Chapter 17: The Occult Mysteries of Religion
For instance, modern science says that when matter is analyzed it is ultimately reduced to electrons which are not matter but particles of electricity. Nothing like substance remains in the end - only energy. So science has made a wonderful discovery in the last thirty years. Though it had considered matter to be a reality, it has now come to the conclusion that matter does not exist, whereas energy is a fact. Science now says that matter is an illusion brought about by the movement of energy at a high speed.
When a fan is made to rotate at high speed we cannot see the three blades separately. What we see is a circle going around and around. Also, the spaces between the blades appear filled. Actually, the blades move so fast that before the reflection of one blade passes our eyes the second blade is already there. Then the third blade comes just as swiftly, with the result that they follow one after the other so that we cannot see the vacant spaces between them. The fan can be made to revolve at such a speed that you can sit on it and never know that anything is moving underneath you. The space between two blades can be filled so swiftly that after one blade passes under you the second will immediately replace it; then you will not feel the empty space at all. It is entirely a matter of speed.
When energy revolves at a high speed it looks like matter. The atomic energy on which our entire modern scientific research is based has never been perceived visually; only its effects are visible. The fundamental energy is invisible and the question of seeing it does not arise, but we can observe its effects.
So if we look upon the etheric body as the atomic body it will not be wrong - because in this case also we only see the effects and not the etheric body itself. Because of these effects we have to admit to its existence. This second body is the subtle form of the first; hence there is no difficulty in connecting the two. They are, in a way, joined to each other. One is gross and so it can be seen; the other is subtle and hence it cannot be seen.
Beyond the etheric is the astral body. It is a subtler form of the etheric. Science has not yet reached there, but it has reached a conclusion that if we analyze matter, what ultimately remains is energy. This energy can be called ether. If ether is further broken up into more subtle components, what will remain is the astral - and this is subtler than the subtle.
Science has not yet reached the astral but it will. Until recently science only accepted matter and denied the existence of the atom. Until only yesterday, almost, it said that matter is solid. Today it says that there is nothing like solid substance and everything is non-solid. Now they have proved that even a wall, which appears solid, is not so solid. It is porous and things can pass back and forth through its holes. We may be inclined to say that at least that which is around the pores must be solid, but this too is not solid - every atom is porous.