The Theosophical Forum – December 1936


[Note: page numbers cited for The Esoteric Tradition are to the 2-vol. Second Edition and do not correspond to the 1-vol. 3rd & Revised Edition.]


In The Theosophical Path for October, 1933, we discussed at some length the prevision of earthquakes by animals, and, in rare cases, by human beings. Although some seismologists have dared to admit that such previsions have been reported, scientists in general have paid little or no attention to them. In September, however, the learned British Medical Association debated the problem in relation to the mystery of the "sixth sense," so called, in dogs. Sir H. T. Holland, chief of the Mission Hospital at Quetta, India, told of three cases of persons being pulled from their beds by dogs before the terrible earthquake that killed tens of thousands at Quetta. One man who was called 22 minutes before the shock thought his dog had been alarmed by burglars and started searching for them in his garden! Many remarkable cases of canine prevision in regard to other kinds of catastrophes were mentioned by responsible scientific observers, but we are particularly concerned with those relating to earthquakes, because they bring up the question of the real cause of their occurrence at certain times and places. Are they purely mechanical in their localization, etc., or do obscure though very definite associations exist between them and the activities and intelligence of mankind, as occultism declares? An official of the Canine Defense League expressed the belief that dogs could feel minute vibrations that the most sensitive seismographs cannot record. This seems strange in view of the fact that instruments can record the movement of a truck on a road several miles away or the beating of the waves on a distant shore, delicate tremors which are always in evidence, yet which do not worry the dogs in the least. Only imaginary preliminary tremors taking place hours before the first trace appears on the delicate seismographs frighten the dogs so much that they try to save their masters" lives by pulling them out of bed! Having gone into this matter more deeply in the above-mentioned article we can only mention the subject here in order to express pleasure that the learned Medical Association found it worth serious attention and agreed that it was decidedly mysterious. Science is slowly turning to the consideration of the hidden side of Nature, and the time cannot be far off when purely mechanical research will be regarded as quite superficial in view of far more profound methods.


Professor Robert Broom, whose advanced and practically Theosophical views on "natural selection" have been quoted and discussed in our pages, announces his discovery in the Transvaal of the fossil bones of an adult specimen of the South African "non-forest anthropoids," not closely allied to the chimpanzee or the gorilla (living African anthropoids) but whose "teeth show that they were nearer to the stock from which man arose." Dr. Broom "feels sure that the problem of man's origin will soon be solved, and solved in South Africa." Great enthusiasm has been aroused in scientific circles by his announcement. Students of H. P. Blavatsky's presentation of human evolution in The Secret Doctrine, and of the concise and more systematic rendition of her teaching in The Esoteric Tradition (chapter x) will see that the discovery of "missing links" in no way disturbs the fundamental Theosophical teaching of the origin of the real Man from previous Rounds and Globes. Anthropoids still more human may be found, because all the true anthropoids are connexions by blood with early humanity, though not progenitors.


According to Sir Arthur Keith, the famous "die-hard" Darwinian evolutionist, the new discoveries do not support the views usually held concerning the origin of the chief racial stocks of mankind. Speaking before the British Speleological Association in July, he made some remarkable admissions. We quote a few passages from the Morning Post (London):

We have discovered many extinct types of humanity but not one which is fit to serve as the common ancestor of modern races. We have found no evidence of an outward migration from a common center. . . . We are tempted to believe that by the beginning of the pleistocene period some half-million years ago — or more — the ancestors of the Mongol, of the Australian, and of the Negro were already in occupation of the continental areas where we now find their descendants. This is a new conception. Hitherto we have regarded evolving man as unconquerably nomadic. . . Clearly we have reached a point which compels a radical reorientation of our working theories. We have to presume that parallel evolution which has been proved to be effective in the evolution of the horse and of the elephant has also been true of man. Such a view serves but to deepen the mystery of human evolution for it implies that, as in the past, the future of each race lies in its generic constitution.

The importance of this pronouncement is very great because it leads directly to the occult point of view, especially in regard to the concept of "Root-Types" as given in The Secret Doctrine, (see II, 734-7). Dr. Keith's "parallel evolution" — for which concept we are indebted to Dr. H. Fairfield Osborn, late of the American Museum, New York — precisely agrees with the point insisted upon in The Secret Doctrine. Space will not permit a proper treatment of his important subject now, but we must take it up more fully at a later date. Students will find Dr. Osborn's researches referred to in The Theosophical Path for July, 1933, p. 44. He pointed out that the potentiality of the new characters which appeared in elephant's teeth, for example, in the course of ages, were not originated by the pressure of external conditions acting on chance variations but were already latent within; and they unfolded into action as the new demands arose. When the Root-Types became settled in physical life, each had its own "creative potencies" imbedded within itself, so to speak, and these manifested in parallel lines of evolution. When we apply this unwrapping or unfolding principle to Man we see the importance of Dr. Keith's statement that "the future of each race lies in its generic constitution." A much more comprehensive and far-reaching classification of races than the Negro, Mongolian, etc., is given in The Secret Doctrine, and it is shown that the distinctions between the real races have been masked by the blendings which have taken place ages before, as well as since, Dr. Keith's "half-million years or more," which is only a fraction of the past life of humanity. Ultimately, we are told, the seven great races will once more be segregated as in the beginning.


La Revue Scientifique not long ago published some interesting information about the health of prehistoric man. Its general conclusion is that his resistance to disease was not greater than ours, but that there is a difference in the diseases which are most prevalent. There is also a distinction between the most ancient and the more modern types of prevalence of disease. It is interesting to learn that evidence of wounds is infrequent in the most ancient period, the Palaeolithic, but in the more modern Neolithic age it becomes far more common. The proportion of fractures which have healed with a good join is very high! Tuberculosis and syphilis were unknown in the Palaeolithic, so far as can be ascertained by examination of the bones, but in the later periods a few cases appear. Dental caries is not found in Europe, but appears in Africa in fairly early periods. So it would seem that the earliest representatives of man so far discovered were peaceable and moral, and that many of our modern curses have developed with the spread of our present form of so-called civilization!


We may call it another coincidence, or luck, or something else, but the Hopi Indians, at their Reservation. Hotevilla, Arizona, have again closed their rain ceremony in a heavy downpour, after a long and serious period of drought. The date of the snake ceremony, when the reptiles (many of them dangerous rattlesnakes) are captured and then let loose to carry the invocations to the gods of the underground, was, as usual, set some time beforehand when no sign of rain was visible. We quote a few sentences from various newspapers: "As sunset burned red over the mesa, Hopi snake priests to night (August 22) concluded their age-old nine-day ceremonial by dancing with live rattlesnakes in their mouths. . . . They know that nearly every time after a snake dance a fierce thunderstorm roars up from the desert and floods the district, washing out roads and marooning motorists sometimes for days." (U.P.) "Downpours have drenched the Hopi reservation almost daily since the rites were started." (A.P.) "Is it possible that the Indians hold a secret of divine power and guidance which the white man has not discovered? . . . Instances such as these, which defy explanation, must cause those who call the Indian not far removed from barbarism, to wonder just how far we, as a race, have come. We discount the power of man to call rain from the skies, and then are interrupted by the Indians gathering in the desert and doing it." (San Diego Evening Tribune.)

Ganado, Ariz July 6 (A P ) — Apparently in answer to their supplications, rains drenched the Tohatchi and Fluted mountains today and scattered showers fell over the 15,000,000-acre reservation as happy Navajo medicine men brought to a close their ancient Najadaltinth rain prayer.

Perhaps something spoken by Dr. Lindley Bynum, Field Representative of the famous Huntington Library at Pasadena, California, may throw some light on the reason why the Indians know secrets of nature quite strange to us. Lecturing on the California Indians at Altadena on June 29, he said:

While Caucasian civilization has progressed along material lines, and has featured the white man as possessing superior talents, that of the Indian has been idealistic and one in which he places no importance on man other than the part he plays in the whole scope of nature and the universe . . . For this the Indian has derived certain strength and inward poise . . . Artifacts of the Southern Californian Indians dispel the erroneous report that they are of a low order of Indian. . . They are among the most advanced in the country . . . The Indian's religion permeates every act of his life. He has no conception of a personal God, but does believe in a spiritual power that gives life. He has no conception of Heaven as a place of eternal abode . . . It is very difficult for an Indian to grasp the idea of a hell — Pasadena Star-News


Contributing to the great controversy now raging among the anthropologists about the age and origin of man in America, Professor Anthony Zallo, of the Sacramento Junior College, says he believes that the Indians did not come from Asia, but have always been on this continent He relies in part on three skulls recently discovered in the delta region of the Sacramento River which indicate that the "Sacramento Man" lived 15,000 to 20,000 years ago, at a time when the glaciers of the Ice Age would have prevented his crossing over the Bering Sea from Asia He claims that while human blood is divided into four groups, O, A, B, and AB, the percentage of Indian blood is 91. 3 of class O, while Chinese blood is principally B. Another scientist, Dr P. B Candela, told the American Association of Science in June that delicate chemical tests of Egyptian mummies had enabled him to determine their type of blood. He said it is now possible to prepare blood group maps of the world, and that American Indians, Celts, and Basques belong predominantly to one group, while such apparently dissimilar groups as Hindus, Patagonians, and Amazon tribes belong to another blood type" He said it was clear that this new discovery was of great importance in connexion with the origin and history of man, and would open a vast new field of research. It is interesting to note that H. P. Blavatsky associates the Basques, the Guanches of the Canary Islands, and the North American Indians in one grouping" (See The Secret Doctrine, II, 740-90 ) It is very likely that the skeptical scientists will be forced to an acceptance of the existence of Atlantis by further discoveries in regard to blood-relationship.


Dr. Earl H. Bell of the University of Nebraska announces that: "It is clear that Nebraska has a human prehistory as important in the annals of civilization as that of Egypt or the near East." His recent expedition to the fertile Ponca Creek Valley located several important sites of ancient civilization, two of which seem to have been inhabited 4000 years ago. One city was three miles long and half a mile wide, and appears to have been abandoned on account of drought. It was a center of agriculture and hunting, and thousands of excellent artifacts including pottery and tools have been collected. Dr. Bell says that this discovery upsets the belief that no mid-western civilization existed earlier than 500 years ago. As the progress of research continues we find in America a repetition of the same story that is presented by the history of prehistoric studies in Europe. First of all blank denial that anything human could be more than a few hundred or thousand years old; then a grudging admission that the case was not altogether settled; and today we learn that anthropologists are seriously beginning to suspect that man actually may have been here before the final melting of the ice at the end of the glacial period, which took place a very long time ago.

The Theosophical Forum