Published by Blavatsky Study Center.
The Secret Doctrine
by Alvin Boyd Kuhn
[Originally published in Theosophy: A Modern Revival of Ancient Wisdom
by Alvin Boyd Kuhn, Chapter VIII, pp. 194-231. An online edition of the entire book
is available as well as a paperback reprint edition by Kessinger Publishing.]
The Secret Doctrine sets forth what purports to be the root knowledge out of which all religion, philosophy, and science have grown. The sub-title---"The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy" reveals the daring aim and scope of the undertaking. It is an effort to present and align certain fundamental principles in such a way as to render possible a synthesis of all knowledge.
The first volume deals with cosmogenesis, the second with anthropogenesis. A third, to deal with the lives of the great occultists down the ages, was in form for the press, as testified to by the Keightleys, who typed the manuscript, and by Alice L. Cleather and others, but never came to the public. A fourth was projected and almost entirely written, but likewise went to oblivion instead of to the printer. A third volume, issued five years after H.P.B.'s death under the editorship of Mrs. Annie Besant, is made up of some other writings of Madame Blavatsky, dealing in part with the Esoteric Section, but is not regarded by close students as having been the original third volume.
The whole book professes to be a commentary on The Stanzas of Dzyan,1 which H.P.B. alleged to be a fragment of Tibetan sacred writings of two types, one cosmological, the other ethical and devotional. The Secret Doctrine elucidates the former section of the Stanzas, and her later work, The Voice of the Silence, the latter. The Stanzas of Dzyan are of great antiquity, she claimed, drawn from the Mani Koum-
1 The word Dzyan presents some etymological difficulties. Madame Blavatsky in the Glossary states that Dzyan (also written Dzyn and Dzen) is a corruption of the Sanskrit Dhyana, meaning meditation. In Tibetan, learning is called Dzin.
boum, 2 or sacred script of the Dzungarians, 3 in the north of Tibet. She is not sure of their origin, but says she was permitted to memorize them during her residence in the Forbidden Land. They show a close parallel with the Prajna Paramita Sutras of Hindu sacred lore.
There are of course charges that she invented the Stanzas herself or plagiarized them from some source. Max Müller is reported to have said that in this matter she was either a remarkable forger or that she has made the most valuable gift to archeological research in the Orient. She says herself in the Preface:
"These truths are in no sense put forward as a revelation; nor does the author claim the position of a revealer of mystic lore, now made public for the first time in the world's history. For what is contained in this work is to be found scattered throughout thousands of volumes embodying the scriptures of the great Asiatic and early European religions, hidden under glyph and symbol, and hitherto left unnoticed because of this veil. What is now attempted is to gather the oldest tenets together and to make of them one harmonious and unbroken whole. The sole advantage which the
2 This document (spelled variously Koumboum, Kumbum, Kounboum, etc.) was a Buddhist text connected with the Koumboum monastery, in Tibet. On the monastery grounds grew the sacred Tree of Tibet, the 'tree of the ten thousand images,' as Huc describes it. . . . "Tradition has it that it grew out of the hair of Tsonka-pa, who was buried on that spot. . . . In the words of the Abbé Huc, who lived several months with another missionary, named Gabet, near this phenomenal tree: 'Each of its leaves in opening, bears either a letter or a religious sentence, written in sacred characters, and these letters are, of their kind, of such a perfection that the type-foundries of Didot contain nothing to excel them. Open the leaves, which vegetation is about to unroll, and you will there discover, on the point of appearing, the letters or the distinct words which are the marvel of this unique tree. Turn your attention from the plant to the bark of its branches, and new characters will meet your eyes! Do not allow your interest to flag; raise the layers of this bark and still other characters will show themselves below those whose beauty has surprised you. For, do not fancy that these superposed layers repeat the same printing. No, quite the contrary; for each lamina you lift presents to view its distinct type. How, then, can we suspect jugglery? I have done my best in that direction to discover the slightest trace of human trick, and my baffled mind could not retain the slightest suspicion.' Yet promptly the kind French Abbé suspects---the Devil."---Quoted from Madame Blavatsky, article Kounboum in The Theosophical Glossary.
3 The Dzungarians were a section of the Mongolian Empire at its height, whose name now remains only as the name of a mountain range. They have disappeared geographically.
writer has over her predecessors, is that she need not resort to personal speculation and theories. For this work is a partial statement of what she herself has been taught by more advanced students, supplemented in a few details only, by the results of her own study and observation."4
Near the end of her Introductory she printed in large type, quoting Montaigne:
"I have here made only a nosegay of culled flowers, and have brought nothing of my own but the string that ties them."
Then she adds:
"Pull the 'string' to pieces, if you will. As for the nosegay of facts---you will never be able to make away with these. You can only ignore them and no more."
In the Introductory she presents once more the thesis of esotericism as the method used throughout former history for the preservation and propagation of the precious deposit of the Ancient Wisdom. She affirms that under the sandswept plains of Tibet, under many a desert of the Orient, cities lie buried in whose secret recesses are stored away the priceless books that the despoiling hands of the bigot would have tossed into the flames. Books which held the key to thousands of others yet extant, she alleges, unaccountably disappeared from view---but are not lost. There was a "primeval revelation," granted to the fathers of the human race, and it still exists. Furthermore, it will reappear. But unless one possesses the key, he will never unlock it, and the profane world will search for it in vain. The Golden Legend traces its symbolic pattern mysteriously through the warp and woof of the oldest literatures, but only the initiated will see it. A strange prophecy is dropped as she passes on.
"The rejection of these teachings may be expected and must be accepted beforehand. No one styling himself a 'scholar,' in whatever department of exact science, will be permitted to regard these teachings seriously. They will be derided and rejected a priori in this century; but only in this one. For in the twentieth century of
4 Page vii.
our era scholars will begin to recognize that the Secret Doctrine has neither been invented nor exaggerated, but on the contrary, simply outlined; and finally that its teachings antedate the Vedas."5
Her book is not the Secret Doctrine in its entirety, but a select number of fragments of its fundamental tenets. But it will be centuries before much more is given out. The keys to the Zodiacal Mysteries "must be turned seven times before the whole system is divulged." One turn of the key was given in Isis. Several turns more are given in The Secret Doctrine.
"The Secret Doctrine is not a treatise, or a series of vague theories, but contains all that can be given out to the world in this century."6
She is to deal with the entire field of life, in all its manifestations, cosmic, universal, planetary, earthly, and human. Omnipresent eternal life is assumed as given, without beginning or end, yet periodical in its regular manifestations. It is always in being for Itself, yet for us it comes into and goes out of existence with periodical rhythm. Its one absolute attribute, which is itself, is eternal causeless motion, called the "Great Breath." Life eternal exhales and inhales, and this action produces the universes and withdraws them. It is in regular and harmonious succession either passive or active. These conditions are the "Days" and "Nights" of Brahm, when, so to say, universal life is either awake or asleep. This characteristic of the One Life stamps everything everywhere with the mark of an analogous process. No work of Life is free from this law. It is the immutable law of the All and of every part of the All. It is the universal law of Karma, and makes reincarnation the method of life expression everywhere. Life swings eternally back and forth between periods of activity and rest. Upon inaugurating an active period after a "Night" of rest, life begins to expand, and continues until it fills all space with cosmical
5 The Secret Doctrine, Introductory, p. xxxvii.
6 Ibid., p. xxxviii.
creation; in turn, at the end of this activity, it contracts and withdraws all the energy within itself. The Secret Doctrine is an account of the activities of the One Life from the beginning of one of these periods of reawakening to its end, treating the cosmic processes generally, and the earth and human processes specifically. It is the cryptic story of how the universe is created, whence it emanates, what Powers fashion it, whither it goes and what it means.
The period of universal rest is known in esoteric circles as "Pralaya,"7 the active period as a "Manvantara."8 A description of the Totality of Things is nothing but an account of the Life Force alternating, shuttle-like, between these two conditions.
The universe comes out of the Great Being and disappears into it. Life repeats in any form it takes the metaphor of this process. It vacillates forever between the opposite poles of Unity and Infinity, noumenon and phenomenon, absoluteness and relativity, homogeneity and heterogeneity, reality and appearance, the unconditional and the conditioned, the dimensionless and the dimensioned, the eternal and the temporal. What Life is when not manifest to us is as indescribable, as unthinkable as is space. The Absolute---God---is just this Space. Space is neither a "limitless void" nor a "conditioned fulness," but both. It appears void to finite minds, yet is the absolute container of all that is. Where the universe goes when it dissolves---and still remains in being---is where anything else goes when it dissolves,---into solution. Not in a purely mechanical sense, yet that too. It goes from infinite particularity back into the one genus, from form back to formlessness, from differentiation back to homogeneity. Matter goes to bits, finer, finer, till it is
7 Pralaya, as given in Sanskrit dictionaries, means "dissolution, reabsorption, destruction, annihilation, death"; especially the destruction of the whole world at the end of a Kalpa; also "fainting, loss of sense of consciousness; sleep." It apparently is derived from the Sanskrit stem li, one of whose meanings is to disappear or vanish. Madame Blavatsky describes Pralaya in the Glossary as "a period of obscuration or repose---planetary, cosmic or universal---the opposite of Manvantara."
8 Manvantara (Manu plus antara, between) is described as the period or age of a Manu. It comprised a period of 4,320,000 human years, supposedly the period intervening between two Manus.
held in solution in the infinite sea of pure Non-Being. It goes from actuality to latency.
Occultism is the study of the worlds in their latent state; material science is the study of the same worlds in their actual or manifest condition. Or, to use Aristotelian terms, since no attributes can be predicated of pure potentiality, matter is privation. Matter is sheer possibility, with no capacity but to be acted upon, shaped, formed, impregnated. Nothing can be affirmed of it save that it is, and even then it is not as matter, but the pure essence, germ, or root of matter. It is just the Absolute, i.e., freed from all marks of differentiation. Since nothing can be asserted of it, it is pure negation, non-being. Absolute being, paradoxically, ultimately equals non-being. Being has so far retreated from actuality that it ends in sheer Be-ness. The eternal "dance of life" is a rhythmic movement of the All from Be-ness to Being, through the path of Becoming. This brings us to the famous three fundamentals of the Secret Doctrine, the three basic principles of the Sacred Science. They are:
1. The Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless and Immutable Principle, on which all speculation is impossible---beyond the range and reach of thought---the One Absolute Reality, Infinite Cause, the Unknowable, the Unmoved Mover and Rootless Root of all---pure Be-ness---Sat. It is symbolized in esotericism under two aspects, Absolute Space and Absolute Motion; the latter representing unconditioned Consciousness. The impersonal reality of the cosmos is the pure noumenon of thought. Parabrahm (Be-ness) is out of all relation to conditioned existence. In Sanskrit, parabrahman means "the Supreme Spirit of Brahma." Whenever the life of Parabrahm deploys into manifestation, it assumes a dual aspect, giving rise to the "pairs of opposites," or the polarities of the conditioned universe. The One Life splits into Spirit-Matter, Subject-Object. The contrast and tension of these two aspects are essential to hold the universes in manifestation. Without cosmic substance cosmic ideation would not manifest as individual self-consciousness, since only through matter can there be effected a focus of
this undifferentiated intelligence to form a conscious being. Similarly cosmic matter apart from cosmic ideation, would remain an empty abstraction.
Madame Blavatsky here introduces the conception of a force whose function it is to effect the linkage between spirit and matter. This is an energy named Fohat (supposedly a Tibetan term), which becomes at once the solution of all mind-body problems. It is the "bridge" by which the "Ideas" existing in the Divine Intelligence are impressed on cosmic substance as the "Laws of Nature." It is the Force which prescribes form to matter, and gives mode to its activity. It is the agent of the formative intelligences, the various sons of the various trinities, for casting the creations into forms of "logical structure."
2. The periodical activity already noted, which makes Space the "playground of numberless universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing," the rhythmic pulse which causes "the appearance and disappearance of worlds like a regular tidal ebb and flow." This second fundamental affirms that absolute law of periodicity, of flux and reflux, which physical science has noted and recorded in all departments of nature, and which the old science termed the Law of Karma. It has been treated briefly above, and a later chapter will trace its operations in nature more fully.
3. The identity and fundamental unity of all individual Souls with the universal Over-Soul, the microcosm with the macrocosm. The history of the individual or personalized Soul is thus of necessity a miniature or copy of the larger life of the universe, a pilgrimage through the worlds of matter and sense, under the cyclic karmic law,---"cycles of necessity" and incarnation. In fact individual self-consciousness is only acquirable by the Spirit, in its separated though still divine aspect---the Soul---by an independent conscious existence that brings it in contact with every elementary form of the phenomenal world. This demands of it a "descent into matter" to its lowest and most inert forms, and a re-ascent through every rising grade until immaterial conditions are once more attained. The road downward and
upward is marked by seven steps, grades or planes of cosmic formation, on each of which man acquires a nature and faculties consonant with the type of structure of the atom there encountered. On the downward arc (or Involution, a process unknown to modern science which deals only with Evolution), Life undergoes at each step an increased degree of differentiation; and the naming of the various potentialities emerging into potencies, gives us the dualities, the trinities, the tetractys, and the numberless hierarchies of the ancient Greeks and Orientals. The Gods, the Mothers-Fathers-Sons, Spirits, Logoi, Elohim, Demiurges, Jehovahs, Pitris, Aeons, are but names of the Intelligent Forces that are first emanated from the impregnated womb of time. The first emanated principles are sexless, but sex is introduced (in symbolic form) as soon as the dual polarization of Spirit-Matter takes place. The whole story of the Cosmogenesis (Volume I) is a recital of the scheme according to which the primal unity of unmanifest Being breaks up into differentiation and multiformity and so fills space with conscious evolving beings.
Thus the three fundamentals express respectively the Be-ness, the Becoming, and the Being of the everlasting That, which is Life.
The First Stanza describes the state of the Absolute during Pralaya, the "Night of Brahm," when nothing is in existence, but everything only is. Such a description can obviously be only a grouping of symbolisms. The only fit symbol of the Absolute is darkness, "brooding over the face of the deep" (Space). It is the night of Life, and all Nature sleeps. The worlds were not. The only description is privative. Time was not; mind was not; "the seven ways to bliss," or the evolutionary paths, were not; the "causes of misery," of the worlds of illusion, were not; even the hierarchies who would direct the "new wheel," were not. The first differentiation of the That, viz., Spirit, had not been made. ("That" is a reminiscence of the phrase tat tvam asi "that [i.e., the All] thou art," found in the Indian Upanishads.) Matter was not; but only its formless essence.
Nature had thus slept for "seven eternities," however they may have been registered in a timeless consciousness; for time was not, since there was no differentiation, hence no succession. Mind was not, having no organ to function through. All was noumenon. The Great Breath, on whose outgoing energy worlds sprang into existence, had not yet gone forth. The universe was a blank; metaphysics had not begun to generate physics; the universe held in solution had not yet begun to precipitate into crystallization. All life was hidden in the formless embrace of the protyle, or primal substance. Darkness is the "Father of Lights," but the Son had not yet been born. When day dawns, Father (Spirit) and Mother (Substance) unite to beget their Son, who will then cleave the Cimmerian darkness and issue forth to flood all space.
Stanza II continues the description of the sleeping universe, pointing, however, to the signs of reawakening. "The hour had not yet struck; the ray had not yet flashed into the germ; the mother-lotus had not yet swollen." From the darkness soon would issue the streak of dawn, splitting open by its light and warmth the shell of each atom of virgin matter, and letting issue thence the Seven Creators, who will fashion the universe. In the Mundane Egg the germ of life was deposited from the preceding Manvantaras, and the Divine Energy, brooding over it for aeons, caused it to hatch out its brood of new worlds. In immaterial form within the germ dwelt the archetypal ideas, the (Platonic) memories of former experiences, which will determine the form of the new structures as the Divine Architects of the worlds. All things on earth are but patterns of things in the heavens; spiritual ideas crystallized into concretion on the plane of manifestation --- "sermons in stones." The lotus is the symbol of esoteric teaching because its seed contains a miniature of the future plant, and because, like man, it lives in three worlds, the mud (material), the water (typifying the emotional), and the air (spiritual).
Creation starts with incubation. The Cosmic Egg must be fertilized ere it can be hatched. A ray, or first emanation,
from the Darkness opens the womb of the Mother (Primal Substance), and it then emanates as three, Father-Mother-Son, which, with the energy of Fohat makes the quaternary. Thus occultism explains all the mysteries of the trinity and the Immaculate Conception. The first dogma of Occultism is universal unity under three aspects. The Son was born from virgin (i.e., unproductive, unfertilized) matter (Root Substance, the Mother), when the latter was fecundated by the Father (Spirit).
The archetypal ideas do not imply a Divine Ideator, nor the Divine Thought a Divine Thinker. The Universe is Thought itself, reflected in a manifested material. But the Universe is the product, or "Son," which during the prologue of the drama of the creation lies buried in the Divine Thought. The latter has "not yet penetrated unto the Divine Bosom."
Stanza III rings with the concluding vibrations of the seventh eternity as they thrill through boundless space, sounding the cock-crow of a new Manvantaric daybreak. The Mother (Substance) swells, expanding from within. The vibration sweeps along, impregnating the quiescent germs of life in the whole expanse. Darkness gives out light; light drops into virgin matter, opening every bud. Divine Intelligence impregnates chaos. The germs float together into the World-Egg, the ancient symbol of Nature fructified. The aggravation of units of matter under the impulse of dynamic spirit is symbolized by the term "curdling." Pure Spirit curdles pure matter into the incipient granules of hyle, or substance.
The serpent symbol is prominent in the early cosmology, typifying at different times the eternity, infinitude, regeneration and rejuvenation of the universe, and also wisdom. The familiar serpent with its tail in its mouth was a symbol not only of eternity and infinitude, but of the globular form of all bodies shaped out of the fire mist. In general the "fiery serpent" represented the movement of Divine Wisdom over the face of the waters, or primary elements.
The text of the whole doctrine of the early stages, in fact, of the entire creative process, is the statement
"that there is but One Universal Element, infinite, unborn and undying, and that all the rest---as the world of phenomena---are but so many various differentiated aspects and transformations of that One, from Cosmical down to micro-cosmical effects, from superhuman down to human and sub-human beings, the totality in short of objective existence."9
Naturally but one tiny segment of all that activity is cognizable by man, whose perceptive powers are limited to a small range of vibratory sensitivity. Only that part of nature which comes within hail of his sense equipment, only the expressions of life which take physical form, are known (directly) to him. Were it not, says Theosophy, for the fact that superhuman beings, whose cognitive powers have been vastly extended beyond ordinary human capacity, have imparted to those qualified to receive it information relative to the upper worlds and the inner realities of nature, we would know nothing of cosmology.
"In order to obtain clear perception of it, one has first of all to admit the postulate of a universally diffused, omnipresent, eternal Deity in Nature; secondly, to have fathomed the meaning of electricity in its true essence; and thirdly, to credit man with being a septenary symbol, on the terrestrial plane, of the One Great Unit, (the Logos), which is itself the seven-vowelled sign, the Breath, crystallized into the Word."10
Madame Blavatsky starts with the Absolute, the All-That-Is, not even the One, but the No-Number.
In Stanza IV we see this primordial essence awakening to activity. It emanates or engenders the One, the homogeneous substrate of all. It in turn projects or splits itself into the Two, Father-Mother, and these, interacting, produce the "Sons" or Rays, who by their word of power, the "Army of the Voice" (the laws of nature), build the worlds of the universe. These sons are always seven in number, and their created works are thus given a seven-fold constitution. Christians know them as the Seven Logoi, or the Seven
9 The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 75.
10 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 83.
Archangels. These carry the differentiation of the one cosmic substrate to its furthest extent in the production of the ninety-two or more elements of our globe, which their forces weld into an infinity of combinations to compose our structural earth. All the physical forces we know, light, heat, cold, fire, water, gas, earth, ether, are the progeny of the great universal agent, Fohat, which we know under its form of electricity. Electricity is the universal agent employed by the Sons of God to create and uphold our world.
In bold outline this is the whole story. But Madame Blavatsky supplies a wealth of detail and a richness of illustration that go far to clarify the various phases of the process and the diversified agents coöperating in it.
When the One has created the Two---Spirit and Matter---the allegory goes on to say, the interaction of these Two "spin a web whose upper end is fastened to Spirit and the lower one to Matter." This web is the universe, ranging in constituent elements from coarse matter up to vibrant Spirit. Yet Spirit and Matter are but two phases of one and the same Prime Element.
Cosmic Fire, Fohat, Divine Electricity, energizes the universe. But to the natural concept of electricity the occult science adds the property of intelligence. Cerebration is attended by electrical phenomena, it is said.
Humanity is a materialized and as yet imperfect expression of the seven hierarchical Devas, or the seven conscious intelligent powers in nature. The planetary deities, or the planets as living beings, are fundamental in the Theosophic view, as to the Aristotelian and ancient Greek view generally. Mankind is but repeating the history of precedent life units, which have risen to celestial heights and magnitudes.
The forms of created life are all determined by the geometrical forms in the minds of the Intelligences. "Nature geometrizes universally in all her manifestations." There is an inherent law by which nature coördinates or correlates all her geometrical forms, and her compound elements; and in it there is no room for chance. The worlds are all subject
to Rulers or Regents, and the apparent deviations from precise natural programs are due to voluntary actions on the part of those great Beings who, like ourselves, are in the cycle of experience and evolution. The Solar Logoi can err in their spheres as we in ours. Some of the exceptional oddities in nature are the effects of their efforts to experiment and learn.
The "Lipika" ("scribes") "write" the eternal records of nature on the imperishable scroll of the Akashic ether. They are the "amanuenses of the Eternal Ideation," who copy the archetypal ideas and imprint them on the material substance. They write the Book of Eternal Life and exercise an influence on the science of horoscopy.
Stanza V elaborates in more detail the creative process, controlled by the various "sevens," the "Breaths" (prana, basic category in Indian philosophy) and the "Sons." The Doctrine teaches that to become a fully conscious divine "god," the spiritual primeval Intelligence must pass through the human stage. And "human" in this usage is not limited to the humanity of our globe, but applies also to the numberless other mortal incarnations of varying types on other planets. A human state is one in which Intelligence is embodied in a condition of material organization in which there is established an equilibrium between matter and spirit,---and this state is reached in the middle point of the Fourth Round on each chain of globes, or when spirit is most deeply enmeshed in matter, and is ready to begin its emergence. The hierarchical entities must have won for themselves the right of divinity through self-experience, as we are doing. "The 'Breath' or first emanation becomes a stone, the stone a plant, the plant an animal, the animal a man, the man a spirit and the spirit a god." All the great planetary gods were once men, and we men shall in the future take our places in the skies as Lords of planets, Regents of galaxies and wielders of fire-mist! As our human wills (the divine elements in us) are now masters over small potencies, so our expanded Intelligences will direct vast elemental energies, and worlds will arise under the impulsion of our thought. There is room in
space for us all. The "flaming fire" (electricity) shall be our minister, to flash at our bidding. The "fiery wind" is the incandescent cosmic dust which follows the impulsion of the will as iron filings follow a magnet. Yet this cosmic dust is "mind-stuff," has the potentiality of self-consciousness in it, and is, like the Monad of Leibnitz, a universe in itself and for itself. "It is an atom and an angel." Fohat is the universal fiery agent of Divine Will, and the electricity we know is one aspect, not by any means the highest, of it. In a higher state Fohat is the "objectivized thought of the gods," the Word made flesh. In another aspect he is the Universal Life Force, solar energy. He is said to take "three and seven strides through the seven regions above and the seven below," which is taken to mean the successive waves of vital force impregnating the seven levels of nature. "God is a living Fire,"---the Christians are fire-worshippers, too, says Madame Blavatsky. God is the One Flame. It burns within every material thing. The ultimate essence of each constituent part of the compounds of nature is unitary, whether in the spiritual, the intellectual or the physical world.
In order that the One may become the many, there must be a principium individuationis, and this is provided by the qualities of matter. A spark of Divine Fire, so to speak, is wrapped in a vesture of matter, which circumscribes the energies of spirit with a "Ring Pass-Not." Each embodied Monad or Spiritual Ego looks out through its sense windows to perceive another Ego; but perceives only the material garment of that Ego. The process of evolution will make this garment thinner, so that the inner splendor of the Self can be seen luminously through it.
The fiery energy of the great planetary beings, our author says, will never "run down," as it is constantly being fed by intra-cosmic fuel, a theory which Prof. Millikan has made familiar in recent days.
Stanza VI carries out the further stages of differentiation of the life principle in its first or virgin forms. Man's physical body is but one of seven constituents of his being, and a planet likewise presents only its outer garment, its physical
vehicle, to our view. The stars, as beings, are septenary, having astral, mental, and spiritual bodies in addition to their physical globes. It is affirmed that this septiform constitution of man, which makes him an analogue of the great cosmic beings and of the cosmos itself, is to be taken as the true significance of the Biblical phrase "man, the image and likeness of God." The more real or more spiritual essences of the being of both man and stars are not visible to sense. The life impulsion animating man contacts the material world only in and through his physical body; the same thing is true of the chain of globes. Both man and the planet have one physical body on the material plane, two on the vital etheric plane, two on the mental plane, and two on the upper plane of spirit. The latter two are beyond the powers of human ken, and to us are material only in the sense that they are not entirely devoid of differentiation. They are still vestures of spirit, not spirit itself. But they are the first garments of "pure" spirit. A life wave, in man or planet, comes forth from spirit, enters one after the other the bodies of increasing material density, until it has descended to a perfect equilibrium between matter and spirit, in the gross physical or fourth body; and then begins its ascent through three other vehicles of increasingly tenuous organization. And it runs seven times round each cycle of bodies and dwells for milliards of years in each of the seven kingdoms of nature, the mineral, vegetable, animal, and human, and three sub-mineral kingdoms of an elementary character, not known to science. The waves of life pass successively from one globe to another, lifting one into active existence as another goes "dead." They traverse the seven globes of a chain like a great spiral serpent, revolving like a barber's pole, every turn of the axis carrying a kingdom of nature one stride higher. For instance, hitting Globe A of the chain the impulsion builds up the mineral kingdom there; as this first wave swings onward to Globe B (where it builds the mineral kingdom for it) the second impulsion hits Globe A and lifts the mineral kingdom erected by the previous wave into the vegetable evolution. As the first wave leaps over from Globe
B to Globe C, to start mineral life there, the second wave has brought the vegetable kingdom to Globe B, and the animal kingdom on Globe A. The fourth outgoing of force will introduce the mineral world on Globe D, the vegetable on Globe C, the animal on Globe B, and the human on Globe A. After the human come the superhuman or spiritual evolutions. The detailed explanation of the entire cycle of birth, growth, life, and death of solar systems is of such complexity that it is the work of years for the Theosophic student to grasp it with any clearness. It is immensely involved, so that charts and graphs are generally resorted to. The student is referred to standard Theosophic works for the minutiae of this subject. We can but note here the principles of the system and some of their implications.
The earth, as the one visible representative of its six invisible principles, has to live through seven Rounds. The first three take it through the process of materialization; the fourth fully crystallizes it, hardens it; the last three take it gradually out of physical, back to ethereal and finally spiritual form. The Fourth Globe of each chain is thus always the nadir of the process of involution, and the Fourth Round is always the time in which this process is consummated. The earth is now a little past the nethermost point of material existence, as we have passed the middle of the Fourth Round. We have finished the descending arc and have begun our return to Deity, both the globe and the human family on it. Exiles from God, prodigal sons in a far country, we have set out on our homeward journey.
Man came on our globe at the beginning of the Fourth Round in the present series of life cycles and races, following the evolution of the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms thereon. Every life cycle on our earth brings into being seven Root Races. The First Root Race were the progeny of "celestial men," or the Lunar Pitris, 11 of which again there are seven hierarchies.
11 The word Pitris commonly means "fathers, ancestors, progenitors." Madame Blavatsky, however, on the authority of her Mahatmic instructors, employs the term in a wider sense. She uses it in a racial sense. In the Glossary she speaks of the Pitris as "the ancestors or creators of mankind. They are of the seven classes, three [continued on bottom of next page]
Human Egos continue to come into the stream of our evolution on earth up to the Fourth Round. But at this point the door into the human kingdom closes. Those Monads who have not reached the human kingdom by this time will find themselves so far behind that they will have to wait over, in a state of suspended vitality, until the next wave bears them onward. But for their loss of opportunity on this chain they will be rewarded by becoming men on a higher chain altogether.
The hosts of Monads are divided into three classes: Lunar Pitris, present Men, and the laggards. The first class are advanced Egos who reached "Manhood" in the First Round. The laggards are those who come in last, and are still in an undeveloped state.
The Moon is the parent of our Earth---and this in spite of the fact that it is our satellite. It is older, and its spirit has passed from its now lifeless body into our planet. In brief, the Earth is the new body or reincarnation of the Moon,---or more correctly, of that great Spirit which tenanted the Moon aeons ago. Madame Blavatsky uses the apt illustration of a mother circling around her child's cradle, to vindicate the anomaly of a parent body in a satellitic relation to its offspring.
There exists in nature a triple evolutionary scheme, or three separate schemes of evolution, which proceed contemporaneously in our system and are inextricably interblended at every point. These are the Monadic, the intellectual, and the physical. Here again analogy steps in to clarify thought. As man is a Monad, or spark of the Infinite Essence, which is evolving in connection both with a principle of mind and a physical body, so nature is a combination of three streams of development. The higher part must find its way to growth through connection with the lower and
of which are incorporeal. In popular theology they are said to be created from Brahma's side. . . . The Pitris are not the ancestors of the present living men, but those of the human kind or Adamic races; the spirits of the human races, which on the great scale of descending evolution preceded our races of men, and they were physically, as well as spiritually, far superior to our modern pigmies. In Manava Dharma Shastra they are called the Lunar Ancestors."
the lowest. But each of these three evolutions has its own laws, and the interconnection of them all in man makes him the complex being he is. Every speck of matter strives to reach its model in man; and every man aspires to be a self-conscious Monad.
Out of this assertion of a threefold nature in man grows one of the unique conceptions of Theosophy: that Man, a divine spiritual Monad, is in this evolution dwelling in and controlling (if he has learned how to prevent it controlling him) the body of an animal. And the body is the animal's, not man's, in the strict sense. The body has its own type of consciousness, primal urgings, its own independent soul, but no intellect or spiritual nature. Through its association with us in the same house it is supposed to develop in a way it could never do unaided, first a mind and later the inkling of spirituality. But every organism has its principle, and the soul of the animal is capable of attending to those functions which pertain to the life of the body. Hence, the commonplace functions of our bodies are regulated by a cerebration which is so far from being directly our own that we are at any rate totally unconscious of it. This amounts to saying that our subconscious, or the operations of our sympathetic, as distinguished from our cerebral, nervous system, is the "soul" of our animal mate. The hope of the animal lies in his fairly ready susceptibility to training, so that he is able quickly to take up by an automatism whatever "we" do habitually.
Theosophy affirms that man has to control, not his own lower nature, but a lower order of being whose body he is tenanting.
Theosophists point to the development of a child as corroborative of this theory. Before mind develops, the child is an animal simply. Later comes intellect, and after more time comes spirituality. Man is not simple; he is a congeries of individuals in association. As the individual's unfoldment in his own life is a recapitulation of the growth of humanity as a unit, it follows the same order of evolution. The great Creative Lords did not implant the principle of mind in our
order until, in the Fourth Race, appropriate bodies had been built up. We are only now beginning to evolve spiritual faculty.
The so-called Fall "was the fall of Spirit into generation, not the fall of mortal man." Madame Blavatsky undertakes to show that on this point of theology, as on that of the Virgin Birth, Christian doctrine is childishly literal-minded. It has taken a fact of cosmology, which like all others in ancient thought had been symbolized in various forms, and rendered it in a literal historical sense. The "Falls" are but phases of the universal "descent into matter," which appears under several aspects, one being the general outgoing of spirit into the material worlds, another the "fall of the angels" and a third the "fall of man." The taint of sexuality associated with certain conceptions of man's fall is a reference to the fact that when the spiritual Monads who descended to earth to inhabit the bodies of a lower race (the animals spoken of above), they were of necessity forced into sexual procreation, whereas they had propagated by powers of the intellectualized will in their previous high estate.
Then in regard to the Satans, the Serpents, the Dragons, the Devils, the Demons, the Demiurges, the Adversaries, Madame Blavatsky delves deep into ancient lore to prove that, when read properly in their esoteric meaning, all the old legends of the Evil Ones, the Powers of Darkness, refer to no essentially evil beings, great or small, but to the Divine Wisdom of the Sons of Light (all light emanates from darkness) who impregnate the universe with the principle of intelligence. Adam's eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree gave him knowledge of good and evil. This can mean only that beings of a "pure" spiritual nature represented symbolically by resident life in Eden or Paradise, sought, through incarnation in physical bodies in a material world, the opportunity to bring the latent intelligence in their divine nature to actualization in self-conscious knowledge. Dragons are always found guarding a tree---the tree of knowledge.
"When the Church, therefore, curses Satan, it curses the cosmic reflection of God; it anathematizes God made manifest in matter
or in the objective; it maledicts God, or the ever-incomprehensible Wisdom, revealing itself as Light and Shadow, good and evil in nature in the only manner comprehensible to the limited intellect of man."12
"Satan, once he ceases to be viewed in the superstitious dogmatic unphilosophical spirit of the Churches, grows into the grandiose image of one who made of terrestrial a divine Man; who gave him . . . the law of the Spirit and Life and made him free from the sin of ignorance, hence of death."13
All references to Satan stood for an aspect of nature that was evil only as the negative pole of electricity is evil, i.e., as it stands in opposition to the positive, a necessary and benignant phase of activity. "Deus est Demon inversus."
The globes, or their constituent matter, go through seven fundamental transformations in their life history: (1), the homogeneous; (2), the aëriform and radiant (gaseous); (3), curd-like (nebulous); (4), atomic, ethereal (beginning of differentiation); (5), germinal, fiery; (6), vapory (the future Earth); (7), cold, depending on the sun for life.
When the worlds are populated and the Monads have entered the human chain, certain great beings who have risen to knowledge on other chains supervise the instruction of the oncoming races, keeping closely in touch with the spiritual condition of the unenlightened masses. Either they themselves descend into the world or they send forth lesser teachers to keep alive the seed of spiritual wisdom. Kapila, Hermes, Enoch, Orpheus, Krishna were a few of their emissaries. They voluntarily forego their own higher evolution, at least temporarily, "to form the nursery for future human adepts," during the rest of our cycle.
Stanza VII goes into the numerology of the primal and later hierarchies, and gives the inner cosmological significance of the numbers. Two, of course, symbolizes the polarization of original essence into the duality of Spirit-Matter. Three refers to the triune constitution of the Divine Men, or Planetary Beings, who manifest the union of the three
12 The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, p. 235.
13 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 198.
highest principles, Atma-Buddhi-Manas, 14 in one organism. Man on his plane reflects this trinitarian union. The quaternaries represent the cardinal points which square the circle of infinity and typify manifestation. Four sometimes also stands for the basic states of elementary essence, or the four perceptible planes of material existence, earth, water, air, and ether. Five is the symbol of man in his present stage of evolutionary development, as he stands in the fifth lap of his progression round the spiral, and has consequently developed five of his ultimate seven capacities. This accounts for his having five senses, five fingers and toes. The pentacle or five-pointed star is often his symbol. The six-pointed star refers to the six forces or powers of nature, all synthesized by the seventh or central point in the star. Seven is, of course, the number of life in its final form of organization on the material plane. This is because the Logoi created man in their own septenary image. Man is really, in his totality, a sevenfold being, or a being made up of the union of seven distinct constituent parts. His threefold nature is a truth for his present status only. He is sevenfold potentially, threefold actually. This means that of his seven principles only the lower three have been brought from latency to activity, as he is engaged in awakening to full function his fourth or Buddhic principle. At the far-off summit of his life in the seventh Round he will have all his seven principles in full flower, and will be the divine man he was before---only now conscious of his divinity. At the end of each Round,
"when the seventh globe is reached the nature of everything that is evolving returns to the condition it was in at its starting point---
14 The term Atma-Buddhi-Manas is the Theosophical manner of designating the "higher triplicity" in man, the union of the three higher principles which constitutes him an individual Ego. If one were to say, man is composed of mind, soul and spirit in his higher nature, it would roughly approximate the Theosophic description. Sanskrit dictionaries give Atma as meaning, "breath, life, soul"; Buddhi as meaning "intelligence, reason, intellect, mind, discernment, judgment, the power of forming and retaining conceptions and general notions; perception, apprehension, understanding"; and Manas as "the principle of mind or spirit."
plus, every time, a new and superior degree in the states of consciousness."15
The theory of an inner permanent unit of life, repeatedly touching the outer material worlds in order to gain experience, is symbolized in Theosophy by the Sutratma ("thread-soul"), or string of pearls. The permanent life principle is the thread running through all, and the successive generations in matter are the beads strung along it.
To understand these postulations, we must envisage man as dwelling only partially in the physical embodiment, and having segments of his constitution in the invisible worlds. In the latter lies the ground-plan of his earth life, shaped by his previous life histories. The present physical life will contribute its quota of influence to modify that ground-plan when it becomes in turn the determinant of his succeeding incarnation.
The Sabbath, according to Madame Blavatsky, has an occult significance undreamed of by our theologians. It means the rest of Nirvana, and refers to the seventh or final Round of each emanation through the planes of nature. But the Sabbath should be as long as the days of activity.
A passage in a footnote says that the introductory chapters of Genesis were never meant to represent even a remote allegory of the creation of our earth. They
"embrace a metaphysical conception of some indefinite period in the eternity, when successive attempts were being made by the law of evolution at the formation of universes. The idea is plainly stated in the Zohar."16
Had its purpose been to give the true genesis, the narrative would have followed the outline laid down in The Secret Doctrine. The creation in which Adam Kadmon ("Primal Man") has a part, did not take place on our earth, but in the depths of primordial matter.
The theory is adduced that each Round of the emanational wave of life engenders one of the four elements, of which
15 The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 103.
16 Ibid., p. 246.
the Greeks spoke so much. The First Round developed one element, "one-dimensional space," fiery energy. The Second Round brought forth the second element, air. Matter in the Second Round was two-dimensional. The Third Round brought water, and the Fourth produced earth in its hard encrusted state. The Fifth will beget ether, the gross body of the immaterial Akasha. 17 The senses of man in that distant day will be refined to the point at which responsiveness to ethereal vibrations will be general. Our range of cognition will be thus vastly enhanced, for whole realms of nature's life now closed to us because of our low pitch of faculty, will then be opened up. Phenomena manifesting the permeability of matter will be to our higher senses then a daily commonplace. We will have X-ray vision, so that we shall be able "to see into the heart of things."
If man's nature is sevenfold, so is his evolution. The seven principles in him are enumerated as "the Spiritual or Divine; the psychic or semi-divine; the intellectual; the passional; the instinctual or cognitional; the semi-corporeal; and the purely material or physical. All these evolve and progress cyclically, passing from one into another . . . one in their ultimate essence, seven in their aspects."
An important point is made by the expounder of Occultism as to the way in which we should think of all spirits in the supersensible and the sub-sensible worlds. Those superior to us have all been men, whether in this or former evolutions on other globes or in other Manvantaras; and those below us, the elementaries, nature spirits, will be men in the future. If a spirit has intelligence he must have got it in the human stage, where alone that principle is developed. Spirits are not to be regarded as exotic products of nature, beings of a
17 "The fourth dimension of space" enters the discussion at this point. The phrase should be, says the writer, "the fourth dimension of matter in space," since obviously space has no dimensions. The dimensions, or characteristics of matter are those determinations which the five senses of man give to it. Matter has extension, color, motion (molecular), taste, and smell; and it is the development of the next sense in man---normal clairvoyance---that will give matter its sixth characteristic, which she calls permeability. Extension---which covers all concepts of dimension in our world---is limited to three directions. Only when man's perceptive faculties unfold will there be a real fourth dimension.
foreign universe, creatures of a type unrelated to ourselves. They are either our lower or our higher brothers.
"The whole order of nature evinces a progressive march toward a higher life. There is design in the action of the seemingly blindest forces. The whole process of evolution with its endless adaptations, is a proof of this."18
All nature is animated and controlled by lofty Intelligences, who could not be supposed to act with less of conscious design than ourselves. Design is exhibited everywhere in the universe, in proportion to the degree of intelligence evolved. There is no blind chance in the cosmos, but only varying grades of intelligence. The laws of nature are inviolable, but individual beings of every grade of intelligence move and act amid those laws, learning gradually to bring their actions into harmony with them. The deus implicitus within each of us---in every atom---must become the deus explicitus, and the difficulties and risks of the process are commensurate with its glorious rewards.
Some of these Intelligences are veritable genii who preside over our lives. They are our good or evil demons. Hermes says
"they imprint their likeness on our souls, they are present in our nerves, our marrow, our veins and our very brain substance. At the moment when each of us receives life and being he is taken in charge by the genii (Elementals) who preside over births. . . . The genii have then the control of mundane things and our bodies serve them as instruments."19
Part II of Book One begins with an analysis of the evolution of Symbolism. No traditional folk lore, according to Madame Blavatsky, has ever been pure fiction; it represented a natural form of primitive language. Ideography was a stage of growth in the art of human communication. Symbolism was no mere intellectual device of idealistic algebra, but a natural idiom of thought. Mythology was a primitive pictographic mode of conveying truths. An ideograph could be understood "in any language."
18 The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 277.
19 Quoted in The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 295.
A later development of this art brought the mystery language, or particular set of symbols to represent the esoteric truths. The cross, the lamb, the bull, the hawk, the serpent, the dragon, the sword, the circle, the square, the triangle, and many other signs were adopted for special significances. There are seven keys, however, to the mystery tongue, and some of them, as well as the knowledge of how to turn them, have been lost. Only in Tibet, it is maintained, is the code still intact. No religion was ever more than a chapter or two of the entire volume of archaic mysteries. No system except Eastern Occultism was ever in possession of the full secret, with its seven keys.
There is a chapter on the Mundane Egg, which in all theologies is taken to represent the prototype of life hidden in the lotus symbol. Here we find a special sacredness attributed to the letter M, as symbolizing water, i.e., waves, or the great deep, the sea of prime substance. And such sacred names as Maitreya, Makara, Messiah, Metis, Mithras, Monad, Maya, Mother, Minerva, Mary, Miriam and others are said to carry the hidden significance of the letter. The Moon and its place in symbolism is the subject of a chapter. All the lunar goddesses had a dual aspect, the one divine, the other infernal. All were the virgin mothers of an immaculately born Son,---the sun. Here, as nearly everywhere else, Christian dogmas and terms are traced to an origin in pagan ideas. The Satan myth is again taken up in a separate chapter, where it is said that the only diabolical thing about it are its perversions under Christian handling.
The Sevens are given more thorough elucidation in another chapter. There were seven creations, or rather creation had seven stages. The first was that of the Divine Mind, Universal Soul, Infinite Intellect; the second was the first differentiation of indiscrete Substance; the third was the stage of organic evolution. These three steps were sub-mineral, and had yet brought nothing visible to being. The fourth brought the minerals; the fifth brought animals, in germ form; the sixth produced sub-human divinities, and the seventh
crowned the work with man. Man is thus the end and apex of the evolutionary effort. Man completes all forms in himself. But esoterically there is a primary creation and a secondary creation, and each is sevenfold. The first created Spirit, the second Matter.
Madame Blavatsky traces the working of the septenates in nature through many forms not commonly thought of. Many normal and abnormal processes have one or more weeks (seven days) as their period, such as the gestation of animals, the duration of fevers, etc. "The eggs of the pigeon are hatched in two weeks; those of the fowl in three; those of the duck in four; those of the goose in five; and those of the ostrich in seven." We are familiar with the incidence of seven in many aspects of physics, in color, in sound, the spectrum; in chemistry, in the law of atomic weights; in physiology; in nature. Madame Blavatsky cites a long list of the occurrence of the mystic number in the ceremonials, cosmologies, architecture, and theologies of all nations.
Scientific authorities are adduced by the author to corroborate her contention that the material universe is ordered on a system which has seven as its constitutional groundplan.
"The birth, growth, maturity, vital functions . . . change, diseases, decay, and death, of insects, reptiles, fishes, birds, mammals and even of man, are more or less controlled by a law of completion in weeks," or seven day periods.20
From the seven colors of the rainbow to the seven-year climacterics in man's life and his allotted seven decades on earth, all the living universe seems to run in sevens and reflects the sevenfold nature of the precosmic patterns of things.
Volume II concerns the planetary history of our earth, the inception of human life on it, and the evolution of the latter through the previous races up to now. Humanity is assigned an age on the globe of infinitely greater length than
20 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 311. Quoted from H. Grattan Guinness, F. R. G. S.: The Approaching End of the Age.
the science of her day was willing to concede, which even outstretches the ampler figures set down by contemporary science.
We must start with the earth's place in the solar cosmos. As will be recalled, our planet is the one physically perceptible (to ordinary human vision) globe of a chain of seven (the six others being of rarefied impalpable materials), this chain being itself but one of seven, each of which has a physical representative revolving about our sun. These physical globes are subject to the cyclic law which brings to them successive waves of vivification and sterility, and this law operates as well with all the productions of life on the globe as with the globe itself.
The story of man then becomes that of a succession of great world races preceding the present one, with the various continents inhabited by each, and the form, the condition and the progress of mankind in each manifestation. Evolution is postulated as the working modus, but it is evolution in cycles, not in a straight line.
The very beginning of life on our planet occurred with the first impact upon it of the initial life wave in the First Round. But this first wave brought life only in the form and to the degree of mineral organizations. When that life impetus passed on to the next globe in the septenary chain to integrate mineral structure there, the second wave struck the earth and carried evolution forward from the mineral to the vegetable stage. The third crest carried life on into the animal kingdom; and the Fourth Round then became the epoch of the entry of man on the scene. The advent of man on the physical or fourth globe of every planetary chain is coincident with the Fourth Round, because the middle of that round is the central point---three and one-half---in a seven series, and man's life represents the perfect balance between spirit and matter. This point would be reached at the exact half-way mark, where the impulsion of life energy would have spent itself in the outward or downward direction (from spirit to matter), and the energies in play would begin to gather force for the rebound or return of spirit, bearing
matter with it to "its home on high." The middle of the Fourth Round, therefore, would find a perfect balance established between the spiritual and the physical; and that point would be located in the middle of the fourth sub-race of the fourth root-race of human life on the earth. As we are now in the fifth sub-race (the Anglo-Saxon) of the fifth root-race (the Aryan), we are by some millions of years past the turning point of our cosmical destiny.
On the reascending arc spirit slowly reasserts itself at the expense of the physical. At the close of the seventh Round at the end of the Manvantara, the Monad will find itself again free from matter, as it was in the beginning, but with the rich treasure of experience stowed safely away in indestructible consciousness, to become in turn the germ of growth in the next Manvantara. On the descending arc the pressure is centrifugal for spirit, centripetal for matter; the ascending path will see these conditions reversed. Downward, the spirit was being nailed on the cross of matter and buried; upward, it is the gradual resurrection of spirit and the transfiguration of matter. Our fifth race is struggling to liberate itself from the inhibitions of matter; the sixth will take us far from flesh and material inertia. The cycle of spirituality will begin, when all humans are Adepts. 21 Henceforward spirit will emerge victorious as it has the whole weight of cosmic "gravity" on its side. This is the cosmic meaning of Easter.
The account in Genesis of the appearance of man is not far awry, but must be read esoterically, and in several different senses. It is in no sense the record of the Primary Creation, which brought the heavenly hierarchies into purely noumenal existence; it is that of the Secondary Creation, in which the Divine Builders bring cosmical systems into material form. The accounts given in the Puranas and the older literature are of pre-cosmic creation; the one given in Genesis is only of the cosmic or phenomenal creation. The former deal with a spiritual genesis, the latter only with a material genesis.
21 The races of "intelligent" animals and semi-human apes will then be advanced to our present station.
Man was the first of mammalian creatures to arrive in the Fourth Round. He came in the first race of the Round, several hundred million years ago. But he was not then the kind of being he is now. He was not then compounded of three elements, body, mind, and spirit. His body was being organized by the slow accretion of material around a purely ethereal or astral matrix or shell, provided for the purpose by the Lunar Pitris, in successive sojourns in the mineral, vegetable, and animal realms, during the three preceding Rounds. These Lunar progenitors started his mundane existence by furnishing first the nucleating shell and the earthly house made ready for occupancy finally by the living Monad, the indestructible spark of the Eternal Fire. The latter is the true being, Man himself. But at this early time he was, comparatively speaking, in the condition of formless spiritual essence. He had not yet come to live in a physical body, but was hovering over the scene, awaiting the preparation of that body by the forces guiding material evolution. He was temporarily clothed in ethereal forms, which became more densely material as he descended toward the plane of embodiment. He, a Divine Spirit, descended to meet the material form, which rose to become his fit vehicle. The two can not be conjoined, however,---the gap between crass materiality and sheer spirit being too great---without the intermediating offices of a principle that can stand between them and eventually unify them. This principle is Manas or Mind. As Fohat in the cosmos links spirit with matter, so Manas in the microcosmic man brings a Divine Monad into relation with a physical form. The complete conjunction of all three of these principles in one organism was not effected by nature until the middle of the Third Root-Race. Then only can the life of man properly be said to have begun. That date was eighteen million years ago. Men then first became "gods," responsible for good and evil, divine beings struggling with the conditions of terrestrial life, undergoing further tutelage in the school of experience under the teachers, Nature and Evolution. They were the Kumaras, "princes," "virgin youths"---beings
dwelling on the planes of spiritual passivity, who yet yearned for the taste of concrete life, and whose further evolution made necessary their descent into material condition on earth. They were the rebels (against inane quiescence), spirits longing for activity, the angels who "fell" down to earth (not to hell), but only to rise with man to a state higher than their former angelhood. They stepped down into their earthly encasement in the Fourth Round. Their prospective physical bodies were not ready till then.
Humanity had run the course of two races before having developed a physical body comparable to the ones we are familiar with. What and where were these two races? The first is given no specific name, but it inhabited the "Imperishable Sacred Land," about which there is little information. It was a continent that lay in a quarter of the globe where the climate was suited to the forms of life then prevalent. At the end of its long history it was sunk by great cataclysms beneath the ocean. Men in this race were boneless, their bodies plastic; in fact "organisms without organs."
In due time the second great continent appeared, to be the home of the Second Race, the Hyperboreans. This, we are told, lay around the present region of the North Pole. But the climate then was equable and even tropical, owing to the position of the earth's axis, which was then at a quite decided angle of divergence from the present inclination. The author claims that the axis had twice shifted radically; that Greenland once had a torrid climate and luxuriant vegetation. Spitzbergen and Nova Zembla are mentioned as remnants of the Hyperborean Land.
The Third Race was the Lemurian, and it occupied a vast continent extending south from the Gobi Desert and filling the area of the Indian Ocean, west to Madagascar and east to New Zealand. Madame Blavatsky gives its boundaries with considerable explicitness. Australia is one of its remnants and the much-discussed Easter Island another. Some of the Australian aborigines, some races in China, and some islanders, are lingering descendants of the Lemurians. It was destroyed mainly by fire, and eventually submerged.
As it sank its successor arose in the Atlantic Ocean and became the seat of Fourth Race civilization. This is the fabled Atlantis, to which Plato and the ancient writers have alluded, the existence of which Madame Blavatsky says was a general tradition among the early nations.22 The Azores, Cape Verde, Canary Islands and Teneriffe are the highest peaks of the alleged Atlantean Land. The Fourth Race flourished there some 850,000 years ago, though the last portion, the island of Poseidonis, north of the Sahara region, carried the surviving remnant of the race to a watery doom only eleven thousand years ago. This final cataclysm became the basis of the world-wide deluge myth. The later Lemurians and the Atlanteans were men like the present humanity, fully compounded of mind, body, and spirit or soul. They had reached in some lines (the mechanical and the psycho-spiritual) a development far higher than our own, wielding psychic forces with which we are not generally familiar and having, beside airships, a more ready method of tapping electric and super-electric forces. In the early centuries of the race's history its members were gigantic in stature, and Madame Blavatsky uses this assertion to explain the historical riddle of the erection of the Druidical temples, the pyramids, and other colossal forms of their architecture. 23
It must be understood that the races overlapped in temporal history, the former ones being progenitors of their successors. Nature never makes sudden leaps over unbridged gaps. Her progressions are gradual. Many circum-
22 Ignatius Donnelley endeavored to substantiate the claims for its existence in an elaborate work, Atlantis: The Antediluvian World, some sixty or seventy years ago. By tracing numberless similarities in the languages, customs, and ideas of Old World civilizations with those of Central America he adduced a formidable body of evidence pointing to the former existence of a linking area. Madame Blavatsky counts more heavily than science has done upon this authority. Soundings have revealed the presence of a great raised plateau on the ocean floor at about one-third the depth of the general main, extending from Northern Brazil toward Ireland.
23 She assigns a tentative date of 78,000 years ago for the erection of the great pyramid of Cheops, reaching this conclusion from reasoning and calculations based on the Dendera Zodiac, which indicates that three sidereal years (25,686 years each) had passed since the pole star was in a position suggested by the various features of the great pile's construction.
Mediterranean nations were descendants of the Atlanteans, and a few degenerate Lemurian stocks yet linger on. Nor were their several continents annihilated at one stroke. Portions of the old lands remained long after the new ones had risen from the waters. This permitted migrations and the continuity of propagation. The races were in no sense special creations, but attained distinct differentiations through the modifying influences of time and environment. The Atlanteans permitted their ego-centric development to outstrip their spiritual progress, fell into dangerous practices of sorcery and magic, and through the operation of karmic law their civilization had to be blotted out, so that a more normal evolution of the Egos involved could be initiated under new conditions in succeeding races.
The Fifth Race, our present Aryan stock, took its rise in northern Asia, spread south and west, and ran the course that is known to history. The Anglo-Saxon is the fifth sub-race of the seven that will complete the life of this Root-Race. The beginnings of the sixth sub-race are taking form in America, we are told. Mentality is the special characteristic of human development which our fifth sub-race is emphasizing. Each race, so to say, sounds in its life one note in a scale of seven.
This in outline is the story of the five races and their continental homes. Two other great races are yet to appear, before the cosmic life impulses complete their expenditure of energy in this Fourth Round. At the termination of that period the present humanity will have reached the end of its allotted cycle of evolution and the life impulse will withdraw from our globe. The latter will lose its living denizens and its own life and will be left in a condition of deadness or pralaya, to await the return of the wave on its fifth swing round the chain of spheres.
Back in the first race the "propagation of the species" was, strictly speaking, creation, not generation. The phrase, "fall into generation," applicable to the Asuras (demons) or Kumaras who descended into earthly bodies for physical experience, has been wrongly linked with "the fall of the angels." It was the procedure which ensued at that stage of
evolution, occurring in the middle of the Third Race period, when spiritual methods of propagation were superseded by sexual ones. Until then the attraction of the sexes was not the incentive, or the condition precedent, to breeding, for there were no sexes. Man was male-female, hermaphroditic. Before that he was asexual, and earlier still he was sexless. Coition was by no means the only method employed by nature to carry life forward. There were several other methods prior to this, and there will be others succeeding it in the long course of growth. To the men of the First Race sex union was impossible since they did not possess physical bodies. Their bodies were astral shells. They were wraiths, umbrae, only ethereal counterparts of dense bodies. In matter of such tenuity, subject largely to the forces of will, procreation amounted to a renewal of old tissue rather than the upbuilding of a new body exterior to the old. Reproduction was thus a re-creation, a constant or periodical rejuvenation. The Stanzas state that the humanity of that First Race never died. Its members simply renewed their life, revivified their organisms, from age to age. The serpent was used as a sacred symbol for many reasons, and one of them is that it periodically casts off an old exterior garment and emerges a new creature from within. This process is somewhat analogous to what took place with the First Race men. Each individual at stated periods, by the exercise of some potency of the creative will described as abstract meditation, extruded from his form a new version of itself. Such bodies could not be affected by climate or temperature. The First Race men were known as the Mind-Born.
Among the Second Race, the Hyperboreans, reproduction was still spiritual, but of a form designated asexual. The early part of the race were the "fathers of the Sweat-Born," the latter part were the Sweat-Born themselves. These terms, taken from Sanskrit literature, will have no meaning for the materialist. Yet she declares that analogues are not wanting in nature. The process comes closest to what is known in biology as "budding". The astral form
clothing the spiritual Monad, at the season of reproduction,
"extrudes a miniature of itself from the surrounding aura. This germ grows and feeds on the aura till it becomes fully developed, when it gradually separates from its parent, carrying with it its own sphere of aura; just as we see living cells reproducing their like by growth and subsequent division into two."24
The process of reproduction had seven stages in each race, and this was one of them. Each covered aeons of time.
The later Second and early Third Race men were oviparous and hermaphroditic. Man in this race became androgyne. But there were two stages of androgynous development. In the first stage, in the late Second and early Third Races, reproduction took place by a modification of the budding process. The first exudations of spores had separated from the parent and then grown to the size of the latter, becoming a reproduction of the old. Later the ejected spores developed to such a form that instead of being but miniature copies of the parents, they became an embryo or egg of the latter. This egg was formed within the organism, later extruded, and after a period it burst its shell, releasing the young offspring. But it was not fully androgyne, for the reason that it required no fertilization by a specialized male aspect or organ of the parent. It was a process midway between the Self-Born and the Sex-Born.
Later on this process had become so modified by gradual evolution that the embryonic egg produced by one portion of the parent organism remained inert and unproductive until fructified by the positively polarized elements segregated in another portion of the procreator's body. Thus was developed the method of fertilization of the ovum by the male organs, when both were contained within the same organism.
It seems that the Third Race was marked by three distinct divisions, consisting of three orders of men differently procreated. "The first two were produced by an oviparous
24 The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II. p. 117.
method presumably unknown to modern Natural History." The infants of the two earlier forms 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 the sexes occurred. From being previously asexual, Humanity became distinctly hermaphroditic or bisexual; and finally the man-bearing eggs began to give birth, . . . first to beings in which one sex predominated over the other, and finally to distinct men and women. Enos, the son of Seth, represents the first true men---and---women humanity. Adam represents the pure spiritual or androgyne races, who then separating into man and woman, becomes Jah-Heva in one form or race, and Cain and Abel (male and female) in its other form, the double-sexed Jehovah. Seth represents the later Third Race."25
Thus man, at one time more spiritual than physical, started by creating through the inner powers of his mind, and again in the distant future he will be destined to create by spiritual will,---Kriyasakti.26 Creation, we are told, "is but the result of will acting on phenomenal matter." There are yet many mysteries in sex which humanity will bring to light as it unfolds its knowledge of the spiritual control of nature.
Madame Blavatsky weaves into her story the Promethean myth, the war of the Titans against Zeus being interpreted to mean the rebellion of the Asuras and Kumaras against the inertia and passivity of an unfruitful spiritual state, and their consequent drive for physical incarnation. This myth was the Greek version of "the war in heaven" and the succeeding "fall of the angels." The author ridicules the idea that mankind lacked fire in its common form before Prometheus brought it from heaven. The "fire" he brought as a divine gift was "the opening of man's spiritual percep-
25 The sexless (First) race was Adam solus. Then came the Second Race; Adam-Eve, or Jah-Heva, inactive androgynes; and finally the Third, or the "separating hermaphrodite," Cain and Abel, who produced the Fourth, Seth-Enos, etc.---The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, p. 134.
26 Kriyasakti means "capacity to act, a sakti or supernatural power as appearing in actions." By Madame Blavatsky the term is taken as meaning creative power or capability of doing work.
tions." In the Greek allegory Zeus represents the hosts of the primal progenitors, the Pitris, or "Fathers" who created man senseless and without mind, who provided the first element of his nature, the chhaya or astral shell about which as a nucleus his material form was to be aggregated, this combination later to receive the gift of mind and later still that of divine monadic individuality or spirit. These Pitris represented the lower host, who were masters of all the purely blind cosmic and "titanic forces"; Prometheus typified the higher host, or the devas possessing the higher intellectual and spiritual fire. Prometheus, then, added to mindless man his endowment of intellect and spiritual wisdom. But once united with the lower being to render it the service of raising it to eventual Godhead, the divine Titan fell under the partial dominance of the fleshly nature, and suffered the humiliation of having to procreate by sexual union. This procreation was not unnatural, not immoral, not a sin and shame intrinsically; but it was a comparative degradation for beings who formerly created by free spiritual will. The vulture torture of the legend is only the constant preying of the carnal nature upon the higher man.
"This drama of the struggle of Prometheus with the Olympian tyrant, sensual Zeus, one sees enacted daily within our actual mankind; the lower passions chain the higher aspirations to the rock of matter, to generate in many cases the vulture of sorrow, pain and repentance.
"The divine Titan is moved by altruism, but the mortal man by selfishness and egoism in every instance."27
The gift of Prometheus thus became "the chief cause, if not the sole origin of evil," since it joined in an unstable equilibrium in one organism the free will and spiritual purity of the angel hosts with the heavy surgings of the bestial nature; linked divine aspiration with sensual appetence. Theosophists view this situation as the ground of man's whole moral struggle.
The Promethean gift, the sacrifice of the devas for the apotheosis of humanity, was received 18,000,000 years ago.
27 The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, p. 517.
It is significant that it came at the epoch of the separation of the sexes. This fact would appear to indicate that the independent privilege of procreation, involving the free action of two organisms, could not well be vouchsafed to man until he was possessed of the power of discriminative wisdom. This middle period of the Third Race thus marks the definite beginning of human life on the globe, as the principle of manas (Sanskrit man, to think) was essential to constitute the complete thinking entity.
These Titans or Kumaras were themselves of seven grades of development, and as they took birth in different racial and national groups, their varying natures at once gave differentiation to the human divisions. Madame Blavatsky uses this situation to explain the origin of racial differences.
It will be noted that Madame Blavatsky's account of human racial progression explains how the first life came onto the earth. Her postulations enable her to declare that life came hither not from the outside, from another planet, but emerged from the inner or ethereal vestures of its physical embodiment. Life does not come from a place, but from a state or condition. Life and its materials are everywhere; but the two need to pass from a static to an active relation to each other, and wherever certain processes of interaction between the two take place, there living things appear. They emerge from behind the veil of invisibility. Their localization on earth or elsewhere is simply a matter of some fundamental principle of differentiation. A great cosmical process analogous to a change of temperature will bring a cloud before our eyes where none was before. Life, says Madame Blavatsky, comes here in ethereal forms, from ethereal realms, and takes on physical semblance after it is here. All life evolved by concretion out of the fire-mist. The pathway of life is not from the Moon, Mars, Venus, or Mercury to the Earth, but from the metaphysical to the physical.
Esoteric ethnology extends the periodic law to world geography in keeping with the moral evolution of the races.
"Our globe is subject to seven periodical entire changes which go pari passu with the races. For the Secret Doctrine teaches that during this Round there must be seven terrestrial pralayas, three occasioned by the change in the inclination of the earth's axis. It is a law which acts at its appropriate time and not at all blindly, as science may think, but in strict accordance and harmony with karmic law. In occultism this inexorable law is referred to as "the Great Adjuster."28
There have already been four such axial disturbances; when the old continents---save the first one---were sucked in the oceans. The face of the globe was completely changed each time; the survival of the fittest races and nations was secured through timely help; and the unfit ones---the failures---were disposed of by being swept off the earth.
"If the observer is gifted with the faintest intuition, he will find how the weal and woe of nations is intimately connected with the beginning and close of this sidereal cycle of 25,868 years."29
In each case the continent destroyed met its fate in consequence of racial degeneration or degradation. This was notably the lot of Atlantis, the Fourth Race home. As Lemuria succumbed to fire and Atlantis to water, the Aryan Race may expect that fiery agencies (doubtless subterranean convulsions of the earth's crust) will prove its undoing.
28 Ibid., Vol. II, p. 328.
29 Ibid., p. 330.
[End of Chapter VIII.]
Isis Unveiled by Alvin Boyd Kuhn
The Mahatmas and Their Letters by Alvin Boyd Kuhn