Reprinted by Blavatsky Study Center

On the Monad

A Collation from H. P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine (1)


Stanza III. describes the Re-awakening of the Universe to life after Pralaya. It depicts the emergence of the "Monads" from their state of absorption within the ONE; the earliest and highest stage in the formation of "Worlds," the term Monad being one which may apply equally to the vastest Solar System or the tiniest atom (Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, 21).

The Monads are not discrete principles, limited or conditioned, but rays from that one universal absolute Principle (S.D. II, 167).

Now what is a "Monad"? And what relation does it bear to an Atom? ... "None whatever, ... to the atom or molecule as existing in the scientific conception at present." (S.D. I, 177.)

The gods of the ancients, the monads -- from Pythagoras down to Leibnitz -- and the atoms of the present materialistic schools ... are only a compound unit, or a graduated unity like the human frame, which begins with body and ends with spirit. In the occult sciences they can be studied separately, but never mastered unless viewed in their mutual correlations during their life-cycle, and as a Universal Unity during Pralayas. ... Philosophy ... could never have formed its conception of a logical, universal, and absolute Deity if it had no Mathematical Point within the Circle to base its speculations upon (S.D. I, 613). ..."the unity of the divine Essence"... was exemplified by the plane of the boundless Circle ... the Point (the real, esoteric LOGOS) or the Pythagorean MONAD. For the Greek Monas signifies "Unity" in its primary sense (S.D. I, 614).

To the Eastern Occultist ... in the real world, which is a Unity of Forces, there is "a connection of all matter in the plenum," ... This is symbolized in the Pythagorean Triangle. It consists of ten points inscribed pyramid-like (from one to the last four) within its three lines, and it symbolizes the Universe in the famous Pythagorean Decad. The upper single dot is a Monad, and represents a Unit-Point which is the Unity from whence all proceeds, and all is of the same essence with it. While the ten dots within the triangle represent the phenomenal world, the three sides of the equilateral triangle which enclose the pyramid of dots are the barriers of noumenal Matter, or Substance, that separate it from the world of Thought. ... Even mathematics pure and simple proceed from the Universal to the particular, from the mathematical, hence indivisible Point, to solid figures. The teaching originated in India, and was taught in Europe by Pythagoras (S.D. I, 615-16).

Those unable to seize the difference between the monad -- the Universal Unit -- and the Monads or the manifested Unity, as also between the ever-hidden and revealed LOGOS, or the Word, ought never to meddle in philosophy, let alone the Esoteric Sciences (S.D. I, 614).

The MONAD emerges from its state of spiritual and intellectual unconsciousness; and, skipping the first two planes -- too near the ABSOLUTE to permit of any correlation with anything on a lower plane -- it gets direct into the plane of Mentality. But there is no plane in the whole universe with a wider margin, or a wider field of action in its almost endless gradations of perceptive and apperceptive qualities, than this plane, which has in its turn an appropriate smaller plane for every "form," from the "mineral" monad up to the time when that monad blossoms forth by evolution into the DIVINE MONAD. But all the time it is still one and the same Monad, differing only in its incarnations, throughout its ever succeeding cycles of partial or total obscuration of spirit, or the partial or total obscuration of matter -- two polar antitheses -- as it ascends into the realms of mental spirituality, or descends into the depths of materiality (S.D. I, 175).


As the spiritual Monad is One, Universal, Boundless and Impartite, whose rays, nevertheless, form what we, in our ignorance, call the "Individual Monads" of men, so the Mineral Monad -- being at the opposite point of the circle -- is also One -- and from it proceed the countless physical atoms, which Science is beginning to regard as individualized (S.D. I, 177-78).

[Monadic] evolution -- viewed from its several standpoints -- i.e., as the universal and the individualized Monad; and the chief aspects of the Evolving Energy, after differentiation -- the purely Spiritual, the Intellectual, the Psychic and the Physical -- may be thus formulated as an invariable law; a descent of Spirit into Matter, equivalent to an ascent in physical evolution; a re-ascent from the depths of materiality towards its status quo ante, with a corresponding dissipation of concrete form and substance up to the LAYA state ... (S.D. I, 620).

The Monads ... are treated from the standpoint of their individuality, as atomic Souls, before these atoms descend into pure terrestrial form. For this descent into concrete matter marks the medial point of their own individual pilgrimage. Here, losing in the mineral kingdom their individuality, they begin to ascend through the seven states of terrestrial evolution to that point where a correspondence is firmly established between the human and Deva (divine) consciousness (S.D. I, 619).

"There are seven kingdoms. The first group comprises three degrees of elementals, or nascent centres of forces -- from the first stage of differentiation of (from) Mulaprakriti (or rather Pradhāna, primordial homogeneous matter) to its third degree -- i.e., from full unconsciousness to semi-perception; the second or higher group embraces the kingdoms from vegetable to man; the mineral kingdom thus forming the central or turning point in the degrees of the "Monadic Essence," considered as an evoluting energy. Three stages (sub-physical) on the elemental side; the mineral kingdom; three stages on the objective physical side -- these are the (first or preliminary) seven links of the evolutionary chain." (S.D. I, 176).

... what is called collectively Monads by Leibnitz ... may be separated into three distinct Hosts, which, counted from the highest planes, are firstly, "gods," or conscious, spiritual Egos; the intelligent architects, who work after the plan in the Divine Mind. Then come the Elementals, or Monads, who form collectively and unconsciously the grand Universal Mirrors of everything connected with their respective realms. Lastly, the atoms, or material molecules, which are informed in their turn by their apperceptive monads, just as every cell in the human body is so informed. ... There are shoals of such informed atoms which, in their turn, inform the molecules; an infinitude of monads, or Elementals proper, and countless spiritual Forces -- Monadless, for they are pure incorporealities, except under certain laws, when they assume a form -- not necessarily human. Whence the substance that clothes them -- the apparent organism they evolve around their centres? The Formless ("Arupa") Radiations, existing in the harmony of Universal Will, and being what we term the collective or the aggregate of Cosmic Will on the plane of the subjective Universe, unite together an infinitude of monads -- each the mirror of its own Universe -- and thus individualize for the time being an independent mind, omniscient and universal; and by the same process of magnetic aggregation they create for themselves objective, visible bodies, out of the interstellar atoms. For atoms and Monads, associated or dissociated, simple or complex, are, from the moment of the first differentiation, but the principles, corporeal, psychic and Spiritual, of the "Gods," ... to the eye of the Seer, the higher Planetary Powers appear under two aspects: the subjective -- as influences, and the objective -- as mystic FORMS, ... Spirit is matter on the seventh plane; matter is Spirit -- on the lowest point of its cyclic activity; and both -- are MAYA. (S.D. I, 632-33).


Now the Monadic, or rather Cosmic, Essence (if such a term be permitted) in the mineral, vegetable, and animal, though the same throughout the series of cycles from the lowest elemental up to the Deva Kingdom, yet differs in the scale of progression. It would be very misleading to imagine a Monad as a separate Entity trailing its slow way in a distinct path through the lower Kingdoms, and after an incalculable series of transformations flowering into a human being; in short, that the Monad of a Humboldt dates back to the Monad of an atom of horneblende. Instead of saying a "Mineral Monad," the more correct phraseology in physical Science, which differentiates every atom, would of course have been to call it "the Monad manifesting in that form of Prakriti called the Mineral Kingdom." The atom, as represented in the ordinary scientific hypothesis, is not a particle of something, animated by a psychic something, destined after aeons to blossom as a man. But it is a concrete manifestation of the Universal Energy which itself has not yet become individualized; a sequential manifestation of the one Universal Monas. The ocean (of matter) does not divide into its potential and constituent drops until the sweep of the life-impulse reaches the evolutionary stage of man-birth. The tendency towards segregation into individual Monads is gradual, and in the higher animals comes almost to the point. The Peripatetics applied the word Monas to the whole Kosmos, in the pantheistic sense; and the Occultists, while accepting this thought for convenience sake, distinguish the progressive stages of the evolution of the concrete from the abstract by terms of which the "Mineral, Vegetable, Animal (etc.), Monad" are examples. The term merely means that the tidal wave of spiritual evolution is passing through that arc of its circuit. The "Monadic Essence" begins to imperceptibly differentiate towards individual consciousness in the Vegetable Kingdom. As the Monads are uncompounded things, as correctly defined by Leibnitz, it is the spiritual essence which vivifies them in their degrees of differentiation, which properly constitutes the Monad -- not the atomic aggregation, which is only the vehicle and the substance through which thrill the lower and the higher degrees of intelligence (S.D. I, 178-79).

The "human" Monad, whether immetallized in the stone-atom, or invegetallized in the plant, or inanimalized in the animal, is still and ever a divine, hence also a HUMAN Monad. It ceases to be human only when it becomes absolutely divine. The terms "mineral," "vegetable" and "animal" monad are meant to create a superficial distinction: there is no such thing as a Monad (jiva) other than divine, and consequently having been, or having to become, human. And the latter term has to remain meaningless unless the difference is well understood (S.D. II, 185-86).

The Monad is a drop out of the shoreless Ocean beyond, or, to be correct, within the plane of primeval differentiation. 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. As the Logos reflects the Universe in the Divine Mind, and the manifested Universe reflects itself in each of its Monads, as Leibnitz put it, repeating an Eastern teaching, so the MONAD has, during the cycle of its incarnations, to reflect in itself every root-form of each kingdom. Therefore the Kabalists say correctly that "MAN becomes a stone, a plant, an animal, a man, a Spirit, and finally God. Thus accomplishing his cycle or circuit and returning to the point from which he had started as the heavenly MAN." But by "Man" the divine Monad is meant, and not the thinking Entity, much less his physical body (S.D. II, 186).


On our nascent globe ... The Monad or Jiva ... is, first of all, shot down by the law of Evolution into the lowest form of matter -- the mineral. After a sevenfold gyration encased in the stone (or that which will become mineral and stone in the Fourth Round), it creeps out of it, say, as a lichen. Passing thence, through all the forms of vegetable matter, into what is termed animal matter, it has now reached the point in which it has become the germ, so to speak, of the animal, that will become the physical man. All this, up to the Third Round, is formless, as matter, and senseless, as consciousness. For the Monad or Jiva per se cannot be even called spirit: it is a ray, a breath of the ABSOLUTE, or the Absoluteness rather, and the Absolute Homogeneity, having no relations with the conditioned and relative finiteness, is unconscious on our plane. Therefore, besides the material which will be needed for its future human form, the monad requires (a) a spiritual model, or prototype, for that material to shape itself into; and (b) an intelligent consciousness to guide its evolution and progress, neither of which is possessed by the homogeneous monad, or by senseless though living matter. ... It is only when, from a potential androgyne, man has become separated into male and female, that he will be endowed with this conscious, rational, individual Soul, (Manas) "the principle, or the intelligence, of the Elohim," ... while the monad is cycling on downward into matter, these very Elohim -- or Pitris, the lower Dhyan-Chohans -- are evolving pari passu with it on a higher and more spiritual plane, descending also relatively into matter on their own plane of consciousness, when, after having reached a certain point, they will meet the incarnating senseless monad, encased in the lowest matter, and blending the two potencies, Spirit and Matter, the union will produce that terrestrial symbol of the "Heavenly Man" in space -- PERFECT MAN. ... Though one and the same thing in their origin, Spirit and Matter, when once they are on the plane of differentiation, begin each of them their evolutionary progress in contrary directions -- Spirit falling gradually into matter, and the latter ascending to its original condition, that of a pure spiritual substance (S.D. I, 246-47).

... the Occult teaching says, "Nothing is created, but is only transformed. Nothing can manifest itself in this universe -- from a globe down to a vague, rapid thought -- that was not in the universe already; everything on the subjective plane is an eternal IS; as everything on the objective plane is an ever becoming -- because transitory."

The monad ... is here rendered as the Atma in conjunction with Buddhi and the higher Manas. This trinity is one and eternal, the latter being absorbed in the former at the termination of all conditioned and illusive life. The monad, then, can be traced through the course of its pilgrimage and its changes of transitory vehicles only from the incipient stage of the manifested Universe. In Pralaya, or the intermediate period between two manvantaras, it loses its name, as it loses it when the real ONE self of man merges into Brahm in cases of high Samadhi (the Turiya state) or final Nirvana; ... For Buddhi (the Anandamaya sheath) is but a mirror which reflects absolute bliss; and, moreover, that reflection itself is yet not free from ignorance, and is not the Supreme Spirit, being subject to conditions, being a spiritual modification of Prakriti, and an effect; Atma alone is the one real and eternal substratum of all -- the essence and absolute knowledge -- the Kshetragna. It is called in the Esoteric philosophy "the One Witness," and, while it rests in Devachan, is referred to as "the Three Witnesses to Karma." (S.D. I, 570-71).


It now becomes plain that there exists in Nature a triple evolutionary scheme, for the formation of the three periodical Upadhis; or rather three separate schemes of evolution, which in our system are inextricably interwoven and interblended at every point. These are the Monadic (or spiritual), the intellectual, and the physical evolutions. These three are the finite aspects or the reflections on the field of Cosmic Illusion of ATMA, the seventh, the ONE REALITY.

1. The Monadic is, as the name implies, concerned with the growth and development into still higher phases of activity of the Monad in conjunction with:--

2. The Intellectual, represented by the Manasa-Dhyanis (the Solar Devas, or the Agnishwatta Pitris) the "givers of intelligence and consciousness" to man and:--

3. The Physical, represented by the Chhayas of the lunar Pitris, round which Nature has concreted the present physical body. This body serves as the vehicle for the "growth" (to use a misleading word) and the transformations through Manas and -- owing to the accumulation of experiences -- of the finite into the INFINITE, of the transient into the Eternal and Absolute.

Each of these three systems has its own laws, and is ruled and guided by different sets of the highest Dhyanis or "Logoi." Each is represented in the constitution of man, the Microcosm of the great Macrocosm; and it is the union of these three streams in him which makes him the complex being he now is (S.D. I, 181).

Metaphysically speaking, it is of course an absurdity to talk of the "development" of a Monad, or to say that it becomes "Man." ... It stands to reason that a MONAD cannot either progress or develop, or even be affected by the changes of states it passes through. It is not of this world or plane, and may be compared only to an indestructible star of divine light and fire, thrown down on to our Earth as a plank of salvation for the personalities in which it indwells. It is for the latter to cling to it; and thus partaking of its divine nature, obtain immortality (S.D. I, 174-75 fn.).

Exoteric Hindu books mention seven classes of Pitris, and among them two distinct kinds of Progenitors or Ancestors: the Barhishad and the Agnishwatta; ... But esoteric philosophy explains ... the Agnishwatta Pitris are devoid of fire (i.e., of creative passion), because too divine and pure ... whereas the Barhishad, being the lunar spirits more closely connected with Earth, became the creative Elohim of form, or the Adam of dust (S.D. II, 77-78).

... the Agnishwatta, ... hence [were] unable to create physical man, having no double, or astral body, to project, since they were without any form, ... Yet it is they alone who could complete man, i.e., make of him a self-conscious, almost a divine being -- a god on Earth. The Barhishad, though possessed of creative fire, were devoid of the higher MAHAT-mic element. Being on a level with the lower principles -- those which precede gross objective matter -- they could only give birth to the outer man, or rather to the model of the physical, the astral man. ... it was those [Agnishwatta] who would not multiply, who sacrificed themselves to the good and salvation of Spiritual Humanity. For, to complete the septenary man, to add to his three lower principles and cement them with the spiritual Monad -- which could never dwell in such a form otherwise than in an absolutely latent state -- two connecting principles are needed: Manas and Kama. ... These are then those "Flames" (the Agnishwatta) who, ... were destined to incarnate as the Egos of the forthcoming crop of Mankind. The human Ego is neither Atman nor Buddhi, but the higher Manas: the intellectual fruition and the efflorescence of the intellectual self-conscious Egotism -- in the higher spiritual sense (S.D. II, 78-79).


1. Everything in the metaphysical as in the physical Universe is septenary. Hence every sidereal body, every planet, whether visible or invisible, is credited with six companion globes. ... The evolution of life proceeds on these seven globes or bodies from the 1st to the 7th in Seven ROUNDS or Seven Cycles.

2. These globes are formed by a process which the Occultists call the "rebirth of planetary chains (or rings)."...

3. 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 spiritualised, so to say.

4. Its Humanity develops fully only in the Fourth -- our present Round (S.D. I, 158-59).

Now, it must be remembered that the Monads cycling round any septenary chain are divided into seven classes or hierarchies according to their respective stages of evolution, consciousness, and merit.

... in the Seventh Round on the Lunar chain, when Class 7, the last, quits Globe A, that Globe, instead of falling asleep, as it had done in previous Rounds, begins to die (to go into its planetary pralaya); and in dying it transfers successively ... its "principles," or life-elements and energy, etc., one after the other to a new "laya-centre," which commences the formation of Globe A of the Earth Chain. A similar process takes place for each of the Globes of the "lunar chain" one after the other, each forming a fresh Globe of the "earth chain." Our Moon was the fourth Globe of the series, and was on the same plane of perception as our Earth. But Globe A of the lunar chain is not fully "dead" till the first Monads of the first class have passed from Globe G or Z, the last of the "lunar chain," into the Nirvana which awaits them between the two chains; and similarly for all the other Globes as stated, each giving birth to the corresponding globe of the "earth chain."

Further, when Globe A of the new chain is ready, the first class or Hierarchy of Monads from the Lunar chain incarnate upon it in the lowest kingdom, and so on successively. 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; and henceforward the number of "human" Monads, i.e., Monads in the human stage of development, is complete. 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....

It thus becomes apparent how perfect is the analogy between the processes of Nature in the Kosmos and in the individual man. The latter lives through his life-cycle, and dies. His "higher principles," corresponding in the development of a planetary chain to the cycling Monads, pass into Devachan, which corresponds to the "Nirvana" and states of rest intervening between two chains. The Man's lower "principles" are disintegrated in time and are used by Nature again for the formation of new human principles, and the same process takes place in the disintegration and formation of Worlds (S.D. I, 171-73).


What, it may be asked, are the "Lunar Monads," ... they are Monads, who, having ended their life-cycle on the lunar chain, which is inferior to the terrestrial chain, have incarnated on this one. ... The last word of the mystery is divulged only to the adepts, but it may be stated that our satellite is only the gross body of its invisible principles. ... there are 7 Earths, so there are 7 Moons, the last one alone being visible (S.D. I, 179).

It is, then, the Moon that plays the largest and most important part, as well in the formation of the Earth itself, as in the peopling thereof with human beings. The "Lunar Monads" or Pitris, the ancestors of man, become in reality man himself. They are the "Monads" who enter on the cycle of evolution on Globe A, and who, passing round the chain of planets, evolve the human form ... At the beginning of the human stage of the Fourth Round on this Globe, 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. These "Monads" or "divine sparks" are thus the "Lunar" ancestors, the Pitris themselves. 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 (S.D. I, 180-81).

"Nature," the physical evolutionary Power, could never evolve intelligence unaided -- she can only create "senseless forms," ... It is the Manasa-Dhyanis who fill up the gap, and they represent the evolutionary power of Intelligence and Mind, the link between "Spirit" and "Matter" -- in this Round (S.D. I, 181-82).


The Monadic Host 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 ...

Now the evolution of the external form or body round the astral is produced by the terrestrial forces, just as in the case of the lower kingdoms; but the evolution of the internal or real MAN is purely spiritual. It is now no more a passage of the impersonal Monad through many and various forms of matter --   endowed at best with instinct and consciousness on quite a different plane -- as in the case of external evolution, but a journey of the "pilgrim-soul" through various states of not only matter but Self-consciousness and self-perception, or of perception from apperception (S.D. I, 174-75).

The most developed Monads (the lunar) reach the human germ-stage in the first Round; become terrestrial, though very ethereal human beings towards 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, and thus become the pioneers of Humanity at the beginning of this, the Fourth Round. Others reach the Human stage only during later Rounds, i.e., in the second, third, or first half of the Fourth Round. And finally the most retarded of all, i.e., those still occupying animal forms after the middle turning-point of the Fourth Round -- will not become men at all during this Manwantara. They will reach to the verge of humanity only at the close of the seventh Round to be, in their turn, ushered into a new chain after pralaya -- by older pioneers, the progenitors of humanity, or the Seed-Humanity (Sishta), viz., the men who will be at the head of all at the end of these Rounds.

... the Fourth [Globe] has no "sister" Globe on the same plane as itself, and it thus forms the fulcrum of the "balance" represented by the whole chain. It is the sphere of final evolutionary adjustments, the world of Karmic scales, the Hall of Justice, where the balance is struck which determines the future course of the Monad during the remainder of its incarnations in the cycle. And therefore it is, that, after this central turning-point has been passed in the Great Cycle, -- i.e., after the middle point of the Fourth Race in the Fourth Round on our Globe -- no more Monads can enter the human kingdom. The door is closed for this Cycle and the balance struck (S.D. I, 182).

The only exceptions to the rule ... are the "dumb races," whose Monads are already within the human stage, in virtue of the fact that these "animals" are later than, and even half descended from man, their last descendants being the anthropoid and other apes. These "human presentments" are in truth only the distorted copies of the early humanity (S.D. I, 183).


"Its (the atom's) involution and evolution, its external and internal growth and development, have all one and the same object -- man; man, as the highest physical and ultimate form on this earth; the MONAD, in its absolute totality and awakened condition -- as the culmination of the divine incarnations on Earth." (S.D. I, 183.)

... man -- or rather his Monad -- has existed on the earth from the very beginning of this Round. But, up to our own Fifth Race, the external shapes which covered those divine astral doubles changed and consolidated with every sub-race; the form and physical structure of the fauna changing at the same time, as they had to be adapted to the ever-changing conditions of life on this globe during the geological periods of its formative cycle. And thus shall they go on changing with every Root Race and every chief sub-race down to the last one of the Seventh in this Round (S.D. I, 183-84).

"The inner, now concealed, man, was then (in the beginnings) the external man. The progeny of the Dhyanis (Pitris), he was 'the son like unto his father.' Like the lotus, whose external shape assumes gradually the form of the model within itself, so did the form of man in the beginning evolve from within without. After the cycle in which man began to procreate his species after the fashion of the present animal kingdom, it became the reverse. The human foetus follows now in its transformations all the forms that the physical frame of man had assumed throughout the three Kalpas (Rounds) during the tentative efforts at plastic formation around the monad by senseless, because imperfect, matter, in her blind wanderings. In the present age, the physical embryo is a plant, a reptile, an animal, before it finally becomes man, evolving within himself his own ethereal counterpart, in his turn. In the beginning it was that counterpart (astral man) which, being senseless, got entangled in the meshes of matter."

But this "man" belongs to the fourth Round. As shown, the MONAD had passed through, journeyed and been imprisoned in, every transitional form throughout every kingdom of nature during the three preceding Rounds. But the monad which becomes human is not the Man. In this Round -- with the exception of the highest mammals after man, the anthropoids destined to die out in this our race, when their monads will be liberated and pass into the astral human forms (or the highest elementals) of the Sixth and the Seventh Races, and then into lowest human forms in the fifth Round -- no units of either of the kingdoms are animated any longer by monads destined to become human in their next stage, but only by the lower Elementals of their respective realms. The last human Monad incarnated before the beginning of the 5th Root-Race. The cycle of metempsychosis for the human monad is closed, for we are in the Fourth Round and the Fifth Root-Race (S.D. I, 184-85).

It can never be too often repeated, that the full-blown human Monads have to be first disposed of, before the new crop of candidates appears on this Globe at the beginning of the next cycle. Thus there is a lull; and this is why, during the Fourth Round, man appears on Earth earlier than any animal creation, ... But what the Occultists have never admitted, nor will they ever admit, is that man was an ape in this or in any other Round; or that he ever could be one, however much he may have been "ape-like." (S.D. I, 187.)

Up to the Fourth Round, and even to the later part of the Third Race in this Round, Man -- if the ever-changing forms that clothed the Monads during the first three Rounds and the first two and a half races of the present one can be given that misleading name -- is, so far, only an animal intellectually. It is only in the actual midway Round that he develops in himself entirely the fourth principle as a fit vehicle for the fifth. But Manas will be relatively fully developed only in the following Round, when it will have an opportunity of becoming entirely divine until the end of the Rounds (S.D. II, 161-62).


Of the succession of Races ...

"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 Prajāpati 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 Manas, was not there as yet.

2. From the First (race) emanated the second, called the "Sweat-born" and the "Boneless." This is the Second Root-Race, endowed by the preservers (Rākshasas) and the incarnating gods (Asuras and the Kumāras) with the first primitive and weak spark (the germ of intelligence) ... And from these in turn proceeds:--

3. The Third Root-Race, the "Two-fold" (Androgynes). The first Races hereof are shells, till the last is "inhabited" (i.e., informed) by the Dhyanis (S.D. II, 164-65).

This Third Race is sometimes called collectively "the Sons of Passive Yoga," i.e., it was produced unconsciously by the second Race, which, as it was intellectually inactive, is supposed to have been constantly plunged in a kind of blank or abstract contemplation, as required by the conditions of the Yoga state. In the first or earlier portion of the existence of this third race, while it was yet in its state of purity, the "Sons of Wisdom," who, as will be seen, incarnated in this Third Race, produced by Kriyasakti a progeny called the "Sons of Ad" or "of the Fire-Mist," the "Sons of Will and Yoga." They were a conscious production, as a portion of the race was already animated with the divine spark of spiritual, superior intelligence (S.D. I, 207).

It was by ... Kriyasakti -- the mysterious power of thought which enables it to produce external, perceptible, phenomenal results by its own inherent energy. The ancients held that any idea will manifest itself externally, if one's attention (and Will) is deeply concentrated upon it ... 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 sexes, the Fall of Man. ... They were the "holy seed-grain" of the future Saviours of Humanity (S.D. II, 173).

The archaic commentaries explain ... that, of the Host of Dhyanis, whose turn it was to incarnate as the Egos of the immortal, but, on this plane, senseless monads -- that some "obeyed" (the law of evolution) immediately when the men of the Third Race became physiologically and physically ready, i.e., when they had separated into sexes. ... Those, on the other hand, who, jealous of their intellectual freedom (unfettered as it then was by the bonds of matter), said:-- "We can choose ... we have wisdom," and incarnated far later -- these had their first 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.

This was the "Fall of the angels," because of their rebellion against Karmic Law. The "fall of man" was no fall, for he was irresponsible (S.D. II, 228).


We now come to an important point with regard to the double evolution of the human race. The Sons of Wisdom, or the spiritual Dhyanis, had become "intellectual" through their contact with matter, because they had already reached, during previous cycles of incarnation, that degree of intellect which enabled them to become independent and self-conscious entities, on this plane of matter. They were reborn only by reason of Karmic effects. They entered those who were "ready," and became the Arhats, or sages ...

It does not mean that Monads entered forms in which other Monads already were. They were "Essences," "Intelligences," and conscious spirits; entities seeking to become still more conscious by uniting with more developed matter. Their essence was too pure to be distinct from the universal essence; but their "Egos," or Manas (since they are called Manasaputra, born of "Mahat," or Brahmā) had to pass through earthly human experiences to become all-wise, and be able to start on the returning ascending cycle. ... It is not in the course of natural law that man should become a perfect septenary being, before the seventh race in the seventh Round. Yet he has all these principles latent in him from his birth. Nor is it part of the evolutionary law that the Fifth principle (Manas), should receive its complete development before the Fifth Round. All such prematurely developed intellects (on the spiritual plane) in our Race are abnormal; they are those whom we call the "Fifth-Rounders." Even in the coming seventh Race, at the close of this Fourth Round, while our four lower principles will be fully developed, that of Manas will be only proportionately so. This limitation, however, refers solely to the spiritual development. The intellectual, on the physical plane, was reached during the Fourth Root-Race. Thus, those who were "half ready," who received "but a spark," constitute the average humanity which has to acquire its intellectuality during the present Manvantaric evolution, after which they will be ready in the next for the full reception of the "Sons of Wisdom." While those which "were not ready" at all, the latest Monads, which had hardly evolved from their last transitional and lower animal forms at the close of the Third Round, remained the "narrow-brained" of the Stanza. This explains the otherwise unaccountable degrees of intellectuality among the various races of men -- the savage Bushman and the European -- even now. Those tribes of savages, whose reasoning powers are very little above the level of the animals, are not the unjustly disinherited, or the unfavoured, as some may think -- nothing of the kind. They are simply those latest arrivals among the human Monads, which were not ready: which have to evolve during the present Round, as on the three remaining globes (hence on four different planes of being) so as to arrive at the level of the average class when they reach the Fifth Round. One remark may prove useful, as food for thought to the student in this connection. The MONADS of the lowest specimens of humanity (the "narrow-brained" savage South-Sea Islander, the African, the Australian) had no Karma to work out when first born as men, as their more favoured 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 (S.D. II, 167-68).

Occultism teaches that -- (a) the life-atoms of our (Prāna) life-principle are never entirely lost when a man dies. That the atoms best impregnated with the life-principle (an independent, eternal, conscious factor) are partially transmitted from father to son by heredity, and partially are drawn once more together and become the animating principle of the new body in every new incarnation of the Monads. Because (b), as the individual Soul is ever the same, so are the atoms of the lower principles (body, its astral, or life double, etc.), drawn as they are by affinity and Karmic law always to the same individuality in a series of various bodies (S.D. II, 671-72).


"Pilgrim" is the appellation given to our Monad (the two in one) during its cycle of incarnations. It is the only immortal and eternal principle in us, being an indivisible part of the integral whole -- the Universal Spirit, from which it emanates, and into which it is absorbed at the end of the cycle. When it is said to emanate from the one spirit, an awkward and incorrect expression has to be used, for lack of appropriate words in English. ... (S.D. I, 16-17 footnote).

The Monad becomes a personal ego when it incarnates; and something remains of that personality through Manas, when the latter is perfect enough to assimilate Buddhi (S.D. I, 245).

That which propels towards, and forces evolution, i.e., compels the growth and development of Man towards perfection, is (a) the MONAD, or that which acts in it unconsciously through a force inherent in itself; and (b) the lower astral body or the personal SELF. The former, whether imprisoned in a vegetable or an animal body, is endowed with, is indeed itself, that force. Owing to its identity with the ALL-FORCE, which, as said, is inherent in the Monad, it is all-potent on the Arupa, or formless plane. On our plane, its essence being too pure, it remains all-potential, but individually becomes inactive: e.g., the rays of the Sun, which contribute to the growth of vegetation, do not select this or that plant to shine upon. Uproot the plant and transfer it to a piece of soil where the sunbeam cannot reach it, and the latter will not follow it. So with the Atman: unless the higher Self or EGO gravitates towards its Sun -- the Monad -- the lower Ego, or personal Self, will have the upper hand in every case (S.D. II, 109-110).

Starting upon the long journey immaculate; descending more and more into sinful matter, and having connected himself with every atom in manifested Space -- the Pilgrim, having struggled through and suffered in every form of life and being, is only at the bottom of the valley of matter, and half through his cycle, when he has identified himself with collective Humanity. This, he has made in his own image. In order to progress upwards and homewards, the "God" has now to ascend the weary uphill path of the Golgotha of Life. It is the martyrdom of self-conscious existence. Like Visvakarman he has to sacrifice himself to himself in order to redeem all creatures, to resurrect from the many into the One Life. Then he ascends into heaven indeed; where, plunged into the incomprehensible absolute Being and Bliss of Paranirvana, he reigns unconditionally, and whence he will re-descend again at the next "coming," ... (S.D. I, 268).

For, however limitless -- from a human standpoint -- the paranirvanic state, it has yet a limit in Eternity. Once reached, the same monad will re-emerge therefrom, as a still higher being, on a far higher plane, to recommence its cycle of perfected activity. The human mind cannot in its present stage of development transcend, scarcely reach this plane of thought. It totters here, on the brink of incomprehensible Absoluteness and Eternity (S.D. I, 266).

(1)  Most of this collation was first published in Theosophy Magazine (Los Angeles, California, USA), Volumes I and XXII.  The collation was reprinted in Theosophy Magazine, Volumes 81 and 82.  In this later reprint, some excerpts were added and resequenced.  An online edition of this collation was first published on John DeSantis' Web Site -- and is one of many items listed on the Collated Articles Index Page at his site. Mr. DeSantis has kindly allowed us to reprint this collation.