Studies in Occult Philosophy by G. de Purucker
Theosophical University Press Online Edition

Opening Lines of Genesis
Remnants of Neolithic and Paleolithic Ages
The Origin of Good and Evil
What Are Cosmic Rays?

Opening Lines of Genesis

I have listened with deep interest to the remarks on the Jewish Christian Bible made this evening. Let me say first that I have been astonished at the remarkable way in which much light has been thrown upon some of the meanings of the Hebrew Scripture called 'The Book of the Beginnings.'

It is true that the original word translated as 'God' in the English version, used in the opening verses of the Book of Genesis, is 'Elohim. It is a Hebrew plural meaning 'gods,' 'divine beings.' The monotheistic Hebrews, and the monotheistic Christians who took over the scriptures, in other words the Hebrew Bible, of the Jews, say that this Hebrew plural is a 'plural of majesty,' used in somewhat the same sense in which crowned heads sometimes will speak of themselves: 'We, by the Grace of God,' so-and-so — John, Peter, James, William, or what not. But there is no proof whatsoever in the writings themselves that this word 'Elohim is merely a 'plural of majesty.' Grammatically speaking it is a distinct, clear, Hebrew plural.

In a moment or two I shall recite to you a few verses, at least the first two verses, of the original Hebrew, and will then tell you a little something about it; but before doing so, I want to call your attention to one or two interesting facts. You speak of the Hebrew Bible as the Old Testament or Old Covenant. Do you realize that this last phrase is an original Jewish expression, simply meaning that certain writings, some of them religious, some of them quasi-historic, some of them poetic, which were the property of a small Semitic people, were supposed to evidence an ancient covenant made between this people and their tribal deity? Other peoples in the world have similar writings, similar scriptures, which are just as sacred and true to these other peoples, just as highly cherished, and considered by these other peoples of as great worth to themselves, as these particular writings were to the Hebrews. In other words, the Hebrew writings are not the only sacred scriptures of the world cherished by the people among whom they arose.

In the second place, the only scripture of the Hebrew Old Testament which, from our Theosophical standpoint, is truly occult, esoteric, is the first book, as these books now stand in their printed order — 'the Book of the Beginnings'; and indeed, only a few chapters in the beginning of this first book, are fully esoteric. This does not mean that some of the other books have no mystical meaning, such as the Book of Job. That exclusive idea is not what I mean. The Psalms of David, so called, for instance, were written by a poet-heart; and every poet-heart is a seer more or less. But the true universal wisdom of the 'Oriental Qabbalah' is found most fully only in the first few chapters of the Book of Genesis.

Now, the phrase 'Oriental Qabbalah' means the 'Oriental Tradition,' because this word 'Qabbalah' is a noun derived from the Hebrew verbal root qabal, which means 'to receive,' 'to take,' 'to hand down.' Thus the 'Oriental Qabbalah' means the universal 'Oriental Tradition'; and the Hebrew Qabbalah is the Hebrew form of this body of the Oriental doctrine often called Traditionary Wisdom, handed down from generation to generation of human Seers. In other words, the Jewish Qabbalah is the Theosophy of the Jews; and it is one rather restricted phase, or rather one minor national representation, of the Universal Qabbalah or universal Tradition of the World.

Here is the Hebrew as the original Hebrew text has been in modern times divided into words, and so printed:

(1) Bere'shith bara' 'Elohim 'eth hash-shamayim we-'eth ha-'arets.

(2) We-ha-'arets hayethah thohu wa-bohu we-hhoshech 'al-pnei thehom we-ruahh 'Elohim merahhepheth 'al pnei ham-mayim.

In the very first word you are confronted with a difficulty: How is this word to be divided? Let me explain what I mean. In writing ancient Hebrew the letters of the words followed each other without break, precisely as if you were to take a paragraph in a modern newspaper, remove all the spaces or divisions between the words, remove all the marks of punctuation, and thus have the letters run along in a solid line or file, one after the other.

Furthermore — and this is very important — there are no characters for vowels in the Hebrew alphabet, so in order to make our illustration clear and exact, all the vowels in the modern newspaper paragraph would have to be removed, and only the consonants following each other in a solid, steady file would remain. This is the picture of how ancient Hebrew was written.

Obviously then, having this series of solid lines before you, you can divide, perhaps successfully, a single such line into different and differing words; and these first two words in the Hebrew that I have quoted for you, to wit: bere'shithbara', can be divided differently from the manner commonly used, for instance: Bere'shyith- bare', which translated, gives an entirely different meaning.

The common division: Bere'shith bara' 'Elohim means: "In the beginning 'Elohim carved (or cut or shaped)" — the two heavens and the earth. The other division of the Hebrew letters: Bere'sh yithbare', changes the meaning entirely. Re'sh or ro'sh means head, wisdom, knowledge, the higher part, the first in a series; and the word yithbare' is a reflexive form of the verb bara', thus signifying 'making itself' or 'making themselves' — to be the two heavens and the earth. In other words, the meaning with the two first words thus divided is that the gods or cosmic spirits, through wisdom, through knowledge, through being the chief or first formative forces, made themselves to become the heavens and the material sphere.

'Heavens' — shamayim - dual, plural, not one, a series; 'erets or 'arets — the 'world,' translated 'earth' which Christians think is this little earth of ours, and later extended to the universe when they learned that the stars were no longer little points of light caught up there, but dazzling glorious suns, many of them larger than ours. 'Arets means the body-sphere, the material sphere.

You see what an utterly different interpretation can be gained by dividing the file or row of Hebrew letters in this second way.

Furthermore, the English translation called the Authorized Version, while it is dear to English people on account of the religious memories of childhood, and because also perhaps the English language of King James's day seems to Englishmen of today more virile than the current English of our own era, yet lacks entirely the proper spirit of the mystical Hebrew original; and the very fact that Englishmen love their King James's version so much distracts their attention away from the original mystical sense of the Hebrew scripture. Go then to the original tongue and ask those who really know just what the essential meaning of the Hebrew is.

When I hear some of these dear good people who talk so much about 'numerology,' as they imagine it to exist in the Hebrew scriptures, and who think that by counting the number of words in the English translation and the number of chapters in one of the scriptures, or the number of phrases in a chapter, or the number of words in a phrase, they can arrive at solutions of wonderful mysteries or discover the secret of occult truths, I always feel impelled and compelled to say that they forget that they are using a translation, and a very imperfect translation at that, of what is something quite different from their supposition in the original tongue: for there were no chapters, and no verses, and no marks of punctuation such as commas, periods, semi-colons, or capital letters — in the body of the original Hebrew — naught but solid lines or files of letters crossing the pages of the original books.

Now, which translation do you prefer, the usual and I may say mistaken version of the English translation: "In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth," or the other translation equally authorized by the original Hebrew, and which has the further advantage of being on all fours with the Universal Tradition, to wit: "In wisdom (or in multitude, in company, as a host) the gods carved (or shaped, or formed)" out of already pre-existent material (for the original Hebrew verbal root bara means 'to cut.' 'to carve,' not 'to create') "the heavens and the material sphere"; which, when understood, means the following: "In the beginning of the Manvantara the gods became the spiritual realms and the material."

The meaning, therefore, very briefly given, of the Hebrew account of Creation so-called is rather an account of evolving forth from seeds, cosmic seeds, pre-existent in space, by the power of the indwelling spiritual fires. You have a strict analogy of that in the way a human being is born from a microscopic human seed, a cell, and grows into a six-foot man by powers derived from within itself.

That is the way worlds came into being. I wonder why so many have never realized what must have been before, according to their theory, God Almighty created the universe, the world? God is not a carpenter, or, as the Greeks put it, a Demiurge, a Builder. Divinity is the indwelling spirit of fire and love and intelligence and consciousness — the fountain of everything: atom and man, sun and beast, flower and stone. All can be traced back to the divine source, to their growth from within.

Thus it was that according to the Hebrew account of Creation, the gods, the spiritual beings, the children of the divine, were embryo-gods, not yet grown up, baby-gods as it were, unevolved; but the gods of our world, or our galaxy for instance, were the guiding, inspiriting fire of life and intelligence that brought our galaxy into being, our earth into being. There is the whole story, and the Hebrew does not say one word about an extra-cosmic god creating the world. This word, mistranslated 'god' in the Hebrew, let me emphasize, is plural: 'elohim, which means gods, divine beings, spiritual beings, creatures of love and flaming thought, children of the Incomprehensible Divine, which is the fountain of the universe out of which they come, and, after their evolutionary course is run, into the immeasurable deeps of which they again sink into unutterable peace, later to reissue again and to become through evolving aeons first men, then gods, and then super-gods, to be followed by another period of divine rest, after which a new issuing forth into cosmic activity; but ever growing endlessly.

In the two or three first chapters of 'the Book of the Beginnings,' commonly spoken of in European countries as the Book of Genesis which is a Greek word meaning Beginning or Becoming, you will find the Ancient Wisdom of the human race. All the rest of the Bible, all the other parts of the Hebrew Old Testament, are simply local, national, traditional, records, without much or any esoteric meaning whatsoever.

The Christian New Testament, which is the second part of the Christian Bible, read literally, with its thirty-six thousand and some odd hundreds of mistranslations from the Greek original, as existing in the King James's or Authorized Version, contains no more of the ancient and esoteric wisdom than do the books of the Old Testament. What it does contain of the Ancient Wisdom-Religion of Mankind is the story, when esoterically understood, of a cycle of initiation, with the great Syrian Initiate, Jesus, as the central type-figure.

Remnants of Neolithic and Paleolithic Ages

I was asked if I could say a few words which might perhaps, this being rather a specialized topic, help those who are studying archeology and ethnology and that sort of thing. The question was with regard to Paleolithic and Neolithic races, and why the evidences of ancient civilizations which we Theosophists claim were contemporaneous with these two groups, all degenerate men, are not found on earth. In other words, we have constantly growing evidences of the existence of earlier — science calls it late, and degenerate as we call it — races of men who, because of artifacts of theirs which we are now disinterring, are classed as Paleolithic or old stone men, and Neolithic or new stone men. And the question is: Do Theosophists say that great civilizations existed contemporaneous with these ancient and degenerate individuals? Why is it that no remains of these great civilizations exist on earth? But this is not a proper question, because it states a thing that is not true. There are almost innumerable remnants or relics of these great civilizations of the past remaining on earth. The trouble is that our modern scientists are so hag-ridden with theories which they are going to support at any cost, that everything which is truly ancient, they bring up as far as they can to the present, and make it relatively recent. There is where the difficulty is, and that is what our Theosophists have to face. It is not that the scientists mean to do anything dishonest. They think it is justifiable because they do not believe in these ancient races, and if any scientist today said there were grand civilizations a million years ago, say five million years ago, why he would be tarred and feathered, scientifically speaking; he would be run out of the country in other words. He would lose caste, his name would be a hissing and a by-word. Scientific orthodoxy. That is plain truth.

What are some of these ancient remnants of civilization? When you consider that the neolithic and paleolithic remnants are quite recent, geologically speaking — a few paltry tens of thousands of years are nothing in the history of the human race alone: When you think of that and you consider the magnificent evolutionary development that the human has attained even now, his marvelous brain, the wonder of his body, as I have shown in my Man in Evolution, we must place the origin of man tens of hundreds of millions of years in the past. But you see, the scientists won't acknowledge that. They cannot acknowledge it because they are hag-ridden with the ideas of civilization and the theories which they must support.

Now then, what are some of these great remnants that remain? You are not children. You have read your history books and your books on science. You have viewed the pyramids of Egypt. Take one alone, the great Pyramid of Cheops, built in such fashion that modern scientists themselves exclaim their wonder, and speculate whether with all the modern improvements and refinements of tools and machinery and genius, they could equal the work today; or imbody astronomical knowledge so perfectly that the entrance gallery, as has now been known for many years, points or would point when the circling stars around the north pole come to it, on Stella Polaris, our own North Pole Star. No need to go into that. You know all these things.

I don't know what the great geological pronouncements are about the great pyramids, but they are something ridiculous, a few thousand years; but our teaching is that the Great Pyramid was built at least seventy-five thousand years ago, and I am of opinion it was twice that long time, 150 thousand years ago. But I believe H. P. B. has stated somewhere that the Theosophical scientist who knows what he is doing could prove at least three full circlings of the precessional cycle, each one nearly 26,000 years long. You know what in astronomy the precession of the equinoxes is. A full cycle takes 25,920 years, and three full precessional cycles, says H. P. B., have passed while the pyramids have stood on the bank of the Nile or close to it; and I believe it is twice that long.

How about the pyramid of Sakhara? How about the Denderah Zodiac? How could it have been made by the Egyptians only a few thousand years ago, with the stars around our Polar star more or less as they are now, and yet show an entirely different arrangement of the Zodiac as well as of the Polar stars? I forget just what age has been assigned to it, but it was something like two or three precessional cycles. These ancient peoples were so accurate, and in the view of modern scientists so superstitiously meticulous to get the Zodiac of the heavens where the gods abide perfect in their drawings, that surely it is ridiculous to think they would have been deliberately irreligious in their view and have drawn a small zodiac untrue to nature? Answer your own question. Your answer is found on the monuments over the face of the earth.

How about those wonderful platforms out in the Pacific built with uncemented stone which have stood for ages, so old that they are not merely weather-beaten but weather-worn; and in the mild climate of the Pacific Isles you can understand that stones would last longer than they would in the northern countries where frost and hot sun and rain and wind and beating sand will wear down rocks easily. How many thousands of years have those platforms on Easter Island stood, mute witnesses of a banished knowledge of some kind? Ask the scientists what they are. They do not know. Probably built by some ancestors in the Pacific Islands. Why? Did they have a grand civilization when they were younger according to the modern evolutionary theory than they have now when they do not build such magnificent platforms? It is like asking a child to put up a house. Why, there are thousands of instances like that. Look at Stonehenge in England. Look how they tried to belittle the age of that and bring it up to our age, as close as they could. Why? Because they have any proof? Absolutely none. They are guessing. But according to modern scientific evolutionary theory it is impossible for there to have been civilized men more than one hundred thousand or two or three hundred thousand years ago at the very utmost. That is the scientific orthodoxy, and everything has to fit in to that bed of Procrustes. Do not think I am anti-scientific. I am not. I have spent too many years of my life in study and reverence of true science for the spirit of research and discovery and open-mindedness that has given us the knowledge of the science we have today. I am not talking of science but the prejudices of scientists, among scientific men; and it is there.

But take Stonehenge. I myself think, I have no proof, it is just my own belief and conviction from study in my younger days when I had more time to do these things, but I believe that Stonehenge which is built of massive stones some not to be found in Britain — get that fact in your heads! — has an age not less than the pyramids, maybe a little younger, for the pyramids were built by what Plato called the Atlanteans when the Isle of Poseidonis, a remnant of the Atlantean main continental massif, was sunk in a terrific earthquake and tidal wave between twelve and thirteen thousand years ago. It was an island about the size of Ireland today. Before Poseidonis sank, immigrants left this island in the Atlantic ocean and settled on what then was newly forming Egypt. How long ago was this? You can judge if you wish geologically by the rates of deposition of the Nile mud. Certainly tens and tens of thousands of years old.

Anyone who knows of the existence, and all of you do, of these great monuments of the past, will understand what I mean when I say that there are almost innumerable evidences for the existence of marvelous archaic civilizations antedating by thousands of years the strata in which are found the remnants and the artifacts of the neolithic and paleolithic peoples, if that is the right word. Listen to this, friends. Long before Greece and Crete were, long before Persia, Media, Babylonia, Assyria were dreamed of, in what are now the deserts of Persia, Turkestan, parts of Arabia and parts of Northern Baluchistan, all that wonderful land as it used to be — now mostly howling wastes and mounds swept by hurricanes and terrific winds, arid in the extreme hills — was green and fertile, covered with flourishing cities where civilization was reaching a peak such as we have as yet scarcely attained, where the arts and sciences and the crafts flourished. It was from this region that Babylonia and Assyria and Persia and Media and what was known of Asia Minor were born, settled by Atlanteans in the early times, or the late Asia-Atlanteans. These regions flourished at a time on the earth when geologic conditions even were different. So long ago was this fertility in the lands I have just spoken of, that what is now the Black Sea was an immense inland sea or inland ocean connecting in the north across Russia and Siberia with what is now the Arctic Ocean, and filled with islands. All this is now changed. Land has risen. Land has sunk. All is now but a memory, a legend, mounds, desolation, waste. But it gave birth to its child; it gave birth to the civilization of Assyria and Persia and part of Greece and Media and gave the populations to our own European ancestors. Thence have come the forefathers of the Scandinavians, of the Teutons, of the Goths, and covered what was then the wilderness of Europe, yes and Siberia, and these ancient civilizations that I speak of extended into what is even now Tibet, and in that high plateau where terrific gales sweep also over barren wastes, legend tells of far past times when our fathers built wonderful temples here, when the gods confabulated with men, when there were sweet lakes of fresh water and green was everywhere. Sometimes the voice of the soul of a people is more true than the speculations and guess-work of the so-called historians.

The Origin of Good and Evil

The orthodox Jewish Rabbis explained the origin of evil in the world as having been the creative act of Jehovah, and they pointed to their famous old Prophet, Isaiah, Chapter 45, Verse vii:

"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."

So the Jewish Rabbis said that the origin of evil is a dispensation of God. Adonai, the Lord, created it.

Now the Theosophist knows how to interpret this in the sense in which the Prophet Isaiah, or he who wrote in the name of the Prophet Isaiah, intended it to be interpreted. But if you accept that statement with its surface meaning, do you realize what the logical impasse is that you are driven into? Evil is in the world because it was created by the Lord. Therefore evil is a divine dispensation, and right, and if evil is in my heart, it has been created by the Lord, for "I, the Lord, do all these things." If the Jewish Holy Book is divinely inspired, word for word, you see what you are led into. Furthermore, the Christians were far too wise and wary even in the early days to accept the surface meaning of this phrase in Isaiah.

Some weeks ago, in looking up this reference from Isaiah in the Hebrew Bible, looking up the original Hebrew, I found there that the authorized English version beclouds the force and strength of the old Hebrew, in which the main verb of divine action is the present participle throughout. So with these words; they read: I am forming Light and I am creating darkness, now in the present. I am making peace and I am creating evil. I, Jehovah, am doing these things now. — The idea being not that good and evil were once and forever created in some past time, but that it is a continuous process. The meaning is obvious, as being a mystical statement intended to be interpreted as the slow evolutionary flowing forth from the bosom of the Divine of the hosts of evolving creatures, entities, things, driven by past karmic impulses; so that whatever IS is in continuous production, and evolution: continuous adventures from the imperfect to the more perfect, from the worse towards the best, the best that can be achieved. It does not mean that an extra-cosmic god once and forever created good and evil, and set the world to spinning, and that human beings are but helpless entities in it, chained by an inscrutable divine Fate.

Now here is a very difficult Theosophical doctrine, and yet it helps to complete the picture, however vaguely it must be stated. It should be obvious, a deduction of the simplest kind, that the great teachings of the various religions and philosophies of the world, of the hierarchies of dhyan-chohanic or devic or angelic beings, must be based on something, these beings being partly good and partly what men call evil, in other words more perfect and less perfect; and there is no escape from that deduction. If you once get the picture of these armies of evolving beings issuing as it were from the heart of divinity after their long pralayic sleep, to begin a new evolutionary period of awakening in a new world-period, you see that there must be amongst them beings in all grades of evolution from what to us is simply divine, down to the least evolved life-center.

Furthermore, as nature divides herself into hierarchies or family groups, there must be at the head of each such hierarchy an individual divinity who is as it were the hierarch thereof, like the president of a republic, the king of his kingdom. Therefore, there must be in Universal Nature, spiritual, very spiritual, and divine beings, in all-various grades of evolutionary states. In other words we are surrounded by a "cloud of witnesses," to use the words of Paul, and these are divine, spiritual, and material and sub-material beings. So, they have been called angels or archangels or dhyan-chohans or devas, or what not. The name matters not. The main thing to remember is that they exist, and it is therefore obvious that if our minds and hearts are turned in the direction of the Sons of Light, or contrariwise towards the left-hand path, in the direction of the Children of the Dark — not demons, not devils, simply imperfectly evolved entities — we can come into touch with these former, or with the latter; from the former receiving immense inspiration and help; from the latter feeling the attraction to 'hell.' That is the reason why some of the old religions, profound as they were, worshiped angels, archangels, and what-not, as the early Christians did. And if worship means 'worthship,' not adoration which means petitionary prayer, then it is an ennobling thing to do: 'worthshiping,' revering, the Children of Light, our predecessors on the upward Path.

What Are Cosmic Rays?

I would like to say a few words on the Cosmic Rays. What are they? Where do they come from, where do they go, what is their function? Do you know, modern science today, and daily more and more so, is using the word 'radiation,' or 'radiations' with virtually the same significance and purport, with virtually the same attempt to describe facts, that the ancient theologians of pre-Christian days in Greece and Rome, Egypt, Persia and Babylon, and equivalently in other parts of the earth made in using the word 'emanation,' 'emanations.' As light radiates or flows forth from a center of energy, a sun, or an electric globe, as it radiates forth, we can replace this word 'radiates' with 'emanates.' Out of a central core flows forth light, call it radiation, call it emanation, it is the same. When you understand something of what the finest thinkers of modern science mean to say when they use the term 'radiation,' when you understand something of what they have in mind and attempt to express by that word, you will begin to understand what the ancient theologians of pre-Christian times meant when they used the word 'emanation,' flowing forth.

Thus a human being, as an instance, radiates or emanates vitality. Constantly radiating, it flows forth from him, and flowing forth from him shows that it is a thing, and this thing is a fluid. Light is a fluid, all these various kinds of rays are fluidic in character; but being fluidic in character this merely means that they are aggregates or concretions of entities, emanated entities, call them monads, call them life-atoms if you will.

Before I go on farther, let me try to illustrate what I think we should understand by the modern scientific effort to designate something which is at one and the same time a wave and a particle. If you follow in thought a bullet from a rifle you will realize that it is at once a particle so to speak, and at the same time accompanied with waves, these waves being the phenomena of its passage through the air. Now imagine a life-atom discharged from an entity. It passes with the speed of light, some atoms with a speed far exceeding that of light, and obviously their passage through substance is accompanied with intense disturbance along the track that the particle follows. Follow my thought? Thus the wave and the particle must accompany each other. The particle produces the wave; without the particle the wave would not be.

Now these Cosmic Rays we can call life-atoms if we wish. In fact, they are that, the life-atoms of the Universe but on a low, because a physical and even inferior to physical, plane in the hierarchical sense. This is shown by their intensely rapid vibration.

And again: Where do they come from — these life-atoms of space that are streaming all through interstellar space, and, in so far as our own universe is concerned, throughout our solar universe — streaming through it? Mainly from the active, superlatively active, stomachs of the various suns, pouring forth from the suns of Space in inconceivable floods, or in inconceivable numbers. They make their peregrinations hither and yon as life-atoms of a type or kind, always coming back ultimately, sometime, someway, somewhere, to their father-substance; and meanwhile passing through all other entities as they peregrinate (transmigrate was the old word), wander hither and yon, back and forth.

Indeed, it is thus that the suns feed themselves. Our own sun feeds its own store of vitality from these floods of life-atoms reaching it from outer space, drawn into its own stomach and expelled again through the sun-spots. Why, you remember that even in The Secret Doctrine, H. P. B. openly there speaks of the fact, quoting one of the old records, that the sun was feeding on the refuse of space. Do you remember? As a matter of fact, our own bodies do that — physical body, astral body, mental body, interior sheath of consciousness — they all do just the same thing. They emanate floods of life-atoms, radiate them away and suck in, attract in, those of others. This is just what the sun does; so that these cosmic atoms, or cosmic rays — which are merely names which the scientists have given to them because they do not understand them very well yet, and they seem to be like rays, and they seem to be like particles, but are simply the life-atoms that have flowed forth from the suns of space, and happen to reach us, passing through us — sometime they will leave us and go elsewhere. Just in the same way our globe Earth is being fed and its vitality kept up, its energy sustained, electrical, psychic, physical, and what not, from what it sucks in from outer space, and it in turn emanates forth its own light and fluids. We call them Cosmic Rays, life-atoms if you wish; and thus we see a cosmic give and take, give and take.

But these are not the only life-atoms that there are. There are many, many families of life-atoms that no physical scientific instrument will ever succeed in perceiving, or even apperceiving. They are above, outside, our plane entirely; as for instance, there are purely astral life-atoms, mental life-atoms, spiritual, and divine. But these Cosmic Rays that scientists are now just beginning to gain some knowledge of are cosmic life-atoms of a low, that is of a type even inferior to the physical in the hierarchical sense; very 'hard'; 'hard rays' they call them; and were they to strike in condensed form — as the X-rays do — they would be very dangerous.

Now when I say that our sun (as well as other suns), feeds itself on the refuse and 'sweat' of space, on these flowing streams of life-atoms, oceans of them — for space is filled, incomprehensibly full with them, it is ocean of life — I don't mean that the sun feeds on them to the exclusion of other life-atoms. The sun attracts to itself life-atoms on all planes, some far higher than the physical.

But I want to add this. Call it an interesting theory if you like. There is an old, old, and to me very fascinating, legend which has been current in the Orient from time out of mind. It is couched in this form: the gods feed on men. Now I do not mean to frighten anyone, or to have you think that when your day of dying comes it is going to be that some god is going to make a meal of you! I do not mean anything like that. But why should human beings be the only exceptions to the universal rule? Man feeds on other things. You know, as a matter of fact, we feed one another. Every time a group of people sits close together, as you all do, you are feeding each other, changing and exchanging life-atoms, just as we think, changing and exchanging thoughts; and thus it is that arises a phenomenon which every one of us notices, I doubt not, and it is that people who live a great deal together, like husband and wife, grow to resemble each other; and I have even seen that with pets who are with human beings. A master or mistress actually begins to look like the pet! It is the change of life-atoms, and it is not always good either. It is not good for the pet, and it is not good for the human being; and there are other reasons, though of course I know among some dear people here it would be my death-sentence to say anything against pets!! These would not understand me: "Why, that's horrid, G. de P. What a perfectly horrid man!"