THE PRALAYA OF MODERN SCIENCE
IF Science is right then the future of our
Solar System--hence of what we call the Universe--offers but little
of hope or consolation for our descendants. Two of her
votaries, Messrs. Thompson and Klansius,
have simultaneously reached the conclusive opinion that the Universe
is doomed, at some future and not so very remote period,
to utter destruction. Such is also the theory of several
other astronomers, one and all describing the gradual cooling
off and the final dissolution of our planet in terms nearly identical
with those used by the greatest Hindu, and even some of
the Greek sages. One might almost think he were reading
over again Manu, Kanada, Kapila and others.
The following are some of the newest theories of our Western pandits.
"All the ponderable masses which must have separated themselves
at the evolution or first appearance upon the earth from the primeval
mass of matter, will reunite themselves again into one
gigantic and boundless heavenly body, every visible movement
in this mass will be arrested, and alone the molecular
motion will remain which will equally spread throughout this ponderous
body under the form of heat . . ." say
our scientists. Kanada, the atomist, the
old Hindu sage, said as much. . .
. "In creation," he remarks, "two
atoms begin to be agitated, till at length they become
separated from their former union, and then unite,
by which a new substance is formed, which possesses the
qualities of the things from which it arose."
Lohschmidt, the Austrian professor of mathematics and astronomy,
and the English astronomer, Proctor, treating of
the same subject, have both arrived at another and different
view of the cause from which will come the future dissolution
of the world. They attribute it to the gradual and slow
cooling off of the sun, which must result in the final
extinction of this planet some day. All the planets will
then, following the law of gravitation, tumble in
upon the inanimate, cold luminary, and coalesce
with it into one huge body. If this thing should happen,
says the German savant, and such a period begins,
then it is impossible that it should last forever, for
such a state would not be one of absolute equilibrium.
During a wonderful period of time, the sun, gradually
hardening, will go on absorbing the radiant heat from the
universal space, and concentrating it around itself.
But let us listen to Professor Tay upon this question.
According to his opinion, the total cooling off of our
planet will bring with it unavoidable death. Animal and
vegetable life, which will have, previous to that
event, shifted its quarters from the northern and already
frozen regions to the equator, will then finally and for
ever disappear from the surface of the globe, without leaving
behind any trace of its existence. The earth will be wrapped
in dense cold and darkness; the now ceaseless atmospheric
motion will have changed into complete rest and silence;
the last clouds will have poured upon the earth their last rain;
the course of the streams and rivers, bereaved of their
vivifier and motor--the sun--will be arrested; and the
seas frozen into a mass. Our globe will have no other light
than the occasional glimmering of the shooting stars, which
will not yet have ceased to penetrate into and become inflamed
in our-atmosphere. Perhaps, too, the sun,
under the influence of the cataclysm of the solar mass,
will yet exhibit for a time some signs of vitality; and
thus heat and light will re-enter it for a short space of time,
but the reaction will not fail to re-assert itself: the
sun, powerless and dying, will again become extinct
and this time for ever. Such a change was remarked and
actually took place in the now extinct constellations of the Swan,
the Crown, and the Ophiuchus in the period of their cooling.
And the same fate will reach all the other planets, which,
meanwhile, obeying the law of inertia, will go on
revolving around the extinct sun. . . . Further on,
the learned astronomer depicts the last year of the expiring globe
in the very words of a Hindu philosopher depicting the Pralaya:--"Cold
and death blow from the northern pole, and spread along
the entire face of the earth, nine-tenths of which have
already expired. Life, hardly perceptible,
is all concentrated at her heart--the equator, in the few
remaining regions which are yet inhabited, and where reigns
a complete confusion of tongues and nationalities. The
surviving representatives of the human race are soon joined by
the largest specimens of animals which are also driven there by
the intense cold. One object, one aspiration huddles
together all this varied mass of beings--the struggle for life.
Groups of animals, without distinction of kinds,
crowd together into one herd in the hope of finding some heat
in the rapidly freezing bodies; snakes threaten no more
with their poisonous fangs, nor lions and tigers with their
sharp claws; all that each of them begs for is--life,
nothing but life, life to the last minute! At Last comes
that last day, and the pale and expiring rays of the sun
illuminate the following gloomy scene; the frozen bodies
of the last of the human family, dead from cold and lack
of air, on the shores of a likewise rapidly freezing,
motionless sea!" . . .
The words may not be precisely those of the learned professor
for they are utilized from notes taken in a foreign language;
but the ideas are literally his. The picture is indeed
gloomy. But the ideas, based upon scientific,
mathematical deductions are not new, and we have
read in a Hindu author of the pre-christian era a description
of the same catastrophe as given by Manu in a language far superior
to this one. The general reader is invited to compare,
and the Hindu reader to see in this, one more corroboration
of the great wisdom and knowledge of his forefathers, who
anticipated the modern researches in almost everything.
"Strange noises are heard, proceeding from every point.
. . . These are the precursors of the Night of Brahma.
Dusk rises at the horizon and the sun passes away. . . . Gradually
light pales, heat diminishes, uninhabitable spots
multiply on the earth, the air becomes more and more rarified;
the springs of waters dry up, the great rivers see their
waves exhausted, the ocean shows its sandy bottom,
and plants die. . . . Life and motion
lose their force, planets can hardly gravitate in space;
they are extinguished one by one. . . . Surya (the Sun)
flickers and goes out; matter falls into dissolution;
and Brahma (the creative force) merges back into Dyaus,
the unrevealed, and his task being accomplished,
he falls asleep. . . . Night for the Universe has come!".
. . (By Vamadeva.)
Theosophist, October, 1880
"No Religion Higher Than Truth"
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