First Edition copyright © 1934 by Theosophical University Press. This 2nd Edition may be downloaded free of charge for personal use. For ease of searching, words are not accented in this html version.
Definitions of technical terms may be found in the Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary.
About the Author
TUP Online Menu
Theosophical University Press, publishing and distributing quality theosophical literature since 1886: PO Box C, Pasadena, CA 91109-7107 USA; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; voice: (626) 798-3378. Free printed catalog available on request. Visit the on-line TUP Catalog.
The chapters of this booklet might with equal fitness be entitled "The Story of Evolution," but I prefer the above heading because it carries with it rather the idea of continuous existence, since the process of evolution for man is unfinished. In fact, the human race is in an early stage, our planet itself being not far beyond the midway point of its life. The subject matter is almost entirely a transcription from H. P. Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine, her own language so far as possible being used, to avoid any deviation from her meaning. It is an attempt to place consecutively the teachings of the ancient wisdom regarding human life on this planet, which she so courageously and with such consummate skill brought to the Western world.
The Secret Doctrine is a mine of information which seems literally inexhaustible, for the more one develops, the more he discovers in its contents. The whole range of human thought is there illuminated. Every sentence is aglow with possibilities, and knowledge in all directions is so profuse in her writings that the mind at first is overwhelmed and bewildered by the magnitude of her work. In speaking of theosophy in Volume 1, pages 272-3, she says:
But modern science believes not in the "soul of things," and hence will reject the whole system of ancient cosmogony. It is useless to say that the system in question is no fancy of one or several isolated individuals. That it is the uninterrupted record covering thousands of generations of Seers whose respective experiences were made to test and to verify the traditions passed orally by one early race to another, of the teachings of higher and exalted beings, who watched over the childhood of Humanity.
The effort in that which follows, while adhering strictly to the text, will be to sift out from the many related facts which enrich this marvelous work an outline of what she has told us regarding our ancient selves, and to arrange the events in chronological order for the benefit of those too occupied to read the whole. References to volume and page will enable those who wish to do so to verify or amplify the subject from The Secret Doctrine.
If the whole human family knew and realized its history, the entire aspect of life would change. A new dignity, a new sense of responsibility, a new courage would transform this unhappy world into a paradise. Each would see in others something deeper and greater than he sees now. The grooves of discord which are cut so deeply into our human minds, would no longer serve as channels for thought. And wars would cease of themselves — would melt away — having nothing to feed upon.
It goes without saying that the ancient wisdom is based on the unity of all life, without which it could not be wisdom. Among its fundamental teachings is that of the universal rhythmic expression of life, shown in alternate periods of activity and rest. When these relate to the great worlds in space, they are poetically described as the Day and Night of Brahma. But this, like every other inherent habit of being, is repeated throughout the scale from universes to atoms, like a pattern growing ever smaller. "As above, so below" is the old Hermetic axiom. Hence "reasoning from analogy" is often the clue which starts the searcher after truth on the right road.
The larger part of The Secret Doctrine is a commentary on "The Stanzas of Dzyan," an archaic record to which the Western world has not heretofore had access. I shall quote some of them presently, but first will give a description of the coming of the Night — a Night which might apply to any world, or to one of the several great Nights which come to this Earth on her journey — in the words of Vamadeva Modelyar, taken from The Secret Doctrine (1:376) — quoted from Isis Unveiled:
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 behind the thirteenth degree of Makara (sign of the Zodiac). . . . Gradually light pales, heat diminishes, uninhabited spots multiply on the earth, the air becomes more and more rarefied; the springs of waters dry up, the great rivers see their waves exhausted, the ocean shows its sandy bottom and plants die. Men and animals decrease in size daily. Life and motion lose their force, planets can hardly gravitate in space; they are extinguished one by one, like a lamp which the hand of the chokra (servant) neglects to replenish. Surya (the Sun) flickers and goes out, matter falls into dissolution (pralaya), and Brahma merges back into Dyaus, the Unrevealed God, and, his task being accomplished, he falls asleep. Another day is passed, night sets in and continues until the future dawn.
In the Stanzas of Dyzan, the drama opens with the dawn, as follows:
1. "The Eternal Parent (Space), wrapped in her ever invisible robes, had slumbered once again for seven eternities."
2. Time was not, for it lay asleep in the infinite bosom of duration.
3. . . . Universal mind was not, for there were no Ah-hi (celestial beings) to contain (hence to manifest) it.
4. The seven ways to bliss (Moksha or Nirvana) were not. The great causes of misery (Nidana and Maya) were not, for there was no one to produce and get ensnared by them.
5. Darkness alone filled the Boundless All, for Father, Mother and Son were once more one, and the Son had not awakened yet for the new wheel and his pilgrimage thereon.
6. The seven sublime Lords and the seven Truths had ceased to be, and the Universe, the son of necessity, was immersed in Paranishpanna (absolute perfection, Paranirvana, which is Yong-Grub) to be out-breathed by that which is and yet is not. Naught was.
7. The causes of existence had been done away with; the visible that was, and the invisible that is, rested in eternal non-being, the one being.
8. Alone, the one form of existence stretched boundless, infinite, causeless, in dreamless sleep; and life pulsated unconscious in universal space, throughout that All-Presence which is sensed by the "Opened Eye" of the Dangma. — The Secret Doctrine, 1:35-46
. . . . . . .
1. . . . Where were the builders, the luminous sons of manvantaric dawn? . . . In the unknown darkness in their Ah-hi (Chohanic, Dhyani-Buddhic) Paranishpanna, the producers of form (rupa) from no-form (arupa), the root of the world — the Devamatri and Svabhavat, rested in the bliss of non-being.
2. . . . Where was silence? Where were the ears to sense it? No! there was neither silence, nor sound. Naught save ceaseless, eternal breath (Motion) which knows itself not.
3. The hour had not yet struck; the ray had not yet flashed into the germ; the matri-padma (mother lotus) had not yet swollen.
4. Her heart had not yet opened for the one ray to enter, thence to fall as three into four in the lap of Maya.
5. The Seven (Sons) were not yet born from the Web of Light. Darkness alone was Father-Mother, Svabhavat, and Svabhavat was in darkness.
6. These two are the Germ, and the Germ is — one. The Universe was still concealed in the Divine Thought and the Divine Bosom. — 1:53-61
1. The last vibration of the seventh eternity thrills through infinitude. The mother swells, expanding from within without like the bud of the lotus.
2. The vibration sweeps along, touching with its swift wing (simultaneously) the whole universe, and the germ that dwelleth in darkness: the darkness that breathes (moves) over the slumbering waters of life.
3. "Darkness" radiates light, and light drops one solitary ray into the waters, into the mother deep. The ray shoots through the virgin-egg; the ray causes the eternal egg to thrill, and drop the non-eternal (periodical) germ, which condenses into the world egg.
. . .
6. The root of life was in every drop of the ocean of immortality (Amrita) and the ocean was radiant light, which was fire and heat and motion. Darkness vanished and was no more. It disappeared in its own essence, the body of fire and water, of father and mother.
7. Behold, oh Lanoo! the radiant Child of the two, the unparalleled refulgent Glory, Bright Space, Son of Dark Space, who emerges from the depths of the great Dark Waters. . . . He shines forth as the Sun. He is the blazing Divine Dragon of Wisdom. . . . Behold him lifting the Veil, and unfurling it from East to West. He shuts out the above and leaves the below to be seen as the great Illusion. He marks the places for the shining ones (stars) and turns the upper (space) into a shoreless Sea of Fire, and the One manifested (element) into the Great Waters.
. . .
10. Father-Mother spin a web whose upper end is fastened to Spirit (Purusha), the light of the one Darkness, and the lower one to Matter (Prakriti) its (the Spirit's) shadowy end; and this web is the Universe spun out of the two substances made in one, which is Svabhavat. — 1:62-83
. . . . . . .
1. Listen, ye Sons of the Earth, to your instructors — the Sons of the Fire. Learn there is neither first nor last; for all is one number, issued from no number.
2. Learn what we who descend from the Primordial Seven, we, who are born from the Primordial Flame, have learned from our Fathers. — 1:86-8
What follows is to the Sons of the Earth from their Instructors.
In accordance with the law of analogy, these Stanzas would apply to any denouement, whether of earth, of sun, of greater universes; or to the many periods of rest and activity throughout the life of our planet, earth. Of the great manvantaras (or periods of manifestation) it is said, "millions and billions of worlds are produced."
The Commentaries on the above Stanzas give a long account of the formation of worlds and shed a flood of light on problems which vex our scientists and which they have failed to solve. But it is not the purpose of these papers to transfer this part of the subject matter except in so far as it has a direct bearing on the ancient history of man.
These first Stanzas are quoted as a starting point because they carry an atmosphere which tends to lift one out of his own small personality into a finer, purer air, into an open unclouded space where he can study himself dispassionately and so more truly. With the vivid and majestic picture these simple, graphic words bring before the mind's eye, comes also a conviction of their truth. They are not born simply out of a trained imagination, but are charged with the aroma of truth and authority. And volumes could not tell more exhaustively or with greater completeness the fact of the Brotherhood of man as of all life. To this latter purpose all of H. P. Blavatsky's works are directed.
For us, the story may begin with our migration to this planet. Our old home, which we are told was the ancestor of our present moon, is now a corpse in process of disintegration. Ages upon ages have passed since its monads moved in orderly sequence to the bosom of their "Eternal Parent" to slumber there for seven eternities.
"The last vibration of the seventh eternity" thrills through space. The hour for this new world to be born strikes and life stirs through all the sleeping monads. Many changes and transformations take place before work on the new world is begun and then prepared for the various grades of life which are destined to use it.
Monad is a term which has been employed by various philosophers from the Neoplatonists to Bruno, to Van Helmont, and Leibniz, with various shades of meaning. In the ancient teachings it refers to the essential essence of an entity, the core of the self; the quintessence; the subjective reality; the pith and marrow of being into which all potentialities are withdrawn during the Night of Life and from which all the various vehicles (corresponding to the evolutionary development so far reached) are emanated during the Day of Life. In the case of man, the physical body is the last, the grossest, of such vehicles — all of which crumble as the consciousness which called them together is withdrawn, to reassemble at the same bidding when the hour for a new cycle strikes.
Before saying more as to the monads, it will be necessary to outline their journey on this earth, as the terms for the different cycles must be used even to describe the transference from one planet to another. The earth, as indeed was also the case with the moon, and all worlds, is said to consist of seven globes called a planetary chain. Every monad must pass seven times around these globes, each turning being referred to as a round. In going from one globe to another, there is a period of minor obscuration, analogous to the great pralaya, or rest, depicted in the Stanza quoted above; and between every two rounds there is a longer and deeper "Sleep of Brahma," in which all life retires to re-emerge again at the dawn for a new round. It is difficult to convey through the brain-mind these deep spiritual truths. Intuition, imagination, and the brooding faculty must be called into service. Thus these globes are described in several different ways. More truly, perhaps, they represent different rates of vibration, analogous to the seven grades of consciousness within man. We can catch the suggestion by reflecting that when the body is asleep, the consciousness is quite differently centered from what it is during the day. With this caution, it is safe to refer to the diagrammatic picture below.
The Globes are placed in a circle: globes A and G at the top, both on the same spiritual plane of consciousness. B and F come next, one on each side of the circle; C and E, still lower; and at the bottom is globe D — our limit of material consciousness. It is on this globe that we are now functioning. Every monad descends from A to D, and the rises from D to G. The movement must be imagined as a spiral, because on the upward journey the Ego carries all the experience gained on the downward, so that though A and G are on the same spiritual plane, the consciousness and development of a monad on G is much beyond that which it had on globe A. Further, there are seven races on each globe, with their special characteristics, through which every monad passes, and each race has seven great sub-races besides a large number of off-shoots, so that even the experience on one globe of one round is enormous, and enough to make one breathless in contemplating its immense sweep. The exact age of our planet is not given, but enough is revealed to show that the dreams of science are dwarfed by the reality. According to the ancient computation, the life of a planet (i.e., its seven rounds) is called a Day of Brahma, which covers 4,320,000,000 of our mortal years. After its long Night which is of equal length, it reimbodies itself with all the lives that belong to it, each succeeding chain of globes being on a higher level than the last. All of which is premature in this narrative, but it gives a hint, to start with, of the immensity of the life of a planet, and clears away the vagueness of terms necessary to use in describing the migration to earth.
And now, to return, the monads appear in the order of their development. One learns in studying theosophy, how gradually and thoroughly nature proceeds in all her works. It is taught that the monads cycling round any septenary chain are divided into seven classes, according to their respective stages of evolution, consciousness, and merit. It is the most advanced class which leaves the moon first, passing ultimately, i.e., after its long rest and after the various changes which result in its formation, to globe A, where it is imbodied in the lowest kingdom, and the time-spaces are so adjusted that when the seventh class of the old chain is transferred, the first class is ready to pass on to globe B; and so on, all around the chain.
The result of this is, that it is only the first class of Monads which attains the human state of development during the first Round, since the second class, on each planet, arriving later, has not time to reach that stage. Thus the Monads of Class 2 reach the incipient human stage only in the Second Round, and so on up to the middle of the Fourth Round. But at this point — and on this Fourth Round in which the human stage will be fully developed — the "Door" into the human kingdom closes; . . . . For the Monads which had not reached the human stage by this point will, owing to the evolution of humanity itself, find themselves so far behind that they will reach the human stage only at the close of the seventh and last Round. They will, therefore, not be men on this chain, but will form the humanity of a future Manvantara and be rewarded by becoming "Men" on a higher chain altogether, thus receiving their Karmic compensation. To this there is but one solitary exception, for very good reasons, of which we shall speak farther on. But this accounts for the difference in the races. — 1:173
Elsewhere we are told that humanity is just one race beyond the midway point of earth's journey, being now on the fourth globe of the fourth round, and near the midway point of the fourth Sub-race of the fifth root-race. This shows how very gradual was the transference from the old world, whose principles and life-forces, as it died, passed, after an aeonic repose, into the corresponding globe of the new chain. For a world is not a mass of dead matter, but is an entity, with a septenary nature just as has man, having its birth, youth, and old age.
It is said that the planetary chains have their "Days" and their "Nights" — i.e., periods of activity or life, and of inertia or death — and behave in heaven as do men on Earth: they generate their likes, get old, and become personally extinct, their spiritual principles only living in their progeny as a survival of themselves. — 1:154-5
Echoes of this ancient teaching reach us through some of the older religions, where such terms as Mother-Earth, the Spirit of the Earth, etc., are in constant use.
Our Earth, as the visible representative of its invisible superior fellow globes, its "lords" or "principles" . . . has to live, as have the others, through Seven Rounds. During the first three, it forms and consolidates; during the fourth it settles and hardens; during the last three it gradually returns to its first ethereal form: it is spiritualized, so to say. 1:159
The same is true of men, the children of earth. The monads pass through all the forms of being up to man, on every globe in the three preceding rounds, becoming gradually more material, each during the first three being the shadowy prototype of the round to follow:
the preliminary, hardly defined, and evanescent sketch on the canvas, of objects, which are destined to receive the final and vivid form under the brush of the painter. . . . On strict analogy, the cycle of Seven Rounds, . . . [is] repeated on a microscopical scale in the first seven months of gestation of a future human being. . . . As the seven-months-old unborn baby, though quite ready, yet needs two months more in which to acquire strength and consolidate; so man, having perfected his evolution during seven Rounds, remains two periods more in the womb of mother-Nature before he is born, or rather reborn a Dhyani, still more perfect than he was before he launched forth as a Monad on the newly built chain of worlds. — 2:256-7
Having outlined in broad terms the general plan, the next chapter will begin the story of the monads.
The monadic host from the moon may be roughly divided into three great classes:
1. The most developed Monads (the Lunar Gods or "Spirits," called, in India, the Pitris), whose function it is to pass in the first Round through the whole triple cycle of the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms in their most ethereal, filmy, and rudimentary forms, in order to clothe themselves in, and assimilate, the nature of the newly formed chain. They are those who first reach the human form (if there can be any form in the realm of the almost subjective) on Globe A in the first Round. It is they, therefore, who lead and represent the human element during the second and third Rounds, and finally evolve their shadows at the beginning of the Fourth Round for the second class, or those who come behind them.
2. Those Monads that are the first to reach the human stage during the three and a half Rounds, and to become men.
3. The laggards; the Monads which are retarded, and which will not reach by reason of karmic impediments, the human stage at all during this cycle or Round, save one exception which will be spoken of elsewhere as already promised. — 1:174-5
The modern mind will not grasp at first all that is implied in the term "Monad." For help, one can brood over the First Fundamental Proposition, and try to realize that basically there is but the one life; that there is nothing else; that it is space itself, boundless and infinite; and that from its every point emanate the potentialities of the whole. The monad is of this divine essence.
It is not of this world or plane, and may be compared only to an indestructible star of divine light and fire. — 1:174n
the spiritual Monad is One, Universal, Boundless and Impartite, whose rays, nevertheless, form what we, in our ignorance, call the "Individual Monads" of men. — 1:177
It cannot be said to develop, yet around it gather higher and higher forms of life through its infinite embodiments. It passes from the lowest kingdoms up to the highest spiritual, yet is ever one and the same monad:
The Monad is a drop out of the shoreless Ocean beyond. . . . It is divine in its higher and human in its lower condition — the adjectives "higher" and "lower" being used for lack of better words — and a monad it remains at all times, save in the Nirvanic state, under whatever conditions, or whatever external forms. . . . the Kabalists say correctly that "Man becomes a stone, a plant, an animal, a man, a Spirit, and finally God. . . ." But by "Man," the divine Monad is meant, and not the thinking Entity, . . . — 2:186
The above suggests an interpretation of the quotation from the Laws of Manu, in Isis Unveiled (2:263), by H. P. Blavatsky, as follows:
Plants and vegetation reveal a multitude of forms because of their precedent actions; they are surrounded by darkness, but are nevertheless endowed with an interior soul, and feel equally pleasure and pain. — I.49
And from The Secret Doctrine:
Everything in the Universe throughout all its kingdoms, is conscious: i.e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind. . . . There is no such thing as either "dead" or "blind matter," . . . — 1:274
The, number seven upon which the universe is built also appears in the kingdoms, there being three elemental ones below the mineral which we know. It will be seen that the whole process of development presents wheels within wheels, every stage running through all the forms over and over again. For example, every globe is the arena of an evolution, similar to the last, only repeated each time on a higher scale, and all its monads share in the experience. Again, each round develops one element.
Thus, in the first Round, the globe, having been built by the primitive fire-lives, i.e., formed into a sphere — had no solidity, nor qualifications, save a cold brightness, nor form nor color; it is only towards the end of the First Round that it developed one Element, which from its inorganic, so to say, or simple Essence became now in our Round the fire we know throughout the system. . . .
The Second Round brings into manifestation the second element — air. . . . "From the second Round, Earth — hitherto a foetus in the matrix of Space — began its real existence: it had developed individual sentient life, its second principle. . . ."
The Third Round develops the third principle — water; while the Fourth transformed the gaseous fluids and plastic form of our globe into the hard, crusted, grossly material sphere we are living on. — 1:259-60
To one trained in nineteenth century science, perhaps the most unexpected feature of evolution as here given is its spiritual nature. It is the divine that shines through all. Matter is but the outer covering of spirit, and even matter, being born from the same source, being its other pole in fact, is spiritualized. There is no chance or haphazard arrangement. Every detail of growth is directed from within outward, by intelligence, by law, by compassion.
The whole Kosmos is guided, controlled, and animated by almost endless series of Hierarchies of sentient Beings, each having a mission to perform. . . . They vary infinitely in their respective degrees of consciousness and intelligence; and to call them all pure Spirits . . . is only to indulge in poetical fancy. For each of these Beings either was, or prepares to become, a man, if not in the present, then in a past or a coming cycle (Manvantara). — 1:274-5
as the work of each Round is said to be apportioned to a different group of so-called "Creators" or "Architects," so is that of every globe; i.e., it is under the supervision and guidance of special "Builders" and "Watchers" — the various Dhyan-Chohans . — 1:233
the Dhyanis watch successively over one of the Rounds and the great Root-races of our planetary chain. They are, moreover, said to send their Bodhisattvas, the human correspondents of the Dhyani-Buddhas . . . during every Round and Race. Out of the Seven Truths and Revelations, or rather revealed secrets, four only have been handed to us, as we are still in the Fourth Round, and the world also has only had four Buddhas so far. — 1:42
Likewise man is "the handiwork of hosts of various spirits" — as to his form, his physical matter, his moral, psychic, and spiritual nature. Further, his body is composed of countless myriads of lives.
Science teaches us that the living as well as the dead organisms of both man and animal are swarming with bacteria. . . . But Science never yet went so far as to assert with the occult doctrine that our bodies, as well as those of animals, plants, and stones are themselves altogether built up of such beings; which, except larger species, no microscope can detect. . . . Not only the chemical compounds are the same, but the same infinitesimal invisible lives compose the atoms of the bodies of the mountain and the daisy, of man and the ant, of the elephant, and of the tree which shelters him from the sun. Each particle — whether you call it organic or inorganic — is a life. — 1:260-1
All of this will be given later in more detail; and now we shall return to the monads from the moon.
The lunar deities or pitris fashioned the physical man, while the agnishvattas or kumaras are solar deities, lords of the inner man. Very little is told in detail of human evolution before the beginning of our fourth round. No doubt the conditions would be difficult for us to conceive, and in any case, do not here so much concern us. The earliest rounds were devoted to the developing of the kingdoms below the mineral, all of which, of course, are an essential part of our present bodies. Each round foreshadowed the coming kingdoms, evolving that which was to become a mineral, a plant, an animal, a man, and approaching form more and more in each round. Through all of these states the lunar monads passed until knowledge of their conditions became instinctive and absolute. The more advanced monads, as was said earlier, preceded — the enormous period of three and a half rounds being necessary for the arrival of all.
The most developed Monads (the lunar) reach the human germ-stage in the first Round; become terrestrial, though very ethereal human beings toward the end of the Third Round, remaining on it (the globe) through the "obscuration" period as the seed for future mankind in the Fourth Round. — 1:182
These are they who became the pioneers for the future human race — but only in its physical aspect, as will be explained later.
But before this comes to pass, there were enormous periods when conditions were gradually shaping themselves, when many exotic exuberances of the forces not yet marshaled into order, came into being — forms and events evidently not a part of the general plan. The fourth round had started; the early beginnings of human life were imminent. The earth is represented in the Stanzas as being impatient.
2. Said the Earth, "Lord of the Shining Face (the Sun) my house is empty. . . . Send thy sons to people this wheel (Earth). Thou hast sent thy seven sons to the Lord of Wisdom. Seven times doth He see thee nearer to Himself; seven times more doth He feel thee. Thou hast forbidden Thy servants, the small rings, to catch Thy light and heat, Thy great Bounty to intercept on its passage. Send now to Thy servant the same!" — 2:27
3. Said the "Lord of the shining Face." "I shall send thee a fire when thy work is commenced. Raise thy voice to other Lokas, apply to thy Father the Lord of the Lotus (Kumuda-Pati) for his Sons. . . . Thy people shall be under the rule of the Fathers (Priti-pati). Thy men shall be mortals. The men of the Lord of Wisdom (Budha, Mercury) not the sons of Soma (the Moon) are immortal. Cease thy complaints. Thy seven skins are yet on thee. . . . Thou art not ready. Thy men are not ready." — 2:44
4. And after great throes she (the Earth) cast off her old three and put on her new seven skins, and stood in her first one. — 2:46
5. The Wheel whirled for thirty crores (of years, or 300,000,000). It constructed rupas (forms). Soft stones, that hardened (minerals); hard plants, that softened (vegetation). Visible from invisible, insects and small lives (sarisripa, svapada). She (the Earth) shook them off her back, whenever they overran the mother. After thirty crores of years, she turned round. She lay on her back: on her side. . . . She would call no sons of Heaven, she would ask no sons of Wisdom. She created from her own bosom. She evolved water-men terrible and bad. — 2:52
The Design was not behind these forms. They might be an expression of nature's superabundant energy before things were quite ready.
It was the Moon (Omoroka) who presided over the monstrous creation of nondescript beings. . . . — 2:115
Stanza II (continued)
6. The Water-men terrible and bad she herself created. From the remains of others (from the mineral, vegetable and animal remains) from the first, second, and third (Rounds) she formed them. The Dhyani came and looked. . . . The Dhyani from the bright Mother-Father, from the white (Solar-lunar) regions they came, from the abodes of the Immortal-Mortals. — 2:55
These higher beings had a special interest in the human bodies which were to people earth. Their destiny was bound up with them. When more is told of them later, the meaning of the strange expression "immortal mortals" will be plain.
Stanza II (continued)
7. Displeased were they. Our flesh is not there (they said). This is no fit rupa for our brothers of the fifth. No dwellings for the lives. Pure waters, not turbid, they must drink. Let us dry them (the waters). — 2:57
So, as it is stated in the next Stanza, the Flames came and slew the forms which were two-faced and four-faced. The Flames refer to a hierarchy of spirits, who with their workers on lower planes are ever overseeing the development of the world they have in charge. Great geological changes were brought about and immense periods of time passed. When finally the work of destruction was ended, and Mother Earth was bare, in the poetical symbology of the Ancients,
12. The great chohans (Lords), called the Lords of the Moon, of the airy bodies. "Bring forth men, (they were told), men of your nature. Give them (i. e., the Jivas or Monads) their forms within. She (Mother Earth or Nature) will build coverings without (external bodies). (For) males-females will they be. Lords of the flame, also." — 2:75
And now we come to the pioneers spoken of above, who were the lords of the moon, being the most advanced monads. If they gave the design, nature would be able to carry this out and form suitable bodies. But she was utterly incapable of initiating the work. These pioneers, through the aid of a long series of beings, one might also say of almost infinite grades, had reached on the fourth globe of the fourth round, the human stage in large astral forms. They attained this development of form that they might provide bodies for the future men of this earth — for themselves, in fact. These lords, known also as lunar pitris, were called to undertake the task of guiding the next step in the evolution of human bodies. When therefore the order from their superiors comes, they
ooze out their astral doubles from the "ape-like" forms which they had evolved in Round III. And it is this subtle, finer form, which serves as the model round which Nature builds physical man. — 1:180; see also 2:115
And the agencies are not the blind forces modern science proclaims, but lives of varying degrees and kinds of consciousness, which either make up, or help those who do make up, the slowly evolving human form.
Thus, as we shall find, for the first three and a half Root-Races, up to the middle or turning-point, it is the astral shadows of the "progenitors," the lunar Pitris, which are the formative powers in the Races, and which build and gradually force the evolution of the physical form toward perfection. — 2:110
The last chapter stated our relations to the lunar pitris. More explicitly is this expressed in The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, page 88, as follows:
The progenitors of Man, called in India "Fathers," Pitaras or Pitris, are the creators of our bodies and lower principles. They are ourselves, as the first personalities, and we are they.
Having then created the bodies, these lunar ancestors, though godlike beings on their own plane, possessing powers and knowledge of which we have little conception, remained at their posts in the lower kingdoms until their younger brothers, the less advanced monads, were ready to take their places, as gradually through the ages these last mounted to this point in their cycles of growth. Compensation came later, as the lunar pitris then evolved into the human stage.
For these "Lunar Spirits" have to become "Men" in order that their "Monads" may reach a higher plane of activity and self-consciousness, i.e., the plane of the Manasa-Putras, those who endow the "senseless" shells, created and informed by the Pitris, with "mind" in the latter part of the Third Root-Race. — 1:180-1
It is said in this connection that at the end of our seventh earth-round, and after our globes have imparted their energy to another system, as did the moon before us, then our advanced egos will perform a similar service for those who will follow us. After which
The next great Manvantara will witness the men of our own life-cycle becoming the instructors and guides of a mankind whose Monads may now yet be imprisoned — semi-conscious — in the most intellectual of the animal kingdom, while their lower principles will be animating perhaps, the highest specimens of the Vegetable world. — 1:267
And now from this point can be perceived two of the streams of evolution which run through the human races: the spiritual, represented by the monads, and the physical, in the bodies which gradually concrete about the astral forms created by our lunar ancestors. There is a third, to be explained later, the intellectual, which stream enters first toward the close of the third root-race, on the fourth globe of this, the fourth round, and which fills up the gap between the other two, and brings them into union. Strictly speaking, "man" cannot be said to exist until this happens. These three streams or systems of evolution have each their own laws and are ruled or guided by different hierarchies of the highest dhyanis.
We have now the first hint of the complexity of human nature. Also is foreshadowed the masterly guidance and untiring protection under which man evolves.
Again, it must be explained and remembered that as the work of each Round is said to be apportioned to a different group of so-called "Creators" or "Architects" so is that of every globe; i.e., it is under the supervision and guidance of special "Builders" and "Watchers" — the various Dhyan-Chohans. — 1:233
Nothing moves by chance, but only through the agency of those who in aeons of time have become perfect each in his own way and place. Consciousness, intelligence, compassion, fill every atom of space.
"First come the SELF-EXISTENT on this Earth. They are the 'Spiritual Lives' projected by the absolute WILL and LAW, at the dawn of every rebirth of the worlds. These LIVES are the divine 'Sishta,' (the seed-Manus, or the Prajapati and the Pitris)."
From these proceed —
1. The First Race, the "Self-born," which are the (astral) shadows of their progenitors. The body was devoid of all understanding (mind, intelligence, and will). The inner being (the higher self or Monad), though within the earthly frame, was unconnected with it. The link, the Manus, was not there as yet. — 2:164
This first race appeared
on seven portions of the globe "each on his lot" — i.e., each a different race of men externally and internally, and on different zones. — 2:77
. . . the first Root-Race appeared 300,000,000 years after vegetation had evolved. — 2:290 footnote
These "shadows" were born "each of his own color and kind," each also "inferior to his creator," because the latter was a complete being of his kind. — 2:96-7
15. The Fathers, the Boneless, could give no Life to Beings with Bones. Their Progeny were Bhuta (phantoms) with neither Form nor Mind. Therefore they were called Chhaya (image or shadow) Race. — 2:90-1
Chhaya means astral image. We might infer by analogy that all the monads passed in turn through all of these seven aspects of the first race, in order to gain the full experience. This implies, as it is also stated, that there were seven subdivisions of this class of pitris. They remained over from the Third Round, as has been stated, and are called the self-existent.
There were many others who contributed their share in forming even this first race, after the shadows or form-bodies were projected.
Each class of Creators endows man with what it has to give. — 2:95
Aeons of time and many grades of beings were called into service before the divine spark, the intelligence of man could be quickened. Some of these changes are poetically outlined in the Stanzas as follows:
Stanza IV (continued)
16. How are the (real) manushyas born? The manus with minds, how are they made? The fathers (Barhishad (?) ) call to their help their own (the Kavyavahana, electric fire), which is the fire which burns in earth. The spirit of the earth called to his help the solar fire (Suchi, the spirit in the Sun.) These three (the Pitris and the two fires) produced in their joint efforts a good rupa. It (the form) could stand, walk, run, recline and fly. Yet it was still but a chhaya, a shadow with no sense. . . . — 2:102
H. P. Blavatsky comments that this failure
allegorizes the vanity of physical nature's unaided attempts to construct even a perfect animal — let alone man. For the "Fathers," the lower Angels, are all Nature-Spirits and the higher Elementals also possess an intelligence of their own; but this is not enough to construct a thinking man. — 2:102
Stanza IV (continued)
17. The breath (human Monad) needed a form; the Fathers gave it. The breath needed a gross body; the Earth molded it. The breath needed the Spirit of Life; the Solar Lhas breathed it into its form. The breath needed a mirror of its body (astral shadow); "We gave it our own," said the Dhyanis. The breath needed a vehicle of desires (Kama-Rupa); "It has it," said the Drainer of Waters (Suchi, the fire of passion and animal instinct). The breath needs a mind to embrace the Universe; "We cannot give that," said the Fathers. "I never had it," said the Spirit of the Earth. "The form would be consumed were I to give it mine," said the Great (solar) Fire. . . . (nascent) Man remained an empty, senseless Bhuta. . . . Thus have the boneless given life to those who became (later) men with bones in the third (race). — 2:104-5
In regard to the lunar pitris or "ancestors," the advanced monads,
Their creating the semblance of men out of their own divine Essence means, esoterically, that it is they who became the first Race, and thus shared its destiny and further evolution. — 2:94-5
The lhas of the moon (progenitors) were only ancestors of the form, but the four orders of dhyan-chohans out of the seven classes were the progenitors of the concealed man. Even at this time man was becoming complex, that is, built up of many lives, simple as he was in comparison with mankind of today. However, so early as the second race, the latent minds of future men began to be awakened, though it was not until the third race that the great change from animals to men took place. Says the Commentary:
"The Sons of mahat are the quickeners of the human Plant. They are the Waters falling upon the arid soil of latent life, and the Spark that vivifies the human animal. They are the Lords of Spiritual Life eternal.". . . . "In the beginning (in the Second Race) some (of the Lords) only breathed of their essence into Manushya (men) and some took in man their abode." — 2:103
These creators are of a different order. None prior to this had been able to give mind, for they had it not to give. Now a certain class begin to awaken the sleeping germ of mind in those who were developed to the point of making it possible. H. P. Blavatsky says in this connection, that had not the sons of mahat given this impulse —
The cyclic pilgrimage would have to be performed through all the planes of existence half unconsciously, if not entirely so, as in the case of the animals. — 2:103
The fact that only some became incarnations of the sons of mahat, while others could be quickened only by a spark, accounts for the great difference in the intellectual capacities of men.
The First root-race did not die, but
disappeared in the second race, as certain lower lives and plants do in their progeny. — 2:84
There was as yet no physical body, and the transformation took place by a process of budding.
How could these Chhayas reproduce themselves otherwise; viz., procreate the Second Race, since they were ethereal, a-sexual, and even devoid, as yet, of the vehicle of desire, or Kama-rupa, which evolved only in the Third Race? They evolved in the Second Race unconsciously, as do some plants. — 2:116
A study of the development of a germ-cell as it takes place now will give some hint of the manner of this early process of reproduction.
this Race never died. Its "men" melted gradually away, becoming absorbed in the bodies of their own "sweat-born" progeny, more solid than their own. The old form vanished and was absorbed by, disappeared in, the new form, more human and physical. — 2:121
Not only did the first race not die, but neither fire nor water could destroy it. The second race, however, was more solid, and not only could be, but actually was, destroyed by water.
The ever-blooming lands of the Second Continent (Greenland, among others) were transformed, in order, from Edens with their eternal spring, into hyperboreal Hades. This transformation was due to the displacement of the great waters of the globe, to oceans changing their beds; and the bulk of the Second Race perished in this first great throe of the evolution and consolidation of the globe during the human period. Of such great cataclysms there have already been four. And we may expect a fifth for ourselves in due course of time. — 2:138
"The early Second (Root) Race were the Fathers of the 'Sweat-born'; the later Second (Root) Race were the 'Sweat-born' themselves." — 2:117
This refers to the work of evolution from the beginning of a race to its close, which covers aeons of time. Every root-race has seven stages of evolution racially, as has every individual of the race. Thus the first subraces of the second race were born at first, by the process described; while the last began gradually to be formed otherwise.
We speak of these beings as men, but as a matter of fact
the first and second races, were not physical beings, but merely rudiments of the future men. — 2:108
They passed without having made any history. The second creates the third and perishes. The human embryo at this time was egg-born, and then nourished by cosmic forces, quite independent of its androgynous parent.
22. The Sun warmed it; the Moon cooled and shaped it; the Wind fed it until its ripeness. — 2:131
This was the beginning of the third race — the most complicated in its development, and the most wonderful, as having been the one in which the great change took place; and the one which marks an almost unbelievable difference between its first and last condition. Before describing this race more in detail, however, it will be necessary in the next chapter to say something of the teaching as to the powers which are behind all changes that take place — changes which mean the unfolding of that which is within, and which are called evolution. Yet it must never be forgotten in studying this philosophy that the background of the whole teaching is that after having reached the human plane, man creates himself.
There are teachers, helpers, at every stage, but man has the free will to follow these instructors or not. He is tethered to his higher self, the god within, by a thread so long and elastic that he may wander to every last corner of the globe, or realm of consciousness; that he may even become insensible of it, yet the golden thread is always there to lead him out of the labyrinth of ignorance and doubt. He may follow it home, or alas! he may break it and undo the work of many eternities. Nature in the beginning assumes the responsibility, but this she resigns when mind has been awakened. From that moment the consequences of every deed fall upon the actor. And although he may weave a net about himself and call it destiny, he has always a choice in dealing with the self-made tangle — one which may draw the threads yet tighter, or gradually unravel them. Without such freedom, man could never fullfill his divine potential.
Every system of philosophy worthy of the name, premises eternity in both directions, and the wisdom-religion declares that this is true. A beginning in life is inconceivable. Forever beings have been evolving, and the universe is necessarily filled with those of every possible degree of intelligence and non-intelligence and of every grade of power. "Blind force" and "empty space" represent conceptions only of the ignorant. They can have no basis in reality. Moreover, the universe — not our solar system alone — being one, every part of it is related to the whole. The statement of such self-evident facts would almost call for an apology, were there not abundant indication that religious bias has caused the average human mind, in building up its thought-structure, absolutely to neglect them.
But once these fundamental truths are realized, there is no escaping the conclusion that every atom has its place and function; that not the smallest tittle is superfluous; that all space is inhabited by intelligences of varying degrees, each performing its task as accurately as do the innumerable entities which make up our body; that for the infinite worlds to move with the certainty and precision which they plainly do, there can be no gap in nature anywhere, no point which is not supported above and below, no smallest cosmic effect without an actor intelligent to the degree of the act, no being which is not essential to the whole; in short, that the universe of universes is but the instrument, the organ, the body — if you wish — of the great Unknown.
From Gods to men, from Worlds to atoms, from a star to a rush-light, from the Sun to the vital heat of the meanest organic being — the world of Form and Existence is an immense chain, whose links are all connected. — The Secret Doctrine, 1:604
We cannot study ourselves without reaching out to the whole; we cannot study the whole without seeing the reflection — ourselves. In speaking of the hierarchies of dhyan-chohans, H. P. Blavatsky says that
humanity, as a whole, is in reality a materialized though as yet imperfect expression thereof. — 1:93
The Worlds are all subject to Rulers or Regents. — 1:99
It is impossible in papers of this kind to give more than a hint of those overruling souls whose constant care and continuous exercise of will furnish us with the necessary conditions for life. Even The Secret Doctrine claims merely to outline what knowledge our humanity needs for the coming centuries. These articles are an attempt to interest in Blavatsky's great work those who are searching for truth, and to implant the idea which she has given to the world that there are such unceasingly active guides. She says there are innumerable hierarchies of builders, architects of our planetary chain, and progenitors of our humanity,
until the mind is lost in this endless enumeration of celestial hosts and Beings, each having its distinct task in the running of the visible Kosmos during its existence. — 1:129
Each people and nation, as said already, has its direct Watcher, Guardian and Father in Heaven — a Planetary Spirit. — 1:576
There are thus watchers or architects who furnished the many and various races with divine kings and leaders.
When incarnated as Kings of the "divine Dynasties," they gave the impulse to civilizations, and directed the mind with which they had endued men to the invention and perfection of all the arts and sciences. Thus the Kabiri are said to have appeared as the benefactors of men, and as such they lived for ages in the memory of nations. To them — the Kabiri or Titans — is ascribed the invention of letters, . . . of laws and legislature; of architecture. . . . and of the medical use of plants. . . .
It is the Kabiri who are credited with having revealed, by producing corn or wheat, the great boon of agriculture. What Isis-Osiris, the once living Kabiria, has done in Egypt, that Ceres is said to have done in Sicily; they all belong to one class. — 2:364; see also 1:266-7
During the great mystery and drama of life known as the Manvantara, real Kosmos is like the object placed behind the white screen upon which are thrown the Chinese shadows, called forth by the magic lantern. The actual figures and things remain invisible, while the wires of evolution are pulled by the unseen hands; and men and things are thus but the reflections, on the white field, of realities, behind the snares of Mahamaya, or the great Illusion. — 1:278
The old records of every race and nation show a belief in divine rulers. It can be found in the Chinese, Persian, Indian, Egyptian, Hebrew, Peruvian.
These Beings appear first as "gods" and Creators; then they merge in nascent man, to finally emerge as "divine-Kings and Rulers." But this fact has been gradually forgotten. — 2:366
This will be more fully explained in describing the third race. All through The Secret Doctrine are references to and explanations of the myths and legends which have formed the background of every ancient people; which have entered into every religion and been the inspiration of artists and poets of all ages. They are all the more or less true reproductions of the actual facts in the ancient history of man. The Secret Doctrine is a treasure-mine for those wishing to trace these universal myths to their origin; as for those wishing to study comparative religions; as indeed, for those who seek illumination on any subject that is of real interest to the human race.
In Volume 1, pages 207-8, is described a Wondrous Being, who
is the Tree from which, in subsequent ages, all the great historically known Sages and Hierophants, such as the Rishi Kapila, Hermes, Enoch, Orpheus, etc., etc., have branched off. As objective man, he is the mysterious (to the profane — the ever invisible) yet ever present Personage about whom legends are rife in the East, especially among the Occultists and the students of the Sacred Science. It is he who changes form, yet remains ever the same. And it is he again who holds spiritual sway over the initiated Adepts throughout the whole world. He is, as said, the "Nameless One" who has so many names, and yet whose names and whose very nature are unknown. He is the "Initiator," called the "Great Sacrifice." For, sitting at the threshold of Light, he looks into it from within the circle of Darkness, which he Will not cross; nor will he quit his post till the last day of this life-cycle. Why does the solitary Watcher remain at his self-chosen post? Why does he sit by the fountain of primeval Wisdom, of which he drinks no longer, as he has naught to learn which he does not know — aye, neither on this Earth, nor in its heaven? Because the lonely, sore-footed pilgrims on their way back to their home are never sure to the last moment of not losing their way in this limitless desert of illusion and matter called Earth-Life. Because he would fain show the way to that region of freedom and light, from which he is a voluntary exile himself, to every prisoner who has succeeded in liberating himself from the bonds of flesh and illusion. Because, in short, he has sacrificed himself for the sake of mankind, though but a few Elect may profit by the Great Sacrifice.
It is under the direct, silent guidance of this Maha — (great) — Guru that all the other less divine Teachers and instructors of mankind became, from the first awakening of human consciousness, the guides of early Humanity. It is through these "Sons of God" that infant humanity got its first notions of all the arts and sciences, as well as of spiritual knowledge; and it is they who have laid the first foundation-stone of those ancient civilizations that puzzle so sorely our modern generation of students and scholars.
And it is they who have given to the world the great wisdom-religion, the modern expression of which is theosophy.
The foregoing quotations will prepare the mind for the great event of the third race, whose history is so wonderful. There were gradually evolved during that race three distinct methods of procreation: the first was sexless; the second, hermaphrodite; the third, bisexual. In the beginning, the process was one unknown to modern science. It was by means of an exudation of moisture or vital fluid, the drops of which, coalescing, formed an oviform ball or egg, which gradually hardened, broke, and the young human animal issued from it unaided.
The little ones of the earlier races were entirely sexless — shapeless even for all one knows; but those of the later races were born androgynous. It is in the Third Race that the separation of sexes occurred. From being previously a-sexual, Humanity became distinctly hermaphrodite or bi-sexual; and finally the man-bearing eggs began to give birth, gradually and almost imperceptibly in their evolutionary development, first, to Beings in which one sex predominated over the other, and, finally, to distinct men and women. — 2:132
Speaking of the method of reproduction of the early third race from these drops of "sweat," it
is not more difficult to imagine or realize than the growth of the foetus from an imperceptible germ, which foetus develops into a child, and then into a strong, heavy man. — 2:177
Of course the changes were numerous, as the transformation from one to the other of the three main types was gradual and covered millions of years. A little later the drops became greater and developed into huge eggs, in which the human foetus gestated for several years.
During the hermaphrodite period there was a stage when human creatures were four-armed, with one head and three eyes, the third eye being the organ of spiritual vision.
A Kalpa later (after the separation of the sexes) men having fallen into matter, their spiritual vision became dim; and coordinately the third eye commenced to lose its power. . . . The third eye, likewise, getting gradually petrified, soon disappeared. — 2:294
Blavatsky says its present witness is the pineal gland.
In the beginning, every class and family of living species was hermaphrodite and objectively one-eyed. . . . The two physical front eyes developed later on in both brute and man, whose organ of physical sight was, at the commencement of the Third Race, in the same position as that of some of the blind vertebrate, in our day, i.e., beneath an opaque skin. Only the stages of the odd or primeval eye, in man and brute, are now inverted, as the former has already passed that animal non-rational stage in the Third Round, and is ahead of mere brute creation by a whole plane of consciousness. Therefore, while the "Cyclopean" eye was, and still is, in man the organ of spiritual sight, in the animal it was that of objective vision. And this eye, having performed its function, was replaced, in the course of physical evolution from the simple to the complex, by two eyes, and thus was stored and laid aside by nature for further use in Aeons to come. — 2:299
Those who are interested can follow in Blavatsky's writings the presumptive evidence of these changes in the ancient legends and records. Fairy tales of one-eyed giants are born of old memories.
The active Power, the "Perpetual motion of the great Breath" only awakens Kosmos at the dawn of every new Period, setting it into motion by means of the two contrary Forces, and thus causing it to become objective on the plane of Illusion. In other words, that dual motion transfers Kosmos from the plane of the Eternal Ideal into that of finite manifestation, or from the Noumenal to the phenomenal plane. Everything that is, was, and will be, eternally is, even the countless forms, which are finite and perishable only in their objective, not in their ideal Form. They existed as Ideas, in the Eternity, and, when they pass away, will exist as reflections. Neither the form of man, nor that of any animal, plant or stone has ever been created, and it is only on this plane of ours that it commenced "becoming," i.e., objectivizing into its present materiality, or expanding from within outwards, from the most sublimated and supersensuous essence into its grossest appearance. Therefore our human forms have existed in the Eternity as astral or ethereal prototypes; according to which models, the Spiritual Beings (or Gods) whose duty it was to bring them into objective being and terrestrial Life, evolved the protoplasmic forms of the future Egos from their own essence. After which when this human Upadhi, or basic mold was ready, the natural terrestrial Forces began to work on those supersensuous molds which contained, besides their own, the elements of all the past vegetable and future animal forms of this globe in them. Therefore, man's outward shell passed through every vegetable and animal body before it assumed the human shape. — 1:282-3
"As soon as man appeared, everything was complete . . . for everything is comprised in man. He unites in himself all forms." — 2:290
What happened when this outward instrument was ready will be described in the next chapter.
The vehicle was now ready. That momentous event, upon which all the energies of this planet had been focused during the millions and millions of years it had then existed, was near. That which was to become man had lived in every form which the infinite combinations of this world's elements could shape; had learned to mold and remold them; had functioned through each until perfection and impossibility of fault was reached and had then passed on to more complex forms.
During all these eternities this, the monad, had been overshadowed by the hosts of heaven, by denizens of greater worlds and of interstellar spaces. Through their guidance myriads of lesser lives had at the cyclic moment taken up their abode in the growing complex form which was to become the human temple. New faculties sprang into being as it silently moved toward its destiny. But of the exhaustless storehouse of nature was brought to this marvelous form the living replica of all her riches, furnishing it with the means to unlock every door of her secret chambers. Patience, love, wisdom, had done their utmost. In such ways were built up these bodies which we too often desecrate; whose exquisite mechanism we disturb for a passing pleasant sensation; whose harmony and grace we carelessly destroy. But at the period of which we speak there were no discords. The lives presiding over the various organs knew well their little kingdoms (as they do now), and unnecessary disturbers of the peace were absent. The Wise Men of the East, also, from the spiritual sun brought their gifts to the temple being prepared for the inner Christos.
For dwelling within the living form was its spiritual monad. Nothing was lacking but mind. The earlier creators had given what they had, the external form was by them built up, the barhishad pitris had given physical creative fire; but mind or spiritual fire was not theirs to offer. Thus the lower and the higher consciousness in this frame were separate. One knew not the other: they were too different in nature. The lower animal was active, the higher part was latent and must continue so to be unless the gulf were spanned. (See The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, pages 57, 79, 94-5, 241-3.)
Then the gods descended — the solar gods, the radiant manasaputras — and took up their abode in those dwellings which were at last ready. They incarnated in those mindless forms and quickened their latent fires. This great change for human kind happened over eighteen million years ago. (See Volume 2, pages 46, 149, 157, 250, 255.)
The story is told in allegory in the myth of Prometheus, who brought the spiritual fire from heaven to mortals and was chained to a rock for ages — the rock of matter, which was the animal body. The lacking principle was mind or manas, which must have lain sleeping as a germ forever had not Prometheus lighted and awakened it with spiritual fire. To quicken it permanently, to make a mortal immortal, to change a dawning intelligence into a god — for this, a long manvantara is needed. If at any time in the long-ago past the fire-bringer had quitted his post, or during the eternities yet to be of this earth-cycle, he should do so, the fire would die out, and the form return to idiocy. Up to this mysterious and momentous event, the lunar pitris were the formative powers in the races of men, but from this time onward, the higher ego should be the ruling power — although too often, alas! it is dragged down by the fierce and dominating lower nature.
Between man and the animal — whose Monads (or Jivas) are fundamentally identical — there is the impassable abyss of Mentality and Self-consciousness. What is human mind in its higher aspect, whence comes it, if it is not a portion of the essence — and, in some rare cases of incarnation, the very essence — of a higher Being: one from a higher and divine plane? Can man — a god in the animal form — be the product of Material Nature by evolution alone, even as is the animal, which differs from man in external shape, but by no means in the materials of its physical fabric, and is informed by the same, though undeveloped, Monad — seeing that the intellectual potentialities of the two differ as the Sun does from the Glow-worm? And what is it that creates such difference, unless man is an animal plus a living god within his physical shell? Let us pause and ask ourselves seriously the question. — 2:81
Stanza VII, Volume 2, page 161, referring to this part of the history, reads as follows:
24. The Sons of Wisdom, the Sons of Night . . . ready for re-birth, came down. They saw the (intellectually) vile forms of the first third (still senseless Race.). "We can choose," said the Lords, "we have wisdom." Some entered the Chhayas. Some projected a spark. Some deferred till the Fourth (Race). From their own essence they filled (intensified) the Kama (the vehicle of desire). Those who received but a spark remained destitute of (higher) knowledge. The spark burnt low. The Third remained mindless. Their Jivas (Monads) were not ready. These were set apart among the Seven (primitive human species). They (became the) narrow-headed.[*] The third were ready. In these shall we dwell, said the Lords of the Flame and of the Dark Wisdom.
*The term here means neither the dolicho-cephalic nor the brachyo-cephalic, nor yet skulls of a smaller volume, but simply brains devoid of intellect generally. — 2:168n
H. P. Blavatsky, in commenting on the above, says this Stanza contains the whole key to the mysteries of evil. It explains the puzzling inequalities in human life, and many problems which have baffled the great minds of our races. Intellect may be said to have been born at this time, and during this fourth round it developed as a fit vehicle for the higher faculty, buddhi or intuition. But manas or mind will not be fully developed until the next or fifth round, and will have the opportunity of becoming entirely divine at the end of the seventh round.
Those who were "not ready" does not imply any fault on their part, nor any partiality on the part of those above them. All are given what they can take, just as is the case all through this long pilgrimage, and as conscious life grows, each is given what he has earned. Nature is never partial. Those "not ready" represent simply a later arrival on the scene and, it is said, will have to evolve through this and the other three globes of this round before they will arrive at the level of the average class. But nature is full of compensations. Blavatsky gives here this hint:
The monads of the lowest specimens of humanity . . . had no Karma to work out when first born as men, as their more favored brethren in intelligence had. The former are spinning out Karma only now; the latter are burdened with past, present and future Karma. In this respect the poor savage is more fortunate than the greatest genius of civilized countries. — 2:168
Even so, it is important to bear in mind H. P. Blavatsky's further comment that
If to-morrow the continent of Europe were to disappear and other lands to re-emerge instead; and if the African tribes were to separate and scatter on the face of the earth, it is they who, in about a hundred thousand years hence, would form the bulk of the civilized nations. And it is the descendants of those of our highly cultured nations, who might have survived on some one island, without any means of crossing the new seas, that would fall back into a state of relative savagery. Thus the reason given for dividing humanity into superior and inferior races falls to the ground and becomes a fallacy. — 2:425
Our average present humanity are those who received "but a spark." It is our destiny to acquire intellectuality in its fulness during the present manvantara or life-period of this earth. When the life-forces of this planet reimbody on the next, as did those of the moon on earth, we shall be ready for the full reception of the "sons of wisdom."
This era is the point so often referred to in ancient philosophy where the two streams of evolution meet, coming in opposite directions.
There was a spiritual, a psychic, an intellectual, and an animal evolution, from the highest to the lowest, as well as a physical development — from the simple and homogeneous, up to the more complex and heterogeneous; though not quite on the lines traced for us by the modern evolutionists. This double evolution in two contrary directions, required various ages, of divers natures and degrees of spirituality and intellectuality, to fabricate the being now known as man. Furthermore, the one absolute, ever acting and never erring law, which proceeds on the same lines from one eternity (or Manvantara) to the other ever furnishing an ascending scale for the manifested, or that which we call the great Illusion (Maha-Maya), but plunging Spirit deeper and deeper into materiality on the one hand, and then redeeming it through flesh and liberating it — this law, we say, uses for these purposes the Beings from other and higher planes, men, or Minds (Manus), in accordance with their Karmic exigencies. — 2:87-8
This is typical of the process of all evolution. Something higher meets something lower for their mutual benefit. But here this occurred on a huge scale. Physical nature had been struggling for long eternities to reach the level where it could receive and be united with the other pole of the One Life — spirit. It was a point at which the whole face of life on this globe changed radically. From a dull vegetative existence, all was transformed in a manner and with a rapidity unbelievable — relative however, as to rapidity. It must not be forgotten that the period of even a subrace is, roughly speaking, 210,000 years. But the change ran all the way from beings with no language to some of the highest civilizations the earth has yet known.
The wonderful quickening of life was due to those who fully incarnated and became "Arhats."
There is an eternal cyclic law of re-births, and the series is headed at every new Manvantaric dawn by those who had enjoyed their rest from re-incarnations in previous Kalpas for incalculable Aeons — by the highest and the earliest Nirvanis. It was the turn of those "Gods" to incarnate in the present Manvantara; hence their presence on Earth, . . . . — 2:232
Also we have a suggestive passage from the letter of a great teacher, bearing on this subject:
Says the letter: "Now there are, and there must be, failures in the ethereal races of the many classes of Dhyan-Chohans, or Devas (progressed entities of a previous planetary period), as well as among men. But still, as the failures are too far progressed and spiritualized to be thrown back forcibly from Dhyan-Chohanship into the vortex of a new primordial evolution through the lower Kingdoms, this then happens. Where a new solar system has to be evolved these Dhyan-Chohans are borne in by influx 'ahead' of the Elementals (Entities . . . to be developed into humanity at a future time) and remain as a latent or inactive spiritual force, in the aura of a nascent world . . . until the stage of human evolution is reached. . . . Then they become an active force and commingle with the Elementals, to develop little by little the full type of humanity." That is to say, to develop in, and endow man with his Self-conscious mind, or Manas. — 2:233n
Others from the great past had come to form the outer and inner man. Now that the seven principles which are needed to complete a human being were united, these great ones came to teach men how to live.
Let us begin by the mode of reproduction of the later sub-races of the Third human race, by those who found themselves endowed with the sacred fire from the spark of higher and then independent Beings, who were the psychic and spiritual parents of Man, as the lower Pitar-Devatas (the Pitris) were the progenitors of his physical body. That Third and holy Race consisted of men who, at their zenith, were described as, "towering giants of godly strength and beauty, and the depositaries of all the mysteries of Heaven and Earth." . . . the chief gods and heroes of the Fourth and Fifth Races, as of later antiquity, are the deified images of these men of the Third. The days of their physiological purity, and those of their so-called Fall, have equally survived in the hearts and memories of their descendants. — 2:171-2
This race created, not as those who had received a "spark," but by the power of will, known as kriyasakti, that mysterious power latent in the will of every person, but not to be developed in ordinary humanity for ages yet to come.
The Third Race had thus created the so-called Sons of Will and Yoga, or the "ancestors" (the spiritual forefathers) of all the subsequent and present Arhats, or Mahatmas, in a truly immaculate way. They were indeed created, not begotten, as were their brethren of the Fourth Race, who were generated sexually after the separation of the sexes, the Fall of Man. For creation is but the result of will acting on phenomenal matter, the calling forth out of it the primordial divine Light and eternal Life. They were the "holy seed-grain" of the future Saviors of Humanity. — 2:173
They were a conscious production, as a portion of the race was already animated with the divine spark of spiritual, superior intelligence. It was not a Race, this progeny. It was at first a wondrous Being, called the "Initiator," and after him a group of semi-divine and semi-human beings. "Set apart" in Archaic genesis for certain purposes, they are those in whom are said to have incarnated the highest Dhyanis, "Munis and Rishis from previous Manvantaras" — to form the nursery for future human adepts, on this earth and during the present cycle. These "Sons of Will and Yoga" born, so to speak, in an immaculate way, remained, it is explained, entirely apart from the rest of mankind. — 1:207
It is called the "undying race" esoterically, for
Happily for the human race the "Elect Race" had already become the vehicle of incarnation of the (intellectually and spiritually) highest Dhyanis before Humanity had become quite material. When the last sub-races — save some lowest — of the Third Race had perished with the great Lemurian Continent, "the seeds of the Trinity of Wisdom" had already acquired the secret of immortality on Earth, that gift which allows the same great personality to step ad libitum from one worn-out body into another. — 2:276
They will once more produce "mind-born" immaculate sons in the seventh root-race.
In Isis Unveiled, H. P. Blavatsky gives a legend of a Sacred Island — also quoted in The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, page 220. This island rested in a vast inland sea, which extended over Middle Asia north of the proud Himalayan range, where now are desolate barren wastes. The ancient isle had no rival in the world for beauty. Some thousands of years B.C., this lovely spot was the home of the Sons of Wisdom — the undying race — who had escaped from the great deluge. In the legend it is known as the Garden of Eden, of which, it is said, all subsequent Edens are but the reminiscence. There is a tradition that this island exists to the present day as an oasis, surrounded by the dreadful wildernesses of the great Gobi desert, whose sands "no foot hath crossed in the memory of man." There dwelt the Sons of Wisdom.
As to Enoch, Thoth or Hermes, Orpheus and Kadmos, these are all generic names, branches and offshoots of the seven primordial sages (incarnated Dhyan-Chohans or Devas, in illusive, not mortal bodies), who taught Humanity all it knew, and whose earliest disciples assumed their master's names. This custom passed from the Fourth to the Fifth Race. Hence the sameness of the traditions about Hermes . . . Enoch, etc., they are all inventors of letters; none of them dies but still lives, and they are the first Initiators into, and Founders of the Mysteries. — The Secret Doctrine 2:267n
Alone a handful of primitive men . . . remained the elect custodians of the Mysteries revealed to mankind by the divine Teachers. . . . these Elect were the germ of a Hierarchy which never died since that period: . . . . Though unseen they are ever present. When people say of one of them, "He is dead"; behold, he is alive and under another form. These are the Head, the Heart, the Soul, and the Seed of undying knowledge. . . . Thou shalt never speak, O Lanoo, of these great ones . . . before a multitude, mentioning them by their names. The Wise alone will understand. . . . — 2:281-2
The gradual evolution of man in the Secret Doctrine shows that all the later . . . Races have their physical origin in the early Fourth Race. But it is the sub-race, which preceded the one that separated sexually, that is to be regarded as the spiritual ancestors of our present generations, and especially of the Eastern Aryan Races.[*] — 2:165n
[* The word Aryan is derived from the Sanskrit root arya, "noble," and for centuries denoted the ancient Indo-European peoples who migrated into Northern India, Aryavarta. In H. P. Blavatsky's writings it generally refers to the 5th root-race, i.e., present-day humanity.]
The Garden of Eden, then, as a locality, is no myth at all, but as said, there have been several Edens.
it is really from the Euxine to Kashmir and beyond, that science has to search for the cradle — or rather one of the chief cradles — of mankind and the sons of Ad-ah; and especially in after times, when the Garden of Ed-en on the Euphrates became the college of the astronomers and magi, the Aleim.
But this "college" and this Eden belong to the Fifth Race, and are simply a faint reminiscence of the Adi-varsha, of the primeval Third Race. — 2:203
In the long transition period when the methods of reproduction were changing, the animals separated into two sexes first. By degrees this transformation occurred in the human stage. But the mindless men, those who had received no "spark," the "narrow-headed" spoken of in Chapter V, crossed with the animals — a possible thing in the very early steps of evolution. Stanza VIII, verse 32, of The Book of Dzyan, quoted in The Secret Doctrine, 2:184, reads:
And those which had no spark (the "narrow-brained") took huge she-animals unto them. They begat upon them dumb races. Dumb they were (the "narrow brained") themselves. But their tongues untied. The tongues of their progeny remained still. Monsters they bred. A race of crooked, red-hair-covered monsters, going on all fours. A dumb race, to keep the shame untold.
This progeny, which cannot be compared to anything existing today, are the ancestors of the anthropoids, so puzzling to science. We are now at a place in the history where it is possible to understand the allusions made several times to exceptions to the rule that no monads enter the human stage after the middle point on this globe, namely, during the fourth race. For this dumb race was partly human. The event was the first physical "fall into matter" of the lower races which, however, being mindless, were irresponsible. The results of the mistake — for such it was — had to fall on the Sons of Wisdom, who had refused to incarnate earlier, and yet were responsible for the coming humanity. Stanza IX reads as follows:
33. Seeing which (the sin committed with the animals), the Lhas (the Spirits, the "Sons of Wisdom") who had not built men (who had refused to create), wept, saying: —
34. "The Amanasa (the 'mindless') have defiled our future abodes. This is Karma. Let us dwell in the others. Let us teach them better, lest worse should happen." They did. . . .
35. Then all became endowed with Manas (minds). They saw the sin of the mindless. — 2:191
By degrees the men themselves as time unfolded their natures
realized the unfitness — we must not say sin — of what they had done, only when too late; after the angelic monads from higher spheres had incarnated in, and endowed them with understanding. To that day they had remained simply physical, like the animals generated from them. For what is the distinction? The doctrine teaches that the only difference between animate and inanimate objects on earth, between an animal and a human frame, is that in some the various "fires" are latent and in others they are active. The vital fires are in all things and not an atom is devoid of them. But no animal has the three higher principles awakened in him; they are simply potential, latent, and thus non-existing. And so would the animal frames of men be to this day, had they been left as they came out from the bodies of their Progenitors, whose shadows they were, to grow, unfolded only by the powers and forces immanent in matter. — 2:267
H. P. Blavatsky comments on the Stanzas to the effect that, though sinning unconsciously, this seventh degenerate race will have to bide its time for final development, but will find itself on the last day, on one of the seven paths.
But the journey is fraught with difficulties for those Sons of Wisdom who thus deferred incarnation.
— these had their Karmic punishment prepared for them. They got bodies (physiologically) inferior to their astral models, because their chhayas had belonged to progenitors of an inferior degree in the seven classes. As to those "Sons of Wisdom" who had "deferred" their incarnation till the Fourth Race, which was already tainted (physiologically) with sin and impurity, they produced a terrible cause, the Karmic result of which weighs on them to this day. It was produced in themselves, and they became the carriers of that seed of iniquity for aeons to come, because the bodies they had to inform had become defiled through their own procrastination. — 2:228
This mistake, then, was the origin of the much discussed race of anthropoid apes, and the history of the event shows a fallacy of the so-called Darwinian doctrine. Blavatsky points out that
the embryo of man has no more of the ape in it than of any other mammal, but contains in itself the totality of the kingdoms of nature, — 2:259
It is not denied that in the preceding Round man was a gigantic ape-like creature; and when we say "man" we ought perhaps to say, the rough-mold that was developing for the use of man in this Round only. — 2:261
What we now see as apes are the much-changed descendants of that early animal-human progeny. They form the exception so often spoken of, and will become men of a lower order in the next or fifth round.
It is interesting to note here that science is beginning to corroborate to a degree the ancient teachings on this subject. The puzzle and mystery of the simian races can, of course, never be unraveled by the methods of investigation at present used by scientists. Only a study of the archaic records can reveal the real facts. But the careful, patient, persevering, and truly remarkable researches of scholars working in this direction, are gradually undermining the Darwinian theory. In high scientific quarters it is asserted that there is no evidence of its truth, but that inference can reach no further than to suspect man and ape as representing separate branches of the same original stock. Evidence has been produced to prove man anterior to the ape — all of which opens the door for the acceptance of this ancient teaching, so simple and comprehensive. Dr. G. de Purucker's book, Man in Evolution, presents facts from the anatomical and biological standpoint which contradict the old Darwinian theory.
The mistakes of those early days did not end with the mindless race. The third race merged into the fourth, growing more and more material; during which transition certain groups showed their loss of spirituality by becoming sensual and inflated with pride.
They took wives fair to look at. Wives from the "mindless," the narrow-headed. They bred monsters, wicked demons, male and female... — Stanza X, sloka 41, 2:271
. . . it is most important to remember that the Egos of the apes are entities compelled by their Karma to incarnate in the animal forms, which resulted from the bestiality of the latest Third and the earliest Fourth Race men. They are entities who had already reached the "human stage" before this Round. Consequently, they form an exception to the general rule. The numberless traditions about Satyrs are no fables, but represent an extinct race of animal men. — 2:262
Nor did it yet end here.
As time rolled on, and the still semi-astral forms consolidated into the physical the descendants of these creatures were modified by external conditions, until the breed, dwindling in size, culminated in the lower apes of the Miocene period. With these the later Atlanteans renewed the sin of the "Mindless" — this time with full responsibility. The resultants of their crime were the species of apes now known as Anthropoid. — 2:689
In different parts of her work, Blavatsky has recorded very fully the ancestry of the apes from different points of view. She has cited facts which would be of interest to the anthropologist, the zoologist, the embryologist, or the student of folklore. Even many allusions in the Bible are cleared up in this discussion. But it is enough for us here to outline the story as to their origin.
The separation of the sexes took place very gradually, and slowly many other changes took place. There had been eternal spring in the sinless, mindless days of the race. But gradually, as season succeeded season, great cold in places forced men to seek methods of protection — clothing, shelter, etc., and after the formation of the men-animals, the natures of animals changed. They became ferocious. The old, happy, golden days passed. Adi-varsha, the Eden of the first races, became a frozen white corpse.
Misery and suffering drove men to appeal to the superior fathers. Then
Divine Kings descended and taught men sciences and arts. — 2:201
They formed the first Divine Dynasty, and in the course of time a glorious civilization arose.
There have been several Divine Dynasties — a series for every Root Race beginning with the Third, each series according and adapted to its Humanity. — 2:429
In the words of a Master:
"The Fourth Race had its periods of the highest civilization. Greek and Roman and even Egyptian civilizations are nothing compared to the civilizations that began with the Third Race" — after its separation. — 2:429-30
Their home, now called Lemuria, was on a gigantic continent, now buried beneath the Pacific Ocean. It stretched east as far as the two Americas, and west to the Indian Ocean and Africa. Australia was a portion of it, and the numerous islands dotted over the great ocean are the mountaintops of that ancient land. Under the guidance of their divine rulers, they built large cities; cultivated arts and sciences; knew astronomy, architecture, and mathematics.
But this, of course, came about gradually. Between the final physical evolution and the first city built, many hundred thousands of years passed. In the sixth subrace, the first rock-cities were built of stone and lava. One of these, entirely of lava, was built about thirty miles west of Easter Island.
The oldest remains of Cyclopean buildings were all the handiwork of the Lemurians of the last sub-race; and an occultist shows, therefore, no wonder on learning that the stone relics found on the small piece of land called Easter Island by Captain Cook, are "very much like the walls of the Temple of Pachacamac or the Ruins of Tia-Huanaco in Peru," and that they are in the Cyclopean Style. The first large cities, however, appeared on that region of the continent which is now known as the island of Madagascar. There were civilized people and savages in those days as there are now. Evolution achieved its work of perfection with the former, and Karma — its work of destruction on the latter. — 2:317-8
Modern archaeologists, in trying to discover how the enormous stones of these Cyclopean relics were transported, do not take into account the fact that the builders were giants.
It must be understood that although every race had its special continent, there has never been a dividing line between each race and its successor. One blends into the other, their civilizations mingle over millions of years. Also, as might be inferred from all that has been quoted, there were striking contrasts in development. While some awakened to great knowledge, others were savages, hardly learning to build a fire. Again, a portion were leading the nomadic life. Referring to Lemuria:
It is to this period that we have to look for the first appearance of the Ancestors of those, who are termed by us the most ancient peoples of the world now called respectively the Aryan Hindus, the Egyptians, and the oldest Persians, on the one hand, and the Chaldees and Phoenicians on the other. These were governed by the Divine Dynasties, i.e., kings and rulers who had of mortal man only his physical appearance as it was then, but who were Beings from spheres higher and more celestial than our own sphere will be, long Manvantaras hence. — 2:328
even before the real advent of the Fourth or Atlantean race, the majority of mankind had fallen into iniquity and sin, save the hierarchy of the "Elect," the followers and disciples of the "Sons of Will and Yoga" — called later the "Sons of the Fire-Mist." — 2:319
The hour had struck for the beginning of the destruction of the third race, and the entry of the fourth, whose formation commenced from a nucleus of Northern Lemurian third-race men, on the Atlantic portion of Lemuria, toward a point of land which is now, roughly speaking, in the mid-Atlantic.
Their continent was formed by the coalescence of many islands and peninsulas which were up-heaved in the ordinary course of time and became ultimately the true home of the great Race known as the Atlanteans. — 2:334
Just as on the first continent at the North Pole, the pitris formed the first race on seven zones, so was the fourth formed in similar manner. According to Stanza X (2:227):
38. Thus two by two, on the seven zones, the Third (Race) gave birth to the Fourth (Race men). The gods became no-gods (Sura became a-Sura).
39. The First (Race) on every zone was moon-colored (yellow-white); the Second, yellow, like gold; the Third, red; the Fourth, brown, which became black with sin. The first seven (human) shoots were all of one complexion in the beginning. The next (seven, the sub-races) began mixing their colors.
These divisions were necessary to suit the karma of the various reincarnating monads, which were not all of equal purity in their last births in other worlds. All had a common origin, inasmuch as all the "Creators" were divine beings, though of different classes or degrees of perfection in their hierarchy.
The first change began in the region now known as Behring Straits and what there was of dry land in central Asia. In those days even the Arctic regions were semi-tropical. It was when the third had reached only the middle point of its development that the Commentary says:
"The axle of the Wheel tilted. The Sun and Moon shone no longer over the heads of that portion of the Sweat Born; people knew snow, ice, and frost, and men, plants, and animals were dwarfed in their growth. Those that did not perish remained as half-grown babes in size and intellect. This was the third pralaya of the races. — 2:329
The teaching is that after every great period of activity or manvantara, there follows a period of rest or pralaya, brought about or preceded by what are commonly called terrible catastrophes. But these, being under the law which acts in harmony with karma — the great adjuster — cannot, in the larger view, be regarded as misfortunes. They are cleansing processes. They purify, and permit a fresh start, as does death for the individual. The great races had their hour of glory, and at the appointed time they passed. The continents which they inhabit perish alternately by fire and by water. Lemuria was consumed by fires of subterranean origin — volcanic eruptions. Easter Island, with its craters of lava, is a belated witness of this. The Atlantean continent was swallowed up by floods; and the lands of the Aryan or fifth race will pass at their cyclic hour, ages hence.
since Vaivasvata Manu's Humanity appeared on this Earth, there have already been four such axial disturbances; when the old continents — save the first one — were sucked in by the oceans, other lands appeared, and huge mountain chains arose where there had been none before. The face of the Globe was completely changed each time; the survival of the fittest nations and races was secured through timely help; and the unfit ones — the failures — were disposed of by being swept off the earth. Such sorting and shifting does not happen between sunset and sunrise, as one may think, but requires several thousands of years before the new house is, set in order. — 2:330
The great numbers who always escape, led by their karma to safe places, form the seed for the new race, and there must always be a long period of transition before the new type becomes established. We see a similar thing on a smaller scale taking place now on the American continent, where a new subrace is being formed from a mingling of the older races.
the Americans have become in only three centuries a "primary race," pro tem., before becoming a race apart, and strongly separated from all other now existing races. They are, in short, the germs of the Sixth sub-race, and in some few hundred years more, will become most decidedly the pioneers of that race which must succeed to the present European or fifth sub-race, in all its new characteristics. After this, in about 25,000 years, they will launch into preparations for the seventh sub-race; until, in consequence of cataclysms — the first series of those which must one day destroy Europe, and still later the whole Aryan race (and thus affect both Americas), as also most of the lands directly connected with the confines of our continent and isles — the Sixth Root-Race will have appeared on the stage of our Round. — 2:444-5
Some portions for karmic reasons remain distinct for ages, as the egos forming them have not yet completed their necessary experience in the old forms. The races overlap by hundreds of thousands of years. We have on the earth today descendants of the third, now much changed in stature and intellectual capacity and rapidly dying out; while the majority of mankind now belongs to the seventh subrace of the fourth root-race.
Stanza XI of the Book of Dzyan reads:
44. They (the Atlanteans) built great images, nine yatis high (27 feet) the size of their bodies. Inner fires had destroyed the land of their fathers (the Lemurians). Water threatened the Fourth (Race). — 2:331
The Easter Island relics are eloquent memorials of the primeval giants, and many of them are about 30 feet high. They have the distinctly sensual type of some of the Atlanteans. Quite different are the Bamian statues in central Asia, whose physiognomy portrays the "Sons of Gods," while the former are the brood of mighty sorcerers (see 2:224). Among the Bamian statues are five built by the fourth race, who sought refuge in this region to escape the general destruction. Here they recorded in stone what they knew would otherwise be lost to memory — the early types. The first statue represents the first race and is 173 feet in height.
The second — 120 feet high — represents the sweat-born; and the third — measuring 60 feet — immortalizes the race that fell, and thereby inaugurated the first physical race, born of father and mother, the last descendants of which are represented in the Statues found on Easter Isle; but they were only from 20 to 25 feet in stature at the epoch when Lemuria was submerged, after it had been nearly destroyed by volcanic fires. The Fourth Race was still smaller, though gigantic in comparison with our present Fifth Race, and the series culminated finally in the latter. — 2:340
In the third race, during its early stage of purity after the awakening of the human mind by the Sons of Wisdom, and while the third eye was yet active, men had a consciousness of their oneness with the Great Spirit of the universe. They had no religion as we understand it, for they were the embodiment of religion itself. They were at one with all that lived and breathed. Love, reverence, trust, confidence, and joy, radiated from them naturally.
It was the "Golden Age" in those days of old, the age when the "gods walked the earth, and mixed freely with mortals." Since then, the gods departed (i.e., became invisible), and later generations ended by worshiping their kingdoms the Elements. — 2:273
But as men grew and felt their power, as they tasted of the Tree of Wisdom, other feelings began to stir. The lower man, the animal, began to awaken also and claim a hearing. These forces were not equally balanced in all. By degrees some obtained mastery over their instincts and joined the Sons of Light; others fell victims to them and became the slaves of matter. Then different masters came to claim them.
We have always to remember that life on this or any globe is the continuation of life from some other. Certain new forces are set in motion, but many come fully matured, ready under the proper conditions to swing into fierce activity. Thus it is recorded that the Lemuro-Atlanteans were the first who had a dynasty of spirit-kings. But, strange as this may seem to one not grounded in the wisdom-religion, these rulers were not all good. Some were perfected in evil, and formed a race of mighty sorcerers and magicians. When pupils were ready for them, they were at hand. We receive what we invite. King Thevetat was of this order, and it was under the influence of this king-demon that the Atlantean race "became a nation of wicked magicians" (see 2:222). Between these, and those arrayed under the banner of light, there was, of course, constant conflict, which ended in that race in the submersion of the continent. But the war is still raging — in men individually and in the nations at large.
The stories of the Babylonian and Mosaic floods are versions of this history. Legend and tradition bear out these facts, and distorted accounts are to be found in Biblical literature. The giants of Genesis are the historical Atlanteans of Lanka and so were the Greek Titans (see 2:236).
One who has read and studied the Commentaries on the archaic doctrine, will easily recognise in some Atlanteans, the prototypes of the Nimrods, the Builders of the Tower of Babel, the Hamites, and all these tutti quanti of "accursed memory,'" as theological literature expresses it: of those, in short, who have furnished posterity with the orthodox types of Satan. — 2:272
The earliest tribes of the first Atlantean races born on the Lemurian continent separated into the righteous and the unrighteous; those who worshiped the one unseen spirit of nature — or the pantheists — and those who worshiped the spirits of the earth, the dark anthropomorphic powers. Here, Blavatsky says, was the secret and mysterious origin of all the subsequent and modern religions.
The Lemurians gravitated toward the North Pole or the Heaven of their Progenitors (the Hyperborean Continent); the Atlanteans, toward the Southern Pole, the pit, cosmically and terrestrially — whence breathe the hot passions blown into hurricanes by the cosmic Elementals, whose abode it is. — 2:274
The human period, as we understand the word "human," may properly be said to begin with the fourth race.
Those who were hitherto semi-divine Beings, self-imprisoned in bodies which were human only in appearance, became physiologically changed and took unto themselves wives who were entirely human and fair to look at, but in whom lower, more material, though sidereal, beings had incarnated. . . . (Lilith is the prototype of these in the Jewish traditions). — 2:284-5
After Lemuria went down, men decreased considerably in stature, and the duration of life diminished. Nevertheless they were still giants. Physical beauty and strength reached their climax toward the middle of the fourth subrace (see 2:319). By this time, too, they had lost their inner vision, or third eye, which could then become active only when artificially stimulated — a process known only to the old sages. But the consolidation and perfection of the human frame caused this third eye to disappear from the outward anatomy, leaving its witness — the pineal gland — in the brain. Psychically and spiritually, however, its mental and visual perception lasted till nearly the end of the fourth race, when, owing to the materiality and depraved condition of mankind, it died out.
When the divine powers became the handmaidens of the newly-awakened physiological and psychic passions of the physical man, instead of their master, the third eye lost its power. Man's sin consisted not in using these newly-developed powers, but in misusing them; in making of the tabernacle, designed to contain a god, the fane of every spiritual iniquity. Should the reader feel perplexed at the use of the term "spiritual" instead of "physical" iniquity, he is reminded that there can be no physical iniquity. The body is simply the irresponsible organ, the tool of the psychic, if not of the spiritual, man. And in the case of the Atlanteans, it was precisely the spiritual being which sinned, the spirit-element being still the "Master" principle in man. Thus it is in those days that the heaviest karma of the fifth race was generated by our monads. Read in this connection, Volume 2, pages 295, 299, 302, 306. As has often been said, this is also the point beyond which no new monads have incarnated; and as many centuries elapse between incarnations of the same being, it is not difficult to grasp the teaching that many of us are working off the effects of evil karmic causes, generated in Atlantean bodies. (See 2:303.)
The civilization of the fourth race was magnificent and dazzling in physical development. Many of the startling discoveries of our day, including aircraft, belonged to the ordinary equipment of the Atlanteans. Complete records of this ancient race are said to exist and will come to light at the proper time, but here and there can be found fragments which are suggestive.
There is extant an account of a dialog between Midas the Phrygian, and Silenus, written during the days of Alexander the Great. The former is told of a continent that had existed in ancient times so immense that Asia, Europe, and Africa seemed like poor islands compared with it. It was the last to produce animals and plants of gigantic magnitude.
There, said Silenus, men grew to double the size of the tallest man in his (the narrator's) time, and they lived to twice as old an age. They had wealthy cities with temples, and one of such (cities) held more than a million of inhabitants in it, gold and silver being found there in great abundance. — The Secret Doctrine 2:760
Their intellects were giant-like as well as their bodies, and they had a knowledge of reincarnation, which tenet was passed on to the fifth race. Also, as the third eye was awake during a part of their history, they were aware of many of the finer forces which do not exist consciously for this age, and which under the blighting effect of materialism have been laughed to scorn. But the majority of that race elected to use this knowledge and power for selfish purposes and prepared for themselves wholesale destruction. The great waters swallowed them up. Although the sinking of the continent was inevitable, the destruction need not have been so wholesale.
the "Deluge" overtook the Fourth, giant Race, not on account of their depravity, or because they had become "black with sin," but simply because such is the fate of every continent, which — like everything else under our Sun — is born, lives, becomes decrepit, and dies. This was when the Fifth Race was in its infancy.
Thus the giants perished — the magicians and the sorcerers, adds the fancy of popular tradition, but "all holy saved," and alone the "unholy were destroyed." This was due, however, as much to the prevision of the "holy" ones, who had not lost the use of their "third eye," as to Karma and natural law. Speaking of the subsequent race (our Fifth Humanity), the commentary says:
"Alone the handful of those Elect, whose divine instructors had gone to inhabit that Sacred Island — 'from whence the last Savior will come' — now kept mankind from becoming one-half the exterminator of the other (as mankind does now — H. P. B.). It (mankind) became divided. Two-thirds of it were ruled by Dynasties of lower, material Spirits of the earth, who took possession of the easily accessible bodies; one-third remained faithful, and joined with the nascent Fifth Race — the divine Incarnates. When the Poles moved (for the fourth time) this did not affect those who were protected, and who had separated from the Fourth Race. Like the Lemurians — alone the ungodly Atlanteans perished, and 'were seen no more.' . . . " — 2:350
A graphic account is given of the submersion of the main part of the continent in Volume 2, pages 427-8, but the total obliteration extended over enormous periods. It is on this colossal first cataclysm which began gradually over 4 million years ago that traditions of all the deluges are built, the Jews constructing their version on the event which took place later on Poseidonis (1:439n, 2:751n). For after the main continent had vanished, there was a large island, Ruta, which was submerged approximately 850,000 years ago, at which time, it is stated, the Aryans were 200,000 years old (2:395). Then a smaller island, Daitya, sank about 270,000 years ago (1:651), and finally the last remnant, Poseidonis, referred to by Plato, disappeared about 11,000 years ago (2:324n).
Thus it will be seen that the races overlap by many thousands of years. Nothing is finally destroyed in nature, until something else is established. And the processes move so silently and, to our senses, so slowly, that it is often difficult to detect them — just as one cannot see a tree grow, but sees only the results of growth. When a transition period can be clearly recognized, as is the case in our time, for instance, it is evidence that a new order is approaching rapidly.
The civilization of the Atlanteans was greater even than that of the Egyptians. It is their degenerate descendants, the nation of Plato's Atlantis, which built the first Pyramids in the country, and that certainly before the advent of the "Eastern Aethiopians," as Herodotus calls the Egyptians. — 2:429
In fact, the more remote the records, the more dazzling was the splendor. Among other arts and sciences they had those of astronomy and symbolism, including a knowledge of the zodiac; all of which they passed on to the fifth race (2:431).
The difficulties that historians have had in explaining the mature development of the Egyptians from the most remote antiquity are cleared up by a consideration of the many facts brought out in The Secret Doctrine regarding the Atlanteans and the enormous overlapping of the two races.
Since the beginning of the Atlantean Race many million years have passed, yet we find the last of the Atlanteans, still mixed up with the Aryan element, 11,000 years ago . . . though in characters and external type the elder loses its characteristics, and assumes the new features of the younger race. This is proved in all the formations of mixed human races. — 2:444
The following gives a hint about the merging of the races and the origin of the prehistoric Egyptians.
Nearly five hundred years before the actual era, Herodotus was shown by the priests of Egypt the statues of their human Kings and Pontiffs — piromis (the archi-prophets or Maha-Chohans of the temples), born one from the other (without the intervention of woman) who had reigned before Menes, their first human King. These statues, he says, were enormous colossi in wood, three hundred and forty-five in number, each of which had his name, his history, and his annals. And they assured Herodotus . . . that no historian could ever understand or write an account of these superhuman Kings, unless he had studied and learned the history of the three dynasties that preceded the human — namely the dynasties of the Gods, that of demi-gods, and of the Heroes, or giants. These "three dynasties" are the three Races. — 2:369
. . . the Egyptians, as well as the Greeks and "Romans" some thousand years ago, were "remnants of the Atlanto-Aryans," i.e., the former, of the older, or Ruta Atlanteans; the last-named, the descendants of the last race of that island, whose sudden disappearance was narrated to Solon by the Egyptian Initiates. The human Dynasty of the older Egyptians, beginning with Menes, had all the knowledge of the Atlanteans, though there was no more Atlantean blood in their veins. Nevertheless, they had preserved all their Archaic records. . . .
And it is just because the Egyptian Zodiac is between 75 and 80,000 years old that the Zodiac of the Greeks is far later. — 2:436
The Greeks were but the "dwarfed and weak remnants of that once glorious nation," the latest seventh subrace of the Atlanteans, already swallowed up in one of the early subraces of the Aryan stock; one that had gradually spread over the continent and islands of Europe, as soon as they had begun to emerge from the seas.
Descending from the high plateaux of Asia, where the two Races had sought refuge in the days of the agony of Atlantis, it had been slowly settling and colonizing the freshly emerged lands. The emigrant sub-race had rapidly increased and multiplied on that virgin soil; had divided into many families, which in their turn divided into nations. Egypt and Greece, the Phoenicians, and the Northern stocks, had thus proceeded from that one sub-race. Thousands of years later, other races — the remnants of the Atlanteans — "yellow and red, brown and black" — began to invade the new continent. There were wars in which the newcomers were defeated; and they fled, some to Africa, others to remote countries. Some of these lands became in course of time — owing to new geological convulsions — islands. — 2:743-4
The duration of the periods that separate the fourth from the fifth race is too tremendous to make possible a detailed account of those times. During the course of the post-diluvian ages, which were marked at certain periodical epochs by the most terrible cataclysms, so many races and nations were born, lived their time and died, leaving scarcely a trace behind, that no description of value can be offered concerning them (see 2:437).
To return to the beginning of the fifth race, which has existed quite free from its parent stem about a million years, making the life of a subrace about 210,000 years (2:435), Stanza XII reads:
48. The Fifth Race produced from the Holy Stock (remained). It was ruled by Her First Divine Kings. — 2:351
This race can trace its descent through the Atlanteans, from the more spiritual races of the Lemurians, in whom the Sons of Wisdom had personally incarnated (2:318).
Blavatsky comments that history does not begin here, but living and ever-recurring tradition does. What we call history does not go back further than the origins of our fifth subrace, a few thousands of years (see 2:351; also G. de Purucker's Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, pp. 239-40). "Even so-called 'universal' (?) history embraces but a tiny field in the almost boundless space of the unexplored regions of our latest, fifth Root-Race" (1:406).
"The day when much, if not all, of that which is given here from the archaic records, will be found correct, is not far distant. . . . The physical brain may forget events within the scope of one terrestrial life, the bulk of collective recollections can never desert the divine soul within us," upon whose tablets are printed in indelible characters the pictures of all our mighty past. For the lower range of our being "its whispers may be too soft, the sound of its words too far off the plane perceived by our physical senses; yet the shadow of events that were, just as much as the shadows of events that are to come, is within its perceptive powers, and is ever present before the mind's eye" (2:424-5).
As is evident in a universe which is a complete whole, of which man himself is an inseparable part — a universe where order and fitness rule — there must always have been, as there always will be, relations between all the parts. The endless varieties of this humanity have been under the same influences as have the geological formations of their times, as have the elements and the atmosphere — which influences have been expressed, for instance, in the color of the skin and hair, the sense organs, the texture of their bodies, etc.
One "Element" has been added in each round in the order of fire, air, water, earth. The earth, as we know it now, had no existence before the fourth round, hundreds of millions of years ago, the time of the commencement of our geological earth (1:252n). The same order is repeated on a much smaller scale for each race. For instance, the humanities developed coordinately with the elements, one of the latter being accentuated for each race, which was physiologically adapted to meet it. Our fifth race is rapidly approaching the fifth element, one which has more to do with metaphysics than with physics. But the element to be perfected in the fifth round can only be foreshadowed in the fifth race of the fourth round. Likewise, we, being of the fifth race, have five senses, but the last sense will not be fully developed before the next round. Thus is everything repeated again and again in nature over eternities, always on a more perfect scale. In the first round the earth was ethereal; likewise in the first race of this round. In the third round all became more compact, so again in the third root-race of this round (see 1:188-9).
The first race was speechless, being devoid of mind on our plane. The second had a sound language composed of vowels alone. The third in the beginning had a kind of language which was only a slight improvement on the various sounds in nature; but after the separation into sexes in the latter part, speech began to be developed. Before this, men communicated through what now would be called "thought-transference." Highly developed languages did not come before the fourth race. In this our fifth, inflexional speech, the root of Sanskrit, was in the beginning the only language (see 2:199-200).
Each race has its continent, as has been stated. The first was born on the Imperishable Sacred Land, the "continent, or island, if so preferred, 'the cap of the North Pole'," whose destiny it is to last from the beginning to the end of the manvantara through each round. "It is the cradle of the first man, and the dwelling of the last divine mortal." Of this mysterious and sacred land it is said in one of the Commentaries, that the "pole-star has its watchful eye upon it, from the dawn to the close of the twilight of 'a day' of the great breath." (see 2:6, 372)
The second continent stretched out from the first southward and westward and has been called the Hyperborean. Lemuria and Atlantis, as has been frequently stated, were the dwellings of the third and fourth races. The fifth continent is America, but Europe and Asia Minor, almost coeval with it, are generally referred to by the Indo-Aryan occultists as the fifth (2:7-8). The Aryan race, however, was born and developed in the far north, though after the sinking of the continent of Atlantis, its tribes emigrated further south into Asia. Hence Prometheus (who is called the hero of the fifth race) is the son of Asia (2:768-9).
As has happened before, so will it be again. The human races are born one from the other, develop, grow old, and die. Even now, under our very eyes, the new race and races are preparing to be formed, and it is in America that the transformation will take place, and has indeed already silently commenced — so silently, that for long millenniums shall its pioneers, the peculiar children who will grow into peculiar men and women, be regarded as abnormal oddities physically and mentally. Then as they increase, and their numbers become with every age greater, one day they will awake to find themselves in a majority. It is the present mankind who will then begin to be regarded as exceptional mongrels, until these die out in their turn in civilized lands, surviving only in small groups on islands — the mountain peaks of today — where they will finally die out, perhaps millions of years hence.
This process of preparation for the sixth great race must last throughout the sixth and seventh subraces. But the last remnants of the fifth continent will not disappear until some time after the birth of the new race; when another and new dwelling, the sixth continent, will have appeared above the new waters on the face of the globe, so as to receive the stranger. To it also will migrate and on it will settle all those who will be fortunate enough to escape the general disaster. Mankind will not grow again into giant physical bodies, because while the evolution of the fourth race led it down to the very bottom of materiality in its physical development, the present race is on its ascending arc; and the sixth will be rapidly growing out of bonds of matter and even of flesh.
Thus it is the mankind of the new world — America, whose continent arose during the palmy days of the great Atlantis (2:182) — whose mission and karma is to sow the seeds for a forthcoming grander and far more glorious race than any we know of at present. The cycles of matter will be succeeded by cycles of spirituality, and of fully-developed mind. According to this cyclic law, the majority of the future mankind will be composed of glorious adepts. Humanity is the child of cyclic destiny, and not one of its units can escape its unconscious mission, or get rid of the responsibility of its cooperative work with nature. In the words of a sage:
"The present is the Child of the Past; the Future, the begotten of the Present. And yet, O present moment! Knowest thou not that thou hast no parent, nor canst thou have a child; that thou art ever begetting but thyself? Before thou hast even begun to say 'I am the progeny of the departed moment, the child of the past,' thou hast become that past itself. Before thou utterest the last syllable, behold! thou art no more the Present but verily that Future. Thus, are the Past, the Present, and the Future, the ever-living trinity in one — the Maha-maya of the Absolute IS." — 2:446
About the Author
Gertrude W. van Pelt (1856-1947) was born at Elizabeth, New Jersey, and received her early education at Miss Ranney's Private School and at Holyoke College, Massachusetts. She graduated from Cornell University in 1881 with a Bachelor of Science degree, and later graduated from the Women's Medical College in Philadelphia. This was followed by an internship at the Women's Hospital in Boston, and a period of postgraduate medical study in Paris and Vienna.
In May 1893 Dr. van Pelt joined the Theosophical Society as a member of the Boston Lodge. At the special request of Katherine Tingley, Dr. van Pelt came to the theosophical headquarters at Point Loma in 1900, becoming Directress of Lomaland School and Academy, a post which she held till 1932. She was a member of the Leader's Cabinet, a trustee of Theosophical University from its inception in 1919, and in 1934 received from it the degree of Master of Theosophy. Throughout her 54 years of service she was a regular contributer of theosophical articles and booklets.