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of tens or hundreds of thousands of millions of years. Thus, says Soddy, in cosmical time geological age and incandescent age alternate as night and day. And this brings us straight back to the days and nights of Brahma, in ancient Aryan science.

For the picture of periodical destruction is very much the same. Thus, in the Buddhist book called Vishuddhi Marga, it is said that when a world period is ended by fire all the mountains crumble and disappear in the sky. This fire does not go out as long as anything remains; but after everything has disappeared it goes out, leaving no ashes, like a fire of oil. The upper regions of space become one with those below, and wholly dark. This is the incandescent age of Soddy's speculation, when it culminates.

Then that which had been the world once more begins to condense. First a great cloud arises. This takes the form of very fine rain. The rain condenses into water. And then a wind arises, below and on the sides of the water, and rolls it into one mass, which is round like a drop of water. The round world consolidates, and the sun and moon appear again, and the mountains reappear. And this process is repeated through many world cycles.

Once more we are interested, not so much in the details, but in the general conception. In the Buddhist scripture, the teaching is attributed to Buddha himself. This would make it at least twenty-five centuries old, long antedating the small, constricted universe of Ptolemy. And in this scripture there is a notable phrase which brings out with singular force and clearness the largeness of these ancient conceptions. That phrase is 'one hundred thousand times ten million worlds'- or, to express it in our figures, 1,000,000,000,000 worlds.

How did the ancient Aryans arrive at this figure? By gazing into the skies

on a clear, moonless night? But our books on astronomy tell us that, on the clearest nights, only some five thousand stars are distinguishable by the naked eye. Perhaps, in the deserts of Egypt or Arabia, primitive stargazers might make out twice as many. And it is worth remembering that in those low latitudes nearly the whole of the stellar sphere is visible night after night. The sun descends almost vertically in the west. Within an hour it is nearly dark, and in the east stars are already visible. The great star-dotted shell above turns on its axis, so that an hour before sunrise it has almost completely revealed a new hemisphere of stars, from one stellar pole to the other. But even this admirable opportunity for observation will reveal, at the most, only ten thousand visible stars. From this to the million million worlds which we have quoted, there is an unbridged chasm. It may be said that the Milky Way, like a golden sash about the sphere, reveals millions upon millions of worlds. But how did these ancient observers know that that faint band of luminous cloud was made up of worlds? How did they anticipate, perhaps by two millenniums, our modern observations, to be made only with immense telescopes? "The stars are large,' says the Mahabharata, though they appear so small in consequence of their distance.' Heraclides almost echoed this when he said, 'Each star is a world.'

So that, as regards both the immensities of time and the immensities of space, our newest conceptions are rather reconquests than a winning of fresh territories from the unknown. The small, earth-centred universe, lasting in all six thousand years, was but an interlude, a temporary shrinkage of the vast conceptions of the past. The constricted universe has vanished, but it lasted long enough, at least so far as time was concerned, to go with

our first Orientalists to India. And even in those days the ban of the Index still lay on the heliocentric system. The simple truth is that, because of the stereotyped narrowness of their thinking, our first Orientalists were utterly unable to appraise, or even to grasp, the grand conceptions they encountered. So they said, 'Absurd! Ridiculous!' Only now, a century and a half later, have we Westerns thought ourselves up to the point where we can understand what the ancient Aryans were thinking at least two millenniums back, and perhaps millenniums earlier. Only in the spring of 1927 have our anthropologists ventured to name, for the antiquity of man, a period nearly equal to that of the Brahmanical computations.


If, then, these old Aryan thinkers were so far ahead, when the West discovered them, as to be unintelligible, so that a century and a half were needed before we could attain to conceptions of a like immensity; if they had thought to such good purpose thousands of years ago, is it not worth while to ask whether other departments of their thinking, as recorded in their ancient books, may not contain treasures of wisdom for us, elements of thought that are still in advance of the point we have attained?

There is at least one such conception, which we may call 'the continuity of consciousness,' a parallel, on the spiritual side, of the conservation of energy. And one may say that, for the whole realm of consciousness and all that concerns it, Western thinking still seems rather vague. Our biologists and geologists face the perpetual puzzle of the beginning of life on our small globe. One of them, in his mental distress, has even suggested that life made the voyage hither with a colony of microbes

riding on a meteor. But, if this were true, it would only postpone the difficulty, to be raised again for the putative port of departure of that meteor. But the ancient Aryans solved the problem magisterially. Life, they said, had no beginning. It has been from everlasting, inherent in Being itself; only the successive vestures of life, the forms of matter which make life manifest, have a beginning and an end. So with consciousness. Consciousness, in a latent form still inconceivable for us, is from everlasting, as it is infinite in its expanse. Only the vestures it wears have their beginning and their end. Here, say the ancient Aryans, is our way of salvation, of immortality: to make ourselves progressively more like in nature to the primal consciousness, whose inherent nature is eternity, wisdom, joy. Goodness is thus a form of wisdom, a wise conforming of our acts and thoughts to the Real of the real, as the fine phrase of the Upanishads goes.

Certain sides of this wide view of consciousness may be suggested. First, the eternity of consciousness. Clearly it is not the personal consciousness of our present bodies that is everlasting, but the greater primal consciousness, the boundless deep from which we drew out at birth, and whither we are to turn again home. Nevertheless, even in our personal consciousness, there is the seed, the intuition, of eternity. And it is precisely this living intuition that sends the intellect forth, to plumb the vast depths of geological time, and also to look forward to like æons in the future. The materialistic geologist finds the source both of life and of our consciousness in a pin point of protoplasm, a blend of chemicals, each a pattern of electrons. How can a pinch of carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen have the intuition of eternity? Unless, as we are quite willing to admit, they

also have the germ of consciousness, some small spark of the primal consciousness. It is, then, this eternalness inherent in all consciousness that sets us to measure the vast darkness of the past. What else could make us believe in the past? In perfect strictness, it is always to-day, always 'now.' The geologist, standing before a cliff built up of successive layers of limestone, sees the whole in to-day, in the present moment. But the divine intelligence in him translates that 'now' into tens or hundreds of thousands of years, seeing in the successive layers the record of an ocean at work for ages, piling up the bodies of small sea lives. It is really a tremendous transformation, which converts the present cliff face into almost endless ages of past time, and it is the pressure of the eternal in his consciousness that constrains him to do this, even though he may believe himself a sheer materialist. The cliff swallow that constructs his gourd-shaped home of clay on the face of the rock lives wholly in to-day, in each moment. For him it is always here and now. The hour has not yet struck for his consciousness to make the great projection into the past, into the future. There is, in geology, something bigger than geologists. Geology is the true science of the immensities of time.

Another thing is not less notable. No single geologist can see with his own eyes and competently examine more than a few patches of the earth with its rock garments. The fossils of a single period are a life study for any man who would know them well. Yet geology is not a congeries of patches. It is a consistent whole. The consciousness of each geologist dovetails into the consciousness of all other geologists, not by a happy accident, but because the one primal consciousness underlies them all. So with every science. Its

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true home is not in books, nor in laboratories, but in consciousness; not the consciousness of one man, but the larger general consciousness, from which all flow, and into which all may enter. Without consciousness, there might conceivably be rocks and fossils, but there would be no geology. This, like all sciences, dwells in consciousness, and lives only in consciousness.

And the impulse of order in consciousness is as imperative as the impulse to swing backward into the unfathomed past. When the geologists came upon the rocks, what was their first impulse? What have they been doing ever since? Discerning the dominion of order, the long unrolling of causal forces, which have built up the vesture of our world. Once more, whence comes the impulsion? Surely from the very nature of consciousness, in which law and order are inherent, have been inherent from everlasting. If these were not in consciousness, how could we find them elsewhere? How should we ever set forth to seek them, or recognize them when found?

So with astronomy, the science of the immensities of space, as geology is the science of the immensities of time. When our astronomers eagerly await the hours of darkness, in order that they may peer forth into the depths among the stars, they are obeying a like imperative power of consciousness, which claims its kinship with infinities. Once again they seek and find, even in the farthest nebula, a unity of law, a unity of substance, which are inherent in consciousness itself.

So we have regained in part our ancient heritage, the intuition of infinite space, of boundless time. We also may recover, if we will, that other intuition, even more vital, of the continuity of consciousness, which in its own nature is eternity, wisdom, joy. So we shall begin to inhabit the universe.

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'Give thy wife unto me! Thou art old, thou art gray. She is young, she is fair. Canst thou force her to stay?

'At the fall of the day, in the shade of yon tree By Allah she swore that she loveth not thee.

'She is mine by our love, to the end of my life. Khas-Bulaht, take my gold, but oh, give me thy wife!'

'Prince, keep silence, I pray, for thy words are as nought; I know all since last eve. I am not to be bought.

'Keep thy treasures and gold, and take from me, free, The wife of my heart who is false unto me.

'Wouldst thou gaze on her now? There she lies as at rest, With thy kiss on her lips, and my steel in her breast.'




Ir is the easy and proper pastime of historians to explain revolutions after they have happened. They pick up and bring to pattern the dynamic fragments or the propelling forces that played into the big upheaval. In social evolution, as in practical politics, there are not many who are wise before the fact, while the number who can tell all about it after the social order has taken new form, or after the ballots have been counted, is quite impressive.

Now that a revolution, rather unique in human history, has taken place before our eyes and has brought all persons over forty under a new set of masters, it is only natural to offer some explanation of how we, the oldsters, came to be dethroned. What we have suffered at the hands of the new dynasty makes a pitiful tale, and some of the causes of our downfall can be perceived despite our advanced age of twoscore years or more. We have been humbled, our pride and power broken. Youth reigns unchallenged. Some of us scold in plaintive voice, others fawn and flatter, but all yield and pay tribute.

Had it been 'barbarians coming down from the north,' we might have preserved a little pride and hauteur as the custodians of culture, and we should have retained, at any rate, the comfort of kith and kin under a common adversity. But the conquerors were ushered into the world by us. We gave them welcome, food, clothing, shelter, education, love, and all of the advantages that money or credit could procure, with the result that Job was

not more pained or puzzled than we, or King Lear more desolate.

It is in the sad course of things that the little tots who thought us gods and who trotted along holding divinity by the finger and plying omniscience with questions that would fracture the awful mystery of the universe it is in the course of things that they should some day guess that we did not make the world; that, in the daring and glory of adolescence, they should doubt us at least enough to achieve clear selfhood. That has always been a bit awkward for parents and painful for children, but with honesty and humility it has usually passed into mutual understanding and comradeship, as if they stood again hand in hand looking out upon the ocean or to the stars. It is not the individual's rebirth or the emergence of independent thought that accounts for our disaster, but a mob movement induced by us, the victims.

This post-mortem will do no good, at least not for us who provide it. But let the dissection begin; we are past feeling. Possibly the first big mistake that our generation of men made was to discard whiskers. We committed social suicide with the razor. Consider the flowing beard as the breastworks of authority. How often it concealed the weakness or mobility of the face, gave poise, steadiness, and distinction. A child could not have a beard, neither could a woman. Not even a suffragette could have a luxuriant one. Every utterance emerging from a beard had oracular worth, mystery, and an

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