The Theosophical Forum – June 1939

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

How Old Is the Aryan Race?

In your article on "The Cradleland of Our Race," in THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, June, 1937, the birth of the Aryan stock from Atlantean tribes is given as 7- to 8,000,000 years ago (p. 410). On page 413, it is stated twice that it is 4- or 5,000,000 years since the original germinal condition of the Fifth Root-Race, though as a race sui generis it is about 1,000,000 years old. What puzzles me is the difference between the 7- or 8,000,000 and the 4- or 5,000,000 years as the age of what I supposed was the same Race. Does the larger number refer to that hint in The Secret Doctrine that the Aryans could trace their descent back to Lemuria-Atlantis? — L. R.

G. de P. — In dealing with time-periods in a general article it naturally is difficult to find English words to give the exact picture the writer desires to paint. Hence, on reading your note I see how my words could have been misunderstood; yet I do think a careful reading of the article in THE FORUM compared with the diagram I gave in Fundamentals on page 251, of how a race is born from, or originates in, the middle period of the parent race, will show what I had in mind. I will now try to explain.

Every Race, Root-Race I mean, great stock-Race, takes its origin, its beginnings, its genesis, i. e. its birth as a differentiated, that is different, stock from its parent at about the middle point of that parent's age or time-period. This we can properly call the birth of the new race, likening it to the birth of a child. This in the case of the Aryan Race was between four and five million years ago. The Atlantean Root-Race has lasted altogether from its birth to its present time some eight million years, that is from its germinal period to its now dying out scattered remnants of savages. So we can truly say the Atlantean Race, including its germinal period all down the ages to its now scattered savage remnants, is about eight million years old; but our own Aryan Race so called, is only four million plus years old from its birth, born at the half-period of the Atlantean Race, say four or five million years ago.

On the other hand, when we consider that a Race before it is born, i. e. before it becomes a distinctly differentiated Race from its parents, must have had its germinal growth, slowly through the ages differentiating from its parent, we see that we can trace the germinal period of a Race, such as our Aryan Race, back almost to the beginnings of the Atlantean Race. So that our own Aryan Race from its germ-period to the present day is about seven million years old.

Of course, the characteristics of a Race in its germ-period are so closely alike to its parent-stock, that in the case you submit, the germ-period of the Aryans really showed them as scarcely differentiated from the Atlanteans. Yet these germs grew through the ages, and after three million years or so, at about the middle period of Atlantis, became the distinctly differentiated Aryan Race.

Thus take the case of a human being: the average human being is born as a baby, not in the infancy of its parents, but when its parents have attained let us say their majority, roughly at about middle age or somewhat before. Yet the germ of a child when it exists in its parent's body can be said to be so like the parent's body, even the parent's body in its early youth, that it is scarcely differentiated from the parent. This analogy is a feeble one, but it will express what I am trying to say with regard to the Races. I hope this is clear. It is what I had in mind when writing the article.

To recapitulate: (a) our Aryan Race from its germinal beginnings in early Atlantis is about seven million years old, although this is not a proper way to count it. It is merely rounding out the picture. These germs in Atlantis slowly through the ages of Atlantean heyday became more and more differentiated into a Race apart, and this occurred at about the middle period of Atlantis, and this was the real birth or beginning in that sense of the Aryan Race.

(b) Yet so slowly does nature work in these things, that our own Aryan Race was quite Atlanteanesque, so to speak, until about 1,000,000 years ago when it very definitely in all respects shook off the Atlantean characteristics, and became a true Race sui generis. Our own Aryan Race is now in its kali-yuga, beginning it, and the new Sixth Root-Race is already around us in millions of scattered individuals, beginning feebly to differentiate into the Sixth Root-Race qualities; and in some three hundred thousand years from now, while we Aryans are ending our kali-yuga, the Sixth Root-Race will be said to be definitely born as the Sixth Root-Race, but will remain Aryanesque for millions of years yet, until our own Aryan Race is represented only by degenerate remnants; at which time the new Sixth Root-Race will be becoming typically a race sui generis itself. I hope all this is clear.

Animals and the Law of Karman

I can understand the Law of Karman, cause and effect, as related to free-willed, responsible man, but I do not understand how or when innocent and irresponsible animals brought upon themselves karman of suffering through the cruelty of man: vivisection practices, etc. As Mother Nature allows of much pain and suffering in bringing up her children, is there not some other law at work aside from the Law of Karman — i. e., the Law of Justice? — E. S. P.

O. I. C. — There is no entity in the Universe but has or has had in the past some degree of free will or the power of choice. Are animals innocent, or are they rapacious?

Animals are without the human sense of moral responsibility, but those who have had the most to do with them would be about the last, I think, to regard them as wholly innocent. Animals have made karman in the past, and are reaping it and making it now. They are not wholly irresponsible. The spark of divinity which is in the animal has chosen that imbodiment to work out its evolution and to purge itself of unlovely qualities. In other words, every creature obtains that imbodiment and way of life to which its own desires, relative perfections or imperfections, and state of evolution draw it. There is no outside law or god or chance that can put and keep creatures in an imbodiment and way of life wholly contrary to their own nature.

Why are there rapacious and thieving animals? Because in the long past their desires and choosings have led them to that character and form. Animals are animalistic because somehow, somewhere along the path of evolution they have chosen to be so. They are in the process of developing conscience, the beginnings of conscience, else they would not be on the way toward becoming human. No creature in the Universe is wholly without higher guidance. Animals do not perfectly follow the highest guidance that they have. Anyone sufficiently familiar with them knows that they do inflict unnecessary cruelty on each other. Hence they do make bad karman — physical karman, which is the kind of karman that animals make, suffer, and enjoy.

We cannot judge animals as a whole by our pets, which have become unnatural. The behavior of the natural animals seldom indicates prolonged suffering and seldom if ever indicates mental anguish. This is because they are not self-consciously living on the mental plane. Even their physical sufferings cannot be as keen as those of humans, who add the force of imagination and horror to theirs. Animals appear to die easily as a rule. We are told that they reincarnate quickly, and certainly they reincarnate easily as compared with humans. But woe to the human who causes them unnecessary suffering!

Karman, true justice, includes all other laws. It certainly includes, nay, is in the long run, mercy and progress. We all know well that not all suffering is truly bad karman. Seen from the largest viewpoint suffering is corrective and purifying. Every creature must experience "unmerited" suffering and joy (we must not forget the undeserved joys!) from the acts of others, but karman is just, and such experiences are fully compensated for soon or in the more distant future, though our so limited perceptions may not see the compensation. Also, those who bring suffering or joy to others will be suitably compensated. H. P. Blavatsky has said that animals will be recompensed for the sufferings (vivisection, etc.) caused to them by human beings.

When we experience "unmerited" suffering we learn, whether we will or not, what a terrible thing it is to inflict unnecessary suffering on others, which in obvious or subtil ways we are doing constantly. If thus we learn, do not the animals also learn? By all right and reason and intuition we must recognize that deep within every creature there is that which learns from the consequences — karman — of its own imperfections, and thus improvement takes place.

Why Do Children Suffer?

Why do children have to suffer, as they cannot understand or feel any responsibility for wrongs done in former lives? — W. F.

J. E. C. — Have you stopped to consider what would happen to a child if it could not suffer? Suffering is not just a punishment. As a matter of fact I do not think it is punishment at all from the true standpoint. Suffering is Nature's method of teaching us. If we put our hand in the fire it is burned. If we eat the wrong food we have the "tummy-ache," etc. If it were not for Nature's kindly warnings our bodies would be destroyed in no time. I think all of the suffering of a child is disciplinary and that some of it can be said to be due to karmic consequences of previous lives, except as far as the environment is concerned, and even there it is for the best good of the child or incarnating entity from the ultimate standpoint. Yet it should be added that this teaching in no wise excuses us for inflicting suffering on children, or anyone else, for that matter, or for refusing to alleviate suffering where we can and may. H. P. B. points out that if we take it upon ourselves to inflict suffering, under cover of "meting out Justice," we are simply setting ourselves up as superior to a great Cosmic Law, the Law of Karman — which is, after all, the Law of Compassion.

In the Dim Evolutionary Past

There was a certain time long ago, when we used to be animals; and long before that, when these animals emerged from one cell organisms (according to Darwin). What was before that? — W. F.

J. E. C. — This question is based on a partial misconception which it would take too much time and space to go into at the present writing, for it involves the whole of the difference between the Theosophical idea of evolution and the Darwinian concept. However, we can overlook that fact for the time being to get at the real heart of the question, which is: What was the condition of evolving entities before they started their period of evolution in this Hierarchy or field of consciousness? Perhaps this can best be answered by taking the analogy of successive lives upon earth. The body of a man starts as a single germ cell from which the embryo gradually develops until it is finally ready to leave the womb, after which it becomes a separate organism and continues its growth and development through all the phases of physical life. Meanwhile the reincarnating ego has gradually learned to control the physical instrument through which it gains experience and knowledge of this hierarchy. Previous to that it had passed through a semi-spiritual condition known as Devachan, and previous to that it had passed through another life in another body.

Now this same process occurred on a greater scale in the experience of the same monadic entity that is now working in this life through the physical body. In another hierarchy the monad went through life after life until it had gained all possible experience in that hierarchy. Then it went into Nirvana, which might for brevity be called a greater Devachan, and emerged from that into its present hierarchy, working up from point to point, starting on the lowest rung of the ladder, the simplest manifestation of life in the hierarchy. In any single earth life the analogy is completed through the repeated incarnation of the monadic ray when it awakens from sleep each morning, followed by the repetition of the opposite condition, discarnation, when the consciousness leaves the body at night.

On the "Origin of the Mammals"

I understand from The Esoteric Tradition that the animals were formed or arose from man in the manner therein described, i. e., during the Lemurian period when man was more or less of a "jelly-bag" physically. Am I correct in supposing that the urge or thought sent out when these forms took place determined the nature or kind of animal produced or resulting? If this is so where did the thought or urge giving that "nature or kind" come from since at that time man had not yet come in contact with the Manas-principle or Mind of an individual nature? — H. W. F.

G. Barborka — Replying to the first question: "Am I correct in supposing that the urge or thought sent out . . . determined the nature or kind of animal . . ." the answer is, No, for the reason which the questioner supplies, i. e., the Manas-principle was not yet functioning consciously in the humanity of that far-distant period. Enlarging upon the answer: there are three important points that should be borne in mind when considering this subject of the off-throwings from early humanity: (1) the humanity of that far-distant epoch (the early Third Root-Race) was entirely different from that of the present time; and although described as more or less of a jelly-bag — which implies a loosely cohering entity — nevertheless parts or portions could easily detach themselves from the mass; (2) the "animals" that arose from the off-throwings were solely mammalian in type; (3) the various parts forming the "body" of early humanity were not under the "dominant urge" which stamped such parts as fitting solely to the status of the human frame. The reason why any part of the human body today cannot give rise to a group-vehicle which in time would result in an "animal" is because the parts composing the human body are stamped so strongly with the "human quality" that any separated aggregate cannot start "making something" on its own. In other words, the life-atoms so sloughed off from a human body today (as for instance in an amputated limb) simply pursue their peregrinations in their proper terrain or field. Nor can an amputated limb be replaced by another such limb "growing forth" from the human frame today. It may be suggested that the particular urge or trend given to the early off-throwings depended upon the original position that such off-cast portion had in relation to the frame of early humanity.

It should also be remembered that the first mammals were not animals with bones, but "ethereal proto-organisms, just as man was." It was during the Third Root-Race that "the boneless animals grew and changed: they became animals with bones, their chhayas became solid also." (The Secret Doctrine, Volume II, page 183)


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