Theosophical University Press Online Edition
The Primeval Manus of Humanity.
Those who are aware that the “great Flood,” which was connected with the sinking of an entire continent — save what became a few islands — could not have happened so far back as 18,000,000 years ago; and that Vaivasvata Manu is the Indian Noah connected with the Matsya (or the fish) Avatar of Vishnu — may feel perplexed at this discrepancy between facts stated and the chronology previously given. But there is no discrepancy in truth. The reader is asked to turn to the Theosophist of July, 1883, and after studying the article therein, “The Septenary Principle in Esotericism,” the whole question can be explained to him. It is in this explanation, I believe, that the Occultists differ from the Brahmins.
For the benefit of those, however, who may not have “The Theosophist” of that month and year to hand, a passage or two may now be quoted from it:
“Who was Manu, the son of Swayambhuva? The secret doctrine tells us that this Manu was no man, but the representation of the first human races evolved with the help of the Dhyan-Chohans (Devas) at the beginning of the first round. But we are told in his Laws (Book I. 80) that there are fourteen Manus for every Kalpa — or interval from creation to creation (read interval from one minor ‘Pralaya’ to another*) — and that in the present divine age, there have been as yet seven Manus. Those who know that there are seven rounds, of which we have passed three, and are now in the fourth; and who are
* Pralaya — a word already explained — is not a term that applies only to every “Night of Brahma,” or the world’s dissolution following every Manvantara, equal to 71 Maha-yugas. It applies also to each “obscuration” as well, and even to every Cataclysm that puts an end, by Fire or by Water in turn, to each Root-Race. Pralaya is a term like that of “Manu” — the generic name for the Sishtas, who, under the appellation of “King,” are shown in the Puranas as preserved “with the seed of all things in an ark from the waters of that flood” (or the fires of a general volcanic conflagration, the commencement of which we already see for our Fifth-Race in the terrible earthquakes and eruptions of these late years, and especially in the present one) . . . . which in the season of a pralaya overspreads the world” (the Earth). (See Preface, p. lxxxi., to Wilson’s “Vishnu Purana.”) Time is only a form of “Vishnu” — truly, as Parasara says in that Purana. In the Hindu Yuga Kalpa, we have the regular descending series 4, 3, 2, with ciphers multiplied as occasion requires for esoteric purposes, but not, as Wilson and other Orientalists thought, for “sectarian embellishments.” A Kalpa may be an age, a “Day” of Brahma, or a sidereal Kalpa, astronomical and earthly. Those calculations are found in all the Puranas, but some differ — as for instance, “the year of the seven Rishis, 3,030 mortal years, and the year of Dhruva, 9,090 in the Linga Purana,” which are again esoteric, and which do represent actual (secret) chronology. As said in the Brahma Vaivarta: “Chronologers compute a Kalpa by the life of Brahma. Minor Kalpas, as Samvarta and the rest, are numerous.” “Minor Kalpas” denote here every period of destruction, as was well understood by Wilson himself, who explains the latter as “those in which the Samvarta wind or other destructive agents operate” (Vishnu Purana, p. 54, vol. I.).
taught that there are seven dawns and seven twilights or fourteen Manvantaras; that at the beginning of every Round and at the end, and on, and between the planets there is an awakening to illusive life, and an awakening to real life; and that, moreover, there are root-Manus, and what we have to clumsily translate as the seed-Manus — the seeds for the human races of the forthcoming Round (or the Sishtas — the surviving fittest*; a mystery divulged only to those who have passed their third degree in initiation) — those who have learned all that will be better prepared to understand the meaning of the following. We are told in the Sacred Hindu scriptures that the first Manu produced six other Manus (seven primary Manus in all), and these produced in their turn each seven other Manus† (Bhrigu I., 61-63) — the production of the latter standing in the occult treatises as 7 x 7. Thus it becomes clear that Manu — the last one, the progenitor of our Fourth Round Humanity — must be the seventh, since we are on our fourth Round,‡ and there is a root-Manu at globe A and a seed Manu at globe G. Just as each planetary Round commences with the appearance of a ‘Root Manu’ (Dhyan Chohan) and closes with a ‘Seed-Manu,’ so a Root and a Seed Manu appear respectively at the beginning and the termination of the human period on any particular planet.§ It will be easily seen from the foregoing statement that a Manu-antaric period means, as the term implies, the time between the
* An intuition and a presentiment of the Sishtas may be found in Mr. Sinnett’s “Esoteric Buddhism, “Fifth Edition. See in it Annotations — the “Noah’s Ark Theory” pp. 146, 147.
† The fact that Manu himself is made to declare that he was created by Viraj, and that he then produced the ten Prajapatis, who again produced seven Manus, who in their turn gave birth to seven other Manus (Manu, I., 33-36) relates to other still earlier mysteries, and is at the same time a blind with regard to the doctrine of the Septenary chain, and the simultaneous evolution of seven humanities, or Men. However, the present work is written on the records of Cis-Himalayan Secret Teachings, and Brahmanical esoteric philosophy may now differ in form as the Kabala does. But they were identical in hoary antiquity.
‡ There is another esoteric reason besides this one for it. A Vaivasvata is the seventh Manu, because this our Round, although the Fourth, is in the preseptenary Manvantara, and the Round itself is in its seventh stage of materiality or physicality. The close of its middle racial point occurred during the Fourth Root Race, when man and all nature reached their lowest state of gross matter. From that time, i.e., from the end of the three and a half races, humanity and nature entered on the ascending arc of their racial cycle.
§ The interval that precedes each Yuga is called a Sandhya, composed of as many hundreds of years as there are thousands in the yuga; and that which follows the latter is named Sandhyamsa, and is of similar duration, we are told in Vishnu Purana. “The interval between the Sandhya and the Sandhyamsa is the yuga denominated Krita, Treta, etc., etc. The (four) Krita, Treta, Dwapara, and Kali constitute a great age, or aggregate of four ages: a 1000 such aggregates are a Day of Brahma; and 14 Manus reign within that term.” Now had we to accept this literally then there would be only one Manu for every 4,320,000,000 of years. As we are taught that it took 300,000,000 of years for the two lower kingdoms to evolve, and that our humanity is just 18 and some odd millions old — where were the other Manus spoken of, unless the allegory means what the esoteric doctrine teaches us about the 14 being each multiplied by 49.
appearance of two Manus or Dhyan Chohans; and hence a minor Manvantara is the duration of the seven races on any particular planet, and a major manvantara is the period of one human round along the Planetary chain. Moreover, that, as it is said that each of the seven Manus creates 7 x 7 Manus, and that there are 49 root-races on the seven planets during each Round, then every root-race has its Manu. The present seventh Manu is called ‘Vaivasvata’ and stands in the exoteric texts for that Manu who represents in India the Babylonian Xisuthrus and the Jewish Noah. But in the esoteric books we are told that Manu Vaivasvata, the progenitor of our Fifth race — who saved it from the flood that nearly exterminated the Fourth (Atlantis) — is not the seventh Manu, mentioned in the nomenclature of the Root, or primitive-Manus, but one of the 49 Manus emanated from this Root-Manu.
“For clearer comprehension we here give the names of the 14 Manus in their respective order and relation to each Round: —
“Vaivasvata, thus, though seventh in the order given, is the primitive Root-Manu of our fourth Human Wave (the reader must always remember that Manu is not a man but collective humanity), while our Vaivasvata was but one of the seven Minor Manus, who are made to preside over the seven races of this our planet. Each of these has to become the witness of one of the periodical and ever-recurring cataclysms (by fire and water) that close the cycle of every Root-race. And it is this Vaivasvata — the Hindu ideal embodiment, called respectively Xisuthrus, Deukalion, Noah and by other names — who is the allegorical man who rescued our race, when nearly the whole population of one hemisphere perished by water, while the other hemisphere was awakening from its temporary obscuration.”*
* The words “creation,” “dissolution,” etc., do not render correctly the right meaning of either Manvantara or Pralaya. The Vishnu Purana enumerates several: The dissolution of all things is of four kinds, Parasara is made to say: — Naimittika (occasional), when Brahma slumbers (his night, when, “At the end of this day occurs a re-coalescence of the Universe, called Brahma’s contingent re-coalescence,” because Brahma is this universe itself); “Prakritika (elemental), when the return of this universe to its original nature is partial and physical; Atyantika (absolute), identification of the embodied with the incorporeal Supreme spirit — Mahatmic state, whether temporary or until the following Maha Kalpa: also absolute obscuration — as of a whole [[Footnote continued on next page]]
Thus it is shown that there is no real discrepancy in speaking of the Vaivasvata Manvantara (Manu-antara, lit. “between two Manus”) 18,000,000 odd years ago, when physical, or the truly human man first appeared in his Fourth Round on this earth; and of the other Vaivasvatas, e.g., the Manu of the Great Cosmic or sidereal Flood (a mystery), or again the Manu Vaivasvata of the submerged Atlantis, when the racial Vaivasvata saved the elect of Humanity, the Fifth Race, from utter destruction. As the several (and quite different) events are purposely blended in the Vishnu and other Puranas in one narrative, there may yet be a great deal of perplexity left in the profane reader’s mind. Therefore, as constant elucidation is needed, we must be forgiven unavoidable repetitions. The blinds which conceal the real mysteries of Esoteric philosophy are great and puzzling, and even now the last word cannot be given. The veil, however, may be a little more removed and some explanations, hitherto denied, may now be offered to the earnest student.
As somebody — Colonel Vans Kennedy, if we do not mistake — remarked, “the first principle in Hindu religious philosophy is Unity in diversity.” If all those Manus and Rishis are called by one generic name, this is due to the fact that they are one and all the manifested Energies of one and the same Logos, the celestial, as well as the terrestrial messengers and permutations of that Principle which is ever in a state of activity; conscious during the period of Cosmic evolution, unconscious (from our point of view) during Cosmic rest, as the Logos sleepeth in the bosom of that which “sleepeth not,” nor is it ever awake — for it is sat or Be-ness, not a Being. It is from it that issues the great unseen Logos, who evolves all the other logoi, the primeval Manu who gives being to the other Manus, who emanate the universe and all in it collectively, and who represent in their aggregate the manifested Logos.* Hence we learn in the “Commentaries” that while no Dhyan Chohan, not even the highest, can realise completely “the condition of the preceding Cosmic evolution,” “the Manus retain a knowledge of their experiences of all the Cosmic evolutions throughout Eternity.” This is very plain: the first Manu is called Swayambhuva,
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] planetary chain, etc.; and Nitya (perpetual) Mahapralaya for the Universe, death — for man, nitya is the extinction of life, like the extinction of a lamp,” also “in sleep at night.” Nitya Sarga is “constant or perpetual creation,” as Nitya pralaya is “constant or perpetual destruction of all that is born.” “That which ensues after a minor dissolution is called ephemeral creation. . . . This is Samyama” (production, existence, and dissolution) (Vishnu Purana, Book I., ch. vii.) The subject is so difficult that we are obliged to repeat our statements.
* But see the superb definitions of Parabrahmam and the Logos in Mr. Subba Row’s Lectures on the Bhagavat Gita in the early numbers of the Theosophist of 1887, Feb., March, April, and May.
“the Self-manifested,” the Son of the unmanifested Father. The Manus are the creators of the creators of our First Race — the Spirit of mankind — which does not prevent the seven Manus from having been the first “pre-Adamic” men on Earth.
Manu declares himself created by Viraj,* or Vaiswanara, (the Spirit of Humanity),† which means that his Monad emanates from the never resting Principle in the beginning of every new Cosmic activity: that Logos or Universal Monad (collective Elohim) that radiates from within himself all those Cosmic Monads that become the centres of activity — progenitors of the numberless Solar systems as well as of the yet undifferentiated human monads of planetary chains as well as of every being thereon. Each Cosmic Monad is “Swayambhuva,” the self-born, which becomes the Centre of Force, from within which emerges a planetary chain (of which chains there are seven in our system), and whose radiations become again so many Manus Swayambhuva (a generic name, mysterious and meaning far more than appears), each of these becoming, as a Host, the Creator of his own Humanity. (See “The Manus and the Manvantaras Explained by a Western Mystic and Mathematician.”)
As to the question of the four distinct races of mankind that preceded our Fifth Race, there is nothing mystical in it, except the ethereal bodies of the first races; and it is a matter of legendary, nevertheless, very correct history. That legend is universal. And if the Western savant pleases to see in it only a myth, it does not make the slightest difference. The Mexicans had, and still have, the tradition of the fourfold destruction of the world by fire and water, just as the Egyptians had, and the Hindus have, to this day.
Trying to account for the community of legends in the remote antiquity — held by Chinese, Chaldean, Egyptians, Indians and Greeks — and for the absence of any certain vestige of civilization more ancient than 5,000 years, the author of “Mythical Monsters,” remarks, that “we must not be surprised if we do not immediately discover the vestiges of the people of ten, fifteen, or twenty thousand years ago. With an ephemeral architecture (as in China), the sites of vast cities may have become entirely lost to recollection in a few thousands of years from natural decay . . . and how much more . . . if . . . minor cataclysms have intervened, such as local inundations, earthquakes, deposition of volcanic ashes, the spread of sandy deserts, destruction of life by
* See preceding foot-note.
† See Manu I., 32, 33. Vaiswanara is, in another sense, the living magnetic fire that pervades the manifested solar system. It is the most objective (to us the reverse) and ever present aspect of the one life, for it is the Vital Principle. (See Theosophist, July, 1883, p. 249). It is also a name of Agni.
deadly pestilence, by miasma, or by the outpour of sulphurous fumes.” (“Mythical Monsters,” by Ch. Gould, p. 134.)
And how many of such cataclysms have changed the whole surface of the earth may be inferred from this Stanza:
“During the first seven crores of the Kalpa (70,000,000 years) the Earth and its two Kingdoms (mineral and vegetable), one already having achieved its seventh circle, the other, hardly nascent, are luminous and semi-ethereal, cold, lifeless, and translucid. In the eleventh crore* the mother (Earth) grows opaque, and in the FOURTEENTH† the throes of adolescence take place. These convulsions of nature (geological changes) last till her twentieth crore of years, uninterruptedly, after which they become periodical, and at long intervals.”
The last change took place nearly twelve crores of years ago (120,000,000). But the Earth with everything on her face had become cool, hard and settled ages earlier. (Commentary, xxii.)
Thus, if we are to believe esoteric teaching, there have been no more universal geological disturbances and changes for the last 120 millions of years, and the Earth was, even before that time, ready to receive her human stock. The appearance of the latter, however, in its full physical development, as already stated, took place only about eighteen millions of years ago, after the first great failure of nature to create beings alone, without the help of the divine “Fashioners,” had been followed by the successive evolution of the first three races (See above Stanzas III. et seq.). The actual duration of the first two and a-half Races is withheld from all but the higher Initiates. The History of the Races begins at the separation of the Sexes, when the preceding egg-bearing androgynous race perished rapidly, and the subsequent sub-races of the
* This — in the period of Secondary creation, so called. Of the Primary, when Earth is in possession of the three Elemental Kingdoms, we cannot speak for several reasons, one of which is, that, unless one is a great seer, or naturally intuitional, he will be unable to realise that which can never be expressed in any existing terms.
† Hippocrates said that number seven “By its occult virtues tended to the accomplishment of all things, to be the dispenser of life and fountain of all its changes.” The life of man he divided into seven ages (Shakespeare), for “As the moon changes her phases every seven days, this number influences all sublunary beings,” and even the Earth, as we know. With the child, it is the teeth that appear in the seventh month and he sheds them at seven years; at twice seven puberty begins, at three times seven all our mental and vital powers are developed, at four times seven he is in his full strength, at five times seven his passions are most developed, etc., etc. Thus for the Earth. It is now in its middle age, yet very little wiser for it. The Tetragrammaton, the four-lettered sacred name of the Deity, can be resolved on Earth only by becoming Septenary through the manifest triangle proceeding from the concealed Tetraktis. Therefore, the number seven has to be adopted on this plane. As written in the Kabala “The greater Holy Assembly” v. 1161: — “For assuredly there is no stability in those six, save (what they derive) from the seventh. For all things depend from the seventh.”
Third Root-Race appeared as an entirely new race physiologically. It is this “destruction” which is called allegorically the great “Vaivasvata Manu Deluge,” when the account shows Vaivasvata Manu (or “Humanity”) remaining alone on Earth in the Ark of Salvation towed by Vishnu in the shape of a monstrous fish, and the Seven Rishis “with him.” The allegory is very plain: —
In the Symbolism of every nation, the “Deluge” stands for Chaotic unsettled matter — Chaos itself: and the Water for the feminine principle — the “Great Deep.” As the Greek Lexicon of Parkhurst gives it — “[[Arche]] (ark) answers to the Hebrew rasit, or Wisdom . . . . and (at the same time) to the emblem of the female generative power, the Arg or Arca, in which the germ of nature (and of mankind) floats or broods on the great Abyss of the waters, during the interval which takes place after every mundane (or racial) cycle.” Ark is also the mystic name of the divine spirit of life which broods over chaos. Now Vishnu is the divine Spirit, as an abstract principle, and also as the Preserver and Generator, or Giver of life — the third person of the Trimurti (composed of Brahma, the Creator, Siva, the Destroyer, and Vishnu, the Preserver). Vishnu is shown in the allegory as guiding, under the form of a fish, the Ark of Vaivasvata Manu clean across the waters of the Flood. There is no use in expatiating upon the esoteric meaning of the word fish. (See Payne Knight, Inman, Gerald Massey, etc.) Its theological meanings is phallic, but the metaphysical, divine. Jesus is called the “Fish,” and so were Vishnu and Bacchus: [[Ies]], the “Saviour” of mankind, being but the monogram of the god Bacchus called [[Ichthus]], the fish.* As to the Seven Rishis in the Ark, they symbolised the seven principles, which became complete in man only after he had separated, and become a human, and no longer a divine creature. (See for further details, “The Seventh Manu.”)
Nor have we many details about the submersion of the continent inhabited by the Second Root Race. But the history of the Third, “Lemuria,” is given, as is that of Atlantis, the others being only alluded to. Lemuria is said to have perished about 700,000 years before the commencement of what is now called the Tertiary age (the Eocene),† and it is during this Deluge also — an actual geological deluge this time — that Vaivasvata Manu is again shown as saving mankind (allegorically it is mankind, or a portion of it, the Fourth Race, which is saved); so also he saves the Fifth Race during the destruction of the last Atlanteans, the
* Says St. Augustin of Jesus, “For he is a fish that lives in the midst of waters.” Christians called themselves little fishes — pisciculi — in their sacred mysteries. “So many fishes bred in the water, and saved by one great fish,” says Tertullian of the Christians and Christ and the Church.
† “Esoteric Buddhism,” p. 55.
remnants that perished 850,000 years ago,* after which there was no great submersion until the day of Plato’s Atlantis, or Poseidonis, known to the Egyptians only because it happened in such relatively recent times.
It is the submersion of the great Atlantis which is the most interesting. It is of this cataclysm that the old records (See the “Book of Enoch”) say that “the ends of the Earth got loose;” and upon which the legends and allegories of Vaivasvata, Xisuthrus, Noah, Deukalion and all the tutti quanti of the Elect saved, have been built. Tradition, taking into no account the difference between sidereal and geological phenomena, calls both indifferently “deluges.” Yet there is a great difference. The cataclysm which destroyed the huge continent of which Australia is the largest relic, was due to a series of subterranean convulsions and the breaking asunder of the ocean floors. That which put an end to its successor — the fourth continent — was brought on by successive disturbances in the axial rotation. It began during the earliest tertiary periods, and, continuing for long ages, carried away successively the last vestige of Atlantis, with the exception, perhaps, of Ceylon and a small portion of what is now Africa. It changed the face of the globe, and no memory of its flourishing continents and isles, of its civilizations and sciences, remained in the annals of history, save in the Sacred records of the East.
Hence, Modern Science denies Atlantis and its existence. It even denies any violent shiftings of the Earth’s axis, and would attribute the reason for the change of climates to other causes. But this question is still an open one. If Dr. Croll will have it that all such alterations can be accounted for by the effects of nutation and the precession of the equinoxes, there are other men of Science, such as Sir H. James (Athenaeum, Aug. 25, 1860), and Sir John Lubbock (ibid), who feel more inclined to accept the idea that they are due to a change in the position of the axis of rotation. Against this the majority of the astronomers are again arrayed. But then, what have they not denied before now, and what have they not denounced — only to accept it later on whenever the hypothesis became undeniable fact?
How far our figures agree, or rather disagree with modern Science will be seen further in the Addenda to this Book, where the geology and anthropology of our modern day are carefully compared with the same in Archaic Science. At any rate, the period assigned in the Secret Doctrine for the sinking of Atlantis, does not seem to disagree
* This event, the destruction of the famous island of Ruta and the smaller one Daitya, which occurred 850,000 years ago in the later Pliocene times, must not be confounded with the submersion of the main continent of Atlantis during the Miocene period. Geologists cannot place the Miocene only so short a way back as 850,000 years; whatever they do, it is several million years ago that the main Atlantis perished.
very much with the calculations of Modern Science, which calls Atlantis “Lemuria,” however, whenever it accepts such a submerged continent. With regard to the pre-human period, all that can be said, at present, is, that even up to the appearance of the “Mindless” First Race, the Earth was not without its inhabitants. More may be said: that which Science — recognizing only physical man — has a right to regard as the prehuman period, may be conceded to have extended from the First Race down to the first half of the Atlantean race, since it is only then that man became the “complete organic being he is now.” And this would make Adamic man no older than a few million of years.*
The author of the Qabbalah remarks truly that “Man to-day, as an individual, is only a concatenation of the being-hood of precedent human life,” or lives, rather. “According to the Qabbalah, the soul sparks contained in Adam (Rishoun), went into three principal classes corresponding to his three sons, viz.: Hesed, Habel, Ge-boor-ah, Qai-yin and Ra’hmin Seth. These three were divided into 70 species, called: the principal roots of the human race.” (p. 422.)
“Said Rabbi Jehudah: ‘How many garments (of the incorporeal man) are these which are crowned’ (from the day man was ‘created’)? Said R. El’eazar: ‘The mountains of the world (the great men of the generation) are in discussion upon it, but there are three: one to clothe in that garment the Rua’h spirit, which is in the garden (of Eden) on earth: one which is more precious than all, in which the Neshamah is clothed in that Bundle of Life, between the angels of the Kings . . . : and one outside garment, which exists and does not exist, is seen and not seen. In that garment, the Nephesh is clothed, and she goes and flies in it, to and fro in the world.” (Zohar I., 119b. col. 475; Qabbalah, 412.)
This relates to the races (their “garments,” or degree of materiality) and to the three principles of man in their three vehicles.
* Mr. Huxley divides those races into the quintuple group of Australioids, Negroids, Mongoloids, Xanthochroics and Melanochroics — all issuing from imaginary Anthropoids. And yet, while protesting against those who say “that the structural differences between man and apes are small and insignificant,” and adding that “every bone of the gorilla bears a mark by which it can be distinguished from a corresponding human bone,” and that “in the present state of creation, at least, no intermediary being fills the gap which separates the man from the troglodyte” — the great anatomist goes on speaking of the Simian characteristics in Man! (See de Quatrefages’ “The Human Species,” p. 113.)