected by Penzias and Wilson might be cited as evidence for either the ‘Big Burst’ scenario or the ‘Big Bang’ scenario equally. However, scientists are, and will no doubt remain for the foreseeable future, extremely reluctant to even consider the possibility of a supernatural source and origin to our universe, simply because it is beyond our ability to measure or demonstrate empirically.
We may suppose, further, that what we call spacetime is a correlate of light and its innate proclivity for very rapidly spreading itself in all directions. Where there is extension, there is space; where there is a sequence of events, there is time. And while time and space are relative to the speed of light, light itself, the primary ‘stuff’ of the universe, is the sole constant by which time and space are measured. Like Einstein, we can describe and measure it, but we struggle unsuccessfully to know and understand just what it is.
Now, if it was a sudden pulse of Divinely produced Energy that created the universe, it would have to have been a tremendous amount of Energy. We know this because of Einstein’s formula which declares that the amount of initiating Energy that would account for all the mass in the universe would have to have been the product of all the mass in the universe times the speed of light squared. I don’t know how much mass the universe contains, but you would have to multiply that figure by 448, 900, 000,000,000, 000 (the speed of light squared in mph) to get the amount of Energy required to produce it. It is easy to see that it would have to have been quite a burst of Energy!
"If a thousand suns appeared simultaneously in the sky, their light might dimly resemble the [radiant] splendor of that Omnipotent Being!" 6
Such an immense burst of electromagnetic energy would no doubt follow the same progressive development as that suggested by the physicists who advocate a ‘natural’ (i.e., material) origin of the universe: In the first moments, the Energy-Matter and Matter-Energy transformations would alternate in rapid flux. Expanding at the speed of light, some of that Energy would be converted to particle-antiparticle pairs, most of which would annihilate, and some of the remaining matter in the form of quarks, along with their interacting gluons (what is called a quark-gluon plasma),7 would eventually combine to form protons and neutrons; other particles, the free electrons, would inevitably bond to the protons, forming the element, hydrogen.
These hydrogen atoms would collect in the form of a gas; and this gas, reaching a large enough volume, would be affected by a gravitational force (that Einstein says is a function of the geometry of spacetime), which, in turn, would draw such gas nebulae into a density great enough to initiate nuclear fusion; and thus stars, and whole galaxies of stars would be born. In the interior furnaces of these stars, heavier elements would be created; and when the cores of the stars would collapse, they would explode into space; and their remnants would form into a second generation of stars, like our sun and its satellite planets. And, of course, it would all have begun with a great burst of light!
Is such a scenario possible? Or plausible? Does this explanation fit all the available physical and mathematical data? I don’t know. I leave it for those scientifically trained experts familiar with the properties and possibilities of high-energy radiation and the intricacies of nucleosynthesis to determine. For my part, I only know for a certainty that this universe is a product of the Divine Energy of God breathed into existence by His loving grace and imbued with His Divine Consciousness.
We must ask ourselves: ‘How could such a thing as an immense and awesomely productive burst of light come to be where before there was nothing? Can a burst of light occur without a physical source?’ This same question of origination presents itself, whether it is the pure energy of light we speak of, or a super-dense entity (singularity) about to explode, or a fluctuating quantum vacuum that spontaneously sprouts universes.
There could have been no natural cause, for there was no “nature” as yet. There could have been no material cause; for there was no “material” anything as yet. There could have been no “place” for such an event to “occur”, for there was no space as yet. There was no “when” for it to happen, for there was no time as yet. Only now we are able to place it at the beginning of time by counting back in earth years to that beginning. In attempting to speak of the origin of time, space, and mass-energy, our very language, our calculations, become meaningless, having no reference or basis. Can something appear without a cause? Why no, of course not. But can something appear without a ‘natural’ ―that is, material― cause? Well, it had to have, didn’t it?
The materialists hold that all forms of matter, including biological (living) matter, is the product of ‘natural’ causes, ‘natural’ processes. But what do they mean by ‘natural’? They explain that there is no need to postulate a ‘supernatural’ agency in the creation and evolution of the universe, for, they say, “It is simply the nature of light-Energy to “decay” into material particles; and it is simply the nature of those particles, such as quarks and electrons, to act under the attraction of the electromagnetic and ‘color’ charges inherent in those particles.” Further, they say, “It is simply ‘natural’ processes that account for the fact that the aggregates of particles that we call “atoms,” collect together to form the molecules that make up the various ‘elements’ of chemical, material and biological substances; and these molecules have a ‘natural’ propensity to mutate into biological tissue and to evolve by ‘natural’ means into the various life forms that populate the earth.” “In short,” they say, “the entire universe is a product of ‘natural’ material processes.”
One even hesitates to point out to such naive people that the ‘Big Bang’ or ‘Great Radiation’ from which the entire universe was produced did not spontaneously arise from nothing and from nowhere, as they so intently wish to believe. By seeing such Energy as a ‘given’ condition, as a ‘natural’ phenomenon, we are able to regard all its subsequent transformations also as ‘natural’. How easily we take it for granted that we live in a universe where Energy and Matter are interconvertible! And by seeing that condition as ‘natural’, we fail to see how extraordinary and supernatural it truly is.
It is by labeling the manifestation of that initial supernatural Energy as ‘natural’, that the rationalizers of materialism justify their simplistic and utterly false view of all existence. The manifestation of that initial Energy is indeed ‘natural’—for a supernatural creative Power. The transformation of that initial light-Energy into material particles is indeed ‘natural’—for a supernatural Essence imbued with a universal Intelligence. The attractive and repulsive forces inherent in the particles causing them to cluster into atoms is indeed ‘natural’—for a supernatural Essence imbued with a universal Intelligence. The spontaneous congregation and organization of clusters of atoms into molecules is indeed ‘natural’—for a supernatural Essence imbued with universal Intelligence. Given the properties of light and of matter, all these developments are indeed ‘natural’, but mustn’t we ask, “Given by what or by whom?” 8
The Light-Energy that emanated from God [the Divine Mind] at the moment of Creation around 14 billion years ago was, and is, a spiritual substance. The material universe which developed from it is still a spiritual substance, though we call it “material” due to its form, mass, and apparent substance. The differentiation between spiritual and material is imaginary, is non-existent; matter is Light-Energy, and Light-Energy is God’s breath. Nothing exists but God, whether manifest or unmanifest. All matter—all that we experience as the world about us, including ourselves—is born of God's Divine Light. Our bodies are formed of the ‘matter’ that was produced from that Divine Light, and therefore consist of a Divine substance. Our bodies are God’s Energy manifest in form. In the soul’s experience of union, it is clearly seen that all that exists in this world is the manifestation of one Spirit, and the soul cries out:
O my God, even this body is Thine own!
Though I call to Thee and seek Thee amidst chaos,
Even I, who seemed an unclean pitcher amidst Thy waters,
Even I am Thine own.9
From the initial ‘Great Radiance’ comes all that exists as material objects and all that exists as active forces in the universe today and for all time. Every exploding star, every movement of gaseous nebulae far-off in space, every object and every motion—including the blinking of your eye, has its source and origin in that initial burst of light. According to the Law of the conservation of mass-energy, the First Law of Thermodynamics, it is an undeviating quantity of Energy. According to this Law: ‘the sum of the mass-energy within a closed system (like the universe) remains constant’. In other words, the total initial Energy of which all material forms and all manifestations of energy in the universe are constituted, remains always the same total. It means that all that we do and perceive, including our own bodies and its movement, is made of that initial Light, and is nothing else but that original Light produced by and consisting of the Divine breath of God.
It is of paramount importance that you understand that this body in which you exist is made of God's Light. Every atom of your body originated as a photon of His eternal Light. The body's form will not last, of course; it will decompose and turn to ash or dust, but it will always remain God's Light, regardless of the form it takes. Eventually, that Light that forms this universe will return to its original state in God; but even while it continues to form an element of this ever-changing world, it is still God's Light. The vast array of stars and galaxies and clusters of galaxies―all are His. And don't forget that the Light of conscious awareness within you―that too is His, all His.
At every moment of your existence―from birth to final breath―you are in God, composed of God, enveloped in God. How could you ever be apart from Him? How could you ever be anywhere but safe in His infinitely blissful bosom? Praise God!
1. Today, however, there are serious doubts among some in the scientific community that a singularity is even a possibility. See “Researchers Show That Black Holes Do Not Exist”, by Thania Benios; in PhysOrg Newsletter for September 24, 2014: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-black-holes.html.
2. Arthur Zajonc, Catching The Light, N.Y., Bantam Books, 1993; p. 256.
3. Ibid., p. ix.
4. from JPL/NASA (news:web, reported in Physorg Newsletter at www.physorg.com/news175961092 appearing on 10/28/09.
5. The concept in physics that every particle has an antiparticle with an opposite charge is called “particle symmetry”; and there are also several speculative theories to account for the breaking of this symmetry in the early universe. It is interesting to note that this idea of opposite but symmetrical pairs is reminiscent of (and possibly related to) the duality experienced in mystical vision whereby all relative states of consciousness are composed of opposites, such as love/hate, ahead/behind, life/death, joy/sorrow, I/Thou, etc. All relative states of consciousness are seen to be composed of these opposites; yet in the mystical experience of Unity, there is a conjunction, or ‘marriage’ of all opposites in the unity of the absolute Consciousness, which transcends (though it is the source of) all relative conscious states.
6. Bhagavad Gita, XI.12; Paramahamsa Yogananda, God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita, Los Angeles, Self-Realization Fellowship, 1995; vol. II, p. 818.
7. This quark-gluon plasma (QGP), theorized to have been produced in the first few microseconds of the ‘Big Bang’, was recently reproduced at the Brookhaven National Laboratory by colliding gold ions at nearly the speed of light in their Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, a 2.4 mile-circumference “atom smasher”, thereby creating a “liquid matter” (QGP) at a temperature of “about 4 trillion degrees Celsius”—about 250,000 times hotter than the center of the Sun. (from Brookhaven National Laboratory, reported by Physorg Newsletter, February 15, 2010; www.physorg.com.
8. All this universe, the "scientists" say, is just the result of natural laws. And I would ask them, 'Who instituted those natural laws at the moment "nature" was created?' In return, these scientists ask, 'How could a Mind―even a divine Mind―produce the amount of gamma radiation required to transform into so vast a universe of material wave-particles? How, for that matter, could It produce Light at all?' I do not have the answer to that, but I would ask in return, 'How does your own limited mind produce thoughts and images within itself? Do you think you know? How does your mind produce the actions of your body simply by the power of will? Do you know? Your mind and your body are products of that universal Mind. Who can know how It does all that It does?'
9. From Swami Abhayananda, “The Song of The Self”, in The Supreme Self, Fallsburg, N.Y., Atma Books, 1984.
From Light To Universe
Cosmologists and astrophysicists tell us that the temperature of the Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) throughout the universe is currently 2.7 degrees Kelvin. Extrapolating from that current temperature allows scientists to roll back the clock to surmise the temperature of the universe at the moment it originated—what we refer to as the Big Bang, or Great Radiance. No one was there to see the moment the universe originated, but from the evidence provided by the Cosmic Background Radiation that remains today, it is surmised that the universe began as a great burst of Light, sometimes referred to as “the primeval fireball” for lack of a better term. No one knows just what this primeval fireball was like—except that it consisted primarily of photons (particles of high-frequency electromagnetic radiation), that it was very hot (more than 1012 degrees Kelvin), and that it was rapidly expanding and cooling to become the universe we know today.
Now, putting aside for a moment, the question of where such a great burst of Light may have come from, most people are easily able to imagine that the origin of the universe appeared as a great Light in the form of a “primeval fireball”. Such a “fireball” is quite easy to imagine; but few, it seems to me, understand the process by which that Light, that high-frequency radiation, became the material objects of our world. This process, though understood by so few, is really easy to understand once it is explained. And once it is understood, you will have the key to comprehending the formation of our entire universe of forms.
Here is how it is explained by distinguished professor of Astronomy, Michael Zeilik, in his widely used college textbook, Astronomy: The Evolving Universe:
At some time in the primeval fireball, the energy of photons was so high that their collisions produced particles. This process occurs when the energy in the colliding photons equals or exceeds the mass of the particles produced. Sounds bizarre?
The result comes directly from Einstein’s relation between matter and energy (e=mc2). It does not restrict the direction of the transformation: matter can become energy, or energy can become matter.1
So, given a couple of colliding photons with enough energy, they can easily produce a particle of matter or antimatter. 2 It is not magic; but it is nevertheless amazing: Photons (packets of Light), by colliding with one another, spontaneously transform into particles of matter or antimatter.3 Photons of electromagnetic radiation at a frequency in the gamma range such as existed universally at the Big Bang had sufficient energy to transform into matter or antimatter particles simply by running into each other. In countless such collisions, the photons were mutually annihilated, and, in their place, was a proton, or neutron, or electron, depending on the volume of energy they contained. In the early maelstrom of high-frequency radiation at the time of the universe’s creation, there was a continual transformation back and forth, from energy (photons) to matter (elementary particles) and from matter back again to energy, as the photonic collisions continued. But as the universe expanded, and the temperature of its contents cooled, the radiation and the matter became stabilized and compartmentalized as separate and continuous states: matter and energy—disguising the fact that matter and energy consist of but one common and identical Light.
The universe wasn’t made in a day, or even seven days; but there were several distinct stages in the production of the material of our phenomenal universe: Professor Zeilik divides the production of matter/antimatter in the early universe into four eras: a heavy-particle era, a light-particle era, a radiation era, and a matter era. The earliest period, the heavy-particle era, is that period when the temperature of the universe was greater than 1012 degrees Kelvin, and the production of massive particles and antiparticles dominated. The light-particle era was when the temperature had reduced to right around 1012 degrees Kelvin, and particles of lighter mass (such as electrons, and neutrinos) were produced. The radiation era occurred when the temperature dropped to the point where the photons no longer had the energy to create new particles. Radiation was then the main form of energy. The matter era is the era in which we now live, when the energy of matter (as the amount of mass, in a cubic meter of space) is about a thousand times greater than that of radiation.
So, all matter (and antimatter as well) that forms our current universe came from that original high-frequency light—is, in fact, that light itself in a transformed state! And this brings us back to the consideration of the question, “Where did that originating light come from?” But you already know the answer to that question. And you probably also know that that Light is a conscious self-directing Light, containing the animating power and life-giving Consciousness of its all-powerful Source, to whom belongs all praise now and forevermore.
1. Michael Zeilik, Astronomy: The Evolving Universe, 9th edition, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2002; p.471.
2. Antimatter has the same properties as regular matter except that it has the opposite electrical charge. When a particle of matter and a particle of antimatter collide, they annihilate, and, in their place, is an equivalent amount of energy in the form of a photon. From light to matter; from matter to light.
3. If there is magic, it is in the originating Light that can appear now as energy, now as matter. This is the secret of creation; this is how everything in the universe, including our own bodies, was created from the great Light.
Born of His Light
Don’t you know that we are born of His light--
That every elementary particle of matter began as a photon of light?
Every electron, every quark in the interior of every proton or neutron
Came into being and acquired its properties
In the transformation of those high-energy photons of light
Streaming out from the Creator’s breath.
This world and all worlds sparkling throughout the cosmos are made of the radiance of God’s power,
A dancing array of His light’s many ephemeral forms.
And we, evolved from His light, are endowed with the presence of His eternal Self, and live by His life,
And love with His love and know with His wisdom.
We are conscious by His marvelous all-pervading awareness.
We see by His loving grace, and we sing His praise by His gift of song.
Then sing, ye God-born angels of light!
Raise up your voices to Him whose fabric forms your being and appearance,
Whose life-pulse fires your heart and breath.
Remember Him whose goodness molded you, whose love enfolds you,
Whose existence is the life-stream of your being, and whose
out-flowing Bliss provides the everlasting joy of your soul.
Until we wind our way back into His eternal light, sing forth His praise.
* * *
Any conclusions that we may draw regarding the Divine reality must necessarily be nothing more than mere theories made of word-symbols, bearing only a vague resemblance to the reality Itself. With that in mind, let me share with you my theological conclusions, my theories:
We have seen that the Judaic tradition, and by extension the Christian tradition, asserts that the Spirit, or Soul, was infused in man by the enlivening breath of God.1 Early philosophers, including Plato and Plotinus, held that the One “emanated” or “radiated” the Divine Mind as its organizational functionary, which in turn “emanated” an all-pervading Soul. They described that divine Soul as permeating the material universe as light or smoke permeates the atmosphere. To this day, these age-old concepts constitute the framework of our theology and the imagery of our religious imagination. Our minds continue even now to operate in these established patterns, utilizing these ancient conceptualizations, to which we have become habituated for so long.
But I would submit, there is another, perhaps more accurate, way of viewing the permeation of matter by God's Spirit, not as an “inspiration” or “emanation”, but rather as a ‘containment’: Consider how our own individual consciousness permeates our thoughts and dream-images. Our thoughts and mental images are permeated by our consciousness because these thoughts and dreams are contained within our minds. May we not conclude that, likewise, the Spirit, the all-pervading Consciousness, permeates the universe because the universe is contained within It? After all, where else could the creations of a divine Spirit exist but within Itself?
Every mystical theology holds that the individual self is in fact identical to the universal Self; that the Spirit within is synonymous with the transcendent Spirit and can be realized as such. We must ask ourselves how that is possible unless we—and in fact, the whole universe—are within the divine Spirit. But we are inclined rather to think that God, the divine Spirit, is within us, as though He were a trillion separate homunculi hiding in each individual heart. No, He pervades all because all is within Him. This universe, including all within it, is a figment of His imagination. He is the only one who is. All these forms and all these “I’s” exist within that one infinite Mind. 2
If the Divine Spirit, or Soul, was infused into the material universe as Plotinus asserts, permeating, pervading, and guiding every wave-particle, what kind of entity would that be? We cannot even conceive of anything that might have the properties that would allow it to enter into, permeate, vivify and awaken to consciousness a material body. But, if the entire universe consisted of the Thought-images of a Divine Mind, then that universe must exist only within that Divine Mind and be permeated by that conscious Divine Mind—just as our own thought-forms are permeated by our own conscious minds in which they are created and in which they are contained.
‘But how,’ we must wonder, ‘could so physically substantial a universe be a mere imagination, a Mind-born projection of Thought?’ An answer might be found in the recent results of science’s investigation into the nature of matter. The science of physics, for all its denial of the supernatural reality, has done more in the last one hundred years to dispel the notion of the substantiality of the material world than all the theologians throughout history. During that time, the discoveries of physicists have reminded us of the declarations of the Upanishads that the appearance of matter, i.e., the phenomenal universe, is an illusion, a product of Maya, the creative power of the One (Brahman). Contemporary science has shown that the universe does indeed consist of an Energy that transforms into material particles; but these material particles are really nothing more than submicroscopic electromagnetic impulses, mere ‘points of Energy’, interacting in such a way that the appearance of substance is produced—forming, in other words, an illusory world.
How do these “points” of Energy, these so-called ‘wave-particles’ that began as “photons” of light, manage to produce the illusion of form and substance? These photons were produced in such quantity and intensive activity that the energetic collisions of these photons produced particles such as electrons, and quarks—which combine to form protons and neutrons—which combine to form atoms; and the atoms combine to form molecules, which combine in vast numbers to form perceptible gases, liquids, and solids in a variety of sizes and configurations. The elementary ‘particles’ themselves are unimaginably tiny: according to the physicists of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, “protons are 100,000 times smaller than the simplest atom, hydrogen; and quarks are 10,000 times smaller than protons. For comparison, if a hydrogen atom were six miles across, a quark would still measure less than four-thousandths of an inch.” 3
Clearly, the atoms of which these perceivable solids consist, are mostly empty space in their interior. In fact, physicists tell us that all of what we call Matter is 99.9999999999999 percent empty space; the other infinitesimal part seems to be nothing more than energy wavelets and intangible forces. Subatomic wave-particles consist of intangible electromagnetically charged impulses held in proximate “orbits” about one another by invisible forces, so as to form the appearance of much grander substantial entities. And these appearances are multiplied in infinite profusion and variety as if by some magician’s hand, to appear before our eyes as a multitudinous world of objects. And so, this material world, this phenomenal reality of ours, is a marvelous magic show of truly immense proportions!
This Light―these particles and forces—what a marvelous universe they make! How real and substantial it all seems! A burst of Light, and all congeals into a universe of form and color, intelligence and emotion, sturm und drang. Time drags the whole process out, making it all seem quite natural, making it seem, from the perspectives of our individual lives, a long and gradual evolution. But, if we were to s
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