Fragments of a Forgotten History
by: "Two Chelâs" in the Theosophical Society
[Mohini Chatterji & Laura C.Holloway]
HELENA PETROVNA BLAVATSKY
The brave disciple of the Mahatmas, and Faithful servant of Humanity,
this book published in 1887, is affectionately dedicated.
|Preface by the Eastern Chela|
|Preface by the Western Chela|
|Physical evolution of Man; or Descent into Matter|
|Evolution of Sex|
|Growth of Language and Religion|
|Man and other Orders of Existence|
The present writers are bound to disclaim all pretence of having delineated more than the broad features of the subjects treated of in these pages. They are aware, however,that the world, at this late day, expects so little truth about the origin and infancy of man that it extends but a grudging consideration to anything beyond the vaguest surmises and the most shadowy outlines; and is always ready to condemn, what it would call, the credulous temerity of an individual, who ventures accurately to survey regions of investigation which it pronounces inexplorable
The small band of esoteric teachers, the inheritors of the secret knowledge of the ages, have till lately found silence to be the only means for its preservation. But the time has arrived for the world to receive a portion of their accumulated wealth. The choice, however, of the present method, so different from all preconceived ideas of the fitness of things, is sure to give rise to feelings of a very varied character. The question would naturally suggest itself why the discovery of ancient books and manuscripts, undeniably authentic and plainly historical, should not have been made the occasion for the revival of the forgotten lore, if the present generation is to be at all instructed in the story of the origin and infancy of its ancestors. The allegorical character, however,of ancient writings which renders them unintelligible to all but the initiated reader, prevents such a course being adopted: hence the necessity of the present plan.
It is herein attempted to show mankind of today what man was ages before those usually reckoned as the era of his first appearance on earth; and the early conditions of the race and its progressive growth will be found to teem with interest and instruction even in the meager account that follows.
It will, perhaps, be asked - What is the source of information, who are the Teachers? They are the sages of the East, the inheritors of the knowledge of the Magian, the Chaldean, the Egyptian, and the ancient Rishis of India; from one of whom, a beloved and revered Master, known to many in the West as well as in the East, the present writers have received the instruction, part of which is presented to the world in the following pages. With the accuracy of the information here afforded, if not with its fulness, the writers are satisfied, and they give it with the sincere hope that the world, for its own enlightenment, will extent to it an open-minded and wise consideration,notwithstanding the imperfections which the shortcomings of the writers may have produced.
The writers were perfect strangers to each other until they met last spring,and the circumstances which brought them together will be found narrated in the following prefaces. The mystical student of psychology, who knows the inadequacy of a bare statement of facts for the presentation of psychic incidents,will hardly need an apology for the form in which the narratives are cast.
BY THE EASTERN CHELA.
The sun had sunk down behind the tall pines, the giant sentries guarding the little cottage that so snugly nestled on the bosom of the Himalayas; but the evening glow, the farewell blessing of the departing luminary, still lingered on the treetops. The little shepherd boy, who so faithfully preserves the secrecy of the lonely habitation from the cruel ears of he hunters whose midnight halloos frighten the yearling fawns and whose murderous weapons ever and again render them motherless, had just brought in tidings that a company of English officials were encamped at no great distance and might be expected next morning, to outrage once more the peaceful hillside with their unhallowed sport. As the slight figure of the adventurous youth, descending the perilous crag with the sure step of the Himalayan goat, the companion of his infancy, was hidden from view by the deepening shadows of night, and the last note of his rude pipe died away in the stillness of the scene, a weariness came over the meditative mystic student, the solitary dweller of that lonely cottage.
He was not born to mysticism, but was drawn into it. His eyes first beheld the light among the bustle and stir of a populous city; his youthful steps had threaded crowded thoroughfares and his mind was instructed in many an old seat of learning. Time had left on him footprints which had burnt deep into his soul. But inquire not into the origin of the students of The Holy Lore, and let not the curious hand rake up the cold ashes from the funeral pyre of the past. It is enough to say that the slow dissolution of selfishness had pushed the mystic back, step by step, from the busy walks of daily life, the ever-expanding circle of duty had caused the early bonds to burst and the narrow heart to break and scatter its fragments far and wide. Sustained by the traditions of his race and cheered by the sad benevolent smile of one, not to be profaned by mention here, the mystic student treads the uphill path of duty to his country and his kind, though not without occasional checks from despondency and sorrow, produced by spectacles of sin and pain. The increasing serenity of his life deepened the pity in his soul for others whose course diverged from his. O that man should be unhappy though his spirit is the very essence of bliss! But the Eternal Necessity works on its never-ending woof of progress through discord and imperfection.
Roll on darks cycles of descent; our hands, though armed with the energy of self-sacrifice, clutch at the spokes of thy wheel in vain! To the last turn will that wheel revolve. We have only the privilege of pursuing our work in silent expectation of the day when thy resistless course will backward wind, but even now we have the glory of an unselfish death. O death, thou deep-veiled virgin, how few have seen the charms in thy face! How few are the worshippers on whom thy dark eyes have smiled!
Ah, sweet is life,but sweeter still is death!
How few comprehend death! None among that light-hearted and light-minded band of Englishmen whose campfires gleam in the darkness of the valley, like the lurid eyes of some cruel monster, knows the solemn majesty of death,whom they would as laughingly receive themselves as force upon others.
The mystery of death is the greatest mystery of all.
The past-searching eyes of yon Brahman, emerging from the Ganges' sacred waters, turn in mute appeal to the Gods of his fathers, at the sight of those ruined temples, raised by the pious hands of antiquity, and unbidden tears trickle down his cheeks as he mourns his country dead. Timid short-sighted man! Is India dead because she suckles children not her own? If thou could's place thyself on the crest of that proud mountain-wave thou wouldst see across the tracts of time the break of a dawn brighter and purer than these hills have yet beheld. Man! man is thy brother! Give to thy brother what he has not, and supply thy own deficiencies from what he offers thee. The right hand must aid the left, the East must united with the West; the young must join hands with the old; and the beauty of harmony will smile on the face of the Earth .....
Hark! what discordant scream disturbs the calm repose of the restful landscape? Sailing like a mass of darkness in the serene sea of moonlight, the Himalayan eagle startles the tremulous shades of night and wakens echoes from every glen and crag. But more piercing by far is the cry of despair borne by the western breeze from the unfortunate victims, naked and famishing among the crumbling ruins of Creed and Thought. The streams of sound swept by confused and indistinct; but the cries of the soul always wing their way to other souls, whose doors are not barred nor their casements closed. Loud above the rest was heard the clear voice of great hearts that knocks at the gates of self-crowned princes of thought, in vain attempt to raise an echo, and are thrown back upon the black rock of despair to wait for the ravenous jaws of the dragon of spiritual death.
Amidst the psychic war of elements and the devouring earthquake of the mind, like a streak of silver light there flashed in the student's mind the voice of his master:-
"Go, be true to thy pledge to manhood; westward lies thy path. Take this mutilated scroll, an unknown, though kindred spirit will bring the missing fragments, and then will be revealed to thee things which thou hast till now sought in vain. Take no thought for the morrow nor tarry here in a single day; thy path of duty leads to the West"....
Far, far away in the New World, in the city of the rising sun there waited a solitary soul which seemed to have dropped from some other sphere and lost its way in a strange land. Its cry of help was heard and the words wrung form it by doubt and bewilderment were sped across long stretches of sea and land.
The vision was downed in the tide of returning sense, but the ear caught the fading words, "Thy path of duty leads to the West."
Obedient steps were bent westward and the faithful pupil found himself among the ill-fated splendour of Paris - Ah! Paris, Paris! thou must die that France may live! - France alone among her many enemies, and the worst of them thou!
Ghostlike the ascetic haunted the homes of wealth and pleasure, everywhere regarded more as the mysterious hand that recorded the doom of the Assyrian monarch than a human being willing to work and bear.
One evening among the gaieties of a Parisian salon, with all to charm the sense and sicken the soul, an airy tongue sellable his name: -
"Come, come to my help!"
The faraway voice downed the music and obscured the dancing shapes. The bright sallies of wit remained unheard, the gay companions unheeded. The two strangers met and were strangers no more, the fragments united together, the torn scroll became whole.
The mystic scroll was all in quaint characters and in an unknown tongue. Many an anxious day and many a watchful night has it cost the fellow-students, united in a strange land, to decipher its meaning. The following pages represent the result
BY THE WESTERN CHELA
The winds of a cheerless winter day had whirled and twirled snow-wreaths through the air until the world seemed wrapped in fleecy clouds.
The space above and below man's feet was all white, all glistening with crystal flakes that multiplied themselves in endless forms and nestled on the earth like a gossamer pall. It was winter, and winter in a climate inhospitable and bitter even in its best aspects; winter in the north, where the bleak blasts were far too many and the warmth of summer tarried not long. This day there seemed to have been united the disagreeableness of many snowstorms, and the leaden look of the early dawn had justified the predictions of the weather-wise that there was likelihood of a strong blow from the polar regions. It came duly, and thick and fast, the pretty down kissed the cold earth and sank out of sight in its absorbing embrace. At first this was the case, but by-and-by the old mother weary of a repetition of such visits, returned them no more, and the little messengers gathered together on her breast, closely packing themselves, until she was entirely hidden from view and there was no more of her brown self visible to man, The world was decked in snow and he sky seemed never to weary of sifting it through space, and covering with its purity all the dark spots and uncanny lines of the city streets and byways.
It was a day for meditation and dreams, a time for the restful to rest, the serene to find repose in their inner selves, safe from the interruptions of daily life without. For the contented, it was a day of peace and communion with better thoughts than could be invoked when the cares and the duties of the world interposed.
And it was the opportunity for the soul to assert itself, and speak in no uncertain tones through the thick walls of sense which entirely deadened its voice many days at a time.
In that vas city which the snow had claimed for its own, there was one soul which looked out through her slight casement upon the scenes of life, and rejoiced in the outward storm that gave such a prospect of inner calm. The tenement which enshrined that soul was slight indeed, and it trembled before the strength of the wind - as evidenced by the noise at the windows and about the entries. Gazing wistfully out upon the scene until giddiness caused the eyes to close and the heart to sigh in regret, thoughts of the hungry poor who were crowded in unwholesome habitations, of little children whose tender flesh was pinched and quivering, whose woes would be intensified by the presence of the visitant so beautiful to look upon, so hard to entertain unless greeted with warmth and cheer at the hearthstone,crowded the busy brain and caused the clasped hands to tighten in pain. Regrets which, worse than vain, are always weakening and distressing were not long harboured, for there was work for fingers and mind, and there were tasks unperformed awaiting attention. But whether it was the effects of the storm upon a highly strung nature or the sense of the helplessness that followed a realization of human suffering which could not be averted, the hands could not write, the brain refused to act and the passive mind lapsed into a reverie which seemed likely to deepen into slumber. It might have been a midday sleep, but it was not destined so to be. While yet the drooping eyelids hovered near together and the parted lips offered no impediment to the deep respiration of the half-reclining form, a mysterious something roused the dormant senses, and, as would a stroke of lightning, changed the recumbent position to one of upright, eager expectancy.
There was another presence in the room; of this there could be no doubt; but whose? and from whence had it come? and how? The closed door had not been moved, and there was no sound through all the chambers and halls, echoing the tread of feet or reverberating to the tones of human voice. Profound was the stillness, save for the soft "tick, tick" of snowflakes upon the windowpanes, and the shrill whistle of an occasion gust which swept itself through inviting crevices, or expended its force in a sudden dash around the corners of the streets. Within, the stillness, deep and almost mystic, was suddenly startled by the broken exclamation of the dreamer, thus strangely greeted with a vision so vivid to sense, but so dim to comprehension.
What a picture has presented itself! There stands in the space but a moment before vacant, the form of an eastern sage - graceful in bearing, benevolent of countenance, and earnest in the look he bends upon the wondering face before him. In one hand he carries a book-like parchment, and over his arm is thrown the white robe that falls on the opposite side almost if not quite to the floor. Long flowing hair mantles his shoulders, and on his feet are the sandals of the East. Perhaps it is the small staff of some brown wood he carries which emits so delicious and pungent an odour, for all the atmosphere is filled with fragrance and the senses are gratefully soothed.
Standing quite unconscious of having done aught to surprise any one, and gently speaking to his listener, he is the most delightful picture of repose one could well imagine. The yellow Tibetan bodice worn under his long drapery, shines through the fold above it, and the Himalayan fur that circles its edge glints with light as he slightly moves his position in the gentle excitement of speech. His manner, at once so dignified and polished, reassures his listener, who now thoroughly alive to the strangeness of the presence, is wholly at ease, and so astonished at the words falling from his lips that attention is held fixed lest one should be unheeded. The voice, so soft and low, was heard for the first time. There was about it a musical cadence which echoed the words as they came from his lips; it was as though they were spoken from afar and were repeated through space.
"Strange phantom, freak of fancy perhaps", was the thought he saw photographed on the brain of his listener, and instantly he pointed to the wall above him, when there appeared sentence in quaint script, which translated,reads thus: - "There is no charity in the West for the unknown doctrine".
"What is the unknown doctrines?" quickly queried the comprehending mind.
The stranger smiling, answered, "It is the essence of all doctrines,the inner truth of all religions- creed less, nameless, untaught by priests, because it is of the spirit and not to be found in temple or synagogue. It is the still small voice heard in the whirlwind and felt in the storm. You involuntarily appealed to me, something stronger than yourself, to care for the helpless and house the homeless. Your heart breathed its prayer; your soul registered it in the atmosphere about you; and the spirit was refreshed by so pure a breath wafted from the lower kingdom to the higher; from the body to the soul and thence to the region of spirits".
And continuing, he taught the mystery of man's being, his origin, his growth, his destiny, in the words of these pages. The teacher came again and often, and instructed the willing pupil from the writings of the ancient volume guarded so tenderly. He taught the laws of life in language so wise that the conviction of the highest truth filtered through the reverent mind so singularly chosen for instruction. The lessons were given from evening to evening with unchanging patience on the part of the strange preceptor; and with gentle suasion he instilled and developed the intuition to grasp the higher knowledge offered for acceptance. With varying success his work was accomplished. Weeks passed away while the mysterious master returned whenever opportunity offered, and explained things wise and deep, whereof the pupil hardly comprehended the sense. The routine matters of the day which absorb the best part of nearly every life, many times obtruded themselves, and there were delays and interruptions which sadly interfered with the weird instruction.
One day there was an end to all this. The master came no more. The doubt and misgivings, the unrest and illusions of the worldly mind, defeated his best endeavours, and he saw the futility of trying to train in wisdom nature divided against itself at every point.
But he did not forsake his charge; he sent a messenger,a youth from his own hand, who taught the mystic lore with careful purpose and kind intent, but the duty, it was easy to see, was not to him what it had been to his master.
The realization of this fact was often borne in upon the mind of the learner, and one day as if in answer to the thought, he directed attention to the opposite wall where, as by magic, there appeared upon the white surface in shining letters this aphorism:-
"The test of true apprenticeship is fidelity to another's interest".
obedience to his master's wishes, in other words, was the way to growth and
development for him, and thus the riddle of his presence against his personal
wishes was solved. He smilingly admitted the correctness of this conclusion
and when he had gained the further confidence of his charge,the youth solved
many riddles, the elucidation of which imperceptibly lifted the soul of the
instructed one and planted aspirations which were high and good.
A day came when his visits ceased, and nothing was left to compensate for the disappointment, save an assurance that, in a foreign land and distant, the master awaited his pupil's coming, and that there the lessons would be resumed and the writings completed.
Should a spectre be obeyed?
To tread the path the airy fingers pointed, was to dissolve ties not lightly to be severed, to ignore worldly considerations deemed of the utmost moment, and to surrender self-will to an extent which no one could understand without a betrayal of the whole matter. And what the world would say to such an avowal the pupil knew too well. True, that the powers, goodness, wisdom and sincerity of the Magi of the East and their messenger, were felt to the innermost fibres of the pupil's being; true, that all grateful was that heart, and earnest the mind; true, whatever else was false, that more beautiful and ennobling sentiments had never been enjoyed than those given by these mystic teachers.
Strange that hesitation, and fear, and moral cowardice should shadow a life so singularly brightened and developed! Strange, that so cruel a poison as doubt, should rankle in the soul of the neophyte.
Alas! how many trusting souls have been wrecked by the same sin. How many fair hopes and golden dreams have been engulfed in the black night it creates. What a desert waste of sunny heart-climes! What death in life; what disappointment and despair it is able to produce!
At first it came as an occasional mystery obtruding its stifling presence when other things engrossed the busy mind; and its existence was barely recognized, and then ignored. Repeatedly it returned until it came to be looked upon as an undesirable guest whose visit was ill-timed and unwarranted, but whose legitimate claims upon hospitality had been established on many another occasion. The guest who has once been cordially invited is ever a possible blessing or a threatening menace; a comer who is sure nevertheless, and who must be received however welcome's warmth has abated.
Doubt, cruel and cold, held court in the neophyte's castle, and only loyalty to the past was strong enough to resist its insidious advances and scorn implied insinuations.
Did the heart bleed? the pain of the wound was great; but greater far was the sense of unworthiness that succeeded any recollection of teacher or teachings; of glorious possibilities now blighted. For ever? So far as human judgment could decide - yes ; so far as the clear sense of intuition could feel - no, a thousand times no!
But the ebb-tide of hope was setting in, the nightshade of despair stayed all day with the once enthusiastic pupil. The world and its absorptions lost much of their importance in eyes weary with unshed tears, and dulled by the intensity of suppressed emotions. And who could give comfort in such a crisis? Only he who had taken away with his presence that follow peace of mind which the world gives and which the world not often values highly. The struggle, silent at first, waxed bitter, and intenser grew the sense of loss of the calm-hour visitors, who had so entirely and so inexplicably abandoned the lonely worker.
The aching heart bowed itself prostrate before the storm within; the physical strength sank; the well springs of energy and endeavour seemed sapped at their fountain head; and beside its own dead-sea fruit, new doubts tortured the soul, sorrowing for sustenance, faint with hunger and famished for water. Memory-loosing soul! Why has the promise of the sage been forgotten? Why in all this battle with self has the master's instruction been ignored? In a foreign clime you may find him who you have lost and rejoice again in the presence of those who have been sent by him. "Courage", whispered the heart, and whispering, wakened the fast dying aspirations of the spirit. But doubt was a guest in that mental mansion, and with the freedom of an old and familiar visitor it came at will and stayed uninterruptedly.
Winter passed, and Springtime came to gladden the earth with reminders of summer. The flowers struggle through the still, cold earth and the early birds sang hurried notes in the chilled morning air. The voice of rivulets was heard in their lonely beds and the faint notes of young lambs came from the covered folds on the hillsides. It was spring in the country and spring in the city; spring where the little schoolchildren sought the wood violets in sunny roadside nooks; and spring where the few trees, permitted to give sign of its presence, were decked with verdure.
In the city it is the saddest time of all the twelvemonth, for it is spring, and yet spring is not there in all its beauty and varied associations, in its vivifying life-giving attributes, or pleasing anticipations.
It was spring in young hearts and spring in hopeful ones; inspiring spring, full of promise and expectancy of joy un-enjoyed, and pleasure not tasted. And its subtle influence was abroad, magnetizing every twig and growing shrub, every hedge and every little water-covered plant. The renewal of Nature's strength was seen in all visible things and felt in the labyrinthine intricacies of human hearts. Some natures renew their strength with each returning spring; grow young with sight of the beginnings of life in the vegetable kingdom; and sad are they who know no such rejuvenations of heart, no such reincarnations of youthful feelings and inspirations.
One there was in the great city whose heart's door was closed to the sweet whisperings of spring, whose best self was still wrapped in its winter shadow; in the sanctuary of which no music echoed, no happiness penetrated. It was a continual winter to the poor student, who, giving hospitality to doubt, was driven to entertain despair, and with two such guests at home how could peace or beauty be found abroad. None knew the inward misery, none brought the argand lamp to replace the poor rush light which dimly lighted the path "shadowed with darkness and guarded by despair". And the "still small voice" whispered on, though the clogged mind heard but rarely,and the soul seemed wrapped in a long sleep.
Would it ever wake?
Would the harp once touched by the fingers of a master ever be wholly discordant again? Would the melody be silent in the Aeolian harp swaying unseen in low green boughs? Could the soul once alive to the secret of the inner temple, the Holy of Holies, forget its own divinity and become again the sordid thing it had been in its ignorance? Could the aspiring pupil who had once heard the master's voice be lost to its power and think no more of its tones? A bowed head is bending over the writings preserved as sacred treasurers; the weary heart is sobbing a wail of woe upon the evening air, a longing soul is struggling to emerge from its tenement to express itself once more, while the listening spirit, breathless with attention, hears the heart, and mind, and soul, unite in one mad passionate appeal for help. The cry went up shrill, and loud, and deep,and reverberated in the night-wind over the hills and far away.
The gathered strength had expended itself. The excitement of that moment was followed by a forced, unnatural calm , foreboding ill to the over-strong, exhausted frame.
Will rescue come?
The form is still, but is so because the agony is unendurable. Not death, but total darkness must follow, unless the madly reckless being is snatched from the fate impending.
Must oblivion end all? Is there no pitying power at hand to quiet the frenzied brain? to renew the feeble breath?
Hark! back again like the low soft sigh of a sleeping babe, when disturbed by its unconscious intensity of thought, that cry is echoed. Not with the piercing energy with which it was sent, is it returned, but with a murmuring sound that fell on the weary senses like a tone from bells rung on a high mountain, and heard in the distant valley below. Following it there came a note, clear and sweet, and wondrously like the voice silent so long, "Come".
The call could not be misunderstood.
The listener hears; springs up with head erect, lips glowing with heat, eyes flaming with light; and gathering strength in every fibre of the quivering, panting frame, sends it forth again in an exultant shout: -
"Master! I come! thy will be done!"
It will be convenient before entering upon the question of the evolution of man to state shortly what, according to the Esoteric Doctrine, man is. It has been stated in recent theosophical publications that man is composed of seven principles But the analysis, in a great many instances , has been grievously misunderstood. An impression has been formed that a septenary human being is a very complicated kind of onion, from which coat after coat may be peeled off until nothing is left behind; that the different principles which go to constitute a man are put together by some process of chemical and mechanical combination. But the fact is, these principles lie on different planes of existence, and cannot therefore react upon each other in the same manner as objects lying on the same plane are found to do. The perception of each of these principles involves and requires a corresponding change in the conditions of the perceiving consciousness. The thread which links these different principles is what may be called the unit of consciousness, the individuality or the monad. Those who adopt the idealistic language express the same thing in a different way.
It is not our purpose to describe in detail the different principles in man. To the reader who is acquainted with the division of man into body, soul and spirit, these pages will present no difficulty. The body,the physical encasement of the human entity, includes in itself the principle of life, which animates man in common with the animal, the vegetable, and other forms of existence which it is not necessary to mention here. The soul is the ethereal man, which, when seen outside the body, is known as the wraith, double, Doppelganger or astral body; it includes within itself the astral counterpart of the body, the principle of desire and the lower form of intellection The spirit consisting of the higher form of intellection and the spiritual ego, is overshadowed by the One Spirit,which constitutes the permanent basis of all existence. For convenience,however, the division is often made into body and spirit, or the sensuous and supersensuous man.
Upon this subject,our revered Teachers says:-
"As man is a sevenfold being, so is the universe; the septenary microcosm being to the septenary macrocosm but as the drop of rain-water to the cloud from which it dropped,and to which in the course of time, it will return. In the One are embraced or included so many tendencies for the evolution of air, fire, water, etc. (from the purely abstract down to their concrete conditions), and when those latter are called elements, it is to indicate their productive potentialities for numberless form-changes or evolutions of being.
"Let us represent the unknown quantity as X: that quantity is the one eternal, immutable principle: and a, b, c, d, e, five of the six minor principles or components of the same- viz. the principles of earth, water, air, fire, and ether (akasa), following the order of their spirituality, and beginning with the lowest. There is a sixth principle answering to the sixth principle (called in the East, Buddhi) in man (to avoid confusion, remember that in viewing the question from the side of the descending scale, the abstract. All, or eternal principle, would be numerically designated as the first, and the phenomenal universe as the seventh, whether belonging to man or to the universe - viewed from the other side, the numerical order will be reversed); but we are not permitted to name it except among the Initiates. I may,however, hint that it is connected with the process of the highest intellection. Let us call it N; and beside these there is, under all the activities of the phenomenal universe, an energizing impulse from X - call this Y. Algebraically stated, our equation will therefore read: a + b+ c+ d+ e+ N +Y= X . Each of the first six letters represent, so to speak, the spirit or abstraction of what you call elements (your meager English gives me no other word). Thus spirit controls the entire line of evolution around the entire cycle of cosmic activity, in its own department, the informing, vivifying, evolving cause, behind the countless manifestations in that department of nature.
"Let us work out the idea with a single example. Take fire: D, the prime igneous principle resident in X, is the ultimate cause of every phenomenal manifestation of fire on all the globes of the chain. The proximate causes are the evoluted secondary igneous agencies which severally control the seven descents of fire on each planet, every element having its seven principles, and every principle its seven sub-principles, and so these secondary agencies have in their turn to become primary causes.
"D is a septenary compound, of which the highest fraction is pure spirit. As we see it on our globe, it is in its coarsest, most material condition, as gross in its way as is man in his physical encasement. In the next preceding globe to ours, fire was less gross than here; on the one before that , less still. So the body of flame was more and more pure, and less and less gross and material, on each antecedent planet. On the first of all in the cyclic chain, it appeared as an almost pure objective shining - the Maha Buddhi, the sixth principle of he eternal light. ....... On each globe of the chain there are seven manifestations of fire, of which the first in order will compare, as to its spiritual quality, with the last manifested on the next preceding planet: the process being reversed as you will infer, with the opposite arc. The myriad specific manifestations of these six universal elements are in their turn but the offshoots, branches, or branchlets of the one single primordial tree of life."
The septenary division adopted by the different schools of the Esoteric philosophy, has in many cases called forth against it the charge of puerility. A closer acquaintance with the subject, however, must needs impress one with the strictly scientific character of this method of classification. Following the mystic idealists, we may divide the whole range of existence into different states of consciousness, with their appropriate objects or functions. According to these philosophers, existence is coextensive with consciousness; absolute unconsciousness is absolute negation. Now, it is within ordinary experience that consciousness manifests itself in three different states, namely, the consciousness of a man awake, the consciousness of a man dreaming, and the consciousness of one in a state of dreamless slumber. The first two states are recognized by all, the last requires a few words of explanation. It is true, in waking moments one has some conception of the dreaming consciousness, but none at all of the consciousness of dreamless slumber; its existence, nevertheless, is proved by the fact that the identity of the ego is never lost, and the beginning and conclusion of such slumber are strung together in consciousness. Had there been a cessation of all consciousness for one moment there is no conceivable reason for its reappearance. Besides these three states, all mystics hold, as no doubt is the case, that there is a fourth state of consciousness, which may be called transcendental consciousness. A glimpse of this state may be obtained in the abnormal condition of exstasis.
As to the objects of these states of consciousness it is easily seen that they exhaust the whole range of existence. All that admits of perception by the senses belongs to the first state of consciousness, which is conditioned by our familiar notions of time and space. The objects perceived in dreams, though possessing all the elements of reality to the dreamer, are not identical with the objects of waking consciousness, although similar to them. The dreamer's notions of time and space are different from those of the man awake. A change in these notions involves a corresponding change in the nature of objects to which the characteristic of reality is assigned. A miser dreaming of acquisition of wealth experiences as much pleasure as when actually feasting his eyes on his accumulated treasures. While awake, however, the wealth acquired in dream will excite no interest. Similarly, while dreaming, the fact that the acquisition will not preserve its reality in waking life, will have, if noticed at all, only a moment's recognition and then be forced out of the mind, as it plunges deeper into the contemplation of the objects dreamed of. The last phenomenon is noted by all who pay any attention to their dreams and the laws governing them. The objects of waking consciousness are usually called material, and their counterparts perceptible by the dreamer have been called astral, adopting the phraseology of Paracelsus and his fellow-thinkers. The objects of the other two states of consciousness, being beside our present purpose, do not call for more than passing recognition.
The four states of consciousness mentioned above, it is hardly necessary to note, are not separated from each other by impassable chasms, but are all closely interrelated and form one synthetic whole. A little consideration will show that these four states, combined in the way contemplated, must produce six states; the synthetic unity of them all being the seventh. If the four points of a square be taken to represent the four states, their combinations will produce the four sides of the square and the two diagonals - six in all - and the figure itself. The result of the combination, considered apart from its components, will be represented by a circumscribing circle. In this symbol, which had its origin in remote antiquity, the circle is the infinite . All from which phenomenal existence, emblematized by the square and its diagonals, proceeds. Hence, squaring the circle is sometimes taken to symbolize the process of evolution.
The interdependence of the subject and objects of consciousness will be clearly perceived form the above considerations. The seven states of consciousness viewed in reference to the subject, man, are the seven individual principles, and in reference to the object, matter, are the seven universal cosmic principles; the seventh principle, however, in each case includes in itself the other six, and in point of fact, though forming the last term in both these classifications, is really one. In the infinite the subject and the object merge into each other.
Each of these principles is divided into seven; and each subdivisions is again divided into seven; the septenary division in fact is carried on indefinitely. Our revered Teacher says on this point:-" Whenever any question of evolution or development in any kingdom presents itself to you, bear constantly in mind that everything comes under the septenary rule of series in these correspondences and mutual relations throughout Nature." The number of septenary divisions being limitless, no nomenclature is capable of exhibiting the real interrelations of all the terms. But if cross division is guarded against, each septenary will be found complete in itself and the comprehension of one septenary will render it easy to pursue the investigations backwards and forwards by following the Law of Correspondences.
There is one peculiarity of these septenary divisions which requires prominent mention. In tracing the process by which the present state of man and his universe evolved from anterior states, it is plain, the beginning must be made at the other pole. The present state is objective and material, the starting point must therefore be subjective and spiritual; it must not be forgotten, however, that these terms are relative and not absolute. In the ultimate reality matter and spirit are identical; matter in that connection being but what Kant calls objective reality, and spirit abstract consciousness. The mystical philosophers maintain that the ultimate reality is absolute consciousness, which has objective existence and is not insubstantial, unreal. According to the the language of some Brahmanical philosophers the ultimate reality is the mystic union of Prakriti (Matter) and Purusha (Spirit).
To return to our subject from abstract metaphysical considerations which need not detain us longer than necessary for the elucidation of the theme which concerns us more immediately. In every septenary the first and the last will be respectively Matter and Spirit, or Spirit and Matter, according as we view it from the side of evolution or involution. The process of evolution is endless, and the last principle has always to work back to the first, but on a higher plane; if the curve of evolution re-entered into itself, the process would come to an end. The fitting symbol of evolution is not a circle, but a spiral eternally progressing.
Evolution,or the manifestation of one permanent Noumenon in an infinite variety of phenomenal existence, involves in itself the notion of cycles, and can only be understood by being studied in some particular and defined period of time. In the phenomenal universe, we find that no point of time can be thought of without thinking of previous points of time. It is clear therefore that an object which exists at any given moment, must have always existed before, in some form or other. The pre-existing form is said to cause the subsequent form; further consideration will show that cause and effect differ only in form but are identical in substance, and that the effect always contains in itself the cause. It is one of the fundamental propositions of Eastern philosophical systems that the effect is the unfoldment of the cause in time. The only method by which the recondite facts of man's spiritual evolution can be presented to the general reader is that of deductions from universal truths relating to the nature of his consciousness. These metaphysical truths are consequently to be borne in mind for a correct understanding of the subject.
Evolution, as we have seen, admits of study only in its progress during any given period of time; and this period of time is marked off into cycles and sub-cycles, according to the development of the seven principles and their endless septenary divisions. Extant literature of the Esoteric Doctrine discloses only one chapter of the great book of Evolution - the period of our planetary Manvantara. At the commencement of this period the material or rather objective universe of humanity slowly emerges from its spiritual or subjective condition, and then having reached its consummation resolves back into spiritual existence. The ante-natal spiritual condition of man's universe is such as to be subjective to all egos which can, in any sense be called human.
The evolutionary process of which we are the products requires for its complete unfoldment seven planets, corresponding to the seven principles of the human universe. The evolution of the entire system is too vast and complicated to be described within any reasonable limits. A small section of it only can be traced, leaving the student to follow out the rest, with the help of the Law of Correspondences.
It has been stated that the planetary Manvantara, as well as the whole range of existence evolved in it, are divided into an indefinite number of septenaries. Remembering this and the other fact that the evolutionary process works spirally and in alternate periods of relative activity and repose,the subject becomes easy of comprehension. We may for our present purpose consider the evolutionary process as a spiral with seven curves. Emerging from the spiritual or subjective condition, which to us egos, imprisoned in matter, is a perfect blank, the evolving existence describes the first curve producing the first representative of spiritual life in the material or objective universe. This is the first principle of our planetary system. To a being whose perceptions can cognize the ante-natal spiritual condition of our universe as objective, this first principle will have an analogy to the first spiritual principle; for the law of septenaries obtains as much in the spiritual as in material existence. But to another, whose objective perception does not penetrate beyond the first material principle, all the seven spiritual principles will be present in this one. The next wave of evolution, producing the second principle, is represented by the curve, which was contained in the first in a potential, or unmanifested condition, and which in its own turn contains the first, as the effect includes the cause. The same relation is continued all through. To come to particulars, each of the seven curves is really a spiral itself, formed by seven curves, among which the same interrelations subsist as among the major curves; all the subdivisions proceed in a similar manner. The illustration adopted applies to the principles and sub-principles evolved as well as to the time occupied in their evolution.
It is not within the scope of the present treatise to chronicle the history of evolution during a Manvantara of our planetary system, or to trace the development of its seven principles. We directly deal only with the progress of human evolution on the planet, our present home. The fact, however, is not to be lost sight of, nor can it be too often reiterated, that by analogy the process may be extended indefinitely by the thoughtful student.
Since the first human monads began their present objective course humanity or rather its spiritual counterpart has swept along the entire planetary chain three times, and has for the fourth time reached the fourth planet of the series, earth. During these planetary circuits, which have been called Rounds, the monads, recognizable on earth as human, cannot properly be so called when evolving on other planets. It is only in the present fourth Round that men, at all like those we can conceive of, have developed.
Before reaching the perfection attainable in a Round, humanity has to pass on this earth through seven minor circuits, called Rings. Previous expositions of the Esoteric Doctrine, intended to give only the broadest outlines of human evolution, are silent on the subject of Rings. The introduction of this new factor, however, need not create confusion if we hold fast to the Law of Correspondences. The ring we are at present describing is the fourth.
Simultaneously with the development of humanity through Rounds and Rings the earth itself undergoes a corresponding development. With each round a dimension is added to man's conception of space. The fourth dimension of space will be a common fact of human consciousness before the fourth Round is completed. The existence, which with the Round begins to work itself from its spiritual into its objective or material counterpart, undergoes a further development in each Ring.
Little difficulty will be experienced in applying these observations to Rounds and Rings, or to the subdivisions of the latter which will be treated of further on. [ At present each of the five elements composing our sensuous Nature contains within it a certain proportion of the other four in their subtle forms, or rather, in their intermediate condition between what would be called matter and spirit. Fire, for instance, contains within it eight parts of its own subtle or astral counterpart and two of each of the other four. The number of components (sixteen) in an element, corresponds with the four Rounds and four Rings. The complexity of the subject precludes further details, which alone could have rendered the exposition complete. ] As to the duration of the different divisions of time mentioned above, it is to be noted that in each septenary the period goes on diminishing in a fixed proportion until the minimum is reached in the fourth,when increasing in the same way it attains the maximum in the seventh.
No human being, with the exception of Adepts of a certain order, can get out of the attraction of the earth before the seven Rings are accomplished, but there are exceptional men who by the force of their personal exertions have outstripped their fellowmen by one complete Ring, and are thus developing their fifth principle (intellect) on a higher plan. These have been spoken of as the normal fifth Rounders, because the difference between Rings and Rounds has not been accurately defined till now. When a human being escapes from the necessity of describing these Rings, and passes to the next planet in advance, he ceases to be strictly a human being; and it is not within the present scheme to explore the mystery of such planetary existence.
All the records extant of man proceed from a common starting point, that of his earliest attempts at material existence. None of them, not even those which have much to say regarding man's spiritual nature, take into account the most important- the stupendous fact, that long before the morning twilight of his material birthday he had passed through,on this planet, an era of immense duration as a spiritual being; a being whose destiny was a gradual descent into matter, but in whose hands lay, in a large measure, his own career . A planetary spirit man was before he became a spiritual man, and finally man- a child of this earth. He became by slow degrees master, in a material sense, of his new home - the arbiter of his own destiny in it. Though subject to its environment and physical limitations, he went through various gradations of conditions before he was able to comprehend the cosmogony of which he formed a part.
It is in place here to quote some general remarks of our Teacher on the evolution of man, from his pre-existing spiritual condition,which admit of application to all special cases: -
"Now there are, and there must be, failures in the ethereal races of the many classes of Dhyan Chohans or Devas,[ Progressed entities of a previous planetary period. For particulars vide infra. ] as well as among men. But still as the failures are too far progressed and spiritualized to be thrown back forcibly from Dhyan Chohanship into the vortex of a new primordial evolution through the lower kingdoms, this then happens. Where a new solar system has to evolved these Dhyan Chohans are borne in by influx "ahead" of the elementals [ entities on the subjective plane of existence to be developed into humanity at a future time ], [ Vide infra. ] and remain as latent or inactive spiritual force, in the aura of a nascent world of the new system, until the stage of human evolution is readied .... Then they become an active force and commingle with the elementals,to develop little by little the full type of humanity."
This development of spiritual entities into material existence, or as it is commonly called "descent of spirit into matter", is but one factor in the great problem of human evolution; the formation of his physical body being the other. As man's nature is dual - physical and spiritual, - so there are two elements of his evolution. On the spiritual side he is descended from the Dhyan Chohans,on the material from the highest type of animal life existent when his association with matter began. The student may meet with some difficulty in harmonizing the two aspects of evolution, but a dutiful adherence to the law of analogy will not fail to furnish a clue to the intricacies of the subject.
It has been implied above that other forms of existence had evolved on earth prior to the appearance of the first human entities. The six orders of existence which preceded man were, the three elemental kingdoms imperceptible by us, and the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms. It must not, however, be supposed that these kingdoms possessed any of their present physical properties at the first start of human evolution. On the contrary, the fact is that all physical properties cognizable by us have grown with our growth. It is a general law that from the moment that a superior kingdom comes into being a retardation of development is imposed on all the inferior ones. Under the operation of this law of retardation,the inferior kingdoms have made little or no progress since the tide of man's evolution set in.
We need not here speak of the elemental kingdoms, as the ordinary man possesses hardly any knowledge of their nature. Regarding the other three kingdoms, it is to be noted that the lower the investigation penetrates the less does it find any sign of progress during the human period. The mineral kingdom has progresses the least, next on the line of ascent is the vegetable kingdom, and the animal kingdom has developed most of the three. When the human entities from their spiritual condition began to press towards physical existence the highest type of animal form advanced a step higher to receive them. The impression must not be formed that physical frames already developed, were waiting for the human entities to come and inhabit them; for the fact is that the spiritual entities in manifesting themselves objectively evolved the higher types from the pre-existing animal forms. The condition of the lower forms of existence at the birth of man on earth, will have some light thrown upon it by the condition of the first races of man, described further on. The state of the lower kingdoms during the periods of their respective predominance is beyond our comprehension, as the layers of matter through which they progressed are beyond the range of our present perception. We must not leave this part of the subject without the remark that the changes of the lower forms of life contemplated above are not the changes studied by by the geologist and paleontologists, whose observations are confined to one of the many planes of material existence, namely, the one cognizable by us. Nor should we omit to mention the important fact, that the entities now evolving on this planet in the inferior kingdoms will not attain to the human state in this planetary period.
These observations prepare the way for the consideration of the state of man on his first appearance on earth during this Ring. The first representatives of humanity, as we know it on this earth, were, strictly speaking, supra-mundane or spiritual men, and not terrestrial beings. Their grossest principles did not descend lower than an ethereal or, more correctly, astral body; they were men only in the sense that the seed is the tree, and, going further back, the potential energy the seed itself. The seven purely spiritual races which in this Ring preceded the appearance of physical man, consisted of beings with whom the man of science has no historical acquaintance, and whom he very naturally will repudiate. He will at once fly to the defence of his position with the assertion that the world was not habitable at a stage anterior to the stone age; and to tell him that the planet was the home of living human creatures before the glacial period is to outrage his geologic sense. Even the evidence that European man existed as early as the Upper Tertiary age is disputed.
It should be remembered that when the word "habitable" is applied to this planet, its meaning is limited by the sense in which we define the first man and his requirements. And again, it should be remembered as the fundamental anthropological fact upon which we base the statements herein put forward, that with the evolution of the seven spiritual races which preceded man the earth was fitted for his habitation. The Egyptian seven gods of the elements are the symbols for these seven primitive races, and the seven Elohim of the Hebrews are identical with the seven Rishis of India.
The first races were speechless, as were their spiritual prototypes, the former being but materialized copies of the latter. If the subsequent races of men found themselves gifted with speech, it is because they were fashioned "in the image" of the "seven gods" of the living word or speech of the Taos. There is not a people but had this tradition; not a race but preserved it. Even the savage Hurons have their "seven spirits of the breath", or uttered thought or word; which spirits they invoke, and who are only the prototypes of the first speaking races. To the time of the first race which "fell into generation", the human races had all and each their paradigms. These spiritual races were in turn developed and instructed by planetary spirits of a much higher order of existence than any race of man has yet attained. The word "spiritual" should not be misunderstood. In this connection it has reference, not to disembodied human beings, but to orders of existence not yet developed through matter to be a part of the material world in which they were placed by the cosmic law. In other words, they did not represent that principle in man which survives as an entity after gross matter has been thrown off, but beings whose destiny was to reach the plane of matter from another, and to come to it by means as natural as that by which the grub evolves into the butterfly.
Nature, perceptible by us at present only in its five rudimentary material aspects, has in store for those who seek to unravel its mysteries with the developed sixth and seventh principles, a wealth of wisdom elevating to contemplate; and the elementary truths contained in these pages are but a small portion of the mass of information which the earnest student may discover for himself, will he but seek, with half the ardor with which he denies, the existence of conditions and events of which he has no knowledge. The methodical experimentalist feels a contempt for the erratic child of genius who knows neither rule nor rote, but lisping in numbers as the numbers come, gives utterance to the thoughts that well up from depths within. Yet the world is with the inspired one, for he touches chords of sympathy which vibrate and reverberate in human hearts, awakening with each touch some slumbering memory of their spirit-existence, or some premonitions of their future life, not clearly defined in the consciousness of the progeny of matter.
The inner or soul-truths which the men of this race but vaguely conceive will by the next, the sixth race, be perceived in their objective forms, and their interior beauty will be sensed with as much ease as the existence of a world of spirit is sensed by the advanced men of this fifth race.
The first human entities upon this earth were living germs in motion, "winged globes" of Egypt, or "Scarabei," as they are now called. From these germs through ages of time evoluted the seven races of ethereal beings, man's ancestors on earth - pre-human beings, if we may so define them. These embryonic manifestations of life in their earliest state possessed but one instinct, that of motion, and moved (to all appearances) aimlessly about, serving no other purpose than do many of the lower forms of life about us.
Were we masters of nature's secrets, we could unravel these mysteries. There are men who have attained a degree of spiritual and physical development which enables them to perceive the inner working of cosmic laws, and this development is reached through the education of the seven senses of man in their dual nature, spiritual as well as physical. These fortunate exceptions are so little know to their fellow-men that it is next to an impossibility to convince people in any age of their existence. The occupants of the earth at the time when incipient man appeared were, beside animals (of course not as now known), "nature-spirits." They were the spirits, representing the astral prototypes of trees and other orders of vegetation, as also the corresponding prototypes of the minerals and metals. They possessed no evoluted sense, and were provided with but one feeling - that of blind instinct. There were also elementals of a different order,who were subsequently evolved into men, as we shall see further on.
Our earliest forefathers, the first physical descendants of the supra-mundane man, were beings born to a state which we do not of ourselves comprehend, but of which we gather hints from those who have retained for us the knowledge, fragments of which they are now imparting. The cradle of the first objective race of man in the present Ring was the North Pole, which at the time we are speaking of was almost on the ecliptic. Since that period the poles and the equator have changed places. It may surprise those astronomers who believe that they have completely solved the problem of the precession of the equinoxes by a chain of mathematical reasoning, and they may perhaps reject this statement with scorn, but the fact is that the inclination of the earth's axis to the plane of the ecliptic undergoes a secular change [ We are aware that this statement is opposed to mathematical physics, to which the able and thoughtful papers of Mr. G.H.Darwin form the latest contribution. But what physicist will venture to affirm that all the data for the determination of the question are known? Certainly no astronomer who has attempted the as yet unsolved problem of the secular acceleration of the moon's motion] and future discoveries will support our position. The geologist, whose store of knowledge has received important additions from the discovery of beds of coal in very high latitudes, will probably even now find this assertion suggestive.
Before passing on, it must be reiterated that the different epochs of the history of human evolution here referred to, were periods in which countless thousands of beings lived their appointed time and disappeared from the earth; otherwise, erroneous impressions will be received regarding this subject, which it is designed to deal with only in broad features, and not in details.
We propose to sketch the history of human evolution in this Ring from the spiritual to the physical condition. But it is not practicable to trace the course of development through all the seven races of the Ring or minor septenaries, the sub-races. The general outline that follows will enable the readers to work out the details for themselves. The Law of Correspondences is preserved all through. What is true of any particular sub-race of a race, is true, on a higher plane of the corresponding sub-race of the succeeding race.
PHYSICAL EVOLUTION OF MAN; OR, DESCENT INTO MATTER.
In tracing the development of the objective man from his subjective predecessors, mentioned in the preceding chapter, it must be steadily borne in mind that at the beginning of each Ring the process described is always repeated; but with each subsequent period, the duration of this process becomes shorter. Nature finds it easier to repeat even on a higher plane that to evolve afresh. The facility acquired by nature in repeating something it has once accomplished is well illustrated in the development of the human foetus;: within the short space of seven months the embryonic germ moves through the complete diapason of organic evolution, because humanity as a whole, in working up to its present position, has already passed over all the intermediate steps. The development of the physical sense of the human entity and its physical encasement forms his descent into matter, or physical evolution. It is proposed in this chapter to give a brief outline of the physical evolution of the first objective race of the present Ring.
When we speak of "Primitive Peoples," we do not refer to the first people who dwelt upon the earth, but to the first objective race of this Ring, who are known to later races as the Adamic men. It has been mentioned in the previous chapter that the number of ethereal races in the present Ring was seven; each of these races developed one astral sense until the seventh race had all the seven senses developed as far as the existing conditions admitted. It is difficult for men not having more than five sense to imagine what the other two senses are, but it must not be forgotten that our present state is by no means perfect. The seventh-race men of this Ring will perhaps have equal difficulty to conceive how we could have existed with only five senses. When the tide of evolution took the first turn towards objective life, humanity had to evolve on the material plane, one after another, the seven astral senses which its pre-human ancestors possessed. The first race of this Ring, it is well known, had, like all other races, seven sub-races. Each one of these sub-races developed, so far as material development was attainable by it, one of the seven senses. The seventh sub-race had all the seven senses physically developed up to a certain degree. The first sub-race of the second race took up the earliest developed sense from the point where it was left at the close of the first race, and carried it forward a step higher. The second sub-race treated the next developed sense similarly, so that each one of the senses attained higher perfection with each sub-race of the succeeding race, until at last, by the middle of the third race, man become as we know him now, only less developed.
The succeeding races have carried forward this evolution higher and higher in the same order. The common type of a race is always preserved by its various sub-races, which at each step becomes more and more developed on the physical plane, with a corresponding loss of some particular astral sense possessed by their supra-mundane predecessors.
Man thus began to advance on the physical plane by developing one of the seven senses. The first sub-race of the first objective race slowly acquired the sense of physical sight, which, it may be remarked, included in itself the six others in their latent or potential state. Simultaneously with the growth of this new sense there was a corresponding growth of external nature. The astral senses of the supra-mundane man perceived but the astral counterpart of all the objects of nature, as now known to us. It is very difficult for the average man of today to realize how the present sensuous nature existed merely as its shadow, and at the same time possessed real and objective character. But it will be remember that, when a dreaming man perceives astral objects, he finds no deficiency of reality in them. With the nascent faculty of sight the world slowly commenced to assume a different character; external nature by degrees acquired visibility, as we understand it, though unaccompanied by any of the other properties which we invariably associate with visible objects.
The properties of objects corresponding to the other senses had not yet evolved; those senses themselves were still unknown. For these primitive men the leaves did not rustle, the flowers did not smell, nor did they disclose to the eyes variety of colours. Sight being their only developed sense, they had no notion of either distance or solidity. But this sense at the beginning was unlimited in range. Pre-human man could fathom the mysteries of the sun and sky, and could watch start which baffle the mightiest telescope. The first sub-race, with its newly developed sight, could have no realization of darkness, for no object was completely opaque. Light varied in intensity, but a knowledge of the contrast felt by us between day and night had not dawned upon the first representatives of the race. Sight at this period had not developed to a perception of colour. The first men failed to note the varied hues of the rainbow; and the grass, the trees, and the animals were not to them, as they are to us, of different colours. The evolution of the perception of colour is intimately bound up with the evolution of the races and sub-races of humanity. When the sense of sight was first developed man failed to perceive any of the prismatic colours. To him everything appeared perfectly colourless - white; but before the first sub-race of the first objective race had reached its apex, and yielded place to its successors, the colour red was distinguished. Each sub-race developed the perception of one more of the prismatic colours in the order in which they occur, beginning with the red; and each succeeding race had to regain for itself the perception of the colours of the rainbow, although in continually diminishing periods of time, and on each occasion recognizing a much larger variety of shades of colour. The earlier ancestors of our race did not perceive more than three principal colours - red, yellow, and green; two in perfection, and the third only to a limited extent. That our eyes in the present day can enjoy such rich repast of colours is due to the fact that we are recovering as well as adding to the knowledge which was once possessed by the men of preceding races. Toward the close of this sub-race period human sight, hitherto unlimited, began to feel the limitations of distance and opacity. This was due to the influence of a nascent sense which marked the appearance of the sub-race that followed. The presence of the new sense, touch, considerably modified the perception of things, and, by the combination of these two senses, new conceptions, such as those of solidity, distance, temperature, began their development.
It must not be omitted here that toward the close of this period the sense of hearing - to a very slight extent, however - began to show itself, but it did not receive much development until at a later stage, as will be seen further on. The second sub-race inherited the sense of sight, and developed for itself the sense of touch. The latter sense at the beginning had a much wider range than at a subsequent period. This might, at first sight, appear difficult of comprehension, but those who have observed how the blind develop their hearing and touch to abnormal delicacy and acuteness will understand how the multiplicity of senses blunts the keenness of any particular faculty. To the early people touch was something like the psychometric faculty possessed by a certain type of clairvoyants, though much more intense. In point of fact, this faculty received such a high degree of interior development that it revealed the inner as well as the outer nature of the objects to which it was applied. By touch a new source of enjoyment was opened and a fresh bond was established between man and his surroundings. As sense after sense was born, link after link was forged in this chain, and veil upon veil was thrown upon the long vista of his spiritual recollections. By continued association with things of clay he adapted himself to his new home, until at last his thoughts traveled no further.
The sense of touch, which germinated in the first sub-race, attained its limiting development in the second. With the evolution of the succeeding sub-race man ceased to be any longer an ethereal being, and became a comparatively materialized creature, endowed with several elementary senses, of which one only, hearing, was accentuated, and became peculiarly characteristic of the third sub-race.
This sub-race rejoiced in the triple faculties of sight, touch, and hearing, the two former as developed physical senses, the two previous sub-races having materialized them, and the latter as both spiritual and physical. This faculty being a new inheritance, was at first wholly spiritual, just as the faculty of thought-transference is a spiritual faculty to the fifth, our present race, but will become a physical faculty to sixth -race men. So long as a faculty is only spiritual it cannot be the common property of the race; it will be possessed by men constituted differently from the generality of their fellow-men, or by those who undergo a definite course of training in order to acquire it. But when the race en bloc rises up to the level of these few, the faculty in question ceases to be spiritual, and is enjoyed by the race at large as a physiological heritage.
The extent of the power of hearing possessed by the third sub-race of the third-race men was so great in comparison with ours as to be hardly credible today. The spiritual ear had received its greatest amount of development and physical hearing itself attained a very high degree of acuteness. Even the sound of the leaf budding greeted with its natural music the ears of these primitive habitants of our planet. As colour after colour was added to the early flower, its rhythmic dance was not unperceived by the yet unworn sense of hearing. It must have been with something of the exquisite delight with which we of today, who have the musical perception largely developed, hear the divine strains of a symphony or an oratorio, that they listened to this music. A new charm was added to life, and man viewed with ever-growing satisfaction and complacency the congenial world about him.
The metrical motion of the heavenly bodies around us, which men call the music of the spheres, and which they believe is unheard by the mortal ear on account of its grossness, was to these elder-born children of nature an abiding strain of joy.
"Look, how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold:
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold' st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubims:
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it."
The fourth sub-race, it will be seen, started with three well-developed senses, sight, touch, and hearing. The sense of smell- which belongs peculiarly to this sub-race, was at its birth both a spiritual and a physical faculty. The spiritual sense of smell had many of the properties which we associate with seeing, touching, and hearing. Even now naturalists know how this sense, in some insects, does the duty of nearly all senses; the importance of the sense of smell to certain animals, notably dogs, need hardly be mentioned. The evolution of this sense added another coating to nature, thus justifying the adoption by the ancients of the onion as the symbol of evolution. Objects which before could be only seen, felt, and heard, now for the first time acquired the property of odour.
The sense of taste was developed by the fifth sub-race.At first the human body did not require food to support life, and even at as late a period as the time when the fourth sub-race developed the sense of smell, man ate nothing, but imbibed nutriment by the osmose from the air. It was only when his body became condensed, and in a sense gross, that repairs of the system had to be made by food taken into the stomach. The first and second races did not feel the necessity of supplying the waste of tissues by food. Properly speaking, man did not become an eating animal on this planet, in our Fourth Ring, until the close of the second race.
The senses developed by the sixth and seventh sub-races are inconceivable to us, who have only five sense developed- though to a much higher degree than the humanity of any previous period - and having the other two senses in a very elementary condition.
In those days nothing disagreeable was experienced through the senses, In fact, no sense in its incipient stages can ever bear any sensation unpleasant to man. Unpleasantness being the product of disharmony or violation of the natural order of things, could only have arisen after the senses had become sufficiently associated with external objects. Physical pain was, so to say, brought about by the misuse of our senses, and not by their use. The Biblical myth, that God cursed the earth on the fall of Adam, has a deeply significant meaning. Man in his nature state knew not the abuse of any sense or organ, and hence was free from all pain connected with their exercise. In childhood, although the acuteness of the senses is far greater than afterwards, children do not experience to as great a degree as the adult the painful feelings which senses are capable of producing. They are, for instance, capable of bearing bad odours without much annoyance. The vision of children is clearer and more far-reaching than that of the adult; but their eyes cannot recognize delicate shadings of colour. Hearing in childhood extends over a much wider range than afterwards; they can detect notes much higher and sounds much lower than the average grown-up man, but the semitones and other finer divisions they do not perceive. In the dawn of life the strength of the different organs is most remarkable, and the pleasure derived from their exercise is greatest. Sounds discordant to the average ear are often not without attraction for the young. The analogy may be pursued all through, and the differences between the qualities of the juvenile and the adult senses may be noted. Children's taste for strong flavours, and their incapacity to sympathize with delicate sensibilities, are well known, and observation of infant life renders it clear that nature prefers first of all to draw the outlines and then to fill in the details. The tendency of the higher evolution of races has always been to produce greater and greater variations of each root-sense. At each upward step the senses lost in power and gained in variety and richness. To our ancestors many object, which present distinctly recognizable differences to our taste, appeared perfectly alike. So in colour, so in sound, and in every other department of sensuous attainment. The refined luxuries of the modern table will convey to us some idea of the complex delicacy of our palate as compared with the simple requirements of even the Middle Ages.
Pursuing the subject still further, attention is directed to what may be called compound senses, which are formed when more than one sense is gratified at the same time by the same object. Epicures will testily how their enjoyment acquires a keener relish by a dish which pleases by its odour as well as by its taste, while the effect of music with varying brightness of light is well known, at all events in the East.
We have spoken of two sets of senses - those possessed by the supra-mundane men and those possessed by their terrestrial descendants. The still higher spiritual senses, scaled by the Indian philosophers the Tanmatras, we have not even mentioned: they are, roughly speaking, the abstract senses, where the sense and its appropriate object blend into one. Man of the present day has on the lowest plane of his existence the five gross senses; when in his astral body he obtains command of his astral senses; and to all intents and purposes in that state he is in the same position as his supra-mundane progenitor. It might here be mentioned that a Brahman is often called in ancient Sanscrit writings "the son of the fire", which really means the astral man - the supra-mundane human being; for the Brahmans claim to have alone remained faithful to the traditions of their exalted ancestors when the rest of the world had betaken themselves to the worship of strange gods. Higher than these astral senses are the truly spiritual senses, their abstract counterparts. It is these seven senses in their triple character, spiritual, astral and physical, that the greatest Mahatmas - those master in nature - posses in a highly- developed condition. They have retained by studious cultivation the excellences of all the past races, and combined with them their individual advancement, while humanity has been moving on in the descending cycle.
The foregoing sketch though meager, indicates with a precision sufficient for the purposes of these fragments, the course of evolution which gave birth to man on the material plane, and in fact generated that plane itself. We have seen how man emerged from his spiritual condition, and slowly developed objective life by corporealizing the spiritual counterparts of the seven senses, five of which humanity of today possesses in an actual and the other two in a latent or potential condition. During the period of the first race, it has been stated, the objective development of man and his planet proceeded up to a point which, though not altogether spiritual, was not material, in the sense we attach to that term . During the seven sub-races of the second race, the stream of evolution grew turgid with the development of matter. But man even then was not crystallized and condensed to a sufficient degree to be recognizable by his present descendants as belonging to their race; he was still semi-ethereal, with few attributes which we should now regard as peculiarly human; in fact, in the physical sense he was really not a man at all. For even in the second race, his semi-ethereal body was free from disease, and the complete harmony in the bodily system gave it the fragrance of perfect health. Animals in the earlier era of their existence were, like trees, flowers, and plants, odoriferous; and man was a fragrant flower while he lived the natural life. Even after countless ages of unhealthy living, of abuse of natural functions and promiscuity, he is today a sweet-cented young animal, requiring only ablutions of clear water to keep his system clean and his breath as fresh as that of the cow, the one animal, with the exception of the sheep to some extent, that has not entirely degenerated. This might throw some light on the question why so many nations have looked upon the cow as a sacred animal, or at all events viewed it with special consideration. In India and ancient Egypt the veneration paid to the cow is well known; and even among other nations which have now turned cow-eaters this animal plays an important part in myths.
It is next to an impossibility to give a true conception of the human beings who once walked this earth - its early possessors. They can be realized only by the seer, and conceived by those whose imaginative powers are of a very superior order. The mere picture of a man, perfectly transparent, the machinery of whose body was clearly discernible, and whose thoughts were as defined as his hands, is one which the sensually developed modern man is unable to comprehend.
We have briefly adverted to the fact that before man resorted to eating, he drew his chief nourishment from the air. For ages he had no facial development such as now renders it possible for him to have a mouth, occupying so much of the comparatively small space allotted to his face. It is a feature unusually out of proportion, generally discovering a want of symmetry, and nearly always glaringly exhibiting the physiological marks of an animal-eating being.
The third race marks the beginning of a new condition of things. Evolution, which was hitherto marching, through ethereal layers of matter, by degrees brought on a more completely objective manifestation; the constant process of differentiation which forms the work of evolution now reached each individual man. Prior to this time the law governing evolution had not attained sufficient complexity to be different in the case of every individual, and it was with the third race that cosmic law in individuals assumed, to any considerable extent, the form of personal will. It must not be supposed that at the commencement of the third-race period personal will by some miraculous process sprang forth Minerva-like in full armour. Nature abhors a leap in the greatest as in the least, in material as in spiritual existence. Material development slowly but perceptibly dimmed man's consciousness of his spiritual nature, and at the period under consideration produced suitable conditions on our planet for the existence of beings in whom the psychic principles were counterbalanced, to a recognizable degree, by the material principles. The dual worlds, material and spiritual, were now as ready for man's purposes as he was ready for them. It was at this period that a large number of human beings, unable to adapt themselves to the altered circumstances of existence, had to retire from the scene of activity. The law of Karma, or the rigorous application of the law of inviolable sequence of cause and effect to personal conduct, began to assert itself. All human beings who could not harmonize themselves with the operation of this law were by differentiation forced off the stage as unfit for living under the advanced conditions; the fittest survived. It no doubt would be an interesting study to follow the course of these apparent failures of nature, but that is a subject foreign to the present design. As there were exceptional cases in which beings appeared who fell short of the lowest limitation of continued existence, so there were some in this, as in all other ages, who progressed far higher than the average limit of development attainable in the race, which was carried forward by the force of their individual development.
The growth of personal will is the most important fact in the history of man's evolution; it is the "forbidden fruit", which brought forth the knowledge of good and evil. It will be seen from a careful examination of the nature of personal will that its manifestation takes the form of a desire on the part of its possessor to compel his surroundings to mould themselves in accordance with his aims and ideas. Keeping this characteristic of personal will in view, it is not difficult to follow its working.
But there is another factor in the problem which must also be considered.
We have started before that at the time of man's first appearance on earth he found, besides animals, various orders of ethereal beings already evolved. These beings are called elementals or nature-spirits, by reason of their association with the five elements into which the occultists divide the present state of whole range of sensuous nature. When the principle underlying this division is understood it will be found to involved no such absurdity, as the merest tyro in chemistry, with its every-increasing number of elements, can detect.The classification proceeds upon quite a different, though equally scientific, plan. Man cannot obtain any knowledge of sensuous objects which in their totality form external nature, unless they affect one or the other of his physical senses. An external thing to exist must answer to one of the five-tests. When humanity develops other senses, other elements will be discovered, as those who, under exceptional circumstances and by forced training, have brought on a premature growth in themselves, know even now.
These elemental beings, or nature-spirits as they are sometimes called, are the same as the mysterious creatures mentioned by the Rosicrucians under various names. They are, as has been said in a preceding chapter, of two distinct orders. The first order consists of what may be popularly called the soul of the different elements; they are centres of force in the semi-conscious plastic ethereal matter - the astral light - which like a sensitized plate receives the impression of every thought that rises in the mind of man. To the other order belong more individualized beings, semi-intelligent and forming a sub-human kingdom out of which human beings were developed,until man's "fall into generation", a question which will be discussed further on. Our masters are very reticent on the subject of elementals and only such an account is given of them here as is calculated to lead to some understanding of the general principles of evolution. It is necessary, however, to remark that the ontological views previously advanced require us to regard the organic life which is seen manifested in protoplasm as but one of the multitudinous forms in which the universal life principle finds expression. All biologists know that vital action is competent to develop at once, heat, light, and electricity; and we have to say that the development of these forces, not merely in some cases but always and everywhere,is due to the action of this principle. Every atom in nature is permeated and pervaded by it. The universe is one grand consciousness, and all and everything, from the minutest atom to the noblest being we know or can conceive of, are but finite manifestations of this consciousness. There is therefore an infinite variety of existences- existences, the limiting manifestation of which on this earth varies with its state and condition.
When the personal will of man arose it acted along the line of least resistance. Whatever thought was awakened in man instantly found, by reason oft its dynamic power, an objective expression in the elemental world surrounding him. As personal will gained in strength these impressions of thought on elemental beings began to be more and more durable. Although, at the period we are now dealing with, conflict between man and man was unknown, yet each man owing to his personality was invested with a bundle of desires peculiarly his own, and the action of different wills on these lower elemental beings produced the first form of conflict on earth.
At the present day these elemental beings have a very important function in nature. Moulded by the will of all the preceding generations of man, they have now become a kind of Karmic agency which prevents individuals other than adepts from transcending in their development the limits of their race. When in the course of time these impressions gathered sufficient force and consistency, the ground of conflict shifted with the line of least resistance. Then the higher elemental spirits felt the pressure of man's conflicting will, and as they were too far developed to be easily swayed by its impressing force, the struggle became keener. The conflict increase in intensity as first woman and then man himself became the object of attack. These important points are, however, elsewhere enlarged upon.
The higher elemental beings were developed into men, until the time when physical birth and death came upon the earth in the train of personal will. It can be easily conceived that when men began to acquire each his separate interest, the collective endeavour requisite for the development of elemental beings began to segregate, and the physical reproduction of the species accompanied the increasing grossness of the human frame, as man became an eating animal. This is the story of this "fall into generation". He "fell" by the exercise of his personal will. But his material development can be regarded as a "fall" only from one side, from the other side the "fall" the was but a necessary curve of the spiral of progress, the dawn of a bright her day the like of which humanity has never yet seen. And this regeneration is to be accomplished by Christos, the incarnated Wisdom, the true human Spirit.
The subject of "fall" naturally suggests the problems of free will. We have no desire of entering into an elaborate discussion of that much-vexed question. It will be enough to point out that the human will is free inasmuch as every individual acts with the motive of acquiring happiness. But what would please one depends upon a prior necessity - the necessity of one's nature; but even then the will is free, for the necessity of one's nature is not an extraneous imposition, but na eternal law embodied in the self. If, however, by the freedom of will is to be understood the power of willing one's self out of existence, and annihilating one's nature, that freedom must be unhesitatingly denied. No such licentious will has a place in the Cosmos. At every point of time a man's will is free, he does that only which pleases him, but there is yet an order which governs its manifestation. As mathematics can infer the past, the predict the future movements of a heavenly body, from the data supplied by observation of a few successive positions; so a higher mathematics is conceivable, which can calculate the past and future life history of a human entity from ascertained data. The future unfoldment of a man's career is not dependent upon that calculation, any more than the movements of a planet are influenced by the reckonings of the astronomer.
While on this theme a few words may be said on the necessity of evil and the charge of pessimism, which is so constantly leveled against the Eastern school of thought. There is no doubt a cyclic necessity for the current of human progress to reach its uttermost limits and then to return to its parent source, richer and more purified from its long journey. The philosopher will not regret this when he remembers that at each remove from the happy spiritual state, humanity advances towards its ultimate consummation and glorified resurrection. To lift up the voice of complaint because it is necessary to attain the higher and more perfect states through a path not strewn over with enjoyment, is to betray both ignorance and selfishness; ignorance of the glorified vision which awaits the return, and selfishness in complaining of individual sufferings which enrich the great whole - the universal mind, by realizing the ideas which lie in it, potentially eternal. Philosophical thought is always optimistic; it is only the distorted view of things which gives birth to pessimism. The living spirituality which forms the foundation of the Eastern systems certainly warns us not to sink into the stagnation of material enjoyments and gross physical life; but it by no means looks upon life itself as an evil. On the contrary, Eastern teachers have insisted upon the important part which our earth-life plays in the grand purpose which is evolving higher and higher states of perfection at every turn. Buddhism and Vedantism are the two systems against which this criticism is most frequently brought forward. But a proper appreciation of the law of causation, as understood in these systems, will remove such misconception; everything that happens, good, bad, or indifferent, is brought on by the operation of the eternal law embodied in the eternal substance, which is also the absolute bliss. The nihilism of modern Europe is the only genuine pessimism. The same misapprehension which construes Nirvana and Moksha as annihilation fastens upon the Eastern religions the charge of pessimism.
This part of the subject cannot be passed over without noticing a very important idea that was evolved under the operation of personal will. The greater concentration of energy in the ego which the exercise of will demanded, and its natural reaction on the object to which the will was directed, and the opposition of that object to the ego, forced man to realize most strongly the conception of an existence outside of himself. This accentuation of the will obscured very rapidly his consciousness of the less differentiated or spiritual condition which he was leaving. The growth of self-interest destroyed that fearlessness which proceeds from self-less, loving harmony with all around. Until strange dangers had begun to assail him from all sides he felt no want of a protector, no necessity for an intermediate representative between himself and his Creator, the Immutable Law. The idea of force dawned upon him simultaneously with that of danger, and fear was the very natural companion of the latter. This compelled him to create for himself a belief in some power external to himself - a power that he feared and depended upon - and thus laid the foundation of all artificial cults which to this day infest the world with their numerous brood of error. Looking around him, the primitive man beheld his fountain of power in the Sun, the source of light and life-giving energy. He feared it and tried in consequence to conciliate it.
The strongest rays of light he perceived to be red in colour, and sought corresponding objects for use in worship; and the more difficult the object was of attainment, the greater was its propitiating value in the eye of the worshipper.This led to the absorption of blood as the fittest offering, and it flowed freely at the altar of Sol. Violence was the most baneful manifestation of man's spiritual decadence, and it rebounded upon him from the elemental beings, whom it was his duty to develop.
When this duty was ignored, and the separation of interests was accentuated, the natural man forcibly realized an antagonism with the elemental spirits.As violence increased in man, these spirits waxed strong in their way, and, true to their natures, which had been outraged by the neglect of those who were in a sense their guardians, they automatically responded with resentment. No longer could man rely upon the power of love or harmony to guide others, because he himself had ceased to be impelled solely by its influence; distrust had marred the symmetry of his inner self, and beings who could not perceive but only receive impressions projected towards them, quickly adapted themselves to the altered conditions. At once nature itself took on the changed expression; and where all before was gladness and freshness there were no indications of sorrow and decay. Atmospheric influences hitherto unrecognized began to be noted; there was felt a chill in the morning, a dearth of magnetic heat at noontide, and a universal deadness at the approach of night, which began to be looked upon with alarm. For a change in the object must accompany every change in the subject. Until this point was reached, there was nothing to make man afraid of himself and his surroundings.
And as he plunged deeper and deeper into matter, he lost his consciousness of the subtler forms of existence, and attributed all the antagonism he experienced to unknown causes. The conflict continued to wax stronger, and in consequence of his ignorance, man fell a readier victim. There were exceptions among the race then as there are now, whose finer perceptive faculties outgrew, or kept ahead of the advancing materialization; and they alone, in course of events, could feel and recognize the influence of these earliest progeny of he earth.
Time came when an occasional appearance was viewed with alarm, and was thought to be an omen of evil. Recognizing this mistaken fear on the part of man, the elementals ultimately came to realize for him the dangers he apprehended, and they banded together to terrify him. They found strong allies in an order of existence which was generated when physical death made its appearance, as we shall soon see; and their combined forces began to manifest themselves at night, for which man had a dread as being the enemy of his protector, the Sun.
Death marks the origin of the curve which human evolution is at present describing. During the first two races it was unknown; but as a feeling retires into rest at the close of its activity, so man faded into the subjective condition, when his objective life had reached its full period. The primitive man had no sense of age physically; it was not "fore-ordained" that he should decay, nor was it "appointed unto all men that they should die", as the Psalmist of old has affirmed. It was not inevitable that he should do so; it was his privilege to live or die as he chose, just as it is man's privilege today to see with clearness, or to cultivate blindness and darkness. All men have not died. Even the Jews hint, in their Kabalistic language, at the primitive race that died not. Enoch "walked with God", and did not die. Some here and there in every age have escaped death by recovering the use of their spiritual powers, and overcoming the elements in their nature which drag them down to the death-point. [ Enoch typifies humanity, eternal in spirit and as eternal in flesh; though flesh does die in its form. But he also typifies the race - the seventh at one end. In the Seltide table Enoch comes second from Adam - this forms the other end, the starting point.]
The great teachers of all ages, who have blossomed on the three of humanity as its choicest flowers, have in a sense escaped death. It is very true that the corporeal encasement is dissolved, but the interior man, consisting of the spiritual ego and the principles of intelligence and will, retains its integrity, and death only removes the dross which covers the true gold, the higher principles in man's nature. Attracted by the intensity of their love for the race, these exalted human beings continue, as its true saviours, to instruct and lead it to loftier heights.The world sees them not, for a thick curtain of material grossness imprisons its view, and shuts out form it the glorified presence. But individuals arise at intervals of time who, even while in the flesh, can converse with them, and communicate to the world their wisdom. Others also there are who, by reason of their imperfect development, cannot hold conscious intercourse with these spiritual teachers, but, acting under their influence, pass over our planet as bright meteors of intellect and philanthropy, and infuse an influx of spiritual life into mankind by their unselfish love and sacrifice, although unconscious of the impulse which guides them.
All the higher adept do, in a sense, escape death. The process which leads up to this point of evolution was known in the mystical language of the Middles Ages as the Elixir of Life. Man's body is always tuned in accordance with his inward desires and aspirations. If earthly desires and cravings are one after another eliminated from the man, his body, which is constantly changing its constituent atoms, ceases to attract such materials as were necessary to furnish a proper vehicle for the lower inclinations; these being conquered, the body becomes more and more ethereal, until in the end the last vestige of the physical encasement is left behind, and the individual rises a glorified spirit.
It is interesting to observe how Milton has described this process in "Comus"; -
"Till oft converse with heavenly habitants
Begin to cast a beam on the outward shape,
The unpolluted temple of the mind,
And turns it by degrees to the soul's essence,
Till all be made immortal."
This is in one sense escaping death, but in another it is but spreading it over a very large period. How are we do it? It is well known that one of the chief elements of longevity is a strong desire to live. Instances occur every day in which persons successfully pass through crises of disease, simply from a strong desire to live on and finish some duty unperformed. The desire to live, when based simply upon the motive of selfish enjoyment of life, will never be sufficiently strong to carry one very far; in fact, the strong will, which discovers the secrets of the Elixir of Life, is thoroughly unselfish. The individual sacrifices his own progress in other spheres of existence, in order that he may continue to work for the good of his race. Surprise may be excited when benevolent activity is claimed for persons with whom mankind at large has no conscious relation, but the reason why the labours of these god-like men are not ordinarily observed is that they act through the higher principles in man. The productive power of our energies varies in accordance with the plane on which they operate. A bricklayer, labouring from sunrise to sunset, produces work which, when estimated in money, will be found to be but a small fraction of the money-value of an hour's work by a man of science. The difference in the effects generated by a given quantity of energy on the physical and intellectual planes is thus apparent. Those who are acquainted with the laws of psychical dynamics know that the work produced by a fixed amount of energy on the intellectual plane is, in its turn, immeasurably less than that produced by the same quantity of energy acting on the plane of spirit, the highest principle in man. It is more unreasonable therefore to expect the masters of the divine science to work with us on the ordinary plane, that it would be to suggest to Sir William Thomson to turn shoemaker.
We must state one fact here: the will to live must be strong enough to overcome the inherited tendencies of the body to repeat physiological processes of its ancestors. It is clear from this that the second factor in the problem is not a physically powerful body nourished by generous feeding, but one which is healthy, and at the same time has no strongly developed physical tendencies; muscular strength is by no means a necessity, the chief thing being a will stronger than physical instincts. It is plain that any increase of power in the body requires a corresponding increase of will-power to regulate it. The conquest of the physical body by the will is marked by the destruction of one animal propensity after another. All artificial cravings have to be given up first, such as alcoholic stimulants, the eating of flesh, and in short, all lust for over-feeding the body and satisfying its unhealthy longings. Next in order comes the sexual lust.
Other inclinations must be got rid of in in the order of their materiality: "first, avarice, then fear, then envy, worldly pride, un-charitableness, hatred, ambition, and last of all, curiosity - intellectual greed."
The process which lasts for years is a slow death, and when a man is rendered immortal by the Elixir of life, there is nothing left of him on our earth, and therefore he is to all intents and purposes already dead.
Death, though as natural to us now as birth or age, is always shrouded by a darksome dread. It is the shadow that mars our brightest landscape, and casts a depressing gloom over the happiest events of life. It is the poison that lurks in the sweetest cup of enjoyment - the inexplicable mystery of existence, which has blinded the keenest eye and baffled the most adventurous mind. But the black waves of this trackless ocean, at whose shore the strongest intellect of the physical man sinks in hopeless despair, offers no resistance to the awakened powers of the human spirit. The conception of death, like all other human conceptions, is subject to periodical growth and decay. But one thing is certain: the more material our life, the greater the tenacity with which we cling to the enjoyments of the flesh - the more horrible does death appear; even a thorough annihilationist, when his life, unconsciously to him, has been irradiated by the higher light, will be able truthfully to inscribe on his tombstone, "I was not, and I was conceived; I have had my little day, and I am content to be nought again." The different symbols of death at different periods of time will yield valuable instruction when properly questioned.
Beginning with the time when the gaunt skeleton Death stalked abroad, dropping horror on its path, and mowing down man with its ruthless scythe, to the time when death is conceived of as a sweet angel drawing he veil of rest on the sorrows and sufferings of humanity, there has been a steady evolution and growth of thought. Death is misfortune, just as is drunkenness, obscenity, and immorality; it was man's own creation, an artificial mode of destroying himself; as much a matter of his own volition as eating, drinking, walking, or sleeping. Be it understood that we do not mean it to be inferred that man, under any circumstances, could have prolonged his life permanently; but he could have continued to shed his outer covering consciously and intelligently, and with the same case and facility as the silkworm does its cocoon, or the hatched chick the shell of the egg. He could have divested himself of his worn-out body, and renewed it as he does his clothing, and with no greater inconvenience. Death among the earlier races had one characteristic which it has since lost. Before personal responsibility sprang up, death merely marked the passage from one objective life, as objective life then was, to the next, with only a short intervening period of rest. Man, not having any personal desires, obeyed the general law, and did not live that subjective life in which we of the present day unfold the spiritual forces generated by us during earth-life, forces which are denied activity by the limitations of material existence. In other words, there was no heaven or hell for man in the beginning. The conditions have now been completely changed. The growth of personal will invests each man with a mass of desires peculiarly his own; his progress on the material plane from this point depends upon his personal exertions. To take the case of one who has a great attraction for material life; it is easy to perceive that when the pendulum of his existence, having reached the farthest point of the curve, marked by death, swings backward to pass into the subjective condition, his material, inclinations will have a tendency to press earthward, and thus obstruct the free passage of the ego from one plane of existence to another. This conflict produces the "world of desire" sometimes called in the East Kama Loka; and the energy generated in that state, acting from a centre - the personality of the man - forms what is called his elementary. The elementary is not an independent being, because it is wanting in the principle of growth, and is bound to pass away when the entity becomes fairly established in the higher plane of subjective life, called Devachan, towards which it is moving. An elaborate discussion as to the nature of elementaries is out of place here, but it is to be remarked that, when the elementaries are described as the cast-off principles of men, it must not be thought that the different principles are separated from each other by a process of chemical decomposition or mechanical break-up. The change of planes of existence by the human entity causes these fragments to be thrown off which are the lingering effects of the indwelling of the monad in that particular state from which it is fast departing.
Milton has described the elementaries accurately enough by following his early master, Plato: -
"But when lust,
By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk,
But most by lewd and lavish act of sin,
Lets in defilement to the inward parts,
The soul grows clotted by contagion,
Imbodies and imbrutes till she quite lose
The divine property of her first being.
Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp
Oft seen in charnel vaults and sepulchres,
Lingering and sitting by a new-made grave,
As loth to leave the body that it loved,
And link'd itself by carnal sensuality
To a degenerate and degrade state."
It will be abundantly clear from what has been said above, that in the earlier races elementaries had no existence; it was only when humanity had considerably descended into matter that they came into being. The intimate connection of the mystery of death with the nature of elementaries is obvious. The alliance between elementaries and elemental spirits has been already hinted at. It grew out of the natural dependence of the latter upon man, who suffers from its unfortunate consequences unto the present day, in manifold ways, and with ever-increasing intensity. The elementaries, galvanized into activity by the elemental beings, began to appear to man under as many varieties of shape as his hopes and fears allowed. And as his ignorance of things spiritual became denser, these agencies brought in an influx of error, which accelerated his spiritual degeneration. Thus, it will be seen that man's neglect of his duty to the nature spirits is the cause which has launched him into a sea of troubles, that has shipwrecked so many generations of his descendants. Famines, plagues, wars, and other catastrophes, are not so disconnected with the agency of nature-spirits as it might appear to the sceptical mind. Adepts alone, in these latter ages, have remained faithful to man's higher duty towards these undeveloped creatures. The first awakening ray of forgotten knowledge, at the beginning of the brighter cycle which has now set in, reveals to sight the elementaries on account of their more immediate connection with mankind. But buried under ages of materiality, man is almost entirely unable to apprehend the knowledge thus communicated, and has in consequence fallen into a confused state of mind as to things spiritual.
The adepts have seized this opportunity to instruct man regarding his relations with the elementaries and nature-spirits. To do this effectively, these great souls recapitulate the history of man upon the earth, take him to the starting-point, and read to him the ineffaccable record of his own career, which they are enabled to do through their superior knowledge; and this knowledge they have placed at the service of mankind in order that materiality may be arrested in its fatal progress, and some of its evils be averted while yet possible. Every day the true history of man's infancy is becoming more and more encrusted with falsehoods and fancies, and all interest in his origin and destiny is rapidly dying out. It is borne in upon the mind of an individual here and there, that the truth has not been told about himself and his kind. The blessing that the adepts now hold out to man is the key to unlock some of the mysteries of his existence, but the current method of thought is so diametrically opposed to intuition that the world at large rejects the blessing, and discredits the testimony of those who offer it.
EVOLUTION OF SEX
Without going very far back in the cycle of evolution, it may be stated that there was an epoch when human beings were bisexual. The memory of this state is preserved in many religion myths. We shall only refer to the account of Ardhanarisvara, the bisexual Lord among the Brahmans. By the Western people this knowledge is to be found in the Jewish Scriptures, if they will only have the eyes to see. "Male and female created he them and blessed them, and called their name Adam" (Gen. V. 2)
Until towards the latter part of the second race, the only discernible germs of sex were confined to the mental plane. A tendency in individuals towards the general and the abstract developed the man, and a tendency towards the particular and the concrete led to the evolution of the woman. If we eliminate the minor difference between the sexes, this is observed to be the basic distinction; in fact the minor differences are produced by the pressure of the mental attributes already mentioned seeking expression on the physical plane. As a rule, the man has more capacity for abstract, and the woman for concrete thought. It is a safe guide in predicting the next following incarnation of a human being to bear this fact in mind. No amount of cultivation of abstract thought will, however, enable one, unless an adept, to transcend the average of the race. On reaching the limit of male attributes female incarnation will become a necessity. A man to be perfected requires to develop in himself all the peculiar excellences of the woman, in addition to his own; and similarly, a woman, those of the man.
In the light of esoteric
teaching, a deeper truth will be discovered in what would otherwise be meaningless.
"And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept:
and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the
rib which the Lord God had taken from man made he a woman." (Gen. ii. 21-22)
In obedience to the necessity of fully realizing all the possibilities in Nature the sexes differentiated. Each of the two sets of mental attributes mentioned above demanded development to their fullest extent. By the cultivation of one particular set entities determined their sex. Organs unused began to disappear and others became invigorated by exercise. This evolution of sex if often referred to as the "fall into generation", which dates from the time when man became an eating animal. With the differentiation of sex came the sexual instinct and reproduction of the species as now prevalent.
The sexual feeling in its incipiency was but an undefined instinct, and when it had become pronounced, it was gratified as naturally and without forethought as any other physiological craving. The greatest curse which attends the exercise of this function among us, as all people of uncorrupted sensibility know, is the absence of natural consent of the pair. In the earlier stages, when disguise and pretence did not exist, such a thing was impossible.
As man went on adding layer upon layer of materiality to his life, he lost his spiritual powers. The most valuable one that he thus lost was his ability to develop elemental beings into men. The Kabalists refer to the children of Adam before he knew Eve. These were the elementals who were, by the exertions of man, evolved into humanity, as he, in his turn, had been by the planetary spirits. Having lost the power of creation, the natural law forced man to fall back upon pro-creation. And until man had departed very far from the original conditions he possessed the earth and all its belongings, and enjoyed them in peace. Women did not cry travailing in birth and in pain to be delivered, but child-bearing was as simple a matter as waking or sleeping, or locomotion from one place to another.
As man's material progress advanced, his inner being became enveloped by the grossness of his outer nature, and each, wrapped up in himself, separated from his fellow-man. The loss of transparency of thought thus brought about affected th sexual relations most detrimentally; whereas before the intercourse between man and woman had been free and harmonious, it now became, through the increasing spiritual obscuration, marred by discord and disharmony. The barrier that was built up by growing materiality between the inner and the outer nature, gave rise for the first time to mistakes o fact in the intercourse of human beings, which finally resulted in the appearance of feelings of doubt and distrust of each other; in fact, to the first notions of untruth. The inability to see the working of another's mind led to frequent conflicts between the statements made by one about one's self, and what another expected of one; hence arose confusion, which in course of time hardened into falsehood and suspicion. Women were originally the equals of men in physical strength as in other qualities; but in particular cases a man stronger than a woman who rejected his addresses, did not hesitate to subjugate her to his passion, through his failure to comprehend a different feeling on her part. This was the first sexual sin. Treading on its steps appeared another and a more grievous one. Wherever there were numerous males equally attracted by the same female, the successful rival had the opportunity of satisfying two passions of his nature at one and the same time - namely, vanity and lust. This caused the sexual passion to strike its root deeper into human nature, and materialized it to a lower point; and the sexual feeling from being an instinct, became a complex passion deep-seated in the mind, and closing it to the inward spiritual light.
Thenceforth man required satisfaction of both these cravings from the woman, and she, degraded from the natural condition, had to adjust herself to the altered state. Man, whose vanity was only for the time gratified by the ownership of the woman, demanded constant humiliation on her part to feed its fire. One of the forms that this feeling took was the seemingly unselfish desire of man to save the woman from bodily weariness; but the true origin of this trait of man's character will be found, on reflection, to be his sexual tyranny. The reaction on women of this feeling produced, if possible, more disastrous results than on man. At the altar of his vanity she had to sacrifice truth and pretend an unwillingness to his embrace, when victory over no rivals ministered to that passion. She became weaker by the continuance of the tyranny which debarred her from strong physical exertion, and motherhood, which, as we have said, was perfectly painless in the beginning, became attended with suffering and even death. It must not be imagined that in those days the evils here mentioned had matured their growth, or attained anything like the rank proportions of the present day. Primitive people lived a simpler life; they knew but the germs of the evil which has developed to such frightful extent, and has become a blot on our civilization. Among the present inhabitants of the earth, those who have most preserved the simplicity of primitive times are freest from those poisonous effects of overindulgence which destroy the so-called civilized life.
The "fall into generation" separated man more widely from the nature-spirits whom it was his duty to raise into humanity, and intensified their hostility toward him. The effect of this hostility upon the woman was more calamitous than upon the man, on account of her greater weakness, especially at the times of her trial and suffering.
The attentive student of the rites, ceremonies, and religious superstitions prevalent among different nations, will note the universality of the belief that the woman with child is more in need of protection against evil influences than any other. Woman thus lost the position she once held, and in the subsequent history of the world her condition has never improved, the vantage-ground lost by her in the beginning has never been recovered, and never will be until man's spiritual nature reasserts itself and successfully overthrows his material inclinations. There can be no complete redemption for woman until this hour arrives and a school of philosophy, demanding no other sacrifice than that of self to soul, effects a reform in the inner man by uniting itself with the most practical careers and callings; till then the door will remain closed through which alone woman can be ushered into freedom. Her liberation does not depend upon laws and enactments any more than did her subjection in the first instance.
All systems of ecclesiasticism, the monstrous offspring of the selfishness of man and his religious instinct, have denied women spiritual equity; the injustice of the sex reached its culmination in the enthronement of a personal God, with a Son to share His glory, but wifeless, motherless and daughterless. The materiality of man is nowhere so emphatically expressed as in his conception of a Supreme Father. He has eliminated from his ideal God all the attributes of woman; in his miraculously begotten Son alone are to be found some of the finer elements of womanhood. Although the Mohammedan religion is the only one which has expressly refused immortality to women, yet all the modern religions, in their ideal heaven which is to be reward of a holy life, have very seldom even an obscure corner for her; she must unsex herself before she can enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The accepted theory of the relation between the sexes has, for the Christian world, been based upon the teachings of St.Paul; and as those teachings have been taken in a literal and not an occult sense, the greatest injustice has been done to the teacher and his teachings, and the saddest wrongs have resulted to the world. It is always easier for a man to believe that which fits in with his own preconceived ideas than to accept with equanimity what is opposed to his expectation, and the slavery imposed by custom upon woman was his precedent in this instance.
True, the Jewish prophet taught his people that it was not good for man to be alone, but the mysticisms of the Kabala have been materialized to suit so many needs and occasions, that it is not easy to trust to the written word of today; the real significance of the admonition is wholly incomprehensible to the world at large. Materialism has sealed from view the doctrines of the Kabala, and what remains for the practical uses of religious teachers are only such simple truths as those which, by reason of their simplicity, cannot be distorted to suit various interpretations.
The subject of woman, as connected with Aryan life, has so much practical importance, even at this late day, as to call for consideration at some length here. The position of womankind in the East has bee a never-ending theme for lamentation; but without being guilty of the absurdity of upholding that position as perfect, a remark may be ventured that the legal status of the Hindu and Mohammedan women is equal if not superior, to that of their Christian sisters, and curiously enough, the Mohammedan law is the most liberal in this respect, despite the fact that the Koran robs a woman of her soul. This is, perhaps, a grim irony, showing the inefficacy of legislative enactment, when not supported by the prevailing moral standard. Whatever the position of the Hindu woman of the present day may be, it is certain that there was a time, of which some record is preserved in the Sama-Veda, when spiritually or otherwise there was no difference made by the Aryans between the sexes. Merit, says a Sanscrit poet, is to be respected in the meritorious, and not age or sex. Salic law, both political and spiritual, was the growth of a minor cycle of descent which overwhelmed mankind with barbarism.
During the period of Aryan history we have referred to, the woman was entitled to the Brahmanical thread as a mark of equality with her brother; she had the right to study and teach the Vedas, both of which privileges she has since been deprived of, and degraded to the level of a low-born Sudra,. It was optional with women in those days, and even at a much later period, to marry or choose a life of celibacy; and even marriage very frequently meant nothing more than a spiritual companionship, a kind of union which was not entirely unknown during the Middle Ages in Europe. Mention is, no doubt, to be found in the Brahmanical writings of the wives of the ancient sages. But it is erroneous to take the statements literally and conclude that a married life is compatible with spiritual development, the fact being that in many cases the wives mentioned were merely pupils, not necessarily of the female sex. Some light will be thrown on the subject when we consider what Solomon means by the "nuptial compact" between him and his God. The allegory of Krishna having married sixteen hundred damsels carried away from King Naraka (hell) will also be intelligible when rightly read. In the larger class of cases, the wives were in reality female disciples, of whom the number was not restricted, and hence the erroneous charge of polygamy sometimes brought against the ancient adepts of India. A notable instance of spiritual union of this kind occurs in the Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad, where the sage Yaguavalkya instructs his two wives, Gargi and Maitreyi, on the nature of Nirvana and other sacred mysteries. It is to be remarked, by the way, that although Yagnavalkya is said to have had two wives, no mention is to be found of his children. The esoteric teachers know that not only was Yagnavalkya an adept himself, but so were his two wife-pupils. The great prevalence of celibacy during the period of India's spiritual growth is shown by the famous legislator Manu having laid down a positive injunction for Brahmans to marry and beget a child - in later times two children - before adopting the religious life; it was considered no violation of the marital duty to sever the marriage bond, but not necessarily spiritual companionship, on the birth of the child. Among the superior castes the term of a man's life was divided into three parts; the first twenty-five years to be devoted to study, the next twenty-five to worldly work, and the rest of the life to the pursuit of spiritual knowledge in retirement.
In later ages, when material progress rendered these regulations obsolete, and the marriage bond more lasting, marital rights and duties were founded upon strictly scientific principles. Social and religious regulations were framed with a view of protecting married life from sensual excesses, and securing a certain independence to woman from sexual tyranny. So long as the popular mind at all retained the high standard of spirituality the wife had the right to put an end to the marriage relation by adopting the religious life. Certain astronomical, astrological, and physiological considerations always governed the connubial rites. The great harm to sexual morality, resulting from the promiscuous association of men with women undergoing certain physiological changes,cannot be over-estimated. The infringement of the wise rule which separated women from all men, during this period, has not only blunted the moral sensibilities of men and women, but is a constant torture to all finer natures; and persons at all gifted with clairvoyant perceptions find the influences surrounding women during the period under notice particularly distressing. Even in the present day, the domestic life of the Hindus is so regulated that women in such a state are protected against influences sent out by men to which they are peculiarly susceptible. But mankind in general, ignorant of those subtle forces which govern its well-being, brings upon itself consequences which are as far-reaching as they are hurtful.
The effects of temperance and vegetarianism on sensual propensities are well known, and a reference to India almanacs will show how food is to be regulated during the days on which a man is permitted sexual relations. An elaborate account of the inner married life of the Aryans is not in place here; it is enough to say that marriage was looked upon as a sacrament, for the ideal was that no man was to marry mainly with the desire of gratifying his sexual nature. And no marriage could be consummated until the man had satisfied his conscience that sexual instinct was not the influence which attracted him to his wife. We do not mean to say that these wise regulations are observed in their entirety in the present day, but the ideal is still preserved.The complicated motives governing society were not elements which entered into the social economy of those days, and considerations which have degraded marriage from a psychic union to the level of a civil contract were then unknown; hence marriage was a purer institution, offering fewer temptations for selfish wrong-doing and bartering in flesh. The apotheosis of the brute part of man's nature was reached when society unmasked itself, and made marriage dissolvable on either of the parties refusing to submit to sexual outrage. This is the culmination of materialism. People seem to forget that there can be as much immortality in the married state as outside of it, if not more. If a commission where issued by the civilized world to examine into married relations, the physical and moral evils produced by legalized immorality would be found to stagger belief. Let any experienced physician investigate the subject, and the disclosures would be humiliating to self-respecting men and women. The ephemeral process of courtship, which precedes modern marriages, even at its best, is but conventional; and is made to serve a purpose requiring deep scientific considerations for its proper attainment. Among the Brahmans in the earlier period, and to a large extent even in the present day, marriages were regulated by considerations which will be regarded as highly scientific by those who have any knowledge of the secret sciences, especially astrology. According to the physical and mental peculiarities which the position of the heavenly bodies at the time of birth indicates, men and women are divided into four classes, technically called "castes" - Brahman, Kshetriya, Vaisya, and Sudra, according as spiritual, martial, commercial, or servile idiosyncrasies predominate in them. From another point of view, a classification into three is made - deva, man and rakshasa - a man belonging to a superior caste could take a wife from the inferior castes, but not vice versa. Again, a Deva could marry a female belonging to the class Man; but not a male of the latter class a female of the former, nor could a marriage take place between the Rakshasa and either of the other two classes. There are many more rules founded upon astrological and other considerations of too technical a character to be entered into here. Chiromancy, a science of different bodily marks, also contributed to the determination of suitable matches.
It is not compatible with the design of this book to give a detailed account of each step of retiring spirituality. With early man the animal passions were not sufficiently developed to produce great evils. In the first place, he was a healthy being, with all the functions working together harmoniously, producing no jar or friction; hence all propensities, generated by a diseased condition of the nerves were unknown to him. The effect of fresh air and proper food, and freedom from anxiety, upon the moral character is readily admitted. The happy, free existence of early man, enabling him to derive enjoyment from everything around, left no room for the growth of that wearisomeness which lies at the bottom of all artificial cravings and misuse. But when the conditions of life began to change, and man, no longer the simple child of nature, began to develop new circumstances by the exercise of his personal will, excesses resulted. By slow degrees he was obliged to find artificial habitations; and the grouping together of numbers, producing unhealthy mesmeric and atmospheric conditions, brought on injurious results, the immediate effect of which was over-population - the greatest curse that has fallen on humanity. The statesman and the economist will labour in vain for the removal of this evil until man's nature is purified and woman's is exalted.
The subjection of woman and interference with her liberty of person and of conscience, are the principal causes which have sapped the foundations of existence, made the world a prison-house for humanity, and given to disease, want, and death, such sure hold of the race, that it has required man's entire strength and time to fight them, and has left him no leisure to confront the higher problems of being. The truth should be shown to all willing eyes, and man's awakened conscience trusted to work out his own salvation. To this end an attempt has been made herein to thrown some light on the sphere women ought properly to occupy; but the subject has by no means been exhausted: we hope, however, that enough has been said to lead to its thoughtful consideration. Increased practice of celibacy is the only means for any real advancement of the race; the celibacy which is not the result of restraint, but the outcome of a spiritual growth, producing deep conviction and general elevation of character.
The commonest objection taken against celibacy is that if practised by all it will bring the world to an end; but this objection can only have importance with those who attach an exaggerated value to the present objective life. The termination of the world, by which is meant merely the end of the present transitory state of our consciousness,is by no means a very dreadful calamity. And again the objection is worthless because the apprehended danger, whatever its magnitude, would never occur; as there will always be found a sufficient number to carry on the work of perpetuating the race. There is one contention, however, which requires to be met: some urge it is only the noblest and most unselfish of men who will be moved by the highest instincts of their nature to adopt celibacy and thus leave the least worthy to propagate. Here it is to be pointed out, that this line of argument entirely ignores the dynamic power of thought, which the celibates will bring to bear upon those desirous of issue; and thus the general average of humanity, far from deteriorating, will be likely to improve.
A man who in his own nature realizes the truth, and devotes himself to the mightier questions of life, is looked upon as a useless member of the human family, and is contemptuously ignored by the materialistic utilitarian. But the true worth of such a man is apparent to the spiritual mind; he is a hero among men and a benefactor of his race. The first step he has to take in order to enter upon his work, is to release himself from all physical bondage, and to establish, as the first law of his life, freedom from worldly ties. To him the saying "yet cannot serve God and Mammon" is the first and most important fact, and the second is the renunciation, one after another, of all the delusions with which life is overshadowed. Granting the largest liberty of action to all the world, he seeks for himself the inalienable right of every free spirit - the right to have no other gods than the one he serves, his own conscience. So long as a man is hampered by the indulgence of any weakness, and, above all, when he is guilty of subjugating another human being to sexual selfishness - so long will it be wholly impossible for him to advance his work and spread true wisdom. The chief source of error in all investigations of a spiritual nature in the past, has been due, not so much to the manner of investigating, as to the character of the investigators.
The spiritual wisdom of the world has been the offering of celibates.
The connection between celibacy and spiritual life is not very difficult to see. The married relation which accentuates the difference between man an woman is utterly incompatible with the higher life. Adeptship is the peculiar heritage of the celibate. "He", says the India proverb, "who desires offspring desires death; the immortal must be celibate". Those who are acquainted with what is called the evolution of the astral body know how sexual feeling devours that energy which alone can liberate the astral man from the physical encasement. What man has been, the same and much higher he will be again. Immaculate conception, which is accepted as a dogma by many religions, will certainly be the prevalent mode of reproduction when the higher races appear, races in which all men and women will "enlightened". This knowledge of spiritual reproduction is one of the highest secrets of Adeptship, but until its day arrives the duty of every spiritual-minded man and woman is to accelerate the advancement of the race by individual purity, which is the first step in the path which leads to Adeptship. The Adepts, in fact, represent to us today, not only the spiritual height from which the race descended, but also that other and much loftier height which it will attain. These exalted celibates, the products of no particular age or country, by constant endeavour keep alive the race ideal and possibilities; and the line along which the Adept transmits this knowledge is not hereditary succession, but spiritual propagation, by which the spirit of the Adept master infuses truths into the inner mind of the neophyte.
Is it necessary to say more than this in support of the position assumed? The reader who asks for proofs need only recall the examples of all ages. Spiritual teachers, Pagans and Christians alike, were men free from relationships which, by reason of their injustice to women, were destructive of the highest development of the individual. Who among the prophets of Christianity had not first to free himself form family bondage before he entered upon his work: Who so great an advocate of celibacy as Paul? Who so tender and indulgent in his recognition of man's weakness and sensual nature as he who preached celibacy in these words: "And this I speak for your own profit; not that I cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction?" [Corinthians vii, 35]
THE FOURTH RACE - ATLANTEANS.
We have hitherto pursued the general evolution of the human race, and have not spoken about its different tribes and branches; but it has been stated that during each Ring seven difference races have their rise and fall on a planet. During the present Ring our earth has seen the predominance of four different races, the ruling race now being the fifth.It must not be imagined that one race has to completely die out before another steps into the arena of life, but the period during which any one race acquires supremacy is said to belong to that race. Geologically speaking, the present is the age of man, but that does not mean that fishes do not swim in our waters, reptiles crawl along our paths, and quadrupeds dwell in our forests. Although the fifth race is the predominant one, it must not be forgotten that the fourth, and even the third race, have yet their representatives living. Among the present habitants of the earth,the black or negroid branches are the earliest, and therefore the least important; next comes the red-yellow races; and the cream of the earth's population is the brown-white race. Popularly speaking, this race is the Aryan family of mankind, speaking languages the affinity of which for each other is now an established fact.
In order to comprehend the progress of humanity through the different races, it is necessary to remember what large tracks of time are occupied by each of these races.Thus the present race had its origin more than a million years ago; it was preceded by the fourth and third races, each of which had its period of supremacy. Biblical chronology , and even geological calculations, will be offended by this statement, but it is supported by the experience of living adepts as well as by the sacred chronology of the ancients. If the temple records of ancient Egypt, of Chaldea, or of India be recovered for the modern world, we shall find how modern history and modern science have but picked up stray facts and pieced them together,without any knowledge of their position in time. Geology will hardly allow man any existence on this earth before the glacial period, but the esoteric teachers know that civilizations greater than that of Greece or Rome flourished before that epoch, and had their day. It would be a gigantic task to remove all the misconceptions that exist on the subject. We shall not waste time and energy by trying to fight the brood of error that infests the world, but shall state some events connected with the ancient history of our race, so far as permitted, and show their consistency with received facts.
It is know to all occultists the the first civilization in the present Ring began with the third race, of which lingering remnants are now to be found among the flat-headed Australians, These degraded specimens of humanity, strange though it might seem, are descended from ancestors whose civilization antedated by aeons that of Phoenicia or Babylon. At first sight it may be very difficult to account for the continuance of the representatives of a high primeval civilization, which has left no traces that we can recognize. Students of the occult sciences know, however, that the end of the period of each race-supremacy is marked by a great cataclysm alternately of fire and water. If civilized Europe of today be visited by such a convulsion of Nature, its civilization will vanish; there are no pyramids which will remind its successors of its departed glory; and those among its population who escape, being deprived of all conditions of civilization life, will soon lapse into barbarism. Although civilization began with the third race,it must not be imagined that the second-race men were savages; since the conditions of their existence, it will be seen, were such as to render civilization or barbarism, as we know them, equally impossible.
The earliest civilization of which unmistakable traces have come down to us belonged to the fourth race, the so-called Atlanteans. To this period belongs the civilization mentioned in such books as Popul Vuh, Uttara Ramayana, and others. In the celebrated Sanscrit epic of Valmiki we find copious accounts of the civilization of a race of Atlanteans who dwelt near the mainland of India. The material prosperity of this people was very much in advance of the Aryans of the time. Their knowledge of the secret resources of Nature was something wonderful; they knew how to navigate aerial vehicles with the help of the subtle agency which Bulwer Lytton refers to under the name of Vril. Their houses, like those of the ancient Peruvians, were floored with gold. The weapons of destruction they constantly used were so far superior to those known to us as to be hardly conceivable.Art, literature, and science had their origin during this race period; but the Aryans had to develop their own civilization before they came in contact with the Atlanteans. Very little of the literature of the Atlanteans is now preserved, and their art and science have scarcely left any vestige except in China. By their superior knowledge the fourth race developed a material civilization, the like of which has not yet been seen on this earth. Their vast literature has almost entirely disappeared from the world; though one of the principal astronomical works in Sanscrit, called the Surya Siddhanta, is the production of an Atlantean astronomer. In this book mention is made of the seven islands of Atlantis � Plakshadvipa and others � and their geographical position marked with scientific accuracy. Another celebrated astronomer, who is always alluded to as Asura Maya, was a native of Atlantis, although Professor Weber, entirely misapprehending the meaning of the first part of this name, tries to transform him into the Greek Ptolemaios. Asura was the generic appellation of all the Atlanteans, who were the enemies of the spiritual heroes of the Aryas (gods). This rough account of the Atlanteans refers to the period when they came into contact with the Aryans, and consequently were going down the cycle of their supremacy. The record of their grandeur before that period (and it must be remembered that the Atlanteans attained their highest pitch of civilization and progress long before the Aryans emerged out of their swaddling-clothes) is preserved in books inaccessible to the world at large, and treasured with zealous care in the secret libraries of temples and lamaseries and the crypts and caverns of the initiated mystics.
It may be a matter of surprise to find them described in the Brahmanical writings as Rakshasas - a term signifying "raw-caters" - and their power of smell credited with wonderful acuteness; but the solution of the difficulty is to be found in the order of the development of the senses in the different races and sub-races. Ours being the fifth race has developed the sense of taste more than any preceding, while the sense of small attained its greatest perfection in the fourth race.
The occult records shows
that a considerable part of India was, at the time of the Aryan settlement,
in the occupation of the Atlanteans; so also parts of Europe, specially Greece
and Italy, not to mention their African colonies in Egypt and on the Mediterranean
coast. Regarding the Atlantean ancestors of the Greeks and Romans, one of our
teachers says: -
"The Atlantean 'old Greeks' could not be designated even as the Autochtones - a convenient term used to dispose of the origin of any people whose ancestry cannot be traced, and which, at any rate with the Hellenes, meant certainly more than simply 'soil-born', or primitive aborigines; and yet the so-called fable of Deukalion and Pyrrha is surely no more incredible or marvellous than that of Adam and Eve - a fable that hardly a hundred years ago no one would have dared or even thought to question. And in its esoteric significance,the Greek tradition is possibly more truly historical than many a so-called historical event during the period of the Olympiades, though both Hesiod and Homer may have failed to record the former in their epics".
"Peradventure", says the same teacher, [Theosophist, October 1883] "had the historians learned something more than they have of the Italian 'Autochtones' - the Iapygians - one might have given the 'old Romans' the latter name. But then there would be again that other historical difficulty: history knows that the Latin invaders drove before them and finally cooped up this mysterious and miserable race among the clefts of the Calabrian, thus showing the absence of any race affinity between the two. Moreover, Western archeologists keep to their own counsel, and will accept of no other but their own conjectures; and they have failed to make anything out of their undecipherable inscription in an unknown tongue and mysterious characters on the Iapygians monuments, and so for years have pronounced them unguessable .... The records of the occultists make no difference between the Atlantean ancestors of the old Greeks and Romans. Partially corroborated, and in turn contradicted, by licensed or recognized history, their records teach that of the ancient Latini of classic legend called Itali - of that people, in short, which, crossing the Apennines (as their Indo-Aryan brothers - let this be known - had crossed before them the Hindoo-Koosh), entered from the north the peninsula - there survived at a period long before the days of Romulas but the name and - a nascent language. Profane history informs us that the Latins of the 'mythical era' got so Hellenized amidst the rich colonies of Magna Graecia, that there remained nothing in them of their primitive Latin nationality. It is the Latins proper, it says, those pre-Roman Italians, who, by settling in Latium, had from the first kept themselves free from the Greek influence, who were the ancestors of the Romans. Contradicting exoteric history, the occult records affirm that if, owing to circumstances too long and complicated to be related here, the settlers of Latium preserved their primitive nationality a little longer than their brothers who had first entered the peninsula with them after leaving the East (which was not their original home), they lost it very soon, for other reasons. Freed from the Samuites during the first period, they did not remain free from invaders. While the Western historian puts together the mutilated, incomplete records of various nations and peoples, and makes them into a clever mosaic according to the best and most profitable plan, and rejects entirely traditional fables, the occultist pays not the slightest attention to the vain self-glorification of alleged conquerors or their lithic inscriptions. .... The occultist follows the ethnological affinities and their divergences in the various nationalities, races, and sub-races in a more easy way; and he is guided in this as surely as the student who examines a geographical map. As the latter can easily trace by their differently coloured outlines the boundaries of the many countries and their possessions, their geographical superficies, and their separation by seas, rivers, and mountains, so the occultist can,by following the (to him) well-distinguishable and defined auric shades and gradations of colour in the inner man, unerringly pronounce to which of the seven distinct human families, as also to what particular respective group, and even small sub-group, of the latter belongs such or another people, tribe, or man. This will appear hazy and incomprehensible to the many who know nothing of ethnic varieties of nerve-aura, and disbelieve in any 'inner-man' theory, scientific but to the few. The whole question hangs upon the reality or unreality of the existence of this inner-man whom clairvoyance has discovered, and whose odyle or nerve emanations Von Reichenbach proves. It one admits such a presence and realizes intuitively that, being closer related to the invisible Reality, the inner type must be still more pronounced than the outer physical type, then it will be a matter of little, if any, difficulty to conceive our meaning. For, indeed, if even the respective physical idiosyncrasies and special characteristics of any given person make his nationality usually distinguishable by the physical eye of the ordinary observer, let alone the experienced ethnologist - the Englishman being commonly recognizable at a glance from the Frenchman, the German from the Italian, not to speak of the typical differences between human root-families in their anthropological division - there seems little difficulty in conceiving that the same, though far more pronounced, difference of type and characteristic, should exist between the inner races that inhabit these 'fleshly tabernacles'. Besides this easily discernible psychological and astral differentiation, there are the documentary records in their unbroken series of chronological tables, and the history of the gradual branching off of races and sub-races from the three geological, primeval Races, the work of the Initiates of all the archaic and ancient temples up to date, collected in our 'Book of Numbers', and other volumes".
The divisions of the human race referred to above by the term "root-families" are, more properly speaking geological races. Teachers of the esoteric doctrine know that the earth at the present time is inhabited by 'Three entirely distinct primeval races, whose evolution, formation, and development have proceeded pari passu and on parallel lines with the evolution, formation, and development of three geological strata; namely, the Black, the Red-Yellow, the and the Brown-White Races".
Even the sacred writings of the Hindus, accessible to the world, reveal to us many glimpses of the Eastern Atlanteans. During the first period of Aryan settlement in India, the new-comers had constant warfare with the Atlanteans whom they found in possession. At a much later epoch, of which a pretty full account is to be found in the Ramayana, the Atlanteans were scattered far and wide over the face of the country. Incursions by them on the Aryan settlements were few and far between, and it was only in the less populous tracts that the Aryan heroes had to encounter, with almost invariable success, the straggling Atlantean tribes. But there was a very powerful Atlantean empire extending over a number of islands in the Indian seas, and its Emperor Ravana, in spite of many symbolical legends clustering around him, was an historical character to whom many of the Aryan principalities on the mainland were forced to pay tribute. The marvellous powers he obtained over the occult forces are allegorically described in that celebrated India epic. The sub-version of his empire by Rama, the Aryan hero, marked the extinction of Atlantean supremacy in that part of the world, although, here and there, rich and powerful Atlantean colonies struggled for existence for a very long time. At the battle of Kurukshetra, which according to the Brahmanical calculation took place over 5,000 years ago, Aryan princes fought side by side with their Atlantean allies. Before that date Udhisthira, the leader of one of the belligerent parties, had his palace, which was unsurpassed in its splendour by that of any other Aryan prince, built and furnished by an Atlantean of the name of Maya, who had inherited some of the transcendental knowledge of his race.
We have said that the Atlanteans possessed full knowledge of some of the subtler forces of Nature now generally unknown to the sons of men. It was with the assistance of this knowledge that they carried forward their development to a point which it is difficult for the ordinary man of today to imagine; and it was the abuse of this knowledge that led to their downfall and extinction as a dominant race. The Adepts of our day have all the knowledge of the Atlanteans, and much more, but their highly developed moral nature is always a safeguard against the abuse of power. Those familiar with the method of instruction pursued by them, know how careful they are never to entrust occult knowledge to persons of whose moral integrity and purity of motive they are not absolutely certain. The profane public regard the science of the occult forces of Nature as magical, as a thing which, if true, is of little practical importance. They do not for a moment realize to what purposes of benevolence and malignity this science is applied according to the moral character of the practitioners. The so-called magic, as Bulwer Lytton points out in this"Strange Story', is of two kinds;-
"The dark and evil, appertaining to witchcraft or necromancy; the pure and beneficent, which is but philosophy, applied to certain mysteries in Nature remote from the beaten tracks of science, but which deepened the wisdom of ancient sages, and can yet unriddle the myths of departed races".
Although some of the occult forces of Nature may be known and wielded by persons of low and selfish moral character, the highest mysteries will always be reserved for the pure and the unselfish. We need not discuss here the ultimate effect brought on the devotees of black magic, by their own wicked practices. The tortures of a theological hell are nothing in comparison to the punishment which the immutable law brings upon the sons of evil. The great cataclysms which close the cyclic degeneration of races, are brought about when the increase of these spiritually debased black magicians renders a general conflict between them and the Adepts of the Good Law inevitable; the struggle continues until the periodic cataclysm sweeps away the doomed race, and prepares the ground for the growth and prosperity of the succeeding one. In all religions the memory of such conflicts is preserved under different names and symbols. This is the combat of Michael and his angels against the Dragon; of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness; of the Devas against the Asuras. The last of such great conflicts was followed by the submergence of the last mainland of Atlantis. "The great event", says our Master, "the triumph of our sons of the fire-mist (the adepts), the inhabitants of Shambullah, when yet an island in the Central Asian sea - over the selfish, if not entirely wicked magians of Poseidonis (the last of the Atlantean continents), occurred just 11,446 years ago."[1881[
It must here be mentioned that the adepts who overthrew the power of these black magicians were not all of the fifth race, but many fourth-race men, raised by artificial spiritual culture to the standard of the fifth-race adepts, were found on the victorious side in the great conflict. Ages after this even, which but robbed black magicians of predominance and not of existence, we find Atlantean black magicians at times interfering with the progress and development of students of the real occult science. The school of black magic is by no means extinct even today; in fact,numerically speaking, the black magicians are stronger than the followers of Light; and the mystic, from the commencement of his career, feels the malignant influence of these powers of evil. In the great Sanscrit epic of the Mahabharata, we read of a terrible fight between Anusalva, the king of the black magicians of North-Eastern Bengal, a country famous to this day for sorcery and witchcraft, and Krishna and his clan, to the utter discomfiture of the former. About the time of the fall of Buddhism in India,the headquarters of the Indian black magicians were in Malwa in Rajputana. At present there are two principal schools of black magic in the East: the chief seats of one are in and near Cashmere; and of the other, in Bhootan and further East. The black magicians go under various names; their rites and practices are horrible and revolting to a degree, and by them they can invoke the aid of some of the worst principles in Nature - dangerous elementaries, and still more vile and dangerous elementals. The power thus gained is used for the purpose of punishing their enemies or otherwise gratifying their own evil ends. They are on the look-out to injure men, and it often occurs that a person making a good resolution is by them malignantly thwarted in his purpose. The great difference between the adepts and the black magicians is that that the power of the latter can be set in motion only by the force of a concentrated selfishness. They have accentuated their personality (the fifth Principle) by sacrificing to it their spirituality, which is the sixth Principle, the divine spark in man; and in consequence, when the personality fades, as it must when in course of time all Nature is spiritualized, they will meet with the fate of Margrave in the "Strange Story"; they will lose all, and, turning round, have to begin again from the lowest rung of the ladder. This is the eternal damnation of the wicked; the annihilation spoken of in treatises on occultism. It does not mean an absolute negation, but a loss of all the memories that cluster around an individuality from the beginning of its cyclic course; all individualities as such are immortal.
In "Isis Unveiled" the subject of Atlantis has been considered at some length, and a valuable addition made to our stock of knowledge. An old Eastern legend is therein narrated: - There was an island in an extensive sea where now the Gobi desert lies. It was inhabited by band of adepts, the "Sons of God", called Brahman Pitris in Indian sacred books, and in the Chaldean Kabala by another though synonymous term; their island formed a part of the lost continent of Atlantis.
"This race [of adepts]", to quote this authority, "could live with equal ease in water, air, or fire, for it had an unlimited control over the elements. .... It was they [these adepts] who imparted Nature's most weird secrets to men, and revealed to them the ineffable and now lost 'word' ... There was no communication with the fair island by sea, but subterranean passages, known only to the chiefs, communicated with it in all directions".
Following it up, a different authority says that "Atlantis is mentioned in the 'Secret Books of the East' (as yet virgin of Western spoliating hand) under another name in the sacred hieratic or sacerdotal language. And then it will be shown that Atlantis was not merely the name of one island, but that of a whole continent, of whose isles and islets many have to this day survived. The remotest ancestors of some of the inhabitants of the now miserable fishermen's hovel 'Aclo' (once Atlan) , near the Gulf of Uraha, were allied at one time as closely with the old Greeks and Romans as they were with the fourth-race Chinese".
Each race develops one of the seven principles of man within the limits of the Ring. The fourth race based its civilization upon the development of the fourth principle, physical desire and all its endeavours had for their object the gratification of the sensual nature. Our fifth race will not have run its course without evolving a civilization in which all the intellectual faculties (the fifth principle in man) will attain their highest development in this Ring. The sixth race will be highly spiritual, and before its close all human beings will attain "enlightenment". The perfection of the seventh-race men is simply inconceivable to us, for among their adepts will abide a planetary spirit.
The civilization of the Aryans was an entirely different evolution from the one which preceded it. The Aryans did not come in contact with the Atlanteans until after they had developed a civilization of their own to a very considerable degree. It is proposed in this chapter to put together a few facts connected with the origin and infancy of this civilization, which, though subsequently a great deal influenced by the fourth race, had to grow by its own inherent vitality until the Aryan people were dispersed in different directions.
The filth Race has already evolved five sub-races; the first being the Indian Aryans, and the last the principal European peoples. In the evolutionary progress of a human being he has to pass, generally speaking,through all the races and sub-races during the Ring, but there are exceptions which, though comparatively few, are absolutely numerous. It is not necessary, for instance, that a Brahman should incarnate himself as a European to complete his progress, if he should be able to develop in himself all the peculiar excellences of the European without such incarnation. As a matter of fact,within the limits of the same race, an individual by his own exertions may govern his incarnations without being an adept, who, of course, is the master of his future within limits which need not here be discussed. The Aryans being the fifth race of the present Ring, it is clear that they occupy a very important position in the chain of races, of which the first three prepared the ground for the appearance of more perfect types. The fourth race marked the turning-point from the period of ignorant innocence to that of responsible knowledge, for when humanity shall have passed through its present cycle of material progress it will reach a height of perfection which it has never before attained. The fifth race, succeeding, as it does, the fourth, the turning-point, will, before its course is run, show a positive advance of mankind, by uniting material and spiritual excellence to a very remarkable degree; an advance of which the first glimpse was given in the civilization of the Indian Aryans. But when the tide of evolution begins to ascend the cycle, much higher peaks of perfection, better fitted to resist the influence of time, will be scaled. No race of people which has existed on our planet possessed for us so great an importance as the earliest of the Aryan family.
Indo-Aryan civilization was in a way unique. The India Aryans attained a high standard of material development while retaining a large share of the spiritual consciousness of their ancestors,the third race. They combined the material civilization of the Atlanteans with the higher spirituality of the preceding period.
The cradle of the early Aryan race was Central Asia [from whence they dispersed and overran different parts of the globe. It is from this dispersion that the true history of the Aryan race dates, for then began its large growth, its greater development its progress in arts and industries,which we mistakenly suppose are new to our day and evolved by our needs. But this breaking-up of the ancestral life-habits, which led to the greatest prosperity of the race, ultimately resulted in its ruin, or rather its cyclic obscuration. What led to the dispersion of the Aryan people and the breaking-up of their ancestral home?
The immediate cause was over-production, for when the pressure became great the people began to separate and to seek new homes, and finally this once united people ultimately scattered themselves over the face of the earth. This division and dispersion brought about what was not known among the Aryans in previous ages, the shedding of a fellow-creature's blood, and people who were originally one, having grown aliens and strangers, engaged in resisting mutual encroachments. The progress of these events was accelerated by the undeveloped state of the faculty of memory in the earlier times. Once out of the ancestral home, a tribe knew its brothers no more.The multiplicity of wants produced by this change brought about discontent and dissatisfaction. The separation from the happy home of their youth caused the first note of woe to be sounded by the wandering tribes in the midst of their long and wearisome marches. Those who settled in colder climes made demands upon those who stayed in Central Asia; while those who emigrated into the torrid zones fell victims to disease, and first experienced sorrow from the untimely death of friends; then, with the appearance of poverty the "Golden Age" came to an end.
Strange as it might seem, this separation and dispersion of the people gave rise to the music and poetry of our race. These arts first appeared amongst that branch of the Aryan race which wandered northwards. Their great longing for home stirred their souls to the utmost depths, and poured itself forth in rude, archaic minstrelsy. The growth of music and and poetry was assisted by war, which followed in the track of the dispersion of the race and necessitated rallying cries during battle.
The influence of this change of surroundings was not less marked on religion. Music and poetry gave quite a new colouring to the expression of spiritual thought. The higher perceptions of man had been blunted, and ordinarily he could grasp things spiritual only with the help of his imagination. This circumstance rendered poetry the fitting vehicle of religious feeling; by the alliance poetry gained, and religion lost a great deal in spirituality. At the period we are dealing with, ideas, like men, began to be clothed; and metaphor, to the ancient people a reality and not a mere figure of speech, became the language of daily life.
Before leaving this part of the subject we must guard against an erroneous impression that might otherwise be formed. It must not be supposed that the above account is chronological; that the retrogression of the Aryans began immediately after the dispersion of the early Aryan people. It was necessary to anticipate some facts connected with that event, to render the picture a little more complete. In reality a period of great prosperity and glory intervened between the break-up of the ancestral home of the early Aryans and their final decline. Of the various branches of the Aryan race it is not our purpose to speak here, but only of that larger and more important family which made the glory of India, and whose representatives still people that country. The early India settlers were the flower of the Aryan race; they reached a pitch of civilization which has not been equalled, and of whose true greatness the first glimpses are but just bursting upon the world. These Aryans were the embodiment of the highest development recorded on this planet. And when all the proof on this point is given to the world, the true significance of the philosophy dimly outlined by the custodians of Ancient Wisdom under the guise of Theosophy will be properly apprehended.
The Indo-Aryans had condensed to a remarkable degree the knowledge achieved by their predecessors, and evolved for themselves many truths ignored today save by the few who are in advance of this cycle and are crying aloud in the wilderness the old, old message to a heedless and distrustful world. They were intuitive at first rather than intellectual; and not until the growth of the latter faculty had almost superseded the former were they materialized to the extent of feeling distrust in their own higher nature.
Even in its early periods Aryan life was mostly pastoral; it is erroneous to conclude that our early ancestors lived by hunting. They were not what we may term a hardy people, for they had not the inclinations which conduce to develop hardihood. They were wanting in what we nineteeth-century people call aggressive energy. Physically the Aryan of the period with which we are dealing was superior to his present representative. His body was free from disease, and not subject to untimely death; while the natural term of his life was a great deal longer than it is now. The complexion of the early Indian Aryans was not like that of the present generation of Hindus - various shades of brown - almost pure white, with slight tinge of gold. Taken altogether, the epoch which witnessed their rise and development will stand for all ages as the most remarkable era known in the history of the world.
It is noteworthy how little of the history of this wonderful people should be generally known. The question is surrounded by obscurity, and but for the presence of the English in India, long periods, and perhaps ages, might have elapsed before the West recognized the gems of wisdom they have left behind. The revival of learning now beginning in India is due in the main to the influence of England.
The contact with a liberal foreign thought introduced into India has resulted in rousing among its people a more profound and more thoughtful interest in the ancient literature of their country. The first question asked by the foreign investigator of India's condition was, "What is your record? who were your ancestors?" The bewildered people looked around in amazement for some fitting proof to show that they were the unworthy descendants of mighty forefathers.
But time is a healer as well as an avenger. The neglect which has followed the degeneration of this people, though long-continued and well-nigh hopeless, is to be atoned for before long. A spirit of inquiry has been infused into a people who have too long submitted to the domination of superstition and priestcraft.
The revival has begun; a new light, so small and distant to the eyes now, is bursting upon the Eastern sky. Under the benign influence of a philosophy which embodies in it the very soul of Truth, there will be a Renaissance of this great and never-to-be forgotten people. Soon all India will be Aryan in thought and life; so mighty will this revival be, that the most distant lands will echo the awakening shout.The interest excited in the Aryan people of the East and their literature is in no danger of dying. The intermixture of European with Eastern thought will keep the flame alive, and the presence of the English in India will steadily add to its splendour.
GROWTH OF LANGUAGE AND RELIGION.
Nothing has been said in the previous chapters on the subject of the growth of language. As the careful reader might have already found out, the first seeds of language were sown in the fifth sub-race of the first race, when the sense of taste appeared. The acquisition by man of the organ of taste rendered the evolution of language a possibility; and in combination with the sense of hearing the last-named faculty led to the birth of speech. So long as the spiritual power of thought transference was retained, no want was felt of any other mode of communication between men; but the increasing grossness of the human body soon imposed upon man the necessity of finding some other method. His first attempt in this direction was the imitation of the sounds of birds and animals. This, no doubt, will be considered heretical by some schools of modern philologists who so violently deny what they call the "bow-wow" theory of language. These philosophers contend that language is coeval with reason, and in support of their views, refer, among other things, to the Greek word logos, which means both reason and speech. But it must be remembered, that language, like everything else, proceeds in cycles. Philology, no more than history, has been able to look beyond a certain segment of one of these cycles; hence has arisen a vast amount of misconception regarding the origin of the primitive man as well as all his belongings, language included. Max Müller thinks it impossible to proceed in the stratification of human history lower than the period of Aryan dispersion. Seeing how many race-waves had preceded that event, of which little or no trace is left for the ordinary eye, it is not difficult to attach its proper value to his speculations on the origin of language. No wonder that his investigations do not lead him to a state of human development where reason was unaccompanied by speech, because his method is such as to exclude examination of the state where language did not exist. The speech, which is the synonym of reason, is not the language which philologists study. The Greek logos and its Sanscrit equivalent, Vach, have a deeply mystical significance. Vach is called by a Sanscrit poet, "the immortal ray of the spirit". It is the first manifestation of the great unmanifested reality in the universe of phenomena. This is the mystical Christ of the Gnostics - the manifested Logos. Vach is the negative aspect of Savda Brahma, the first flutter of the Cosmic Will after its great night of rest. In the symbology of the Hindus, this Vach represented as the Goddess Saravati, who is also known as Devasena. Her husband is the eternal celibate, Kumara. It is enough here to say, without entering into a discussion of the endless correlations of spiritual forces, that the mystical Vach is not at all what we should call language. The progressive materialization which we have already referred to, is responsible for such confusion.
The earliest language of which knowledge is attainable by any but the Initiates, is that spoken by the Atlanteans. A dialect is mentioned by Sanscrit philologists, under the name of Rakshasi Bhasa, the Atlantean tongue; but it must not be supposed that the form in which it is preserved in later Sanscrit was current among the Atlanteans with whom the Eastern Aryans came into contact. The same process of assimilation which has converted Buthair's mere into Buttermere was in full operation before the known Rakshasi dialect was formed.
Sanscrit is, of all known languages, the nearest to the hypothetical original Aryan speech.
But, as the very name of the "reformed" tongue implies, it is the cultivated dialect developed out of a pre-existing one. Of this original language, little or no knowledge now exists. It is referred to in Sanscrit as the Devabhasa - a term, wrongly applied to Sanscrit itself in succeeding ages. The initiated alone have the key to this mother-tongue of all later languages, and in all the hieratic writings this language is always employed. Among the adepts in Thibet, this secret language, original source of Aryan speech, is known as the Zansar. The sacred language of the Zoroastrians is called Zend, after its parent the Zansar.
In the elaborate ritual of ancient ceremonial magic, the incantations used were always couched in this mysterious Zansar language, which in these days is intelligible only to the Initiates, who in all countries and in all ages of this race, whether in Chaldea, Egypt, or India, have used no other for esoteric purposes.
It would be unpardonable in the scientific opinions to imply any belief in the efficacy of spells and incantations, but truth compels us to remark how, to a properly trained mystic, they may be the means of controlling some of the subtler forces of Nature. No doubt it would be wrong to suppose that, if the words of an incantation were known to an ordinary person, he would be able to employ them for any purpose, good or bad, since their potency depends more upon the rhythmic enunciation and intonation than upon the words themselves. We all know how the same words produce different effects on the hearer according to the tone in which they are set. It would not be possible to convey a correct idea of the rationale of incantations, as it lies on a plane of existence with which we are not ordinarily familiar. But some light will be thrown upon the subject by a consideration of the physiological effect of the mystic syllable om. This word, when properly pronounced, produces a certain regulation of the breathing process. No other syllable takes a longer time or taxes the vocal organs more for its enunciation. The interdependence of the mental state and that of breathing is not difficult to perceive; and it is not making a violent statement to assert that a constant repetition of this word has the effect of tranquillizing the mind, and thereby restraining the force of the passions. In incantations, sound is so modulated as to produce the same state of the body as that which invariably accompanies the generation of any desired psychic or spiritual force. A single word mispronounced, or a single accent misplaced, will destroy the whole effect, or probably produce effects the opposite of those intended. The popular superstition that the bungling magician is carried away by the jeering devil has its origin in this fact. The Vedas contain in them many invocations and hymns which no un-initiated Brahman can recite, and it is only the Initiate who knows their true properties and how to put them into use. Some of the hymns of the Rig-Veda, when anagrammatically arranged, will yield all the secret invocations which were used for magical purposes in the Brâhmanical ceremonies. In the present day, there is a mass of Sanscrit writings called Mantra Sastra, or treatises on incantations; but these are later fabrications, which deluded, and still delude, the selfish aspirant for occult knowledge and power. The Atharva-Veda is a collection of all the principal invocations used by the Brahmans, but the initiated alone posses the true key to it. To the ordinary reader this collection is no better than, in the words of Max Müller, "theological twaddle".
The black magicians, too, have their peculiar formulae of ritual or spells. Scarcely any of their hellish rites is complete without some frightful incantation. If an ordinary mortal were to recite the collocation of sounds they employ, it would be sure to excite feelings of disgust and horror. The distorted face of the black magician, while repeating his incantations, is terrible to behold. Most of these incantations end with the syllable ha. This syllable, when pronounced with a peculiar jerk, will always unpleasantly affect sensitive (not necessarily nervous) persons, for it is correlated with the destructive aspect of some subtle natural forces. The fact that the efficacy depends mainly upon the intonation and accent has been mentioned; indeed, it is not unusual for sorcerers to adopt some of the formulae of true religious rites, and with change of accent turn them to their own purposes. It is generally believed that when a spell is muttered backwards, its effect is reversed; the truth being, however, that the effect is not so much due to the arrangement of words, as to the sound produced, and its accompanying psychic disturbances. An instance may be taken. In all the Brahmanical ceremonies the mystic syllable om, which is the phonetic combination of the three letters a, u, m, plays an important part, but in the rituals of the Tantrikas, the syllables are arranged differently and made to yield the sound vam. Om represents the order of evolution; vam, that of involution; the one symbolizes conservation, and is therefore associated with Vishnu; the other, sacred to Siva, is the emblem of destruction. It is hardly necessary to note the effects which low, monotonous chanting produces, especially, on children and nervous people; so also music. Even animals and serpents are amenable to the influence of sound. It is not our purpose to give an elaborate account of the use of sound and language in magical ceremonies; enough has been said to give an idea of some of the forgotten uses of human speech. Language during its infancy was almost entirely dependent upon intonation. The separation of language and music belongs to a much later epoch, and an examination of the language of the surviving tribes of the Atlanteans will establish the point. The Chinese language, which, in spite of comparatively recent modifications, has not lost its distinctive character of dependence upon intonation, is a well-known instance. It is hardly necessary to mention that some of the inland tribes of China are of pure Atlantean descent - the maritime are hybrids.
Religion as such had no existence before man developed language. Previous to that, when thoughts were so transparent as to be recognizable with the same ease with which we feel the difference of temperature; man lived in the truth embodied in the divine spark forming his true self. In these days religion has become a matter of sentiment; with the early people it was science; it was everything, governing all the affairs of life, great and small. We must not forget, however, that the religion known to the world as theirs was made up for them long after the time we now speak of.
The last remnants of this all-embracing faith can still be discovered in India. The Hindu's religion is as indispensable to him as his daily bread. One of the profoundest remarks made by a foreigner about this branch of the Aryan race, now inhabiting India, is to the effect that the Hindu eats religiously, thinks religiously, and dies religiously. One of the principal causes which lead to such widespread misapprehension of the India people is the failure to recognize the living, all-pervading influence of their religion upon them.
The iron conservatism of the Indian people has, in spite of all its manifold defects, had the merit of preserving the primitive spirit of religion comparatively pure. It is not surprising therefore to be told that a knowledge of the religion of the pre-Aryans must lead to all other knowledge regarding them.
The religion of the ancient people was as simple as their lives. Time came when the mind of man distorted and elaborated the simple truth that their ancestors knew and adored. A gloomier picture than the progress of error which slowly covered man with its dark wings can hardly be drawn. Starting from the absolute truth, the spiritual monad plunged deeper and deeper into the mire of illusion; intoxicated with the wine of materiality, man more and more completely lost sight of his origin and destiny.
The immediate spiritual ancestors of man, the planetary spirits, were "Sons of God" who sat near the throne of their father, and from his lips received instruction and did his sacred will. This no doubt is the metaphorical language of a later day. But there is more truth in it than the materialistic philosopher, who raises his hands in nervous horror at the very name of spirit, will be willing to admit, or the dogmatic theologian, materialist of a different order, will allow us to see. The great stream of ideation in the universal mind which results in the manifested Cosmos of beauty and love, while passing through the stage of planetary spirits, is yet unpolluted by the contact of so-called matter, the outer crust of being, the hem of the garments of truth. The transparent channel through which the vivifying energy flowed into those spirits rendered them conscious co-workers with Nature. They could always trace the thread of their life to its parent source, the great foundation of truth. For them the oracle had not yet spoken - "Know thyself;" self-knowledge was a portion of their being, as natural to them as sleeping is to us. They knew the truth, no doubt, but still they beheld not her naked splendour. The great Father (the Purusha of the Brahmans) even for them was hidden in the womb of the Eternal Virgin (Mulaprakriti).
In one of the ancient Brahmanical books this is beautifully symbolized. The passage is rather lengthy, but its importance justifies our transcribing it here: -
2. Brâhman appeared to them. But they did not know it, and said, "What sprite is this?"
3. They said to Agni(fire): "O Gataveda, find out what sprite this is." "Yes", he said.
4. He ran toward it, and Brahman said to him: "Who are you?" He replied: "I am Agni, I am Gataveda."
5. Brahman said: "What
power is in you?" Agni replied: "I could burn all whatever there is
6. Brahman put a straw before him saying: "Burn this." He went towards it with all his might, but he could not burn it. Then he returned thence, and said: "I could not find out what sprite that is."
7. Then they said to Vayu (air): "O Vayu, find out what sprit this is." "Yes", he said.
8. He ran toward it, and Brahman said to him: "Who are you?" He replied: "I am Vayu, I am Matarisvan."
9. Brahman said: "What power is in you?" Vayu replied: "I could take up all whatever there is on earth."
10. Brahman put a straw before him, saying: "Take it up." He went towards it with all his might, but he could not take it up. Then he returned thence, and said: "I could not find out what sprite this is."
11. Then said to Indra: "O Maghavan, find out what sprit this is." He went towards it, but it disappeared from before him.
12. Then in the same space he came towards a woman, highly adorned. It was Uma, the daughter of Himavat. He said to her: "Who is that sprite?"
13. She replied: "It is Brahman." [Max Müller, "Sacred Books of the East", Volume i. pages 150 to 151.]
This passage it may confidently stated, no European Orientalist has understood. Max Müller has here got into a hopeless maze of confusion. Having failed to unlock the casket, he rests satisfied with the jingling of the treasures within.
The different orders of the planetary spirits (Dhyan Chohans of the Thibetan Occultists) are here represented by Agni, Vayu and Indra, the highest of them all. It is not for our profane hands to unveil the mysteries of planetary existence so dimly adumbrated under those mystic names. It will suffice for our purpose to say that the passage has reference to the amount of truth open to the eyes of the planetary spirits.The inferior ones are conscious of the presence of Brahman, the Universal Principle, the only Truth, but fail to know its nature. Indra, the greatest among them, perceives it at a distance, but finds its place occupied by Uma-Haimavati. This is deeply suggestive. Who is Haimavati? Max Müller makes a bold assertion about her. As will appear from the above extract, he translates the term as "Uma, the daughter of Himavat," and informs us in a foot-note:"Uma may be here taken as the wife of Siva, daughter of Himavat, better known by her earlier name Parvati, the daughter of the mountains." The special relationship between the wife of Siva and the Supreme Principle, Brahman, the untutored mind will seek in vain to discover. All initiated Brahmans know, however, that Uma, the daughter of the mountain, belongs to a later epoch, and has nothing to do with the present Uma called "Haimavati," a term which does not in this connection signify the daughter of the mountain Himavat. "Uma, " it is well known, means "Oh, don't!" and Haimavati is the "golden one." Uma is the Mulaprakriti, the great root of all, the real aspect of Brahman, and the ultima Thule of the real knowledge of even the Planetaries, the gods to whom she points out, the Eternal One-Life latent in her and unrealizable by them in its own nature. She is the "golden one," because gold is the invariable symbol of divine wisdom among all mystics, including the alchemists of Europe, and she is the highest object of the wisdom of the highest gods. To know the absolute consciousness, Brâhman, in all its aspects, the knower must become the known and cease to have any existence in the world of phenomena.
The Aryans were the earliest inheritors of this divine knowledge, and have transmitted it, though more and more dimmed by the footprints of time, left upon it in its passage through the descending arc of the cycle, to their representatives of the present day.
The religion of the early Aryans was very simple, we have said. It was simple because it was true, and Truth is always simple. The early Aryans, unlike their planetary progenitors, had to face the great problem "Know Thyself," but they solved it satisfactorily. The knew that the Great Manifested is but the representation of the Great Unmanifested. "Verily all that is, is Brahman" - as the ancient Brahman would say. The evolution that man has undergone since the time we are speaking of, renders this sentence not easily intelligible. It must not be imagined that the thing before us as such is Brahman, but that although it changes form incessantly it is Brahman when considered apart from the changes it is subject to: the capacity of change being an inherent property of the substance itself. This is what they knew about external Nature so called. It is quite beyond the scope of the present volume to expatiate upon the idea so vaguely shadowed forth above. Those who feel interested in it must betake themselves to the teachings of Vyasa and Sankara or Buddha, as expounded by their representatives, the Mahatmas of the East.
Looking within themselves, the ancients found a something - the Self or Atma - which renders the existence of objects at all possible. This Atma they farther knew was Brahman, the universal self. When considered apart from phenomenal changes, the subject and object merge into each other and find rest in the permanent basis of all existence, Parabrahma. These were the broad features of the religious knowledge possessed by the primitive Aryans. We shall next see what bearing such knowledge had on their practical conduct. A careful consideration of a passage in the Isa Upanishad will throw a flood of light on the question: - " When thou hast surrendered all this, then thou mayest enjoy. Do not covet the wealth of any man." This translation by Max Müller, gives a fairly accurate description of what was natural to the early Aryans. Asceticism for its own sake is worse than useless, and it never touched the primitive people: greed of enjoyment is evil and hurtful, and they were never subject to it.The great beauty and grandeur of primitive life lay in its harmony with Nature: enjoyment was free from desire; conflict was unknown.
As the veil of materiality thickened around man, he ceased to worship the divine in his own nature, and ended by worshipping external objects which represented and degrade his former ideals. When the perception of darkness dawned upon man he had no love for it. The first object he worshipped in the place of the Universal Cause, was the Sun which conquered Darkness, and with it came Usha or Eos, the Dawn, the golden hour of the day when all Nature was animated by the vivifying radiance of the returning Sun. To man twilight was also the time of worship and of peace which was shared by all animate and inanimate nature. The primitive people communed with the sun and sky, and had indeed an intense appreciation of Nature in all its forms; to them large trees and high mountains were as gods. Worship of the Sun-God, and hatred for the demon of Darkness, in fact, worship of natural phenomena generally, produced mental delusions, which, indulged in through long periods of time, became objective realities to the people of a later age, with whom we find, instead of mere disordered ideas, gross material objects which originally represented those ideas. The demoralization caused by this debating idolatry has been dwelt upon in a previous chapter.
MAN AND OTHER ORDERS OF EXISTENCE.
We have had occasion several times to refer to the planetary spirits, the early instructors, and, in a sense,the progenitors of man. Of all the higher states of spiritual existence, that of the planetary spirits is nearest to man. The highest of these is what is called in the language of some mystics of India, Adi-Buddha; it is the absolute reality underlying all existence, viewed as the sum total of all the spiritual energy and wisdom in the universe. It is synonymous with the Vedantic Prakriti or the Mula-Prakriti of the Sankhyas. Next in order of evolution comes the state of the Dhyani Buddhas, from which are evolved the celestial Bodhisatvas. The last of these states is that of planetary spirits, called by the Thibetan Buddhists, Dhyan Chohans. It is a common mistake to suppose that these different states are different beings, whereas each state contains within it innumerable individual beings. Just as the brain is the centre from which radiate numberless faculties, physical, intellectual, and aesthetic, so the different individuals producing their special effects on the universe form in their totality these states. It is not within the scope of this treatise even to outline the mysteries of higher spiritual existence; it will be enough to give here the broad features of the Dhyan Chohanic condition.
The Dhyan Chohans are the guardian spirits of the different planets, and in a sense their architects. Strictly speaking, they are not creators, though often taken to be so; they do not bring into existence worlds out of nothing, but they fashion the nascent worlds in obedience to the immutable law of evolution; in other words, a portion of the Cosmic law acts through the conscious exertions of these exalted beings, of whom there are two distinct classes, the ascending and the descending Dhyan Chohans. It is to be remembered here that the course of nature is governed by alternate periods of rest and activity, usually known as cosmic days and nights. The chain of these alternations is an endless one, as no beginning of eternity is possible. The analogy obtains throughout the whole scheme of Nature, even to our daily work and nightly rest. It is clear that at all points in the period of Cosmic activity there must be some human beings who, having perfected themselves beyond the highest limit consistent with any given condition of life, for instance our own, must pass on to the Dhyan Chohanic condition. These are the ascending Dhyan Chohans; there are others who evolved out of the infinite womb of Prakriti are coursing towards the outermost limits of existence, and are therefore called the descending Dhyan Chohans. The former class, it is evident, have been men, or rather, corresponding beings of a previous period of Cosmic activity; the latter will be men or beings analogous to them. In the domain of eternal law no injustice is possible; each unit of existence must pass through the same wheel of being. Recent theosophical teachings have been charged with Nihilism. When the Universe reaches its consummation everything retires into Nirvana; from this, it is inferred, that there is no individual immortality, but even a cursory glance at the doctrine of the Dhyan Chohans will show the groundlessness of such an inference. If all human beings were annihilated as individuals, the ascending Dhyan Chohans, the advanced entities of previous great cycles, would have been an impossibility.
During the first cycle of the existence of our planetary system a Dhyan Chohan has to be directly connected with the planet whereon the evolutionary tide is going to set in, and thereby give the necessary impulse to the development of human beings. The Dhyan Chohans are referred to in the India sacred writings by a variety of names. When incarnating himself on earth in the way mentioned above, the Dhyan Chohan is known as Manu-Svayambhu [self-existent]. He begets seven sons incorporeally, who are known as the seven Rishis, and are said to be his manasaputras, the children of the mind, or the fifth principle of the planet on which they appeared. All the adepts are the lineal spiritual descendants of these seven primeval sages.
Here our Master says: "At the beginning of each Round, when humanity reappears under quite different conditions than those afforded for the birth of each new race and its sub-races, a 'planetary' has to mix with these primitive men, and to refresh their memories and reveal to them the the truths they knew during the preceding Round. Hence the confused traditions about Jehovah, Armazes, Osiris, and Brahma. But that happens only for the benefit of the first race. It is the duty of the latter to choose the fit recipients among its sons who are 'set apart' - to use a Biblical phrase - as the vessel to contain the whole stock of knowledge to be divided among the future races and generations until the close of that Round." Statements as to Rounds apply on a smaller scale to Rings.
These seven Rishis are the first adepts of this planet and the prototype of all succeeding ones, each representing one of the seven classes of adeptship always existing on earth. Each of these types of adepts corresponds to one of these earthly Rishis, and also to one of the seven mysterious celestial. Rishis, "the seven spirits of God" of the Kabalist. When the hierarchy of adepts is well established, the planetary passes out of this sphere, but continues to overshadow the highest adept, his chosen successor, until the passage of humanity to the next sphere, where the elected sage conducts the nascent race and nurtures it as a planetary himself. During the present Ring the elected individuality has several times appeared among men, and founded the principal religions of the world. It was Gautama Buddha in one sense, but not in others. This, however, is a mystery which we are not permitted to reveal.
According to the allegorical teaching of the Brahmans, these seven Rishis were the progenitors of the human race through the seven Pitris (literally, ancestors). They stand for the seven races to whom the esoteric truth is communicated by the adepts, the spiritual ancestors of the race.
Again the Master says: "Every race had its adepts; so with every new race - we are allowed to give them out as much of our knowledge as the man of that race deserve. The last of the races will have its Buddha as every one of its predecessors had; but its adepts will be far higher than any of the present race, for among them will abide the future Planetary, the Dhyan Chohan, whose duty it will be instruct or refresh the memory of the first race of the fifth Round-men after this planet's future obscuration, or cycle of repose."
The higher adepts of the present day can consciously communicate with the Dhyan Chohans of different grades, and thus derive knowledge about those mysteries of Nature which are beyond the range of their immediate consciousness. The Adityas, or the sons of Aditi, the Measureless [the Infinite Prakriti, or Nature], are the Dhyan Chohans, considered as the earlier progeny of Cosmic evolution. The Adityas, according to Hindu Scriptures, are twelve in number, and really signify the twelve grades of Dhyan Chohans. By Hindu, as well as Buddhist, writers they are also termed the Dikpalas, or the protectors of the different directions of the heavens. The Dhyan Chohans preside at the destruction of planets as well as assist at their birth. In view of this office they are called the twelve Rudras. This word, although translated by Max Müller as "the howlers," really signifies burning with anger. The appropriateness of this epithet will be seen when we remember that, according to the teaching of the adepts, our earth will be destroyed, when the naked splendour of the sun will pour down upon it, by the removal of the protecting chromosphere It is allegorically stated that twelve suns will shine in the heavens when our earth meets its destiny.
Besides these highly spiritual super-human orders of being, various others exist in Nature. "There are races," says Bulwer Lytton, "in the magnitude of space, unseen as animalcules in the world of a drop. For the tribes of the drop, science has its microscope. Of the hosts of yon azure Infinite magic gains sight, and through them gains commend over fluid conductors that link all the parts of creation. Of these races, some are wholly indifferent to man; some benign to him; and some deadly hostile. In all the regular and prescribed conditions of mortal being, this magic realm seems as blank and tenantless as yon vacant air."
To the ordinary man, the occupants of the "space unseen" are unknown until death introduces him to them. Until the doors of his spirit are opened through this change in his constitution, he has little or no conception of their existence. But there are exceptions to the general rule. There are men and women peculiarly constituted, to whose vision unfold the gates of the unknown regions, and who consciousless feel the influence of their ethereal neighbours. These are the mediums, clairvoyants, and seers of whom we hear. We have purposely left out of consideration the mystic whose awakened spiritual powers carry him through mysterious spheres of Nature. The influences felt by these classes of persons are not always of the same character. For some natures they are neutral, for others pregnant with the greatest evil. The miserable fate of a number of unhappy men and women who fall victims to these unseen influences, and are dragged down to the lowest moral level, with the loss of physical health, will be found recorded in the chronicles of Western Spiritualism. In view of the great pressure that Spiritualism - more or less known in all ages - has brought to bear upon modern thought, and the lamentable consequences which an intercourse with so-called visitants from another sphere has produced, we shall enter into a fuller account of the nature of the elementals and elementaries which, in the vast majority of cases of spirit manifestation, communicate through mediums. The intelligences controlling mediums are usually supposed to be the true egos of human beings, which survive death, and pass on to the other side.
But what is death? And what does the esoteric doctrine teach concerning it and man's course after he has experienced that change?
We have already seen how death was brought on this earth by the increasing materiality of man, and his consequent violation of the laws of spiritual life. Death, from being the painless transition from one state to another, became, by the accentuation of sensuality, the King of Terrors. It is also to be repeated, that is in the beginning death did not generate elementaries, man's condition being such that material desires had little sway over him. When the grosser propensities of his nature dominated the higher ones to the extent that he experienced "the lusts of life," the prison of "the world of desires" was built, and a portion of the congeries of psychical forces, which centred in his personality during life, had to be exhausted there. These elementaries or so-called spirits thus brought into existence, were compelled by their earth-seeking tendencies to communicate with the physical nature of living persons with whom sympathy placed them en rapport. To quote the Master's words on this point: -
Rapport" he says, "is in plain fact an identity of vibration between the astral part of the incarnate medium and the astral part of the disincarnate personality ... As in music two different sounds, separately distinguishable, depend for their harmony or discord upon synchronous vibrations and complementary periods; so there is rapport between medium and control when their astral molecules move in accord. And the question whether the communication shall reflect more of the one personality or the other, is determined by the relative intensity of the two sects of vibrations in the compound wave of the Akasa. The less identical the vibratory impulses the more mediumistic and less spiritual will be the message."
It is seen above how the inclinations and aspirations of an individual govern his life after death. According to the Eastern philosophers, the dying thoughts are the most powerful agents in moulding the future of the individual; in fact, death itself is a miniature representation of all his acts and thoughts in life.
Krishna, who symbolizes the divine spirit in man, says that he who departs this life meditating on him attains to him, but in order to be able to keep the mind fixed on him at the time of death, one must have ceaselessly practised it and suppressed the wanderings of the sense. Or, as our Master says:
"Such thoughts are involuntary, and we have no more control over them than we have over the eye's retina to prevent its perceiving that colour which affects it most. At the last moment the whole life is reflected in our memory, and emerges from all the forgotten nooks and corners, picture after picture, one event after another. The dying brain dislodges memory with a strong, supreme impulse, and memory restores faithfully every impression that has been entrusted to it during the period of the brain's activity. That impressions and though which were the strongest, naturally become the most vivid, and survive, so to say, all the rest, which now vanish and disappear for ever, to reappear but in Devachan. No man dies insane or unconscious, as some physiologists assert. Even a madman, or one in a fit of delirium tremens, will have his instant of perfect lucidity at the moment of death, though unable to say so to those present. The man man may often appear dead, yet from the last pulsation, from and between the last throbbing of his heart and the moment when the last spark of animal heat leaves the body, the brain thinks, and the ego lives over in those few brief seconds his whole life.
Speak in whispers, ye who assist at a death-bed, and find yourselves in the solemn presence of death. Especially have ye to keep quiet just after death has laid her clammy hand upon the body. Speak in whispers, I say, lest ye disturb the quiet ripple of thought, and hinder the busy work of the past, casting its reflection upon the veil of the future."
The final stroke is sudden; consciousness leaves the body as instantaneously as the flame the wick. This unconsciousness of death lasts for some time and the ego proceeds to Devachan, leaving behind its shell in Kama Loka. The physical body of man takes some time to disintegrate after life has retired from it, similarly the astral counterparts of the man's material thoughts and desires are left behind in Kama Loka to be dissipated after the ego's passage into Devachan. Does the departing entity feel the ebbing away of its higher consciousness?
The Master replies: -
"No, it is not conscious of this loss of cohesion. It is dimly conscious of its own physical death - after a prolonged period of time. The few exceptions to this rule - cases of half-successful sorcerers, of very wicked persons passionately attached to self - offer a real danger to the living. These very material shells, whose last dying thought was self, self, self - and to live, to live, will often feel it instinctively. So some suicides - though not all. What happens then is terrible, for it becomes a case of post-mortem lycanthropy. The shell will cling so tenaciously to its semblance of life that it will seek refuge and a new organism - any beast, in a dog, a hyena, a bird, when no human organism is close at hand."
A clear comprehension of the subject of elementaries requires some knowledge of the nature of life and death. Man moves like a pendulum between the subjective and objective states; the forward swing ends in physical life, and the backward in Devachan. When the outgoing impulse exhausts itself, death, supervenes, and the ego by degrees returns to the subjective condition to prepare itself for the next descent into objective life. The intermediate stage between Devachan and earth-life is Kama Loka, which it is hardly necessary to point out is not a locality.
When the ego or unit of consciousness retires from its outermost plane, the phenomenon called death takes place. Death is the turning point from direction to another, and consequently is a state of comparative rest or unconsciousness. The functions of the conscious unit on the outermost plane, forming the physical body, slowly come to a state of rest; or, in other words, the body disintegrates as the ego marches backwards.
The final dissolution of the body marks the complete retirement of consciousness from the plane of physical existence. Until then there is always some connection between the body and the entity which passes on to the other side. Instances are known in which victims of violence, manifesting through mediums, have declared to a consciousness of pain, from autopsy.
The astral plane of consciousness through which the ego passes on its way to Devachan is the Kama Loka. When the ego has ceased to exercise its physical functions it takes up those which constitute its Kama Loka life. It is evident that this transfer of consciousness is the backward swing of the pendulum. The expansive force on the physical plane being absent,the entity in Kama Loka cannot of itself acquire any further knowledge on the physical plane. The greatest physicists will make no new observations in Kama Loka even on subjects which engrossed his earthly attention.
The plane of Kama Loka consists of the astral counterpart of physical existence. When the entity is properly established in Devachan, a process analogous to that of death takes place, and the astral functions are left to disappear in Kama Loka as the physical body disintegrated on earth.Such astral corpses are true shells. The analogy thus indicated may be pursued further.
Before leaving this subject, attention must be drawn to the ethical complexion of the communications with the dead, which are usually practised in séance rooms, and also by sorcerers. From time immemorial such communications have been forbidden as being unhallowed. It is only in these days, when spiritual knowledge is at its lowest ebb, that intercourse with the elementaries could be carried on so extensively. Too much stress cannot be laid upon the fact of the moral deterioration of mediums, but the real mischief that is done in most cases escapes detection. The absolute necessity for all aspirants to spiritual life to exercise their will with firm determination is universally admitted. One, not far removed either way from the general level prevalent around, can glide through life unobserved and untroubled. Ceaseless struggle has always been the fate of the eminently good. It is only the strongest characters that can pass through the trial's and hardships which beset the path to those determined to be spiritual, while the weak always succumb with vain groans and lamentations. Under these circumstances it is not difficult to see how great an injury results to the medium from the subjugation of his will by any foreign influence. No man is a superfluity in Nature, as otherwise reason itself would be wanting in the universe. Each man has his own course to run; surrender of will is, in consequence, equivalent to a surrender of duty. From this it is clear that mediumship injures a man morally, more or less, according to his constitution; and as for the entities communicated with, the injury they suffer by intercourse with mediums is far more serious. The elementary, as we have seen, is in the position of a man who is trying to fall asleep and pass on to a different plane of consciousness. The greater the mental anxieties during the day, the greater the time needed for the approach of sleep; so the more earthly the life the longer the stay in Kama Loka. It is more cruel to disturb a human soul in its state of transition to the higher life than to outrage a dying man. Those who carefully consider even the few objections urged above, will find why all spiritual-minded men should be united in discouraging such unholy communion.
We have said that the ego after its stay in Kama Loka passes either to the state called Devachan or that called Avitchi, the two states in the esoteric doctrine which have been grossly materialized by dogmatic theologians as heaven and hell. In order to get a sufficiently correct notion of these states, it is necessary to understand the Law of Karma. It is generally known that in the Eastern systems of religious philosophy, vicarious atonement finds no place. Each act or thought carries with it its own reward or punishment. The causes set at work by the acts, thoughts, or words of an individual, will produce their effects, whether painful or pleasurable to him, quite independently of any extraneous interference. There is no power in the universe which can add to or take away from an individual's suffering or enjoyment, except himself. The Law of Karma is the rigorous application of causation to personal conduct. Karma consists of all acts, thoughts, and words, which result from motives of personal benefit; when they proceed from a purely unselfish motive, they do not condition a person's life, as that life by the dissolution of egoism becomes free from limitations and merges more and more into the unconditioned life, which is happiness itself. Absence of limitation or opposition is always productive off happiness. Karma, however good it may be, can only produce limited and temporary enjoyment. The absence of Karma, or elimination of personality from one's life, is the only road to that happiness which is permanent. This divine bliss eludes the grasp of those who search for it, but comes unsolicited to one who sacrifices self to duty.
As a necessary consequence of the septenary division of man, it is evident that we are capable of generating force on different planes of existence. The consideration of the working of Karma on all these planes is too complicated to be treated of here, and we shall, for the sake of convenience, adopt the trinitarian division. In this view of the case the Karma of an individual is divisible into three classes, physical, psychical, and spiritual.
The physical Karma would be the act itself; the psychical Karma, the intention or the mental counterpart of the act; the spiritual Karma has relation to the harmony underlying all Nature. From the law of spiritual dynamics, elsewhere stated, it is clear that this classification is in the order of ascending power. The Karmic value of an act is the resultant of these three sets of forces. Suppose, for instance, that two persons do acts having the physical effect of producing blindness in the next incarnation, but with quite different effects on the two other planes. The result of the combination in one case will make blindness the curse of one's life, and in the other, produce some spiritual development which would otherwise never have taken place. So long as a man is alive, his consciousness is confined to the lowest plane - therefore, the effects of his Karma on the higher planes remain only as germs; but when, after death, his consciousness, overcoming the pressure of his earthward tendencies (represented by his passage through Kama Loka), ascends to the higher state of psychic and spiritual existence known as Devachan, the germs begin to unfold themselves, and keep the individual in that state until the unsatisfied physical Karma counterbalances the psychic and spiritual forces, and produces the next descent into objective life. The operation of this law is to be recognized within a limited sphere, in the production of what Darwin calls the differentiation of species. A change of environment leads to the elimination of useless organs and development of new ones, if the animal at all survives the change of conditions. Here we see how a strong desire to live under a given set of circumstances forces the body to mould itself accordingly. Similarly, the body which the ego acquires in its next incarnation is exactly suited to the unsatisfied physical cravings which the ego has brought forward from its previous incarnation. Acting under the impulse of these inclinations, the birth-seeking ego is attracted by the human couple, whose physical frames are capable of generating the required physical body. That portion of a man's Karma which acts through inherited tendencies is what is commonly called the law of heredity.
The law of Karma has received a verification recently from a quite unexpected quarter. Mr. Galton, the well-known author of "Hereditary Genius," has lately brought forward another important work, entitled "Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development". Some curious statistics are therein collected relating to the life-history of twins. From the examination of a large number of cases, it is found that there are instances in which the life-history of twins is practically identical. Twins separated from each other by great distances are attacked at the same time by the same disease leading to the same ultimate result - death or recovery. On this, Mr. Galton justly observes: "We are too apt to look upon illness and death as capricious events, and there are some who ascribe them to the direct effect of supernatural interferences. Whereas the fact of the maladies of twins being continually alike shows that illness and death are necessary incidents in a regular sequence of constitutional changes. This is almost a literal translation of what the Hindu moralist says: "Disease and sorrow and mortification are the fruits which the tree of the mortal's own demerits bears."
The above-noted fact is quite intelligible on ordinary scientific hypotheses. Human twins of the same sex are not like the numerous progeny brought forth by a female animal at one birth. Unlike the latter, the former are born of the same ovum; hence the practical identity of the lives of twins. But there are equally numerous cases, and equally well authenticated, in which twins, though of the same sex, pursue courses of life having absolutely no points of contact. We quote one remarkable case out of a large number cited by Mr. Galton: "They (the twins) had had exactly the same nurture from their birth up to the present time; they are both perfectly healthy and strong; yet they are otherwise as dissimilar as two boys could be, physically, mentally, and in their emotional nature.
For all that is known no men of science,the causes which govern the origin of these two classes of twins are exactly the same. How then can this difference of result be explained? If heredity were the only factor in the problem, the nurture of twins being the same, they ought to present invariably a perfect similarity in all the acts and events of their lives; but the facts do not bear out the expected results. If it be contended that, in spite of all assertions to the contrary, the observation was defective which failed to recognize difference of nurture in the latter class of case, it would not be difficult to show the futility of such contention. Mr. Galton, by the strong pressure of evidence, is driven to hold that "there is no escape from the conclusion that Nature prevails enormously over Nurture". Take the case of the cuckoo, which never adopts a single characteristic of its foster-parents. It is clear that these considerations justify, form the scientific standpoint, the doctrine of Karma, by showing the operation of some forces upon an individual, other than those which act on his potential body, as existing in the bodies of his progenitors. Consequently, support is also derived therefrom by the doctrine which teaches the existence of the human entity independently of its physical encasement.
When a man's ego is deprived of its physical body by death, and is purged of his earthly thoughts and desires in Kama Loka, the conscious unit or higher self passes into the more spiritual state of Devachan, and there unfolds all the psychic and spiritual forces it has generated during life on earth. It progresses on those planes until the latent physical forces begin to assert themselves, and then it curves round to another incarnation. A slight reflection will show how each incarnation must be higher than the previous one, and how the psychic and spiritual forces generated by an individual produce two sets of effects, one determining his stay in Devachan, and the other governing his next incarnation.
The doctrine of reincarnation is the corner-stone of the esoteric philosophy, as well as of all archaic religions. It is founded on the natural fact that effects must be proportionate to causes. Energy stored up during a finite period of time can never produce effects stretching over an infinity of time. The though-energy represented by the unsatisfied physical inclinations of an ego being, in its nature indestructible, require physical existence to work itself out; hence the necessity of reincarnations. If any human ego is entirely devoid of physical tendencies and inclinations, it will not be under the necessity of further births and deaths on the physical plane. In the mystical language of the East, such an ego is said to burst the wheel of births and re-births (sansara) and attain Nirvana; when humanity collectively shall be perfected, and all physical possibilities realized, our earth itself, having completed its course, will pass into Nirvana.
Devachan is an exalted state which rewards our merits. Avitchi is its antithesis, where all spiritual and psychic wickedness bring about their own punishment. Each act or thought of an individual involved in it all its consequences, which in fact are but the unfoldment in time of the act or thought itself, although the limitations of our knowledge prevent us from foreseeing them all. It requires no outside agent to reward or punish us for our virtue or sin; we do it ourselves. When we intend to pass from one point of space to another, we do not consciously purpose to walk over all the intervening points, but nevertheless the one intention is involved in the other.
The spiritual states described above have been called the complements and supplements of our life on earth. An erroneous impression is produced by this as to the reality of Devachanic existence; but a correct apprehension of what reality is will remove such misconceptions. Compared to the absolute reality, all phenomena are unreal; but each step in advance toward reality is considered more and more real; in that sense Devachan, having fewer limitations of knowledge than our present life, is more real. It is true that the Deavachanic entity does not perceive things of earth, but all the physical facts it was acquainted with during life, unless grossly material, and therefore doomed to destruction in Kama Loka, exist in their spiritual counterparts in Devachan. Another objection to the reality of Devachan is the absence of judgment and power of comparing notes with others. This is, however, equally ungrounded, for judgment and comparison of notes are by no means a test of the reality of existence. The correspondences of these faculties in Devachan are determined by the altered character of the notions of time and space in that state. Our notion of space is governed by the sensation of muscular exertion, and that of time by the movement of bodies; but on the soul-plane these notions are governed by the similarity and unfoldment of thoughts. Persons having the same thought will in Devachan feel near each other, and a vast panorama of thought will unroll itself in Devachan within a space of time measurable by five or six movements of a pendulum. The experiences of dream-life serve to illustrate this point, but the analogy of dreams, which we consider unreal because less permanent than the incidents or ordinary life, should not be taken to taint Devachan itself with unreality. Another difficulty about this subject is whether the Devachanic entity can be communicated with by living men. We answer emphatically no, excepting under rare conditions. How is it possible for those who are not conscious of the existence of their own soul to be impressed by an entity which lives entirely on the soul-plane? We see in ordinary life that a great man is appreciated by his fellow-men, namely, physical life and body, is wanting in the entity in Devachan,the possibility of intercourse is minimized. It must not, however, be concluded from this that the Devachanic entity does not affect earthly men at all; on the contrary, they are to us a perennial source of spiritual energy. The unfolding thoughts of a lofty spiritual character in Devachan will impinge upon the higher principles of the living who are at all receptive; but if the latter are not spiritual enough to be conscious of the working of the spirit, they will never be able to trace these thoughts to their parent source. So, a good man while in Devachan ceases to be good, but becomes goodness. The warning must here be given that the different spheres we have described are not localities, but states of existence corresponding to the different principles of the earth.
Further explanation of these states we give in the words of our beloved Teacher: - "Arupa Loka, Rupa Loka, and Kama Loka are the three spheres of ascending spirituality, in which the several groups of subjective entities find their attractions. In the Kama Loka (semi-physical sphere) dwell the shells, the victims of accident, and suicides. This sphere is divided into innumerable regions and sub-regions corresponding to the mental states of the comers at their hour of death ... Who in the West knows anything of the true Chilicosm out of the many regions of which but three can be given to the outside world? From Kama Loka there is the great Chilicosm. Once awakened from their post-mortem torpor, the newly translated "souls" go (all but the shells), according to their attractions, either to Devachan or to Avitchi. And these two states again are differentiating ad infinitum, their ascending degrees of spirituality deriving their names form the lokas (spheres) in which they are induced. For instance, the sensations, perceptions, and ideation of a Devachanee in Rupa Loka will of course be of a less subjective nature than they would be in Arupa Loka, in both of which the Devachanic experiences will vary in their presentation to the subject-entity, not only as regards form, colour, and substance, but also in their formative potentialities. But not even the most exalted experience of a monad in the highest Devachanic state in Arupa Loka - the last of the seven states - is comparable to that perfectly subjective condition of pure spirituality from which the monad emerges, to descend into matter, and to which, at the completion of the grand cycle, it must return; nor is Nirvana itself comparable to Paranirvana."
To sum up. The different orders of existence around us consist of seven classes, namely:
(a) Rupa-devas, the planetary spirits connected with the Rupa Loka. They are not of the highest order, being still within the dominion of Rupa (form).
(b) Arupa-devas, the higher planetaries presiding over the Arupa Loka, having no form; they are purely subjective beings.
(c) Pisachas, shells left in Kama Loka after the passage of the ego into Devachan.
(d) Mara-Rupa, shells of persons with abnormally material attractions, whose spiritual and psychic life, being a complete blank, cannot carry them on to Devachan.
(e) Asuras, elementals having human forms.
(f) Beasts, elementals of the lower order connected with the different elements and animals.
The last two classes will be developed into future men.
(g) Rakshasas (demons), souls, or astral forms of sorcerers, men who have reached the apex of knowledge in the forbidden art. Dead or alive, they have, so to say, cheated Nature, and will defy the order of the general evolution until our planet goes into obscuration, when they will have to turn round and fall into the main current, and have a fresh start in the course of life. The Atlanteans are often referred to by this name in Sanscrit writings.
Most of the magical feats performed by the dabblers in black magic are performed with the help of elementals, and in rare cases also with the aid of elementaries.The more potent evil forces in Nature are known only to the regular adepts in that evil science. Some depraved persons do by the help of black magic obtain husbands and wives from the elemental beings, which, having no definite forms, will readily bring to life the ideal they find present in the magician's mind. Elementaries of suicides, or victims of accident, specially those who die by lightning, are much sought after by black magicians: the reason for this preference is obvious. Black magic also gives to its votaries the power of obsessing living men and women. This vile art was at its height during the close of the Atlantean race period, when the everlasting struggle between the black magicians and the Adepts of the Good Law raged most fiercely.
Sorcerers and black magicians, the most powerful of those vile fraternities, attain at the conclusion of a great cycle of activity, what is called Avitchi-Nirvana. At the beginning of the next period of activity they commence a nameless life of spiritual wickedness, to be ended only at the next period of rest.The name of these beings of misery and horror, the cursed alike of man and god, is never pronounced or written, but they have nothing to do with the mortals who pass through the seven spheres. These are the habitants of the eight sphere, which has sixteen grades. In the first fourteen of these the entity loses, after prolonged periods of suffering, its seven astral and seven spiritual senses. The mysteries of the last two grades are never communicated outside the sanctuary of initiation. It may be stated, however, that from the last, the entity, having lost the accumulated vile energy of its past, emerges as a new individuality, to begin a new course from the lowest rung of the ladder of life.
Explaining this subject of the so-called personal annihilation our Teacher says: - "At this point the great law beings its work of selection. Matter, found divorced from spirit as far as that is possible, is thrown over into the still lower worlds, into the sixth 'gate' or way of re-birth in the vegetable and mineral worlds, and also in the primitive animal forms. From thence matter, ground over in the workshop of Nature, proceeds soulless back to its mother fount, while the egos, purified of their dross, are enabled to resume their progress once more on earth. It is here that the laggard egos perish by the million. It the solemn moment of the survival of the fittest, the annihilation of the unfit. It is but matter (or material man) which is compelled by its own weight to descend to the very bottom of the 'circle of necessity', to then assume an animal form .... Of course the monad never perishes, whatever happens.
To prevent a misunderstanding it is necessary to point out that what the Master says above does not warrant the belief in a retrogression of souls. A human spirit will never inhabit the form of an animal. In its descent through the 'circle of necessity' it loses all trace of humanity, and then the colourless monad beings to re-ascend through the different grades. It is as absurd to accuse a man of cannibalism if he eats a turnip grown in a graveyard, as to construe the esoteric doctrine expounded by the Master into a justification of the vulgar idea of the transmigration of souls.
THE OCCULT HIERARCHY
The present volume would indeed be a very fragmentary fragment if allowed to go forth without a more detailed account of those spiritually exalted men, the Adept-Teachers of the Esoteric Doctrine, to whom such constant references have been made in these pages. The subject is in order here, not only because the one of that body the authors are largely indebted for the teachings which they have so imperfectly presented, but because, of all facts regarding himself that man has forgotten, the nature and existence of these beings is the most important. There was a time, before the dark shadows of materialism, ecclesiastical and scientific, spread over humanity, when the Adept, as king and as priest, guided the progress of our race; and even in the desert tract of time through which mankind has been passing during the cycle of its descent, the stream of Adeptship has not altogether ceased to flow. It is only during the last five hundred years that the temples have been entirely deserted, and the voice of the priest has become completely stifled by the weight of selfishness and materiality. The spiritual knowledge of which the Adepts are the custodians is the result of study and investigation, carried on and accumulated by generations of them from the first appearance of our race. It has been mentioned before, that at the birth of man, a Dhyan Chohan came to dwell upon our planet and instruct the children of Earth. For the same purpose it is necessary that these spiritual beings should appear at important junctures,and especially at the two ends of the great cycles."But", says our Teacher, "They remain with man no longer than the time required for the eternal truths, they teach, to impress themselves so forcibly upon the plastic minds of the new races as to prevent them form being entirely lost or forgotten by the future generations in the succeeding ages. The mission of the Planetary spirit is but to strike the key-note of Truth. Once that he has directed the vibration of the latter to run its course uninterruptedly along the catenation of the race to the end of the cycle, the denizen of the highest inhabited sphere disappeared from the surface of our planet until the following resurrection of flesh. The vibrations of the primitive truths are what your philosophers call innate ideas."
Almost all the principal religions of the world have preserved traditions as to how the Planetary spirit appeared to mankind and communicated to it eternal truths through men who were "set apart" for the purpose. The Brahmans claim that Brahma, the great Creator (not the Supreme Principle), appeared on earth near the Lake Mansarawar, in Thibet, and revealed the Vedas to the seven Rishis. This is an exoteric version of the fact that the Planetary spirit imparted to mankind spiritual knowledge and established the Adept hierarchy. The tradition of the Zoroastrians regarding the first Zoroaster is also to the same effect. The inquiry may be pursued into the Egyptian, Chaldean, and other archaic religions with unvarying results. According to the teaching of the Esoteric Doctrine, the Brahmans, the Magi, and all other sacerdotal orders, had their origin in the same source. The hierarchy of Adepts for many ages consisted of men, profoundly versed in physical and spiritual science, and inheritors of the knowledge communicated by the Planetary spirit. They were all celibates, and they perpetuated their knowledge by initiating voluntary neophytes. In course of time the number of Adepts became too large to be contained in their original home, and they had, on consequence, to spread over the face of the globe, establishing fresh centres of occult organization upon the model of the original one. Constant influx of members into the occult brotherhood finally led to the adoption of stricter rules of admission, and the rejection of less competent members. It was at this time that the experiment was tried whether a line of Adepts could be perpetuated by heredity. The heads of the Adept hierarchy advised the half-Adepts, whose chances of further progress were not great, to return to the world and marry. The experiment turned out a failure, and imposed upon the world a tyranny of priestcraft which is lingering on to this day. It must not be forgotten, however, that, though the experiment did not produce the desired result, the class of men it produced has furnished a large number of Adepts than any other. The return of half-Adepts to the world gave rise to the rituals of ceremonial magic, which exist in all ecclesiastical systems in more or less elaborate forms, and have in a great many instances been turned into sorcery and black magic. The institution of married priests-hood, sanctioned by religious injunctions, swallowed up the larger number of the neophytes seeking admission into the Adept brotherhood.None whose spiritual aspirations were not higher than could find satisfaction in the lay priesthood wandered for knowledge any farther. The real Adepts, who were undistinguishable by the world from the general body of priests except for their celibacy,had to resort to the temple mysteries and other secret institutions for the instruction and development of themselves and their pupils Isolated mystical communities, neglected or persecuted, are the remnants of these institutions. They are not affiliated to any regular lodges, and very rarely include any true Adepts in their numbers.
The Adept hierarchy, we have seen, was established by the Dhyan Chohan to watch over and protect the growing race. The sphere occupied by this hierarchy in the general scheme of evolutionary necessity is not very difficult to perceive. The truth has been known in all ages, and even now its echoes are distinct, that the Unknown Something, underlying all the phenomenal manifestations which in their totality form the Cosmos, is absolute consciousness. From this reality, by a process which the idealists and mystics of all ages have regarded as error or wandering out, the Universe has arisen. Again, this reality is the only eternal substance, and as its manifestation involves the necessity of time, manifestation, viewed in itself, must be terminable; the Cosmos will have to retire into the silence of unmanifestation, which, of course, is by no means annihilation. And since the Manifested once emerged from the Unmanifested, it must, in the absence of any reason to the contrary, repeat the process. This is the metaphysical necessity of the doctrine of cycles or periodicity, which dots off eternity into an indefinite number of manifestations and absorptions. Following this great truth, we find that the manifestation of consciousness now known as a human being will once more attain the state of unmanifested consciousness. But in order that such a consummation be possible, it must be present as a constant potentiality; nay, the silver thread of connection between the different states, actual and potential, must be maintained by their realization in the universe at every point of time. To render the ultimate return of any imprisoned monad to its parent source a reality, there must be ever present in the universe all the various grades of consciousness, ranging from the state of that monad to the state of the unmanifested consciousness, for, if the chain is broken for a single moment by the slightest gap or rupture,there is no conceivable reason why that gap should be filled up, or that rupture repaired. Any contrary supposition would rob reason itself of reasonableness. It is obvious from these considerations that, on a smaller scale, there must be always present on our earth human beings on different planes of consciousness (not intelligence) . It is hardly necessary to remark that the objects of consciousness will vary according to those planes, and that the extent of knowledge will also vary according as we approach to or recede from the limiting omniscience, realizable in the absolute. The Adepts and their hierarchy are the logical offspring of this necessity.
The classes of Adepts are seven. This number, it must be remembered, is not seized upon for any puerile or arbitrary reason, but because nature works by septenaries, and all attempts at justifying the great importance attached to this number by the mystics of all ages and countries show that such is the fact; seven is the mystic number, not because it is seven, but because it is a universal law that every natural order is completed by sevens. The absolute wisdom in the universe is the spiritual central sun mentioned in mystical treatises. When the day of nature arrives, this sun sends out seven rays, which are each sub-divided in series of seven. All men, or rather their spiritual selves, lie along some one or other of these seven main rays of wisdom. Hence it is the necessity for the seven types of Adepts. Of these seven, five alone are ordinarily spoken of; the last two are understood only by the higher Initiates. The heads of the five classes are known in Thibet as the Chutuktu, or the jewels of wisdom. All Adepts the world over, excepting a few who belong to the two mysterious orders, must owe allegiance to one of these five, who are associated with no particular lodge of Adepts, but are the recognized heads of all lodges, of which there are now three in existence - one in Thibet,one in Egypt, and the third has its seat in a locality which we are not permitted to mention. The Chutuktu have to visit these different lodges periodically, but they usually reside in Thibet. The two highest Adepts, so far as is known, live in an oasis in the desert of Gobi, where only the Adepts of the higher order are permitted to visit them. Their nature and character are as little understood by the ordinary Initiates as those of the Adepts by the outside world. The different lodges, though pursuing the same study upon the same general principles, have differences of procedure in matters of detail. Adepts, as is well known, owe allegiance to no ecclesiastical system; in fact, at a particular stage of their development they must solemnly declare their independence of all formal religion; nor are they allowed to engage in any ritual of magical efficiency. Adeptship, moreover, is not confined to any country. Among the living Adepts there are Englishmen, Hungarians, Greeks, Red Indians, besides Asiatics of all nationalities.
There are nine grades of Adepts, each grade having seven subdivisions. In the Brahmanical system, the nine grades are referred to as the nine jewels (nava nidhi), When the tenth intiation is reached by any individual, the earth ceases to furnish further room for his evolution. The first grade is thus symbolized in some Tantrika (magical) treatises. On the ground lies the prostrate body of a man entwined round by serpents. With feet planted on its breast, stands a dark woman of hideous aspect. Weapons are seen in her hand, her ornaments consist of a garland of decapitated heads of Asuras (giants), and a waistband of their dismembered limbs with blood streaming from them. This is Kali, or Bhawani, the deity so misconceived and abused by the Thugs of vile memory.Here the serpents symbolize wisdom, by the help of which the neophyte binds his physical body, represented by the prostrate figure which his awakened spiritual nature has trampled down. The true man, ordinarily inactive and therefore fitly typified by the woman, the spouse of the physical man, then, with a terrific struggle, throws off the yoke of her tyrant lord, and, cutting down he host of Asuras - the passions and cravings of our earthly nature - decks her person with heir dismembered limbs. The whole symbol represents the terrible aspect of the endeavours of a person to get rid of the bonds of flesh. It also means that an Adept has to contend with all the evil powers in nature; not only his own, but also their correlatives in the external world, represented by forces of a very malefic character.
When a man gets to this stage he becomes a member of the secret brotherhood, and prepares himself for other and higher degrees. He is also symbolized as a beggar who has nine jewels, each of which represents symbolically one of the degrees of initiation, the way in which it is achieved and the results that follow it.
The tenth is no attained on this earth. As soon as person is qualified for the tenth degree he passes away to other spheres. It is pictured in a very impressive manner. A woman is seen standing on an unblown lotus, with one had holding her head, which she has cut off with sword grasped in the other; and women similar to her stand one on either side. Three streams of blood flow out of the trunk of the decapitated woman. One falls into her own mouth, and the other two into the mouths of her two companions.The meaning of the symbol is this: the lotus always represents our Cosmos, and is unblown because the Cosmos is not fully comprehensible by man until this last state is reached. The severance of one's own head shows the necessity of getting entirely rid of one's egoism; and the three streams of blood indicate that when a man has thus got rid of his personality and selfishness, he obtains the power of infusing life into the three worlds, which stands for the whole of our universe. [ The explanation of these symbols was given elsewhere by one of the writers, and hence is quoted without acknowledgement, as also are other quotations from the same source.]
Below the lowest grade of Adepts there are various degrees of initiation. A neophyte on attaining the lowest of these degrees ceases to belong to the profane, [The word "profane", is is well known, is derived from Latin terms meaning "before the temple", and is synonymous with the Sanscrit Antevasin, "one who sits beyond."] and is admitted into the sanctuary, and is thenceforth recognized as a member of the occult brotherhood.
Students of the esoteric science below the rank of Initiates are usually called in India Chelâs; these again are divided into two classes, regular accepted Chelâs and probationary Chelâs. The latter are those who present themselves as candidates for training, and receive the recognition of the Adepts to the extent of permission to try. While on the difficult path they have undertaken to travel, they receive no more help and encouragement than is to be found in their own personal earnestness of purpose and strength of will. The emotional sentimentalist, who enters upon the study with a vague sense of spiritual need, little realizes the qualifications requisites for the task. Apprenticeship is a severe test of will-power and unselfishness, and, lacking these, one may be sure of failure. Usually such persons fancy, because of the interest they take in occult literature, that they would like to be students under the Adepts, who possess the secrets of nature and have spiritual power to a degree little dreamed of by the generality of mankind.Such interest grows or weakens according to the impelling motive governing the character of the person. Appreciation of the study is the first step, and desire for more light is the applicant's passport to the probationary stage. His progress depends upon several conditions, which, if complied with in the main, will secure him a reasonable hope of success. These are a sound mind in a sound body, right moral principles, and a well-disciplined nature. Then begins the work of - what? Obeying certain set rules and regulations, issued like the ukases of a czar or the commands of a military chief? Many would like to have such, for it is easier to follow the directions of a leader than to discover the way without guidance.No.The impelling force must be in the neophyte, and without it he has nothing to hope for. Once it is shown that the desire to succeed is stronger than the distracting, engrossing, material cares of life which enthrall the vast majority of people, the next step is made plain for the struggler, but it may require a much longer time and a greater test of patience than even a strong-willed person can always bring to the task. Those who persevere in the right direction succeed, but intuition must be developed to discover which is the true way. Temperamental differences are such that what is easy for one is a pitiless trial for another, and the inexorable rule of the Adepts of occult science is to leave each and all to make the attempt without any other inducement than what their lofty example furnishes. If one succeeds another may, and so the battle is to be given up or won as the aspirant decides. It is wholly a matter of determined, sustained perseverance in the right direction. The accepted chela has entered upon new difficulties when he has passed the probationary stage, but he has also additional strength with which to contend against them. The resolution once formed to be a chela, and that resolution fed by constant mental effort, the teacher is impelled to recognize that chela's qualifications and to direct his future steps. Chelâs, it may be said with truth, are not created by any sudden zeal or spasmodic sentimental desire. They are those who know and realize that there is knowledge for them to posses if they can find it; powers in themselves which they can develop if they but understand the laws governing such powers, and teachers who know wisdom and can impart it, if one can merit and win their approval. Accepted Chelâs live in the light of knowledge gained through spiritual unfoldment; they see the world with vision less dimmed and distorted by delusions, by carnal desires. They reach their goal by tortuous paths perhaps, and attain to their victory through trials which discourage any but the firmest and most determined. The road which the chela walks is strewn, every inch of it, with remainders of frays and skirmishes with himself. He has no other enemy half so powerful as his own selfish earthly nature, which he undertakes to discipline, and of whose strength he has no conception until he deliberately and earnestly begins the work of purification. To eliminate self, to care for the welfare of all others as being his own truest interest; to be chaste and pure, humble and patient - these are the tasks he has set himself to. The Delphic oracle said, "Man, know thyself;" and the only road to self-knowledge lies through the knowledge of duty; to sacrifice one's self otherwise than in the performance of one's duty is a form of selfishness which is as dangerous as it is insidious. Krishna says to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita: "It is right to die in the performance of one's own duty; the duty of another is surrounded with dangers." Just as avarice is produced by a perverted appreciation of money, so a morbid desire for self-sacrifice, divorced from the performance of duty, is begotten of a warped mind which mistakes the means for the end.
To the true chela the conventionalities of daily life are as unsatisfactory as the materialism of exoteric religious doctrines is distasteful; he, failing to find rest for the spirit, has rushed into duty as the only safeguard against despair. He is one who has lived so wisely as to have found the bondage of selfishness in self, as in others, too hard to bear, and for whom there is no life in any other than the higher principles of his being.
Happy are such natures if they find the way and the truth, and thrice happy are such when, having found i, they are accepted as pupils of the great teachers, in whom there is no shadow of selfishness, no sign of injustice, no thought of earthly reward or recognition!
According to the Brahmanical treatises on occultism, and the testimony of its living devotees, there are four steps,technically called "accomplishments", which lead to the neophyte to the rank of an accepted chela.
The first "accomplishment" which he must have is the right knowledge of the real and the unreal. The object to be attained by the help of the "Great Science", as it is called, being the realization of the true, and Adeptship being but the mark of a certain stage of this realization, it is clear that the first step to be taken is to gain an intellectual apprehension of what the truth is. But what is the truth? It will not do for the neophyte to ask the question like the jesting Proconsul, and refuse to wait for the answer. Had Pilate asked the question in Sanscrit, he might have been answered out of his own mouth. For the Sanscrit word itself offers a clue to the nature of truth. In that language truth and reality bear the same name, and reality is defined to be that which is unaffected by time,or, in the quaint phraseology of the original, remains witness of the three division of time - the past, the present, and the future. The first accomplishment, therefore, consists in an intimate intellectual conviction of the fact that all and everything which appears to have an existence separate from Parabrahm is merely phenomenal change (Maya).
The second "accomplishment" marks the next step on the path, and is the permanent effect produced on the mind by the theoretical knowledge which forms the preceding accomplishment. When the neophyte has once grasped the illusive character of the objects around him, he ceases to crave for them; and is thus prepared to acquire the second accomplishment, which is a perfect indifference to the enjoyment of the fruit of one's actions, both there and hereafter.
Exoteric students fall into a grievous error by their failure to catch the true spirit of the injunction against acting under the impulse of desire. They erroneously suppose that the best preparation for spiritual life to forcibly repress all outward expression of desire, entirely losing sight of the fact that even the most rigid abstinence from physical acts does not produce inactivity on the higher planes of spiritual or mental existence. Sankaracharya, in his commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita - one of the most authoritative of the Brahmanical sacred writings - says that such a conclusion is simply delusive. A hasty supposition might here be made that these considerations will have the effect of sanctioning persistence in evil; but when the desire for improvement is constantly present in the mind, and the character of the evil thoroughly realized, each failure to harmonise the inward with the outward nature will, by the revulsion of felling thus produced, strengthen the determination to such an extent that the evil desire will be speedily crushed. This is why Eliphas Levi so vehemently denounces the institution of forced celibacy among the Romish priests. The personality of a man at any one moment is the result of all his previous acts, thoughts, and emotions, the energy of which constantly inclines the mind to act in a particular way. All attempts, therefore, to cure this mental bias by repressing its expression on the outer plane is as hurtful as to throw back into the circulation unhealthy blood seeking a natural outlet. The internal desire is always forging fresh links in the chain of material existence, even though denied outward manifestation.The only way to free oneself from the bonds of Karma, producing birth and death, is to let the store-up energy exhaust itself merely as a portion of the great cosmic energy, and not to colour it with personality by referring it to self. The Bhagavad Gita itself speaks on this subject with no uncertain sound. The great Teacher Krishna reproves his pupil Arjuna for having expressed a disinclination to perform the duties pertaining to his sphere of life. The reason is perfectly plain: in reference to the great reality everything of this world is unreal; therefore, to renounce the duties entailed upon us by our birth for something equally unreal, only accentuates the ignorance which makes the unreal appear as the real. The wisest course, suggested by Krishna, is that Arjuna should perform all his duties, unselfishly. "Thy right is only to the act", says the Teacher; "it ends with the performance of the act, and never extends to the result." We must perform our duty for its own sake, and never allow the mind to dwell on the fruit of our actions, either with pleasure or with pain. Purified from the taint of selfishness, the act passes by, like water over the lotus-leaf, without wetting it. But if the act is done as a means to the attainment of a personal end, the mind acquires a tendency to repeat the act, and thus necessitates further incarnations to exhaust that tendency.
From the above considerations it is abundantly clear that occultism enjoins upon its votaries the necessity of an ardent and sleepless desire for the performance of duty, the sphere of which is enlarged by the first accomplishment, which requires a thorough recognition of the unity of the individual with the all. It is not enough to have a sentimental perception of this great truth,but it must be realized in every act of life. The student, therefore, to begin with, must do everything in his power to benefit all on the ordinary physical plane, transferring his activity, however, to the higher intellectual and spiritual planes as his development proceeds.
This leads us to the consideration of the third accomplishment, which is the acquisition of the "six qualifications" in the order they are treated of here. The first of them is called in Sanscrit "Sama;" it consists in obtaining perfect mastery over the mind (the seat of emotions and desires), and in forcing it to act in subordination to the intellect, which has been purified and strengthened in attaining the two degrees of development already dwelt upon. This done, the mind is thoroughly cleansed of all evil and foolish desires.
The injunction to chasten our minds before purifying our acts might at first sight appear strange, but the practical utility of the course laid down will be obvious on reflection. We have already seen how varying effects are produced by a fixed amount of energy, according to the plane on which it is expended, and certainly the plane of the mind is superior to the plane of our senses. In the next place, forced abstinence from physical evil goes but very little way towards the evolution of that energy which alone can give us the power of approaching the truth. Our thoughts, governed under ordinary circumstances by the law of association, make us contemplate incidents in our past life, and thus produce as much mental disturbance and draw as much on our mental energy as if we had repeated the acts in question many times over. "Sama" then, is really the breaking-up of the law of the association of ideas, which enslaves our imagination; when our imagination is purified, the chief difficulty is removed.
The next qualification, the complete mastery over our bodily acts ("Dama" in Sanscrit) follows, as a necessary consequence, from the one already discussed, and does not require much explanation.
The third qualification, known by the Brahmans as "Uparati", is the renunciation of all formal religion and the power of contemplating objects without being in the least disturbed in the performance of the great tasks one has set before oneself. What is here expected of the aspirant for spiritual knowledge is that he should not allow his sympathies and usefulness to be narrowed by the domination of any particular ecclesiastical system, and that his renunciation of worldly objects should not proceed merely from an incapacity to appreciate their value. When this state is reached, danger from temptation is removed. They alone, the Hindu poet says, are possessed of true fortitude who preserve the equanimity of their minds in the presence of temptation.
Fourth in order comes the cessation of desire and a constant readiness to part with everything in the world (Titiksha). The typical illustration of this given in our mystical literature is the absence of resentment of wrong.When this qualification is completely attained there arises in the mind a perennial spring of cheerfulness, washing away every trace of solicitude and care.
Then is acquired the qualification called Samadhana, which renders the student constitutionally incapable of deviating from the right path. In one sense this qualification is the complement of the third as given above. First, all egotistical motives tempting the man to travel out of his chosen path lose their hold over him, and finally he perfects himself to such an extent that, at the call of duty, he can unhesitatingly engage in any worldly occupation with the certainty of returning to his habitual life after completing his self-imposed task.
One other qualification is necessary to crown the neophyte's work, and that is an implicit confidence in his master's power to teach and his own power to learn (Sraddha). The importance of this qualification is liable to be misunderstood. An unswerving confidence in the master is not required as a means to build up a system of priestcraft, but for an entirely different reason. It will perhaps be readily granted that the capacity for receiving truth is not the same in every mind. There exists a saturation-point for truth in the human mind, as there is one for aqueous vapour in the atmosphere. When that point is reached in any mind, fresh truth becomes to it undistinguishable from falsehood. Truth must by slow degrees grow in our minds, and a strict injunction is laid down in the Bhagavad Gita against "unsettling the faith of the multitude" by a too sudden revelation of esoteric knowledge. At the same time it must be remembered that no man can be expected to seek after a thing the reality of which is improbable; the dreamland of an opium-eater will never be a subject of exploration to any one else. The truth perceived by the higher faculties of the Adepts cannot be proved to one who has not developed those faculties, otherwise than by showing its consistency with known truths and by the assertion of those who claim to know. The sanction of a competent authority is a sufficient guarantee that the investigation will not be fruitless. But to accept any authority as final, and to dispense the necessity of independent investigation, is destructive of all progress. Nothing, in fact, should be taken upon blind, unquestioning faith. Indeed, the Eastern sage go so far as to say that to rely solely on the authority of even the Scripture is sinful. "Alone" says our Master," the Adepts - that is, the embodied spirits - are forbidden by our wise and intransgressible laws to completely subject to themselves another and a weaker will, that of free born man." The wisdom of the course actually followed is almost self-evident. Reason is the immediate perception of the fact that the eternal alone is true, and reasoning is the attempt to trace the existence of a thing al through the scale of time; the longer the period over which this this operation extends the more complete and satisfactory is the reasoning considered to be. But the moment any fact of knowledge is realized on the plane of eternity, reason becomes changed into consciousness - the son is merged in the father, as the christian mystic would say. Why, then, it may be asked, should confidence in the teachings of the Master be a requisite qualification at all? The reply lies on the surface. No one takes the trouble to inquire about what he does not believe to be true.Such confidence in no way demands surrender of reason. The second part of this qualification, the confidence in one's own power to learn, is an indispensable basis of all endeavours to progress. The poet uttered a deeper truth than he was aware of when he sang;
"Yes, self-abasement leads the way
To villain bonds and despot's sway."
The moment a man thoroughly believes himself incapable of realizing the highest ideal he can conceive of, he becomes so; the conviction of weakness that apparently supports him really robs him of his strength; none aspire for what they consider absolutely beyond their reach. Occultism teaches us that infinite perfection is the heritage of man. He must not blaspheme against his innermost divine self, the Augoeides of the Greeks and the Atma of the Brahmans, by self-abasement, for that would be the unpardonable sin,the sin against the Holy Ghost. Christian doctors have tried in vain to identify this particular sin, he deadliest of all; its true significance lies far beyond the narrow horizon of their theology.
The last accomplishment required is an intense desire for liberation from conditioned existence and for transformation into the One Life (Mumukshatva). It may be thought at first sight that this qualification is a mere redundancy, being practically involved in the second. But such a supposition would be as erroneous as to conceive Nirvana as the annihilation of all life.The second accomplishment is absence of desire for life as a means of selfish enjoyment; while the fourth is a positive and intense desire for a kind of life of which none but those who have attained the first three accomplishments can form any adequate conception. All that need here be stated is that the neophyte is expected to know the real nature of his ego, and to have a fixed determination to retain that knowledge permanently, and thus get rid of the body, created by allowing the notion of "I" to fasten itself upon an illusory object.
We shall now pass to the consideration of the minimum amount of these accomplishments indispensable to a successful study of occultism. If the desire for liberation, which constitute the last accomplishment is only moderately strong, but the second, indifference to the fruits of one's action, is fully developed, and the six qualifications well marked, success is attained by the help of the Master, who moulds the future incarnations of the pupil and smoothes his path to Adeptship. But if all the accomplishments are equally strong, Adeptship is reached by the pupil in the same incarnation. Without the second and fourth accomplishments, however, the six qualifications "water but the desert."
The accepted Chelâs are those who have acquired the four accomplishments up to a certain point, and are being practically trained for Adeptship in this life; to the probationary class belong such pupils as are qualifying themselves, under the guidance of their masters, for acceptance.
A few words may here be said regarding the "lay Chelâs" - those who study occultism without any intention of aspiring for regular chelaship. It is evident that, by theoretical study of the esoteric doctrine, the first of the four accomplishments can be achieved; the effect of this in regulating a person's next incarnation cannot be over-estimated. he spiritual energy thus generated will cause him to be born under conditions favourable to the acquirement of the other qualifications, and to spiritual progress in general.
Lay Chelâs, as the name implies, are men and women in the world who, while they understand the higher teaching and life, and revere the teachers, are yet unable to overcome their personal desire for a worldly career. They limit their spiritual growth by adherence to bonds imposed upon themselves by their own Karma, and, while realizing the possibilities of the human spirit, have not reached the point where they can evoke with an iron will the dormant powers in themselves. They are captives in worldly chains, who, peering over the prison walls, breathe ardent wishes for their comrades engaged in the struggle of self-conquest. Lay Chelâs have it in their power to terminate their self-inflicted imprisonment, and become probationary Chelâs whenever they choose; and, when they are ready, the door of admission is open to them. It is each man's privilege to attain to all that is possible to any man, Karmic laws governing one and all. The German poet-philosopher, Goethe, has wisely said: -Despair is the only true Atheism."
An intellectual appreciation of the esoteric doctrine is not without its merits. On this point one of the greatest of India's occult teachers, Sankara, says: - "A theoretical study of the philosophy, though unaccompanied by the requisite accomplishments, produces more merit than the performance of all the duties enjoined by the formalities of religion eighty times over."
A great misapprehension regarding the Mahatmas has grown up in the outside world, and altogether distorted views are entertained of their nature, spiritual attainments, and fellowship with their brother-man. They are erroneously represented as utterly devoid of human feeling or sympathy with the imperfections and weaknesses of the race. They are characterized as lictors of an iron law which knows no mercy or compassion, and has no concern with the daily trials and sorrows of human nature. This false conception of them is due to several causes, the chief one being our own selfishness, which prevents the realization of perfect unselfishness. They are the votaries of abstract justice; the servant of the unvarying, immutable law; the greater their power, the greater is their obedience to the law. They are self-less, having neither personal interests to subserve nor individual preferences to express. Because they are self-less, and in their dealings show no hostilities or friendship, they are misunderstood by men who cannot appreciate such lofty ideals and exalted motives. Unlike the ordinary man in his personal weaknesses; above the limitations of daily wants and needs; untrammelled by the bonds that hold in subjection the man of flesh; they live wholly in the spirit. The lake in the mountain-height of their being is never a tossing waste of waters, for the gusts of caprice and desire never sweep through their souls; it is always a clear mirror, that reflects life eternal, and spreads the image of peace over the "house of life." The Mathama's unselfishness produces a standard of justice that will sanction no act which wrongs the least of us, even though it would benefit the majority. They look upon an individual and determined purpose of attaining Nirvana (the culmination of all knowledge) as, after all, "only exalted and glorified selfishness, and it is only the self-sacrificing pursuit of the best means to lead on the right path our neighbours, to cause as many of our fellow-creatures as we possibly can to benefit by it, that constitutes true Adeptship." They shake off their personal ego, the illusory apparent self, and recognize their true self in a transcendental divine life. Our Master says, "If we would not be selfish, we must strive to make other people see that truth, to recognize the reality of that transcendental self, The Buddha, the Christ, or God of every creature:
If men could understand what existence would be without that "struggle for life" which is the real and most prolific source of woes, sorrows, and crimes, they would have the first realization of the moral height and spiritual outlook of the Mahatma's life. While recognizing the causes of this struggle, and rightly appreciating the motives which actuate man in his desire to be above want and to properly discharge his duties as the head of his family and a member of society, it is to be stated that there is a plane of life where these causes do not exist, and the struggle is unknown. A conviction of this truth, which is deep hidden in the recesses of our inner being, comes from the spirit within, and is brought home to us by a knowledge of the worth and worthlessness of this earthly life and the infinite possibilities that lie beyond it. The Mahâtmâs do not ignore the conditions of daily life; they are aware of its self-imposed limitations, and fully sympathize with and feel for the struggling masses of humanity, but the higher cannot stoop to the lower, the lower must see the heights above and scale them if it will. It must never be thought that the Mahatmas are creators; they are only inspirers and educators. With their perfected spiritual eye they can discern the smallest spark of spirituality flickering in a human breast, and they lose no proffered opportunity to fan the flame into life and activity. It is only the spiritual suicides, or the culpably indifferent, contented with negative virtues, who will completely shut out the beneficent influence of these great souls.
The Mahatmas undoubtedly have a human side to their characters, but it is so inseparably interblended with their higher spiritual nature that no one who tries to dissociate the two parts of their being will ever understand either correctly. The commonplace plausibilities which largely make up our daily life do not enter into the serener atmosphere where they dwell .Ordinary notions of conventionality, which are often mistaken for life itself, have no place in the true life. To approach the Mahatmas from this side is utterly hopeless. They look not to the exterior man, high or low, rich or poor, polished or coarse; the spiritual eye penetrates the outer mask of existence and perceives the inner springs of our nature. But, while surveying the soul-plane of each individual, they are unable to help any beyond the limits of their own Karmic deserts. The Mahatmas are co-workers with Nature and not its subverters.
The reader must be reminded that this little document indicates only a few of the stations through which human evolution has passed in its cyclic progress, and is by no means a complete treatise. It starts with the present cycle, the fourth Ring, when man and his universe were in an etherial, or, to speak more correctly, astral condition, and leaves out of consideration the higher developments achieved in the greater cycles, called Rounds; the thoughtful student, however, will be able to pursue the inquiry into the higher spheres and major cycles with the help of the Law of Correspondences, which reigns undisturbed throughout the whole range of existence. In the astral phase of its being, humanity evolved seven races before it emerged into the first semblance of objective life, as now known, and began what is called its "descent into matter". The human germs, on their first objective appearance, were the "winged globes or Scarabei" of the Egyptians.
In the seven sub-races of the first objective Race man developed the earliest rudiments of the five senses, which we now possess in an incomparably higher degree of perfection, and two others, not generally recognizable today, for reasons presently to appear. Each subsequent Race, in its seven sub-races, carried forward the development of the senses, in a fixed and well-defined order, to the limit attainable at the time. We of the Fifth Race, five sub-races of which have as yet evolved, possess five fully developed senses, the other two being still in embryo on this plane. Within the limits of our Race, each sub-race has specially accentuated one of these five senses. The Aryan Asiatics, the first sub-race, have developed the sense of sight most, as shown by their superior skill in distinguishing shades of colour and blending them harmoniously; while among the filth sub-race, the principal European peoples, the prominent position occupied by the sense of taste, needs but mention to be recognized.
Not possessing the other two senses to any appreciable extent, we class their manifestations under the vague designation of intuition. In the remnants of the earlier races, now fast disappearing from the face of the earth, these two senses were developed, though on a very much lower scale than that of our five senses. Many perceptions regarded by us as intuitive, and on that account unreliable, appeal to the savage mind with the same force as any sense-perception to us. But by the operation of the Law of Retardation, which the appearance of a superior type of evolution always imposes upon an inferior, these senses are now nearly extinct. Those who realize the inter-dependence of man's consciousness and his surroundings understand how the modifications of the earth's conditions, accompanying the more powerful life-energy of a dominant Race, give a different turn to the line of evolution of an inferior race, and gradually force it to mould itself to the superior type, or die out altogether. It is this law which brings about the periodic cataclysms of Nature, marking the close of one race-supremacy, and the commencement of another.
Sight was the first sense developed, touch followed it, and then in order came hearing, smell, and taste. The development of the senses proceeded on a higher plane in each succeeding Race, and, in th third, endowed human beings with a personal will, and made them very much as we know them now, subject to physical birth and death; the differentiation of the sexes from the androgynous human creature having previously taken place. Civilization, in any way resembling ours, began also in this Race, but the great cataclysms of Nature, which are so important a factor in race-evolution, have swept its traces from the earth. The fourth Race, the Atlanteans, of whose lost continent some memory is still preserved amongst us, reared up a civilization in material glory for surpassing our own, although the latter, based oas it is upon intellect, and not physical desires alone, is really on a higher plane. The present ruling Race, the fifth, to which the Aryan family belongs, had its origin in Central Asia, whence it spread over all parts of the globe. Its dispersion gave rise to its greater development in the arts and sciences, and let to a varied manifestation of its original language and religion.
These subjects are so vast as obviously to preclude any exhaustive treatment within reasonable limits; but the present effort will not have been in vain if it leads to a more extensive study and a better appreciation of man, his origin and destiny.
END OF THE FRAGMENTS.
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