Copyright © 1997 by Theosophical University Press. All rights Reserved.
G. de P. — Companions, I am ready for your questions.
Student — I wish you would give us an answer to a periodical question on the biologic gradations from the animal to man: where did man get his body?
G. de P. — You will find the answer in Theosophy and Modern Science. [Republished in 1941 as Man in Evolution.]
Student — This point always occurs to me: every physical vehicle has to have its germinating seed, and it has to have its place of germination. Now, concerning the physical body that man developed; where did he find his primary germinating place?
G. de P. — Do you mean the first race or the second, or the third race?
Student — There must be a womb for the gestation of every germinating seed; and if there were no human beings to furnish such wombs, where did such wombs come from?
G. de P. — In the first place, the first race in this fourth round on this globe did not possess wombs, for there was no sex-humanity in those long past times. The human womb today is a biological-physiological development belonging to the coarsening and thickening bodies which came in with the third root-race. You might look upon the first root-race as an astral or cloudlike, soft, butterlike, race of beings, physically speaking — something like a jellyfish, but even more ethereal: jellylike, butterlike, but of tremendous size. If you could see a first root-race "man" coming through our grounds, its body would seem to you much like a mass of dense cloud, it might seem almost formless; yet it would have an ovoid shape, and resemble a mass of cloud rolling over the land, a hundred and more feet high. But inside that cloud, as the psychomagnetic heart of it, there was the vital central point. It does not matter what size that point had. It might have been atomic in size. But that vital central point of it, the heart of it, might be wandering through and over the body, moving hither and thither, wherever the center's attraction at any instant carried it. This may give you an idea of what the first root-race was in its physical appearance in this fourth round. Yet, in spite of its ovoid shape, you would notice a peculiar shifting resemblance to the human physical frame even as it exists today.
I would say, however, that the word "cloud-like" would better represent the human race on this planet in the respective beginnings of the first and second rounds. During this fourth round the substance of the first root-race would be thicker than mist or cloud; it would be more like the substance of a jellyfish, yet still more ethereal. This is the nearest physical thing that I can suggest as giving an idea of the body substance of that first root race.
I might point out that the very first stages of the human germ, when fructified, in physical appearance will suggest the physical consistency of the bodies of the first root-race on this fourth globe during this fourth round. Do you get the idea? — jellylike, soft; and, just as the foetus hardens and becomes flesh, so did the first root-race thicken into the second, harden into the third, and solidify into the fourth root-race. We at the present time during this fifth root-race have bodies less coarse, thick, dense, than did the fourth root-race men. We are already returning to the bodily consistency of the third root-race. I refer to the texture of bodies that the last part of the third root-race had. Our flesh today is soft and almost gelatinous.
Student — It is clear to biologists today that the relations between the human race and the animal races do not show correlations but simply similarity of development along one plan.
G. de P. — Let me finish my former train of thought before we go to your last question. All the organs of the human body are the products of evolution, but were not evolved by the third root-race human stock except in the latter's last ages. The earliest third root-race, as also before it the second and first root-races, had no organs as such — no more definitely developed organs than a jellyfish has. The end of the third root-race was filamentoid in bodily structure; and around this filament structure, even at the end of the second root-race, began to condense and to form what you might call nerve centers, or at least what today would probably be called ganglia. These thickenings of the filamentoid substance of the body, the very beginnings of the structure of the nerves and organic centers, later were to become the organs and the ganglia, but originally were like spots in the body, which spots more or less retained their definite position.
It is very difficult to describe because our minds are so crystallized around pictures of the human body and its organs as these at present are. All organs or structural elements in the human or any other body are ultimately derivative from the energies in and structure of the auric egg, and are therefore deposits from the auric egg on the physical plane. Our human bodies even today are condensations of and from the auric egg.
From the bodies of the second root-race and the earliest part of the third root-race were thrown off vital cells, just as today man is constantly exuding or casting off cells from his body. He is not usually conscious of it; but as instances showing what I mean we may cite the scruff of the skin, the various excreta of the body, all which are merely aggregates of living or dead cells. All these in a general way represent today what happened in the beginning of the third root-race and the end of the second root-race.
These vital living cells, when they left the body like the spores from a plant, followed each one its own evolutionary development after it left the parent-body, and of course reproduced its own kind. As man is a storehouse and record of all the evolutionary stages that the race has passed through in other rounds, these vital cells, each one being an individual, a growing entity, after leaving the parent-body began to follow its own evolutionary path of development, thus producing beast stocks of various kinds, the bird and reptile stocks, and so forth. Many hundreds of these stocks ultimately perished. They were born out of time, and therefore could not live. They may have reproduced themselves for a few generations, and then, because they were unfit for the circumstances in which they were born, they vanished. It was a case of the survival of the most fit.
Please make a sharp distinction in your minds between the mammalian stocks which originally issued from man in the manner above described and all the so-called animate stocks beneath the mammalian, such as the birds, the reptiles, the insects, the mollusks, the fishes, etc. These last were the off-throwings of the "human" evolutionary stream in the second and third rounds, which survive, many of them, even to this day. But the mammalian beasts were the off-throwings from the human evolutionary life-stream during this present fourth round on this globe.
Some of these off-throwings from the human stock during this fourth round reproduced their kind through the ages, and, continuing their respective independent evolutions — each family following its own particular pathway of evolution — finally, but many ages ago, produced the various subhuman mammalian stocks which exist today.
Each mammalian stock, after it was produced from the human life stream, began to specialize in evolution along its own line of development following the swabhavic impulses or urge within itself. The consequence of all these different evolutionary specializations in development is that the beasts today, being evolved products from very crude mammalian beginnings, have evolved farther from the original forms than the human stock has evolved. Although the human stock itself has likewise evolved, nevertheless it retains more of the primitive attributes and characteristics of the original "human" parent than the presently existing mammalians do.
If you have got this idea clearly, I might add a few words more by way of illustration. The human father, in the act of generation, emits a multitude of spermatozoa, each one a potential human being, but only one out of this multitude enters the ovum, fructifies it, and produces the fertilized germ which grows into the human child. The remainder of the multitude of life-germs simply die. This is an illustration of what I said a few moments ago to you: out of the vast number of vital cells that were thrown off by the third root-race, innumerable multitudes perished in the very beginning of their existence.
You may ask: How did these second and early third root-race entities propagate themselves true to stock? In other words, why did countless multitudes of the off-thrown vital cells produce the mammalian stocks, but some reproduced only the then human stock? The answer is that the cells thrown off from the individuals of the later third root-race were some of them overshadowed or inspirited by the beginnings of the manasaputric life, and thus produced what became the typical human strain and thereafter reproduced true to kind as the human sperm does today. If the cells in my body, which at present through many ages of subserviency, slavery to my dominant ego, were not subservient — which was the case at the end of the second root-race and the beginning of the third root-race — then any cell, a bit of skin for instance, a bit of finger nail, any such cell thrown off today might start a line of evolution of its own, eventuating in some new kind of entity. But these cells cannot do that now. They have been checked because of the entrance into the human constitution of the powerful dominance of the manasaputric egoic fire — the cells are now held rigidly to follow the dominant impress of mental psychic habit, of natural habit, an impress which has become rigid like iron through the past ages of repetition, so that such cells cannot now reproduce a new stock from their own inherent swabhavic characteristics. They can reproduce only their own present kind, and only then, when in aggregative union with the organic entity which is my body. In other words, the individual vital evolutionary activities of such cells are now dormant, in obscuration.
Nevertheless every life-atom of my body — and a cell of skin is a vast collection of such life-atoms — is a growing entity, and in the aeons to come will blossom forth into a human being, after having passed through all the countless multitudes of intermediate stages.
You see how complex the answer to your question is, yet it is so very simple if you get the fundamental idea.
Student — There is one thing that is not quite clear — the statement that this off-throwing from the second root-race produced its own kind, if it lived; but that later on, it did not produce its own kind, but a lower kind — the lower mammalian animal stock.
G. de P. — What do you mean? I don't follow you.
Student — I was referring to those below the humans. I understood that at one time they produced the human, that which is of their own class, of their own kind.
G. de P. — The germ-cells always did that; that is all they could produce — each its own kind only.
Student — I gathered that the lower mammalian, lower than man, are the product of the off-throwings of the early humans.
G. de P. — Yes, the mammalia below man are the evolved results of the crude mammalian cells thrown off by the earliest humans.
Student — I gathered that the method of reproduction of the second root-race was just such off-throwings of vital cells.
G. de P. — There is confusion here. The wandering vital center, the vital germinating heart, that I spoke of before as wandering through and over the body, and having no permanent location because there were then no real organs, was the reproduction on the then physical plane of the monadic center, the heart of the human strain. The cells flowing off from this wandering man-heart or vital human center reproduced true to stock the new human bodies of that early period; but only the cells thrown off from this wandering vital core or heart did so. The cells thrown off from the surrounding soma or body were they which produced the mammalian stocks — or indeed died in their millions.
There is one thing more to add. Man not only produced all the mammalian but he likewise was the original parent of all the beasts, and of all the living creatures beneath the beasts, such as the birds, the reptiles, the fishes, the insects, etc. How was that done? These lower creatures were not produced from the human life-stream in this fourth round. In the second and the third rounds, the original crude parents of these presently existing lower creatures were reproduced from off-thrown cells of the evolving human stream during the second and third rounds — if indeed you can call that life-stream human at that time. In a similar way the mammalia were produced from the human life-stream in this fourth round.
Thus, therefore, all the stocks beneath the mammals preceded man on this earth in this fourth round, being the sishtas on earth of their respective life-streams which were originated in the second and third rounds. Contrariwise, the mammals came later than man in this fourth round.
Thus, therefore, man, the human life stream — that particular vital current or life flow which is the human stock — is the oldest, the most primitive, strain on this earth, on the planetary chain as a matter of fact, excepting of course the three classes of the dhyan-chohans above man in evolutionary progress.
Student — Then science will not find the missing link between birds and mammals?
G. de P. — The more scientists know about the succession in evolution of the various stocks, the more are they becoming astounded at this fact: that, instead of there being a perfectly uniform ladder or series of link after link, leading out of the reptiles into the birds, from the birds into the mammals, there appear sudden, startling innovations in the geologic record — new beings appear as it were from nowhere. The geologist can trace the existence of different families or strains, with modifications, through ages; then these strains vanish, and a new order of entities, a new scheme of lives, appears in the rocks. The reptiles, for instance, vanished so suddenly that many geologists talk about a universal cataclysm or world convulsion, which occurred all over the earth. The dinosaurs were once the lords of the earth, so far as the geologists know. Suddenly they vanished in the Mesozoic Age, and were succeeded by new creatures, among them reptile-like birds such as the archaeopteryx. But the true reptiles had apparently vanished simultaneously pretty well over the entire earth, as if they had been suddenly wiped out of existence; and then a new stock of beings appears with equal apparent suddenness.
Please note carefully that the third root-race was in its heyday of greatest efflorescence already in the beginning of the Mesozoic Period, indeed, even in the Triassic Age of that period. The first root-race actually can be said to be pre-Secondary, and thus at least the beginnings of the first root-race can probably be definitely placed in the Permian Age. The mammals begin to take their dominant position on the face of the earth before the Quaternary, doubtless in the Cretaceous Age or even in the Jurassic; because it must be remembered that the mammals began to appear in numbers towards the end of the third root-race, and this was in the Triassic and Jurassic Ages. The esoteric doctrine does not teach that all mammals followed man, but it definitely does teach that the higher mammals did follow man, although there were mammalian forerunners before the separation of the sexes at about the middle of the third root-race. It is extremely difficult accurately to connect up our esoteric chronology of the races and their evolution with the geological time periods, because the modern geologists do not all agree as to the time periods in years that their various geological ages lasted.
Finally, it must also be remembered that sedimentation on this earth, globe four of the planetary chain, began in this fourth round between 300,000,000 and 320,000,000 years ago, thus preceding by many millions of years the appearance of the first root-race on this globe D — our earth.
Here is an interesting fact. The earliest beginnings, the primordial appearance, of the mammalia occur before the fishes — in the form of primordial little mammals, tiny little things, not much larger than a mouse, but yet distinctly mammalian. This is easily explainable by the fact that they were the evolutionary forerunners, the first attempts of nature, and were therefore like coming events casting their shadows before. These little mammals appeared as nature's first tentative efforts in evolution to reproduce what was ages afterwards to be the dominant stock on earth.
Student — You don't mean the ameba?
G. de P. — No. I refer to a little creature that has recently been discovered as a fossil in the geologic record. It is said to resemble somewhat a shrew-mouse, and it is a mammal. It is found as a fossil, not in the earliest rocks, but nevertheless before the reptiles proper appeared.
Student — Is that on the fourth round?
G. de P. — It could have been; or at the very end of the third round, when the mammalia had first begun to appear.
Student — Is there any individual responsibility attached to this?
G. de P. — Your question is obscure. Ethical responsibility lies only where there is a self-conscious evolving soul, and that is found today only among the humans. The beast has but the glimmerings of it only. It does not realize responsibility for what it does. For instance, a dog will realize that it has done wrong, it will put its tail between its legs and whine, but it has not a sense of ethical responsibility such as a man has. It has become accustomed to know that if it does wrong something will happen to it, such as being whipped or severely spoken to. Nevertheless, there is the first very faint glimmering of an undeveloped ethical sense. You don't find even this much in a fish. A fish is so low in the evolutionary scale that it has no sense of responsibility whatsoever, and about all that you can teach a fish is by an appeal to its appetite or its habits — it learns that if it comes at a certain time to the top of the tank, it will be fed. But there is no ethical sense, no conscience, there.
Student — There must then be a certain element of karma developed in the dog?
G. de P. — What kind of karma: ethical karma or physical karma? Physical karma exists even in the atom. I don't think that it could be said that anything beneath the self-conscious human being, or some other self-conscious entity, could be burdened with genuinely ethical karma. Where there is no ethical sense or understanding, there is in consequence no ethical responsibility.
Student — But in the hierarchy to which they belong, from which the impulses come down —
G. de P. — In the question of the individual?
Student — With the lower animals. For instance, a fish: it belongs to a hierarchy. Higher up in that hierarchy is the source of certain impulses descending to urge that lower creature towards a larger development.
G. de P. — Do you mean as an individual or as a stock?
Student — Both as a stock and as an individual — a little in some way; some impulse descends from the higher parts of the hierarchy to that lower creature.
G. de P. — I don't quite understand the real point of your question, although the general meaning is perhaps clear enough.
Student — A fish, for instance, has an inner god, just as much as a man has; but the inner god is not manifest at all in the fish. In the human being the manifestation of this divinity is beginning. Now, the stock of fishes is as much cared for by what you might call the dhyan-chohans of the fish stock, as the human stock is; but only in the higher parts.
G. de P. — In the leaders, in the spiritual leaders, of the fish stock on earth, there is as much and even more responsibility than there is in the individuals of the human stock; and in man's own inner god there resides a spiritual-ethical responsibility which is greater than the man knows or can express. In the higher inner constitution of the fish or of an ant or of a bee, which creatures are feeble expressions on this earth of an inner god, there is the same high ethical responsibility as individuals.
Student — How could these last be spoken of, as architects or as builders?
G. de P. — The architects work through the builders; the builders work through the bodies.
Student — Then there was no great moral responsibility attached to the production of apes and monkeys?
G. de P. — So far as the humans of the earliest human stock are concerned, the answer is no; because the manasaputras who provide the spiritual-ethical understanding had not yet incarnated. If you can say that a child of two or three years, let us say, is morally responsible because it happens to have a gun in hand and pulls the trigger and shoots its father, then you can say that the late second or the early third root-races were responsible; but nobody would say that an infant is morally responsible for killing its parent by accident. It simply does not know better; it is not ethically responsible. So, consequently, in the acts of bestiality that the third root-race in its beginnings engaged in with the lower mammals — which that third root-race itself had created — there was no conscious ethical responsibility; they didn't really know, or rather realize, what they were doing. The late second and the early third root-races were just like little children today; they lived in intellectual sleep; they had a sort of half-understanding consciousness like a little child today has; but no awakened and functioning mind. The manasaputras had not incarnated, and consequently the individuals of that early race were just like little children today so far as their inner faculties are concerned.
But in the fourth root-race, and even at the end of the third root-race, when ethical responsibility was present because the manasaputras had incarnated, and when relatively unevolved individuals of the fourth root-race repeated the bestiality of the third race man with certain families of monkeys, there then was genuine ethical responsibility. The product of this second series of bestial acts was the apes — the anthropoids, the manlike simians. There certainly was responsibility here; just exactly as if a man or woman today submitted to a beast: there would be the full sense of ethical responsibility for that bestiality. Nature, however, does not tolerate consequences from such act today, because the psychical frontiers between the two life streams, the human and the beast, are too far apart.
Student — Of course nature does not tolerate any offspring to be produced now; but the human stock at that time was very close to the union line, seeing that they could and indeed did get offspring.
G. de P. — They were close to the union line for this reason: the mammals with whom they associated were the descendants of the offspring of their own bodies in the preceding or third root-race. The psychical barrier between the two specific groups had not yet been made that now exists. Do you get the idea? The mammalian animals of the higher grades were then so fairly close to the human stock that intercourse was fruitful. Remember, however, that the human stock of the third root-race in doing those acts of bestiality simply did not know, or rather realize, what they were doing.
Student — Do I understand that it was only a small part of the early human stock that did commit these bestial acts, or was it all of them?
G. de P. — It just happened so. Among the entities of the late second and early third root-races were those who now are the highest races of human beings and also the mahatmas and the demigods, who had at that time actual full human consciousness and responsibility; and they it was who were the human gods and elders, the fully self-conscious human beings, even then. And of course they were not involved in such acts. Instinctively they avoided that kind of thing. For them there was no attraction. They knew well what they were about. But the vast masses of the human stock at that time — and we can only call them human because we are the descendants of them, they were not human in our sense of the word, as being thinking, self-conscious entities; they were like little children — the vast mass of the human stock could have done that kind of thing. I am here of course referring to the second and early third root-races. Of course in the fourth root-race responsibility was full and complete.
Student — But when the manasaputras had incarnated in them?
G. de P. — When the manasaputras incarnated in them, then they became self-conscious, and just as the little child grows from three years to fourteen or fifteen, they then realized what had been done.
Student — Did the first glimmerings of the manasaputras appear in individuals in the second and third root-races?
G. de P. — Yes, I have already told you so. Insofar as there was self-consciousness, there was ethical responsibility.
Student — Self-consciousness is really the same as the beginning of the incarnation of the manasaputras?
G. de P. — Certainly; because the incarnation of the manasaputras brought about self-consciousness. A little child has no conscience, has no ethical sense of responsibility. But as it grows up — study it from month to month — you can begin to see the dawning of self-consciousness, the beginning of thinking. More and more as the months pass it becomes a human being. The manasaputra incarnates in every human child even today in exactly the same way as it did then, but in much quicker time. The incarnation of the manasaputras was not an incident that happened like a snap of the fingers. It required ages.
Student — Did the manasaputras incarnate in the whole race of humans at that time, or did it begin in some kind of sishtas, who reproduced themselves and formed the human race, and the others died out?
G. de P. — The entities that we have been speaking of were first the sishtas, and the incarnation afterwards of the manasaputras was simply the influx of egos coming over from the third rounds. That was the incarnation of the manasaputras; just exactly as in human reincarnation today, every little child represents an incarnation of its own manasaputra, its reincarnating ego, in every new body. In some little children, the reincarnating ego, or the manasaputra, incarnates more quickly than in others, and then we say this is the case of a precocious child. In other cases the incarnation of the reincarnating ego, or the manasaputra, takes a longer time, and then we say: "Why, this child is rather dull."
Student — I don't understand it quite. There was this whole race, and were they human beings?
G. de P. — They were sishtas.
Student — Were all of them to be considered as sishtas, so that the manasaputras could reincarnate anywhere?
G. de P. — Let me try to explain that the sishtas in the very beginning or opening of the fourth round were very few; but coming events cast their shadows before. They began to feel the impulse of the inflowing of egos from the third round, coming from globe C on to this globe D. With each new little impulse, the sishtas in the bodies began to prepare more freely to provide the bodies for the coming stream of reimbodying egos or manasaputras. Hence, when the proper time came, the sishtas had become millions instead of being, let us say, a few thousands. Then, among these sishtas, the incoming manasaputras began to pick each one the body most closely allied to it by karmic destiny, and began to overshadow it little by little, but progressively more as the ages advanced; much as the incoming mind or reincarnating ego reincarnates little by little in the growing child, every day a little more, one more tendril of consciousness, one more fiber of thought, descending and touching the physical sensoria — the brain and the heart.
Remember this, too, that the first manasaputras to incarnate took the beast [[best?]] bodies of the sishtas, and therefore produced that chosen stock, or race, which I spoke of a few moments ago as first attaining human consciousness; and these were what are now the highest mahatmas and the human demigods. Those were the pioneers, the first swallows of the incoming spring, as it were. Then the incarnating manasaputras, or egos from the previous round, began to come in in ever greater flow, and each one had to pick its vehicle, just as the reincarnating ego today is drawn to the family with which karmically, psychomagnetically, it has most affinity; and little by little, the human stock, from being a race of semi-conscious and quasi-dormant vehicles, became self-conscious.
Remember that as the sishtas grew from a small number to a large number under the urge of the incoming impulse, as the sishtas developed into the first root-race, then as the first root-race became the second root-race, and then as the third root-race followed the second root-race, the increase in self-consciousness although exceedingly slow was steadily progressive. At about the time of the middle or latter part of the third root-race, the human vehicles were sufficiently well prepared to be able to receive the incoming manasaputras, no longer as merely overshadowing rays, but as actual incarnations. From that period of time the human race became truly human — really thinking, self-conscious beings. But there were some of these human vehicles who were so backward in evolution that actually incarnation of the manasaputras in them did not take place until the beginnings of the fourth race; and these were the undeveloped degraded ones, the ones who committed the second act of bestiality — the barbarians, the savages, of the fourth race — which produced the apes.
Student — Were they the ones that refused to incarnate?
G. de P. — Those were the ones whom HPB speaks of in her The Secret Doctrine as refusing to incarnate: "No fit rupas [or forms] for us!" They were by evolution less ready than were the pioneers; they were not evolved enough; they refused to incarnate: "No rupas for us!" But those who were the highest in development, the highest of the manasaputras, saw and knew what their karmic duty and destiny were, and therefore began immediately to incarnate, and hence thus produced that part of the human stock which now are the mahatmas and the human demigods.
Student — What part in this phase of evolution did the nirmanakayas and the buddhas take?
G. de P. — They came into working only as the race attained self-consciousness. They are, however, the leaders, the first of the pioneers, the very first ones. Leaders is just the word: those who lead the van, who go first, who prepare the way, who find or choose the path — who are always the first. Don't forget, however, in this rather intricate study of what is now forgotten history, that even from the very beginnings of the first root-race there were a certain few, the choicest even of the manasaputras, who had been the leaders or heads of the general body of the sishtas; and it was these heads or leaders who were the guardians, overseers, protectors, of the nascent human life stream of this fourth round.
Student — May I ask a very peculiar question? You said that the fishes are the products of previous rounds, of the first and the second.
G. de P. — The second, probably.
Student — Consequently the globe in the meantime was in obscuration.
G. de P. — At times between the rounds, certainly.
Student — Consequently, being in obscuration, there was no life, except latent.
G. de P. — There are always sishtas living, guiding, even during the obscurations.
Student — That is just what I puzzled over, that these sishtas, even though the globe was in obscuration, lived and propagated continuously.
G. de P. — The mineral kingdom today is but a body of sishtas; that is why it is relatively still and quiescent. When the mineral kingdom next has its impulse to life, if you could see it you would not only be astounded but you would probably say: "In Heaven's name, what kind of uncanny, weird world have I come into?" You would see the rocks as alive, moving, and self-motive. Again, the vegetation today is very largely all sishtas, living; but if you were to live at a time when the plants were the lords of the Earth, during their particular era you would see the plants doing the most extravagant things: plants leaning towards each other, leaning towards passing entities, trying to throw their fronds around them, as you see even in the Venus flytrap today. You would indeed see strange things happening. Vegetation would be incomparably luxuriant, everything a mass of vegetation acting almost like quasi self-conscious, living beings. On a very small scale this is happening in the tropics even today. Again, many of the lower animalia today are but sishtas. The insects, for instance, the fishes, the crustacea — they are sishtas. You would not like it at all if you were living on earth alone at a time when, let us say, the reptilia or the lobsters were having their heyday! You would have to be pretty active to keep out of the way!
Furthermore, the beasts, even the mammalia, today are becoming sishtas, rather rapidly indeed — except for the apes. More and more they are losing, not vital powers so much, but their aggressive power. They are becoming quieter and quieter and slowly dying out; and finally there will remain only the sishtas of them.
When the human stock goes to the next globe of our planetary chain, the human races will have become decrepit, sear with age; their aggressive power will have vanished. You see examples of that even in peoples who have had their heyday on earth. Their energies seem to die down, and the race or stock loses its power, and in this manner they continue for several hundreds or it may be a thousand or two years in a sort of quiescent state like the Greeks were during the Middle Ages and as the Spaniards to a certain extent are so even today after their heyday of social and political power a few hundred years ago. The North American Indians are a good example of a racial stock, on the other hand, which is dying out.
The human sishtas will of course still be human beings; but they will be very quiet egos, relatively speaking, for though they will be living and reincarnating, and the very highest of the human race, yet they will be in a kind of rest period that lasts for ages. Nature keeps them alive for her future purposes as human beings through the ages awaiting the incoming of the next inflow of manasaputras in the fifth round.
Student — Do they keep the customs of the times?
G. de P. — What customs? Customs vary with every few hundred years. Nevertheless, I think I can answer the question by saying, yes, to a certain extent. It is very difficult to answer so vague a question. It depends upon the planetary chain; it depends upon the globe, upon the degree of evolution that the globe has attained to.
I can imagine that the sishtas of this fourth round globe, earth, when the human stock as a whole goes to the next globe, would remain very much like what we today call barbarian stocks, but of an unusually advanced and spiritual and even intellectual type — a kind of age of Saturn in which innocence and lack of sin will largely prevail. They would live for ages like a quasi-sleeping, perfectly happy, but unaggressive type of men. I can tell you that those who take upon themselves to become the sishtas actually make one of the greatest of sacrifices, because they are deliberately giving up their own evolution — at least for the time being. This is the buddhic spirit — deliberately giving up their own evolution with the human life-wave during a part of the next round in order to be here on earth ready to be the seed-stock when the human life-wave comes again in the fifth round. When the living manasaputric fires come into them again, when the new inflow of egos comes, then the sishtas will begin to "awaken." They will begin to become aggressive anew, to evolve rapidly; they will begin to manifest civilization. They will build up something finer than has ever been known before; and a new round will have begun on this globe, earth.
You cannot say that even as sishtas they are inferior human beings. Take the course of Greek history as an example in the small. See the brilliant civilization that the Greeks attained in Athens and elsewhere. Look at the grand literature that they produced. See what they brought forth, even giving to us many of our standards, our canons; and yet, consider what later they became. They lived on, and today they are beginning to be something fine again; they are beginning to ascend a small racial cycle. But during the time when they were remaining as what you might call sishtas, they nevertheless were men. They had their towns, but these were insignificant in the history of the world; the vital wave had passed to other parts of the earth; or, to put it differently, the time for other human stocks had come. The sishtas of the race karmically destined to overthrow the decadent Mediterranean civilizations were the Northern barbarians. These as sishtas received the new influx of life, and came down the lands and conquered the Mediterranean peoples, and finally produced the modern European civilization. Take the Hindus for ages past; or take the case of the Chinese, many of the Asiatic tribes: they have all been in obscuration; they have been and in some respects still are human sishtas on a small scale.
Some races die out completely or become amalgamated with newer human waters, like the Egyptians, and the Greeks, and the Latins. The reason for an entire disappearance is because such cases are very old races. The Egyptians were from fourth-race stocks. They amalgamated with or vanished in the newer waters from the Orient and remained alive as Copts.
Student — Am I correct in thinking that when HPB speaks about pralaya in The Secret Doctrine, or about minor pralayas, she really used that term sometimes when she actually means to say obscuration?
G. de P. — It is possible. I won't say no; there is always the possibility of a wrong usage of terms through oversight or perhaps because it is due to visioning intricate facts from another standpoint. But I think that your remark possibly could be justified in a few cases. I know that there are instances in The Secret Doctrine, when the word pralaya is used, and I am sure obscuration could have been an equivalent term; but there are certain reasons which amply justify these cases, because very deep obscurations are almost like a pralaya itself, almost a complete death. Yet the two are very different.
But I want to say this about the sishtas, and it is a very important point. Among the human sishtas who will remain when the human life stock goes to the next globe, there will always be a few who keep alive the bright light of civilization; and these are the highest. They will be far in advance of anything we know now. It is a certain body of masters, the highest initiates, the chiefs, who watch over the human sishtas all the time: instruct them and teach them, keep them in order, as the ages pass along, now and then dropping the seeds of civilizing thought among them to keep the light burning, so that at no time do the sishtas drop beneath a certain level.
Student — Then there actually is what we think of as pralaya between round and round? But are there any sishtas on a higher plane not subject to what is taking place in obscurations?
G. de P. — Certainly, there are sishtas on every plane — sishtas on earth, and on every globe, and on every plane of the solar system. There are sishtas among the gods, just as there are among men; just as there are among the beasts, the plants and in the mineral kingdom — sishtas everywhere; because every class of entities has its rise, its apex, its decline, its sishta stage, and then the rise again. Such is the way in which nature proceeds: everywhere one common, fundamental law of operation. But answering the first part of your question, you are quite wrong in supposing that there are pralayas on the globes between round and round. Pralaya means death and dissolution, and you see immediately the difference between a pralaya and an obscuration. A man is in obscuration when he is asleep, but he enters upon pralaya of his lower principles when he dies.
Student — Are the nirmanakayas in a sense sishtas?
G. de P. — So far as humans are concerned, you could not call them sishtas. But there are sishta-nirmanakayas, as being the instructors of sishta-humanity.
Student — We speak about the mahapralaya, when all is dissolved.
G. de P. — Yes, that applies to the solar system, or even to the entire planetary chain.
Student — Does that word all mean more than our entire kosmos contained within the galaxy?
G. de P. — I see your thought. In this case it would mean all that is affected by the universal mahapralaya, that is, affecting everything within the galaxy.
Student — Is there a universal mahapralaya that applies to all the infinitude?
G. de P. — No, of course not, because then it would mean that infinitude passes out of existence, which is absurd.
Student — Because if there were, the sishtas would suffer also; and where would be the seeds for the next?
G. de P. — A pralaya or a manvantara, no matter how great, is a very limited thing as compared with infinitude. The consequence is that no matter how great the system may be, whether of a planetary chain or a solar system, of a galaxy, or of ten million galaxies, there is always the surrounding, encompassing infinitude, which has no limit, but is simply endlessness. It obviously cannot suffer pralaya, because if it did, then infinitude would be a limited thing — which is absurd. It is THAT beyond all human comprehension, because human comprehension is finite. I never would apply the word entity to infinitude.
Student — HPB speaks of space as an entity.
G. de P. — Yes, but only the space of a galaxy, or the space of ten billion galaxies; but beyond, there is always the frontierless infinitude — frontierless, boundless, without bounds.
Student — Is it not better to take such expressions as in the Bhagavad-Gita "a portion of itself"?
G. de P. — Yes, but that reference is to the imbodiment of a god, or the incarnation of a mahatma, or of a buddha, or of a human being. For instance, a ray from my inner god produces me, and yet my inner god remains separate, and I am but a "portion of Myself." The "Krishna" within me is on its own plane, yet produces me. The Krishna of the galaxy produces the galaxy as an entity, yet remains apart and separate. The sun exudes a ray, yet remains separate and distinct from that ray.
Student — Infinitude is inexhaustible.
G. de P. — Inexhaustible is hardly the word: it is THAT. No grander word was ever said in this connection than the demonstrative pronoun That.
Student — When the awakening to life comes, then there must have been sishtas inside of this world that was in pralaya, not merely outside; so that even the very greatest and most complete pralaya still would have living beings in a kind of dormant state and not in a state of dissolution?
G. de P. — Correct in a general sense; but these sishtas have vanished with everything else in the pralaya, yet remain as sishtas on the inner planes, and are therefore the seeds of life. You must be careful not to misuse the word pralaya. Sishtas on any one plane can remain on that plane only in obscuration. When that plane vanishes in the pralaya, not even the sishtas remain on the plane which has vanished — which would be absurd. Take our own galaxy: when the time comes, it will vanish; but in the abstract space now filled with what you call the galaxy, there remain the hid seeds of life, which are the spiritual sishtas of that galaxy.
Student — Are they conscious or unconscious?
G. de P. — It depends upon what you mean by these words. In the case of the human race on this globe, they will be conscious. In the case of the mineral sishtas, they are not conscious, they are asleep. In the case of the gods, the sishtas will be divinely conscious, but sishtas only when compared with what they are in their full heyday and midtime of evolution.
Student — But at that reawakening, have not the other galaxies of space something to do with the beginning?
G. de P. — Absolutely; all the galaxies are intimately related, every one of them; because every galaxy is an imbodied soul, like the soul of me; and in their aggregate they form the physical body or vehicle of some supercosmic entity which is living in still grander spaces of infinitude.
Student — HPB says distinctly in The Secret Doctrine that they reproduce their kind.
Student — Couldn't you take these sishtas as being life-essences on the formless planes of the past manvantara? When you talk about sishtas as seeds, one is apt to think of the seed of the material atom.
G. de P. — The sishtas do represent the material, as well as other aspects. For instance, the psychic sishta of a reincarnating entity is that particular life-atom or life-germ which when the time comes will find its way into a female body and be fructified, and produce the new body of the reincarnating ego. That life-atom, that one particular life-atom, is the sishta of the individual body.
Student — If we had evolved the powers of observation, we could see the whole world and all that it means, going on around us all the time.
G. de P. — We could.
Student — All that you have said is a trying to give an understanding of the incarnation of the manasaputras, and of the same process, more or less, which takes place at the incarnation of the human soul into the body.
G. de P. — They are just the same in principle.
Student — I don't know whether I am correct in this: that this cell, this life-atom, which becomes a sperm, the one that fructifies and grows into a body, is a monad, a monadic life-atom in a much earlier stage, and belongs to a multitude constituting a higher state of monads, so that gradually new monads incarnate into this body with higher monads, as officers in an army gradually come in until finally the general is there.
G. de P. — If I understand you correctly, that is almost exactly the idea; and if you will follow that thought, you will see how profound and how far-seeing is the statement of the Lord Buddha in his last words: "Brothers, man is a composite entity; work out your own salvation." Man is an army of monads; he is a host; he is a cosmos; he is linked with the highest and linked with the lowest, everyone working all together. It is this very structure of man's constitution, topped by the spiritual general, and having the lowest psychophysical private who is I, you. The general is the inner god.
It is a real revelation when you catch the idea, and it is a key to understanding many things. I have been talking here for an hour and a quarter. Let us adjourn the meeting.
[The sounding of the gong. Silence.]
Meeting 32 Supplement