To try to reach the other shore, as Lord Buddha enjoined us, we need to study the many means that can make this eventful journey a glorious success. I believe that such was the initial raison-d'etre of science: finding out how nature works and contemplating her habits, so as to bring ourselves into harmony with her, and ultimately regain the divine realms. When we study nature, we study the habits of myriads of mutually dependent ensouled beings on as many different spiritual levels -- a view dismissed by the mainstream scientific community, including astronomers.
Still, astronomers realize they have much to learn. Under the heading "Jupiter hot spot makes trouble for theory," NASA recently announced the discovery by the Chandra X-ray Observatory of a pulsating X-ray hot spot in Jupiter's upper atmosphere which overthrows previous theories about how Jupiter's X-rays are produced.
[It] appears at a fixed location near the north magnetic pole of Jupiter. Bright infrared and ultraviolet emissions have also been detected from this region in the past. The X-rays were observed to pulsate with a period of 45 minutes, . . .
. . . At the large distances required for the source of the ions -- at least 30 times the radius of Jupiter -- spacecraft measurements have shown that there are not nearly enough energetic oxygen and sulfur ions to account for the observed X-ray emission.
Scientists speculate that one possible source is heavy ions captured from the solar wind. Such conjectures may eventually evolve into a solid scientific theory, but one oblivious to the larger spiritual background. After all, spiritual realms cannot be detected by any physical apparatus.
Can theosophy help fill this gap? I believe it can. In The Mahatma Letters we find fascinating material on Jupiter. Speaking of a shifting of the entire solar system, the Mahatma writes that
no astronomer will perceive it telescopically, until Jupiter and some other planets, whose little luminous points hide now from our sight millions upon millions of stars (all but some 5000 or 6000) -- will suddenly let us have a peep at a few of the Raja-Suns they are now hiding. There is such a king-star right behind Jupiter, that no mortal physical eye has ever seen during this, our Round. Could it be so perceived it would appear, through the best telescope with a power of multiplying its diameter ten thousand times, -- still a small dimensionless point, thrown into the shadow by the brightness of any planet; nevertheless -- this world is thousands of times larger than Jupiter. The violent disturbance of its atmosphere and even its red spot that so intrigues science lately, are due -- (1) to that shifting and (2) to the influence of that Raja-Star. In its present position in space imperceptibly small though it be -- the metallic substances of which it is mainly composed are expanding and gradually transforming themselves into aeriform fluids -- the state of our own earth and its six sister globes before the first Round -- and becoming part of its atmosphere. -- Letter 23b
This raja-star "behind" Jupiter is, I believe, an encompassing, enveloping, and nurturing being on a higher level of existence. Could the pulsating X-rays be a highly energetic stream or flow reflecting spiritual and psychological energy pumped through by the heartbeat of Jupiter's companion? Again, the great Red Spot may perhaps function as a channel of instreaming and outgoing forces from this star. Perhaps it corresponds to the crown on the human head, or to the junction point of the umbilical cord of an unborn child?
Looking at Jupiter as a very large and powerful infant, we see it consuming a great many asteroids and comets. Certainly Shoemaker-Levy 9's splash into Jupiter in 1994 left science with many questions. At the site of the crash a mysterious black spot appeared, which soon swelled to twice the size of the earth. For days it remained the most prominent feature on Jupiter, taking months to disappear. When the "impact bruises" can be seen months later, although heavy winds scour Jupiter, then the current theory of the atmosphere on Jupiter needs to be reviewed. According to Master KH:
Your science has a theory, I believe, that if the earth were suddenly placed in extremely cold regions -- for instance where it would exchange places with Jupiter -- all our seas and rivers would be suddenly transformed into solid mountains; the air, -- or rather a portion of the aeriform substances which compose it -- would be metamorphosed from their state of invisible fluid owing to the absence of heat into liquids (which now exist on Jupiter, but of which men have no idea on earth). Realize, or try to imagine the reverse condition, and it will be that of Jupiter at the present moment. -- Letter 23b
Ultimately scientists cannot yet explain these phenomena because they are not equipped to study nature on planes of existence imperceptible to our physical senses. But occultism offers such an explanation. High initiates are said to be able to experience life on other planets directly, however incredible this may seem. After all, time and distance are illusions. When we look at a star, we touch that star, only our terrestrial consciousness is not able to go further than observation.
So in the same spirit as the great Paracelsus approached medicine, I would maintain that in astronomy there should be no strict rules layed down by a few learned men whose heads are full of mechanistic empiricism and the opinions of others. Troubled mankind needs more than the periodic table of Mendeleyev and the laws of Newton. We notice that we cannot reach our supreme goal when we rely on our senses only, nor does a flood of new technological gadgets bring us nearer the "other shore." Indeed, in throwing off our heavy human karma, I wonder if we are helped much by the steadily growing heap of computer data about the stars and planets that are interpreted as though they correspond with rigid terrestial laws and theories. Rather, suffering mankind is in desperate need of spiritual visions that give us back the feeling that we are not surrounded by dull and idle orbs turning around the sun, but by ensouled beings at work for the betterment of life on all planets, not on earth only.
(From Sunrise magazine, June/July 2002; copyright © 2002 Theosophical University Press)