THE EVOLUTION OF MAN

by A. E, CLOVER, F.T.S.

(A Paper read before the Ishwara Theosophical Society, Minneapolis, Minn.,)

As published in “Theosophical Siftings” - Volume 7

[Page 12] DOES The Secret Doctrine teach that man evolved from the lower kingdoms ? The question, has humanity, as represented by man, evolved through or from the lower kingdoms, is a question that to many minds remains unanswered. Up to, comparatively, a few years ago, we of the Occidental world were content to accept the dead letter teaching of Genesis — that man was made of the dust of the ground, — we accepted it as true without inquiry, because it had been accepted as the word of God for many generations, therefore it must be true. But within this past few years there has been a deep and earnest desire among a certain class of men, known as Scientists, who could not believe the, to them, absurd theory, that man was made like a modeller in clay would make an image. To fathom the mystery of the origin of sentient life these scientists looked for facts, and would accept nothing but facts, every fact must be proven, and working on that line they gathered together a large number of facts as their working hypothesis, upon which they built a startling "fact'' that man was only an educated ape. And to prove that "fact" they produce other facts, as, for instance, the female ape nurses its young, so does woman; the ape does many things in a manlike manner, the man does many things in an apelike manner — hence man must have had his origin in the ape. But why should not the ape have had his origin in man ? That side of the question I suppose they did not consider, but having decided that the ape was the origin of man, the origin of the ape must be inquired into, more facts must be produced, and after proving many facts, they found the primal origin of the ape in a jelly fish. So according to these great scientists man primarily was a jelly fish, or a protozoa, the lowest imaginable form of life, and with that "fact" they appear to rest content.

But another class of men, students they are called, who delve into old books and into the mysteries of ancient lore, they in their search for hidden knowledge found a very ancient aphorism, which runs thus, "A stone becomes a plant; a plant becomes a beast; a beast becomes a man; a man becomes a spirit; the spirit a God". Now, they say, we have discovered the origin of man, man was at one time a stone. These students [Page 13] are nearer the truth than the scientists, they are nearer the teaching of Genesis, for what is dust but pulverized stone ? But you may say these students only carry the origin of man farther back, — that is, when the scientist stops at the protozoa, — that is true, so to make their claim good, the aid of science is invoked, more facts must be sought. They found a fact and proved that there was a plant so like a something that had been proven to be an animal, that it was decided that this plant and this animal were the links that connected the animal to the vegetable kingdom. But more facts — deeper research — by the aid of geologists, they look for the lowest form of plant life to connect the stone with the plant, what name they have given or will give to it, I cannot say, but you may be sure that it will be a very scientific one.

The answer to the question, "Does The Secret Doctrine teach that man evolved from the lower kingdoms?" hinges, in my judgment, on the meaning of two words, viz: — Monad and Man, we will analyze them. First the Monad. Leibnitz says that a Monad is a centre of force, a mathematical point without extension except in the direction of metaphysical dimension.

H.P.B. says in The Secret Doctrine, volume 2, page 167, that, "The monads are not discrete principles, limited or conditioned, but rays from that one Universal Absolute Principle". This, I think, is as strong as language can express it. A monad, then, is a ray of the Absolute, and as H.P.B., in footnote vi., page 174, says, " It is not of this world or plane, it cannot either progress or develop, or even be affected by the changes of state it passes through". If this is so, it is very evident that a monad cannot be nascent man, because man has developed, has progressed; hence, when a monad is spoken of, it cannot mean man in any sense of the word. What is meant by the word man, according to Webster, "Man is distinguished by the powers of reasoning and speech, as well as by his shape and dignified aspect".

According to The Secret Doctrine, Man is a compound of Spirit, soul and matter, plus the ray — or monad — from the Absolute. So also are the lower forms a compound of Spirit, soul and matter, plus the ray — or monad — from the Absolute. Then wherein lies the difference ? Biologists tell us, that at a certain stage of development of the human foetus, it is impossible to distinguish it from that of the dog, and that fact is brought forth by certain students, as previously mentioned, to advance their aphorism. It only proves that the man and dog are compounded from the same elements, both animals, but as distinct in species as the dog is from the horse, or the oak tree from a stalk of wheat, which are also a compound of the same elements. Hence, man must be something more than all of the so-called lower kingdoms. [Page 14]

H.P.B., in Volume 2, page259, says, that "the embryo of man has no more of the ape in it, than of any other mammal, but contains in itself the totality of the kingdoms of nature". "Man has not one drop of pithecoid blood in his veins”, says The Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, page 193. Again, Volume 2, page p. 289, "Man was the storehouse, so to speak, of all the seeds of life for this round, vegetable and animal alike".

A French Theosophist remarks — quoted from The Secret Doctrine, volume 2, page. 289 — "As man never can be, so he never has been manifested in a shape belonging to the animal kingdom in esse, he never formed part of that kingdom".

M. de Quartrefages, the French naturalist — quoted from The Secret Doctrine, volume 2, page. 56 — says, "That man is a distinct kingdom".

"Theosophy has never supported the wild theories of the present Darwinists, least of all the descent of man from the ape; one has only to turn to page 47, Esoteric Buddhism, fifth edition, to find there the statement that 'man belongs to a kingdom distinctly separate from the animals .The Occultists have never admitted, nor will they ever admit, 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".

Again, The Secret Doctrine, volume 1, page 190, says, "The occult doctrine has never taught, nor any adept believed, in the preposterous modern theory of the descent of man from a common ancestor with the ape".

Again it is said in The Secret Doctrine, volume 1, page 211, "How comes our physical body to the state of perfection it is found in now ? Through millions of years of evolution, yet never through or from animals."

I think that the above quotations are enough to convince any fair-minded person that The Secret Doctrine most emphatically teaches that man did not evolve from the lower kingdom in this or any other round, but that man is, and always has been, a distinct and separate kingdom unto himself, an epitome of the universe.

The question then is, if man is not an educated animal, what is he ? The Secret Doctrine teaches, with no uncertain sound, that man is a God.

"The occult philosophy teaches that the first human stock was projected by higher and semi-divine beings out of their own essences."

In The Secret Doctrine, volume 2, page 95, we read, "The pure Gods could only project out of themselves shadowy men, a little less ethereal and spiritual, less divine and perfect than themselves — shadows still". These pure Gods are the Dhyan Chohans — the real man — they could not give the real man a garment, so a lower Hierarchy of Celestial Beings, as we are told, volume 2, page 88, "gave us our fleshy bodies". Of course I do not expect any who believe that man evolved from the lower kingdoms to accept this teaching. How can they [Page 15] believe in a multiplicity of Gods, or of Celestial Beings, they have no facts on which to base a working hypothesis. Yet one of the greatest advocates of "facts" — Mr. Huxley — in one of his latest works admits, "That there may be Beings endowed with full powers to deal with our earth and its contents, as men deal with things and events which they are strong enough to modify or control, and who are capable of being moved by appeals such as men make to one another, and there may be still higher Beings who rule over our solar system, as much higher than the ruler of our earth, as the ruler of the earth is above its inhabitants, and then again, there may be a ruler of the Universe who in comparison is as much greater than the ruler of our solar system is above man". This quotation is from memory, perhaps not letter perfect, but it is the general idea, and the idea is in full accord with The Secret Doctrine, for it teaches that there are many orders of Celestial Beings, each order having its special duties to perform, from the highest Archangel to the lowest elemental, each on its own plane of activity, and everything in the Universe, from the highest Dhyan Chohan to the grossest mineral atom is accompanied by the ever-present monad, the ray from the Absolute. As H.P.B. says in volume 1, page 630, "Monads are everywhere, the human soul is a monad, and every cell in the human body has its monad; as every cell in animal, vegetable, and even in the so-called inorganic bodies, each have their monads". But, as previously said, a changeless principle, a ray from the Absolute. Therefore, not man, nor could it ever become man, as has been previously shown. This word monad is a very misleading term, and we have to be very careful in its use. In volume 1, page 177, H.P.B. speaks of a mineral monad and a human monad; she says: "Physically or constitutionally the mineral monad differs, of course, from the human monad, which is neither physical, nor can its constitution be rendered by chemical symbols and elements; in short, 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 individualised". I think the above can be best explained by comparing the mineral monad to the primordial substance as described in The Secret Doctrine, volume 1, page 58, "Primordial substance being the noumenon of matter". And as is said, volume 1, page 246, "The monad is first shot down by the law of evolution into the lowest form of matter, the mineral". Taking this view, we have two principles, one accompanying spirit and one accompanying matter. But these two principles are one.

In The Secret Doctrine, volume 2, page 24, it is written: "Gods and men take rise in, and from one and the same Point, which is the one universal, [Page 16] immutable, eternal and absolute unity; which becomes Primordial substance in the sphere of objectivity; and the spirit of the universe, in the sphere of metaphysics, — or the logos". H.P.B. further says that, "The unity or Parabrahm manifests Mulaprakriti — that is Primordial substance, — and then as the logos, that is the spirit of the universe, which is the basis of subjective life".

So then the Unity evolves from its own essence a positive and negative power termed Spirit and Matter; the Unity is latent in both and cannot — as previously said — be affected in any manner. In The Secret Doctrine, volume 1, page 247, we read "That it is the blending of these two, viz., Spirit and Substance, that produces the perfect man. Though one and the same thing, spirit and matter, when once they are on the plane of differentiation, begin, each of them, evolutionary progress in contrary directions, spirit falling gradually into matter, and matter ascending to a pure spiritual substance. They are two poles of the same homogeneous substance, the root principle of the Universe".

This heavenly man, in space, is known as the Dhyan Chohan, and as stated in The Secret Doctrine, volume 2, page 242, "That the heavenly rupa (Dhyan Chohan) creates man in his own form, that form is the ideal shadow of Itself, and this is the man of the first race"; and it further says "after the earth had been made ready by the lower and more material powers, and its three kingdoms fairly started, the higher powers, the Dhyan Chohans, were compelled by evolutionary law to descend on earth, in order to construct the Crown of its evolution — Man".

Again in volume 2, page 246, we read, "Hence tradition shows the Celestial Yogis, Dhyan Chohans, offering themselves as voluntary victims in order to redeem humanity, created God-like and perfect at first, and to endow him with human affections and aspirations."

Again in volume 1, page 478, "The Archaic Stanzas describe minutely, man's primal evolution from the human Dhyan Chohan". On page 282, volume 1, The Secret Doctrine, H.P.B. says, "Neither the form of man, nor that of any animal, plant or stone, has ever been created, and it is only on this plane of ours that it commenced 'becoming', that is objectivising into its present materiality, therefore our human forms have existed in the eternity as astral or ethereal prototypes; according to which models the spiritual Beings, whose duty it was to bring them into objective being and terrestrial life, evolved the protoplasmic form of the future Egos from their own essences. After which when this human base mould was ready, the natural terrestrial forces began to work on those supersensuous moulds which contained, besides their own, the elements of all the past vegetable and future animal forms of this globe in them. Therefore, man's outward shell passed through every vegetable and animal body before it assumed [Page 17] the human shape". Then we learn from Isis Unveiled, "It is positively absurd to believe the 'transformation of species' to have taken place according to some of the more materialistic views of the evolutionists, it is but natural to think that each genus, beginning with the molluscs and ending with man, had modified its own primordial and distinctive forms".

Again, Agassiz declares his belief in an indefinite number of primordial races of men, created separately. Whilst in every zoological province animals are of different species, man, in spite of the diversity of his races, always forms one and the same human being" (quoted from The Secret Doctrine, volume 2, page 610). Now, if this means anything, it means this, that the forms which now exist, have existed in the eternity as astral or ethereal prototypes, and that they have evolved and objectivized on their own lines.

The Secret Doctrine, in volume 1, page 636, says: "No occultist would deny that man — no less than the elephant and the microbe, the crocodile and the lizard, the blade of grass or the crystal — is, in his physical formation, the simple product of the evolutionary forces of Nature through a numberless series of transformations". And then on page 262, volume 2: "The form means nothing, species and genera of the flora, fauna, and the highest animal — its crown, man — change and vary according to the environments and climate variations, not with every round, but with every root race likewise".

Again, volume 2, page 168, we find that, "The Secret Doctrine claims for man a polygenetic origin; that the evolution of animal follows that of man, instead of preceding it. And this is diametrically opposed to the now generally accepted theories of evolution, and the descent of man from an animal ancestor".

Then on page 81, volume 2, it is taught, "That between man and the animal, there is the impassable abyss of mentality and self-consciousness. Can man, a God in the animal form, be the product of material nature by evolution alone, and what is it that creates such difference unless man is an animal, plus a living God within his physical shell".

Again, volume 2, page 177, states that "the evolution of man is analogous to that of the universe; his — man's — evolution stands between that of the universe and that of the animal. This clearly shows that man has evolved on different lines".

Then on page 290, volume 2, we read, "The human form so-called, because it is the vehicle — under whatever shape — of the divine man. A new human form must always have been the new type of the cycle. The human shape in one round becomes cast-off clothes in the next, which in turn is appropriated by the highest order in the kingdom below". [Page 18]

We further read that "having appeared at the very beginning at the head of sentient and conscious life, man (the astral or the soul) became the living and animal unit, from which the cast-off clothes determined the shape of every life and animal in this round".

Then on page 146 volume 2, it is said, "That the humanity of the first manvantara or round, is that of the seventh, and all intermediate ones". This is very clear, how could there be humanity in the first round if there were no man ?

In footnote page 222, volume 1, The Secret Doctrine says "That the sixfold Dhyan Chohans are in fact men, minus the physical body". And then on page 230, volume 1, "That which is a surviving entity in us is partly the direct emanation from, and partly those celestial entities themselves". Then on volume 1, page. 489, "That monads are the material out of which the Gods clothe themselves in bodies".

Again in volume 1, page 455, "In round one the animal atoms are drawn into a cohesion of human physical form to clothe the hierarchy of being in primary creation — so animal creation has to precede divine man on earth". Then in volume 1, page 213, "This same hierarchy of beings merges into the human, and creates — midway in its descent into matter — the visible universe".

Again in volume 1, page 219, we read: "That the physical, according to esoteric teachings, evolves gradually from the spiritual, mental, and psychic". Then in volume 1, page 231, "That every round on a descending scale is but a repetition in a more concrete form of the round which preceded it". .

Thus it becomes clear, that the origin of man on this our present round, must occupy the same place, in the same order, as in the preceding round. And it must be remembered that each round is under the supervision of the Dhyan Chohans.

It is stated, The Secret Doctrine, page 450, volume 1, "that man proceeds from the Dhyan Chohans, and is a God in exile"; and on page 452, " that the Dhyan Chohans are the collective aggregate of Divine intelligence or primordial mind, and that the first Manus — the seven 'mind born' Spiritual Intelligences — are identical with the former".

Then on page 151, volume 1, "Every unprejudiced person would prefer to believe that primeval humanity had at first an ethereal form evolved by Gods, or natural 'forces' which grew, condensed throughout millions of ages, than to believe that he came from an unknown anthropoid ancestor". Then on page 186, volume 2, "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'. [Page 19] But by 'Man' the Divine Monad is meant, and not the thinking entity, much less his physical body".

Again in volume 1, page 159, we learn "That humanity develops fully only in the fourth round; up to this fourth life cycle, it is referred to as 'humanity' only for lack of a more appropriate term. Man, or rather that which becomes man, passes through all the forms and kingdoms during the first round, and through all the human shapes during the two following rounds".

This passing through the lower kingdoms you will better understand if you remember what I have previously said, viz., that the Dhyan Chohan, being spirit, could not manifest, except through its opposite matter. So to materialize form it clothed itself with the material at hand, but the form was the form of a God, not of a lower kingdom. As has been said, our human forms have existed in the eternity as astral.

But you may ask, what is this material, of which this mineral kingdom is composed, this matter that the first humanity must pass through, so as to assimilate and acquire experience, as is thought by some, and is so frequently quoted. The Secret Doctrine says, on page 13, volume 1, that it is Akasa. But what is Akasa — light — nothing but light. This could not have been a very gross matter, but still darkness to the pure spirit, man was. So the first round humanity were clothed with light. A footnote says, "Akasa is, cosmically, a radiant, cool, plastic matter, creative in its physical nature, immutable in its higher principles". From this it can be seen what is meant by "The Breath of the Father-Mother issues cold and radiant, and gets hot and corrupt, to cool once more" (quoted from The Secret Doctrine, volume 1, page 144).

And on page 252, footnote, "The Globe was fiery, cool and radiant as its ethereal men and animals during the first round, says the commentary". And in volume 1, page 259, it says, "Thus in the first round, the globe, having been built by the primitive fire lives — that is, formed into a sphere — had no solidity, nor form, nor colour, it was only towards the end of the first round that it developed one element". She also says, in footnote, "The primordial substance, if matter at all, is that which is called light — esoterically explained, is the body of those spirits themselves, and their very essence". I cannot help quoting in this connection from the Zohar, as quoted in The Secret Doctrine, volume 1, page 356, footnote, "Says Rabbi Simeon, 'Ah, companions, companions, Man as an emanation, was both man and woman, as well on the side of the Father — that is spirit or Dhyan Chohan — as on the side of the Mother — that is matter or primordial substance: and this is the sense of the words, and Elohim spoke let there be light, and it was light". This is a very graphic description from the old Quabbalist, showing that this thought was common to Initiates of all lands, [Page 20]

There is another old book that does not teach that man evolved from the lower kingdom, that is Genesis, which, if read esoterically, is in full accord with The Secret Doctrine; for, you remember. "God said let there be light, and there was light".

First there was darkness (that is the pure ray of the Absolute). "The Spirit of God" (that is the Dhyan Chohan) "moved upon the face of the waters" (that is primordial substance) producing light. And remember He made man — not of the dust of the ground, as He does in the second chapter — but "in His own Image". It is not my purpose tonight to enter any deeper into the esotericism of Genesis, but to call your attention to the great truth underlying the allegory.

To sum up the term, "monad" is a misleading term, for it is shown to be an abstract principle — "array" — that changes not".,consequently can never become man. And second, man is a God, fallen, it is true, from his first estate, but through aeons of purifying fire he will return from whence he came — to Spirit — while the so-called lower kingdoms will return to the primordial substance, and ultimately unite with Spirit and the monadic ray of the one Unity.


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