I am about to make an under-researched point. But, one which seem potentially interesting. (To me, naturally).

I came across this book: From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe - Alexandre Koyre.

Essentially, it maps the change from a Ptolemaic ordered and concentric view of the world to our more recognizable one of 'limitless' space. This evolution occurring over the 16th - 18th century.

What immediately struck me was the vocabulary of the persons studied.

Key terms are space, motion, duration etc. Fundamental Theosophical terms from the SD.

The book tracks, in part, the 'divinization of space'. Which is to say that the attributes usually attributed to God in Europe were transferred to 'space'. So, space now became immutable, infinite, absolute etc. Western science and philosophy gradually ejected God but retained many of the concepts associated with God and applied them to space.

Anyone familiar with the SD will know the important place Space as a concept has it the philosophy.

David Reigle has traced some of Blavatsky early use of the term 'space;' to Beal's 'A Catena of Buddhist Scriptures from the Chinese'. Reigle in his 'Blavatsky's Secret Books'.

In Beal, 'space' is an early translation of sunyatta. 

Reigle then goes on to discuss more sophisticated senses of sunyatta etc. and how Theosophical uses may relate to jonang conceptions etc.

It seems clear to me, however, that whatever Asian resources were drawn on by her Blavatsky also drew on Western sources. Some of Blavatsky's most inspiring passages on space in the SD are drawn from Pratt's 'New Aspects of Life and religion'. A book which seems rooted in Western philosophy, kabbalah, 19th century science etc.

I know that it is popular in the academic study of Theosophy to argue that Blavatsky drew primarily on Western sources for her conceptions, and not Asian ones.

I wonder now:

1) were Blavatsky's initial conceptions around 'space' originally drawn from relatively mundane Western sources and not Asian texts?

2) could Blavatsky have then gradually drawn these western conceptions into a new web of meaning which did in fact also draw on Asian texts?

3) could she have linked western scientific and philosophic speculations on 'space' to translations of Asian texts which used 'space' as a translation for 'sunyatta'? The simple word 'space' being the connecting link.

If anyone has any references to studies on this issue besides Reigle on this point I'd appreciate the reference.


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