Edi Bilimoria – the U.K.
[Based on talk given at the Guildford Group of The Scientific and Medical Network]
The principal tenets of the ancient Mysteries – from Vendanta, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism in the east, and Plato, the Kabbalah and Alchemy in the west, now synthesized in a modern idiom by the likes of H. P. Blavatsky, Paul Brunton and Ken Wilbur in what is sometimes referred to now as the perennial philosophy – affirm the fact of the radical Unity of the ultimate essence of each part of Nature, such that: existence is One organic Being, not a combination of several things linked together; hence, there is no such thing as dead matter; therefore everything is endowed with consciousness, is indeed the product of consciousness. If these propositions are taken to be true not as a dogma or a blind belief, but in the sense of a working hypothesis to be investigated as we do in good science (and incidentally these ideas are finding ever-increasing corroboration from quantum physics), then the natural corollary is that:
1. The primacy of consciousness is the ultimate Reality which we may choose to call the Divine or by any other name; and if that be the case then;
2. There is One fundamental law – Divine Law – that functions at all levels. Not a collection of separate laws but One law; all the laws of physical nature that science has discovered to such perfection such as electromagnetism, light, etc. being the tributaries from the one central stream of Divine law (which Einstein intuitively realized when he spent the last thirty years or so of his life attempting to unify gravity with electromagnetism); and so
3. self-consistently, all manifestation spanning the whole spectrum from the macrocosm to the microcosm is the expression in Nature of the operation of Divine Law; in which case, Nature being the visible garb and expression of the Divine must, like a hologram, mirror Divine Law as a whole, and in her various aspects resemble a fractal from a master pattern.
Let us try to discern how Nature’s laws, her beauty and her art, mirror the Divine even though our ordinary human state which is immersed in materiality must perforce see such Divine expression in terms of Sense.
Just as invisible white light is broken into a colored spectrum by a prism, Divine Law is refracted through our senses into a spectrum of beauty in which the various arts are like colors, each distinct, yet merging one into another: music into poetry, poetry into literature, then into painting, decoration, sculpture and architecture.1
The first Divine Law is Unity. In fact it is the only divine law. But for manifestation there must be a duality subsumed within the Unity. And so the Second Aspect of Divine Law is Polarity. In the west, Schopenhauer pointed out that polarity or the sundering of a single force into two opposed activities for ever striving after re-union is a fundamental phenomenon in nature that we see in such as the positive and negatives poles of magnetism, night and day, consonance and dissonance, male and female. In the east, there is the ancient Hindu-Aryan legend that in order that the world might be born, the Creator-Brahma, fell asunder into Man and Wife – Brahma and Saraswati – in other words became Name and Form. The two universal aspects of Name and Form are what the perennial wisdom refers to as the two “modes of consciousness” one of Time and the other of Space.2 This story of the one Brahma dividing in two is no mere Oriental imagery for: “Tis thus at the roaring loom of time I ply, and weave for God the Garment thou see’st him by”.3 Space and Time weave the fabric by which we see the garment – the expression of the Divine. Goethe’s affirmation is indeed a precise scientific exposition of the fact of polarity.
So Space and Time are the gates through which we enter and perceive the phenomenal world. Music being successive in its mode of manifestation is allied purely to time; whilst architecture in which all things exist simultaneously is allied to space alone. And the other Arts partake of both time and space in varying degrees. In all arts there is a polarity. In music the major and minor modes; the chords of the dominant seventh and the tonic; dissonance and consonance. In speech, the vowel and the consonant; in painting the warm and the cool colours, in architecture the vertical column and the horizontal lintel. 2
But now another aspect of divine law seems to pervade all nature, namely the Trinity. For two implies three: twilight comes between day and night, the child resolves the polarity between man and woman, in music there is a resolving chord between the dominant seventh and tonic, in architecture the arch is the interface between the column and the lintel. Dualities and triplicities are not individual components of divine law or separate laws but rather the modus operandi or operating mechanism whereby unity – the implicate order – can become explicated through tension, and its resolution as triplicity, the child of duality. From triplicity emerges multiplicity which implies symmetry and balance.
So it stands to reason that when we look into Nature we see mirrored three aspects of Divine Law: an intrinsic sense of harmony and proportion, sometimes referred to as Sacred Geometry; correspondences at all levels on the basis that the same laws that make up the macrocosm are also mirrored in the microcosm; and correlations in that each part of nature is entangled with the rest of nature in what modern physics would term nonlocality. Let us see some examples of these.
NATURE MIRRORS THE DIVINE
Harmony – The Golden Mean
A harmony of proportion pervades Nature as also great art which mirrors the harmony in Nature. Known as the golden ratio, approximately equal to 1.62, it says that the whole to the greater part is as the greater to the lesser part. We see examples of these in the Greek Temples and in the human body. In great music, we find for example that Chopin’s Etudes and Nocturnes are formally based on the golden ratio in that the biggest climaxes of both musical expression and technical difficulty invariably occur about two-thirds of the way into the piece.
David Bohm maintained that there is an inner, hidden, enfolded or implicate order analogous to Plato’s intelligible realm that underlies the outer, unfolded or explicate order, analogous to Plato’s sensible realm. Not surprisingly then, we would expect the golden ratio to underpin the very core of life and the heart of matter. This seems to be the case. The DNA molecule has a length-to-breadth ratio of 1.62. Fig. 1 shows the remarkable agreement between the experimental values of the mass of atomic and subatomic particles and their theoretical values from the work of El Naschie4 who drew upon Bohm’s Platonic insights and discovered that particles appear to be a “cosmic symphony”, that their relationships form a harmonic musical ladder and a function of the golden ratio and its derivatives (like Bohm, El Naschie was nominated for the Nobel Prize).
Correspondences and Correlations in Nature
Pythagoras’ remark: ‘Music is Geometry’ is borne out, for we can discern how the music of the spheres finds its echo in the human ear. A spiral nebula (such as Virgo) and the cochlea of the human inner ear are both spirals. Just as the spacings of the hairs along the spiral organ of Corti (the core component of the inner ear) determine what sound frequencies the ear detects, so points along the spirals of planetary nebula of our Solar system determine octaves and perfect fourths associated with the mean distances of the planets from the Sun.5
Next we see in Fig. 2 how human birth corresponds to cosmic birth.6
In contemplating the perennial wisdom we discover correlations between things apparently unrelated. One of the things we find is that those transcendent glimpses of a divine order and harmony throughout the universe that vouchsafed the mystics and artists in their moments of vision are not intoxicated states of the mind but truly glimpses of reality. Such is the case with the last Five String Quartets of Beethoven. They form a group quite apart from his other twelve quartets and comprise some of the most advanced and mystically inspired music bequeathed to humanity. Although no masterpiece of Art can ever be created by consciously or mechanically following set rules, yet an analysis of any masterpiece shows that the artist having glimpsed a higher order of being, follows the rules “unconsciously” without knowing them. Sound, form, motion are mathematically related and correlated. Look at Fig. 3 and see how the fingers of the human hand, in space order, have the same relative lengths, in space, as do the five quartets, in time, in their chronological order. 7 This is not mere coincidence or fabricating ratios. It demonstrates the correspondences and correlations we see in Nature and in great Art when the artist has glimpsed a divine order. Incidentally in addition to close study of the likes of Goethe, Schiller, Shakespeare and Plutarch, Beethoven assiduously studied the Eastern Hindu scriptures and transcribed portions from them. In his last days Beethoven said “Strange, I feel as if up to now I had written no more than a few notes”, for the wellspring from which he drew his inspiration was truly infinite.
THE DIVINE IN TRADITIONAL AND MODERN TERMS
The Divine in Traditional Terms
In traditional, i.e. theological terms of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, there is no finer metaphor than Newton’s to show that divinity pervades all beings. He asks us to imagine three bodies on top of one another. A is a heavy body, say a stone slab, bearing directly on two almost weightless bodies, B and C. There is then a force in A, a force in B and the same force in C. But these are not three separate forces but one force originally in A, and by communication and descent, in B and C. Similarly, “there is divinity in the Father, divinity in the son and divinity in the Holy Ghost, not three separate divinities but one communicated down from the Father. And as in saying there is but one force, that in body A, I do not deprive Bodies B and C of that force which they derive from A, so by saying there is but one God, Father of all things, I deprive not the Son and Holy Ghost and all beings of that divinity they obtain from the Father”.8 In traditional philosophical terms we recall the familiar division of Spirit, Soul and Body, or the more sophisticated sevenfold occult subdivision of nature and man.
The Divine in Modern Terms
Who or What is “God the Father”? Consciousness in Modern Terms. In religion, Islam talks of the 99 names of Allah, Zoroastrianism of the 101 names of Ahura Mazda: 99 and 101 being metaphors for the transcendental nature of deity. The Gita speaks of the limitless potentiality of the Lord in “precipitating” numberless universes while yet remaining undepleted by His manifestations.
This limitless potentiality is recognized through the eyes of modern science as the primacy of consciousness – the infinite potentialities and possibilities of consciousness. So in simple, modern terms the theological or philosophical trinity as best understood as: Consciousness, the Morphogenetic Field (Vital Body) and Material Nature. It is high time we update our understanding of the Divine in scientific terms noting that quantum physics is the modern messenger or prophet of the divine.
This unitive and undivided character of consciousness shown by modern science is nonlocal. It is none other than the God- or Divine-consciousness as the agent of downward causation of the spiritual traditions espoused by such as Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, the Sufis, Zarathustra and the Rishis of the Upanishads. These truths that our forbears discovered in their own ways, quantum physics has enabled us to re-discover through a combination of utmost theoretical rigour backed by a veritable arsenal of experiments with unprecedented precision – such as the laboratory experiments proving nonlocality, and the demonstration that conscious choice, even delayed choice, is crucial in the shaping of manifest reality not only in the microworld of particle physics but also in the macroworld.9
God or the Divine understood as “objectively defined cosmic or universal consciousness” is the view that is being forced on us by quantum physics with its unequivocal demonstration that consciousness is the ground of being.10 That being so, everything unfolds from consciousness, and matter consists of possibilities of consciousness itself and there is no such thing as dead matter.
Is there any hope for us struggling mortals to glimpse the Divine? Can wisdom be gained from drowning ourselves in books? Let us not say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Rather let’s see how not to do it. Fig. 4 shows the circular process that occurs automatically in our minds, that is, until and unless we become consciously aware of our thought processes. The core issue is what we think: reality is what we think it to be.11 Then what do we do? We recognize that reality is not opposed to, or against thought: it is simply beyond and above thought as Paul Brunton pointed out. As Einstein realized that our thought world grows as an incessant escape from wonder, that is, thought moves us away from the what IS.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER – SCIENCE, RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY AND ART
The ancient metaphor of Indra's Jeweled Net attributed to Tu-Shun illustrates the concept of interpenetration, interconnection and interdependence. Imagine a vast network of precious, glittering gems hanging over the palace of the god Indra stretching out infinitely in all directions. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that there is an infinite reflecting process occurring.12 Eastern sages realized this over 2,500 years before the beginning of particle physics.
What does Indra’s Net means to us nowadays in the twenty first century? A scientist might say through painstaking intellection that particles are dynamically composed of one another in a self-consistent way, and in that sense can be said to “contain” one another. In other words, that Indra’s Net is a metaphor for the quantum view that all particles exist potentially as different combinations of other particles. A poet/artist would rejoice “To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour”.13 A Buddhist would affirm through meditation that each object in the world is not merely itself but involves every other object and in fact IS everything else. In every particle of dust, there are present Buddhas without number.
Finally a metaphysical philosopher would say through acute contemplation: “The creative source of the Divine Mind, hidden in a veil of thick darkness, formed mirrors of the atoms of the world, and cast reflection from its own face on every atom”.14
Drawing upon our own life experience and contemplation of the perennial doctrines let us inquire what Indra’s Net means to us. Without resorting to sentimentality, does it mean that we are reflected in all others as all others are reflected in us? Can we truthfully ask “Am I my brother’s keeper?”15
1. Bragdon, C., The Beautiful Necessity: Architecture as “Frozen Music”, Theosophical Publishing House, Quest Books, 1978, p. 12.
2. Ibid., p. 13.
3. Goethe’s Faust.
4. Olsen, S., The Golden Section: Nature’s Greatest Secret, New York: Wooden Books, 2006, Appendix V.
5. Stephen Phillips, "The Logarithmic Spiral Basis of the Titius-Bode Law",
6. Blavatsky, H. P., The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy, 6 volume Adyar edition, volume 5, The Theosophical Publishing House, London, 1950 pp. 422-25.
7. Tame, D., Beethoven and the Spiritual Path, The Theosophical Publishing House, Wheaton, 1994, p. 197.
8. quoted in Westfall, R. S., Never At Rest, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1980.
9. Hellmuth, T., Zajonc, A. G., Walther, H., “Realization of ‘delayed-choice’ experiments”. In New Techniques and Ideas in Quantum Measurement Theory, ed. Greenberger, D. M., New York: New York Academy of Science, 1986, pp. 108-14.
10. Goswami, A., Creative Evolution, Theosophical Publishing House, Quest Books, 2008, pp. 38-41.
11. Zukav, G., The Dancing Wu Li Masters, Rider/Hutchinson of Australia, 1979, p. 328.
12. Cook, F. H., Hua-Yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra, University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1977.
13. William Blake, Auguries of Innocence.
14. Blavatsky, op. cit., p. 348.
15. Genesis 4:9.